Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The warming planet - 10/30/2017

Carbon dioxide is gushing into Earth’s atmosphere at record pace

Participants look at a screen showing a world map with climate anomalies during the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, near Paris, on Dec. 8, 2015. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

30 October, 2017

The concentration of CO2, a planet-warming greenhouse gas, set a new record in 2016, according to a report by the U.N. World Meteorological Organization. The year-to-year spike in CO2, from 400 ppm in 2015 to 403.3 ppm in 2016, also represents the biggest annual jump on record, some of which can be attributed to the 2015-2016 El Nino.

The atmosphere has as much CO2 in it as it did 3 to 5 million years ago, the report states, when “the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melted and even some of the East Antarctic ice was lost, leading to sea levels that were [33 to 66 feet] higher than those today.”

The report starts out:

The rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) over the past 70 years is nearly 100 times larger than that at the end of the last ice age.

That in itself is alarming. But here’s the kicker — and the thing that may end up being more important than the total amount of CO2 in the air:

As far as direct and proxy observations can tell, such abrupt changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 have never before been seen.

The overwhelming majority of relevant scientists agree that’s a problem.

Prior to the industrial revolution, when fossil-fuel-burning technologies started to come online, global concentration of CO2 was around 280 ppm. In just 100 short years — the blink of an eye, geologically — that level surged above 400 ppm. Burning fossil fuels takes carbon out of the ground and injects it into the atmosphere, where it prevents Earth’s heat from radiating back into space. It’s led to a 40 percent increase in the radiative forcing, or “warming effect,” of our climate.

We simply don’t know how Earth is going to respond to such a rapid increase in temperature. There is no precedent we can look to that could provide insight on how ecosystems will or won’t adapt. The closest analog we have is something that happened 55 million years ago: an era scientists call the PETM — paleo-eocene thermal maximum — in which CO2 climbed to record levels over tens of thousands of years. You can see, it doesn’t hold a candle to the rate we’re witnessing in the 20th and 21st centuries.

(Angela Fritz for

Evolution. It seems small, but it’s significant. The Paris Agreement pointed to 2 degrees as the point at which Earth’s climate may become truly inhospitable for current life — with heat waves, drought, sea-level rise and catastrophic flooding as the main impacts. The agreement basically says staying below that threshold is how we can avoid the most harm.

Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. “Future generations will inherit a much more inhospitable planet.”

Unprecedented methane emissions worldwide
Thanks to Harold Hensell
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Here are scary pictures for real.

Surface methane 10 30 2017,

North America and Global.

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California, demand more tankers to put the fires out. The same goes for Canada. This is one thing that can be done.

1250 ppb is the energy balance for methane. Anything over this and the atmosphere continues to heat up. The consequences eventually make the earth unlivable.…/nrt_fields_ghg!Methane!Sur…/

Historic ice thickness – 2012 and 


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Polar jetstream

I wonder what the experts would make of the seahorse–shaped feature (blue colour) of relatively shallow winds, running from Moscow to Hudson Bay.
This is on the Jet Stream view of Earth Nullschool.

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Polar ice

For the geeks, these are the best figures we get for daily ice.

Daily volume: 6,354 km³ (2nd lowest for the date) Δ +82/day
+558/week, 1,319/month, –89/year, +74/5year (+1.2%)
–10,754 (–63% 80s), –9,124 (90s), –5,089 (00s), –1,317 (2010–16)

Daily extent: 7,882,757 km² (3rd lowest for the date) Δ +66k/day
+608k/week, 2,835k/month, +962k/year, +365k/5year (+4.9%)

2017 volume maximum 20,756 km³ on April 18th (*lowest*)
2017 volume minimum 4,539 km³ on September 11th (4th lowest)
2017 extent maximum 13,878,287 km² on March 6th (*lowest*)
2017 extent minimum 4,472,225 km² on September 9th (6th lowest)

However, the above daily numbers carry a taste of  ?. If you don’t want to cherry–pick your data to make a point, you may want to look at the latest, updated, running annual average. The ice, after all, has to be out there and survive those waves 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Annual volume: 12,596 km³ (*record* low) Δ –0.2/day
–3.3/week, +12/month, –1,435/year, –1,076/5year (–7.9%)

Annual extent: 9,864,441 km² (2nd lowest) Δ +2.63k/day
+16k/week, +53k/month, +10k/year, –136k/5year (–1.4%)
Annual average volume has currently been more than 1,000 km³ lower than the previous record low for 100 consecutive days.
Source: JAXA / PIOMAS (app estimate) for October 30th 2017.

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