David Shepherd

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Embedding Sustainability Across the Organization Using Data

By |2022-09-29T10:37:34+01:00September 29th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Greenbiz

Organizations are committed to turning sustainability targets into measurable outcomes, to moving from ambition to action.  Envizi, an IBM company recently commissioned a research study to take a pulse on how organizations are embedding sustainability at the operational level, and the results highlight the many hurdles organizations face.

Blue Ocean Event 2022?

By |2022-09-08T11:35:30+01:00September 8th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

The image on the right shows a NASA Worldview satellite image of a blue Beaufort Sea (with Barrow, Alaska, at the top left, on September 7, 2022). 

The image shows that there is a lot of open water between the coast of Alaska and the sea ice. To determine where there is open water and where the sea ice starts can be hard; the sea ice is often covered by clouds; furthermore, even when there are no clouds, the question remains what is to be regarded as sea ice. 

According to many, a Blue Ocean Event starts once Arctic sea ice extent falls below 1 million km².

Arctic sea ice extent was 4.912 million km² on September 6, 2022, which is larger than the extent in many previous years around this time of year (see NSIDC image below). However, the sea ice has become very thin, resulting in many areas where only small pieces of ice are present. 
NSIDC regard a cell to have sea ice if it has at least 15% sea ice, but when regarding a cell to have sea ice if it has at least 50% ice and if that’s the case for ⅕ of the cells where there is (some) ice, then we’re already in a Blue Ocean Event right now.
So let’s have another look at how much of the above 4.912 million km² can be regarded as sea ice, by using the NSIDC map with sea ice concentration as a guide. 

The roughly-sketched outline drawn over the NASA map below indicates that there may only have been some 991 thousand km² of concentrated sea ice left on September 6, 2022 (inset shows NSIDC sea ice concentration for the day). 

As said, it’s a rough sketch, so some cells with a higher concentration of sea ice may have been left out. Having said that, we’re currently in the depth of a persistent La Niña and the associated lower air temperatures contribute to a relatively larger sea ice extent than would otherwise be the case. 

In conclusion, depending on what is counted as sea ice, we could already be experiencing a Blue Ocean Event right now. A Blue Ocean Event implies the crossing of a huge tipping point that looks set to cause further tipping points to be crossed, as discussed at the Blue Ocean Event page

The situation is dire and the right thing to do is to help avoid or delay the worst from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan


Links
• NSIDC – Frequently asked questions

• NASA Worldview

• NSIDC – sea ice concentration
• NSIDC – sea ice extent

Dangerously large Arctic sea ice extent

By |2022-08-23T06:34:55+01:00August 23rd, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Arctic sea ice extent was 5.88 million km² on August 21, 2022, larger in extent than in any of the years from 2010 through 2021 at this time of year, as illustrated by the image below. 

At first glance, one might think that this relatively large extent was a sign of healthy sea ice. After all, the larger the sea ice, the more sunlight gets reflected back into space. At the same time, however, the situation is very dangerous, as there is a growing risk that large eruptions of methane will occur from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

Why is the situation so dangerous? There are many contributors to the danger, three of them are:
1. Sea ice acts as a seal
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than in the rest of the world. As temperatures rise in the Arctic, increased precipitation, meltwater and runoff from land, and flow of freshwater from rivers all decrease salinity of the water in the Arctic Ocean. Lower salinity makes it harder for sea ice to melt. 
Furthermore, we’re currently in the depth of a persistent La Niña (NOAA image on the right), and the associated lower air temperatures further contribute to a relatively larger extent of the sea ice. 
More extensive sea ice in turn makes it harder for ocean heat to be transferred to the atmosphere, thus instead raising the temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean.
Sea ice acts as a seal that impedes transfer of ocean heat from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere. 
The larger the sea ice is in extent, the less ocean heat can be transferred from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere, which means that more heat will remain in the Arctic Ocean.
2. Lid on North Atlantic

Ocean stratification is increasing globally, as ocean warming is stronger for upper layers versus the deep ocean. Stratification increased from 1960 to 2018 by 5.3% for the upper 2000m and by as much as 18% for the upper 150m, while salinity changes also play an important role locally, a 2020 study finds.

As temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than in the rest of the world, the Jet stream is getting deformed, and this can, at times strongly, increase precipitation over the North Atlantic and increase runoff from land (including from melting glaciers) that both contribute to growth of a relatively cold, freshwater lid at the surface of the North Atlantic.

This lid on the North Atlantic reduces transfer of ocean heat to the atmosphere and enables large amounts of salty, warm water to enter the Arctic Ocean, diving under the sea ice. 
This lid also increases the risk of a sudden, large influx of hot, salty water. Slowdown of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) causes ocean heat to accumulate, while more warm water travels underneath this lid (instead of at the sea surface) toward the Arctic Ocean. As the Jet Stream gets more deformed, strong winds along the path of AMOC can at times speed up the flow of water that travels underneath this cold freshwater lid over the North Atlantic, suddenly pushing large amounts of salty, warm water into the Arctic Ocean. 
[ from: Arctic sea ice August 2022 ]
3. Latent heat buffer loss

The navy.mil combination image below has three panels. The left panel shows the sea ice on August 30, 2012, the center panel shows the sea ice on August 30, 201, and the right panel shows a forecast for the sea ice for August 21, 2022, run on August 20, 2022.

The image illustrates that Arctic sea ice is currently larger in extent than it was in 2012 and 2014 around this time of year, and that there has been a dramatic reduction in thickness of the sea ice over time.

Sea ice acts as a buffer that absorbs heat, while keeping the temperature at zero degrees Celsius. As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat, so the temperature doesn’t rise at the sea surface. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.

This ice has meanwhile all but disappeared, so without this latent heat buffer further incoming heat must go elsewhere, i.e. the heat will further raise the temperature of the water of the Arctic Ocean.

Compound impact

The danger is that, as more salty, warm water keeps arriving in the Arctic Ocean while the latent heat buffer has largely disappeared and while sea ice extent is relatively large, this will raise the temperatures and salinity levels at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean enough to destabilize hydrates in sediment at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, resulting in methane eruptions both from these hydrates and from free gas underneath these hydrates.

[ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]
High methane concentrations
The possibility of large releases of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean is the more dangerous given the already very high methane concentrations in the atmosphere. The annual growth in methane in 2021 was the highest on the NOAA record
The image on the right shows a methane peak of 2622 (marked by the red oval), recorded by the N20 satellite on August 20, 2022 am at 399.1 mb. Note the high methane concentrations north of Siberia. 
Another N20 satellite image is added underneath showing high methane concentrations over the Arctic on August 20, 2022 am at 695.1 mb, which is much closer to sea level.  
The MetOp satellite image underneath also shows high methane concentrations over the Arctic at 695.1 mb on August 20, 2022 am. 

Methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean are very dangerous because there is very little hydroxyl in the atmosphere over the Arctic to break down the methane.  

The MetOp satellite image underneath shows a mean for methane of 1971 ppb (marked by the red oval) at 293 mb on the morning of August 18, 2022 am. An abrupt release as large as the methane currently in the atmosphere could raise the mean twice as high, to 3942 ppb and when using a 1-year GWP of 200, this translates into 788.4 ppm CO₂e.

Average daily carbon dioxide (CO₂) concentration at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, was 417.05 ppm on August 18, 2022 (next image on the right). When adding that 417.05 ppm for CO₂ to the above 788.4 ppm CO₂e for methane, that gives a total of 1205.45 ppm CO₂e. 

In other words, a large eruption of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean could abruptly cause the joint CO₂e of just two greenhouse gases, i.e. methane and CO₂, to cross the 1200 ppm clouds tipping point globally and trigger a further 8°C global temperature rise, due to the clouds feedback alone. 

When adding further forcers, a huge temperature rise could be triggered with far less methane. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a growing risk that methane will erupt from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and cause a dramatic rise in temperature.

Even without such eruption of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, temperatures look set to rise strongly soon, as we move into an El Niño and face a peak in sunspots. 

Either way, the resulting temperature rise could drive humans extinct as early as in 2025 with temperatures continuing to skyrocket in 2026

This makes it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. At the same time, the right thing to do now is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Arctic sea ice (earlier posts in 2022)

• Arctic sea ice June 2022 – why the situation is so dangerous
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/06/arctic-sea-ice-june-2022-why-situation-is-so-dangerous.html

• Arctic sea ice July 2022
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/07/arctic-sea-ice-july-2022.html

• Arctic sea ice August 2022
Further links

• Increasing ocean stratification over the past half-century – by Guancheng Li et al. 
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-00918-2

• The ocean has become more stratified with global warming – news release

• IPCC AR6 WG1 SPM
• NOAA – Globally averaged marine surface annual mean methane growth rates.
• NOAA – Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
• NOAA – MetOp satellite 
• NOAA – N20 satellite

• Jet Stream
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/jet-stream.html

• Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/cold-freshwater-lid-on-north-atlantic.html

• NOAA – Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño
https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202207/supplemental/page-4

• University of Bremen
https://seaice.uni-bremen.de/databrowser

• NSIDC – Arctic sea ice concentration
https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews

• NSIDC – Chartic, interactive sea ice graph
https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph

• NOAA – Trends in Atmospheric Methane
https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends_ch4

• nullschool
https://earth.nullschool.net

• Naval Research Laboratory
https://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycomcice1-12/arctic.html

• Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf – by Natalia Shakhova et al. (2019)
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/6/251

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html

• Cold freshwater lid on North Atlantic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/cold-freshwater-lid-on-north-atlantic.html

• Albedo, latent heat, insolation and more
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/albedo.html

• Latent Heat Buffer
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html

• Feedbacks in the Arctic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Clouds feedback
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/clouds-feedback.html

• How much time is there left to act?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/how-much-time-is-there-left-to-act.html

• Sunspots
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/sunspots.html

• Cataclysmic Alignment
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/06/cataclysmic-alignment.html

• Human Extinction by 2025?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/07/human-extinction-by-2025.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

Arctic sea ice August 2022

By |2022-08-10T14:33:55+01:00August 10th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Ocean currents keep pushing heat toward the Arctic Ocean

Arctic sea ice is getting very thin, as temperatures keep rising and ocean currents keeps pushing warm water toward the Arctic, as illustrated by the NOAA image below, showing sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic as high as 32.1°C or 89.78°F on August 8, 2022. 

Latent heat

Latent heat is ocean heat that is, or rather was previously consumed by melting of the sea ice underneath the sea surface. 

[ The Latent Heat Buffer ]
This ice has meanwhile all but disappeared, so without this latent heat buffer further incoming heat must go elsewhere, i.e. the heat will further raise the temperature of the water and it will also cause more evaporation to take place where the sea ice has disappeared altogether, and this in turn will further heat up the atmosphere over the Arctic. 
Thin layer of sea ice
The image below, adapted from University of Bremen, shows Arctic sea ice concentration on August 9, 2022, with concentration in a large area close to the North Pole as low as 0%.
The image below, from NSIDC, also shows sea ice concentration on August 9, 2022. 

There still is a relatively extensive but very thin layer of sea ice present at the surface, due to the suppression of air temperatures that comes with the current La Niña. 
As long as air temperatures are low enough to keep this surface ice frozen and as long as there are no strong winds pushing the ice out of the Arctic Ocean, this thin layer of ice will act as a seal, preventing transfer of heat from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere. 

The larger the remaining sea ice is in extent, the less ocean heat can be transferred from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere, which means that more heat will remain in the Arctic Ocean.
[ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]
The danger is that ocean heat keeps arriving in the Arctic Ocean, while the latent heat buffer is gone. As a result, more of this heat could reach sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, threatening to destabilize hydrates in these sediment, resulting in methane eruptions both from these hydrates and from free gas underneath these hydrates.
Record high methane levels 
Methane levels are already at record high and growth is accelerating, even without an extra burst of seafloor methane.

NOAA registered a globally averaged marine surface April 2022 mean of 1909.9 ppb, which is 18.7 ppb higher than April 2022, as illustrated by the image on the right. By comparison, the highest annual growth on the NOAA record is 18.31 ppb for 2021. 

NOAA’s data are for marine surface measurements.  More methane tends to accumulate at higher altitudes, as illustrated by the image on the right.

The MetOp satellite recorded a mean global methane level of 1969 ppb at 293 mb on August 4, 2022 pm. When using a 1-year GWP of 200, this translates into 393.8 ppm CO₂e.
As the image underneath also shows, the MetOp satellite also recorded a peak methane level of 2882 ppb at 469 mb on August 8, 2022 pm. 
Record high carbon dioxide levels

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels have been quite high over the past few months. Monthly CO₂ was 420.99 ppm both in May and in June 2022. Some hourly CO₂ measurements were well above 422 ppm in May 2022. On May 28, 2022, one hourly average at Mauna Loa was recorded of 424 ppm.

When adding this monthly CO₂ concentration of 420.99 ppm and the above 393.8 ppm CO₂e for methane, that gives a total of 814.79 ppm CO₂e. 

Clouds feedback

The clouds tipping point could be crossed due to an additional 5 Gt of methane from an abrupt eruption of the seafloor, which is only 10% of the 50 Gt that Natalia Shakhova et al. warned about long ago, while 50 Gt is in turn only a small fraction of all the methane contained in sediments in the Arctic. On its own, such an eruption of seafloor methane could raise the global mean methane concentration by another 1969 ppb which, at a 1-year GWP of 200, would translate into another 393.8 ppm CO₂e, which when added to the above 814.79 ppm CO₂e, gives a total of 1208.59 ppm CO₂e.
[ from earlier post, click on images to enlarge ]
So, that would abruptly cause the joint CO₂e of just two greenhouse gases, i.e. methane and CO₂, to cross the 1200 ppm clouds tipping point and trigger a further 8°C global temperature rise, due to the clouds feedback alone.
There are further forcers and feedbacks to be taken into account, which means that the clouds tipping point could be crossed even with a far smaller abrupt release of seafloor methane. While it would take longer for the clouds tipping points to get crossed that way, the associated temperature rise could be enough to drive humans into extinctions well before the tipping point was even reached. A rise of 3°C above pre-industrial could occur on land and drive humans into extinction by 2025.

La Niña

[ adapted from NOAA – click on images to enlarge ]

As said, sea ice extent is relatively large at the moment, because we are currently in the depths of a persistent La Niña, which is suppressing the temperature rise.

El Niños typically occur every 3 to 5 years, according to NOAA and as also illustrated by the NOAA image below, so the upcoming El Niño can be expected to occur soon.

The NOAA image below indicates that going from the bottom of a La Niña to the peak of an El Niño could make a difference of more than half a degree Celsius (0.5°C or 0.9°F).

 

Furthermore, the rise in sunspots from May 2020 to July 2025 could make a difference of some 0.15°C (0.27°F). The next El Niño looks set to line up with a high peak in sunspots, in a cataclysmic alignment that could push up the temperature enough to cause even more dramatic sea ice loss in the Arctic, resulting in runaway temperature rise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a growing risk that methane will erupt from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which could cause a dramatic rise in temperature. 
Even without such eruption of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, temperatures could rise strongly, as we move into an El Niño and face a peak in sunspots. The resulting temperature rise could  drive humans extinct as early as in 2025 with temperatures continuing to skyrocket in 2026, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. 
At the same time, the right thing to do now is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Arctic sea ice on previous months

• Arctic sea ice June 2022 – why the situation is so dangerous

• Arctic sea ice July 2022

Further links

• NOAA – Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Contour Charts

• NOAA – ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

• University of Bremen
https://seaice.uni-bremen.de/databrowser

• NSIDC – Arctic sea ice concentration
• NOAA – Trends in Atmospheric Methane

• Albedo, latent heat, insolation and more
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/albedo.html

• Latent Heat Buffer
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html

• Feedbacks in the Arctic
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Clouds feedback
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/clouds-feedback.html

• Sunspots
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/sunspots.html

• Cataclysmic Alignment
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/06/cataclysmic-alignment.html

• Human Extinction by 2025?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/07/human-extinction-by-2025.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

Arctic sea ice July 2022

By |2022-07-24T08:01:22+01:00July 24th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Blue Ocean Event

[ from Blue Ocean Event ]

A Blue Ocean Event occurs when virtually all sea ice disappears and the surface color changes from white (sea ice) to blue (ocean). According to many, a Blue Ocean Event starts once Arctic sea ice extent falls below 1 million km².

The image on the right shows a trend pointing at zero Arctic sea ice volume by September 2027.

Note that the volume data in the image are averages for the month September ⁠— the minimum for each year is even lower. Furthermore, since zero volume implies zero extent, this indicates that a Blue Ocean Event (extent below 1 million km²) could happen well before 2027.

Sea ice concentration
Another measure than sea ice extent or  volume is sea ice concentration. The image below, adapted from University of Bremen, shows sea ice concentration on July 22, 2022, with concentration in many areas close to the North Pole down to 0%. 

Sea ice thickness and NASA Worldview satellite images

The NASA Worldview satellite images below give a good idea of how much sea ice is still present in the Arctic, or how little, especially north of the North Pole. 

The Naval Research Laboratory one-month animation below shows Arctic sea ice thickness up to July 16, 2022, with 8 days of forecasts added. 

The above animation shows a dramatic fall in sea ice thickness over a large area. This fall in thickness is mostly due to warm water from the Atlantic Ocean that is melting the sea ice hanging underneath the surface. This is where the sea ice constitutes the latent heat buffer, consuming incoming heat in the process of melting.

The University of Bremen combination image below shows the difference in sea ice thickness between June 1, 2022, June 30, 2022, and July 22, 2022. The images at the center and on the right show large areas where sea ice is less than 20 cm thick, indicating that the latent heat buffer had already disappeared in June 2022,  as also discussed further below. 


The NASA Worldview combination image below shows the sea ice north of Greenland on July 19, 2022 (top), and on July 22, 2022, illustrating that even at places where the sea ice was the thickest, it can disappear rapidly.

As thick ice breaks off and fragments, it gets heat up more from the sides, accelerating the melting. 

Ocean heat
Of the extra heat from Earth’s energy imbalance, about 93% ends up in the ocean as increasing ocean heat content (see image below), 3% goes into melting ice, 4% goes into raising temperatures of land and melting permafrost, and less than 1% remains in the atmosphere, as discussed in an earlier post.

[ from earlier post ]
Sea ice has disappeared in the Bering Strait, in part due to warm water from rivers in Alaska, as illustrated by the NOAA image below, which shows sea surface temperatures as high as 18.6°C or 65.48°F.

On July 19, 2022, the sea surface temperature anomaly from 1981-2011 in the Arctic Ocean was as high as 14.0°C or 25.2°F (at green circle), as illustrated by the screenshot below of a nullschool.net image (with text added). In 1981-2011, the sea surface temperature at this spot (green circle) at this time of year in the Kara Sea was around freezing point.

The above image also shows a distorted Jet Stream (at 250 hPa) moving over the Arctic ocean, instead of circumventing the Arctic and thus keeping heat out of the Arctic and keeping cold inside the Arctic, as it used to be.  
The above NOAA image illustrates how the Gulf Stream is pushing warm water toward the Arctic, with sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic reaching as high as 32.2°C or 89.96°F on July 20, 2022.
Latent heat

Latent heat is heat that is (less and less) going into melting the sea ice. The reason this heat is called latent (hidden) heat, is that it doesn’t raise the temperature of the water, but instead gets consumed in the process of melting the ice. Latent heat is energy associated with a phase change, such as the energy consumed when solid ice turns into water (i.e. melting). During a phase change, the temperature remains constant. Sea ice acts as a buffer that absorbs heat, while keeping the temperature at zero degrees Celsius. As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat, so the temperature doesn’t rise at the sea surface. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.

Once most of the sea ice that was hanging underneath the surface is gone, further heat will still keep moving underneath the sea ice from the Atlantic Ocean and – to a lesser extent – from the Atlantic Ocean into the Arctic Ocean. Without the latent heat buffer, this heat must go elsewhere, i.e. it will typically raise the temperature of the water. The atmosphere will also warm up faster. More evaporation will occur once the sea ice is gone, further warming up the atmosphere.
A 2019 analysis concludes that the latent heat tipping point gets crossed when the sea surface temperature anomaly on the Northern Hemisphere gets higher than 1°C above 20th century’s temperature and when there is little or no thick sea ice left. As the image below indicates, the temperature anomaly of 1°C above the 20th century average looks set to be crossed in the course of the year 2021.

As the Latent Heat Tipping Point gets crossed, there may still be a thin layer of ice at the surface, at least as long as air temperatures are low enough to keep it frozen and as long as strong winds haven’t pushed the sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean. This thin layer of ice will still consume some ocean heat below the surface, but at the same time it acts as a seal, preventing heat from the Arctic Ocean to enter the atmosphere. Even if a lot of sea ice remains, the situation is dangerous, if not even more dangerous. The continuing La Niña could cause a lot of thin sea ice to remain at the surface of the Arctic Ocean this year. The more sea ice remains, the less ocean heat can be transferred from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean, which means that more heat remains in the Arctic Ocean.

One huge danger is that, as the buffer disappears that until now has consumed huge amounts of ocean heat, more heat will reach methane hydrates at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, causing them to get destabilized and resulting in releases of methane from these hydrates and from free gas underneath that was previously sealed by the hydrates.

As the latent heat buffer of the sea ice underneath the surface disappears, more of this heat could then reach sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, threatening eruptions to occur of seafloor methane (from hydrates and from free gas underneath the hydrates). The methane could similarly push up temperatures dramatically over the Arctic, and globally over the next few years.

[ feedback #14: Latent Heat ]

The above 2014 image, from the feedbacks page, shows three of the numerous feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic. Feedback #1 is the albedo feedback. Feedback #14 refers to the loss of the Latent Heat Buffer and warming of the Arctic Ocean. Feedback #2 refers to methane releases.

Heatwaves look set to continue on the Northern Hemisphere, extending heat over the Arctic Ocean and thus affecting Arctic sea ice from above, while warm water from rivers will cause more melting at the surface, and while rising ocean heat will continue to cause more melting of the ice underneath the surface. If this continues, we can expect a new record low for sea ice in September 2022 and the joint loss of the latent heat buffer and the loss of albedo could push up temperatures dramatically over the Arctic, while the additional methane could similarly push up temperatures dramatically over the Arctic, and globally over the next few years.

[ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]

Conclusion

In conclusion, temperatures could rise strongly in the Arctic soon, due to sea ice loss in combination with an upcoming El Niño and a peak in sunspots, with the potential to drive humans extinct as early as in 2025, while temperatures would continue to skyrocket in 2026, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. At the same time, the right thing to do now is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Links

• Blue Ocean Event
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/blue-ocean-event.html

• Naval Research Laboratory
https://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/GLBhycomcice1-12/arctic.html

• University of Bremen
https://seaice.uni-bremen.de/databrowser

• NASA Worldview satellite
https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov

• NOAA – sea surface temperature

• Human Extinction by 2025? 

Human Extinction by 2025?

By |2022-07-13T10:45:10+01:00July 13th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Earth’s energy imbalance, defined as the absorbed solar radiation minus the net outgoing longwave radiation, is arguably the most important metric related to climate change, argue Kevin Trenberth et al. in a recent article.

One could also argue that the most important metric related to climate change is the crossing of 3°C above pre-industrial by monthly mean surface temperatures on land, as illustrated by the above image created with NASA content. After all, most people live on land and humans will likely go extinct with a rise of 3°C above pre-industrial, according to a 2019 analysis in an earlier post

A temperature rise of 3°C is unlikely to stop there, even if all activities by humans would stop, including their emissions.

Carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa in June 2022 was 420.99 ppm, a joint record high with May 2022, as illustrated by the above image. Carbon dioxide levels this high are likely to keep adding ocean heat for some time, especially since additional emissions will result from decomposing biomass and fires globally, while the sulfate masking effect will fall away. 

Furthermore, we’re moving into a new El Niño, which could coincide with a peak in sunspots in 2025, as illustrated by the image on the right and discussed in the post Cataclysmic Alignment.

All this looks set to contribute to a further rise in temperature, with the danger of causing ocean temperatures to increase to the point where there will be massive eruptions of seafloor methane contributing to the clouds tipping point at 1200 ppm CO₂e to be crossed, which in itself could push up temperatures by a further 8°C and cause extinction of most life on Earth, as the 2019 analysis warns.
Altogether, the global temperature could rise by more than 18°C above pre-industrial, as also discussed at the Extinction page.

In conclusion, temperatures could rise strongly and drive humans into extinction as early as in 2025. Temperatures could continue to rise afterwards, and drive most life on Earth into extinction soon thereafter, making it the more important to do the right thing now and help avoid the worst from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan at: 

Links

• A perspective on climate change from Earth’s energy imbalance – by Kevin Trenberth et al. 

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2752-5295/ac6f74

• NASA – GISS Surface Temperature Analysis 

• NOAA – Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide – Mauna Loa, Hawaii 
https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/graph.html

• NOAA – ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

• Cataclysmic Alignment 
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2022/06/cataclysmic-alignment.html

• Pre-industrial
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/pre-industrial.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

Arctic sea ice June 2022 – why the situation is so dangerous

By |2022-06-21T07:31:28+01:00June 21st, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Arctic sea ice extent has fallen strongly in June 2022. On June 19, 2022, Arctic sea ice extent was among the lowest on record for the time of year, as illustrated by above image, adapted from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC Chartic).

The image below, from an animation by Zachary Labe, shows Arctic sea ice extent up to June 20, 2022, based on Vishop data. The yellow line is the year 2022. The white line shows extent for the year 2012, when it reached a record minimum in September. The blue line shows extent the year 2020, when the minimum in September was second lowest.

 

The image below, adapted from Vishop, shows that on June 19, 2022, global sea ice extent was close to a record low for the time of year.

[ adapted from NOAA ]

The fact that sea ice is so low for the time of the year is the more striking as we are currently in the depths of a persistent La Niña, which suppresses the temperature rise.

El Niños typically occur every 3 to 5 years, according to NOAA and as also illustrated by the NOAA image below, so the upcoming El Niño can be expected to occur soon.

The NOAA image below indicates that going from the bottom of a La Niña to the peak of an El Niño could make a difference of more than half a degree Celsius (0.5°C or 0.9°F).

Furthermore, the rise in sunspots from May 2020 to July 2025 could make a difference of some 0.15°C (0.27°F). The next El Niño looks set to line up with a high peak in sunspots, in a cataclysmic alignment that could push up the temperature enough to cause dramatic sea ice loss in the Arctic, resulting in runaway temperature rise by 2026.

The NSIDC compilation below illustrates how much multi-year sea ice has already declined over the years. The top panel shows the age of Arctic sea ice for the March 12 to 18 period in (a) 1985 and (b) 2022. The oldest ice, greater than 4 years old, is in red. Plot (c) shows the timeseries from 1985 through 2022 of percent cover of the Arctic Ocean domain (inset, purple region) by different sea ice ages during the March 12 to 18 period.

On June 18, 2022, Arctic sea ice volume was among the lowest on record for the time of year, as illustrated by the image below, adapted from Polarportal.

The Naval Research Laboratory one-month animation below shows Arctic sea ice thickness up to June 18, 2022, with 8 days of forecasts added.

The animation shows a dramatic fall in sea ice thickness over a large area, while sea ice is disappearing altogether in some places. This fall in thickness is mostly due to warm water from the Atlantic Ocean that is melting the sea ice hanging underneath the surface. This is where the sea ice constitutes the latent heat buffer, consuming incoming heat in the process of melting.
The University of Bremen image below also shows sea ice thickness, on June 19, 2022. 

Close to the coast of Siberia, where much of the sea ice has disappeared altogether, the decline is due for a large part to warm water from rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean. 

Sea ice has disappeared altogether in the Bering Strait, for a great part due to warm water from rivers in Alaska, especially the Yukon River, the Kuskokwim River and the Copper River, as illustrated by the above NOAA image, which shows sea surface temperatures as high as 15.6°C or 60.08°F.

On June 10, 2022, the sea surface temperature anomaly from 1981-2011 in the Bering Strait was as high as 15.5°C or 27.9°F (at green circle), illustrated by the above nullschool.net image. In 1981-2011, the Bering Strait was still largely frozen at this time of year.

The NOAA image below illustrates how the Gulf Stream is pushing warm water toward the Arctic, with sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic reaching as high as 32.1°C or 89.78°F on June 19, 2022. 

Heatwaves look set to continue on the Northern Hemisphere, extending heat over the Arctic Ocean and thus affecting Arctic sea ice from above, while warm water from rivers will cause more melting at the surface, and while rising ocean heat will continue to cause more melting of the ice underneath the surface. If this continues, we can expect a new record low for sea ice in September 2022 and the joint loss of the latent heat buffer and the loss of albedo will push up temperatures dramatically over the Arctic. 

But even if a lot of sea ice remains, the situation is dangerous, if not even more dangerous. The continuing La Niña could cause a lot of thin sea ice to remain at the surface of the Arctic Ocean this year. The more sea ice remains, the less ocean heat can be transferred from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean, which means that more heat remains in the Arctic Ocean. As the latent heat buffer of the sea ice underneath the surface disappears, more of this heat could then reach sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, threatening eruptions to occur of seafloor methane (from hydrates and from free gas underneath the hydrates). The methane could similarly push up temperatures dramatically over the Arctic, and globally over the next few years. 
[ The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page ]

Conclusion

In conclusion, temperatures could rise strongly in the Arctic soon, due to sea ice loss in combination with an upcoming El Niño and a peak in sunspots, with the potential to drive humans extinct as early as in 2025, while temperatures would continue to skyrocket in 2026, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. At the same time, the right thing to do now is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.
Links

• NSIDC – Charctic
https://nsidc.org/arct…/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph

• Zachary Labe – sea ice extent and concentration
https://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/arctic-sea-ice-extentconcentration

• Vishop sea ice data
https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/#/extent

• NSIDC – Springtime in the Arctic
https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2022/05/springtime-in-the-arctic

• NOAA – ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

• Sunspots

• Cataclysmic Alignment

• Polarportal
• Naval Research Laboratory
• University of Bremen
• NOAA – sea surface temperature

https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/ocean/sst/contour/index.html

• nullschool
https://nullschool.net

• Albedo, latent heat, insolation and more

• Feedbacks in the Arctic

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

Cataclysmic Alignment

By |2022-06-05T11:37:14+01:00June 5th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Record high carbon dioxide

The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere just broke two records. CO₂ was 421.46 in the week starting May 22, 2022, at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, while CO₂ was 420.99 ppm in May 2022.

Earlier, very high daily and hourly measurements were recorded at Mauna Loa, as illustrated by the image below, showing one hourly measurement of 424 ppm (on May 28, 2022), as well as sequences of daily measurements in the green insets.

The image below shows carbon dioxide concentration rising over the past few years, with surface flask measurements well above 422 ppm at Mauna Loa recently.

Carbon dioxide concentration is even higher over the Arctic. The image below shows carbon dioxide approaching 430 ppm at Barrow, Alaska.

To get an idea how much greenhouse gases have risen, a 2021 study points at concentrations of 190 ppm for CO₂, 370-375 ppb for CH₄ and 200-245 ppb for N₂O some 18 ka to 21 ka. By comparison, the MetOp image below shows a global mean methane level that is more than five times as high, i.e. 1945 ppb at 293 mb on May 25, 2022 am.  

The MetOp image below shows methane on May 30, 2022 pm, at 742 mb, which is much closer to sea level. 

The NOAA 20 image below shows high nitrous oxide levels over the Arctic on June 3, 2022 pm at 1000 mb.

Greenhouse gas levels are very high and there are many further indications that a huge temperature rise could take place over the next few years. 
Cataclysmic alignment of El Niño and sunspots 

The trigger for such a huge rise could be a cataclysmic alignment of the upcoming El Niño with a high number of sunspots, which look set to reach maximum impact around July 2025.

We are currently in the depths of a persistent La Niña, as illustrated by the image on the right, adapted from NOAA. This suppresses the temperature rise.

El Niños typically occur every 3 to 5 years, according to NOAA and as also illustrated by the NOAA image below, so the upcoming El Niño can be expected to occur soon.

The above NOAA image shows that the difference in temperature between the bottom of a La Niña and the peak of an El Niño can be more than half a degree Celsius (0.5°C or 0.9°F).

A huge temperature rise looks set to unfold soon, first of all in the Arctic, triggered by the combined impact of an upcoming El Niño and a peak in sunspots.

 
Sunspots are currently well above what NOAA predicted, as illustrated by the image on the right, adapted from NOAA. The more sunspot, the more the temperature goes up. The rise in sunspots from May 2020 to July 2025 could make a difference of some 0.15°C (0.27°F).

The next El Niño looks set to line up with a high peak in sunspots, in a cataclysmic alignment that could could push up the temperature enough to cause dramatic sea ice loss in the Arctic, resulting in runaway temperature rise by 2026.

A huge temperature rise in the Arctic

There are many further indications that we’re on the brink of a huge temperature rise in the Arctic.

Ocean heat that enters the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean keeps rising.

As a result, several tipping points threaten to be crossed in the Arctic soon, as described in an earlier post, including the latent heat tipping point and a Blue Ocean Event, starting when Arctic sea ice extent will fall below 1 million km².

[ from the Extinction page ]

As temperatures keep rising in the Arctic, changes to the Jet Stream look set to intensify, resulting in loss of terrestrial albedo in the Arctic that could equal the albedo loss resulting from sea ice decline.

Further feedbacks include permafrost degradation, both terrestrial and on the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which looks set to cause huge releases of greenhouse gases (particularly CO₂, CH₄ and N₂O).
Global temperature rise

This would in turn also cause more water vapor to enter the atmosphere, further speeding up the temperature rise, especially in the Arctic, where vast amounts of methane are contained in sediments at the seafloor and where there is very little hydroxyl in the air to break down the methane.

Temperatures looks set to rise further, due to falling away of sulfate aerosols, while there could be a further temperature rise due to releases of other aerosols that have a net warming impact, such as black and brown carbon, which can increase dramatically as more wood burning and forest fires take place.

As the temperature keeps rising, further self-reinforcing feedbacks will kick in with more ferocity such as an increase in water vapor globally combined with a decrease in lower clouds decks, further increasing the temperature, as described at the clouds feedback page.

Altogether, the global temperature could rise by more than 18°C above pre-industrial, as illustrated by the image on the right from the Extinction page.

Conclusion

In conclusion, temperatures could rise strongly soon, driving humans extinct by 2026, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026. At the same time, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Links

• NOAA – Global Monitoring Laboratory, Recent Daily Average CO₂ at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, U.S.
https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends

• NOAA – Global Monitoring Laboratory, at Barrow, Alaska, U.S.
https://gml.noaa.gov/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=BRW&program=ccgg&type=ts

• Globally resolved surface temperatures since the Last Glacial Maximum – by Matthew Osman et al. (2021)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03984-4

• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Points
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/04/arctic-hit-by-ten-tipping-points.html

• NOAA – ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

• NOAA – El Niño
https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/weather-atmosphere/el-nino#:~:text=An%20El%20Ni%C3%B1o%20condition%20occurs,every%203%20to%205%20years.

• NOAA – Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño
https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202204/supplemental/page-4

• MetOp satellite
https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/soundings/iasi

• NOAA 20 satellite
https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/soundings/nucaps/NUCAPS_composite.html

• Sunspots
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/sunspots.html

• NOAA – sunspots
https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression

• Latent heat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/latent-heat.html

• Blue Ocean Event
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/blue-ocean-event.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Aerosols
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/aerosols.html

• Clouds feedback and tipping point
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/clouds-feedback.html

• Jet Stream
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/jet-stream.html

• The Importance of Methane
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/the-importance-of-methane-in-climate.html

• When Will We Die?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

Carbon dioxide reaches another record high

By |2022-05-16T10:30:48+01:00May 16th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

NOAA data show a carbon dioxide level of 421.13 parts per million (ppm) for the week starting May 8, 2022, a new record high since measurements started at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. As the image below also shows, very high daily levels were reached recently, as high as 422.04 ppm. 

Greenhouse gas levels are even higher further north. Very high carbon dioxide levels were recorded recently at Barrow, Alaska, approaching 430 ppm. 

Furthermore, very high methane levels were recorded recently at Barrow, Alaska, including many at levels well over 2000 parts per billion (ppb).

The trigger: El Niño and sunspots
El Niños typically occur every 3 to 5 years, according to NOAA and as illustrated by the NOAA image below, so the upcoming El Niños can be expected to occur within the next few years. 
As also illustrated by the NOAA image on the right, we are currently in the depths of a persistent La Niña and this suppresses current temperatures.
A huge temperature rise in the Arctic looks set to unfold soon, triggered by the combined impact of an upcoming El Niño and a peak in sunspots. 
Sunspots are currently well above expected levels, as illustrated by the image below on the right.
Huge temperature rise in Arctic

Additionally, greenhouse gas levels are very high over the Arctic, while the ocean heat that enters the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean keeps rising.  

As a result, several tipping points threaten to be crossed in the Arctic soon, as described in an earlier post, including the latent heat tipping point and a Blue Ocean Event, starting when Arctic sea ice extent will fall below 1 million km²

As temperatures keep rising in the Arctic, changes to the Jet Stream look set to intensify, while loss of terrestrial albedo in the Arctic could equal the albedo loss resulting from sea ice decline.

[ from the Extinction page ]

Further feedbacks include permafrost degradation, both terrestrial and on the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, which looks set to cause huge releases of greenhouse gases (particularly CO₂, CH₄ and N₂O).

Global temperature rise
This would in turn also cause more water vapor to enter the atmosphere, further speeding up the temperature rise, especially in the Arctic, where vast amounts of methane are contained in sediments at the seafloor and where there is very little hydroxyl in the air to break down the methane.

Temperatures looks set to rise further due to the falling away of sulfate aerosols, while there could be a further temperature rise due to releases of other aerosols that have a net warming impact, such as black and brown carbon, which can increase dramatically as more wood burning and forest fires take place.

As the temperature keeps rising, further self-reinforcing feedbacks will kick in with more ferocity such as an increase in water vapor globally combined with a decrease in lower clouds decks, further increasing the temperature, as described at the clouds feedback page.

Altogether, the global temperature could rise by more than 18°C above pre-industrial, as illustrated by the image on the right from the Extinction page.

Conclusion

In conclusion, temperatures could rise strongly by 2026, resulting in humans going extinct, making it in many respects rather futile to speculate about what will happen beyond 2026.

At the same time, the right thing to do is to help avoid the worst things from happening, through comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Links

• NOAA – Global Monitoring Laboratory, Recent Daily

 Average CO₂ at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, U.S.
https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends

• NOAA – Global Monitoring Laboratory, at Barrow, Alaska, U.S.
https://gml.noaa.gov/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=BRW&program=ccgg&type=ts

• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Points
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/04/arctic-hit-by-ten-tipping-points.html

• NOAA – El Niño
https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/weather-atmosphere/el-nino#:~:text=An%20El%20Ni%C3%B1o%20condition%20occurs,every%203%20to%205%20years.

• NOAA – Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño

• NOAA – sunspots

Carbon dioxide crosses 422 ppm

By |2022-04-28T07:39:02+01:00April 28th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) reached an average daily concentration of 422.06 ppm on April 26, 2022, at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

Furthermore, very high methane levels were recorded recently at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, with surface flask readings appearing to be as high as 1955 ppb.  

This daily average CO₂ concentration of 422.06 ppm together with a methane level of 1955 ppb (which at a GWP of 200 corresponds with 391 ppm CO₂e), adds up to a joint CO₂e of 813.06 ppm, i.e. less than 387 ppm away from the clouds tipping point that on its own could raise the global temperature by 8°C.

Such a 387 ppm CO₂e could be added almost immediately by a burst of seafloor methane less than the size of the methane that is currently in the atmosphere (about 5 Gt). There is plenty of potential for such an abrupt release, given the rising ocean heat and the vast amounts of methane present in vulnerable sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as discussed in posts such as this one.

[ images and joint CO₂e earlier discussed at this post, click on images to enlarge ]

The 1200 ppm CO₂e clouds tipping point could be crossed even without such an abrupt methane release. Carbon dioxide and methane levels are rising rapidly. The above combination image illustrates how, by the year 2029, carbon dioxide could reach 450 ppm and methane could reach 3840 ppb, which would yield a joint CO₂e of 1218 ppm and thus raise the global temperature by 8°C due to the clouds feedback alone, in addition to the rise caused by nitrous oxide and the many further forcers, as discussed at the Extinction page

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

Links

• NOAA – Global Monitoring Laboratory, Recent Daily Average CO₂ at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, U.S. 

• NOAA – Global Monitoring Laboratory, Methane (surface flasks) at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, U.S. 

• The Importance of Methane
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/the-importance-of-methane-in-climate.html

• Clouds feedback 

Runaway temperature rise by 2026?

By |2022-04-16T13:37:04+01:00April 16th, 2022|

Originally published on

by at Arctic News

March 2022 temperature anomaly

The NASA image below shows the March 2021 temperature anomaly. The Arctic is heating up strongly. 

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

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

Note that the March 2022 temperature is suppressed, as we’re currently in the depth of a persistent La Niña, as illustrated by the NOAA image on the right. 
The above NOAA image shows that the difference between the top of El Niño and the bottom of La Niña could be more than half a degree Celsius. The next El Niño may well go hand in hand with a high number of sunspots (NOAA image right). 
The image below features two trends. The black trend is based on adjusted 1880-March 2022 NASA data and shows how 3°C could be crossed by 2029. The blue trend is based on adjusted 2012-March 2022 NASA data and better reflects short-term variables such as sunspots and El Niño. The blue trend shows how 3°C could be crossed by 2027, triggered by an emerging El Niño and high sunspots. 

Not only could the combination of strong a strong El Niño with high sunspots suffice to cause the temperature rise to cross 3°C by 2025, it could trigger a runaway temperature rise by 2026. 

Runaway temperature rise

The potential temperature rise is illustrated by the bar on the right.

As temperatures rise, loss of Arctic sea ice and of its latent heat buffer will cause more heating of the atmosphere, while changes to the Jet Stream will cause more extreme weather. 
As humans go extinct, transport and industrial activities will stop that currently co-emit sulfur that masks the full extent of the temperature rise. 
In addition, as also discussed at the aerosols page, worldwide forest fires and trash fires could cause huge amounts of black carbon to be emitted. 
Rising temperatures will result in more water vapor in the atmosphere (7% more water vapor for every 1°C warming), further amplifying the temperature rise, since water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas. 
As the IPCC warns (see above image), for each additional 1°C of warming, the global volume of perennially frozen ground to 3 m below the surface is projected to decrease by about 25% relative to the present volume, and the IPCC adds that these decreases may be underestimates. As permafrost declines, huge amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide get released. 
As the ocean heats up, a huge temperature rise could be caused by releases of seafloor methane, further contributing to the clouds tipping point (at 1200 ppm CO₂e) to get crossed, causing a further rise of 8°C. Altogether, the temperature rise could exceed 18°C.
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

Links

• NASA Gistemp
https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

• Pre-industrial
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/pre-industrial.html

• When Will We Die?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/06/when-will-we-die.html

• NOAA – Monthly Temperature Anomalies Versus El Niño
https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202203/supplemental/page-4

• NOAA – ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions
https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

• NOAA – Solar cycle sunspots progression
https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression

• Sunspots
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/sunspots.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Aerosols
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/aerosols.html

• IPCC – FAQ on water vapor
https://wg1.ipcc.ch/publications/wg1-ar4/faq/wg1_faq-3.2.html

• IPCC – AR6 WG1 TS on permafrost
https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_TS.pdf

• Clouds feedback
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/clouds-feedback.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

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

By |2021-11-02T13:20:51+00:00November 2nd, 2021|

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 be instrumental in Glasgow in making sure it’s delivered.”

Tina Stege, the climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, said: “The High Ambition Coalition has set the bar for what needs to happen at this Cop: getting on track to limiting temperature rise to 1.5C with enhanced [nationally determined contributions] and with real, actual actions, like phasing out coal; a sea-change on adaptation, with at least a doubling of current levels of adaptation financing; and making sure that we all have the resources we need to face this crisis, including the loss and damage we’re already experiencing today.

“These heads of state have given their marching orders for ambition.”

Nature’s truly brilliant camouflage

By |2021-11-02T13:10:08+00:00November 2nd, 2021|

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.

Celebrating Earth Day 2021 !

By |2021-04-23T14:27:06+01:00April 21st, 2021|

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

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

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

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

  • The Great Global Clean Up: Did you know that unregulated burning of household waste causes 270,000 premature deaths per year, and that 2 billion people lack access to waste collection services? It’s also reported that 79 percent of all plastics ever made have ended up in landfills or the natural environment.

  • Global Earth Challenge: Begun in April 2020 and aims to involve millions of people by incorporating billions of data points from new and ongoing citizen science initiatives. Essentially, the Global Earth Challenge aims to become the world’s largest organised citizen science initiative by creating a new mobile app that allows public volunteers to contribute to scientific research.

This year’s focus is on assisting local communities, with a particular emphasis on areas that are disproportionately impacted by environmental concerns. Many who live on the front lines of environmental disasters don’t always have the money to repair the damage.

DONATE TO EARTHDAY.ORG™ HERE ! DONATE

 

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

By |2021-04-21T21:41:01+01:00April 21st, 2021|

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responding to the report, Ella’s mother Rosamund Kissi-Debrah called on the Government to act on the recommendations in the coroner’s report, warning “children are dying unnecessarily because the Government is not doing enough to combat air pollution”.

Ella was the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as the cause of death on their death certificate, following the inquest ruling by Mr Barlow last December.

She lived 25 metres from the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south-east London – one of the capital’s busiest roads.

Ella Kissi-Debra named as the first person to die of air pollution in the UK

Ella Kissi-Debrah

She died in February 2013, having endured numerous seizures and made almost 30 hospital visits over the previous three years.

A previous inquest ruling from 2014, which concluded Ella died of acute respiratory failure, was quashed by the High Court following new evidence about the dangerous levels of air pollution close to her home.

In his report following the second inquest, published this morning, Mr Barlow said national limits for particulate matter – a dangerous form of air pollutant – were set far higher than WHO guidelines.

“The evidence at the inquest was that there is no safe level for particulate matter and that the WHO guidelines should be seen as minimum requirements.

“Legally binding targets based on WHO guidelines would reduce the number of deaths from air pollution in the UK,” the report said.

He said Government departments for environment, health and transport should address the issue, while local and national governments should address the lack of public awareness about pollution information.

Health bodies and professional organisations needed to tackle the failure by doctors and nurses to communicate the adverse effects of air pollution on health to patients, he said.

Ms Kissi-Debrah said she would be contacting Environment Secretary George Eustice to urge him to put the WHO pollution guidelines into law in the Environment Bill and achieve them in the shortest possible time.

She also said there needed to be improved public information about the levels of pollution that people are exposed to and the health risks.

“As the parent of a child suffering from severe asthma, I should have been given this information but this did not happen.

“Because of a lack of information I did not take the steps to reduce Ella’s exposure to air pollution that might have saved her life. I will always live with this regret.

“But it is not too late for other children.”

And she said: “I invite the Government to act now to reduce air pollution. Immediately. Not in eighteen months, not in five years – that’s not fast enough.

“People are dying from air pollution each year. Action needs to be taken now or more people will simply continue to die.”

A Government spokesman said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Ella’s family and friends.”

The spokesman added that the Government is delivering a £3.8bn plan to clean up transport and tackle nitrogen pollution, and going further in protecting communities from air pollution, particularly particulate matter known as PM2.5.

“Through our landmark Environment Bill, we are also setting ambitious new air quality targets, with a focus on reducing public health impacts.

“We will carefully consider the recommendations in the report and respond in due course.”

As reported by By Tom Bawden, Science & Environment Correspondent, inews.co.uk

April 21, 2021 11:24 am

Super-enzyme breaks down plastic bottles in ‘a matter of days’

By |2021-04-23T14:32:49+01:00September 29th, 2020|

From BBC Science Focus Magazine:

Professor John McGeehan, director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) at the University of Portsmouth

Professor John McGeehan at work

The enhanced protein is made up of two enzymes produced by a type of bacteria that feeds on plastic bottles.

A so-called “super-enzyme” that eats plastic could be “a significant leap forward” in finding solutions to tackle the pollution crisis, scientists hope.

The enhanced protein is made up of two enzymes produced by a type of bacteria that feeds on plastic bottles, known as Ideonella sakaiensis.

Professor John McGeehan, director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) at the University of Portsmouth, said that unlike natural degradation, which can take hundreds of years, the super-enzyme is able to convert the plastic back to its original materials, or building blocks, in just a few days.

“Currently, we get those building blocks from fossil resources such as oil and gas, which is really unsustainable,” he said. “But if we can add enzymes to the waste plastic, we can start to break it down in a matter of days.”

He said the process would also allow plastics to be “made and reused endlessly, reducing our reliance on fossil resources”.

In 2018, Prof McGeehan and his team accidentally discovered that an engineered version of one of the enzymes, known as PETase, was able to break down plastic in a matter of days.

As part of their current study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team mixed PETase with the second enzyme, called MHETase, and found “the digestion of the plastic bottles literally doubled”. The researchers then connected the two enzymes together in the lab, like “two Pac-men joined by a piece of string”, using genetic engineering.

The super enzyme, which is two proteins joined together © Aaron McGeehan/Knott et al

“This allowed us to create a super-enzyme six times faster than the original PETase enzyme alone. This is quite a significant leap forward because the plastic that ends up in our oceans today is going to take hundreds of years to break down naturally,” Prof McGeehan said.

“[Eventually] through sunlight and wave action, it will start to break down into smaller and smaller pieces – and we will end up with microplastics, which is a serious problem for the organisms that live in the environment.”

Tests showed that this super-enzyme was able to break down a type of plastic used in soft drinks and fruit juice packaging, known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Although it is said to be highly recyclable, discarded PET persists for hundreds of years in the environment before it degrades.

Aside from PET, the super-enzyme also works on PEF (polyethylene furanoate), a sugar-based bioplastic used in beer bottles. However, Prof McGeehan said it is unable to break down other types of plastic.

Working with US colleagues, Prof McGeehan used intense X-ray beams at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility in Harwell, Oxfordshire, to map 3D structures of the enzymes. These molecular blueprints allowed the researchers to create the super-enzyme with an enhanced ability to attack plastic.

As part of the next steps, the researchers are looking at ways to even further speed up the break-down process, so the technology can be used for commercial purposes.

“The faster we can make the enzymes, the quicker we can break down the plastic, and the more commercially viable it will be,” Prof McGeehan said. “Oil is very cheap so we need to compete with that by having a very cheap recycling process.”

Reader Q&A: Why are some plastics recyclable and others are not?

Most of the plastics we use are either thermoplastic or thermosetting.

Thermoplastics include acrylics, nylon and polyethylene (polythene). As you heat them up they get soft, so they can be shaped into any form you like, which also makes them easy to recycle. Milk containers can be melted and reformed into furniture, plastic water bottles become fleece jackets, and hard bottle tops can get a new lease of life as storage boxes.

Thermosetting plastics, like Bakelite or polyurethane, are different because they harden as you heat them. Once they have set, you can’t melt them. This makes thermosetting plastics almost impossible to recycle.

Global climate goals ‘virtually impossible’ without carbon capture – IEA

By |2021-04-23T14:39:07+01:00September 28th, 2020|

capturing CO2 cartoon

Up to $160 billion needs to be invested in the technology by 2030, a ten-fold increase from the previous decade, it added. “Without it, our energy and climate goals will become virtually impossible to reach,” the IEA head Fatih Birol said in a statement.

A sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology is needed globally if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets designed to slow climate change, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.A growing number of countries and companies are targeting net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around the middle of the century in the wake of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

To reach that, the amount of CO2 captured must rocket to 800 million tonnes in 2030 from around 40 million tonnes today, the IEA, which advises industrialised nations on energy policies, said in a report.

Up to $160 billion needs to be invested in the technology by 2030, a ten-fold increase from the previous decade, it added.

“Without it, our energy and climate goals will become virtually impossible to reach,” the IEA head Fatih Birol said in a statement.

The global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic risks delaying or cancelling projects dependent on public support, the IEA said.

An oil price slide had also reduced revenues for existing CCUS facilities selling CO2 for so-called enhanced oil recovery (EOR). However, the IEA added: “Economic recovery packages are a unique window of opportunity for governments to support CCUS alongside other clean energy technologies.”

Referring to a major investment to build two carbon capture plants and an offshore CO2 storage facility, Birol said: “Norway showed its leadership in Europe by making a major funding commitment to the Longship project.” Nonetheless, the story of CCUS has largely been “one of unmet expectations”, marred by lack of commercial incentives, large capital costs and public opposition to storage, especially onshore, the IEA said.

In 2009, the IEA called for 100 large-scale CCUS projects to be built by 2020 to store around 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year. To date, just 20 commercial projects are in operation, capturing around 40 million tonnes per year.

Greenpeace petitions UK Government to ban supertrawlers catching 7,000 tons of fish

By |2020-08-28T15:37:27+01:00August 28th, 2020|

A YouGov poll, commissioned by Greenpeace, has shown that more than 4 in 5 members of the British public believe supertrawlers, factory trawlers over 100m long, should be banned from fishing in the UK’s Marine Protected Areas. 81% said supertrawlers should be banned from fishing in protected areas, with just 4% saying they should be permitted to fish in them.

This comes after an investigation revealed that supertrawlers spent almost 3000 hours fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas in 2019, more than double the number of hours they spent fishing in UK protected areas in 2018. Marine Protected Areas exist to protect vulnerable ecosystems and marine life, like porpoises and reefs.

The Dutch-owned Annelies Ilena supertrawler in UK waters

The Dutch-owned Annelies Ilena supertrawler in UK waters

A Greenpeace petition calls on the government to ban supertrawlers from protected areas, and has already gathered 125,000 signatures, including those of Sir Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley, Gillian Anderson Green MP Caroline Lucas, Alison Steadman and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Philip Evans, an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said “This polling makes absolutely clear that the public is united behind our call for a ban on supertrawlers fishing in protected areas. After a decade of political division, our call cutting across the political divide should send a firm message to the government that enough is enough. Supertrawlers must be banned from our protected areas.

“Britain’s departure from the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy is the perfect opportunity to do this. Our government should listen to its constituents, and commit to banning supertrawlers from protected areas as a first step towards designating a network of fully or highly protected MPAs off-limits to all destructive activity across 30% of the UK’s waters.”Britain’s departure from the Common Fisheries Policy will allow the UK government to implement stronger fishing regulations in offshore waters, those beyond 12 nautical miles from the coast. Currently few restrictions are in place in offshore MPAs, which is why supertrawler operations in offshore protected areas are currently legal.

Supertrawler activity in UK waters has increased since 2017. Greenpeace data shows that the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone was the worst affected by EU supertrawler activity of any on earth in 2018 and 2019, and that the time supertrawlers spent fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas had more than doubled from 1388 hours in 2018 to 2963 hours in 2019.

A Defra spokesman said the UK is a global leader in the fight to protect British seas with the Blue Belt of protected waters that are nearly twice the size of England.

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