Monday, January 22, 2018

2017 was hottest year on record

The year 2017 was the hottest year on record, as the image below illustrates.


When determining which year was the hottest year, care should be taken to avoid bias due to temporary conditions such as the El Niño that was present in 2016 and the La Niña we're now experiencing now. Above image uses NASA land+ocean January 2012-December 2017 anomalies from 1951-1980, adjusted by 0.59°C to cater for the rise from preindustrial to 1951-1980, to calculate a linear trend that goes some way to smooth out variability due to El Niño/La Niña events. The trend shows that 2017 was significantly warmer than 2016.

The trend also shows that 1.5°C above preindustrial was crossed back in 2016. This 1.5°C (or 2.7°F) was set at the Paris Agreement as a guardrail that was not to be crossed. The trend further shows that we've meanwhile crossed 1.6°C above preindustrial and we look set to cross the 2°C guardrail within years.


Global warming has crossed 1.5°C / 2.7°F above preindustrial and looks set to cross 2°C / 3.6°F soon. Due to accelerating warming in the Arctic, that could happen within one or two years time, i.e. much faster than the trendlines below may suggest.


Indeed, warming in the Arctic is taking place much faster than elsewhere, and the difference is accelerating. There's a huge danger that accelerating warming in the Arctic will speed up feedbacks such as:
• huge amounts of methane getting released from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean;
• melting of sea ice and permafrost causing more sunlight to get absorbed in the Arctic, as less sunlight gets reflected back into space;
• changes to jet streams causing more extreme weather, in turn resulting in more emissions, such as due to wildfires;
• and more.

As said, such feedbacks could speed up global warming much more than above trendlines may suggest.


Add up the impact of all warming elements and, as an earlier analysis shows, the rise in mean global temperatures from preindustrial could be more than 10°C in a matter of years, as illustrated by above image.

[ Danger Assessment, from earlier post ]
As above danger assessment further illustrates, the situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

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

• Warming is accelerating
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/11/warming-is-accelerating.html

• The Arctic is changing the Jet Stream - Why This Is Important
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-arctic-is-changing-the-jet-stream-why-this-is-important.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/05/abrupt-warming-how-much-and-how-fast.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

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

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/methane-erupting-from-arctic-ocean-seafloor.html

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




Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Unfolding Arctic Catastrophe

On January 1, 2018, methane levels as high as 2764 ppb (parts per billion) were recorded. The solid magenta-colored areas near Greenland indicate that this very high reading was likely caused by methane hydrate destabilization in the sediments on the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.


The state of the sea ice is behind this. On January 1, 2018, Arctic sea ice extent was at record low for the time of the year. The smaller the extent, the less sunlight gets reflected back into space and is instead absorbed in the Arctic.

At this time of year, though, hardly any sunshine is reaching the Arctic. So, what triggered this destabilization? As the image below indicates, year-to-date average Arctic sea ice volume has been at record low in 2017, which means that there has been very little sea ice underneath the surface throughout 2017.


Warm water will melt the sea ice from below, which keeps the water at greater depth cool. However, when there is little or no sea ice underneath the surface, little or no heat will be absorbed by the process of melting and the heat instead stays in the water, with the danger that it will reach sediments at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, as illustrated by the image below.

The Buffer has gone, feedback #14 on the Feedbacks page
[ image from: Warming is accelerating ]
The image on the right shows warm water from the North Atlantic arriving near Svalbard. How warm is the water beneath the surface of the Arctic Ocean? The image below gives an indication, showing how much warmer the water was from October 1, 2017, to December 30, 2017, at selected areas near Svalbard, where warm water from the North Atlantic dives under the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, carried by the Gulf Stream.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
In 1981-2011, temperatures were gradually falling by more than one degree Celsius from October 1 to the December 21 Solstice, then started to rise again in line with the change in seasons (blue line). In 2017, temperatures were rising in October. On October 25, 2017, the sea surface was as warm as 17.5°C or 63.5°F, i.e. a 14.1°C or 24.5°F anomaly. On average, it was 12.96°C or 23.35°F warmer during the period from October 1 to December 30, 2017 (red line), compared to the same days in 1981-2011.

The images below further illustrate the situation. Surface temperature of the atmosphere near Svalbard was as warm as 7°C or 44.5°F on January 13, 2018 (at green circle, left panel). The sea surface near Svalbard was as warm as 15.9°C or 60.8°F on January 12, 2018, compared to 2.4°C or 36.4°F on January 12 for the period 1981-2011 (at green circle, center panel). Waves as high as 13.04 m or 42.8 ft (at green circle, right panel) batter the North Atlantic along Norway's coast all the way to Svalbard on January 15, 2018.


The image below shows that waves as high as 16.01 m or 52.5 ft are forecast to batter the North Atlantic on January 16, 2018 (green circle, left panel). 100% relative humidity is recorded over the Arctic Ocean on January 15, 2018 (green circle, center panel). The Jet Stream reaches speeds as high as 426 km/h or 264 mph on January 15, 2018 (green circle, right panel).


Similar extreme weather patterns can be seen elsewhere in the Arctic. The image below on the left shows that temperatures as high as 18.5°C or 65.3°F were recorded on Jan. 14 and 15, 2018 in Metlakatla, Alaska. The image below on the right shows that surface temperatures as high as 7.4°C or 45.2°F were reached on January 16, 2018, in Yukon Territory, Canada (at green circle).

[ click on images to enlarge ]

In conclusion, as the Arctic is warming up faster than the rest of the world, Jet Streams are getting more wavy, resulting in more extreme weather events. Wind speed accelerates over warmer oceans, pushing more heat into the Arctic Ocean, threatening to cause eruptions of huge amounts of methane from the Arctic Ocean seafloor.

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


Links

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

• Warming is accelerating
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/11/warming-is-accelerating.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/05/abrupt-warming-how-much-and-how-fast.html

• Accelerating growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/accelerating-growth-in-co2-levels-in-the-atmosphere.html

• High methane levels over the Arctic Ocean on January 14, 2014
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/01/high-methane-levels-over-the-arctic-ocean-on-january-14-2014.html

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

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/methane-erupting-from-arctic-ocean-seafloor.html

• 2015 warmest year on record
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/12/2015-warmest-year-on-record.html

• Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/12/accelerating-warming-of-the-arctic-ocean.html

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

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

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Winds keep changing as warming continues

November 2017 was 0.87 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean 1951-1980 November temperature, as above image shows. The last three Novembers — 2015, 2016, and 2017 — are the three warmest in the entire modern record. The warmest month of November happened in 2015 (+1.03°C) when there was a strong El Niño, while we're currently in a La Niña period.

On the image below, cyclonic winds on December 21, 2017, are visible near the Philippines and Vietnam. Near the Philippines, 3-hour precipitation accumulation was as high as 121.6 mm or 4.79 in (at green circle). As a BBC report describes, Tropical Storm Tembin made landfall in the southern Philippines on December 22, 2017, causing flash flooding and mudslides. More than 180 people are reported to have been killed, as the tropical storm swept through Mindanao island, with dozens more missing.


A week earlier, Tropical Storm Kai-Tak hit the central Philippines, killing dozens. The region is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 5,000 people and affected millions in 2013.


The winds are fueled by high sea surface temperatures. Above image shows that, on December 21, 2017, sea surface temperatures were as high as 31.7°C or 89°F north of Australia. In line with rising temperatures caused by global warming, sea surface temperature anomalies are high across the oceans, as the image below illustrates.


As above image also shows, the sea surface was relatively cold at locations indicative for El Niño (depicted as four El Niño regions on the right).

The image below shows El Niño forecast plumes indicating that we're currently in a La Niña period, and that temperatures are on the rise.


In conclusion, just like the rise in temperatures is currently masked by a La Niña period, the return to a new El Niño period will further strengthen the rise.


This strengthening of winds is what can be expected in a warmer world. Above image shows a wavy Northern Polar Jet Stream combine with the Northern Subtropical Jet Stream to reach speeds as high as 401 km/h or 249 mph.

As the jet stream becomes more wavy and extends over the Arctic, more warm air and water gets carried into the Arctic, further speeding up warming, as also discussed at The Arctic is changing the Jet Stream - Why This Is Important.

The importance of Arctic warming was also discussed in the recent post Warming is accelerating. Changes to the Jet Stream can cause a lot more heat to be brought into the Arctic, through both the Bering Strait and the Fram Strait. This image below shows wind through the Bering Strait reaching speeds as high as 135 km/h or 84 mph.


The combination image below shows the Jet Stream extending over the Arctic Ocean and remaining in place for days, reaching speeds as high as 206 km/h or 128 mph. Such 'blocking' patterns can cause a lot of heat to be brought into the Arctic atmosphere, as well as into the water of the Arctic Ocean. The image in the left-hand panel indicates that temperature anomalies over the Arctic Ocean could be as high as 30°C or 54°F.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
As the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator decreases, the Jet Stream becomes more wavy, at times extending deep over the continents and bringing cold air to the south. This further increases the (already high) temperature difference between land and ocean, further speeding up cyclonic winds that move over the oceans toward the North Pole and that carry warm water and air toward the Arctic Ocean. The image below shows a forecast for January 1, 2018.


As sea ice keeps declining, ever less sunlight gets reflected back into space. The image below shows the decline in global sea ice area over the years.


The image below shows the average year-to-date Arctic sea ice volume (PIOMAS data).


This further confirms the updated trend analysis of the NASA temperature anomaly below.


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

Links

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

• Warming is accelerating
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/11/warming-is-accelerating.html

• The Arctic is changing the Jet Stream - Why This Is Important
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-arctic-is-changing-the-jet-stream-why-this-is-important.html

• NASA: November 2017 temperature news release
https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/news/20171218

• BBC: Philippines Tropical Storm Tembin kills 180 on Mindanao
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42464644

• NOAA: Four El Niño regions
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/nino_regions.shtml

• ECMWF: El Niño forecast plumes
https://www.ecmwf.int/en/forecasts/charts/catalogue/seasonal_system5_public_nino_plumes

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/05/abrupt-warming-how-much-and-how-fast.html

• Accelerating growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/accelerating-growth-in-co2-levels-in-the-atmosphere.html

• High methane levels over the Arctic Ocean on January 14, 2014
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/01/high-methane-levels-over-the-arctic-ocean-on-january-14-2014.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

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

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/methane-erupting-from-arctic-ocean-seafloor.html

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



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Fires threaten Santa Barbara


New mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for the areas of Montecito, Summerland and some parts of Santa Barbara city, emergency officials said.


Above graph shows carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels from December 5 - 20, 2017, while the map below shows the location of the measurements (and forecasts).


The graph shows levels at one location and for one time of day (00:00 UTC for CO, respectively 01:30 UTC for CO₂). On December 11, 2017, at this location, but at 22:30 UTC, CO levels were 55639 ppb and CO₂ levels were 898 ppm, as illustrated the combination image below (left panel).

The right panel of the image below shows that CO₂ levels were as high as 922 ppm on December 7, 2017, at 01:30 UTC at a slightly different location. No CO₂ measurements were available for December 9 and 10, 2017, but given that levels of CO₂ and CO typically go up and down hand in hand, CO₂ may have peaked at well over 1000 ppm on December 9, 2017, possibly exceeding the 1229 ppm CO₂ measured in Montana on July 22, 2017.


Such fires look set to cause increasing amounts of emissions, speeding up warming of the atmosphere. These fires were fueled by extremely dry, hot and strong winds lasting for many days. Global warming is behind all these conditions. Not only does more heat translate into higher temperatures and stronger winds, the decreasing temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator is also increasing the intensity and duration of more extreme weather events such as storms and droughts. A record 129 million trees on 8.9 million acres have died in California due to drought and bark beetles infestation.


“For the first time in history, on December 7th, the Cal Fire elevated the fire threat to purple for San Diego County, warning that the weather conditions presented an extreme risk of fire for San Diego,” California Governor Jerry Brown wrote in a request for federal emergency assistance. “Fire officials predict extreme winds of up to 80 miles per hour, equal to the wind speed of a category one hurricane.”


The following is an extract from the California Scoping Plan 2017:
In California, as in the rest of the world, climate change is contributing to an escalation of serious problems, including raging wildfires, coastal erosion, disruption of water supply, threats to agriculture, spread of insect-borne diseases, and continuing health threats from air pollution. The drought that plagued California for years devastated the state’s agricultural and rural communities, leaving some of them with no drinking water at all. In 2015 alone, the drought cost agriculture in the Central Valley an estimated $2.7 billion, and more than 20,000 jobs. Last winter, the drought was broken by record-breaking rains, which led to flooding that tore through freeways, threatened rural communities, and isolated coastal areas. This year, California experienced the deadliest wildfires in its history. Climate change is making events like these more frequent, more catastrophic and more costly.

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


Links

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

• Wildfires 
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/07/wildfires.html

• Extreme weather is upon us 
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/09/extreme-weather-is-upon-us.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/05/abrupt-warming-how-much-and-how-fast.html

• Accelerating growth in CO₂ levels in the atmosphere
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/accelerating-growth-in-co2-levels-in-the-atmosphere.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

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

• Turning forest waste into biochar
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/01/turning-forest-waste-into-biochar.html