Monday, 30 April 2012

Climate change: Global extinction within one lifetime

I am not sufficiently scientifically-literate to follow the details of this article, but the conclusions are inescapable - and that is the consequences of melting of the Arctic permafrost and the release of methane acting as a tipping point for global waming.

Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm

By Malcolm Light


Although the sudden high rate Arctic methane increase at Svalbard in late 2010 data set applies to only a short time interval, similar sudden methane concentration peaks also occur at Barrow point and the effects of a major methane build-up has been observed using all the major scientific observation systems. Giant fountains/torches/plumes of methane entering the atmosphere up to 1 km across have been seen on the East Siberian Shelf. This methane eruption data is so consistent and aerially extensive that when combined with methane gas warming potentials, Permian extinction event temperatures and methane lifetime data it paints a frightening picture of the beginning of the now uncontrollable global warming induced destabilization of the subsea Arctic methane hydrates on the shelf and slope which started in late 2010. This process of methane release will accelerate exponentially, release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere and lead to the demise of all life on earth before the middle of this century.


The 1990 global atmospheric mean temperature is assumed to be 14.49 oC (Shakil, 2005; NASA, 2002; DATAWeb, 2012) which sets the 2 oC anomaly above which humanity will lose control of her ability to limit the effects of global warming on major climatic and environmental systems at 16.49 oC (IPCC, 2007). The major Permian extinction event temperature is 80 oF (26.66 oC) which is a temperature anomaly of 12.1766 oC above the 1990 global mean temperature of 14.49 oC (Wignall, 2009; Shakil, 2005).

Results of Investigation

Figure 1 shows a huge sudden atmospheric spike like increase in the concentration of atmospheric methane at Svalbard north of Norway in the Arctic reaching 2040 ppb (2.04 ppm)(ESRL/GMO, 2010 - Arctic - Methane - Emergency - The cause of this sudden anomalous increase in the concentration of atmospheric methane at Svalbard has been seen on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf where a recent Russian - U.S. expedition has found widespread, continuous powerful methane seepages into the atmosphere from the subsea methane hydrates with the methane plumes (fountains or torches) up to 1 km across producing an atmospheric methane concentration 100 times higher than normal (Connor, 2011). Such high methane concentrations could produce local temperature anomalies of more than 50 oC at a conservative methane warming potential of 25.

Figure 2 is derived from the Svalbard data in Figure 1 and the methane concentration data has been used to generate a Svalbard atmospheric temperature anomaly trend using a methane warming potential of 43.5 as an example. The huge sudden anomalous spike in atmospheric methane concentration in mid August, 2010 at Svalbard is clearly evident and the methane concentrations within this spike have been used to construct a series of radiating methane global warming temperature trends for the entire range of methane global warming potentials in Figure 3 from an assumed mean start temperature of -3.575 degrees Centigrade for Svalbard (see Figure 2) (Norwegian Polar Institute; 2011).

Figure 3 shows a set of radiating Arctic atmospheric methane global warming temperature trends calculated from the steep methane atmospheric concentration gradient at Svalbard in 2010 (ESRL/GMO, 2010 - The range of extinction temperature anomalies above the assumed 1990 mean atmospheric temperature of 14.49 oC (Shakil, 2005) are also shown on this diagram as well as the 80 oF (26.66 oC) major Permian extinction event temperature (Wignall, 2009).

Sam Carana (pers. com. 7 Jan, 2012) has described large December 2011 (ESRL-NOAA data) warming anomalies which exceed 10 to 20 degrees centigrade and cover vast areas of the Arctic at times. In the centres of these regions, which appear to overlap the Gakkel Ridge and its bounding basins, the temperature anomalies may exceed 20 degrees centigrade.

See this site:-

The temperature anomalies in this region of the Arctic for the period from September 8 2011 to October 7, 2011 were only about 4 degrees Centigrade above normal (Carana, pers. com. 2012) and this data set can be seen on this site:-

Because the Svalbard methane concentration data suggests that the major spike in methane emissions began in late 2010 it has been assumed for calculation purposes that the 2010 temperature anomalies peaked at 4 degrees Centigrade and the 2011 anomalies at 20 degrees Centigrade in the Gakkel Ridge region. The assumed 20 degree Centigrade temperature anomaly trend from 2010 to 2011 in the Gakkel Ridge region requires a methane gas warming potential of about 1000 to generate it from the Svalbard methane atmospheric concentration spike data in 2010. Such high methane warming potentials could only be active over a very short time interval (less than 5.7 months) as shown when the long methane global warming potential lifetimes data from the IPCC (2007; 1992) and Dessus, Laponte and Treut (2008 ) are used to generate a global warming potential growth curve with a methane global warming potential of 100 with a lifespan of 5 years.

Because of the high methane global warming potential (1000) of the 2011, 20 oC temperature anomalies in the Gakkel Ridge region, the entire methane global warming potential range from 5 to 1000 has been used to construct the radiating set of temperature trends shown in Figure 3. The 50, 100, 500 and 1000 methane global warming potential (GWP) trends are red and in bold. The choice of a high temperature methane peak with a global warming potential near 1000 is in fact very conservative because the 16 oC increase is assumed to occur over a year. The observed ESRL-NOAA Arctic temperature anomalies varied from 4 to 20 degrees over less than a month in 2011 (Sam Carana, pers. comm. 2012).

Figure 4 shows the estimated lifetime of a globally spreading Arctic methane atmospheric veil for different methane global warming potentials with the minimum, mean and maximum lifetimes fixed with data from Dessus, Laponche and Treut (2008) and IPCC (2007, 1992). On this diagram it is evident that the maximum methane global warming potential temperature trend of 50 intersects the 2 degree centigrade temperature anomaly line in mid 2027 at which time humanity will completely lose our ability to combat the earth atmospheric temperature rise. This diagram also indicates that methane will be an extremely active global warming agent for the first 15 years during the early stages of the extinction process. At the 80 o F (26.66 oC) Permian extinction event temperature line (Wignall, 2009), which has a 12.177 oC temperature anomaly above the 1980 mean of 14.49 oC, the lifetime of the minimum methane global warming potential veil is now some 75 years long and the temperature so high that total extinction of all life on earth will have occured by this time.

The life time from the almost instantaneous injection of methane into the atmosphere in 2010 is also shown as the two vertical violet lines (12 +- 3) years and this has been extended by 6 percent to 15.9 years to take account of increased methane concentrations in the future (IPCC, 1992b). This data set can be used to set up the likely start position for the extinction event from the large methane emissions in 2010.

Figure 5 shows the estimated Arctic Gakkel Ridge earthquake frequency temperature increase curve (Light, 2011), the Giss Arctic mean November surface temperature increase curve (data from Carana, 2011) and the mean global temperature increase curve from IPCC (2007) long term gradient data. The corrected Arctic atmospheric temperature curve for the ice cap melt back in 2015 was derived from the mean time difference between the IPCC model ice cap and observed Arctic Ice cap rate of volume decrease (Masters, 2009). The ice cap temperature increase curve lags behind the Arctic atmosphere temperature curve because of the extra energy required for the latent heat of melting of the permafrost and Greenland ice caps (Lide and Frederickse, 1995).

Figure 6 shows 5 mathematically and visually determined best estimates of the possible global atmospheric extinction gradients for the minimum (a), mean (b) and maximum (e) methane global warming potential lifetime trends. The mean (c) methane global warming potential lifetime trend has almost the identical gradient to the best mathematical fit over the temperature extinction interval (2 oC to 12.2 oC temperature anomaly zone) as the Arctic Gakkel Ridge frequency data (b) and the Giss Arctic mean November surface temperature data (d). This suggests that the Giss Arctic mean November surface temperature curve and the Arctic Gakkel Ridge frequency temperature curves are good estimates of the global extinction temperature gradient.

Figure 7 diagramatically shows the funnel shaped region in purple, yellow and brown of atmospheric stability of methane derived from Arctic subsea methane eruption fountains/torches formed above destabilized shelf and slope methane hydrates (Connor, 2011). The width of this zone expands exponentially from 2010 with increasing temperature to reach a lifetime of more than 75 years at 80 o F (26.66 oC) which is the estimated mean atmospheric temperature of the major Permian extinction event (Wignall 2009). The previous most catastrophic mass extinction event occured in the Permian when atmospheric methane released from methane hydrates was the primary driver of the massive mean atmospheric temperature increase to 80 oF (26.66 oC) at a time when the atmospheric carbon dioxide was less than at present (Wignall, 2009).

Method of Analysis

By combining fractional amounts of an assumed standard Arctic methane fountain/torch/plume with a global warming potential of 1000 (which equals a 16 oC temperature rise (4 - 20 oC) over one year - 2010 - 2011) with the mean global temperature curve (from IPCC 2007 - gradient data) it was possible to closely match the 5 visually and mathematically determined best estimates of the global extinction gradients shown in Figure 6 (a to e). Because the thermal radiant flux from the earth into space is a function of its area (Lide and Fredrickse, 1995) we can roughly determine how many years it will take for the methane to spread globally by getting the ratio of the determined fraction of the mean global temperature curve to the fraction of the Arctic methane fountain/torch/plume curve, as the latter is assumed to represent only one year of methane emissions. In addition as the earth's surface area is some 5.1*10^8 square kilometres (Lide and Fredrickse, 1995) a rough estimate of the average area of the region over which the methane emissions occur within the Arctic can also be determined by multiplying the Arctic methane/torch/plume fraction by the surface area of the earth. The Arctic fountain/torch areas are expressed as the diameter of circular region of methane emissions or the two axes A and B of an ellipse shaped area of methane emissions (where B = 4A) (Table 1).

Twenty estimates have been made of the times of the various extinction events in the northern and southern hemispheres and these are shown on Table 1 and summarised on Figure 7 with their ranges. The absolute mean extinction time for the northern hemisphere is 2031.8 and for the southern hemisphere 2047.6 with a final mean extinction time for 3/4 of the earth's surface of 2039.6 which is similar to the extinction time suggested previously from correlations between planetary orbital mechanics and the frequency increase of Great and Normal earthquake activity on Earth (Light, 2011). Extinction in the southern hemisphere lags the northern hemisphere by 9 to 29 years.

Figure 8 shows a different method of interpreting the extinction fields defined by the (12 +-3) + 6% year long lifetime of methane (IPCC, 1992) assumed to have been instantaneously injected into the Arctic atmosphere in 2010 and the lifetime of the globally spreading methane atmospheric veil at different methane global warming potentials. The start of extinction begins between 2020 and 2026.9 and extinction will be complete in the northern hemisphere by 2057. Extinction will begin around 2024 in the southern hemisphere and will be completed by 2087. Extinction in the southern hemisphere, in particular in Antarctica will be delayed by some 30 years. This makes property on the Transantarctic mountains of premium value for those people wish to survive the coming methane firestorm for a few decades longer.

Figure 9. is a further refinement of the extinction fields shown in Figure 8. by defining a new latent heat of ice melting curve at different ambient temperatures which has been calculated from the corrected Arctic atmospheric temperature trend for the ice cap melt back defined by the difference between the Piomass observed melt back time and the IPCC modelled melt back time which predicts the melt back incorrectly some 50 years into the future (Masters, 2009). This work shows that the IPCC climate models are probably more than 100 years out in their prediction of the complete melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps.

Method of Analysis

To melt 1 kg of ice you require 334 kilo Joules of energy (the latent heat of melting of ice) to transform the solid into the liquid at 0 oC (Wikipedia, 2012 ). Subsequently for each one oC temperature rise, the water requires and additional 4.18 kilo Joules to heat it up to the ambient temperature (Wikipedia, 2012). An 80 oC temperature rise of a 1 kg mass of water requires almost exactly the same amount of energy input (334.4 kJ) as the amount of energy required by the latent heat of melting of ice (334 kJ) to covert one kg of ice into water at 0 oC. Because one Joule is the energy equivalent of the power of one watt sustained for one second there is also a time element in the melting of the ice and the heating up of the water, i.e. it is the function of temperature increase and the time similar to the way oil is generated in sediments (Lopatin, 1971; Allen and Allen, 1990).

If we consider the time necessary to melt one kg of ice and then raise its temperature to 80 oC, both of the above processes require the same amount of energy so we can consider that the first half of the time will simply involve conversion the solid ice into a liquid state at 0 oC and the second half of the time in heating the resulting ice water from 0 to 80 oC. This means that the ice melt curve at 80 oC will lag the atmospheric temperature line by half the time at 80 oC.

For temperatures less than 80 oC, the energy necessary to raise the water formed from the melted ice to the ambient temperature is less than that required for the latent melting of the ice (required to move it from a solid to a liquid state) and progressively more relative energy is needed at low temperatures to melt the ice.

The following formulation has been used to calculate the ratio of the time necessary for the melting of 1 kg of ice to water a 0 oC to the time necessary for the heating up of the 1 kg of water produced from the melted ice to the specified ambient temperature.

For any power n, let 2^n represent the ambient temperature of 1 kg of water which was derived from the melting of 1 kg of ice.

The energy required for the original melting of the 1 kg ice to water at 0 oC (latent heat of melting of ice) = 2^(n-3)/10 = 2^n/(2^3*10) = 2^n/80 = ambient temperature/80


Let n=1; therefore temperature = 2^1 = 2 oC
Latent heat of melting = 2^(n-3)/10 = 2^-2/10 = 1/10*1/(2^2) =1/10*1/4 = 1/40

Let n=5; therefore temperature = 2^5 = 32 oC
Latent heat of melting = 2^(n-3)/10 = 2^2/10 = 4/10

The ratio of the time required for the latent heat of melting at any temperature is the reciprocal of the above = 10/(2^n-3)

The total time is therefore
a.) The time necessary for the latent heat of melting to covert 1 kg of ice into water
at 0 oC = 10/(2^n-3)
b.) The time required to heat up the 1 kg of water up to a temperature of 2^n = 1.

The total time = (10/(2^n-3)+1)

Therefore the fraction of time needed to simply melt the ice to 0 oC before it is raised to the ambient temperature 2^n = 10/(2^n-3)/((10/(2^n-3))+1)

Now: ((10/(2^n-3)) +1) = (10+ (2^n-3))/(2^(n-3))

The total time is therefore = 10/(10+(2^n-3))

Examples showing the calculation of the time ratio of the energy of latent heat of melting of ice to form water at 0 oC to the energy necessary to raise the water to the ambient temperature are shown below:-

N 2^n oC Fraction Formula Fraction

0 1 10/(10+1/8) 0.9877
1 2 10/(10+1/4) 0.9756
2 4 10/(10+1/2) 0.9526
3 8 10/(10+1) 0.9091
4 16 10/(10+2) 0.8333
5 32 10/(10+4) 0.7143
6 64 10/(10+8) 0.5555
6.32193 80 10/(10+10) 0.5000

The time value at each temperature of the corrected Arctic atmospheric temperature trend from the observed ice cap melt back (Masters, 2009) has been multiplied by the above fraction for each ambient temperature to determine a new "latent heat of ice melting curve" which represents the temperature - time energy necessary for the complete melting of the ice to water at 0 oC without the additional energy needed to raise the water to the ambient temperature of the atmosphere. This latent heat of ice melting curve is shown as the dark blue line on Figure 9.

The maximum mean global atmospheric temperature above which all the world's icecaps will have completely melted away is estimated to lie between 7 oC and 8 oC above the mean global temperature which here is taken as 14.49 oC in 1990 (IPCC, 2007). The critical temperatures above which the Earth will entirely lose its ice caps are between 21.49 oC and 22.49 oC. It has been found however that the latent heat of ice melting curve first intersects the maximum lifetime stability line for atmospheric methane calculated from the methane global warming potentials (see. Figure 3) at the 20.964 oC extinction line (6.474 degrees centigrade above the atmospheric mean temperature of 14.49 oC in 1980) at 2050.1 and the 22.49 oCextinction line (8 oC above the atmospheric mean temperature of 14.49 oC in 1980) at 2051.3. Therefore the limits of the final melting and loss of all ice on Earth have been fixed between the 6.474 oC and 8 oC anomalies above the 1990 mean atmospheric temperature of 14.49 oC. This very narrow temperature range includes all the mathematically and visually determined extinction times and their means for the northern and southern hemispheres which were calculated quite separately (Figure 7; Table 1).

Once the world's ice caps have completely melted away at temperatures above 22.49 oC and times later than 2051.3, the Earth's atmosphere will heat up at an extremely fast rate to reach the Permian extinction event temperature of 80oF (26.66 oC)(Wignall, 2009) by which time all life on Earth will have been completely extinguished.

The position where the latent heat of ice melting curve intersects the 8 oC extinction line (22.49 oC) at 2051.3 represents the time when 100 percent of all the ice on the surface of the Earth will have melted. If we make this point on the latent heat of ice melting curve equal to 1 we can determine the time of melting of any fraction of the Earth's icecaps by using the time*temperature function at each time from 2051.3 back to 2015, the time the average Arctic atmospheric temperature curve is predicted to exceed 0 oC. The process of melting 1 kg of ice and heating the produced water up to a certain temperature is a function of the sum of the latent heat of melting of ice is 334 kilo Joules/kg and the final water temperature times the 4.18 kilo Joules/Kg.K (Wikipedia, 2012). This however represents the energy required over a period of one second to melt 1 kg of ice to water and raise it to the ambient temperature. Therefore the total energy per mass of ice over a certain time period is equal to (334 +(4.18*Ambient Temperature)*time in seconds that the melted water took to reach the ambient temperature. From the fractional time*temperature values at each ambient temperature the fractional amounts of melting of the total global icecaps have been calculated and are shown on Figure 9.

The earliest calculated fractional volume of melting of the global ice caps in 2016 is 1.85*10^-3 of the total volume of global ice with an average yearly rate of ice melting of 2.557*10^-3 of the total volume of global ice. This value is remarkably similar to, but slightly less than the average rate of melting of the Arctic sea ice measured over an 18 year period of 2.7*10^-3 (1978 to 1995; 2.7% per decade - IPCC 2007).This close correlation between observed rates of Arctic ice cap and predicted rates of global ice cap melting indicates that average rates of Arctic ice cap melting between 1979 and 2015 (which represents the projected time the Arctic will lose its ice cover - Masters, 2009) will be continued during the first few years of melting of the global ice caps after the Arctic ice cover has gone in 2015 as the mean Arctic atmospheric temperature starts to climb above 0 oC. However from 2017 the rate of melting of the global ice will start to accelerate as will the atmospheric temperature until by 2049 it will be more than 9 times as fast as it was around 2015 (Table 2).

The mean rate of melting of the global icecap between 2017 and 2049 is some 2*10^-2, some 7.4 times the mean rate of melting of the Arctic ice cap (Table 2). In concert with the increase in rate of global ice cap melting between 2017 and 2049, the acceleration in the rate of melting also increases from 7*10^-4 to 9.9*10^-4 with a mean value close to 8.6*10^-4 (Table 2). The ratio of the acceleration in the rate of global ice cap melting to the Arctic ice cap melting increases from 3.4 in 2017 to 4.8 by 2049 with a mean near 4.2. This fast acceleration in the rate of global ice cap melting after 2015 compared to the Arctic sea ice cap melting before 2015 is because the mean Arctic atmospheric temperature after 2017 is spiraling upward in temperature above 0 oC adding large amounts of additional energy to the ice and causing it to melt back more quickly.

The melt back of the Arctic ice cap is a symptom of the Earth's disease but not its cause and it is the cause that has to be dealt with if we hope to bring about a cure. Therefore a massive cut back in carbon dioxide emissions should be mandatory for all developed nations (and some developing nations as well). Total destruction of the methane in the Arctic atmosphere is also mandatory if we are to survive the effects of its now catastrophic rate of build up in the atmospheric methane concentration However cooling of the Arctic using geoengineering methods is also vitally important to reduce the effects of the ice cap melting further enhancing the already out of control destabilization of the methane hydrates on the Arctic shelf and slope.

· Developed (and some developing) countries must cut back their carbon dioxide emissions by a very large percentage (50% to 90%) by 2020 to immediately precipitate a cooling of the Earth and its crust. If this is not done the earthquake frequency and methane emissions in the Arctic will continue to grow exponentially leading to our inexorable demise between 2031 to 2051.

· Geoenginering must be used immediately as a cooling method in the Arctic to counteract the effects of the methane buildup in the short term. However these methods will lead to further pollution of the atmosphere in the long term and will not solve the earthquake induced Arctic methane buildup which is going to lead to our annihilation.

· The United States and Russia must immediately develop a net of powerful radio beat frequency transmission stations around the Arctic using the critical 13.56 MHZ beat frequency to break down the methane in the stratosphere and troposphere to nanodiamonds and hydrogen (Light 2011a) . Besides the elimination of the high global warming potential methane, the nanodiamonds may form seeds for light reflecting noctilucent clouds in the stratosphere and a light coloured energy reflecting layer when brought down to the Earth by snow and rain (Light 2011a). HAARP transmission systems are able to electronically vibrate the strong ionospheric electric current that feeds down into the polar areas and are thus the least evasive method of directly eliminating the buildup of methane in those critical regions (Light 2011a).

The warning about extinction is stark. It is remarkable that global scientists had not anticipated a giant buildup of methane in the atmosphere when it had been so clearly predicted 10 to 20 years ago and has been shown to be critically linked to extinction events in the geological record (Kennett et al. 2003). Furthermore all the experiments should have already been done to determine which geoengineering methods were the most effective in oxidising/destroying the methane in the atmosphere in case it should ever build up to a concentration where it posed a threat to humanity. Those methods need to be applied immediately if there is any faint hope of reducing the catastrophic heating effects of the fast building atmospheric methane concentration.

Malcolm Light 9th February, 2012



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