World Meteorological Organization — Dangerous Climate Future Has Arrived

The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented in modern records. — Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization

*****

It would be a bit of an understatement to say that the global scientific community is reeling. Sure, the various scientists and researchers knew that a massive accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans was beginning to take a serious toll. They knew that ocean heat content in the top 2,000 meters of the world ocean system (accounting for 93 percent of Earth System warming) was going through the roof. And they knew that this warmth was going to bleed out in a seriously big and bad way as a record El Nino swept through the global climate system during 2014, 2015 and 2016.

2016 Blowing Records Away

(Temperature averages for 2016 are so far about 1.22 C above the 1951 to 1980 baseline or about 1.44 C above 1880s averages. Though temperatures should fall somewhat as El Nino cools off in the Pacific, it’s likely that 2016 comes in well hotter than the previous three record warm years. Current guidance indicates a likely range of 1 to 1.13 C above the 1950 to 1981 baseline or 1.22 to 1.35 C above 1880s averages. This is uncomfortably close to 1.5 C warming levels the Paris Climate Conference has stated a desire to avoid by the end of this Century. Image source: Climate Central.)

But I’m pretty sure if you told these same scientists a year ago that February of 2016 would see temperatures in the range of 1.43 to 1.57 degrees Celsius above averages seen during the 1880s, as we see now in the three major global climate monitors (here, here and here), they’d have responded with not just a little incredulity.

“The startlingly high temperatures so far in 2016 have sent shockwaves around the climate science community,” said David Carlson, Director of the World Climate Research Programme, in a recent World Meteorological Organization press release. Dr Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State echoed these sentiments — “I think we all knew this would be a warm year due to the major El Niño event. But I don’t think any of us expected such remarkable and persistent record-breaking warmth.”

It’s a new extreme record warmth that comes immediately following a major global temperature ramp-up during 2015 — a period that the World Meteorological Organization is calling alarming due to an increasing number of severe climate impacts. “Our planet is sending a powerful message to world leaders to sign and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and cut greenhouse gases now before we pass the point of no return,” said Mr Taalas, the WMO’s Secretary General in a press release announcing its most recent State of the Climate annual report.

World Meteorological Organization — Dangerous Climate Change is Here

The new report entitled — Hotter, Drier, Wetter; Face the Future — is scheduled to be released on March 23rd. It highlights a world undergoing a fundamental and wrenching shift in its once-stable climates. A shift that became all the more vivid during 2015 as the pace of major climate change related events rapidly ramped up.

The report highlights observations of record global surface temperatures, record ocean temperatures within the top 2,000 meters of the worlds’ waters, and the highest sea levels ever recorded on a global basis. The report also noted that Winter Arctic sea ice during 2015 and 2016 were at the lowest extent levels ever observed in the satellite record. WMO also highlights major heat, wildfire and hydrological events during 2015. Devastating heatwaves swept through India and Pakistan, exceptional heatwaves scorched Western and Central Europe, and more than 2 million hectares of Arctic forest burned in Alaska. WMO points to a number of very extreme rainfall events around the globe — particularly highlighting a West African monsoon that in some places dumped 13 months worth of rainfall in just one hour. Severe drought was also an issue for 2015 with Southern Africa experiencing its worst drought since 1933 and Northern South America and the Caribbean also seeing record dry conditions.

Significant climate anomalies and events February of 2016

(The WMO notes a number of extreme and significant climate change related events in its most recent annual report. A series of events that, according to monthly monitoring by NOAA, continued on into a record hot February of 2016. Image source: NOAA.)

According to WMO, 2015 also saw some of the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded with Pam, a category 5 storm, making landfall near Vanatu, Mexico and Patricia reaching a peak intensity of 346 kilometers per hour — the strongest storm ever to emerge in either the Eastern Pacific or the Atlantic basin. A very rare hurricane Chapala also churned ashore in Yemen. An event that was immediately followed by a second similar cyclone — Megh.

Overall, WMO notes that:

The year 2015 made history, with shattered temperature records, intense heatwaves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought and unusual tropical cyclone activity… That record-breaking trend has continued in 2016. The theme Hotter, Drier, Wetter. Face the Future highlights the challenges of climate change and the path towards climate-resilient societies.

In confronting that challenge, WMO calls for a redoubled effort to rapidly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to prevent runaway global warming. However, WMO realistically notes that current national pledges will likely result in about 3 C worth of warming this Century unless even more aggressive action causes fossil fuel based emissions to peak soon and swiftly decline.

WMO recognizes that increasingly intense droughts, heatwaves and wildfires will inevitably emerge due to the amount of warming that is already locked in. WMO recommends a set of climate resiliency enhancements to aid in climate change related disaster response. However, it is unclear if even the WMO realizes the level of threat and difficulty a rapidly warming world is now facing from an increasingly dangerous and destabilized global climate system.

In other words — that disorienting sensation scientists got from looking at these terrifying temperature jumps during February is about to become a lot more common for pretty much everyone. For from the weather to the ice to the oceans to the very complexion of the sky — things are about to get pretty darn weird. Worse and weirder if we don’t shut down fossil fuel based carbon emissions soon.

Links:

State of the Climate: Record Heat and Weather Extremes

Monster El Nino Emerging From the Depths

NASA: February Warmth Crushed All Previous Records

Climate Central

NOAA

GISS NASA

Japan Meteorological Organization

Hat tip to Wili

(Note: RS estimated temperature departures for 2016 have been revised upward to 1.22 to 1.35 above 1880s averages [1 to 1.13 above the NASA 20th Century baseline] in light of very high January, February and March global temperature anomalies.)

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99 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  March 21, 2016

    Tweeted.

    Reply
  2. Cate

     /  March 21, 2016

    An “immediate massive effort” to stop global emissions by 2050 is required if we are to avoid triggering multiple tipping points. Collaborated study from Universities of Exeter, Zurich, Stanford, and Chicago, published in Nature Climate Change today, 21 March 2016. .

    http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_502484_en.html

    Reply
  3. wili

     /  March 21, 2016

    Another timely post. And of course, we are also facing multiple mutually interacting tipping points: http://phys.org/news/2016-03-multiple-triggering-urgent-action-climate.html

    Reply
    • wili

       /  March 21, 2016

      “Risk of multiple tipping points should be triggering urgent action on climate change”

      “…passing some tipping points increases the likelihood of other tipping points occurring to such an extent that the social cost of carbon would further increase abruptly.

      The recommended policy therefore involves an immediate, massive effort to reduce CO2 emissions, stopping them completely by the middle of the century, in order to stabilize climate change…”

      Reply
      • – We need a psychological tipping point of some sort among the general populace – ASAP.

        Reply
      • Mark from OZ

         /  March 22, 2016

        Thanks for this wili!
        It was Aristotle who observed that the ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ We should have ‘anticipated’ the multiple point interaction. The sooner we begin to trust in our cumulative human knowledge and specifically, in our scientific abilities, the better the planet will be. For too long we’ve been hoodwinked and held hostage by those who are obsessed with ‘money’ and the power and the control it affords. Our ‘vision’ needs to focus on the difficult road ahead and not the $-tachometer; there is real danger now threatening and decisive action is required.

        Aristotle also said: “We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.”

        Reply
    • Well, well. I think the mainstream science has decided to openly talk about threats and to begin to contextualize potential high impact scenarios. This is refreshing to me.

      Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks.

      Reply
  4. – Carbon emissions

    Mon Mar 21, 2016 | 12:11 PM EDT
    Carbon emissions highest in 66 million years, since dinosaur age

    “Given currently available records, the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years,” the scientists wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.

    The dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago, perhaps after a giant asteroid struck the Earth.

    Current carbon emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, are about 10 billion tonnes a year, against 1.1 billion a year spread over 4,000 years at the onset of the fast warming 56 million years ago, the study found.

    The scientists examined the chemical makeup of fossils of tiny marine organisms in the seabed off the New Jersey in the United States to gauge that ancient warming, known as the Paleoeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).
    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0WN1QR

    Reply
    • Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years

      Abstract

      http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2681.html

      Reply
      • PETM vs Anthropocene. Which is worse?

        Reply
      • Yes, the Anthropocene is unnaturally unidirectional, sudden, and non-random. This is not a random walk toward disaster… it’s a straight line.

        Reply
      • The authors appear to be saying that the Anthropocene was worse, since the PETM was 55 million years ago, and the dinosaur extinction (the KT) was 66 million years ago.

        The paper is behind a pay wall. The authors claim an interval of at least 4000 years for the initial onset of the PETM, according to the abstract.

        Other authors, Zhu Min et al. though, working from a higher resolution stratigraphic record in China, have said that the initial PETM onset was less than 210 years. See the top of page 3610 in the following reference:

        http://sourcedb.cas.cn/sourcedb_igg_cas/cn/zjrck/200907/W020120622356922954237.pdf

        Since the PETM very likely required a methane release to make the math of the observed carbon isotope ratios match the fossil record, this suggests to me that a massive release from the methane hydrates can take only about 200 years.

        Sufficient uncertainty has been generated, mostly by the fossil fuel corporations scientific propaganda effort, to keep most sources from mentioning the methane hydrate destabilization threat, I think.

        But the hydrates may already be destabilizing, off the coast of Washington and Oregon, for example. The necessary isotope studies to pin down the source of the anomalous ocean acidification we are seeing in those areas have not been published, to my knowledge, although some scientists have said they are working on this. Methane release at this point would show up as increased acidification, due to the rapid oxidation of methane into CO2 or bicarbonate by bacteria. Only after those bacterial communities have been overwhelmed by methane release and resource shortages would the methane start to escape the oceans and end up in the atmosphere.

        Whichever event was the most rapid, the PETM or the Anthropocene, we really don’t want either one.

        Reply
        • It was a bit of a rhetorical question.

          The Nature study finds that the rate of carbon emission during 2014 was 10 times faster than the PETM annual average. So we are emitting carbon an order of magnitude faster than during the most recent hothouse extinction.

          The best numbers I can come up with is that we are emitting carbon about 6 times faster than at any time that we can find a reliable indicator for rates of carbon emission.

          Rates of warming are between 10 and 200 or more times faster than the PETM depending on if we warm 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 C this Century and on whether the 5 C warming during the PETM occurred over 4,000 or 12,000 years.

        • The 260 year response time is not confirmed in the broader science. I’d call this one paper with little outside support for its claims. Pretty much everything I see finds the release over around 3,000 to 20,000 years and the warming from 4,000 to 20,000 years.

          Would also add that due to the fact that the PETM launching pad occurs during a time in which global temperatures were much warmer than present, the CH4 hydrate charge would be rather smaller than today. There also appears to be evidence that the initial carbon preturbation started at the surface, though there may have been a later deep ocean preturbation — which is likely one reason why we see the impact to forams that we do as the PETM intensified.

          There’s evidence of increased volcanism in the Indian subcontinent at the time. So I think what we’re looking at is a combination of factors involved. Most hothouse extinction events start with a volcanic initial forcing. The question here is did a substantial additional amount of carbon come from biomass burning at the surface, methane disassociation under water or a combination of these and other factors. My opinion is that for the PETM, the latter is the most likely case.

      • Hi Robert-

        Good points.

        There is other suggestive evidence that points to a very rapid change, though, for the PETM.

        In this 2007 paper, they analyze the isotope ratios of individual fossil forams by mass spectroscopy. Interestingly enough, there are no intermediate values – the values cluster at the high and low values.

        The Palaeocene–Eocene carbon isotope excursion: constraints from individual shell planktonic foraminifer records

        http://www.carbonateresearch.com/sites/default/files/2007_Zachos_etal_RSL_0.pdf

        “The marine record of the CIE has been constructed from analysis of a large
        variety of materials ranging from bulk inorganic and organic carbon to individual
        foraminifer shells. Analyses of individual mixed-layer planktonic shells from
        cores spanning the boundary generally yield pre-excursion or excursion carbon
        isotope values, but no transitional values suggesting that the d13C of the
        atmospheric and surface ocean carbon pools changed very rapidly on geologic
        time-scales (less than 500 years).”

        There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with he idea, to determine isotope ratios from single fossil forams. Given enough individual shells, this should work, I guess.

        So, I keep hearing the longer figure – thousands of years – for the duration of the PETM. So I guess I need to read some newer papers, and try to understand.

        There was also a claim of less than 13 years, I think – this was pretty thoroughly debunked by Gerald Dickens and his collaborators.

        Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks.

      Reply
  5. Loni

     /  March 21, 2016

    A startling but good post, Robert.

    Wasn’t there a clause in the Paris Summit, under the category of future meetings to ‘meet sooner should evidence demand it’, or words to the effect? If so, evidence may be demanding it.

    Reply
  6. – 0321 22:31 UTC

    NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 14h14 hours ago

    Another day, another hurricane force low in the cards for the N Atlantic!

    Reply
    • – Have we seen this figure before — or any updated number?
      ” A study in 1991 revealed that wave heights − measured from a lightship and an ocean weather station − had been rising by 2% a year since 1950.”

      – [Greenland?]
      Western Europe coasts face a pounding
      March 19, 2016

      Gerd Masselink, professor of coastal geomorphology at Plymouth University School of Marine Science and Engineering, UK, and colleagues report in Geophysical Research Letters that they decided to switch focus from sea level rise resulting from global warming.

      Instead, they concentrated on the energy delivered by the rising waves as they crashed onto the beaches, dunes, shingle beds and rocky coasts, and on the consequent erosion of sediment.

      That sea level rise inexorably means damage to coastlines has been repeatedly confirmed. And the fact that Atlantic waves have been getting higher was settled long ago. A study in 1991 revealed that wave heights − measured from a lightship and an ocean weather station − had been rising by 2% a year since 1950.

      http://climatenewsnetwork.net/western-europe-coasts-face-a-pounding/

      Reply
    • Thanks for the link.

      They always get a “pounding” this time of year… bad time to sail to the UK.. lol

      First real life impact, that I am aware of, regarding wave height, wave PERIOD (even more crucial!!) and unprecedented intensification of a storm.. the 1979 Fastnet Race….. 18 deaths. The people that spend much of their life on the sea have seen these changes and have been aware of them… By the way, this race was first held in 1925.

      The rising sea levels puts a lot more infrastructure in harms way.

      Wait till South Florida gets hit with a 1928 Okeechobee type Hurricane.

      Reply
      • We should be very clear, lracine. The March weather in the North Atlantic is currently not at all normal. We don’t typically get hurricane strength lows with such frequency and the pattern has been stuck in stormy ever since late December. The North Atlantic cool pool is not a normal feature nor are the ridiculously high SSTs in the backed up Gulf Stream off the US East Coast. The Barents is outlandishly warm and the south to north meridional flow over England is as odd as odd can be. So I think we need to consider these factors when making any such statement as ‘March is usually stormy.’

        Context, context, context.

        Reply
  7. – From Foreign Policy:

    Obama Says Climate Change Is a Security Risk. Why Are Republicans Laughing?

    From the melting Arctic to the Syrian drought, the president says climate change poses a bigger threat than the Islamic State. Too bad the GOP doesn’t want to do much to fight it.

    In the middle of January, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work signed off on one of the potentially most significant, if little-noticed, orders in recent Pentagon history. The directive told every corner of the Pentagon, including the office of the secretary of defense, the joint chiefs of staff, and all the combatant commands around the world, to put climate change front and center in their strategic planning.

    “All DoD operations worldwide,” the directive began, “must be able to adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military.” Pentagon directives stay in place for 10 years unless explicitly rescinded, a move that is rarely taken. That means the military’s focus on climate change won’t likely be disappearing anytime soon regardless of who wins the 2016 election.
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/21/obama-says-climate-change-is-a-security-risk-why-are-republicans-laughing/

    Reply
  8. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and commented:
    Thanks to Robert Scribbler for continuing to produce such excellent work in these harsh times. This year has begun with dismal news that makes so many of our earthly issues look frivolous amusements, and makes it hard to be tolerant of ignorant assertions by friends and neighbors. Reputable scientists and public agencies have declared a global emergency and have made specific recommendations for responses. However, official responses have been criminally slow or nonexistent. But what do you do when the people responsible for handling emergencies are also the ones that would judge their own failures? Would members of congressional committees slap each other’s wrists before moving their homes and bank accounts to higher ground?

    Reply
  9. Every one of the past extinctions opened up space for the following organisms and ecosystems; they were necessary for Homo sapiens to be here now. The PETM was one of those.
    What’s happening now has to be seen in a different perspective: we – Homo sapiens – have “skin in the game”.

    Reply
  10. We Are All Ready Baked in to a Record Breaking Temps., Wind, Rain and Snow That are HIGHER, Than EXPECTED ! We are going to go Off the Charts !

    GREENLAND !

    The Koch bros. Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates and Their Fossil Fuel Agenda,

    Killing us And Destroying Our Life Sustaining Fragile Eco-Systems !

    There is No Atmospheric Budget of Carbon, Methane, or Nuclear !

    by Lowana Veal, November 23, 2015
    Reykjavik, Iceland – Over the past year, a number of giant, mysterious holes have emerged in Siberia, some as deep as 200 metres.

    Scientists say the craters may be emerging because the frozen ground, or “permafrost,” that covers much of Siberia has been thawing due to climate change.

    Allowing methane gases trapped underground to build up and explode !

    Permafrost is ground that is permanently frozen, where the ground temperature has remained below 0 °C (32 °F) for at least two years. It covers about a quarter of the northern hemisphere’s land surface.

    “Permafrost soils contain vast amounts of carbon, nearly twice as much as is currently in the atmosphere.

    As the permafrost thaws in a warming climate, the soil decomposes and releases carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. These are greenhouse gases, and they warm the Earth even more.

    This leads to more permafrost thawing, more carbon release, and so the cycle continues,” Chadburn said.

    At the recent Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, Max Holmes from the US-based Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) said in a presentation that the Siberian sinkholes “are an additional indication that vast changes are under way in the Arctic.”

    We must Stop the Koch bros, Warren Buffets, Bill Gates, and their Fossil Fuel allies from FUKUSHIMIATIZING Us !

    Greenland is Melting and Calving Now, Jonas just went over Greenland at above Freezing Temps, for the first Time.

    “And for the Winter of 2016 it’s possible that the Arctic may never experience typical conditions.

    For, according to NOAA, the first half of February saw this record, Spring-like, warmth extend on through today.

    It’s as if these coldest zones in the Northern Hemisphere haven’t yet experienced Winter

    — as if the freak storm that drove Arctic temperatures to record levels during late December has, ever since, jammed the thermometer into typical April levels and left it stuck there. ” Robert Scribbler

    Greenland has 20 Feet of Sea Level Rise !

    Now is the Time for Feed in Tariff Clean Kilowatts, Home Owners and Commercial Business owners selling Renewable Energy, Wind and Solar to the Utility !

    Dump Net Metering (Second Utility) Third Party Leasing.

    Protect Our Communities with Solar Policies that keep the Money in the Wallets and Purses of Head of House Holds.

    In Order to Ready Themselves for coming, Record Breaking Rain, Wind and Snow.

    Food Shortages, High Temps, Floods, Fire, Quakes, and Sea Level Rising 220 feet !

    With Ca. Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff

    Help Protect Hard Working, Tax Paying, Voting, Citizens from our Koch Bros, Warren Buffet, Warren Gates, Fossil Fueled Energy and Water Policies !

    Each 1C. Temp Rise, Atmospheric Moisture increases 7%

    We have increased Temp 1.4C. and Climbing

    1850 ppm Carbon 270

    1980 ppm carbon 350

    2015 ppm of Carbon 405 and Rising

    What will the ppm of Carbon be when Greenland All Melts ?

    Diablo Nuclear, San Onofre Fuel Rods, and All Nuclear needs to be relocated to 3000 feet above Sea Level

    Over 3 Million Years of Waxing and Waning From the Poles, with the Arctic Keeping North America Cool, Now it is Greenland Because of Fossil Fuels !

    Massive Sea Life Die Off on Pacific and Atlantic Coast !

    Pacific and Atlantic Oceans 4 – 18 degrees warmer than Normal

    Antarctica has 200 feet of Sea Level Rise

    Arctic Region Warming Twice as fast as the rest of the planet !

    Over 400 Nuclear Reactors at Sea Level Now !

    Sign and Share for a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff. Go to the youtube site, look six inches below video, click on Show More, then click on blue link to sign the petition.

    Attachments area
    Preview YouTube video We Need To Ban Fracking.
    We Need To Ban Fracking.
    Attachments area
    Preview YouTube video We Need To Ban Fracking.

    Reply
  11. Anna

     /  March 22, 2016

    James Hansen, published today:

    Reply
    • Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

      “We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control,” said James E. Hansen, the retired NASA climate scientist who led the new research. The findings were released Tuesday morning by a European science journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

      Dr. Hansen argues that society is in such grave peril that he feels morally compelled to go beyond the normal role played by a scientist and to sound a clear warning.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/science/global-warming-sea-level-carbon-dioxide-emissions.html?_r=0

      Reply
      • Research article
        22 Mar 2016
        Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous
        James Hansen1, [et al].

        http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/16/3761/2016/

        Reply
      • Thanks for the links Anna and DT. Canceled my decades long subscription to NY Times this week—-sick of seeing pictures of the smiling Koch Brothers at black tie events in the “Style/Out on the Town” section——-that, in addition to many other things, including their near blackout/shutdown of Bernie Sanders.

        In line with AMOC ——– from Science and the Media(June 16 2004), an article by Matt Nisbet:
        Can a Blockbuster Film Shape the Public’s Understanding of a Science Controversy? http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/evaluating_the_impact_of_the_day_after_tomorrow
        __________________

        Obviously the answer in 2016 to the question this author posed in 2004 is —–maybe——but not enough for meaningful action that could have averted a climate crisis of unimaginable proportions.

        On a personal note: It irritated the hell out of me that too many people used the scientific inaccuracies in the movie The Day After Tomorrow to minimize (if not dismiss) the possibility of human induced abrupt climate change and the possibility of AMOC shutdown. People scoffed and laughed at the movie and its premise——-granted it was sci fi/Hollywood but . . . who’s laughing now?

        Reply
  12. – WWF/ AU surreal bleaching…

    Dramatic new footage: Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching

    Uploaded on Mar 20, 2016
    Dramatic new video of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard Island shows the sort of damage that has prompted the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to lift its response to Level 3 – the highest response level.

    Reply
  13. Reply
  14. Kathy C

     /  March 22, 2016

    I have been keeping tract of the rising use of ever more extreme adjectives to describe climate change. Every time I think writers have run out of new adjectives and metaphors, you Robert Scribbler rise to the challenge. I figure the move from saying things were surprising to terrifying as significant a marker as any other chart.

    Reply
    • Oh, so it’s metaphors and adjectives is it?

      How about a few basic facts, Kathy?

      This Century, we’re setting up to warm the world 10-40+ times faster than during the last hothouse mass extinction — the PETM. We are currently accumulating greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere at a rate 6-10 times faster than during that event. Anyone looking at temperature increases at more than 1 order magnitude faster than during a hothouse mass extinction event should be terrified. And anyone not terrified should probably have their head examined for failure to understand basic sensory input.

      In all honesty, given what I know, given what anyone who’s been studying this for any decent period knows, it’s a wonder we don’t use more ‘adjectives’ and ‘metaphors.’ Because clearly there are a number of bone-heads who aren’t paying attention. Who’ve lost their ability to comprehend even the most basic of facts.

      Reply
    • Hi Kathy-

      Well, if you can’t criticize the substance, be sure to criticize the style.

      That’s certainly how Fox News and the entire Republican propaganda machine seem to operate, isn’t it?

      Robert – it’s just fine, the way you do it.

      Don’t change a thing.

      Reply
  15. Abel Adamski

     /  March 22, 2016

    http://www.ibtimes.com.au/when-plants-go-against-humans-australian-scientists-reveal-plants-may-contribute-global-warming

    New study by Australian scientists has revealed that plants may increase global temperatures. The study states that heatwaves in northern hemisphere may become five degrees warmer than previously thought. That is because there has been a miscalculation as to plants’ response to higher carbon dioxide.

    Lead author Jatin Kala from Murdoch University is of the opinion that maximum that agricultural lands, tundra and needle-leaf forests will suffer the most as maximum temperature change will happen there. Kala believes that this new study will improve current climate models.

    Researchers used the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) model developed by ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Bureau of Meteorology. The study may also help in the development of new vegetation models around the world.

    “This long-term investment in key infrastructure is why Australian science continues to punch above its weight. It’s an investment with many public benefits for us and the rest of the world, that every Australian can be proud of,” said Andy Pitman, Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science at UNSW.

    However, the results may not apply to Southern Hemisphere as there haven’t been scientific observations on how Australian vegetation responds to increasing CO2 levels.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  March 22, 2016

      The research article

      http://www.nature.com/articles/srep23418

      Abstract

      Stomatal conductance links plant water use and carbon uptake, and is a critical process for the land surface component of climate models. However, stomatal conductance schemes commonly assume that all vegetation with the same photosynthetic pathway use identical plant water use strategies whereas observations indicate otherwise. Here, we implement a new stomatal scheme derived from optimal stomatal theory and constrained by a recent global synthesis of stomatal conductance measurements from 314 species, across 56 field sites. Using this new stomatal scheme, within a global climate model, subtantially increases the intensity of future heatwaves across Northern Eurasia. This indicates that our climate model has previously been under-predicting heatwave intensity. Our results have widespread implications for other climate models, many of which do not account for differences in stomatal water-use across different plant functional types, and hence, are also likely under projecting heatwave intensity in the future.

      With the heatwaves comes drought and fire

      Reply
  16. Abel Adamski

     /  March 22, 2016

    Yes yes it’s PR blurb.
    But still worth while looking at
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/honeywell-partners-with-indian-manufacturer-to-increase-supply-of-low-global-warming-potential-auto-refrigerant-300238909.html

    MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that it has entered into a supply agreement and technology license with an Indian manufacturer to produce Honeywell Solstice® yf, an automobile refrigerant with a global warming potential of less than 1.

    Honeywell will license its proprietary process technologies to produce the refrigerant to Navin Fluorine International Limited (NFIL), which will manufacture Solstice yf in India exclusively for Honeywell. Small-scale production is expected to begin by the end of 2016.

    Solstice yf, also known as HFO-1234yf, is a next-generation hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) refrigerant that is a near drop-in replacement for R-134a, a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) with a global warming potential (GWP) of 1,300, for use in in vehicle air conditioning systems globally. Solstice yf is also being used in a growing number of stationary air conditioning and commercial refrigeration applications. The demand for Solstice yf for use in mobile air conditioning is increasing rapidly due to increased global environmental regulations and policies aimed at reducing the global warming impacts of HFCs

    The Refrigerants for auto’s , home AC and business and commercial has been to me a concern as the world warms and developing nations explode into AC useage

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  March 22, 2016

      Follow up on why my concern with refrigerants
      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/what-do-chinese-dumplings-have-to-do-with-global-warming.html?_r=0

      When Chen founded Sanquan, fewer than one in 10 of his fellow citizens even owned a refrigerator. In the eastern megacities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, it wasn’t until the late 1980s — as electrical grids became more reliable and families had more disposable income — that refrigerators became a fixture of most homes. For second- and third-tier cities, like Zhengzhou, they arrived even more slowly. But in the 12 years between 1995 and 2007, China’s domestic refrigerator-ownership numbers have jumped to 95 percent from just 7 percent of urban families.

      An artificial winter has begun to stretch across the country, through its fields and its ports, its logistics hubs and freeways. China had 250 million cubic feet of refrigerated storage capacity in 2007; by 2017, the country is on track to have 20 times that. At five billion cubic feet, China will surpass even the United States, which has led the world in cold storage ever since artificial refrigeration was invented. And even that translates to only 3.7 cubic feet of cold storage per capita, or roughly a third of what Americans currently have — meaning that the Chinese refrigeration boom is only just beginning.

      This is not simply transforming how Chinese people grow, distribute and consume food. It also stands to become a formidable new factor in climate change; cooling is already responsible for 15 percent of all electricity consumption worldwide, and leaks of chemical refrigerants are a major source of greenhouse-gas pollution. Of all the shifts in lifestyle that threaten the planet right now, perhaps not one is as important as the changing way that Chinese people eat.

      Now add in the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, Asia, Middle East etc

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  March 22, 2016

        I see it all the time, discarded refrigerators on nature strips for hard rubbish collection, someone cuts out the copper heat exchange piping for the copper. Then you have the millions of A.C fitted cars being crushed every single day

        Reply
  17. Greg

     /  March 22, 2016

    Apple’s operations now run entirely on renewable energy in 23 countries, including the United States and China, said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, at the product launch event.

    “We think there’s no greater challenge in the world than our changing climate,” said Jackson, who led the U.S. EPA from 2009 to 2013. “The solution is energy efficiency and renewable energy, and the time for action is right now.”

    To help reach its target, Apple built a 40-megawatt solar project in Sichuan province, China that accommodates the local population — which is mostly made up of yaks. Jackson said the system is innovative in allowing for both electricity generation and hay production for the local yak ranchers. That project alone powers Apple’s 34 retail stores and 19 offices in the country.

    In Singapore, where space is limited, Apple installed solar arrays on 800 rooftops.

    To start addressing supply-chain emissions ( a much larger footprint than facilities), Apple announced an initiative last fall to install more than 2 gigawatts of new clean energy in partnership with its suppliers in China.

    Reply
  18. Greg

     /  March 22, 2016

    James Hansen et al paper now online for free including discussion and supplement:

    Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/16/3761/2016/acp-16-3761-2016-discussion.html

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  March 22, 2016

      From the Washington Post on this now final revised transcript: a dire climate study that suggests the impact of global warming will be quicker and more catastrophic than generally envisioned.

      The research invokes collapsing ice sheets, violent megastorms and even the hurling of boulders by giant waves in its quest to suggest that even 2 degrees Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels would be far too much. Hansen has called it the most important work he has ever done.

      Reply
  19. Thanks again Robert for your posts and for setting up this space for discussion.

    Something I have been thinking about for the past couple of weeks, is the timeline and effects of extended blue sea in the Arctic. More specifically, once the Arctic starts being mostly melted for more than a couple of weeks in the summer (below 1M sq km), what happens to the weather patterns, and how rapidly does that effect agricultural production? As well, once the Arctic is mostly open water, the climate there is supposed to warm very rapidly (up to 8-15C if i rememer correctly), bringing much warmer air to greenland’s ice sheet, especially the northern part of the GIS.

    I’ve been watching Arctic Sea Ice for a while now via Neven’s blog, as it seemed like a canary, a way to check how fast the climate disruptions were happening. Now i realize it’s more than that, it’s probably going to be an inflection point/phase change, where the sh*t starts to hit the fan in earnest.

    So my main questions are:

    1. how long before we start seeing arctic blue sea summers? My guess is 3-10 yrs, and i don’t see the ice recovering once it’s gone, as there will be too much energy in the water.
    2. what happens to weather patterns (and agriculture) if blue sea summers wreck the hadley/ferrel/polar cell formation? i’m not very meteorologically literate, so i’m just guessing about how bad it could be.
    3. 8C warmer over GIS, plus these south to north storm tracks shooting massive heat and moisture into the arctic, means a lot more of the GIS is going to get rained on, and is going to have surface melt and greatly reduce its albedo, so how much will that increase melt rate? I’m inclined to think it’ll increase melt rate quite a bit, but would it be as much of a factor as the bottom melt of marine terminating glaciers?

    I should really post this on the sea ice forum.

    cheers,
    marcel

    Reply
    • 1. 1-10 years is a decent estimate.
      2. Once you get phase change in the Arctic, weather systems tend to circulate more around Greenland than around the pole.
      3. Rapid (exponential GIS melt likely begins at this stage).
      4. AMOC shutdown/severe slowdown.
      5. Entering what I call phase 2 climate change — rapid glacial melt and severe superstorms ala Hansen.
      6. Rate of atmospheric warming may slow due to large freshwater wedges propagating out from the ice sheets.
      7. Net Earth Systems energy imbalance appears to favor an accelerated rate of ocean warming — speeding basal ice sheet melt.
      8. Very severe weather impacts, changes in predictable growing seasons, increasing rates of sea level rise.
      9. The equator begins rapid warming.
      10. The higher latitudes in the North Atlantic cool due to the fresh water wedge effect.
      11. T deltas increase from equator to North Atlantic which rapidly ramps up the related storm track.
      12. The Arctic warms on the Siberian side but there’s an amazing weather battle ground as you get closer to Greenland.
      13. Higher permafrost, ocean carbon feedbacks.
      14. Overall, rapid ice sheet melt likely slows the pace of atmospheric warming even as the pace of geophysical change ramps up.

      Reply
      • John McCormick

         /  March 22, 2016

        Robert, that is an incredible response you posted. We are on the track to described even if the sequence is not going to be prove accurate, we will see the Arctic climate implosion, nonetheless.

        Reply
        • I don’t know if we can fully stop phase 2 at this time. We might set up a milder phase 2 through rapid global carbon emissions draw-down. Box says 6 percent per year carbon reductions could do it. In any case, we really need to be responding rapidly. That’s the message, the most responsible message, we could be putting out at this time.

      • Marcel_g

         /  March 23, 2016

        Thanks for such a detailed reply Robert.

        So you think the GIS could respond to Arctic atmospheric warming fairly quickly? That would be my guess, but that’s only a laymans guess. I’d guess that if the GIS mass loss ramps up even from ~300GT/yr to 1000GT/yr, that will have an impact on SLR. But it would also depend on how fast the heat gets into the ice deeper in the interior and softens it up.

        If the weather patterns center on Greenland and the jet stream basically disappears, could the storm tracks start going more north south?

        Leading to possible severe droughts in the ag regions of NA and Europe?

        Sorry for typos & incoherence- I’m on a train, still taking painkillers from recent shoulder surgery.

        Best, Marcel

        Reply
  20. I backed this KS by futurist Alex Steffen. he knows we’re in a dire situation, but also knows we need to rethink everything to fully decarbonize.

    Reply
    • Marcel, we have scientific evidence that we can’t do it without solar, other renewables and EVs. They’re basically the only sets of replacement energy and transportation solutions that we can deploy fast enough and that fit well with global policy.

      https://robertscribbler.com/2016/03/16/the-choice-before-us-is-urgent-sans-a-swift-switch-to-renewables-dangerous-climate-change-may-be-imminent/

      There are many things we need to do in addition. But without a rapid energy transition, there’s no chance. And that’s why we need to be very careful about language. You don’t discount the center of gravity to your best available solution in order to support helpful changes in other areas. That’s just bad use of messaging and one that’s bound to result in ultimate failure.

      Now Steffen is a great thinker and I’m glad he’s working on this project. So thanks for posting this link. But all messaging now needs to be pro-renewables, pro political action, pro-reduced carbon consumption, pro-efficiency, pro resiliency, anti-fossil fuel burning, pro land use change.

      Reply
      • Marcel_g

         /  March 22, 2016

        Robert, my understanding is that Steffen is strongly pro renewables, but his thinking is more along the lines of the idea that we can’t just put solar panels on the roof and switch to EVs while still living in the culture of urban sprawl.

        I think he’s arguing that we need to rethink how we build our cities so they’re much denser and can rely on mass transit and cycling, and how our economy moves thing around, etc.

        So the architecture of how we live has to change, as well as our sources of energy. I guess those ideas are becoming more prevalent with urban planners, but we still have a long way to go with urban planners in NA

        Reply
        • It’s absolutely helpful to redesign cities, add bikes, and figure out all those great ways to use less energy. I don’t think of it as bikes and architecture vs renewables. I think of it as bikes and architecture + renewables.

          I’m trying to get people to think inclusively and systemically. In any system you need base energy and if that’s coming from renewables or a non-carbon source then that’s an absolutely crucial part of the solving the problem. But, yes, if you can reduce base energy demand by smart design and keep pushing the sustainability curve that way, then it’s also huge. It’s just something that really can’t be done without rapidly scalable new energy sources. An energy switch can cut carbon emissions pretty rapidly if the policy is lined up. And sustainable design can steepen the carbon emission reduction curve.

      • Marcel_g

         /  March 23, 2016

        Yeah, I’d have to agree that a RE and EV switch is crucial, and should probably be focused on first, mainly because I think it’s something most people can get their heads around and is relatively non threatening.

        Reply
  21. – Jason Box – His take on JH most recent study and conclusions:

    Jason Box ‏@climate_ice 4h4 hours ago Copenhagen, Denmark

    Jason Box Retweeted Guardian Environment [Climate guru James Hansen warns of much worse than expected sea level rise]

    “pretty darned close” to the point of no return… emissions need to be cut ~6% a year to stabilize climate

    Reply
    • Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 9h9 hours ago

      Gorgeous cyclone south of Greenland yesterday. Interesting to note the smaller meso lows to south of the main low.

      Reply
    • Eric Holthaus ‏@EricHolthaus 2h2 hours ago

      James Hansen’s latest study reads like a sci-fi plot synopsis—and it’s now officially part of the scientific canon:

      Reply
  22. – NA USA Snow Water ‘Availability’
    CO Basin and CA Central Valley South are at the low end.

    Reply
  23. Reply
  24. Reply
  25. I noticed a post on American GOP political candidates ignoring the threat of climate disruption. I’m no scientist but do understand the immediate threat and the utter lack of GOP candidates to address this crisis. The energy corps, especially coal and oil, have corrupted the whole system and continue to spread lies and misinformation to insure public denial of impending doom. I have no children so no stake in the future of Earth. But this is a fantastic planet to live on and humans are killing it and may drive themselves to extinction. I hope not; there are good people that deserve a place to live on, in peace and harmony, with all inhabitants on Earth. I just don’t believe it’ll happen soon enough to save things. Anyway, try to conserve energy use; we could save 15-20% immediately by all the municipalities turning lights off at night. Just look at pictures from the ISS,(Space station), just to see how the planet lights up at night. We’re all in this together and can solve this crisis, but only if leaders do their part and I just don’t think they will. Sorry, it really is a fantastic planet to live on.

    Reply
    • Immediate conservation efforts would help so long as they are coupled with a rapid retirement and replacement of all fossil fuel related infrastructure with renewables and non-carbon emitting sources.

      Reply
  26. Here’s another important new study…

    Risk of multiple tipping points should be triggering urgent action on climate change

    “The study showed that the possibility of triggering these future tipping points increased the present ‘social cost of carbon’ in the model by nearly eightfold – from US$15 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, to US$116/tCO2.

    Furthermore, the model suggests that passing some tipping points increases the likelihood of other tipping points occurring to such an extent that the social cost of carbon would further increase abruptly.

    The recommended policy therefore involves an immediate, massive effort to reduce CO2 emissions, stopping them completely by the middle of the century, in order to stabilize climate change at less than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.”

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-03-multiple-triggering-urgent-action-climate.html#jCp

    Reply
  27. Climate change warnings for coral reef may have come to pass, scientists say

    “The whole question is: are temperatures rising faster than corals are able to adapt? And the answer so far seems to be ‘yes’.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/22/climate-change-warnings-coral-reef-great-barrier-reef-experts-projections-scientists

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  March 22, 2016

    The (PETM) study has garnered much attention. The Nat. Geo, article about it brings up a rather interesting point. This isn’t the first one to reach the same conclusion, from a completely different core sample, this one from New Jersey the last from Norway-


    The new estimate of the rate of carbon release at the PETM onset is similar to that found in 2011 by a team led by Pennsylvania State University. The Penn State group based their sediment analysis on what is known as an “age model;” they dated a sediment core sample drilled in Norway based on physicists’ recreation of the rhythms of Earth’s orbit around the sun. Slight changes in that orbit leave a pattern of iron concentrations in the sediment.

    Lee Kump, head of geosciences at Penn State, said he was “heartened” that the new approach arrived at numbers in line with his team’s estimates, although he noted both papers come to the same grim conclusion.

    Link

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  March 22, 2016

    Ten Civilizations or Nations That Collapsed From Drought
    By: Jeff Masters

    Link

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  March 22, 2016

    I have read about this stuff for very long time. It hasn’t made me wiser , but it has filled me with factoids.

    When England was burning trees, and building ships. Coal took off. Because charcoal was just too expensive to compete with the need to build ships.

    All of this was before 1750 . You couldn’t make ships without oak. But you could make iron without wood. The King saw this, coal mining in the Western world was born.
    The charcoal business in crashed over night , with the stroke of a pen. The coal miner was born. All as a result of an English King.

    Reply
    • And people think policy doesn’t matter.

      With the stroke of a pen Warren Buffet convinced lawmakers to slow down solar adoption in Nevada to protect legacy carbon emitting utility power plants. With the stroke of a pen, Obama set in place policies to reduce US carbon emissions by 30 percent through 2030. With the stroke of a pen, Republicans gummed it up in the Supreme Court.

      The wealthy realize this — policy can make or break their potential profits, crush or create new industries for them. The people should realize that if we want to deal with climate change, if we’re to have any hope, we cannot give up on government. We must absolutely fight to get the best policies possible for preventing worse and worse harm.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  March 22, 2016

        It’s a long story . The English could have been blind . They would have cut every tree on the island. They’re need to build ships, saved them, the charcoal makers were relentless.

        This all ended up in the Great Smog. 400 years later.

        Reply
      • – ‘Policy’ through legislation, indeed. In the USA, just look at the devious and effective efforts of ALEC. They’ve been at work for a long time, too. And the Republican policy makers are all too willing to be influenced. The Democrats are too timid to counter.

        – Bob, for a man with a head full of factoids you have a wise way of putting them together and making them known. Thanks.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  March 22, 2016

        dtl –

        Even blind pig finds an acorn every now , and then.

        Reply
        • One of the wisest men in the world that I know calls himself a blind pig. Well, that’s the eccentricity of a prophet for ya.😉

  31. Colorado Bob

     /  March 22, 2016

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  March 22, 2016

    When I die let my ashes flow down the Green River. The one in Utah. The one we all remember

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  March 22, 2016

    RS –
    So sorry I was once an ally , and now just a jackass.

    Reply
    • You are absolutely an ally. Everything you post here is worthwhile. Everything you’ve done here has been an amazing help. Bob — I think about a zillion people would echo me when I say with full conviction that you absofrigginlutely rock!

      Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  March 23, 2016

    My mind is mush, my liver is a cargo container .

    Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  March 23, 2016

    Let’s see the best song ever .

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  March 23, 2016

    Bloomfield Kooper Stills – 1977 – Super Session [Full Album]

    Enjoy.

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  March 23, 2016

    Back to the crash as world as we know it.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  March 23, 2016

      It’s like watching people jump from the Zeppelin at Lakehurst,

      Now, the big filters are at work. We never see any of this anymore.

      People die, but we never see the blood,

      There is a long history of the crash, of the
      Zeppelin at Lakehurst, I saw it all when I was 7 ,
      Now there is nothing to upset your Cheerios.

      People die, but we never see the blood,

      That little girl in Vietnam running down the road.
      Now there is nothing to upset your Cheerios.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  March 23, 2016

        It is all just a video game or Hollywood, flick the switch and it will all be normal again.

        The only problem it isn’t, it is real

        Reply
  38. Nancy

     /  March 23, 2016

    If we don’t develop a mechanism to pull the excess CO2 from the air, and do something to save the Arctic ice cap, we are screwed. Do you think there are top-level secret meetings going on in Washington DC discussing how to stop catastrophic climate change? Are the world’s leaders reading these latest reports and gathering their science leaders to discuss solutions? Where the hell is John Holdren? Is he ignoring the latest reports from Jim Hansen and others?

    Does anyone remember the movie “The Age of Stupid?” It’s the story of a last man left on earth after catastrophic climate change destroys the planet. He is a historian, going through all the news reports about climate change, and how everyone ignored it until it was too late. Sad but true.

    Reply
    • Atmospheric carbon capture will never equal the level of current emissions on timescales relevant to the human forcing this Century. The key mitigation is rapidly reducing carbon emissions. Geoengineering is a dangerous gamble that is unlikely to succeed and that is likely to cause much additional global harm.

      So what we need, ala Hansen and Box is a rapid draw-down in the rate of human emissions in the range of 3-6 percent per year (Hansen recommends 6) coupled with the kinds of atmospheric carbon capture we can muster (which may, if we’re good at it, draw down about 1 billion tons per year).

      Reply
  1. Le futur climatique est déjà arrivé | Dorota Retelska

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