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

How Your Organization Can Buy Paris Agreement-Verified Rainforest Carbon Credits for the First Time

Date/Time: November 18, 2021 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) As governments step up efforts to strengthen the Paris Agreement at COP26 and tackle the climate emergency, corporate action has never been more critical. Join our webinar and learn how, for the first time, corporations can achieve carbon neutrality, protect tropical rainforests, and directly support the global climate agreement. Formalized in Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Mechanism was designed to "slow, halt and reverse forest cover and carbon loss" globally. The initiative has led to sequential declines in emissions and helped protect over 90% of the world's tropical rainforests for over two decades. Previously only available through the UNFCCC to governments and multilateral banks, Paris Agreement-verified rainforest carbon credits can now be purchased directly from countries by corporations, institutional investors, and consumers.  In March this year, Papua New Guinea was the first country to join a new trading platform called when it onboarded 9 million metric tons of carbon reductions. These credits will be followed by over 110 million tonnes from Belize and Gabon in the next twelve months. Join the webinar and learn about: Natural-based solutions and how they can help tackle the climate emergency The global rainforest conservation initiative UNFCCC REDD+ mechanism, and how effective it has been Paris Agreement-verified REDD+ rainforest carbon credits, and what makes them high quality How corporations can purchase UNFCCC REDD+ carbon credits Moderator: Jim Giles, Carbon Analyst, GreenBiz Group Speakers: Kevin Conrad, Executive Director, Coalition for Rainforest Nations Federica Bietta, Managing Director, Coalition for Rainforest Nations Peter Boyd, Advisor, & Resident Fellow, Yale Center for Business and the Environment Mark Grundy, Director, Marketing & Communications, Coalition for Rainforest Nations If you can't tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast.

Panera bakes plan to go climate positive

By switching to circular packaging, increasing renewable energy and adding more climate-friendly items to the menu, Panera hopes it will remove more carbon than it emits each year by 2050.

The 'Big Lag' Index

How much additional pain or effort it will take to act tomorrow if we procrastinate today?

Will COP26 in Glasgow deliver?

September 2021 was the second warmest September on record, after September 2020, according to NASA, Copernicus and James Hansen, despite the cooling effect of the current La Niña. Above NASA image shows that the Arctic Ocean was hit severely by high temperatures.The NASA image shows an anomaly of 0.96°C compared to 1951-1980. With COP26 to be held in Glasgow, from October 31 to November 12, 2021, it's important to realize that using the period from 1951 to 1980 as a base is not the same as pre-industrial. So, how much has the temperature risen from pre-industrial and what are the prospects? Will COP26 deliver?[ from earlier post ]Let's do the calculations once more. The trend in the image below indicates that the NASA data need to be adjusted by 0.29°C to change the base from 1951-1980 to 1900. Of course, 1900 is still not pre-industrial. The image below shows three trends: The green trend is based on unadjusted NASA data (1951-1980 base). The lilac trend is based on data adjusted by 0.79°C for a 1750 base, for higher polar anomalies and for ocean air temperatures. The lilac trend shows that the 1.5°C threshold was already crossed when the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, while a 3°C could be crossed well before 2050. The red trend is based on data adjusted by 1.28°C, adding an extra 0.49°C to the lilac data for a 3480 BC base. The red trend shows that the 2°C threshold was already crossed when the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, while a 5°C anomaly could crossed by 2060.The way these adjustments are calculated is also discussed in an earlier post and at the pre-industrial page. Another thing to consider is the impact of short-term variables. The image below shows the same red data, i.e. 1.28°C adjusted, with two trends added: a red trend based on 1880-Sept. 2021 data, and a blue trend based on 2015-Sept. 2021 data.The blue trend is more in line with short-term variables, such as El Nino, sunspots and volcanoes. The blue trend shows that temperatures are currently suppressed.Within a few years time, sunspots can be expected to reach the peak of their current cycle, and they are looking stronger than forecast, as illustrated by the image on the right, adapted from NOAA.Furthermore, the next El Niño could raise surface temperatures significantly. The image below indicates that the difference between the top of El Niño and the bottom of La Niña could be more than half a degree Celsius. As the image on the right shows, NOAA expects the current La Nina to deepen and to continue well into 2022. The threatening situation is that we'll go into the next El Niño, while sunspots are increasing and while the aerosol impacts may go from dimming into further driving up temperatures. A huge temperature rise could occur as the sulfates fall away that are currently co-emitted by traffic and industry, while at the same time releases of other aerosols such as black and brown carbon can increase dramatically as more wood burning and forest fires take place.Such short-term natural variability can furthermore act as a catalyst, causing numerous feedbacks to kick in with ever greater ferocity. Such feedbacks can result in collapse of Arctic sea ice and eruption of huge quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, further driving up the temperature rise abruptly, as illustrated by the blue trend.Sadly, the IPCC appears to have dramatically underplayed the gravity of the situation. The image on the right, from James Hansen, shows the gap between RCP 2.6 and added forcing since 1990.The image below, from Tian et al. (2020), shows differences between the RCP and SSP pathways for nitrous oxide.[ from earlier post ]The rise in nitrous oxide levels up the April 2020 is illustrated image on the right, from an earlier post. Perhaps even more frightening is the situation regarding methane, as illustrated by the combination image below. The MetOp-2 satellite recorded some terrifying methane levels recently. On October 14, 2021 pm, a peak methane level of 4354 ppb was recorded at 293 mb (left panel), while a mean level of 2068 ppb was recorded at 367 mb (right panel). The Images show only a partial cover of the globe, so there may be some problems with this satellite, yet it could be an ominous sign of things to come.Sadly, the IPCC keeps downplaying the temperature rise and the threat of a huge rise soon, while promoting the idea that there was a “carbon budget” to be divided among polluters that would enable polluters to keep polluting for decades to come. Hopefully, politicians at COP26 will do the right thing. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.Links• NASA GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP v4)• Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26)• IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways (SR1.5)• IPCC AR6• Paris Agreement, adopted 2015• MetOp satellites• September Temperature Update & COP 26 - 14 October 2021 - by James Hansen and Makiko Sato• NOAA Sunspots• A comprehensive quantification of global nitrous oxide sources and sinks - by Hanqin Tian et al. (2020)• NOAA  ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions - October 11, 2021• NOAA Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño• Is the IPCC creating false perceptions, again?• Pre-industrial• Feedbacks• Climate Plan

Glasgow and global warming to 2⁰C and beyond

by Andrew Glikson“Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet” (Hansen, 2016)While at present the world is necessarily investing in medical research in order to save the lives of millions, global warming is threatening the lives of billions over the century. Yet, authorities are hardly listening to what climate science is projecting regarding the lives of billions, as the Earth is heating.Since the Paris climate conference in April 2016, when the mean atmospheric carbon dioxide level reached 403.3 ppm, induced by annual emissions of some 400 billion tons of CO₂, the atmospheric level has risen to near 420 ppm, growing at peak rates of 2.5-3.0 ppm/year, the highest recorded since the dinosaur mass extinction of 66 million years ago.Although the target of the Glasgow meeting is to reach agreement for limiting mean global temperature to 1.5⁰C, due to the short-term mitigating effect of ~0.5–1.0⁰C by aerosols on global temperatures mean global warming is already tracking toward 2⁰C (Figure 1). Figure 1. Extreme heatwaves, like the one that affected Europe in the summer of 2006, are projected to become widespread at 1.5 degrees Celsius warming. This map, derived from NASA MODIS Terra satellite data, depicts the July 2006 land surface temperature anomaly with regard to the period from 2000-2012. Hopes that the coming Glasgow climate meeting would help avert a disastrous climate catastrophe depend on:Binding agreements for a drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions rates to pre-peak rates of about ~1ppm/year or lower, requiring world-wide transformation of agricultural, industrial and transport systems.Attempts at sequestration/drawdown of CO₂ to near-350 ppm or lower (Hansen et al. 2013). Although the engineering efforts and the costs of such attempts cannot be overestimated, in principle such attempts could be achieved by a diversion of funds from the astronomical budgets invested in the military-industrial complex world-wide, currently just under $2 trillion, an underlying factor in previous world wars and ultimately aimed at future wars.A sequestration of CO₂ is essential due to the amplifying feedbacks of global warming, which is pushing temperatures up in a chain reaction-like process, as follows:The polar albedo decline due to large-scale lateral and vertical melting of ice;Reduced CO₂ intake by the warming oceans. 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 extensive and areas;Release of methane from melting of permafrost and from polar sediments;An increase in evaporation, particularly in arid zones, raising atmospheric vapor levels enhance the greenhouse gas effect. Mean global temperature however do not represent an accurate picture of the effects of global warming. According to NOAA the impacts of climate change haven’t been spread evenly around our planet … the strongest warming is happening in the Arctic during its cool seasons, and in Earth’s mid-latitude regions during the warm season.” (Figure 2). Figure 2. Global climate changes to 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. Temperature change is not uniform across the globe. Projected changes are shown for the average temperature of the annual hottest day (top) and the annual coldest night (bottom) with 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming (left) and 2 degrees Celsius of global warming (right) compared to pre-industrial levels.The acceleration of warming due to amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans, envisaged by Wally Broecker and others, leads a climate chain reaction such as is believed to have pertained about 55 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). Peter Ward and others refer to early examples of mass extinctions triggered by biological processes related to ocean anoxia, acidification, release of methane (CH₄) and hydrogen sulphide (H₂S), and development of “purple” and “green” algae and sulphur bacteria. In a similar sense anthropogenic global warming constitutes a biological process which the originating organism, Homo sapiens, has not to date been able to limit.The critical factor which drives climate change, namely the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, which rose by near-50% since pre-industrial time, is only rarely mentioned by the media and by politicians. Nor are other quantitative measures of climate change, such as the level of methane and nitrous oxide, which were elevated about 3-fold, being highlighted. While opinions by journalists, politicians, economists and social scientists are widely promulgated, less attention is given to what is indicated by climate science, a reluctance rendering the global response to the looming climate calamity increasingly irrelevant.Many scientists are reluctant to warn the public of the full implications of global heating for the habitability of Earth. Issuing public warnings Cassandra-like may incur a heavy price, including social and professional isolation, psychological effects and loss of professional position. Many either self-censor or were suppressed or dismissed within institutions. This includes a common reluctance by the media to publish climate articles.According to John Schellnhuber, Germany’s former chief climate scientist: “The Earth system's responses to climate change appear to be non-linear… If we venture far beyond the 2 degrees guardrail, towards the 4 degrees line, the risk of crossing tipping points rises sharply”.According to Hansen (NASA’s former chief climate scientist) et al. (2012) “Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. The palaeoclimate record and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate system would be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes, including ice sheet disintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, extermination of a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastating regional climate extremes”.Considering that the last glacial termination (LGT), i.e. the transition from the last ice age to the Holocene, incurred a rise of about 4 to 5 degrees Celsius over a period of about 7.5 kyr (0.00053 to 0.00066⁰C/year), the Anthropocene global warming (~+1.5⁰C in 270 years; 0.0055⁰C/year) is reaching an order of magnitude faster than the LGT within a century or so, constituting a recipe for a global disaster. Andrew GliksonA/Prof. Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistSchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of New South Wales,Kensington NSW 2052 AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction

The dilemma of climate scientists

The dilemma of climate scientists - by Andrew Glikson“in private conversations, many climate scientists express far greater concern at the progression of global warming and its consequences than they do in public” - Andrew Glikson (2016)Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsMany climate change models, including by the IPCC, appear to neglect or minimize the amplifying feedbacks of global warming, which are pushing temperatures upward in a chain reaction-like process, as projected by Wally Broecker and others. A climate chain reaction is believed to have pertained about 55 million years ago (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum [PETM]). During the Anthropocene (post-1750 and in particular post-1900) greenhouse gas and temperature growth rates levels exceeded those of the PETM and of the end of the last glacial termination (LGT). During 2010-2020 an acceleration of global warming is reflected by an anomalous rise in greenhouse gas levels and temperatures (Figure 1). Figure 1. 1880-2020 temperature anomalies relative to the 1951-1980 base line (NASA, NOAA, Hadley, Berkeley)According to Peter Ward and others early examples of mass extinctions triggered by biological processes were related to ocean anoxia and acidification leading to CH4 and H2S release by “purple” and “green” algae and sulphur bacteria. Likewise, anthropogenic global warming constitutes a geological/biological process for which the originating organisms (humans) have not to date been able to discover an effective method of control.The critical criterion definitive of global warming is the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, rising from 280 to 419 ppm, i.e. by about 49% since pre-industrial time, only rarely mentioned by the media and politicians. Other parameters of climate change, such as the level of methane and nitrous oxide, have risen about 3-fold. While opinions by journalists, politicians, economists and social scientists proliferate, less attention is given to what is indicated by climate science, rendering the global response to the looming calamity increasingly irrelevant. Thus, whereas most models portray linear rise in temperature, the evidence for the breading of the circum-Arctic jet stream, allowing cold and warm fronts to cross the boundary, would result in high storminess in high latitudes.“Most scientists agree that climate change is happening faster than predicted. More than one-third of the world’s soil, which produces 95% of the world’s food supply, is currently degraded. By 2035, outdoor air pollution is projected to be a top cause of environmentally-related deaths worldwide, and half the world’s population will face water shortages.” However, many scientists are reluctant to warn the public about the full consequences of accelerating global heating. Namely, as Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s chief climate scientist has stated, the existential risk to the life support systems of the planet.There is a heavy price to pay for communicating distressing evidence, Cassandra-like, including psychological factors and/or social and professional isolation. Personal optimism may overcome realism. Some scientists are either self-censored or have their work suppressed or dismissed within institutions or by the media, including in government and academia. Some scientists have lost their position.As cited in the article titled “When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job“ … “Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can't really talk about it”, and elsewhere “in private conversations, many climate scientists express far greater concern at the progression of global warming and its consequences than they do in public”. It is not uncommon to hear people criticizing climate scientists for not telling them more about the future climate, although when they are told, many recoil. Then there is the plethora of false promises by politicians.As the world continues to spend $trillions each year on military preparation for war or nuclear war, resources needed if serious attempts are made for protection of life on Earth, despair sinks in.The world is now waking up to the climate calamity.There must be hope.Andrew GliksonA/Prof. Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistSchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of New South Wales,Kensington NSW 2052 AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction

On borrowed time: How long to a Miocene-like tropical ~+4°C world?

On borrowed time: How long to a Miocene-like tropical ~+4°C world?by A/Prof Andrew GliksonEarth and climate scientistToward late this century global temperatures are likely to either reach super-tropical levels of > >14°C or/and extreme levels of storminess consequent on clashes between Arctic and Antarctic sourced cold and warm air and water masses. Humans appear to be mainly concerned about any one issue at a time, and while COVID-19 is claiming the lives of millions Homo sapiens appears to be increasingly oblivious to the growing threat to billions of humans and to nature, including the inhabitability of large regions and extinguishment of habitats.The almost universal assumption as if a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is in itself sufficient to prevent further warming is misleading, since positive feedbacks from land and ocean would continue to raise greenhouse levels and temperatures. Such feedback effects include: increased evaporation with warming, water vapor being a greenhouse gas; melting ice decreasing the albedo effect of Earth, exposing dark rock surfaces, reducing the albedo of the polar terrains and sea ice in surrounding oceans, enhancing infrared absorption and heating; burnt and desiccated vegetation decreasing the albedo;decreased absorption and solubility of CO₂ in warming oceans; release of CO₂ and methane from drying vegetation, from melting permafrost and from bogs. A critical parameter, rarely mentioned in the media, is the inexorable accelerating rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases. With CO₂ reaching 414.6 parts per million, CH₄ (methane) is reaching 1891.3 parts per billion and total greenhouse gas concentration of 500 parts per million, a level unknown since the Miocene about 5.3-23 million years ago. With a Miocene CO₂ level in the range of ~400-500 parts per million and mean temperatures up to 18.4°C, the atmosphere is tracking toward super-tropical temperatures, which would render large regions uninhabitable.Anthropocene temperature rise rates are at least an order of magnitude higher than the mean temperature rise since the Last Glacial Maximum: Given the current mean global land and ocean temperature of 14°C, i.e. 6.2°C warmer than the mean ~7.8°C temperature of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (~19,000–23.000 years-ago), the mean warming of (~0.00026°C/year rate; 6°C/23.000 years) is an order of magnitude slower than during the Anthropocene.Late Holocene/Anthropocene: 1.04°C/250 years ~0.004°C/year). This relegates the current global warming to an unprecedented category during the last ~3 million years and longer.Namely, at ~+4 degrees Celsius of warming toward later the 21st century the Earth’s mean surface land/ocean temperature would be warmer than tropical Miocene temperatures. A lag effect between the rise of greenhouse gases and temperature would delay but not prevent the worst effects of global warming. But even before such high mean temperatures is reached, the weakened jet stream climate zone boundary, allowing penetration of cold and warm fronts, allowing clashes between air and water masses of contrasting temperatures, would lead to storminess, disrupting human agriculture and habitats, as is already happening in northern Europe and within the Arctic circle. How long would it take for global temperatures to rise to about ~4°C and higher would depend on:The acceleration in rising concentration of greenhouse gases and the lag in consequent rising temperatures;The extent to which ice melt flow from Greenland and Antarctica may slow down further warming in certain regions, such as the north Atlantic and the Southern Ocean;Further anthropogenic emissions and/or draw-down of atmospheric CO₂.From the continuing rise of atmospheric greenhouse concentrations (CO₂: 2020 – 414.62 ppm; 2021 - 416.96 ppm) to date global greenhouse gas emissions are hardly slowing down, nor have attempts at mitigation and/or sequestration been effective. In 2019, the world emitted roughly 36.44 billion metric tons (BMT) of carbon dioxide, compared to 14.83 BMT in 1970.According to the head of the International Energy Agency no new oil, gas or coal development ought to take place if the world is to reach net zero by 2050. However, rising production of hydrocarbons in several regions, for example new drilling for oil in the North Sea, high production of oil and gas the USA, new coal mines in Australia and elsewhere cast doubt on the level of carbon emissions in future.Conclusion: A rise in the mean global temperature to about 4 degrees Celsius or higher, as projected by IPCC, and/or a stormy climate consequent due to clashes between air and water masses of contrasting temperatures consequent on weakening of climate zone boundaries, are likely to progress through the 21st Century, severely disrupting natural and human habitats and species.Andrew GliksonA/Prof. Andrew GliksonEarth and Paleo-climate scientistSchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of New South Wales,Kensington NSW 2052 AustraliaBooks:The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophe Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinction

Is the IPCC creating false perceptions, again?

IPCC AR6 ReportThe Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (WG1 AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) raises the question: Is the IPCC seeking to downplay the dire situation that we are in, again? Downplaying the temperature rise from pre-industrialOne of the first issues that comes up is the baseline. The IPCC uses 1850–1900 as a baseline, like it did before (in SR1.5). This is one out of many instances where the IPCC creates a perception that it would take many years before the 1.5°C threshold would be crossed. This 1850–1900 isn't pre-industrial. The Paris Agreement calls for pre-industrial as a base. The IPCC image on the right shows a 1.09°C rise from 1850–1900. This isn't the rise to the year 2020, but it is the rise to the period from 2011 to 2020. Instead, when taking the 2020 temperature rise and going back one century, NASA data show a 1.29°C rise from 1920, and this is a conservative figure, as 0.1°C can be added to translate NASA's sea surface temperatures into ocean air temperatures and another 0.1°C can be added for higher polar anomalies, which brings the temperature rise up to almost 1.5°C and this isn't the full rise from pre-industrial by a long shot.Furthermore, the IPCC uses seasonally-biased data to "reconstruct" the temperature rise before its baseline, making it look as if there was no rise before its baseline. Instead, the rise from pre-industrial to 1920 could be as much as 0.3°C (1750 to 1920) + 0.2°C (1520 to 1750) + 0.29°C (3480 BC to 1520).Adding up the rises for all these elements gives a total rise from pre-industrial to 2020 that could be as high as 1.29°C + 0.1°C + 0.1°C + 0.3°C + 0.2°C + 0.29°C = 2.28°C, as highlighted by above images and as further discussed at the pre-industrial page.  In February 2016, the temperature was 1.70°C higher than in 1900 (i.e. 1885-1914, the 30-year period centered around the start of 1900)Ignoring peak peril by averaging over long periodsThe map on the right shows that the average global temperature was 1.70°C higher in February 2016 than around 1900 (i.e. 1885-1914). The map also shows local anomalies as high as 15.1°C and even higher peaks were reached on specific days. This raises questions as to how the thresholds set at the Paris Agreement should be measured, i.e. is a threshold deemed to be crossed when the anomaly from pre-industrial crosses the threshold for a month, or for a year, or for a decade? Wouldn't a long period effectively grant polluters a long grace period to keep polluting? When in doubt, wouldn't downplaying the danger violate the precautionary principle?  When building a bridge, an engineer will calculate how much load it can handle by first looking at how many heavy trucks will be using the bridge at times of PEAK traffic, rather than to average the weight of all vehicles on the bridge over a 30-year period. Caption and image by Sam Carana from earlier post.Downplaying the near-term temperature riseThe Paris Agreement calls for politicians to limit the temperature rise to well below 2°C from pre-industrial, while calling upon the IPCC to describe pathways to achieve this. Instead, the IPCC comes up with five scenarios. The only two scenarios for which the rise remains well below 2°C are SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6 (images right).The position of methane is of vital importance in these scenarios. As a requirement for both the SSP1-1.9 and SSP1-2.6 scenarios, methane emissions would need to have fallen since the year 2015. Even for SSP2-4.5, for which 2°C does get crossed, methane emissions would need to fall. So, have methane levels fallen since 2015? According to NOAA, the methane level in the atmosphere was:in 2015: 1834 ppbin 2016: 1843 ppbin 2017: 1850 ppbin 2018: 1857 ppbin 2019: 1866 ppb (the level given by the IPCC)in 2020: 1879 ppbNote also that above NOAA data are for marine surface data. At higher altitudes, even higher levels show up. The image on the right shows that the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean global methane level of 1954 ppb at 293 mb on August 24, 2021, pm.Mind you, the IPCC report does include some frightening images, such as one with CO₂ levels as high as 1200 ppm by 1200, corresponding with a temperature rise of up to 8°C (Figure 4.3) and one with a temperature rise of as much as 17.5°C by 2300 (Figure 4.40). What the IPCC doesn't mention is that at 1200 ppm CO₂e the clouds tipping point would get crossed that results in an additional 8°C temperature rise. With a high rise in methane levels and the GWP for methane calculated over a short horizon, such a huge temperature rise could eventuate within a few years time. The IPCC downplays the methane threat by simply excluding the potential for a high rise in methane levels, while using a 100-year GWP for methane and while also waving away the potential for strong methane releases from oceans to the atmosphere.[ from earlier post ]For a really high methane emissions scenario, the image on the right shows a trend that is based on NOAA 2006-2020 annual global mean marine surface methane data and that points at a mean of 3893 ppb getting crossed by the end of 2026, a level less than twice as high as the recent 1954 ppb mean methane level.Such a high mean methane level by 2026 cannot be ruled out, given the rapid recent growth in mean annual methane levels and with double-digit growth sustained beyond 2020 to date. It is deceptive to assume that methane levels have fallen and will continue to fall, the more so since the IPCC doesn't point at the most effective policies to achieve this.By how much would such a doubling of the methane level raise the total carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) level for greenhouse gases? A methane level of 3893 ppb would translate into 583.95 ppm CO₂e (at a GWP for methane of 150 for a 9-year horizon) or 778.6 ppm CO₂e (at a GWP for methane of 200 for a 5-year horizon). The image below right shows trends based on IPCC AR6 GWP values pointing at a GWP for methane of 150 for a 9-year horizon and points at an even higher GWP for a shorter horizon. A short horizon is quite appropriate given that the above trend points at the possibility of such a high level for methane getting reached by 2026. But even with less methane, when using a short horizon for the GWP of methane and adding the impact by 2026 of further greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, etc.), that would cause the 1200 ppm CO₂e clouds tipping point to get crossed that results in an additional 8°C temperature rise. Given that humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise, and a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth, the IPCC could have given a little more warning that a huge temperature rise may happen over the next few years. Natural variability acts as a catalyst in this case. Within a few years time, sunspots will be reaching the peak of their cycle, and they are looking stronger than forecast. An upcoming El Niño could raise surface temperatures significantly. The image below indicates that the difference between the top of El Niño and the bottom of La Niña could be more than half a degree Celsius. The image on the right indicates that the current La Niña is forecast to end early 2022. As temperatures keep rising, ever more frequent strong El Niño events are likely to occur, as confirmed by a recent study. Authors also confirm concerns that this IPCC report has downplayed the threat that a super El Nino event could occur soon.Another large contribution to the upcoming temperature rise is the falling away of the cooling provided by sulphur that is currently co-emitted by industries such as coal-fired power plants, shipping and smelters. [ from earlier post ]As cleaner alternative become more economic, and as calls for cleaner air become stronger, this could result in a strong temperature rise soon, as discussed at the aerosols page. As illustrated by the bar on the right, there are many further elements that could dramatically push up the temperature soon. Altogether, the rise from pre-industrial could increase to more than 18°C by 2026. Decline of Arctic snow and ice can result in huge albedo losses, loss of latent heat buffer, jet stream changes, more and more extreme weather events, and more. Slowing down of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and increasing ocean stratification can result in less heat getting transferred from the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean, as also described at this page.One of the largest threats is seafloor methane and despite repeated warning from some of the best experts in the field, the IPCC simply waves away this threat. This and other elements in the bar have been discussed in detail in many earlier posts such as this one and on the extinction page. Given these huge threats, how could the IPCC give the impression that there was a “carbon budget” to divide? The IPCC downplays the size, speed and ferocity of the temperature rise in many ways. What motivates the IPCC do this? One reason could be that the IPCC seeks to create the perception that there was such a “carbon budget” left to be divided among polluters, so they could comfortably keep adding further pollution for another decade or more. Sam Carana, restating a 2013 quote:[ from the Quotes page ]“There is no carbon budget to divide between polluters, instead there is just a huge debt of CO₂ to be removed from the atmosphere and the oceans. Comprehensive and effective action must be taken to combat run-away warming.” It should have been obvious by now that there is no “carbon budget”. Instead, there's only a huge and very dangerous carbon debt. There is no room for trade-offs or offsets, and terms such as negative emissions are simply inappropriate. All efforts should be made to cut emissions, including ending current subsidies for fossil fuel and livestock, while carbon could and should additionally be removed from the atmosphere and oceans. And even then, it's questionable whether any species, let alone humans, will be able to survive the coming decade, so additional action will need to be taken as well. Excluding the most appropriate policy tools, while instead advocating polluting pathways  The IPCC creates a perception that pollution could continue for decades to come, by downplaying the temperature rise and by downplaying the threat of a huge rise within years, while promoting the idea that there was a “carbon budget” to be divided among polluters that would enable polluters to keep polluting for decades to come. Again, the IPCC has failed to do what the Paris Agreement calls for, i.e. for the IPCC to specify the pathways that will give the world a better future, specifically the policies that are needed to facilitate a better future.  In the video below, Guy McPherson also discusses the report.  ConclusionsThis IPCC report should be returned to be rewritten, to instead focus on the best policies to facilitate the necessary changes. The scientific evidence in favor of what needs to be done is overwhelming, from all kinds of perspectives, while it's also simply the right thing to do. Most effective are feebates, i.e. imposing fees on polluting products while using the revenues to support rebates on better alternatives, and feebates are especially effective when implemented locally. Studies on the effectiveness of feebates were made available as early as 2005 and feebates have been discussed by the IMF, the OECD and the UN, and have been implemented in various ways, e.g. in the Clean Car Programme in New Zealand. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.  Links • IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways (SR1.5) • Paris Agreement, adopted 2015 • Seasonal origin of the thermal maxima at the Holocene and the last interglacial - by Samantha Bova et al. (2021)• Changing El Niño–Southern Oscillation in a warming climate - by Wenju Cai et al.• IPCC report may have underplayed risk of freak El Nino and La Nina events • IMF: Chapter 1. What Is the Best Policy Instrument for Reducing CO2 Emissions?, in: Fiscal Policy to Mitigate Climate Change - by Ruud de Mooij et al. (2012) • OECD: Are environmental tax policies beneficial? Learning from programme evaluation studies • UN: Policies and Legal Options to Promote the Energy Efficiency of Private Motor Vehicles • Feebates: An effective regulatory instrument for cost-constrained environmental policy - by  Kenneth Johnson • NZ Ministry of Transport: Vehicle Purchase Feebate Scheme• Clean Car Programme in New Zealand• How much warming have humans caused? • A Temperature Rise Of More Than 18 Degrees Celsius By 2026?• Could temperatures keep rising?• Overshoot or Omnicide? • Climate Plan • Pre-industrial  • Feebates• Quotes • Feedbacks • Extinction • Latent Heat• Aerosols  • Can we weather the Danger Zone? • How much warmer is it now? • When will we die?• Most Important Message Ever• Methane levels threaten to skyrocket• Just do NOT tell them the monster exists • 100% clean, renewable energy is cheaper • Negative-CO2-emissions ocean thermal energy conversion • 'Electrogeochemistry' captures carbon, produces fuel, offsets ocean acidification • Olivine weathering to capture CO2 and counter climate change • Biochar group at facebook • IPCC seeks to downplay global warming • Blue Ocean Event • What Does Runaway Warming Look Like? • Ten Dangers of Global Warming • AGU poster, AGU Fall Meeting 2011

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

by Veli Albert Kallio[ image by Peter Carter of Climate Emergency Institute ]We at Sea Research Society's Environmental Affairs Department are very concerned of the melting permafrost terrain and methane clathrate deposits of the Arctic Ocean's sea bed (which are seeding Siberia's air once again with carbon-12). This is because Arctic Ocean's methane clathrates, methane (CH4) & carbon dioxide (CO₂) deposits are thought to be the world's largest reservoir of carbon. When it comes to methane, much of that in the Arctic is a side-product of geochemical processes since the birth of our planet some 4 billion years ago and so it contains ZERO radiocarbon (14C). To these are added the various undersea and land-based deposits of ancient fossil carbon which too have zero or just minute content of carbon-14.We see already the Arctic at a tipping point, reaching a cliff edge to zero carbon-14 presence in tundra's plants emerging over recent years.Above should set off alarm bells to archaeologists so much so that if carbon-14 can now disappear from the observed portfolio of the carbon isotopes in the plants and animals by radiocarbon-dilution effect from both the ancient geo-carbon and also the fossil carbon sources on land and sea bed. One of the key pillars to calibrate not only radiocarbon dating, but other methods as well that have been indirectly calibrated with the help of carbon-14 as their control measurements, is being attacked by the furious Mother Nature. We stand now on an increasingly elastic and shifting sands on this question. And why just now?The answer to this is straightforward: the man-made global warming. So, now recall that the Arctic Ocean's sea level fell between some 120-130 metres from its present-day water table during the Ice Ages as water accumulated within the glaciers on the land - and that depressurisation (in addition to warming) is actually the primary route to destroy methane clathrates as it disintegrates at lower water pressures. The broad rule is therefore that the less water in ocean, the more methane clathrate (methane ice) begins to disintegrate.Methane clathrates (methane ice deposits) as the world's biggest carbon reservoir would have inevitably oozed out copious amounts of carbon-12 into air during the lowering of the Ice Age era ocean water table. At the same time, the ice-filled and cold world oceans were mopping away gases from the air far more intensively than they do today leaving little atmospheric carbon-14 behind in this process. The atmospheric carbon is very rich in radiocarbon if compared to carbon in water courses and oceans - let alone in the ancient soils. This is because carbon-14 forms in atmosphere from nitrogen due to cosmic radiation. As cold liquids hold more gases than warmer liquids, it is not much of hocus pocus for radiocarbon to disappear from the air into these ice-filled and cold oceans teeming with much more marine life than today.Today there are over 27,000 recorded methane craters discovered on the Arctic Ocean's sea bed and many have diameter of 1 km or wider. The largest methane crater found so far is 750 km² in its area and has the lost from its deposit thickness over 300 metres (and all of that is pure carbon-12 that was originally within methane ice, of course).Ethnoclimatology Motion UNGA 101292 which the United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar authorised for tabling on the floor of the UN General Assembly - as the closing plea of the opening proceedings of the first UN Year of Indigenous Peoples - stipulated a faster case history for the Ice Ages period where global warming was initially driven by methane releases from the seabed while carbon dioxide emerged later as the respondent to the warming by high altitude methane. This then tipped the trajectory of the world's constantly cooling climate at the Last Glacial Maximum towards global warming (methane molecule-to-molecule to carbon dioxide molecule is 256 times more powerful in trapping sun's heat). This system tipping point reversed the cooling of the Ice Ages from the earlier snowball-earth runaway global cooling trajectory (which resulted from the continuously advancing snow lines of the Ice Ages that were heading towards the Equator).The last time methane came to "save the earth" from runaway freezing (snowball earth), but at our current situation we have triggered its instability by the unforeseen levels of carbon dioxide now at 420 ppm that forms a very-difficult-to-get-rid-of background climatic forcing. This issue of carbon-12 from the frozen polar regions, called cryosphere, is not just for the archaeological community and about the timing of our historic events in the distant past to be understood more accurately, but it is a real existential threat today for our society. This time methane is not coming to us from the ground as our saviour like it was during the Ice Ages, but it is now our foremost enemy after our man-made releases of carbon dioxide.Carbon dioxide released today lingers in air for 1000 years or even more, although bouncing back-and-forth with surface layers in the oceans, but it is only very gradually disappearing from the air by chemical weathering by the olivine group rocks or soils containing olivine group minerals. Also, very deeply penetrated plant roots lock carbon gradually away as well as the sea plankton if it falls onto the deep ocean bed. It is a grave misconception to think that the plant life is a great natural filter than can sort our mess out. The plants are rather geared to take carbon in as carbon dioxide to only form their leaves, let the autumn come and those same leaves are due to fall onto the ground and turn back into carbon dioxide. Flowers and trees are not any sort of Santa Claus to do that job for us.As carbon's locking away is not at all immediate as shown above but as it can take thousand years or more to do so, so the same principle applied to the huge releases of Palaeolithic methane (which as lighter-than-air gas resides mainly in the upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere). As most of methane has been seen in recent years accumulating at fastest rate at the highest altitudes in the atmosphere - far above the surface - it cannot be very well represented in the ice cores. It simply is neither trapped in the snow crystals very much - and consequently - nor seen in the ice cores (that are basically just taken out of the pack of compacted fallen snow) - as most of methane resides well above the cloud level.This explains why the global warming - which ended the Ice Ages - appears in the ice cores already centuries to thousands of years before the rising concentrations of carbon dioxide is seen in air trapped in the bubbles of the ice cores. Methane oxidizes best to carbon dioxide in warm and moist air, but during the xeric climate conditions of the ice ages and also amplified by the xeric heights in dry stratosphere, methane oxidised back then far slower than it does today. Thus, the huge heating effect of methane melted the ice sheets of the Ice Ages back into the world ocean and as soon as the sea levels rose, methane clathrates got re-pressurised - while the slip-sliding and collapsing ice sheets and ice shelves produced ice bergs and more sea ice to cool both the oceans and the climate. The supply of new methane from ocean beds soon was cut off and in due course also the permafrost releases also began to diminish as climate began to cool due to growing shortage of methane in air. By Holocene Thermal Maximum or Optimum any further global warming had stopped as by then there was little high altitude methane left in upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere. As a consequence of this new tipping point, the atmospheric temperature rise ceased and settled for the Holocene equilibrium and then dropped slightly for the next few thousands of years. The above explains, for example, the radiocarbon-outliers of the earliest Egyptian carbon samples being typically more carbon-14 aged than their actual age. Quite ridiculously, the recent discovery of wood material in relation to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built by Pharaoh Khufu was radiocarbon-dated to 34th century BCE. This is more than eight (8) full centuries before the historically-known date when the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.In fact, the timing of 34 centuries before Common Era is a date that occurred long before even the Egyptian state even existed! Yet, these readings were apparently checked very carefully and cross-checked again. The explanation flirted - which we at SRS are strenuously disputing - is that the Egyptians would have stored the wood for over eight centuries before the put that wood in use to build the Khufu pyramid. This is outrageous stupidity as it is very clear that huge bulk quantities of wood would have been required and which could never have been stored for such a long time before its final use. There simpy weren't even manpower and storage facilities in the 34th century BCE Egypt. Even if the wood would have been first used in the construction of the Sakkara Pyramid, the first pyramid, and then recycled to the Great Pyramid of Giza for re-use, it still would not be sufficiently aged enough to explain the carbon-14 readings obtained as 34th century BCE.The best (or - better to say - only) explanation to the above is the effect of lingering carbon dioxide in the air remaining centuries to over thousands of years after the Palaeolithic releases of geological and fossil carbon from the Arctic permafrost soils and seabed.Our whole economy (along history-keeping too) stands and falls if the Arctic methane and carbon dioxide emissions of carbon-12 continue this way unabated as today. The world needs cooling urgently and far less CO₂ perhaps 350 ppm or less. Of course, there is also the separate environmental issue of Siberia's forest fires this year and last (2020 and 2021) with a forest of the size of France said to have been burnt.Above are serious issues where historic dating of carbon is a minor issue but where the dangers from global warming to human society must remain our supreme concern. A particularly suspicious case to us is the Japanese Palaeolithic as the island sits east of the vast Eurasian landmass and is exposed to winds from north-west that come via Siberia. In particular the Pandora's Box of permafrost carbon-12 is suspect culprit in these comments: "Ground stone and polished tools: The Japanese Palaeolithic is unique in that it incorporates one of the earliest known sets of ground stone and polished stone tools in the world .. The tools, which have been dated to around 30,000 BC, are a technology associated in the rest of the world with the beginning of the Neolithic around 10,000 BC. It is not known why such tools were created so early in Japan. Because of this originality, the Japanese Palaeolithic period in Japan does not exactly match the traditional definition of Palaeolithic based on stone technology (chipped stone tools). Japanese Palaeolithic tool implements thus display Mesolithic and Neolithic traits as early as 30,000 BC." (Wikipedia, Japanese Palaeolithic)The effect of carbon-12 seeding in air - as the westerly winds roll gradually over the terrain of Siberia and Arctic to pick up old carbon on its way to east - is seen to be the greatest in the north-east corner of Siberia (i.e. northern Yakutia) where the plants currently appear sucking in major permafrost inputs of ancient carbon. This would suggest that the northern China would be also quite prone to similar permafrost-based carbon-12 seeding. Then, when one accounts for the blocking effects of the Karakoram and the Himalayan mountain ranges in south and the very limited ability for the air to rise in the thin-air area over the vast Tibetan high plateau, the air is mostly guided towards South-East China that also ought see fairly elevated levels of carbon-12. This creates in my mind a question mark over the Chinese archaeological claim that they created the world's first clay pottery some 10,000-15,000 years before others - the people of the Middle East - let alone, the 'laggards' of Europe.So, is this then another radiocarbon illusion created by the Mother Earth?"A 2012 publication in the Science journal, announced that the earliest pottery yet known anywhere in the world was found at Xianren Cave site dated by radiocarbon to between 20,000 and 19,000 years before present, at the end of the Last Glacial Period. The carbon 14 dating was established by carefully dating surrounding sediments. Many of the pottery fragments had scorch marks, suggesting that the pottery was used for cooking. These early pottery containers were made well before the invention of agriculture (dated to 10,000 to 8,000 BC), by mobile foragers who hunted and gathered their food during the Late Glacial Maximum." (Wikipedia, Xianren Cave)There are other issues than a lack of such old pottery findings in addition to the suggested radiocarbon-dilution effect that archeologists must consider. One reason for not finding pottery, or encountering less of it, would be the mobility and the lack of accumulation of domestic waste in heaps, "tells", as in the Middle East because the people were likely highly nomadic. It might be more practical to use wooden vessels, leather skins and avoid pots by other means like roasting meat over the open fire rather than carrying the relatively bulky clay pots (at least for anything other than for use as a cooking vessel for vegetables, seeds, roots, or herbs). Animals and fish could be roosted on rocks or over the fire as and so the need might be just for an occasional cooking pot. When to the potential mobility is added temporary camping in places away from the rivers and the streams, it is easy to miss out vast majority of pottery left behind on the huge grassland steppes of Central Asia and China.On the other hand, the idea of clay pots could have spread far faster as useful and easy-to-copy practice to bake clay, and the large c-14 dates might be almost entirely carbon artefacts.At British Museum's conference Anthropology, Weather, and Climate Change we presented a poster Looking at the Forward Running Clocks' - Carbon Cycles and Time from Pleistocene to Present outlining some prime candidates that we suspected as fallen for the Arctic geo-carbon and fossil carbon seeding effects (a link attached at the end).The carbon "seeding effects" are not only localised and regional radiocarbon anomalies. There are important anomalies also outside the time scales of these seasonal and regional weather patterns - on a global climate scale. As an indicator of this, there is the already stated anomalous global warming that is seen occurring centuries-to-millennia before the rise of carbon dioxide in air trapped within the ice cores before it is enriched with carbon dioxide. This anomaly (an exceedingly toted argument by the climate change denialists) can be associated with the above said methane leaks from methane clathrates (geo-carbon and fossil carbon) from ocean bed, and methane from permafrost (fossil carbon) at very high altitudes - where the were warming the air well before carbon dioxide arrived to the scene. This carbon sourcing would have seeded also the entire overall global air mass to at least some extent with this extra carbon-12 - though somewhat less than the northern anomalies to create also a somewhat skewed background comparisons level (less "aged" than the higher permafrost emissions seen nearer their Arctic sources) but also radiocarbon-diluted.In all this, remember, it only takes a doubling of carbon-12 in the air to add one half-life (5,730 years) to the measured radiocarbon age. If you reduce it to a quarter, that is already in the range of over 10,000 years - and it is in these ranges or even more than that - these gigantic Arctic carbon stores painted our ancient biological bodies with extra carbon-12.We have devised some unique experiments that can fully differentiate any carbon from the above Arctic sources from the naturally occurring portfolio of the carbon isotopes.I just got the latest methane blobs reported 02:30 am today. These images are far from good although they do not create such a television theatre or environmental porn like the forest fires, floods and hurricanes do. Yesterday's readings are "our canary in a coal mine" to show how badly methane and carbon dioxide are now streaming out from the Arctic permafrost soils and seabeds. Our past trust has been to be over-relying on plain or slightly tinkered readings how to interpret radiocarbon. This will be gone as this is how carbon-12 now enters our biological materials from Northern Asia with its culprit caught red handed.The revised radiocarbon-oriented vocabulary on the Arctic carbon-12 emissions are: Ice Ages' Last Glacial Maximum (= Sea-Level Drop Maximum) until Holocene Thermal Maximum/Optimum (= Permafrost Melting Maximum). The past ancient methane "blobs" were in a vastly larger scales than those seen here today. As I said above, carbon dioxide concentrations could not get over 180 ppm during the Ice Ages due to the cold and iceberg and sea ice filled oceans dissolving gases from atmosphere far faster than today whilst the carbon-12 taps of lowered seabeds and then melting permafrost remained highly venting. This suppressed atmospheric carbon-14 manifestation for a very long time. Situation on graphics on Tuesday, 3 August 2021; received Wednesday, 4th August 2021 at 02:30 GMT.Our research of ethnoclimatological records show consistent records in Sumer, India, East Asia, and Mesoamerica that the ethnic time-keeping is consistently pointing towards faster causative, duration and termination history for the Ice Ages and as per UNGA 101292. This is also at the core of my 2023 moon expedition bid to raise alarm on above dangers from the Moon to get the First Nations of Americas ethnohistorical climate recollections taken more seriously and to establish Ethnoclimatology as a new branch of science akin to Ethnobotany.By Veli Albert Kallio, FRGS | Vice-President, Sea Research Society | Ethnoclimatologist• United Nations General Assembly Motion 101292 for UNFCCC's Talanoa Dialogue• 'Looking At The Forward Running Clocks' - Carbon Cycles and Time From Pleistocene to Present Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, FRS, is fully behind me on my moon flight bid to raise alarm bells on above problem. I hope a positive outcome by the end of this month to be included in the moon flight crew.• Moon Flight Crew Interview of Veli Albert Kallio (Step 3) for SpaceX 2023 Lunar Mission

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

 As climate change strikes with ever greater ferocity, five henchmen dominate the news: Storm, Flood, Heat, Smoke and Fire.During the first 6 months of 2021, there have been 8 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events across the United States. The U.S. has sustained 298 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2020). The total cost of these 298 events exceeds $1.975 trillion. The total cost over the last 5 complete years (2016-2020) exceeds $630.0 billion — averaging more than $125.0 billion/year — both new records.The image on the right shows very high temperatures over North America end July 2021, with fire radiative power as high as 247.3 MW.The NASA Worldview satellite image below shows large smoke plumes on July 7, 2021, reaching Hudson Bay. Furthermore, large smoke plumes are also visible over British Columbia.The NASA Worldview satellite image below shows smoke traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast of the U.S. on July 26, 2021.The Copernicus image on the right shows Siberian fires spreading aerosols over the Arctic Ocean on August 2, 2021 The NASA Worldview satellite image underneath on the right shows fires (red dots) in Siberia spreading smoke over the Arctic Ocean on August 2, 2021. Mainstream media do cover such disasters, often with sensational footage and while pointing at the extensive damage and loss of life caused by such events. However, mainstream media rarely point out that climate change is getting worse and and even more so due to feedbacks that can amplify extreme weather events and can further speed up how climate change unfolds.One of these feedbacks is albedo loss, i.e. decline of the snow and ice cover resulting in less sunlight getting reflected back into space. As the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator narrows, the wind flowing north on the Northern Hemisphere slows down, which changes the Jet Stream, resulting in more extreme weather events, including heatwaves and fires. [ from the feedbacks page ]Fires also come with soot that can settle on snow and ice, resulting in surface darkening that will speed up melting and albedo loss. One of the most dangerous feedbacks is that, as temperatures in the Arctic rise at accelerating speed, this will destabilize sediments under the Arctic Ocean where huge amounts of methane are stored, threatening to cause huge quantities of methane to erupt the atmosphere, as discussed in many earlier posts such as this one. This threat becomes dramatically larger as the latent heat threshold gets crossed and the buffer constituted by Arctic sea ice disappears, so further heat entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean can no longer be consumed in the process of melting the subsurface sea ice. Ominously, the MetOp-2 satellite recorded methane levels as high as 2839 ppb at 469 mb on July 30, 2021 pm, as the image on the right shows.The image underneath shows how methane levels over the Arctic Ocean at 293 mb on August 1, 2021 pm, while a mean global methane level of 1940 ppb was recorded. This global mean methane level of 1940 ppb translates - at a 1-year Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 200 - into 388 ppm CO₂e, i.e. almost as high as the mean global carbon dioxide level is at the moment. A GWP of 200 for methane is appropriate in the light of the danger of a huge burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which would, due to the abrupt nature of such an eruption, make its impact felt instantaneously. Methane levels are already very high over the Arctic, so additional methane erupting there will be felt most strongly in the Arctic itself, thus threatening to trigger even further methane releases. The situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.Links• NOAA Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series• NASA Worldview• Copernicus - aerosols• MetOp methane levels• Jet Stream• Feedbacks• Heatwaves and the danger of the Arctic Ocean heating up• More Extreme Weather• Most Important Message Ever• Confirm Methane's Importance• Climate Plan

The Anglophone Dilemma in the Environmental Humanities

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

Why Ecocriticism Needs the Social Sciences (and Vice Versa)

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

Arctic sea ice disappearing fast

Above image, from the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan, shows Arctic sea ice extent at a record low for the time of year, on July 4, 2021, at 8.4 million km². Subsequently, the NSIDC also indicated that Arctic sea ice was at record low extent for the time of year, on July 5, 2021, at 8.867 million km² (image above). Arctic sea ice is getting very thin rapidly, threatening the latent heat tipping point to get crossed soon.      The U.S. Navy animation on the right shows Arctic sea ice thickness (in m) for the 30 days up to July 4, 2021, with eight days of forecasts included. This situation is the more remarkable given that we're in a La Niña period, as illustrated by the NOAA image on the right showing a forecast issued July 5, 2021, and indicating that La Niña is expected to reach a new low by the end of 2021. El Niño events, according to NASA, occur roughly every two to seven years. As temperatures keep rising, ever more frequent strong El Niño events are likely to occur. NOAA anticipates the current La Niña to continue for a while, so it's likely that a strong El Niño will occur between 2023 and 2025.Sunspots are rising. We're currently at a low point in the sunspot cycle. As the image on the right shows, the number of sunspots can be expected to rise as we head toward 2026, and temperatures can be expected to rise accordingly. According to James Hansen et al., the variation of solar irradiance from solar minimum to solar maximum is of the order of 0.25 W/m⁻².Links National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) in Japan The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder NOAA ENSO Evolution Naval Research Laboratory of the U.S. Navy

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

On July 1, 2021 pm, the MetOp-1 satellite recorded a mean methane level of 1935 ppb at 293 mb.[ from earlier post ]This mean methane level translates into 387 ppm CO₂e at a 1-year Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 200. This GWP is appropriate in the light of the danger of a huge burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which would, due to the abrupt nature of such an eruption, make its impact felt instantaneously. Carbon dioxide on July 1, 2021, was 418.33 ppm, as illustrated by the NOAA image below. Together, this CO₂e level of methane and this carbon dioxide level add up to 805.33 ppm CO₂e, which is 394.67 ppm CO₂e away from the 1200 ppm clouds tipping point which on its own could increase the temperature rise by a further 8°C, as discussed in an earlier post.This 394.67 ppm CO₂e, again at a 1-year GWP of 200, translates into 1973 ppb of methane. In other words, a methane burst of 1973 ppb or about 5 Gt of methane would suffice to trigger the clouds feedback, adding a further 8°C to the temperature rise, as depicted in the image below. A 5 Gt seafloor methane burst would double methane in the atmosphere and could instantly raise the CO₂e level to 1200 ppm and trigger the clouds feedback (top right panel of above chart). Even with far less methane, levels of further pollutants could rise within years and feedbacks could start kicking in with much greater ferocity, while the resulting extreme weather events would cause sulfate cooling to end, and as a result an 18.44°C temperature rise could occur as early as by 2026 (left panel of above chart). Meanwhile, humans will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise while a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth. As the bottom figure in the bar on the left of above chart shows and as discussed in an earlier post, the temperature rise from pre-industrial to 2020 may well be as large as 2.29°C. Meanwhile, the IPCC plans to release its next report, the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), on August 9, 2021, in the lead up to the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, from October 31 to November 12, 2021 in Glasgow, UK. Given their track record, the IPCC and politicians will probably refuse to consider the above information. The situation is dire and calls for more immediate, more comprehensive and more effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.Links • Climate Plan• Could temperatures keep rising?• Confirm Methane's Importance• When Will We Die? • Possible climate transitions from breakup of stratocumulus decks under greenhouse warming - by Tapio Schneider et al. • Most Important Message Ever• Heatwaves and the danger of the Arctic Ocean heating up

Heatwaves and the danger of the Arctic Ocean heating up

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

The Great Blasket Island, Storytelling, and the Environment

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

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.

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


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