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Al, Thank you! I don't know how I missed that source in my search. There are some small differences in factors that appear to account for the 7 ppm difference between their estimate and my own. That's not a lot considering all of the factors involved. Very helpful. Thanks again. Sam
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2016 on PIOMAS November 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Neven, Thank you for all you have done in creating this wonderful site and forum. You are in no way alone. I think nearly all of us here are in very nearly the same place as yourself. Trying to make sense out of any reasonable way forward from here is crazy making. Peace and best wishes to you and your wife, and to us all. Sam
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2016 on Sabbatical (I hope) at Arctic Sea Ice
Also, As I noted previously, one of the things that jumped out at me in doing the calculation myself (and redoing it many times) is that we are at 520 ppm CO2e now. This is much higher than the numbers reported elsewhere. I am somewhat anxious for someone else here to independently grind through it all to compare notes in order to find any errors I may have made. If we are indeed at 520 ppm CO2e, then the situation is substantially worse than is generally recognized. With the political and institutional pressures the major organizations face to iron clad prove every iota of information (or be forced to exclude it) it is not surprising for the published estimates to be very nonconservative (understating the seriousness of our condition). Also, if we take the preindustrial contribution of methane and use it instead of current methane, we get a somewhat higher relative equivalent CO2(re) of something like 435-450 ppm. What that number shows is not the combined effects, but rather what the CO2 alone would need to be to get to the current CO2e with only CO2 and preindustrial CH4 levels. And what that in turn shows is that the gases other than CO2 are all of relatively minor importance. The huge caveat with that is that if we emit the carbon from the tundra stores or the oceanic methane clathrates that that dramatically and suddenly changes. In those cases, methane becomes immensely important. More than all of this, what these calculations hide is the most important big picture. They all inherently presume a regularity and quasi linearity to how the system responds to heating. That is nearly true for small changes. That is decidedly false for large changes. Once large changes occur, the base conditions change and the calculations lose relevance. And it is here that the paleoclimatic correlations take on huge significance. But that too is deceptive as it is based on the quasi stable climatic conditions the earth has been in for many millions of years with two ice covered poles. It is relatively rare in the long history of the earth to exist in these quasistable midregions between snowball earth and hothouse earth. The change we are driving now looks to most definitely eliminate the northern ice sheets. That will likely create then an unsymmetrical atmosphere with a unicellular northern circulation and a cloud covered warm northern pole; and an ice covered (though melting) Antarctic pole with a three cell atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere. The earth existed in those conditions for tens of millions of years. So, it might be stable enough that we could return to near present conditions in a few million years. That is provided we do not push the earth so hard that we release the tundra carbon stores and:or the oceanic clathrates. Should those occur, the heating may be prolonged and serious enough to fully melt Antarctica. If that happens, we enter a hothouse earth. Temperatures bang up to the top end of the geologic scale and limit out there. The atmospheric pressure rises and the O2 content falls leaving an atmosphere that won't support large animals. In time that too changes and O2 soars to the point that forests can occasionally burn during torrential downpours and three foot spiders roam the earth. Any of those are conditions we should not want to explore. Agriculture will likely become impossible in the northern hemisphere at least during the transition to a unicellular atmospheric circulation system. We won't be able to predict temperatures or rainfall from year to year. Catastrophic variations from jet stream movements will make that even worse. Once things stabilize in the unicellular flows, we might again get to some sort of predictable system for crops if we are very fortunate. However, the changes in oceanic circulation may take a thousand to several thousand years to stabilize. In the mean time, large anoxic areas may form with large atmospheric and continental consequences. Are any of these provably true. I don't know. They are likely true, and equally likely unprovable. We lack the data. The danger from them to human survival is so large it would be unwise to roll the dice and find out. But roll the dice we have. So, in time (perhaps not too much time) we will find out.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2016 on PIOMAS November 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Al, I agree with you that it is inappropriate to use CO2e as the be-all end-all for calculating temperature rise. It is all to easy to fall into that trap. As Wayne points out from the work so many hard scientists have done, there are other effects that are more important. If one relied only on CO2e the indicated temperature rise would greatly understate the real temperature change. Hansen and others have pointed out the strong correlation between CO2 rise and temperature rise and how much larger that is than would be predicted from the simplest assessments and thermodynamic calculations. A large part of these effects seems to be from a group of combined effects from the increase in moisture and clouds in the atmosphere, the heightening of moisture into the high atmosphere and albedo changes. I suspect too that differences in these changes with latitude are large and that the changes in the polar regions are very much more important than equatorial changes for example. Though CO2e does allow for relative comparisons of the effects of the various warming gases and maximizing what good we might do, it easily misleads as well by missing these larger impacts. What became really clear to me in doing the research to do the calculations for myself was that the minor gases (gases other than CO2, CH4, N2O and H20 as gas and as clouds) have essentially a constant and quite small impact on the outcome. Yes, it is very important to limit all of these. In the grand scheme, the only two we must focus on are CO2 and CH4. Both of those come down to stopping the use of fossil fuels. If we fail on this all of the rest are irrelevant. And we are badly failing on those two. If we globally somehow turn the corner (immediately) on CO2 and CH4, then the others might become important, otherwise they are of minor significance. But we are not going to turn the corner on CO2 or CH4, so that is moot anyway. Sam
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2016 on PIOMAS November 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Oops CO2e runs about 1.30 to 1.38 * CO2.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2016 on PIOMAS November 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Wayne, Calculating CO2 equivalent (CO2e) is far from trivial. And though the result has some use, it obscures the immense complexities involved in heat transport across the IR spectrum and through the atmosphere. With that caveat out of the way, CO2 heating is approximately logarithmic with concentration. The way the value is calculated is by using a set of observed correlation factors to convert CO2 and other gas concentrations to equivalent forcings in watts/meter^2. This includes a couple of compounding factors between CO2 and methane and N2O. As it turns out, these are negligible. After you sum all of the forcings, including effects on water vapor and ozone, you then back out the CO2e through the logarithmic relationship. If you take the preindustrial gas levels (278 ppm CO2 etc...), the preindustrial CO2e was about 378 ppm CO2e. If you take the past years average for all of the major gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, resulting water vapor changes) and then add the ozone change (very minor) and the top three dozen trace gases (HCFCs, SF6, NF3, etc...). The current CO2 of 402.5 (annual global mean) etc... you get a grand total of 520 ppm CO2e. That then converts to a thermodynamic temperature change from preindustrial due to these gases of 1.03 C. Doing the calculation is an interesting exercise. There are clearly missing factors. The elevation of moisture into the high atmosphere leading to increased warming, and the cooling from sulfate and particulate aerosols are probably the largest. Then add stochastic variation and even as a simple model it all gets rather complex. If you then extrapolate the observed trends on all of these gases through 2070 (the date isn't important) a couple of things jump out. First, CO2e can be approximated as 1.38 * CO2. Second, the trace gases (chlorofluoro yada yada) amount to about 10 ppm (I.e. small and nearly constant). Third, even though the temperature rise attributed to these gases is exponential, it can reasonably be approximated through late in the 20th century as [CO2]/278ppm - 0.45 C. The actual rise is considerably higher for the reasons noted above, plus immense changes when the atmospheric and oceanic changes kick in. Fourth, this is a very simple model and does not account for a variety of huge factors. It only gives an idea of the direct impact of the warming directly. In other words - use caution - there be dragons here. Fifth, we are in deep trouble already and we are toast by mid century. We must all simple stop burning things and stop all emissions of carbon gases (principally CO2 and methane) and the consequent N2O. I encourage everyone interested to research the complexities and run the calculations yourself. As you do so, a huge array of questions and challenges will become apparent. Mostly these boil down to how little we actually understand the immense complexities involved in the earth's energy balance. It also becomes quickly apparent that many of the relied upon estimates (EEA) shouldn't be relied upon at all.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2016 on PIOMAS November 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
In my career in heavy industry one of the disheartening lessons was that when those in charge in a plant do not understand the fundamental technical basis of how the plant works (or worse - simply do not care) that all I could do was get out of the way and wait. Once events took their natural course and the plant failed completely and only then could I help put it right with the new management and staff that replaced the old management and staff. I simply had to hope that the damage done as the plant systems collapsed wasn't so great or severe as to make the situation hopeless. Sadly, the situation we face was already hopeless. I ran the numbers a while back. From basic principles we are now at about 520 ppm co2 equivalent. The EEA number in the high 400s is just plain wrong. Other estimates at about 500 omit several important gases, including co2, methane and nitrous oxide effects on ozone and water vapor induced warming. Based solely on these, the thermodynamic warming predicted is 1 degree C. Based on extrapolations of current trends for the various gases we should expect co2e to rise to between 750-950 ppm by 2070 with a thermodynamic predicted temperature rise of 2 C. The actual temperature rise is larger of course do to compounded effects on water vapor in the atmosphere. We are currently at about 1.6-1.85 C above the historic background. And so we were already rapidly headed for a 3-5 C increase in temperature, which is cataclysmic. Above 1.5-2 C the likelihood of thermal runaway is almost certain --> to the upper temperature stable ice free world State that has dominated most of geologic time. That is where we were if we put all hands on deck globally and did every conceivable thing to limit global warming gas emissions. Now, well -> those cheery days are behind us. Now we get to watch in horror as all of the ice melts. We get to journal the earth's transition to a hothouse earth. We get to plumb the depths of oceanic and atmospheric science to try to stay slightly ahead of the changing circulations in the hope that we can salvage something from the age of the monkeys as we transition from the Cenozoic to the Neozoic. It appears inevitable now that we will collapse the tundra releasing 1,680 GT of carbon to the air, and in trigger the massive breakdown of oceanic clathrates that make that look puny. In the end we only start by losing the Arctic ice. Next up, Greenland melts and the continental glaciers all go with horrific impacts on humans and ecosystems globally. Finally, Antarctica melts. About the only questions we now face relate to just how far this all goes before it runs its course. The complete melting of Greenland and an 80-100 sea level rise appear to be inevitable. But will Antarctica complete its melting before things stabilize? Will we enter a single atmospheric cell circulation system before those of us on this list pass on? How fast is this transition going to be? We are already seeing telltale hints of the slowing of the great oceanic circulation in the North Atlantic. Will those of us commenting here live long enough to see it stall completely? What then of the oceans? I can now only look on in horror and chronicle what happened. Will there be anyone to read that chronicle in 500 years? But then as I noted at the start, it may well be that the only change we could ever have accomplished required first that we collapse our societal systems. If so, we can soon check that step off our list. What will be left after that remains the most immediate question.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2016 on PIOMAS November 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Beyond the metrics, the amount of 'old' 'thick' ice transported eastward north of Greenland and disgorged into the Fram over the past week is stunning. That has to bode ill for the ice next year.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2016 on ASI 2016 update 7: minimum time at Arctic Sea Ice
Wayne, This is why I warned about assumptions, metrics and uncertainty. A variety of assumptions are used in developing metrics (lost work days as a surrogate for safety, ice edges ...). It is extremely common for those assumptions to then be forgotten or ignored over time and for the metric to be taken as gospel. They aren't gospel. They are subject to all sorts of errors based on the assumptions and presumptions that went into their development. Equally often, the assumptions and presumptions aren't even recognized or noted. These are hidden assumptions which are almost never challenged. As conditions change, the assumptions can become huge problems as the bases for using those assumptions become invalid. Ice cover is one such case as you have correctly noted. While there may be physical limitations of the tools (e.g. Microwave). That does not then mean that the information is necessarily meaningful for assessing the ice. As the ice conditions change, a formerly wonderful tool, may simply no longer be adequate to the needs. That the only tool we have becomes incapable of providing the information we need, does not then mean that it is useless. But neither does it mean that we should blindly accept the result as meaningful when it clearly isn't. However, all that being true, another way to view this is as measures of true uncertainty (not calculational sensitivity, or model sensitivity). The true uncertainty in the measure makes the utility of the tool less as the ice conditions change. We can visually see this to be true. The tool cannot. And this in turn has impacts on the various products, particularly ice volume. The outputs of those models has a huge uncertainty that is not readily apparent. That limitations of the tools are masking the actual conditions and causing the products and metrics to provide a falsely high value for extent and volume, and probably for area (though to a lesser extent) is important for us to recognize. If we fail to recognize this and fail to correct it, this will likely lead us to make poor decisions that fail to warn us of impending events. In the end however, it won't matter at all. It is all happening too fast. Where it does matter is in the discussion, rhetoric, and politics and hence in actions. But, the transition is happening so very quickly in geologic time that it is far outpacing any meaningful human response no matter whether we get the metrics right or not. The ice will fail, the Arctic will go ice free, the atmospheric circulation will dramatically change (it has already begun) and the world will not be as we have known it again. Things may return to what we've known in a million years or so. But in the long history of earth, the quasi stable regime we have lived in and that we developed civilization and agriculture in is but a brief blip in time with conditions that are rare in earth's history. It seems unlikely that the earth will ever return here again. Instead, we will now go through a horrible transition to some other stable or quasi stable state. We have overbuilt our societies on a fiction of stability. We have pushed everything to the very limit. Collapse is now inevitable. But knowing better what is coming, we might be able to better handle the transition to salvage something. Instead, we seem hell bent on pushing the accelerator to the floor and ploughing into the wall at the highest speed possible.
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2016 on ASI 2016 update 7: minimum time at Arctic Sea Ice
John, The only indication I have of that is the compound information that a) DMI's ice volume was becoming increasingly discordant with reality and your comment that b) they are changing factors and as a result becoming more concordant. However, as we have no reliable direct measures of volume the assessment must be to something else -e.g. One of the other models; with PIOMAS being the most prominent and hence most likely. Perhaps it is fully independent, which is better. And I mean no slam on the modelers by this. They have a tough job, made harder by the biases that can all too easily creep in. However, there is always the risk of concensus bias creeping in, which the modelers all have to work to avoid.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2016 on PIOMAS August 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
Changing a model to make it more concordant with another model only makes the two models more similar in results. Doing this tells nothing about how concordant or how dissonant each model is to the reality they purport/intend to model. Measuring a model against another model similarly tells little about reality. They can be in tight agreement and both be wildly wrong. They can each be widely in disagreement with one another and still all be wildly wrong about reality. The one thing that is certain is that the many ice thickness/volume models disagree wildly with one another. That gives me no confidence in any of them. I suspect, but cannot support or prove that each of the models is suffering to varying degrees to a form of error that is all to common in other fields. In several fields people and researchers make the blunder of averaging logarithmic values (e.g. pH or simple logarithms of parameters) and then presuming that the result has meaning. It doesn't. It never has. The average of logarithms is a meaningless number that is exceptionally poorly correlated with the logarithm of the averages of numbers. The only time it would make sense to average logarithmic values is when the processes involved act directly on the logarithmic value of the parameter. In the case of the ice, the shattering of the ice, it's separation and the freezing of the waters between produces an ice thickness distribution that is quite complex. I don't believe it is anywhere near as bad as a logarithmic distribution. But it is still highly non-homogeneous and a very important component of the modeled analysis. And that compound field behaves considerably differently than any simple average can portray. The various tools and techniques to measure thickness vary in their performance in measuring the average thickness with a scale dependency in many cases. Even when they do a good job, the behavior of the complex assemblage of thicknesses is nothing like the behavior of the actual component parts. Thin ice melts out early exposing thicker ice to attack on a greater surface area. The relative dimensions of these component parts is important. Add to this the differing densities and salinities of the ice depending on a number of factors. The result is a reality that is extremely hard to model with fidelity, and which is very prone to errors as the conditions approach the extremes, such as the nearing of the terminal breakup of the Arctic sheet. Uniformity is rapidly falling apart, leading to vastly greater complexity in the real conditions, and increasing difficulty to successfully model. We see that playing out all over the Arctic, but most especially in the Beaufort Sea.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2016 on PIOMAS August 2016 at Arctic Sea Ice
It looks like the coastal route of the Siberian seaway will open in the next few days. The northwest passage is rapidly breaking up as well and should open in the next several weeks. Sam
Jim, I don't think the Navy's model is likely any better or worse than any of the others. My points are these: These are each models. Models are fraught with limitations. These models are not exceptions to that. Models are all too often relied on to degrees not actually justified by what they are. We tend to forget all of these things. Forgetting these things can lead us astray precisely at the time we most need to not be led astray. These models disagree wildly with one another and with reality at this point. That disagreement is telling us important information if we will only listen. And this though applied here as a specific case is a general lesson about models that applies wherever and whenever models are used. What I am NOT doing is arguing that they don't serve useful purposes. They do. We just rely on them more than we should. And that too is usual, expected and all too common. I am NOT arguing that any particular model is better or worse than any other. They likely each excel in some ways, while failing miserably in others. And again, this is usual, common and expected. The area and extent models suffer similar problems. The thresholds for counting were designed to deal with the inherent difficulties in analyzing the edges of the areas. These never considered the case where the sheet itself is wholly shattered. As a result, as we near the breakup of the whole sheet, these indicators point us in directions that mislead more than enlighten. This too is usual and expected. Models fail worst when pressed into areas outside the bounds of conditions used or considered in their development. We humans tend to grab onto specifics. In soing so, we often miss the big picture precisely when that is where we should be focused.
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2016 on 2016 melting momentum, part 3 at Arctic Sea Ice
Neven, I mean no offense. PIOMAS may be correct, or not. The US Navy Hycom may be correct, or not. The other models may be correct, or not. Unfortunately we have little in the way of ground truthing for any of the models. And we know they disagree wildly. The Navy has strong reason for wanting a correct model. They also have the ability to ground truth the model. And they may well have done so whether or not that is ever revealed or acknowledged. Or they may not have. The only take away that I can make is that there is strong divergence in at least three well developed model sets. That leads me to distrust all of them and to seek other information (like the shattering if the ice sheet) and to place greater reliance on those direct observations than upon any model. In general I consider all models like I would taking a long road trip with a bear cub curled up asleep in my passenger seat. Sure it is cute and looks cuddly and tame. And it might well be all of those things. But it is more likely that at some point it is going to awaken and I am going to get a very rude surprise. If I am fortunate I will only have to deal with cleaning bear scat off the seat. It likely isn't going to be that easy or nice. With models, it is usual and customary to develop an inappropriate degree of confidence in them and to use them until well past their sell by date. I don't know how things will turn out for PIOMAS, though my caution remains the same. And it is the same caution former US President Robald Reagan was so found of: Trust but verify. Sadly, we have little means to verify other than visual observations via satellite. And those images are looking increasingly distressing.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2016 on 2016 melting momentum, part 3 at Arctic Sea Ice
This is meant as a reminder and nothing else. It is always important to remember that models are models and that all models have serious limitations based on their development. They are built with best intent and generally diligent effort, but they are still limited based on limited understanding and limited data. Models and data should never be conflated or confused with one another. Data can have problems, and often does and most often from missing data or acquisition issues. Too often models become accepted as revealed truth forgetting both their origins, their weaknesses, their limitations, and the errors inherent in both the data used in their creation and their own embedded errors and error margins, both from model development, calculational errors and bounds, and most importantly based on missing information and knowledge in their creation. Far too often models are extrapolated far outside their valid bounds without recognition that this Is even the case. Models generally provide users no warnings about such cases or their limitations. In the case of climate change it is clear that the models omit huge complications that make the result worse (more rapid and more severe) than the models suggest. This is principally due to missing elements in the knowledge when the models were created. It is vital to always bear these things in mind. For what we talk about here, this is most evident in the ice thickness models. They clearly disagree with one another by huge margins. Portrayed graphically they often do not even look similar. Using any of those to project very far into the future clearly goes outside the reasonable bounds for the models use. At the same time, the data and the observational information show clearly that things are worse than they have ever been, worse than any of these models project, and are deteriorating very rapidly.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2016 on 2016 melting momentum, part 3 at Arctic Sea Ice
Wayne, Remember the old saying: All models are wrong; some are slightly less horrible than others.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2016 on 2016 melting momentum, part 3 at Arctic Sea Ice
It's not so bad. Sure we're hanging on by a pinky and a thumb. Surely we'll be able to make it to the summit of El Capitan. We just need to rest here for a moment and get our wind back. And then we'll conquer the world. Yeah that's it. No worries. What ever this year holds in store for the minimum, the course over the next dozen is clear. The ice is going. The ice is going fast. And once it is gone, events will take a wholly different and more accelerated course. Woo hoo! It's a race to the bottom. And all we have to do is let that little pinky slip.
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2016 on ASI 2016 update 3: crunch time at Arctic Sea Ice
Wow. I am ever more dubious of all of the ice thickness models. Thick ice never used to shatter. I doubt that it does now. Yet across the vast expanse of the Arctic sheet we see extensive shattering nearly everywhere, and often what better resembles icebergs of ice surrounding by a 'glue' of low quality ice. The ice sheet now looks very much less like an ice sheet and very much more like a new car windshield dropped off the back of a truck. Sam
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2016 on 2016 melting momentum, part 2 at Arctic Sea Ice
P-maker, I agree. The truly extraordinary fracturing of the entire arctic ice sheet this year makes it extremely difficult for the ice to support melt ponds. They simply drain away. The big question is what that means to the melting of the ice. Does the thinning of the ice, which led to the fractures and draining then also become a late stage negative feedback as the absence of the lakes reduces the heat absorption of the ice? If so, is that in any way significant or important?
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2016 on 2016 melting momentum, part 1 at Arctic Sea Ice
Bob, I won't play - 'bring me another rock' with you. That you don't want to change and don't want to believe you (and we all) have to is clear. Keep your head in the sand all you like. Not knowing or not accepting won't save you.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2016 on Crisis in the Cryosphere at Arctic Sea Ice
Our collective knowledge about how the atmosphere and ocean work in an equable (not equitable) climate is quite limited. We can surmise things from sediment and soil cores, diatom and related counts, isotope ratios and a few other inferences. Even with all of that, I am unaware of an adequate complete model to explain the details. What we do know is that the far north becomes quite warm. The tropics don't cool. And the mid latitudes apparently are semitropical. What it looks like is that the pole goes very warm which removes the major atmospheric heat engine. Coriolis forces still apply. Lacking jet streams which occur at the cell boundaries (absent in an equable climate), storms likely behave very differently from what we are accustomed to. Our accustomed climate bands (rain, desert ...) likewise go out the window. What that means for biomes is an open question. Can we reliably grow crops in such conditions? Who knows? Growing crops requires the right mix of temperature, rain, soil and sun in the right times (for which the plants have become adapted). Will those be consistent year to year? Again, who knows? What will this do to animals, insects and diseases? Who knows? The transitional phase is likely to be the worst though, as the system vassilates between states and through unstable intermediate conditions. How long will that last? Again, who knows? I suspect that Greenland will play a large role in that until it completely melts. After that, the oceanic currents and the atmosphere can stabilize into a new operating mode. Will that take a millennia or a century? Good question.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2016 on Crisis in the Cryosphere at Arctic Sea Ice
Bobcobb, First - begin with geography. The United States is -not- the world, much though some might believe it is. Second - do simple accounting. The global warming gases include more than co2 and methane. They also include water vapor, the largest impacter of all. The changes in the others move massive changes in water. Third - look to geologic history. Back up through time to higher GWG levels and watch as first the north polar ice goes away and becomes an equable climate about 3 M years ago. (Advances and retreats 2-5 M years, and all gone prior to 5 M years). Continue back to 25 M years when Antartica was iced over and the period from 25-38 M years when it formed. Then finally go back to 40 M years before present and before when there was no ice. The whole world was in an equable climate. It takes very little effort to compare current and trended GWG levels and durations and positive feedbacks to conclude that barring massive immediate changes that we will achieve GWG levels that will eliminate the Arctic Ocean ice and rapidly melt Greenland. These levels will remain high enough long enough that Greenland will fully melt out. Voile - northern hemisphere equable climate. Is there enough there long enough to melt Antarctica? Good question. I suspect not. But the release of 1,650+ GTC of tundra carbon and massive amounts of oceanic methane as the oceans warm in response to the warming atmosphere is going to make a huge dent in the Antarctic ice. Already we are seeing the major glaciers that block and protect the ice failing. We should fully expect to see West Antartica go ice free. Rising sea levels will aid in releasing Thwaites and others to dump an additional huge amount of ice into the oceans as water further raising ocean levels. The transitional period will be 'challenging'. Next look at the rate of change through this whole period. The challenge to ecosystems and biomes will be extreme. We already are in the beginnings of one of the half dozen greatest extinction events in all of world history. We are rising far faster than the PETM. Far faster is an absurd underestimation of the rate of change. And with that my friend you tire me. Enough.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2016 on Crisis in the Cryosphere at Arctic Sea Ice
Correction, 2010 above includes 0.855 Gtc of natural sources and needs to be reduced by that amount for an apples to apples comparison. For 2015 EIAs preliminary estimate (likely somewhat low) is for a minor increase. Year GT CO2 (not GTC as above) 1978 17.44 1979 17.96 1980 17.78 1981 17.54 1982 17.36 1983 17.47 1984 18.05 1985 18.32 1986 18.65 1987 19.28 1988 19.94 1989 20.33 1990 20.62 1991 20.75 1992 20.70 1993 20.81 1994 20.93 1995 21.48 1996 21.99 1997 22.23 1998 22.38 1999 22.52 2000 23.32 2001 23.58 2002 23.94 2003 24.99 2004 26.18 2005 27.05 2006 27.86 2007 28.78 2008 28.87 2009 28.32 2010 29.84 2011 31.29 2012 31.49 2013 32.07 2014 32.13 2015 32.14 The reduction in increase comes mostly from the economic conditions driven in large part by the US attempt to destabilize Russia which spiraled out of control with the Saudis increasing production leading to falling prices as they attempted first to shutdown Russia (a major competitor), then Iran (a major adversary), then the US fracking industry (viewed as another competitor) and finally Venezuela. Even with such massive changes in global supply and demand as economies stall, and as wind and solar ramp up, the best we could do globally from anthropogenic estimated releases was to nearly but not quite stop increasing emissions. And this is only anthropogenic CO2 releases. It does not include huge releases of methane from Aliso canyon, from the fracking boom, or natural sink losses from the massive fires all over the place. These both serve to destroy the sinks, and to convert them into additional sources. Add to that the effects of global warming intensified El Niño, and the conditions are much worse - the the highest year on year increase of atmospheric CO2 (using Mauna Loa as a surrogate) that we have seen. It is now very likely that no weekly average CO2 measurement at Mauna Loa will fall below 400 ppm ever again in our lifetimes, or even in the next millennium. We are now at nearly 408 ppm CO2 there, 128 ppm above the peak baseline coming out of the last ice age. We should be on the slow decent back to ice age conditions with falling CO2 over the next 90,000 years. Instead we are in a rocket to the sky. Add the several hundred ppm of CO2 equivalent from methane and other warming gases and you might begin to get the idea that we are in some sort of trouble. The consequences of all this northern hemisphere heating is devastation of the arctic ice and a high probability that we will rapidly convert to a mixed mode globally with the northern hemisphere experiencing an equable climate with a single Hadley cell extending all the way to the North Pole while the Southern Hemisphere maintains a three cell circulation. Should we have pushed far enough and hard enough to melt Antarctica over the next many millennia, the whole earth might then shift to equable climate conditions. Fortunately for us, Antartica is a large heat sink and it will take an immense amount of heating to destabilize the southern atmosphere. As a result, the Southern Hemisphere may become a refuge. Or perhaps not. The oceans may play the critical role there.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2016 on Crisis in the Cryosphere at Arctic Sea Ice
Bobcobb, To the contrary. See below. And this is without accounting for man made methane releases, or any of the natural releases and feedbacks, or destruction of the natural sources and sinks. Even then, what is required is not slowing of the increase, or even stable emissions. What is required are dramatic year on year reductions. Add to this the huge positive impact from the loss of sulfate aerosols and particulates as reductions occur, and even more dramatic reductions are required. To even make a dent, these likely need to exceed 10% per year sustained until emissions are less than a few percent of current emissions. Deciding to do anything less means that we return to Eocene conditions. Even these levels of commitment are likely not enough. Global Emissions 2014. 9.795 GtC 2013 9.735 GtC 2012 9.575 GtC 2011 9.449 GtC 2010 9.995 Gtc
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2016 on Crisis in the Cryosphere at Arctic Sea Ice
The only thing we globally have done is to reduce the rate of increase. And that is only do to recessionary forces. Though there has been huge investment in wind and solar, these are far outstripped by the actions that would be required to be meaningful.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2016 on Crisis in the Cryosphere at Arctic Sea Ice