Saturday, 16 January 2016

Climate change report - 01/15/2015

Greenhouse gas levels and temperatures keep rising

14 January, 2016

At the Paris Agreement, nations pledged to cut emissions and avoid dangerous temperature rises. Yet, the rise in greenhouse gas levels and temperatures appears to be accelerating.
Record growth of carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa

Annual mean carbon dioxide level measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, grew by 
3.17 ppm (parts per million) in 2015, a higher growth rate than in any year since the record started in 1959.

As above image shows, a polynomial trendline added to the data points at a carbon dioxide growth rate of 4 ppm by the year 2024 and 5 ppm by the year 2028. 

At the start of the Industrial Revolution, the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was about 280 ppm. On January 11, 2016, as above image shows, carbon dioxide level at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, was402.1 ppm. That's some 143% times what the upper level of carbon dioxide was in pre-industrial times over at least the past 400,000 years, as the image further below illustrates.

At higher northern latitudes, carbon dioxide levels are higher than elsewhere on Earth, as illustrated by above image. These high greenhouse gases contribute to accelerated warming of the Arctic. 

Methane levels rising even faster than CO2 levels, especially over Arctic Ocean

Historically, methane levels have been moving up and down between a window of 300 and 700 ppb. In modern times, methane levels have been rising even more rapidly than carbon dioxide levels, as illustrated by the image below, from an earlier post.

As above image illustrates, the mean level of 1839 ppb that was reached on September 7, 2014, is some 263% of the ~700 ppb that historically was methane's upper level.

The image below, from an 
earlier post, shows the available World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) annual means, i.e. from 1984 through to 2013, with added polynomial trendline based on these data. Selected NOAA data for 2014 and 2015 are also added for reference. 

Recently, some very high peak levels have been recorded, including a reading of 
2745 ppb on January 2, 2016, and a reading of 2963 ppb on January 8, 2016, shown below.
These high readings illustrate the danger that, as warmer water reaches the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, it will increasingly destabilize sediments that can contain huge amounts of methane in the form of free gas and hydrates. Images associated with these high readings show the presence of high methane levels over the Arctic Ocean, indicating that these high peaks originate from the Arctic ocean and that sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean are destabilizing. The danger is that these peaks will be followed up by even stronger abrupt releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as water temperatures keep rising. 

Rising temperatures

As discussed in an 
earlier post, it now is already above 1.5°C warmer than in pre-industrial times. That post shows a trendline warning that without comprehensive and effective action, it could be 2°C warmer before the year 2030.
[ click on image at original post to enlarge ]
Large methane eruptions threaten to further heat up the atmosphere at first in hotspots over the Arctic and eventually around the globe, while also causing huge temperature swings and extreme weather events, contributing to increasing depletion of fresh water and food supply, as further illustrated by the image below, from an earlier post.

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

Below is an image by Malcolm Light, which updates an image that appeared in an earlier post

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