Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More heat on the way


Above image shows temperature anomalies over the Pacific Ocean on February 12, 2017. Note the 19.2°C (34.5 °F) anomaly off the coast of Japan, at the location marked by the green circle.

In 2016, the annually-averaged temperature for ocean surfaces around the world was 0.75°C (1.35°F) higher than the 20th century average, higher than the previous record of 2015, NOAA reports. The global annual land surface temperature for 2016 was 1.43°C (2.57°F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record of 2015 by 0.11°C (0.19°F). Note that NOAA uses the the 20th century average as a baseline, for more on different baselines, see this earlier post.

There is more heat on the way, as illustrated by the image below.


As above image shows, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) temporarily raises (El Niño) or suppresses (La Niña) global temperatures. Generally, the stronger the event (El Niño or La Niña), the greater its impact on the average global temperature around that time. Note that one value for 2016 literally went off the chart.


As above image shows (at the end of the graph on the right), we've barely had a bit of a La Niña in 2017 and we're already facing another El Niño event.

[ click on images to enlarge ]

Above images shows ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) plumes with strong positive anomalies in all three El Niño regions (on the right).

In other words, temperatures in 2017 look set to be very high, which spells bad news for the Arctic where temperature anomalies are already several times higher than in the rest of the world, as illustrated by the image below.

As the image below shows, Antarctic sea ice extent was at a record low for the time of the year on February 11, 2017.


The situation looks particularly grim for the Arctic sea ice. As the image below shows, Arctic sea ice extent on February 11, 2017, was also at a record low for the time of the year. In fact, it had fallen to 13,895,00 km² that day, raising the question whether perhaps the maximum for the year 2017 had already been reached.


Low global sea ice extent means that less sunlight is reflected back into space by the ice and that more heat is instead absorbed by the ocean, adding to the predicament the world is in. The situation in the Arctic is crucial, as huge amounts of methane, contained in sediments under the Arctic Ocean, could be released if warming continues, potentially triggering mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade.

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



Links


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

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

• How much warming have humans caused?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

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




Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade


[ click on images to enlarge ]
On February 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC it is forecast to be 0.1°C or 32.1°F at the North Pole, i.e. above the temperature at which water freezes. The temperature at the North Pole is forecast to be 30°C or 54°F warmer than 1979-2000, on Feb 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC, as shown on the Climate Reanalyzer image on the right.

This high temperature is expected as a result of strong winds blowing warm air from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The forecast below, run on February 4, 2017, shows that winds as fast as 157 km/h or 98 mph were expected to hit the North Atlantic on February 6, 2017, 06:00 UTC, producing waves as high as 16.34 m or 53.6 ft.


A later forecast shows waves as high as 17.18 m or 54.6 ft, as illustrated by the image below.


While the actual wave height and wind speed may not turn out to be as extreme as such forecasts, the images do illustrate the horrific amounts of energy contained in these storms.

Stronger storms go hand in hand with warmer oceans. The image below shows that on February 4, 2017, at a spot off the coast of Japan marked by green circle, the ocean was 19.1°C or 34.4°F warmer than 1981-2011.


As discussed in an earlier post, the decreasing difference in temperature between the Equator and the North Pole causes changes to the jet stream, in turn causing warmer air and warmer water to get pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The image below shows that on February 9, 2017, the water at a spot near Svalbard (marked by the green circle) was 13°C or 55.3°F, i.e. 12.1°C or 21.7°F warmer than 1981-2011.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
Warmer water flowing into the Arctic Ocean in turn increases the strength of feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic. One of these feedbacks is methane that is getting released from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Update: The image below shows that methane levels on February 13, 2017, pm, were as high as 2727 ppb, 1½ times the global mean at the time.

[ click on image to enlarge, right image added for reference to show location of continents ] 
What caused such a high level? High methane levels (magenta color) over Baffin Bay are an indication of a lot of methane getting released north of Greenland and subsequently getting pushed along the exit current through Nares Strait (see map below). This analysis is supported by the images below, showing high methane levels north of Greenland on the morning of February the 14th (left) and the 15th (right).



The image below shows methane levels as high as 2569 ppb on February 17, 2017. This is an indication of ocean heat further destabilizing permafrost at the seafloor of the Laptev Sea, resulting in high methane concentrations where it is rising in plumes over the Laptev Sea (at 87 mb, left panel) and is spreading over a larger area (at slightly lower concentrations) at higher altitude (74 mb, right panel).


This illustrates how increased inflow of warm water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean can cause methane to erupt from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. Methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean have the potential to rapidly and strongly accelerate warming in the Arctic and speed up further feedbacks, raising global temperature with catastrophic consequences in a matter of years. Altogether, these feedbacks and further warming elements could trigger a huge abrupt rise in global temperature making that extinction of many species, including humans, could be less than one decade away.

Youtube video by RT America

Without action, we are facing extinction at unprecedented scale. In many respects, we are already in the sixth mass extinction of Earth's history. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct when temperatures rose by 8°C (14°F) during the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, 252 million years ago.

During the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago, global temperatures rose as rapidly as by 5°C in ~13 years, according to a study by Wright et al. A recent study by researchers led by Zebee concludes that the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Back in history, the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years occurred during the PETM. Yet, the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate was less than 1.1 Pg C per year, the study by Zebee et al. found. By contrast, a recent annual carbon release rate from anthropogenic sources was ~10 Pg C (2014). The study by Zebee et al. therefore concludes that future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the - by comparison - relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.

An earlier study by researchers led by De Vos had already concluded that current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction and future rates are likely to be 10,000 times higher.

from the post 2016 well above 1.5°C
As above image shows, a number of warming elements adds up to a potential warming of 10°C (18°F) from pre-industrial by the year 2026, i.e. within about nine years from now, as discussed in more detail at the extinction page.


Above image shows how a 10°C (18°F) temperature rise from preindustrial could be completed within a decade.

https://sites.google.com/site/samcarana/climateplan
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed in the Climate Plan.


Links

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

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/arctic-ocean-feedbacks.html

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

• How much warming have humans caused?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• Estimating the normal background rate of species extinction, De Vos et al. (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25159086

• Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years, by Zebee et al. (2016)
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v9/n4/full/ngeo2681.html

• Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, Wright et al. (2013)
http://www.pnas.org/content/110/40/15908.full?sid=58b79a3f-8a05-485b-8051-481809c87076

• RT America Youtube video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSnrDRU6_2g

• RT America Facebook video
https://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica/videos/10154168391051366



Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade. The forecast for February 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC is that it will be 32.1°F or 0.1°C on North Pole, i.e. above freezing...
Posted by Sam Carana on Wednesday, February 8, 2017