Planet News !

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

Accelerating global warming and amplifying feedbacks: The imperative of CO₂ drawdown

by Andrew GliksonSatellite measurements indicate that 2021 was one of the warmest years on record, with the past seven years being the hottest period recorded globally (Met Office, January 10, 2022). Attempts at global emission reductions, lowered in part due to COVID-19 economic slow-down, appear to have little effect on atmospheric CO₂ rise, as indicated by the current rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide to record high levels of 420 ppm despite reduced emissions in 2020-2021 (Figures 1 and 2).Figure 1. A. Mean global CO₂ levels from 800,000 years to the present (NASA).        B. Mean global temperature rise from 1850 to 2021 (Berkeley Earth).As stated by CarbonBrief: “The year so far has been one of extremes, featuring record-shattering heatwaves, wildfires and flooding, as well as the warmest-ever northern-hemisphere summer – June, July and August – in the global land-surface record.”Whereas climate negotiations mostly focus on possible reductions in emissions, the cumulative buildup of greenhouse gases is determining the future of the terrestrial climate. According to NASA “Once it’s (CO₂) added to the atmosphere, it hangs around, for a long time: between 300 to 1,000 years". Other estimates are much longer. Because of the longevity of CO₂ and other greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, a decrease in carbon emissions, while essential, is not sufficient to reduce CO₂ levels in the atmosphere in time.According to the IPCC “about 50% of a CO₂ increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years”. According to the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) “Atmospheric lifetime: 50-200 years. No single lifetime can be defined for CO₂ because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes”. According to Solomon et al. (2009) and Eby et al. (2009) high levels of CO₂ on the scale of 10² to 10³ ppm would persist for millennia. Global emission reductions, decreased in part due to COVID-19 economic slow-down, have little effect on the atmospheric CO₂ level, as indicated by the current trend of atmospheric carbon dioxide, at record high levels despite reduced emissions in 2020 (Figure 2). This suggests to a significant extent the current rise in atmospheric CO₂ arises from amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean. Figure 2. A. Observed and forecast monthly and annual CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa. Observations from the Scripps CO2 program, forecasts from Met Office. Credit: Met Office. B. Measured and forecast monthly CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. Black line: measurements by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Solid red line with vertical uncertainty bars: forecast by the Met Office, including the revised forecast for 2020 issued in May 2020 accounting for reduced global emissions due to societal responses to Covid-19. The forecast uncertainty estimate is ± 0.6 ppm. Dotted red line: original Met Office forecast for 2020 issued in January 2020, not accounting for Covid-related emissions reductions. Horizontal dashed blue line: 417 ppm, a 50% increase above 278 ppm, the level in 1750-1800 from ice core records. All taking place notwithstanding hollow promises made at COP26, a meeting noted for the near-absence of contributions by climate scientists.In trying to avoid an exponential rise in greenhouse gases toward catastrophic levels, one option exists, namely urgent attempts at drawing down at least part of the CO₂ concentration of the atmosphere. The $trillions of dollars required, constituting the “Price of the Earth”, may not exceed the $trillion dollars military expenses spent by the world over the last 70 years, including nuclear missile fleets which constitute a separate threat for life on Earth, as warned by Albert Einstein: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe”.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 Evolutionhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttps://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 Australiahttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinctionhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030754679

Terrifying Arctic greenhouse gas levels continue

Very high greenhouse gas levels continue to show up over the Arctic. The image below, created with a Copernicus forecast for January 4, 2022, 03 UTC, shows methane at 500 hPa (equivalent to 500 mb). Very high methane levels continue to be recorded at Barrow, Alaska, as illustrated by the image below, showing monthly averages. And carbon dioxide levels also continue to be very high at Barrow, Alaska, as illustrated by the image below, showing daily averages. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan. Links • CAMS, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/charts/cams • Carbon Cycle Gases, NOAA, Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, United States https://gml.noaa.gov/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=BRW• Climate Plan https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

Terrifying Arctic methane levels

A peak methane level of 3026 ppb was recorded by the MetOp-B satellite at 469 mb on December 11, 2021 am.This follows a peak methane level of 3644 ppb recorded by the MetOp-B satellite at 367 mb on November 21, 2021, pm.A peak methane level of 2716 ppb was recorded by the MetOp-B satellite at 586 mb on December 11, 2021, pm, as above image shows. This image is possibly even more terrifying than the image at the top, as above image shows that at 586 mb, i.e. much closer to sea level, almost all methane shows up over sea, rather than over land, supporting the possibility of large methane eruptions from the seafloor, especially in the Arctic. Also, the image was recorded later than the image at the top with the 3026 ppb peak, indicating that even more methane may be on the way. This appears to be confirmed by the Copernicus forecast for December 12, 2021, 03 UTC, as illustrated by the image below, which shows methane at 500 hPa (equivalent to 500 mb). Furthermore, very high methane levels have recently shown up over Barrow, Alaka, as illustrated by the image below. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.Links• NOAA Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) Sounding Products https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/soundings/iasi• CAMS, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Servicehttps://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/charts/cams• Carbon Cycle Gases, NOAA, Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, United States https://gml.noaa.gov/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=BRW • Climate Planhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

A Climate of Betrayal

5.9 $trillion spent by governments on fossil fuel subsidies in 2020by Andrew GliksonAs indicated by the International Monetary fund, greenhouse gas emissions are funded world-wide by government subsidies totaling $5.9 trillion in 2020, about 6.8% global GDP, expected to rise to 7.4% of GDP in 2025, or $11million a minute. In the view of some scientists fuel subsidies are ‘adding fuel to the fire of the climate crisis’.Hollow words by dignitaries at COP-out-26 may have led many to believe “leaders” are serious when they raise the alarm of “one minute to midnight”, while at the same time allowing the development of new oil, gas and coal mines enhancing the accelerating trend toward an inhabitability of large parts of the planet. The consequences of the continued transfer of extractable carbon to the atmosphere and oceans were summed up by James Hansen, the renowned climate scientist: “Burning all fossil fuels would create a very 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” and “this equates 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year”. James Hansen et al. 2012 and James Hansen 2012. According to Climate 202 (6/12/2021) the Biden administration has approved more oil and gas drilling permits on public lands per month than the Trump administration did during the first three years of the Trump presidency.In Europe, the year 2020 was supposed to be when the European Union would launch its ambitious plan to tackle the climate crisis, so why does Europe sabotage its own climate goals by subsidizing the fossil sector by more than €137 billion per year? (Figure 1) Figure 1. Fossil fuel subsidies (in €) per capita in Europe (from Investigate Europe)Banks continue to finance fossil fuels while signing up to net zero pledges (Nov 2021). The nations that make up the G7 have pumped billions of dollars more into fossil fuels than they have into clean energy since the Covid-19 pandemic, despite their promises of a green recovery. As the UK prepares to host the G7 summit, new analysis reveals that the countries attending committed $189bn to support oil, coal and gas between January 2020 and March 2021. By comparison the same countries, the UK, US, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and Japan, spent $147bn on clean energy. In Australia business as usual continued, where fossil fuel subsidies reached $10.3 billion in 2020-21. Fossil fuel subsidies cost Australians a staggering $10.3 billion in 2020-21. Plans are made for a huge Beetaloo gas field in the Northern Territory. The Galilee coal project is proceeding and the Adani coal project gets ready to ship coal. Coal and gas works, if approved, would result in a nearly 30% increase in emissions within Australia.Who or what would save nature and humanity from the accelerating destruction of the livable Earth atmosphere and oceans (Figure 2)? Figure 2. The accelerating destruction of the livable Earth atmosphere and oceans (after Wil Steffen, 2012)

Planetwide Ecocide – The Crime Against Life on Earth

by Andrew Glikson“We are simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.”Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s former chief climate scientist (2009)“Burning all fossil fuels would create a very 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” and “this equates 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year” . James Hansen et al. 2012 and James Hansen 2012. Figure 1. The change in state of the planetary climate since the onset of the industrial age in the 18ᵗʰ century.During its last 600 million years-long history planet Earth suffered at least five major mass extinctions, defining the ends of several eras of the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Jurassic and Cretaceous, triggered by extra-terrestrial impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, methane release or ocean anoxia. Each of these events included the release of greenhouse gases, inducing changes in atmospheric composition and temperature (Figures 1, 2 and 3). Excepting the role of methanogenic bacteria in releasing methane, the anthropogenic mass extinction constitutes an exception: For the first time in its history the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere are disrupted by a living organism, namely the activity of a carbon-emitting biped mammal species.Fig 2. Temperature trends for the past 65 Ma and potential geo-historical analogs for future climates (Burke et al. (2018)In the wake of the Pliocene (2.6-5.3 Ma-ago), with temperatures in the range of (+2°C to 3°C above pre-industrial levels) and sea levels (+25 meters) higher than at present, the development of glacial-interglacial conditions saw the appearance of Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens. Between about 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, the stabilization of the climate in the Holocene saw Neolithic agricultural civilization take hold. Anthropogenic processes during this period, denoted as the Anthropocoene (Steffen et al., 2007), led to deforestation and the demise of species, ever increasing carbon pollution of the atmosphere, temperature rise (Figures 1 and 2), acidification, radioactive contamination and a growing threat to the Earth’s life support systems. Planetwide ecocide results from anthropogenic emissions into the atmosphere, raising the combined forcing of greenhouse gases (CO₂ + CH₄ + N₂O, etc.) to levels over 500 ppm CO₂-equivalent, (Figure 3), almost doubling the pre-industrial CO₂ level of ~280 ppm, and corresponding to a rise of +3°C per doubling of CO₂ levels. The consequence of extraction and combustion of the buried products of ancient biospheres, threatens to return Earth to conditions which preceded the emergence of large mammals on land. Figure 3. Pre-1978 changes in the CO₂-equivalent abundance and AGGI (Annual Greenhouse Gas Index). NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory The sharp glacial-interglacial oscillations of the Pleistocene (2.6 million to 10,000 years ago), with rapid mean global temperature changes of up to 5°C over a few millennia and abrupt stadials cooling events over a few years (Steffensen et al., 2008), required humans to develop an extreme adaptability, in particular mastering fire, a faculty no other species, perhaps with the exception of fire birds. Proceeding to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum, split the atom and travel to other planets, a cultural evolution overtaking biological evolution, the power of sapiens appears to have gone out of control. Humans have developed an absurd capacity to simultaneously create and destroy, culminating with the destruction of environments that allowed them to flourish in the first place. Possessed by a conscious fear of death and a craving for god-like immortality, there is no murderous obscenity some were not willing to perform, including the transfer of every accessible carbon molecule to the atmosphere. Based on direct observations and the basic laws of physics, the life support systems of the biosphere are threatened by the rise of greenhouse gases and temperature by an average of more than 1.14°C since 1880, currently tracking toward 2°C. These values take little account of the masking effects of the transient mitigating effects of sulphate aerosols in the range of −0.3 to −1.8 Wm−2, pushing mean global temperature to >1.5°C. Following the current acceleration (Figure 3), mean temperature could reach 2°C by 2030, 3°C by the 2050s and 4°C by 2100, inducing heat waves and major fires. Figure 4. Jet Stream, summer, 1988, NASA. Increased undulation of the Arctic boundary zone, allowing penetration of cold air masses southward and warm air masses northward;Overall warming of large ocean regions, reaching ~700 meter deep levels, reduces the ocean’s ability to absorb CO₂ while much of the gas is trapped in the atmosphere. As ocean heat contents rise oxygen is depleted and methane and hydrogen sulphide poisonous for marine life are produced. Models projecting global warming as a linear trajectory, outlined by the IPCC, take limited account of amplifying feedbacks and transient stadial cooling effects from the flow of ice melt water into near-polar oceans. As the circum-Arctic jet stream undulates and weakens (Figure 4), polar-ward shifts of climate zones (Figure 5) allow penetration of warm air masses into the Arctic, manifested by heat waves and fires. Conversely, injection of cold air masses from the Arctic into mid-latitudes ensues in freezing fronts producing violent snow storms, the so-called “Beast from the East”. Figure 5. The migration of the Sahara arid climate zone northward into southern Europe. Note the drying up of Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey and the increased in precipitation in Northern Europe.As stated by Baronsky et al. (2013) in the paper “Approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere”: “Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence’’ and “Climates found at present on 10–48 % of the planet are projected to disappear within a century, and climates that contemporary organisms have never experienced are likely to cover 12–39 % of Earth. The mean global temperature by 2070 (or possibly a few decades earlier) will be higher than it has been since the human species evolved’’. Figure 6 outlines critical habitats and species involved in the transition.Figure 6. Summary of major biodiversity-related environmental-change categories expressed as a percentage of human-driven change (in red) relative to baseline (blue); Corey J. A. Bradshaw; Paul R. Ehrlich; Andrew Beattie; et al. (13 January 2021). https://www.frontiersin.org/files/Articles/615419/fcosc-01-615419-HTML-r1/image_m/fcosc-01-615419-g001.jpg - “Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future”, in Frontiers in Conservation Science, volume 1, 13 January 2021. Red indicates the percentage of the category that is damaged, lost, or otherwise affected, whereas blue indicates the percentage that is intact, remaining, or otherwise unaffected.  As $trillions are invested in future wars, who or what will defend life on Earth?

Planetary Extinction due to Arctic Atmospheric Methane Veil

 by Malcolm LightBelow is Malcolm Light's Arctic methane growth diagram, updated in line with recent mean atmospheric methane concentrations and temperature data. [ click on images to enlarge ]NOAA mean globally-averaged marine surface data show high increases in methane levels recently, which were used to generate the trends and curves to the year 2030 in above image.[ from earlier post ]NASA temperature data as adjusted by Sam Carana on the right show the potential for a mean temperature anomaly from pre-industrial of 3°C anomaly to occur late in 2022 (blue trend). By extension, a 4°C anomaly could occur in late 2023 and a 5°C anomaly in late 2024. Above data was used to determine a trend line for exponentially increasing atmospheric methane increase, as well as where along the trend lines the surface atmospheric temperature anomalies would occur.A surface atmospheric temperature anomaly of 10°C was recorded in France in the summer of 2020 (Copernicus 2020) with the overlying methane global veil giving a concentration of 2008 ppb. In this case the Global Warming is only partly caused by the methane (about 85.5%) and the rest by the concentration of other greenhouse gases.It seems that we only have a very short time left until total Planetary Extinction due to the Arctic Atmospheric Methane Global Warming Veil. It is now clear that we do not have time to extract the methane from the subsea Arctic methane reserves, because we are so close to total extinction in 3 years.The blue color on the map on the right 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; Area 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).In addition, huge amounts of methane are contained in sediments at the bottom of the shallow parts of the Arctic Ocean, in particular the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). Dr. Natalia Shakova warned in 2008 that some 50Gt of carbon in the form of methane can be released at any moment from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf alone, because of the high temperature of the invading Atlantic (Gulf Stream) waters. This threatens to cause a 10°C surface atmospheric temperature increase leading to Global Extinction. The cataclysmic weather events occurring worldwide including giant droughts and city-destroying fires, floods and summer and winter storm systems have already devastated Canada and the United States.From the sharp increase in catastrophic weather events, it is obvious that ‘Mother Earth’ has correctly identified the North American continent as the source of its gigantic pollution problems. Extreme Fossil Fuel pollution from the United States and Canada has previously heated up the Gulf Stream which flows north into the Arctic Ocean as the Svalbard current, where it is now destabilizing the shelf methane hydrates in the Laptev Sea and on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. The image below illustrates that huge amounts of heat are entering the Arctic Ocean, driven by ocean currents and temperature differences. [ from earlier post ]Links • NOAA - Trends in Atmospheric Methanehttps://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends_ch4/• Human Extinction by 2022?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/11/human-extinction-by-2022.html• Arctic Ocean invaded by hot, salty waterhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/05/arctic-ocean-invaded-by-hot-salty-water.html• 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• Anomalies 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) https://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2008/01526/EGU2008-A-01526.pdf• Will humans be extinct by 2026? - An exploration of the potential, by Sam Caranahttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html• WARNING - Planetary Omnicide between 2023 and 2031 - by Malcolm Lighthttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/02/warning-planetary-omnicide-between-2023-and-2031.html

Human Extinction by 2022?

The NASA image below shows the October 2021 temperature anomaly. The Arctic is heating up enormously, with anomalies showing up of up to 9.1°C. The image below shows that the global temperature over the past century, i.e. from 1920 to 2020, has risen by 1.3°C. The image shows anomalies from 1900-1920. When adjusting data to reflect a pre-industrial base, ocean air (2m) temperatures and higher polar anomalies, temperatures may have crossed 2°C long ago. The image below shows two trends, based on NASA 1880-October 2021 data, adjusted to reflect a pre-industrial base, ocean air (2m) temperatures and higher polar anomalies. The linear trend (green) misses the point that the temperature rise is accelerating. The polynomial trend (black) shows the potential for 3°C to be crossed by 2026. Acceleration of the temperature rise may speed up further soon, for a number of reasons: Aerosols: As cleaner alternatives become more economic, and as calls for cleaner air become stronger, this could result in a strong temperature rise soon, as sulfate cooling falls away and more black carbon may result from more wood burning and forest fires, as discussed at the aerosols page. Sunspots: Within a few years time, sunspots will be reaching the peak of their cycle, and they are looking stronger than forecast, as illustrated by the image on the right showing sunspots up to October 2021. ENSO: An upcoming El Niño could raise surface temperatures significantly. The image on the right shows that the current La Niña is forecast to end in 2022 and move toward a new El Niño. As the temperature keeps 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. 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 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. As the image at the top shows, the Arctic is heating up enormously, with anomalies showing up of up to 9.1°C. 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. The image below shows three trends, i.e. the same black polynomial and green linear trends, based on NASA 1880-October 2021 data, and a blue polynomial trend based on 2015-October 2021 data. Data are again adjusted to reflect a pre-industrial base, ocean air (2m) temperatures and higher polar anomalies. The blue trend better reflects short-term climate forcing such as  aerosols, sunspots and an upcoming El Niño, as  discussed above. The blue polynomial trend shows the potential for 3°C to be crossed by the end of 2022. Given that humans may go extinct with a 3°C rise, and a 5°C rise will likely end most life on Earth, the COP26 summit in Glasgow could have acted more decidedly. The situation is dire and calls for the most comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan. Links• NASA Temperature Analysishttps://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/• Changing El Niño–Southern Oscillation in a warming climate - by Wenju Cai et al. https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-021-00199-z• IPCC report may have underplayed risk of freak El Nino and La Nina events https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ipcc-report-may-have-underplayed-risk-of-freak-el-ninos-and-la-ninas-20210820-p58klm.html• How much warming have humans caused?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html• A Temperature Rise Of More Than 18 Degrees Celsius By 2026?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/07/a-temperature-rise-of-more-than-18-degrees-celsius-by-2026.html• Could temperatures keep rising?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/06/could-temperatures-keep-rising.html• Overshoot or Omnicide?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/03/overshoot-or-omnicide.html• Will COP26 in Glasgow deliver?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/10/will-cop26-in-glasgow-deliver.html • Climate Planhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html • Pre-industrialhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/pre-industrial.html • Feebateshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feebates.html • Quoteshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/quotes.html • Feedbackshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html • Extinctionhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html • Latent Heathttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html • Aerosolshttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/aerosols.html • Is the IPCC creating false perceptions, again?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2021/08/is-the-ipcc-creating-false-perceptions-again.html • Can we weather the Danger Zone?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/07/can-we-weather-the-danger-zone.html • How much warmer is it now?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/04/how-much-warmer-is-it-now.html • When will we die?https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html • Most Important Message Everhttps://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/07/most-important-message-ever.html

The road to zero emissions is strewn with “alternative facts”

by Andrew GliksonOnce again, the hopes of billions have been raised, only to be dashed, this time by the cruel joke of COP26, the reality being that “By 2030, governments are planning to extract 110% more fossil fuels than their Paris Agreement pledge to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would permit”. Misrepresentations abound:The United Nations upper global temperature target of 1.5°C takes no account of the fact that, without the transient short-lived aerosols effect of over 0.5 to 1.0 Watt/m⁻², the mean global heating is nearing ~2.0°C. It is the cumulative concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which controls temperatures, triggering feedbacks from land and oceans, and which has reached a high level of combined CO₂+CH₄+N₂O of >500 ppm CO₂-equivalent. Only sequestration / drawdown from this level may be able to lower terrestrial temperatures. Polar temperature changes are critical: The Arctic temperature anomaly reached 3°C above 1981-2010 in 2016 and the increasing similarity between polar and northern latitude temperatures leads to weakening of the jet stream boundary effect, allowing cold and warm air masses to cross the boundary. The tropical climate zone is expanding and Mediterranean climate zone, where much of the world’s crops are grown, is shrinking and shifting toward the poles. As the polar ice sheets are melting sea levels are rising, initially on the scale of inches and subsequently toward as equilibrium with Pliocene-like temperatures equivalent to a sea level rise of ~25 meters, flooding extensive coastal zones and delta where billions live and grow food. The development of hydrocarbon reserves is proceeding unabated (Figures 1 and 2). Since the Paris agreement in 2015, the world’s 60 largest banks have poured $3.8 trillion into fossil fuel companies. In the US, auctioning has begun of drilling rights in Alaskan waters and the Gulf of Mexico. In the UK, whose PM is talking about one minute to midnight, 113 new licenses are offered to explore offshore reserves. Germany is developing new coal deposits. Australia, accounting for about 29% of traded coal globally in 2016, has become the world’s largest coal exporter and near-largest natural gas (LNG) exporter, currently representing around 3.6% of global emissions. Huge LNG projects were planned in 2020 in Alaska ($43 billion), Mozambique ($33 billion), Kuwait ($16 billion), Nigeria ($11 billion), Australia ($11 billion), Russia ($10.8 billion, pipeline), Louisiana ($10.8 billion), Greece ($5.5 billion, pipeline) and elsewhere. According to NES FIRCROFT “In terms of new projects, however, the outlook is wide open. According to sector research firm Rystad Energy, around 250 new Oil & Gas projects are likely to be sanctioned for development in 2020 - up from 160 in 2016. The number of floating production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs) is due to increase with as many as 28 currently on order or under construction, while around 4,000 km of subsea oil and gas flowlines are due for installation this year.” In India forecasts for 2024-2025 include utilization of energy supplies of 50% coal, 25% oil, 20% gas, 3% nuclear and 2% hydro. Figure 1. EIA projects nearly 50% increase in world energy use by 2050, with no decline in fossil fuel use A 2014 analysis by Katherine Keil concluded that fossil fuels like they exist in the Arctic are expected to continue supplying much of the energy used worldwide.Given that future emissions and temperatures may exceed what current policies would lead to (Figure 2. below), growth in the use of fossil fuels combined with the lack of effective methods of reducing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can only have catastrophic consequences. This means that unless civilization moves to a war-like footing, such as in pre-world war II, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors and to sequester greenhouse gas levels, large parts of the Earth may become uninhabitable. So much for the term “security” repeated through corporate reports. Figure 2. Climate Action Tracker Thermometer (Nov. 2021 update) It is the children, led by an 18 years-old girl, who appear to have the perspective on what will determine the future of humanity and nature. 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 Evolutionhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttps://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 Australiahttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinctionhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030754679

The exclusion of climate science from COP meetings

 by Andrew GliksonThere can be little doubt that, had the US, China and Russia been on the same page, an advanced agreement was likely to be reached at COP26, but since it is not, the collapse can be laid at the feet of human tribalism and eternal conflict since the dawn of civilization, ultimately leading to a mass extinction of species.Climate scientists have practically been excluded from COP meetings, dominated as they are by economists, lawyers and politicians. To date no address has been made by leading climate scientists, including authorities such as James Hansen, Michael Mann, Joachim Schellnhuber, Will Steffen and other, leaving delegates and populations unaware of the ultimate consequences of global climate devastation.With the exception of David Attenborough and references to “one minute to mid-night”, the science-based projections of global heating have only received faint echoes among the assembly of warring tribes at COP-26, dominated by nationalism, vested interests and sheer ignorance of the current trend, which can only culminate in the end of civilization.The futility of making political decisions regarding future carbon emissions while continuing to grow fossil fuel industries is manifest (Figure 1). Figure 1. Global CO₂ emissions by fuel (Global Carbon Project)The lessons from climate science indicate:While politicians talk about a 1.5°C target, the mean global temperature has already exceeded this level and likely approaches 2°C when the transient short-term masking effects of aerosols are accounted for. Thus Hansen and Sato (2012) estimate aerosol to lower global temperatures by between -1.0°C and -1.2°C, which implies the real mean global temperatures are close to +2°C above pre-industrial level. By contrast, references to the NASA’s ~1.02°C warming can be compared to a measurement of a patient’s body temperature only after they take a dose of aspirin. Furthermore, this NASA's anomaly is measured from 1951-1980, whereas the Paris Agreement calls for a pre-industrial base.Whereas the critical need for emissions reduction is central to climate negotiations, the effects of cumulative concentration of GHG in the atmosphere (CO₂ + equivalent CH₄, N₂O, etc), which trigger amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean, remains hardly tackled. The current CO₂-equivalent level of >500 ppm (Figure 2), which is near X1.8 times the pre-industrial level of ~280 ppm CO₂, is generating amplifying feedbacks. According to a climate sensitivity estimate of 3 ± 1.5°C per doubling of CO₂ the equilibrium rise in temperature could be approaching +3°C.The role of amplifying GHG feedbacks from land and oceans, leading to enhanced heating, appears to be neglected in climate talks, including:- A decline in the polar albedo (reflection) due to large-scale lateral and vertical melting of ice;- Reduced CO₂ intake by warming oceans. Currently the oceans absorb between 35-42% of all CO₂ and around 90% of the excess heat;- Warming, desiccation, deforestation and fires over land areas;- Release of methane from melting permafrost and from polar sediments;- An increase in evaporation, particularly in arid zones, raising atmospheric vapor levels, which enhances the greenhouse gas effect.IPCC-based climate trends are mostly linear, yielding an impression that overshooting of the warming trend is capable of being reversed within acceptable time scales, projections which neglect the likelihood of tipping points of no return. The time scales for attempts to cool the atmosphere may exceed the longevity of civilization. The weakening of the Arctic jet stream, allowing air and water masses of contrasted temperatures to cross the Arctic boundary, leads to disruptions such as the freezing “beast from the east” fronts that hit North America and Europe and Arctic wildfires. The flow of ice melt water from Greenland and Antarctica into the oceans may result in marked transient temperature reversals in the oceans, extending onto land.While neglecting the consequences of runaway global warming, discussions continue of the price of mitigation and adaptation, i.e. the price of habitability of Earth, proceeding to huggle in terms akin to corner store grocers. Elsewhere, much of the media appears to be preoccupied with the price of submarines, deadly weapons in futile wars, ironically more suitable for coastal surveys of regions flooded by an inevitable sea level rise on the scale of many meters.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 Evolutionhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789400763272The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earthhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319079073Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocenehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earthhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319572369Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizonhttps://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 Australiahttps://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319745442The Event Horizon: Homo Prometheus and the Climate Catastrophehttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030547332The Fatal Species: From Warlike Primates to Planetary Mass Extinctionhttps://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030754679

US rejoins coalition to achieve 1.5C goal at UN climate talks

From The Guardian, 2nd November 2021:

The US has rejoined the High Ambition Coalition at the UN climate talks, the group of developed and developing countries that ensured the 1.5C goal was a key plank of the Paris agreement.

The decision by the world’s biggest economy and second biggest emitter, after China, to return to the High Ambition Coalition group of countries marks a significant boost to attempts to focus the Cop26 summit on limiting temperature rises to 1.5C, the tougher of the two goals of the Paris agreement.

A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey

The coalition, which numbered scores of countries at the 2015 Paris talks, will on Tuesday call on governments to step up their efforts on greenhouse gas emissions and phasing out coal, consistent with a 1.5C limit, and urge rich nations to double the amount of climate finance they make available for poor countries to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis. They also want to bring an end to subsidies for fossil fuels.

A senior US official said: “The High Ambition Coalition was instrumental in Paris in making sure that high ambition was written into the Paris agreementand will […]

Nature’s truly brilliant camouflage

The beautiful Spiny Flower Mantis

Margaret Neville was amazed by a beautiful creature that she saw during a stroll on her farm in South Africa. It is most remarkable for appearing to be covered in lots of tiny flowers, coloured green and white. Also, it complements these with a number of white or lilac protrusions to make them blend in with surrounding plants – a truly brilliant camouflage. They are small, being approximately 1.5 to 2 inches long and when threatened, will stand upright and spread their wings which reveal two “eyes” to scare off predators.

Amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean may render emission reductions insufficient

by Andrew GliksonFigure 1. Comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO₂ has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Credit: NASA, data: Luthi, D., et al. 2008; Etheridge, D.M., et al. 2010; Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.)[ Figure 2. from earlier post ]While the world, for very good reasons, is relying on medical research in order to save the lives of millions, the “powers to be” are hardly listening to what climate science is saying about the existential threat to billions posed by global heating. Since 1751 the world has emitted over 1.5 trillion tonnes of CO₂. The atmospheric level of CO₂ was 413.2 parts per million (ppm) in 2020, growing at peak rates of 2.5-3.0 ppm/year, representing the greatest acceleration since the dinosaur mass extinction of 66 million years ago.“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO₂ was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now”, Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization said in a news release. The rise of atmospheric greenhouse gases to levels > >400 ppm has the potential to rapidly transform the atmosphere into conditions similar to those of the Miocene and even the Eocene — a catastrophe for life on Earth. According to the IPCC “the effects of +1.5°C of warming (relative to mean pre-industrial temperature), plus the projection that half a degree Celsius, 2°C versus 1.5°C, will make quite a considerable difference in the livability of planet Earth […] the trajectory of warming based on historical trends will see increases certainly above 3°C and possibly much more if emissions aren’t cut […] the whole world must become carbon neutral by 2050.” Figure 3. Global mean temperature deviation from 1880-1900: all 19 years since 2002 rank among the 20 warmest. (Image by Munichre.com based on NOAA data) Average global temperatures may be misleading. According to NASA, “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”. The reduced albedo of the melting polar ice sheets are driving global warming at a rate faster than elevated temperatures in the tropics. While the focus of international policies is on the essential reduction in emissions, it is the cumulative effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which drives global warming. The 2020 CO₂ level being 413.30 ppm, exceeding pre-industrial levels by more than 133 ppm. Unless civilization finds a way to down-draw CO₂ from the atmosphere, amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans will continue to heat the Earth, due to: The polar albedo (reflection) 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 to the atmosphere and around 90 percent of the excess heat; Warming, desiccation, deforestation and fires over land areas; Release of methane from melting of permafrost and from polar sediments; An increase in evaporation, particularly in arid zones, raising atmospheric vapor levels which enhances the greenhouse gas effect. These feedbacks result in an accelerated climate change, as projected by Wally Broecker and others, and potentially in mass extinction. A climate chain-reaction is believed to have pertained about 55 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). According to Peter Ward and others, early examples of mass extinctions triggered by biological processes were related to ocean anoxia and acidification leading to methane (CH₄) and hydrogen sulfate (H₂S) release by “purple” and “green” algae and sulphur bacteria. In a similar sense anthropogenic global warming constitutes a geological/biological process for which the originating organism (sapiens) has not to date discovered an effective method of control. Sequestration of CO₂ is essential due to the amplifying feedbacks of global warming, which are pushing temperatures up in a chain reaction-like process. Whereas the aim of the Glasgow COP26 Conference is to reach agreement for limiting mean global temperature to

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?

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