CO2’s Vertigo-Inducing Rate of Rise — In First 5 Months of 2016 Hothouse Gas Concentration Rocketed 3.7 Parts Per Million Above 2015

“Perhaps the most worrisome threat is that because the Arctic is warming so much faster than the globe as a whole, the permafrost — soil that remains frozen year-round — is thawing. As it does, organic matter which is trapped within can decay, and when it does it releases CO2 into the atmosphere, except those places where instead of releasing CO2 it releases CH4.”Tamino.

With the Northern Hemisphere Pole warming at a rate 2-3 times faster than the rest of the globe, there’s a risk that we start to set off a kind of runaway warming feedback. We may be near that threshold now… God help us if we’ve crossed it…


Prior to 2015, the highest annual rate of atmospheric CO2 increase occurred in 1998 at 2.9 ppm. This record was broken in 2015 when atmospheric CO2 levels climbed by 3.05 ppm. But so far this year, the rate of increase for this heat-trapping gas is a stunning 3.68 parts per million above comparable monthly averages seen during 2015. That’s nearly four times the rate of atmospheric accumulation since the early 1960s. A level of increase that almost guarantees that 2016 will shatter 2015’s record for CO2 gain and set a new ominous benchmark for a ramping accumulation of hothouse gasses.

Record Rate of CO2 Rise 2016

(Big jumps in month to month, 2015 to 2016 CO2 concentrations make it almost certain that the annual rate of increase in this greenhouse gas’s concentration will be a new global record. Image source: NOAA ESRL.)

Human Fossil Fuel Burning, A Carbon Saturated Ocean, and Amplifying Feedbacks

The baseline driver for this amazing rate of increase is a global carbon emission in the range of 13 billion tons every year (a rate that is about 30 percent faster than during 1998). Efforts on the part of China and the rest of the world to curtail coal emissions did result in a leveling off of these human emissions during 2014 and 2015. But this action only managed to achieved a plateau in the rate at which heat-trapping gasses hit the atmosphere at or near new record high levels. A rate of emissions that is about ten times faster than the out-gassing of heat trapping airs which set off the Paleocene – Eocene Extinction about 55 million years ago.

Wagging that baseline was a strong El Nino. During El Nino years, the Tropics heat up. This results in less CO2 being absorbed by the global Equatorial Ocean even as droughts and wildfires related to the Nino climate variation pump more carbon out of the world’s soils and vegetation.

But also impacting rate of CO2 rise is what is now an ongoing set of Earth System Feedbacks related to human-caused climate change. The added 1.2 C worth of warming since 1880 that 2016 is likely to experience helps to amplify the El Nino drought and ocean warming signal resulting in even less carbon uptake and producing even more carbon feedback. In addition, oceans saturated with carbon due to atmospheric CO2 levels hitting near 408 ppm are already able to hold less of the stuff in suspension. So it takes less relative heat force to further shut down that uptake. In addition, the warming Arctic is starting to unearth a number of previously frozen carbon stores. And record high global temperatures are now generating a weak but troubling signal that some of these stores may be starting to release.

According to NASA:

Deposits of frozen methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and carbon dioxide lie beneath permafrost in Arctic regions. About a quarter of the Northern hemisphere is covered by permafrost. As the environment warms and the permafrost thaws, these deposits can be released into the atmosphere and present a risk of runaway warming.

Smoothed Annual rate of Atmospheric CO2 Increase

(Smoothed annual rate of atmospheric CO2 increase provided by Tamino shows that the pace of CO2 accumulation has increased by about 0.25 ppm per decade since the 1960s. The primary driver of this increase is human fossil fuel burning. But an increasingly substantial driver is the saturation of global carbon stores coupled with emerging amplifying feedbacks. Failure to reduce and halt fossil fuel burning as soon as possible will result in a worsening and intensifying of these warming feedbacks — putting at risk a catastrophic runaway warming scenario that we should strive to avoid at all costs. Image source: Tamino.)

In this context, the big 2016 jump in atmospheric CO2 levels looks pretty grim. And we’ve seen no respite in June when the first three weeks were about 4.4 ppm CO2 higher than during the same period in 2015. In fact, it appears that the rate of CO2 drop off for this year is lagging a bit behind trend line. A reduced pace of loss that looks pretty bad coming off of such amazing highs for the first five months of the year and during a time when the carbon-loaded Arctic has been so ridiculously warm.



NASA (please support public, non special interest based science like the fantastic and often life-saving work done at NASA and NOAA)


Paleocene – Eocene Extinction

Hat tip to Wili

Hat tip to John McCormack

Leave a comment


  1. Colorado Bob

     /  June 22, 2016

    Gimme Shelter 1969 – The Rolling Stones

    ” If I don’t get some shelter , oo ya I’m gonna fade away “

  2. climatehawk1

     /  June 22, 2016

    Scheduling tweet on this.

  3. “no respite in June WHERE the first three weeks … “

  4. Colorado Bob

     /  June 22, 2016

    Sanders: ‘It Doesn’t Appear That I’m Gonna Be the Nominee’ – ‎1 hour ago‎

    Yep, but you got millions up off the couch and in the game.

  5. John McCormick

     /  June 22, 2016

    The other half of the report Robert, is the fact twenty years out, civilizations will experience the effects of 2016’s C)2 emissions. How to prepare organized societies for a +1.5 degree C world when the climate today is going out of order.

    • There will certainly be difficult challenges ahead. There’s a big difference between — societies can function, societies under threat, and most societies falling apart. Today we’re in a situation where a few societies here and there fall under collapse threat due to climate change related issues (Syria as a case in point). At around 1.5 to 2 C the frequency of extreme events bumps up to the point where you have greater related collapse threats (so you go from a few societies under threat to possibly 10, 15 or a score). And we’re getting a taste of that now. A well managed global civilization might weather the related events. But we’ll need to help each other.

      At a certain point, maybe 3 C, maybe 4 C (this Century), and almost certainly at 5 and 6 C, you get a large number of civilizations falling under collapse threat (possibly tilting into the ‘most societies falling apart’ category). At that point, the adaptation bar is probably getting too high to reasonably think that global civilization can weather this thing. At that point, I’d say the situation is getting too rough to handle based on what we know now. But humans can be pretty innovative, so who knows. Maybe a few societies can make it through that kind of situation

      The issue here is not to pick the point at which we throw our hands up and say ‘we give up.’ The point is that we should make the solemn oath now to ‘never say die’ and to do everything we can to reduce the level of harm that is coming.

      Right now, we’re on a trajectory that is starting to bend slowly (ever so slowly) away from the worst possible path. And we should speed up that progress. But we should also be clear and say that there are no guarantees at this point. Just that we’ve got to do our best to prevent a bad situation (both the situation now and the situation that we’ve locked in down the road) from getting worse.

  6. wili

     /  June 22, 2016

    Wow! Two hat tips in as many days! Thanks. And, as usual, great post!

  7. Robert Speta ‏@robertspeta 38m38 minutes ago

    Some parts of Kyushu have seen a months worst of rainfall this week. Topping 600mm in worst hit areas

  8. USA Forests: “Hack’n’Squirt”


    Lock-Down Blockade Against Mendocino Redwood Company

    Comptche, CA-Activists today blocked trucks and vehicles transporting logging crews, in a protest against Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC). The company uses a practice known as “Hack’n’Squirt” to kill hardwoods on their forest holdings.

    Protesters called for a “lock’n’block” protest at noon at the gates of MRC Timber Harvest Plan #1-14-148 MEN, nicknamed “Half Way to Hell,” near the tiny town of Comptche, in the heart of southern Mendocino County.

    On June 7, a two-thirds majority of voters in Mendocino County passed Measure V, declaring the practice of leaving of dead standing trees a public nuisance. Despite the overwhelming voter mandate, MRC continues the practice of dousing the forest with the chemical Imazypr, leaving thousands of tan oaks and other hardwoods dead but standing, exacerbating an already critically high fire danger by adding dry fuels to the forest during the fifth year of drought in California.

    “We locked down today because MRC is continuing to hack and squirt after the people went to the ballot box and told them to stop…

      • Jay M

         /  June 23, 2016

        Interesting because the Fisher family bought the pretty logged out property (GAP clothing) under the pretense that it would be operated “sustainably” vis a vis redwood harvest. Har har didn’t mean they wouldn’t continue aggressive management of hardwoods via herbicides. Think it was Louisiana Pacific prior, but gone through a chain of exploitation.

    • Andy in SD

       /  June 23, 2016

      “the practice of dousing the forest with the chemical Imazypr, leaving thousands of tan oaks and other hardwoods dead but standing”

      I have NEVER heard of such a practice in forestry (and I’m from BC).

      Holy hell, how stupid can people be? This is a domestic version of Agent Orange. How in the hell can this be legal?

      • Jay M

         /  June 23, 2016

        in the bay region the sudden oak death was determinative

      • Andy in SD

         /  June 23, 2016

        That is so far beyond insane it is unreal. Ignoring any aspects regarding harvesting trees, or removing them for other land uses (that is a totally different issue), air sipersal of defoliants and plant killers does not simply stop at the “tree”. It seeps into the soil, water table, streams, food chain etc…

        Literally the last time I heard of such a method of defoliate was agent orange during the Vietnam war. And turned out poorly for everyone.

    • Wow. That’s about as irresponsible as one can get. Leaving dead trees standing in today’s climate is just going to add to an already ridiculous fire hazard. Not to mention what such a mass spraying of defoliants will do to the water table. Add in yet one more example of how profit motive is resulting in the absolute worst kind of behavior. My view is — it’s against the law, these guys should be charged with criminal violations.

  9. Man-Made Pollutants Found in Earth’s Deepest Ocean Trenches

    Crustaceans at 10,000 meters contain higher concentrations of chemicals than some animals in coastal waters

    Toxic chemicals are accumulating in marine creatures in Earth’s deepest oceanic trenches, the first measurements of organic pollutants in these regions have revealed.

    “We often think deep-sea trenches are remote and pristine, untouched by humans,” says Alan Jamieson, a deep-ocean researcher at the University of Aberdeen, UK. But Jamieson and his colleagues have found man-made organic pollutants at high levels in shrimp-like crustaceans called amphipods that they collected from two deep-ocean trenches, he told a conference on deep-ocean exploration in Shanghai on 8 June.

    “It’s really surprising to find pollutants so deep in the ocean at such high concentrations,” says Jeffrey Drazen, a marine ecologist at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

    Before this work—which has not yet been published—the study of pollutants in deep-sea organisms had been limited to those that live at depths of 2,000 metres or less. The latest research tested for levels of organic chemicals in amphipods collected at 7,000–10,000 metres depth, from the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean—the world’s deepest trench—and from the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand.

    The creatures were captured during two international expeditions in 2014, when researchers lowered uncrewed landers into the trenches as part of a research programme to study deep-ocean ecosystems, sponsored by the US National Science Foundation.

    In both trenches, the amphipods contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—used to make plastics and as anti-fouling agents to stop barnacles growing on ships’ hulls—and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used as flame retardants…

    – High levels of man-made pollutants have been found in the shrimp-like creature Hirondellea gigas (pictured), which lives in the deep-ocean Mariana Trench. Credit: Daiju Azuma/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5

  10. Cate

     /  June 22, 2016

    When will we know when we’ve crossed the threshold? Is it only when we can look back and say, “There, then”? And won’t it be too late then to do anything but hunker down? What have we done? What are we thinking? God help us indeed.

    • So the Earth System response is more subtle, generally, than what we see from human emissions. We could do a molar fraction survey of the Earth Ocean and atmosphere now and get an idea of the strength of the feedback response. But think about this — even if it is, say, 10 percent of the current human emission by 2050 — then the question is how do you stop it? That kind of response will tend to continue on for Centuries, which would lock in the current warming of the time and result in even greater warming over longer time scales. From the human standpoint, it would render climate change a permanent feature even if you got to zero carbon emissions from the human system. At that point, you’ve got to go net carbon negative on a pretty large scale.

      Thing is, we’re pushing the Earth System pretty hard at the moment. So under worst case scenarios an amplifying feedback of 30+ percent human emission (current) over very long timescales might emerge. And that would be the fastest the Earth System has probably ever responded to a perturbation. This carbon’s been building up in the system ever since the PETM. So if we kick it too hard, it will probably come out.

      Of course, continuing to burn fossil fuels is a worse outcome than such an Earth System response if we hit zero human emissions. The reason is that 1, humans appear to be far more efficient at delivering carbon to the atmosphere than the Earth System even in the worse events of the geological past and 2, that humans are burning carbon that would never be unearthed outside of a Venus Syndrome scenario (which hopefully correct models indicate is probably very, very unlikely given Earth’s greater setback from the admittedly warming sun). So getting to zero human carbon emissions is absolutely crucial regardless of how bad the Earth System response looks.

  11. Colorado Bob

     /  June 22, 2016

    You know every 4 years, for decades, the “Republican Clown Car” has been traded in on a newer bigger model, and we all got to ride along on the back bumper , hanging on for dear life.

    Now, we’re all riding on top of a “Republican Clown Oil Tank Car “. While they blast their sinking “Principles” at us once again.

    Oh to be 18 again, with the fire in my belly.

    That cancer Dean warned Nixon about was never treated. It just wrapped it’s self in our flag, and continued to eat at our values.
    50 years ago, I thought we were living in a period of “good and evil”. But I lived in a Beach Boy world. So everything was good. So , the next year , my Beach Boy girl friend’s brother, played this –

    Paul Butterfield – In My Own Dream

    And this why I am old jackass on the threads. Paul Butterfield changed my life. After this I rode the freights back from San Bernardino . (After crossing LA. I was in Venice . a 3 bedroom apartment was 35 dollars a month) I crossed the entire South West desert from San Bernardino to Lubbock with no money and one suit case. on trains. We started with a 6 pack of root beer. Joe Ely picked up at the end. I was so covered with soot He didn’t know me.
    Paul Butterfield changed my life.

  12. Jay M

     /  June 23, 2016

    Moisture development over Mali and southern Algeria seems to send cloud plume over Adriatic and Yugoslavia area:

    • The big N Atlantic high has completely changed the weather pattern. Huge ridge to the west is resulting in a trough that dips all the way in to N. Africa, taps the tropical flow and then flings it at Europe.

  13. Shawn Redmond

     /  June 23, 2016

    In ’77 I hitchhiked from Nova Scotia to Edmonton Alberta with 200 bucks in my pocket. Lived in hostels and ditches along the way. Worked were I could find it. It was the first oil boom out west , work wasn’t hard to find nor was the party. Great fun at the time, sucks when I look back though the damage! The damage only becoming clear in recent times.We’ve played the suckers bet. Damn it. Welcome to hell. Breakfast at 7 see you there.

    • Andy in SD

       /  June 23, 2016

      Just guessing you spent time in Red Deer? That was the oil driller epicenter back then. What a hell hole town back then. Couldn’t get a pack of smokes at the gas station without getting into a bar fight.

  14. Griffin

     /  June 23, 2016

    Interesting post Robert! I wonder when we will see estimates of the impact of reduced carbon uptake by northern hemisphere trees in the spring cycle.
    A drive along the highways of Massachusetts this week reveals a scene that in some places honestly looks like a defoliant has been applied. It is stark and unmistakable. Spring simply did not happen for large stretches of trees. I am sure that the enhanced pollution from the ever-congested roads has a greater impact than it does in other areas but the tree losses just have to add up. The areas of reduced tree canopy is enormous just in the little area that I get to see. When you factor in the 68 million trees lost in California and all the countless others across the west, this becomes an issue. There are simply not as many leaves as there was even a decade ago. This without even factoring in the endless deforestation that comes as a result of suburban sprawl here in the northeast. I just wonder when the losses will start to have an effect on the beautiful carbon clearing engine that we rely on to keep our planet habitable. I sincerely hope that I am overthinking this but if we keep losing trees like this here in the northeast, there won’t be much sequestration going on!

    • Haven’t seen much in the way of studies coming out on that particular issue. I would like to see a generalized study on the health of the global carbon sink — trees, oceans, etc — and how effectively its taking in carbon vs say the 1970s before we started to hit the current big heat ramp.

  15. Jay M

     /  June 23, 2016

    don’t seem to be a huge number of insects’

    • Kevin Jones

       /  June 23, 2016

      Black Fly season used to drive us nuts. Then mosquitos. Then deer flies. Seem to have been replaced by ticks and ants. Very few barn swallows around lately…..

  16. labmonkey2

     /  June 23, 2016

    Lots to ponder here. And another great post that got me thinking (maybe off kilter…), but if we’re accelerating the CO2 concentrations, chemically speaking – will this mean less O2 for us to breathe? It’s all about the chemistry on this planet we call home, and if the warming oceans reduce the O2 release of the phytoplankton – along with the ‘fixation’ of O2 with C as we burn fossil fuels (and release MORE HEAT) – are we in for a double whammy?

    • Kevin Jones

       /  June 23, 2016

      O2=21% of atmosphere. CO2= .04%. Charles Keeling’s son David measures downward O2 trend which mirrors CO2 rise. Like stirring drops of black paint into a bucket of white paint, it isn’t much but it sure is noticeable.

    • In the geological past, during even the worst hothouse events, it looks like global oxygen hasn’t dropped below 16 percent since the time that terrestrial, oxygen breathing, animals began to take up residence upon the lands of our world 380 million years ago. Warming does threaten phytoplankton, and that would in turn affect global oxygen production, but other oxygen producing forms abound and even other forms of plankton that can live in warmer waters and continue to produce oxygen. The result is much like Kevin describes. You get a degradation of global oxygen on a very slow downslope. But this is not an asphyxiation risk this Century and probably not an asphyziation risk ever. The real risk is a shift toward a Canfield type ocean state in which hydrogen sulfide begins to bubble up into the atmosphere. At that point, you get times and places where mass animal deaths occur as big clouds of the gas move here and there randomly. You also end up with a degradation of the ozone layer due to hydrogen sulfide outgassing.

      You need to warm up the world by at least 6-9 C to risk getting a Canfield Ocean state into full swing. This is one of the primary reasons why getting off BAU fossil fuel burning as soon as possible is imperative. As tough as all the other impacts of global climate change are, a Canfield Ocean is the kind of thing that would almost guarantee widespread human civilization collapse and result in a human species extinction risk as well.

      There’s a kind of misinformation meme going RE global atmospheric oxygen and phytoplankton. I’d advise approaching the subject with caution.

  17. Andy in SD

     /  June 23, 2016

    An interesting anecdotal observation.

    I’ve been following the rescue at the south pole, and of course the comment sections are full of the usual mix of responses.

    The interesting ones are from old timers in the cold climates (northern Canada / Alaska). They universally lament how the winter temperatures have risen about 10 to 25 degrees.

    • Pretty amazing story. Although this time around seems like it was easier than the last.

      So the last polar rescue mission occurred in 2001. At the time the temps were -92 (F). The plane had to wait for better conditions for take off and the skis froze to the ice. They had to bang on it with blocks of wood to get it out.

      This time around, the temps were -60 to -70 (F). Still crazy cold, but a lot warmer than the last time around. Another anecdote to add to the list.

  18. June

     /  June 23, 2016

    Nice commentary on the news of the first mammalian extinction due to climate change.

    “Bring climate change back from the future”

    “If we are going to have a fighting chance to avert the current extinction crisis, we must accept and communicate that climate change is already upon us and that proactive action is needed now. We should not treat the news of the extinction of the melomys as an interesting question for Trivial Pursuit or an undergraduate exam — we need to treat it as a lesson.

    • Exactly. This is exactly the thing we need to communicate — climate chance is already here and we need to act. We need to act in such a way that provides the strongest response possible now and we need to continue to escalate that response. Because climate change isn’t going away anytime for at least decades and decades. But we can do a lot now to prevent even greater harms than the tragedies that have already befallen us.

      This extinction was terrible. But it was also a warning. Climate change guns for mammals too. And the pace of change is already bad enough to put us mammals on the watch list.

  19. – I attended this meeting but left early to catch a bus. it was supposed to cut in half with industrial emissions. and mobile diesel type emissions but the less threatening industrial part took up about 2/3 of the time.

    ‘Angry residents challenge inconclusive air pollution study in N Portland’

    A $375,000 study has not yet found the source of odors in North Portland, and it found air pollution no higher than levels detected at another monitoring station nearby, state regulators reported on Monday.

    Residents were not satisfied with the state’s analysis or its responsiveness to their concerns.

    “If I had a little kid I’d be afraid to let them out or to play outside,” said Pam Allee, 70, at a community meeting in North Portland. “You guys gotta do a little bit more.”

    About 100 people attended the meeting with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials and lawmakers.

  20. I first heard this proverb many, many years ago . . . . . and had hope that it would not prove to be true for a critical mass of the human population:

    Only when the last tree has died 
and the last river been poisoned 
and the last fish been caught 
will we realise we cannot eat money

    Cree Indian Proverb

    26 million trees have died in the Sierra since October, raising fire risk

  21. – The Hippocratic Post
    The world’s first global blogging site specialising in medical issues

    ‘Air pollution leads to premature ageing’

    Traffic pollution is not just noxious on the lungs, it is also seriously bad for the skin, according to new research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. I have seen this for myself in clinical practice. Over the last five years, as pollution levels have soared in London, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients coming to my clinics with pigmentation problems. Dark spots are linked to exposure to hydrocarbons, exhaust fumes and other airborne chemicals. As you would expect, the bias to London and the South East is very marked with over 95 per cent of pigmentation cases occurring compared to areas like Northern Ireland and Derbyshire where traffic pollution is lower.

    If air pollution continues to worsen then at this rate, I predict that 90 per cent of those living in heavily traffic-polluted cities will develop unwanted age spots. With traffic pollution emerging as the single most toxic substance for skin, the dream of perfect skin is over for those living and working in traffic-polluted areas unless they take steps to protect their skin right now…

  22. Air pollution kills 48,000 a year in France

    Air pollution kills 48,000 people a year in France and 34,000 of the deaths avoidable, according to study published Tuesday. Pollution caused by human activity such as transport, industry, heating and agriculture, causes nine percent of the French annual death toll.

    Air pollution is France’s third biggest killer, after smoking (78,000 deaths) and alcohol consumption (49,000 deaths), according to the study by France’s health agency Santé Publique France.

    Life expectancy can be reduced by as much as two years by the regular presence of fine particles in the air.

  23. – Scotland

    Youth, science and environmental bodies come together to harness the power of young minds to tackle air pollution

    Young Scots have been putting their thinking caps on about creative ways to tackle the growing problem of air pollution.

    A partnership between youth information service Young Scot, Glasgow City of Science and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as part of Glasgow Science Festival saw teenagers between the ages of 14 and 20 start developing ideas to pitch to a Dragon’s Den style panel of experts later this year.

    The young people took part in activities, science experiments and learning around the harmful impacts of air pollution, which is an increasing health and environmental issue in Scotland’s urban areas, especially in large cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  24. – This is telling in that Enid, OK is the spiritual and physical center Koch Industries (formerly Koch Nitrogen) and a haunt of Oklahoma Senator Jim ‘Snowball’ Inhofe.

    Activists get timely crack at making CAFO report pollution data
    By Dan Flynn | June 23, 2016

    Hanor Companies is moving its headquarters to Enid, OK, from Wisconsin and several activists groups would like to see the pork producer pull out of North Carolina soon too. They may get their wish as a federal court in North Carolina has decided to let a potentially game-changing lawsuit against an 8,000-pig farm to go forward.

    The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Sound Rivers Inc. brought the legal action against the pork company regarding the reporting of ammonia emissions, which they argue are harmful to animals, humans and the environment.

    • Shawn Redmond

       /  June 23, 2016

      Dt I sense you have a bone to chew! Air pollution here in atlantic Canada has been bad for decades. We have been called the tail pipe of N.A. I would think Maine would also be in that category. Painting houses along the main arteries of Halifax N.S. in the late 70’s and 8o’s we would see a lot of PM on the houses. A few blocks away not so much if any. The paint back then would stick to it no problem, lots of VOC’s! Now many kilometres away from major traffic corridors homes look like the ones buy the heavy traffic areas of the past. We wash all of our houses before painting now no exceptions. The VOC’s are gone but the pollution just keeps getting worse.Our insect population seems to be way down over the past decade or so as well. Not as many black flies as in the past and very few June bugs the last few years, I’ve seen maybe a dozen this year. Cancer rates in N.S. have historically been higher than the national average. We’re not exactly the industrial heart land. Many suspect the air pollutants to be the trigger, but prove it.

      • “Not as many black flies as in the past and very few June bugs the last few years, I’ve seen maybe a dozen this year.”

        Good point, now that I think of it, haven’t seen a single June bug here in Vermont this year, and that’s a first (have lived here for 30 years).

    • Jean

       /  June 23, 2016

      Those in power in Okla are trying to pass a state Constitutional Amendment called the “Right to Farm ” state question..It is really a corporate “Right to Harm” Amendment..I hope to pass this info on …thanks

    • DT —

      I don’t mind providing space for you to talk about air pollution. That said, I urge you to avoid statements like ‘greater threat than sea level rise.’ This tilts too far toward single issue hyperfocus for my taste.

      The blog here is about climate change and its threat to global civilization. Mass mortality from air pollution is a factor related to fossil fuel burning, but is a separate related issue. Air pollution is bad, causes premature deaths and inflicts mass casualties. However, air pollution on its own does not result in a civilization collapse threat unless it hits a very high extreme. As it relates to fossil fuel burning, it is absolutely another reason to transition away.

      But if you look at sea level rise, what you have here is a severe civilization collapse threat. Currently 700 million people and most of the world’s major cities are within 30 feet of sea level. The world’s low-lying river deltas, which include a related food production that supports hundreds of millions more, come under threat of inundation. While air pollution is a risk to individual lives and represents a health threat similar to that of a virulent illness, sea level rise represents a threat to the very infrastructure of civilization itself. Raise seas and you destabilize states and regions, set off mass migrations, and generate the rising risk of global hunger.

      I appreciate your comments, DT. But single issue focus and issue dominance, especially on issues that are not directly related to climate change, are distractions and divisive talk that I’d like to avoid. In addition, statements that obliviate the extraordinary and very real threat of sea level rise are not helpful.

      • Ok.
        You’re right.
        My apologies. I laid it on pretty thick and narrow.

        – Some days there I get overwhelmed with evidence of man’s inhumanity to man often centered on one preventable activity that has far reaching consequences…

        – Thx

        • I understand, DT. It’s rough and it’s easy to bore down, especially when you’re passionate about an active injustice that is clearly ongoing. Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of these.

          On the flip side, CO2 is basically a pollutant that causes climate change once it hits a certain atmospheric concentration. And you know as well as I that the root cause for deadly particulate pollution and GHG pollution are basically the same in 80 percent of the cases.

          What I’ve found is that if you’ve got an issue that’s worthwhile to you, it’s helpful to make connections, rather than to break them down and narrow focus. Stare at an elephant’s tail for too long and it starts to look like a snake, for example.



  25. PlazaRed

     /  June 23, 2016

    An interesting bit of news on the Spanish TV this morning.
    The solar powered aircraft Impulse 2 landed today at Seville airport at 7.40 AM western European time, after its Journey from the USA.
    Meanwhile southern England is experiencing heavy rain storms.
    Hot in Southern Spain at about 37/C today and dust from the Sahara expected in the next few days.
    Long range summer weather forecast is for it to be hotter and drier than normal here.

  26. BJD

     /  June 23, 2016

    I’m sure a more detailed study might sort out the actual trend from the media buzz, but there appears to be an awful lot of “record rainfall” around the world these past few months, in both hemispheres:

    MOST residents slept through it but Wednesday’s rain tipped Orange to a June rainfall record.

    Up to 9am on Wednesday, 37mm fell during the night meaning Orange has been drenched by 234.6 mm this month.

    According to, our previous mark was 178.6 which fell in 1998.

    For the record, Orange’s long-term average rainfall for June is 73.3mm.

    According to the National Weather Service, Dubuque received 3.5 inches of rain through midnight last night. That total is just .16 of an inch away from the all-time record.
    Hisar, district of Haryana state, recorded highest single day rainfall in last 24 hours. The ‘City of Steel’ recorded 93 mm of rain which broke its ten-year-old rainfall record.
    Highest single day rainfall recorded during 2015 was 48 mm which is almost half the amount of rain recorded this year. The amount of rainfall recorded during 2014 was even lesser. Hisar has surpassed its average monthly rainfall for the month of June of 42.9 mm by almost double which it recorded in a single day on June 13. Moreover, weather forecast for the next 3 days in Hisar is partly cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm.

    Anchorage saw record setting rainfall Monday.
    At Ted Stevens International Airport, a record of 1.03 inches of rain was recorded. The amount surpassed the old daily rainfall record of 0.73 inches, which was recorded June 6, 1988. It was also the most significant rainfall amount the Anchorage area has seen since Sept. 8, 2015.

    Monday’s rainfall was also one of the wettest June days on record. Only two other days during the month of June have seen more rainfall – June 12, 1962, with 1.62 inches, and June 14, 1978, with 1.23 inches. That makes June 6, 2016 the third wettest June day on record in Alaska biggest city.

    The Peninsula endured record-setting rainfall last month with more than 21 days of recorded precipitation.

    The 10.17 inches of rain, more than 2.5 times the usual level, along with cooler temperatures allowed cold-season weeds to flourish on area golf courses.–year-old-record/article_315ff55b-45bc-5933-a320-392d7d68d8d4.html

    La Crosse was home to a mere 14,505 souls when the city endured a record rainfall of 1.59 inches on June 14, 1880, a mark that stood for 136 years — until a 1.92-inch gully washer Tuesday night took over the top spot for that date.

    Of course, the nearly 2 inches was spread over a lot more people, with the La Crosse population now pushing 53,000, but a record is a record, and we’re in the books.

    The Tuesday tally at the La Crosse Regional Airport not only sent the June total to 3.31 inches above normal for the month but also pushed the precipitation total for the year to 15.78 inches, 2.72 inches above normal, according to National Weather Service records.

    The Tampa Office of the National Weather Service released their preliminary rainfall totals and it shows some staggering numbers! It reveals that while Fort Myers and other areas may have experienced relentless rain, the prize goes to Punta Gorda when it comes to accumulations. In just the first 10 ten days of June, the measuring station at Punta Gorda Airport recorded 10.43 inches of rain, making it already the wettest June since record- keeping began in 1914. That’s an average of nearly one inch of rain a day! There were two days where more than two inches of rain fell (the 4th and 9th). Now, keep in mind Punta Gorda typically averages 8.94 inches for the month of June. It looks like now Punta Gorda could come close to doubling that before the month ends.

    “Tropical Storm Bonnie dropped 7-8 inches of rain in areas on Hatteras Island. Over 7 inches of rain fell near the Frisco Campground, breaking a record for daily rainfall and resulting in record rainfall for the month of May,” Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials wrote on Facebook.

    The rain, which began Monday, dropped a record 150 mm of rain per hour on the town of Kosa through early Tuesday and 122 mm per hour on the city of Uto.

    The city of Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture recorded 124.5 mm per hour.

    In less than 48 hours, the heavy downpours passed the average total June rainfall of 132 millimetres, causing localised flash floods across the city.
    Bankstown received its heaviest daily rainfall in 15 years, with 141 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 9am Sunday.

    Rainfall in central west Queensland has broken rain records as graziers rejoice in a break from the devastating drought.

    Longreach soaked up 34mm on the first day of June and a whopping 59mm was measured at 9am Monday morning.

    By Tuesday morning, another 22mm was been recorded.

    Barcaldine also managed to get a drink with 78mm falling onto parched land since Sunday.

    Queensland rainfall as recorded on Monday. The bureau predicts the state’s south-east will be drenched at the weekend.
    Queensland rainfall as recorded on Monday. The bureau predicts the state’s south-east will be drenched at the weekend. Photo: BOM
    Rainfall was centred around Longreach and expanded as far out as Winton and down to Blackall.

    Bureau of Meteorology David Bernard said the rainfall had broken June records.

    “Longreach had the wettest June total so far ever, it has never had a wetter June since records began,” he said.


    I understand some of these events may be consistent with the trend reported on at length previously by Robert, referring to the predictions of climate scientists that increased atmospheric uptake of water vapor would lead to more intense rainfall events. Some of this is probably El Nino aftermath, but it would seem there is an underlying trend that certain industries seem intent on denying…

  27. wili

     /  June 23, 2016

    Looks like in some parts of India, at least, rains have cooled things off a bit:

    “The intense heatwave could have caused loss to farmers but rain has given a sigh of relief”

    • Word of caution here. The monsoon arrived. We knew it would. But it arrived late for the 3rd year in a row. And the heatwave hit farmers very hard. The advent of the monsoon will break India’s drought for now, though. So all eyes turn to the rainfall tally for this monsoon and to next year.

      Moisture levels are below and behind schedule for this year again and the Himalayas aren’t the water bank that they used to be. India media, over the past few years, has tended to post these oddly optimistic reports as the drought situation there worsened. In the end, we won’t really know where India stands until late monsoon season.

      • wili

         /  June 23, 2016

        Good points. I’m guessing they are undercounting deaths from heat, too.

        • Not certain about that. But it’s pretty clear that they’ve downplayed the drought situation and the loss of monsoonal rains situation for some time now.

  28. Greg

     /  June 23, 2016

    An F4? today’s tornado in Jiangsu province China:

  29. June

     /  June 23, 2016

    Since several of us Scribblers are from New England, this story about projected sea level rise is of relevance.

    “Climate change could be even worse for Boston than previously thought”

    • And from the globe too… Someone check if hell froze over, please.

      From the article:

      “If high levels of greenhouse gases continue to be released into the atmosphere, the seas around Boston could rise as much as 10.5 feet by 2100 and 37 feet by 2200, according to the report.

      Even under optimistic forecasts that factor in significant cuts to carbon emissions, sea levels are projected to rise as much as 6 feet by 2100 and nearly 12 feet by 2200.”

      That’s a pretty huge deal if you ask me.

  30. To me it seems likely that this is an unusual occurrence triggered by El Nino (reduced CO2 solubility in warm surface waters) and a high level of forest fires (Russia, Canada, Western U.S., Indonesia, etc.) and that the rate of CO2 increase will return to more ‘normal’ values within a few months.

    However there is no reason at all to assume that this enhanced pulse of atmospheric CO2 will be drawn down into natural sinks any faster than normal. So essentially we may have been given the equivalent of five or six months of GHG emissions ‘free’ because we’ve been such good customers lately…

    Realistically, in future we might have to start factoring in irregular additional pulses such as this along with more predictable direct anthropogenic GHG emissions.

    • The current trend is a bit disturbing, especially when you consider the fact that this particular El Nino was not as intense as the 1997-1998 event.

  31. Robert, your ‘The Increasingly Dangerous Hothouse — Local Reports Show It Felt Like 160 F (71 C) in India…’ post got extensive coverage today on KBOO’s ‘Presswatch – News You’re Not Supposed to Know’.

    • I’m glad they found the report helpful. I just want to say that all the research you guys have done here has been a huge assist. DT — you in particular have become quite sharp at sleuthing down climate news and very prolific with relevant and informative comments.

      And that’s really helped to round out the blog. So I just want to thank everyone for pitching in. It’s been a hell of a haul and it’s tough focusing in on this issue day-in, day out. But you guys have rocked it.

  32. – Another oil pipeline leak in So Cal. This one near Ventura.

    • – This is likely indicative of many jurisdictions.

      A sample:

      Ventura County Grand Jury Final Report Ventura County Crude Oil Pipelines
      April 12, 2016.

      The State of California (State) is the third largest oil producer in the United States.
      Ventura County is the third largest oil producing county in the State, with hundreds of miles of crude oil pipelines of various sizes and types.

      The Grand Jury found that no single government entity has a complete grasp of critical information such as test history, test validity, and risks associated with the total pipeline array in the County.

      That information does exist but is spread among multiple government entities.

      The information is available to the County if it chooses to access it.

      However, the Grand Jury found that the County does not have a thorough understanding of the state of the total crude oil pipeline array within the County.

  33. – Sand

    The World’s Disappearing Sand

    … Sand is the thing modern cities are made of. Pretty much every apartment block, office tower and shopping mall from Beijing to Lagos, Nigeria, is made at least partly with concrete, which is basically just sand and gravel stuck together with cement. Every yard of asphalt road that connects all those buildings is also made with sand. So is every window in every one of those buildings.

    Sand is the essential ingredient that makes modern life possible. And we are starting to run out.

    That’s mainly because the number and size of cities is exploding, especially in the developing world.

    …From 2011 to 2013, China used more cement than the United States used in the entire 20th century.

    To build those cities, people are pulling untold amounts of sand out of the ground. Usable sand is a finite resource. Desert sand, shaped more by wind than by water, generally doesn’t work for construction. To get the sand we need, we are stripping riverbeds, floodplains and beaches.

    … In India, river sand mining is disrupting ecosystems, killing countless fish and birds. In Indonesia, some two dozen small islands are believed to have disappeared since 2005 because of sand mining. In Vietnam, miners have torn up hundreds of acres of forest to get at the sandy soil underneath.

    Sand miners have damaged coral reefs in Kenya and undermined bridges in Liberia and Nigeria. Environmentalists tie sand dredging in San Francisco Bay to the erosion of nearby beaches.

    • June

       /  June 23, 2016

      Thanks for this. I hadn’t really thought about sand as a finite resource and how destructive obtaining it is. It is another sad reminder of how we humans take what we want with no regard for the health of the remarkable ecosystems around us.

    • Had to check this one out first.

      Looks like black market sand pirates are starting to become a problem as well:

      … at least according to the Independent.

      All the more reason the change the materials we use for construction. Concrete is hard on carbon emissions as well.

      • – A sidebar on that Independent article:

        Waikiki Beach: Hawaii politicians propose bill to halt sand erosion at famous tourist destination

        The artificially engineered beach has been filled with imported sand for decades

        In a land of natural wonders, the famous beach at Waikiki on Hawaii is different: it is engineered.

        [The sand it must have taken to build the tourist hotels…]

        -Waikiki beach in Honolulu suffers from coastal erosion AFP/Getty

  34. With everything that is now taking place regarding the planetary systems–record heating, more violent storms, increasing mega fires, with resulting wildlife species’ declines—I fear this is already in the runaway mode. No one is listening except a few. It would require massive shut downs of fossil fuel energy, immediately, to even barely mitigate this monster we’ve created.

    We have already seen major ecosystem changes. Here in NM, the hottest temps recorded, now going on into weeks, not just days, with no rain to speak of–even at altitudes of 7 K or more. I have noticed a big change in bird populations, and behavior, not to mention the lack of pollinators. This, to me is already “runaway.”

    And what do we humans concern ourselves with, in this planetary crisis? Election shows, featuring a megalomaniac who believes Climate Change is a hoax—with a large portion of this country following his every rant and rave.
    Things are falling apart: physically, psychologically, economically, socially, with total Chaos around the corner.
    Sorry, I cannot be more “upbeat.”

  35. – Dust

  36. THey should have shown 2013 and 2014 in the Keeler Curve enlargement, too. You’ll see that the rise in CO2 is becoming hockey-sticked, and curves that are hockey-sticked are very very dangerous!

    • wili

       /  June 23, 2016

      Do you mean this one? (I hope it shows.)

      I found that particularly dramatic, too.

      • wili

         /  June 23, 2016

        And here it is in comparison with a quadratic function of time (red line):

        “the rate at which CO2 is increasing has been steadily getting faster.”

  1. Ocieplenie ziemskiej atmosfery przyspiesza (aktualizacja: 26.06.2016) | Blog exignoranta

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