Smashing Through 490 — Fragmenting Prospects for Avoiding 2 C Warming

“The IPCC indicated in its fourth assessment report that achieving a 2 C target would mean stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at around 445 to 490 ppm CO2 equivalent or lower. Higher levels would substantially increase the risks of harmful and irreversible climate change.” –Johan Eliasch

NOAA's Greenhouse Gas Index

(NOAA’s greenhouse gas index shows that CO2e concentration for 2015 averaged 485 ppm. Given recent rates of rise, the 2016 average should be near 490 ppm CO2e. At the latest, this key threshold will be crossed some time during 2017. Image source: NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory.)

*****

There are a few things we know about climate change that should really keep us up at night. The first is that the world is warming, and this warming of the Earth, in so many ways, is dangerous to human beings and all the other innocent creatures living here.

The second is that, over recent years, this warming has been very rapid. In the three years from 2014 through 2016, the Earth’s atmospheric temperature is likely to have increased by 0.2 degrees Celsius or more to around 1.2 C above 1880s levels. When thinking about this in absolute terms, it doesn’t sound like much. But in geological terms, this is very rapid warming, especially when you consider that, at the end of the last ice age, it took about 400 years to produce a similar amount of atmospheric temperature gain.

What all this boils down to is that as global temperatures have spiked, we’ve rapidly crossed an established climate threshold into a far more geophysically dangerous time.

Surging Levels of Heat-Trapping Gasses

405 parts per million carbon dioxide. That’s about the average level of CO2 accumulation the Earth’s atmosphere will see by the end of 2016, due primarily to fossil-fuel burning. It’s a big number. The Earth hasn’t seen a number like that in millions of years. But 405 ppm CO2 doesn’t tell the whole story of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere. To do that, we have to look at another number — carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e.

The Keeling Curve August

(During a typical September and October, daily or weekly values may briefly dip below 400 ppm CO2, as detected at the Mauna Loa Observatory. But after September-October 2016, it’s unlikely that you or I will ever see such low levels of CO2 from that measure again in our lifetimes. Image source: Scripps Institution of Oceanography.)

490 ppm CO2e. That’s about the total amount of CO2-equivalent heat forcing from all the human-added greenhouse gasses like CO2, methane, various nitrogen compounds, and other gaseous chemical waste that the Earth’s atmosphere will see by late 2016 to early 2017.

Why is this a big deal?

Four reasons —

First, hitting 490 CO2e crosses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s (IPCC) lowest climate threshold. If this were a highway, and climate change were a collision, we’d now be careening through the first guardrail.

Second, 490 CO2e represents significant current and future warming (and there’s good reason to believe that IPCC’s estimates of that warming may be a bit conservative).

Third, it signifies that we have now fully entered the era of catastrophic climate change, with some bad climate outcomes almost certainly locked in as a result. We see a number of these instances now in the form of extreme rainfall events, extreme drought, coral bleaching, sea ice and glacial melt, threatened crops, ocean anoxia and dead zones, widespread harmful algae blooms, ocean acidification, and expanding infectious disease ranges. However, what we are experiencing now is just the tip of the (melting) climate change iceberg if we do not rapidly respond.

Fourth, if we were never really aware before that we very urgently need to get serious about swiftly cutting fossil-fuel emissions, protecting and regrowing forests, and working to help people to adapt to climate change, then this is our wake-up call.

Crossing the First Climate Threshold — 490 ppm CO2e

How did 490 ppm CO2e become a climate milestone? In short, it represents the threshold at which the first of four global-warming scenarios is basically locked in.

To understand this more, we need to take a closer look at these four scenarios, which were established by the IPCC in 2007. The IPCC calls these scenarios Representative Concentration Paths or RCPs. The four potential pathways are informed by the amount of fossil fuels potentially burned through the year 2100, the levels of CO2e heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere as a result, and how much the world consequently warms over this timeframe.

RCPs range from 2.6 to 8.5 watts per meter squared, with these measurements indicating the amount of added heat from the greenhouse gas additions trapped at the top of the atmosphere. A more direct measure is to look at the total greenhouse gas thresholds for each scenario. Broken down, the four RCP pathways represent 490 ppm CO2e (RCP 2.6), 650 ppm CO2e (RCP 4.5), 850 ppm CO2e (RCP 6.0), and 1370 ppm CO2e (RCP 8.5). For reference, atmospheric CO2e levels just prior to the start of large-scale fossil fuel burning were around 300 ppm. By comparison, 1370 ppm CO2e is about equivalent to the levels during some of the worst hothouse mass extinctions the Earth has experienced.

In a nutshell, RCPs represent potential warming scenarios. A middle-range temperature increase estimate by the year 2100 for each scenario can be seen below in this table provided by Skeptical Science:

rcp pathways

Developed at the IPCC’s 2007 meeting, these RCPs also describe a range of potential human civilization responses to global warming. RCP 2.6 allows for fast emissions cuts beginning at the time of the 2007 meeting. These cuts would swiftly level off and then reduce fossil-fuel emissions and ultimately generate one of the milder warming scenarios. The IPCC envisioned that warming would remain near 1.5 C this century under these emissions cuts. Scientists hoped this scenario would allow the avoidance of most of climate change’s bad outcomes.

RCP 4.5 assumes somewhat less aggressive emissions cuts, with fossil-fuel burning and related carbon emissions peaking near 15 billion tons per year by the mid-2040s. Stronger warming is locked in with this scenario — about 2.4 C according to IPCC — and scientists were doubtful that serious climate impacts could be avoided.

emissions-graph-rpc-small

(We’ve pretty much missed the window for the IPCC’s mildest possible climate scenario, RCP 2.6, which would have required strong policies and policy support almost immediately following the IPCC’s 2007 meeting. Image source: Skeptical Science.)

RCP 6.0 shows emissions cuts that are slow to unfold. Global carbon emissions would peak around 19 billion tons per year by 2060 and then rapidly drop off. Warming under this scenario is considerable, hitting 3 C by the end of this century. So much warming and such high levels of greenhouse gasses would result in some seriously bad outcomes.

The final pathway, RCP 8.5, represents an absolute nightmare climate scenario. Under this path, real emissions cuts are not achieved. Despite growth in renewable energy, all energy use continues to grow as well, including fossil fuels. As a result, in this scenario, the IPCC expects the Earth to warm by a catastrophic 4.9 C by 2100.

In the context of understanding climate change, particularly for someone interested and patient enough to read the IPCC reports, the various RCP scenarios were a real help in exploring climate change options and outcomes. They helped many scientists and policymakers provide clear warnings and rewards for action by governments, the public, and business leaders.

projected impacts of climate change

(Climate change produces multiple difficult-to-predict impacts. As temperatures rise, conditions grow ever more extreme. In the graph above, it’s worth noting that sea-level rise is already an issue for many cities and regions including numerous Pacific islands, Bangladesh, the Indus Delta region, South Florida, New Orleans, New York, and the various low-lying coastal and river delta regions around the world. Image source: Federal Highway Administration.)

But despite very clear communication and activism from scientists like Dr. James Hansen, policy bloggers like Joe Romm, and climate activists like Bill McKibben, overall global emissions policy has not moved swiftly enough to stay within the RCP 2.6 pathway in the 9 years since its creation. In fact, decent global emissions reduction policies didn’t begin to universally take hold until recently, in 2014 and 2015, and those implemented were often ardently opposed by fossil fuel-related political interests in countries like Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

As a result, emissions stayed near or just below worst-case pathway ranges (RCP 8.5). As of this year, the window for achieving the RCP 2.6 scenario — or the mildest and most optimistic warming scenario — appears to have closed.

Possibly More Warming From 490 CO2e Than We Feared

Hitting 490 CO2e in 2016 means that the 1.5 C warming IPCC predicted for this amount by 2100 is almost certainly locked in. With the world hitting near 1.2 C above 1880s temperature averages in 2016, some reasonable questions have been raised, the most relevant being if 490 ppm CO2e will result in more warming than IPCC predicted.

To be fair, the 1.5 C figure above is a simplification of model predictions ranging from about 0.9 C to around 2.3 C during this century under a 490 ppm CO2e forcing. However, since we’ve already surpassed the lower portion of this range, and we’re barely into the beginning of this century, it appears that some of the lower sensitivity model runs were rather far off the mark. Moreover, paleoclimate proxy temperature data indicates that 490 ppm CO2 during the Middle Miocene produced warming in the range of 4 C long-term (over hundreds of years). Given this implied long-term impact, and coupled with annual readings that are already in the 1.2 C range, it’s possible to infer an ultimate warming closer to 2 C by 2100 from a maintained 490 ppm CO2e. Hitting such a mark would only require about 0.11 C warming per decade — a rate of decadal warming about 40 percent slower than the temperature rise seen from the late 1970s through the 2010s.

Arctic Sea Ice August 9 2016

(Amplifying feedbacks due to loss of sea ice reflectivity in the Arctic and Antarctic, reduced carbon-store uptake and carbon-store emissions can result in an overall greater sensitivity to an initial heat forcing such as the current 490 ppm CO2e. Paleoclimate proxies hint that these feedbacks may cause the Earth System to be more sensitive than IPCC models currently indicate. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

The paleoclimate-implied warming from the other climate scenarios is likely higher as well. RCP 4.5 probably hits closer to 3 C under such a climate sensitivity range. RCP 6.0 probably sees 4 to 4.5 C warming by 2100. And the worst-case RCP 8.5 probably achieves closer to 6 C warming.

It’s for these and other reasons that some scientists say that avoiding 1.5 C at this time is probably impossible. Meanwhile, it’s pretty reasonable to say that avoiding 2 C presents a huge challenge requiring a very rapid response, a goal that will probably require reducing the atmospheric CO2e levels below their current ranges.

CO2e Increasing by 3 ppm Per Year

Human beings are still dumping massive volumes of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions are still near record-high levels. As a result, atmospheric CO2e levels are rising by about 3 ppm or more each year. For 2016, CO2 alone may rise by 3.4 ppm or more, and CO2e may jump by more than 4 ppm — to hit near 490 ppm CO2e. This is due in part to the 2015-2016 El Nino’s cyclical warming of the Equatorial oceans, forests, and lands on top of the already-strengthening heat of human warming. And this added heat reduces the ability of these carbon sinks to take in CO2.

Even if this rate of CO2e rise is just maintained, it’s possible that we’ll see 1.5 C warming not by the end of this century, but by the early 2030s. And as the world heats up, it’s likely we’ll see additional emissions coming as carbon sinks become stressed and stop taking in such high volumes of greenhouse gasses or even turn into sources.

The result is that the challenge presented to us now is far greater, far more urgent than that of 2007. We risk, over the next few decades, locking in not just 2 C warming, but 3 C warming or more if we do not act swiftly and seriously. And with 1.5 C warming coming with almost 100 percent certainty, we need to ramp up climate-change mitigation strategies as well as provide aid and succor for the increasing harms, dislocations, and inequalities that will likely emerge.

Links:

NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory

The Keeling Curve

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Hansen and Sato Estimated Paleoclimate Temperatures

Skeptical Science — Beginner’s Guide to RCP Scenarios

Transportation’s Role in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

LANCE MODIS

Carbon Sinks in Crisis

Climate Change — Financing Global Forests

Leave a comment

206 Comments

  1. Stop burning fossil fuels now: there is no CO2 ‘technofix’, scientists warn

    Researchers have demonstrated that even if a geoengineering solution to CO2 emissions could be found, it wouldn’t be enough to save the oceans

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/03/stop-burning-fossil-fuels-now-no-co2-technofix-climate-change-oceans

    Reply
  2. – USA – And the carbon/heat rain bombs etc. just keep on coming.

    Reply
  3. Reply
  4. Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  August 13, 2016

      DT this must be cynicism, you know full well we have no carbon budget left.

      Reply
  5. Climate inertia

    The climate system also has a tremendous amount of inertia built in. And like with the supertanker, this means that early action is required if we want to change the climate’s course. This inertia is a crucial aspect of the climate system, both scientifically but also societally – but in the latter realm it’s a very underappreciated aspect. Just do a mental check: when did you last hear or read about the climate’s inertia in mainstream media or from politicians?

    https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/climate-inertia/

    Reply
  6. Cate

     /  August 12, 2016

    What part of “stop burning filthy fuels now” is so hard to understand?

    Unless our governments do what is necessary right now to develop and implement a co-ordinated and co-operative master plan to get the world to zero—ZERO—emissions asap, we are going to need a miracle to save life on earth. We have no time now to rely on voluntary, industry-driven, market-friendly solutions. It’s do or die. God help us.

    Reply
  7. – Fantastical ‘Chemtrails’ the meme that takes one’s mind off of the real danger of atmospheric air pollution, etc.

    – Repeat after me: “Contrails are becoming more abundant as air travel expands. Also, it is possible [PROBABLE/ACTUAL] that climate change is causing contrails to persist for longer than they used to,” .

    – Pioneering chemistry study finds no evidence of a ‘chemtrails’ conspiracy

    In a first of its kind effort, a large group of top atmospheric chemists has weighed in on one of the most persistent conspiracy theories on the internet: that the U.S. government is involved in a campaign to deliberately spray chemicals from planes at high altitudes.

    This “chemtrails” conspiracy theory is bunk, the experts conclude in a new study published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

    Study co-author Steven Davis, an associate professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine, said the chemtrails conspiracy theory is tied to the growth of the internet. The study also cites evidence that it is linked to growing distrust of elites and social institutions.

    “The chemtrails conspiracy theory maps pretty closely to the origin and growth of the internet, where you can still find a number of websites that promote this particular brand of pseudoscience,” he said in a press release.


    “Contrails are becoming more abundant as air travel expands. Also, it is possible that climate change is causing contrails to persist for longer than they used to,” Caldeira said.

    http://mashable.com/2016/08/12/chemtrails-debunked-in-new-study/#TzirnhUbGEq6

    Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  August 13, 2016

        Funny thing about contrails. I was musing about them just yesterday as I watched several jets going west several minutes apart leaving no trail what so ever. At that time we were experiencing humidity in the mid 70’s on the ground. I watched these planes gleaming in the sun light for several minutes until they disappeared from sight to the west. No contrail! The moisture was not up there! And yet the US south was drowning all the way up to New England a scant way south west. Whats up with that?

        Reply
        • danabanana

           /  August 13, 2016

          The atmosphere is layered that’s what’s up. Sometimes you have high humidity at surface level but very low at 30,000 feet. The opposite is also true. Also depends where you are on the planet. Above the Sahara for example there are no contrails as the air column there is bone dry throughout most of the year. Anyway there are studies on contrails from the late 50’s and 60’s that hit the nail on the head back then… if only conspiracy theorist read more published scientific papers instead of internet blog rolls.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 13, 2016

      I was in the UK, in the Lakes District, in 2010 when a small Icelandic volcano farted a little dust, stopping air-traffic in the north Atlantic. Within a day or so the sky turned from its habitual milky white (many, many planes fly over north-west UK on the way across the Atlantic) to a lovely colour blue. Global dimming is hiding a degree or so Celsius already baked in, and we might live to regret the Chinese using less coal, just as we’d regret them still using as much as they do. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The Murdoch MSM here still maintains that the whole thing is a sham, as does much of our political caste. Others seem utterly indifferent.

      Reply
      • “…the sky turned from its habitual milky white (many, many planes fly over north-west UK on the way across the Atlantic) to a lovely colour blue.”

        – The same thing happened in the days immediately after 9-11 when air travel was grounded.
        The airline industry has done a great disservice to our precious atmosphere. And it goes on each and every day too.

        Reply
  8. JPL

     /  August 12, 2016

    Robert, your first graph made me think of this one:

    Human Population 1 CE – 2050 CE

    So many hockey sticks!

    John

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 13, 2016

      The unfortunate I see in that graph is “What goes up, must come down”.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  August 13, 2016

        Yes. There is going to be a very large reduction in human population this century. This has already begun, and will, I predict, have some sooner rather than later surprises. It will not be entirely caused by food poverty and starvation, although this will be a primary factor. Disease, interstate conflict, heat (think Southern India), migratory loss, internecine predation, shortage and contamination of potable water….the relative stability of our 21st century world is a distinct anomaly in the history of the human race, a carefully crafted and maintained state that requires a lot of time and effort. Looking at the forces that shake even the wealthiest societies, never mind barely cohered countries like Pakistan or Mexico or anywhere in Africa, and it’s hard to see how the inevitable climate disruptions, combined with all other factors in play, don’t lead to a large externally forced shrinkage of human population. Science isn’t going to pull our sorry a**es out of this particular fire.

        Reply
        • Mulga Mumblebrain

           /  August 13, 2016

          People facing climate destabilisation induced famine, pestilence, war and sheer uninhabitability will move to save themselves and their children. What we see in the flight of Syrians and the desperate plight of those fleeing through Libya across the Mediterranean is but the first, tiny, glimpse of things to come.

        • Under BAU or near BAU, risk is relatively high for net human population losses by mid Century. This hasn’t yet even begun to have begun. The impacts we see now are concerning and disruptive. But not anywhere near that scale yet.

          The Center of gravity for climate change issues, however, is not human population growth, it’s rate of carbon consumption. Though population is a compounding factor — as it is with many harmful consumption behaviors — it is not the primary factor. If the wealthiest 10 percent in the world completely removed their carbon emissions, human carbon emissions would fall by more than half. The issue, therefore, is more with a few hundred million or so than with 7 billion, and all the moreso as you move up the economic spectrum.

          This is why disincentivizing negative consumption is such an amazingly effective tool for reducing climate impacts. Carbon taxes on that 10 percent would incentivize conservation and an energy switch. And the longer we wait to do this, the more harm gets locked in.

          In other words, it we all had the carbon footprints of subsistence farmers or less, then population wouldn’t be a factor with regards to climate change. Population is absolutely a factor RE sustainability. However, you can’t get a complete sustainability equation unless you add in the variable of consumption and look at how that consumption is distributed.

          Hyper focus on population is, therefore, a short-sighted distortion. Especially as it relates to climate change where population is an issue. But carbon consumption and especially a high rate of carbon consumption by a relatively small in comparison population is the center of gravity. To say anything else is to point to a red herring. In other words, it’s a distraction.

        • Well said Robert. I always appreciate how your comments steer away from blaming those who can’t solve the problem and focus on compassion instead. It’s really frightening where we’re going, but you’re right, it wouldn’t take much for the wealthy citizens of the industrialized countries to decarbonize. Maybe a few less nice dinners out per year, one fewer sporting event per year, and a slightly smaller big screen tv and ta-da, you have enough funds to decarbonize. Get the low hanging fruit first, worry about the difficult parts later. Especially because technology may have come up with a solution for the difficult problems later while we’re working on the easy ones.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 13, 2016

      That’s a scythe, not a hockey stick.

      Reply
  9. Kevin Jones

     /  August 12, 2016

    Just an editing question Robert: About 400 years? 20,000 YBP-10,000 YBP + 5C = 2,000 years per degree C. Or am I missing something?

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  August 12, 2016

      Mis-read. This 100F heat index is poaching my noggin. You are (as usual) right.

      Reply
  10. Kevin Jones

     /  August 12, 2016

    Excellent job, by the way, Robert.

    Reply
  11. An excellent summary. I think what’s most worrying is the idea, expressed in passing here but often in your other posts, that what we’re seeing in the real world (and the paleoclimate modelling) “hint that these feedbacks may cause the Earth System to be more sensitive than IPCC models currently indicate.” We’ve spent a huge amount of effort on the question of sensitivity to co2–i.e., how much will the temp rise given a specific quantity of carbon–but rather less on the planet’s sensitivity to temperature, which in the end is the real question. Watching, say, Louisiana tonight is a reminder that we’re increasingly in uncharted territory–and that alone is unnerving

    Reply
    • Warm welcome to you, Bill.

      Reading you and Hansen in the 90s and 2000s really scared the living daylights out of me. Enough to do everything, to dig in with both hands. Problem is, the more you dig, the scarier it looks.

      Would that the policy-makers wake up and get the message you’ve been responsibly sending all these years and decades. As you know all too well, the longer we wait, the worse acting too late looks like.

      Just keep thinking if we just make things a bit more clear, that people might really start to listen and work hard enough to make a difference. This post was another college try. It means much to me that you recognized it.

      If you ever need anything at all, just give a shout.

      Fair winds and following seas,

      –R

      PS — For some reason, it is now generally frowned upon to talk about carbon feedbacks (or any of the other so-called outside climate risks) in blogging or media. This generates an issue where widespread reporting will likely occur after the outlier event happens — when it is too late to do any good.

      Reply
  12. – Graphs in parallel to population — Numbers of motor vehicles:

    USA – 2011
    – nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/developed-world-hit-peak-car-use.

    Reply
    • – волгоспецстрой.рф/number-of-carsin.php

      Reply
    • – autonews.gasgoo.com

      Reply
    • Table 1-11: Number of U.S. Aircraft, Vehicles, Vessels, and Other Conveyances

      – Highway, total (registered vehicles)
      1960 =74,431,800
      2014 = 260,350,938

      – .rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics

      Reply
  13. Darvince

     /  August 13, 2016

    You may be writing about the Louisianan rain bomb very soon:

    Reply
  14. Jay M

     /  August 13, 2016

    Moisture is bright this afternoon in NA southeast:

    Reply
  15. Cate

     /  August 13, 2016

    Louisiana flooding: Eric Holthaus on yet another “500-year” rainstorm.

    This storm’s tropical nature, in combination with record-warm water temperatures just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, are creating a nearly perfect environment for extremely heavy rain and record flooding in one of the wettest places in the country. As the atmosphere warms thanks to greenhouse gas emissions, it can hold more water vapor — and this effect makes it exponentially more likely that extreme rainfall events will occur. The weather balloon released on Friday morning from the New Orleans office of the NWS measured near all-time record levels of atmospheric moisture, higher than some measurements taken during past hurricanes. The NWS meteorologist who reported this morning’s reading remarked simply, “obviously we are in record territory.”

    https://psmag.com/americas-latest-500-year-rainstorm-is-underway-right-now-in-louisiana-98acbdf435d0#.srwimfl0l

    Reply
    • And:

      Record Flooding in Southeast Louisiana May Get Worse

      By: Bob Henson

      A devastating flood event was unfolding over southeast Louisiana on Friday, and conditions may get worse yet, as an extremely slow-moving center of low pressure is dumping colossal amounts of rain on the region. This sprawling, “stacked” low is carrying more water vapor than many tropical cyclones, and its slow motion is leading to persistent rains that could add up to all-time record totals in some places.
      https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/record-flooding-in-southeast-louisiana-may-get-worse

      Reply
      • NWS Lake Charles Verified account ‏@NWSLakeCharles 4h4 hours ago Lafayette, LA

        ⚠️ Move to higher ground! Flash Flood Warning including Lafayette LA and New Iberia LA until 1:00 AM CDT
        ###

        Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  August 13, 2016

    West Coast mops up after record rain
    August 10, 2016

    Norway’s West Coast was trying to mop up after another day of record rainfall in Bergen and heavy downpours from Måløy to Kristiansand. Bergen set another dubious record for precipitation, with some neighbourhoods getting more rain than ever before in August.

    http://www.newsinenglish.no/2016/08/10/west-coast-mops-up-after-record-rain/

    Reply
  17. Erik

     /  August 13, 2016

    Thanks for the article. Regarding global temperature rise, surface temps, when averaged over several years, have gone up fairly linearly for the last 40 years, and that trend is expected to continue.

    Surface temperatures fluctuate when the planet’s largest heat sink, the oceans, transfer heat as we’ve seen in the recent strong El Nino.

    But extreme weather and ice melt and sea level rise are extremely non-linear and are going to cause some big changes over the next few decades.

    Reply
    • On the decadal scale, rate of rise from 70s to 80s was about 0.17 C, 80s to 90s was around 0.12 C, and 90s to 2000s was 0.21 C.

      Please see — http://www.climateemergencyinstitute.com/uploads/WMO_2013_global_temp_increase_box.png

      Rate of temperature increase for the 2010s given the current 3-year spike, is likely to also be closer to 0.2 C or more.

      In addition, higher rates of atmospheric GHG accumulation result in higher decadal rates of temperature increase. RCP 8.5, for example, implies at least a 0.4 to 0.6 C decadal rate of rise during the middle to later portion of the 21st Century.

      Now, rate of ice sheet response would wag this around a bit — especially in the higher sea level rise scenarios.

      Reply
      • Erik

         /  August 13, 2016

        Interesting, thanks. Just saw an interesting talk by the ice sheet modeler Rob DeConto. When they factored in some new ideas in physics, BAU energy projection was several meters of SLR in 100 years and plus 10m in 500 years.

        I’m worried about Thwaites Glacier, the topography there slopes down away from the shore so the ocean can follow a calving front all the way back to the transatlantic mountains, and Thwaites can dump an insane amount of ice.

        Reply
      • Erik

         /  August 13, 2016

        oops, transantarctic mountains, spellchecker problems.

        Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  August 13, 2016

    This is the second 500 year flood in just the last 5 months for La.

    Reply
  19. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    Here is a great bit of footage showing rain bombs last year in Tucson Az. It is quite well done as they slow down and highlight the actual “bombs”.

    Reply
    • danabanana

       /  August 13, 2016

      Fantastic catch. These will get more common as the storm cloud tops reach higher.

      Reply
  20. wili

     /  August 13, 2016

    In the second paragraph of the section headed: “Possibly More Warming…”…
    Does the phrase “490 ppm CO2 during the Middle Miocene produced warming in the range of 4 C long-term” mean exactly what you want it to mean there? Isn’t it the _difference_ between pre-industrial CO2e levels and today’s levels that is relevant here, not the raw number 490pp CO2e. And did you mean CO2e, or not.

    Otherwise, another smashing, so to speak, piece. Thanks for keeping us up at night!

    Reply
  21. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    As California has been abandoned by rains, which have moved north another knock on effect occurs. We have focused on droughts damaging crops, but it appears the other extreme is causing measurable damage as well. People don’t realize, we are always 1 or 2 years of wide spread global crop failures away from massive social unrest.

    Flooding now causing most crop damage in Saskatchewan
    =============================================
    If crop insurance data is an indicator, flooding may now be the most common plague in Saskatchewan.

    Statistics from the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. show that excessive rain caused 49 percent of all crop losses from 2006-15. In comparison, drought was responsible for 18 percent of all losses during that decade.

    http://www.producer.com/2016/07/flooding-now-causing-most-crop-damage/

    Reply
  22. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    This is a great read regarding the chain of events as things begin to fail. Plant and water impacts affecting animals which in turn invade crops etc…

    Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told The Intelligencer this week it’s clear Earth is getting warmer and that more abnormally-hot summers, though not necessarily consecutive ones, are on the way.

    “It really has ramifications all through the ecosystem,” said Dr. John Smol, the Canada Research Chair in environmental change and a Queen’s University biology professor.

    “It really is a wicked problem,” he said.

    http://www.intelligencer.ca/2016/08/12/wildlife-plants-feeling-the-heat

    Reply
  23. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    The San Luis Reservoir, the vast inland sea along Highway 152 that is a key part of Silicon Valley’s water supply, is only 10 percent full, its lowest level in 27 years.

    From what I’ve read other places is that the wine farmers around Paso Robles are concerned about their future regarding water as well.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/drought/ci_30235421/california-drought-san-luis-reservoir-at-lowest-level

    Reply
  24. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    Company ordered to pay record $76m over fires in Sumatra

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo scored a victory in his campaign to prosecute haze-causing companies on Thursday with the ruling by a Jakarta district court against PT National Sago Prima (NSP), which was ordered to pay a record 1 trillion rupiah ($76 million) for letting fires ravage land it controls in 2014.

    https://news.mongabay.com/2016/08/company-ordered-to-pay-record-76m-over-fires-in-sumatra/

    Reply
  25. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    Hopefully this works (if not, the link should be followable).

    This is a 30 second clip of what happens to permafrost as it melts due to heat. It is literally like jelly. This is on Belyy Island which is way up there in the Arctic ocean in Russia.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1311295.html

    Reply
  26. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 13, 2016

    The Arctic is leaking methane 200 times faster than usual: Massive release of gas is creating giant holes and ‘trembling tundras’

    Russian scientists have measured the gas emitted by the mysterious bubbles on Belyy Island in the Kara Sea .The ‘trembling tundra’ also contains concentrations of carbon dioxide 20 times higher than usual levels. Add to mysterious behaviour in the vast region, including the sudden appearance of giant holes in northern Siberia.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3703458/The-Arctic-leaking-methane-200-times-faster-usual-Bizarre-gas-bubbles-create-trembling-tundras-speeding-global-warming.html

    Reply
    • George W Hayduke

       /  August 13, 2016

      I had been trying to find more details about these events. Thanks for the link, pretty terrifying stuff.

      Reply
    • danabanana

       /  August 13, 2016

      Andy, boycot the DM. Please do not look at their site. They have done a lot of damage over the years, specially David rose and his denier bs articles

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  August 13, 2016

        I agree with danabanana David Rose, with Judith Curry did immense harm and held progress back by a very significant margin. He also has a very dubious history on Iraq reporting and encouraged the war with his mis-reporting. Problem is some of my friends quote from this newspaper as indisputable fact not doubting or checking the DM’s reporting at all. It’s very frustrating.

        Reply
        • Mulga Mumblebrain

           /  August 15, 2016

          Rose is a perfect example of deranged Rightwing denialism, in my humble opinion. I really believe, and have long done so, that laws ought to be enacted to punish Crimes against Humanity through climate destabilisation denialism. A few court cases might loosen some tongues, and documentation exposing the denialist conspiracy might be subpoenaed, in the same manner as the tobacco harm denialist industry was exposed. We must fight this genocidal menace with every conceivable tool.

      • Andy_in_SD

         /  August 13, 2016

        I usually see their headlines in google news and grind my teeth. This made me full stop as they didn’t bury it, deny it happening, pretend it away.

        Reply
        • danabanana

           /  August 14, 2016

          Well, if you guys are going to keep going to their website use an AD blocker at least so that no revenue (or hardly any) is gained from your visit.

          Personally I don’t intent to look back at that ‘media source’ ever again. From promoting racism and xenophobia to AGW denial as well as condoning high carbon lifestyles the DM prides itself in segregating communities and people.

          Also @ Cate, they may have a good collection of pictures but most of them (if not all) are also available from the original source which is rarely the DM itself.

      • I’m curious about this. DM is a often bad source. So it appears to me that this particular reporting may be a baiting effort. The issue is obviously a football in the science and has often served as a wedge or to increase polarization.

        Reply
        • Andy_in_SD

           /  August 13, 2016

          Same, usually they take the hard denial stance. They have their audience they pander to, and they must keep them to generate ad revenue, so it really did puzzle me.

          I read their denial bits just to see how hard they need to contort to deny the obvious, over the years them and their ilk have become the equivalent of Olympic gymnasts at being able to twist and bend ever since the whole “it ain’t warming, it be cooling” schtick doesn’t work anymore. As the science turns into undeniable first hand observations, they really are having a tough job trying to pretend that the elephant in the room doesn’t exist.

        • Cate

           /  August 13, 2016

          The Daily Mail prints whatever sells newspapers to their target readership. Period. They have a formula that works for them. They do not aim to be all things to all people. They have a specific reader in mind. Their stock-in-trade is sex, crime, self-righteous outrage, and horror. A dose of freakishness never goes astray. This story about the methane bubbles fits that slot neatly.

          I will give them one thing: when it’s warranted, the DM online does incredible photo-essays on current news. To see what I mean, check it out the next time a superstorm hits Britain or Europe.

          I confess to reading the DM for comic relief.😀

        • Cate

           /  August 13, 2016

          And yes, I agree, Robert, this story is clearly meant to bait readers. Who can resist a story about mystery craters, explosions, and bubbles in Siberia, of all places? You couldn’t make it up!

          And you can bet that the DM are constantly polling on these “sensitive” subjects in order to keep current with reader attitudes, so this apparent nod to climate change might indicate that there’s a bit of a shift going on—or that they’re trying to gauge opinion a little more accurately so as to keep their message on track with their readers’ opinions.

          As usual with the DM, the comments say it all.😀

  27. 44 south

     /  August 13, 2016

    Much as I appreciate your work here Robert and your persistence, you can say “we must do this or we must do that” ten times per post but it still ain’t happening!
    Do you really think any of those good ole boys in Virginia and now Louisiana is it (I lose track; I’ve been drinking), are going to wake up to climate change after their one in one thousand or 500year events?
    They are just as likely to blame the queers in N.Y.for wanting to get married as wake up to reality.
    A couple of days ago I emailed our premier news programme to tell them they were an disgrace for opening the news with a report on a sportsmans injury.
    Yet I bet even some of your commentators are actually paying attention to the goddamn Olympics and actually believe we can solve this problem AND still have international sport FFS!
    By all means keep fighting, I will, but please start facing the fact that nothing bigger than a bug is going to make it into the next century.

    Reply
    • So, 44, it’s the people who watch the Olympics that we need to reach and the very system that produces carbon from so many activities, including international sports, that we need to transform.

      As for bugs, Current tracking shows that there’s a big biodiversity and likely human population loss under BAU by 2100. Civilization collapse and species loss in the range of 20 to 50 percent is likely under that scenario. Losses worsen under BAU past 2100.

      Not to you 44, but a general warning to all…

      The usual suspects are now trying to, again, trash carbon emissions cuts in favor of atmospheric carbon capture and geo-engineering. They state that ‘it’s the only way.’ This isn’t a new meme. It’s just being recycled. The truth is that without emissions cuts and cuts to zero fossil fuel burning, there’s practically no way out. Atmospheric capture may be able to pull in an additional 1 GT of carbon or so, as well as help to maintain the Earth carbon sink for longer. But there’s no practical way to get to the approx 11-13 billion tons of carbon we emit every year now by these methods.

      Atmospheric capture through land management will be needed as a supplement to emissions cuts, but the center of gravity is removing fossil fuel burning.

      Memes to the contrary are basically snopes material — misinformation on the level of that chemtrails crud and nothing more than a divisive distraction.

      Reply
      • Andy_in_SD

         /  August 13, 2016

        If one reads my bit on the European bio engineered bacteria which came dreadfully close to wiping all plants off the face of the planet, then the whole geo-engineering thing should be a “please don’t ” event. We are unable to determine and calculate all knock-on effects, and surely we would miss something which buggers everything up.

        I see it as a last excuse to whistle past the graveyard and do nothing.

        Reply
      • > The truth is that without emissions cuts and cuts to zero fossil fuel burning, there’s practically no way out.

        Indeed. And near-term reductions in energy demand by the biggest users are crucial as well. Here’s Kevin Anderson on it:

        Reply
  28. redskylite

     /  August 13, 2016

    Robert S. – Many thanks for that detailed analysis of the ongoing CO2 and CO2e effects, I have scoured the Internet for precious information like this many times in the past – your post is indeed very informative. Science bodies seem very reluctant to publicize these facts and Co2 info is very scarce (the IPCC report is above my labor grade). It should be well known and well publicized, people should look at the monthly CO2 figures with concern. The everyday media has a responsibility to publicize this in simple no nonsense terms.The best previous straightforward piece I have read is from U.K’s DEFRA published in 2006 titled “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change”. Projections in it are ringing true 10 years later.

    http://www.eeg.tuwien.ac.at/eeg.tuwien.ac.at_pages/publications/pdf/NAK_BOO_2006_01_summary.pdf

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  August 13, 2016

    Southern Mississippi Valley Sector

    http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/southmissvly_loop.php

    Reply
    • – Add this:

      Reply
      • Via climatehawk1:

        Reply
      • scott hermansen ‏@scottpw7 2h2 hours ago

        @MichaelEMann top wx man WAFB baton rouge on flood “cant tell U what’s going 2 happen because we’ve never seen anything like this befor”

        Reply
        • “cant tell U what’s going 2 happen because we’ve never seen anything like this befor”

          – Sounds like some sort of psychological double-blind. And definitely a sign of the times.

          – And so many echoes of,when confronted with irrefutable evidence — “Well, it never happened before…”
          “But, but…”

        • Ken Graham ‏@wx4keg 3h3 hours ago

          All time records on many Louisiana rivers. You can’t use history or your experience to judge the impacts. Please heed warnings!

        • – The carbon/heat atmospheric water hose is: ON.
          Attempts to turn it OFF — unsuccessful.
          DT

        • Eric Holthaus Verified account ‏@EricHolthaus 8m8 minutes ago

          Eric Holthaus Retweeted Eric Holthaus

          For perspective: Three feet of rain is more than Louisiana usually gets in a normal 5-month hurricane season

        • NWS Reno Verified account ‏@NWSReno 47m47 minutes ago

          NWS Reno Retweeted NWS WPC

          Reno, NV: Day 81 in a row with no rain -> Parts of Louisiana: over 27 inches of rain in 24 hours! WOW.

  30. Talking monkey

     /  August 13, 2016

    Move Along people nothing to see here

    Instead come on down to our year-end close out

    The 2017s are coming and the 2016s must go

    You can also save thousands on our certified pre-owned smog generators

    Reply
  31. The Sioux are not letting the Keystone pipeline substitute go in without a fight as:

    In North Dakota, people vs. oil pipeline protest strengthens.August 13, 2016
    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article95492992.html#storylink=cpy

    “In North Dakota, the pipeline would cross beneath the Little Missouri River once and the Missouri River twice. The company said the pipeline would include safeguards such as leak detection equipment; workers monitoring the pipeline remotely in Texas could close valves within three minutes if a breach is detected.

    The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe late last month sued federal regulators for approving the pipeline, which would be the largest-capacity pipeline yet in North Dakota. The tribe argues the pipeline would disturb sacred sites and affect drinking water for the thousands of residents on the reservation and the millions who rely on it downstream.

    “This water is just not for us,” said Brave Heart, a 64-year-old Vietnam veteran and a Lakota Sioux from Fort Peck in eastern Montana. “It’s for everyone and future generations.”

    But it’s only the beginning: “North Dakota Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple urged industry and government officials to build more pipelines to keep pace with the state’s prolific oil production”

    Reply
  32. Reply
  33. Reply
  34. 8 August 2016
    Study quantifies impact of oil and gas emissions on Denver’s ozone problem

    The first peer-reviewed study to directly quantify how emissions from oil and gas activities influence summertime ozone pollution in the Colorado Front Range confirms that chemical vapors from oil and gas activities are a significant contributor to the region’s chronic ozone problem.

    Summertime ozone pollution levels in the northern Front Range periodically spike above 70 parts per billion (ppb), which is considered unhealthy—on average, 17 ppb of that ozone is produced locally

    -blogs.agu.org/geospace/2016/08/08/study-quantifies-impact-oil-gas-emissions-denvers-ozone

    – This photo of the Front Range is beyond obscene:

    Reply
  35. Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  August 13, 2016

    The comments coming in on Dr. Master’s site are really dire –

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/record-flooding-in-southeast-louisiana-may-get-worse

    Reply
  37. Reply
    • – This is the famed ‘salad bowl’ ‘food basket’ Central Valley that is colored so vibrantly RED.

      David Lange ‏@DavidLange2 18s19 seconds ago

      #USA #SoCal & #CentralValley #airpollution #Lung searing #ozone at unhealthy levels – 0813.

      Reply
  38. National Weather Service Adds Red Flag Warning to Extreme Heat Advisory

    Heat Advisory for Southern Oregon remains in effect until this evening and a Red Flag Warning is calling for gusty winds and low humidities.

    The National Weather Service in Medford first posted the advisory on Thursday, calling for high temperatures between 101 and 105 degrees and low temperatures only cooling off to the mid- to low-60s overnight.

    It was 105 degrees in Grants Pass on Friday – which was the high mark in Oregon.
    http://www.kajo.com/news/local/stories.php?subaction=showfull&id=1471064801&ucat=2%2C4

    Reply
  39. climatehawk1

     /  August 13, 2016

    Retweeted.

    Reply
  40. The maths behind the calculation of how high the CO2e is of CH4 is flawed. The IPCC etal say CH4 has a limited life cycle, which per molecule it does. But as there is more CH4 in the environment today than there was yesterday, and there will be more tomorrow than today, proves that at the moment as far as calculating the forcing factor of CH4 – it has to be treated as immortal, ie it is not ‘degrading fast enough to negate the amount that is appearing ???
    But then what would I know? I dropped out of school at 16, bottom of the class.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  August 14, 2016

      Rob.
      I do agree with your viewpoint, that lower figure for CO2e of CH4 is based not on decreasing effectiveness, but rather on decreasing volume/proportion as it breaks down. However when the level remains constant or even rising, that decay is being replaced, thus to my way of thinking, the atmospheric CO2 equivalence must be measured as the instantaneous (Non Decay) equivalence. which is over 100.
      Which raises another point that I wonder about.
      with due respect Robert, the “future” positive feedback is being projected on the basis of paleoclimate records. IMO this may be questionable as that feedback I suspect is directly proportional to the rate of warming, as CO2e and temperature are rising at a rate approx 6-10 times faster than the geological past, that could well lead to accelerating rates of CH4 and CO2 from permafrost, peat, clathrates etc.
      We really need to know more in this regard. I hope I am wrong, but we are in a new paradigm and the past is not necessarily as indicative of the future in that new paradigm as we assume

      Reply
  41. Syd Bridges

     /  August 13, 2016

    Thank you again, Robert, for keeping us informed as yet another dismal milestone on the road to the Gotterdammerung approaches. The CO2e figures are just as important as the CO2 numbers themselves.

    With over a third of 2016 still ahead of us, the fires, droughts, rain bombs, and flooding have already turned it into an “annus horribilis.” However, I fear that it will soon be outdone in this regard, certainly within the next ten years, and probably sooner.

    I expect GISSTEMP will update next week and then we’ll see if the temperatures begin to drop and by how much now that El Nino has passed. I am not holding my breath in anticipation of a return to the good old days. As Neven remarked a couple of years back, we are now in the Age of Consequences.

    Reply
  42. Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  August 15, 2016

      We had a dew point this weekend in Ct of 81, which was higher than any measured before. The previous high dew point was 79. On Saturday the heat index was 112, with actual air temperature of 97. Downright tropical.

      Reply
  43. – Follow the the water vapor?

    Reply
  44. Colorado Bob

     /  August 13, 2016

    More than 24 inches of rain have fallen in Livingston, Louisiana, according to observations relayed to the National Weather Service,
    https://weather.com/news/weather/news/gulf-coast-flooding-latest-news

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 13, 2016

      The 7 percent law in action .

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  August 14, 2016

        Quality controlled-rainfall analysis for the 2-day period ending August 13th, 2016, at 7:00AM CDT. This time period corresponds to roughly the period of heaviest rainfall over portions of southern Louisiana.
        This rainfall analysis was created using a combination of gauge observations, radar-derived estimates, and forecaster judgment. Widespread totals of 10.0 inches or greater were observed across the area, and some smaller areas experienced greater than 15.0 inches. Just northeast of Baton Rouge, rainfall of about 25.0 inches was observed over this 2-day period.
        The observed rainfall totals were quite significant and rare. The chance in any given year of experiencing a 2-day rainfall of this magnitude (the Annual Exceedance Probability) range from about 10% (areas experiencing 10 inches) to as small as 0.1% (areas experiencing more than 20 inches).

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  August 15, 2016

        We need some Sherlock Holmes to discover a ‘seven percent solution’.

        Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 14, 2016

      Flipping through the pictures and seeing what those folks are dealing with. There really is no true “high ground” by the looks of it. There are 2 pics of a gas station which has people crowded under the awning (looking for safety).

      Got to feel for them, once it dies down then they’ll have to deal with the after effects in their homes and businesses. If anyone is down there, thoughts are with you and be safe.

      Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  August 14, 2016

    Last night the low at Dulles Airport was 78, tying their record for the warmest daily low of all time.

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  August 14, 2016

    Atlantic bathwater: Why the ocean is so warm right now and what it means

    The western Atlantic Ocean is cooking right now. More specifically, waters off the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts are unusually hot, even for August.

    Case in point, the water temperature in Atlantic City was the highest on record Wednesday — a tropical 83.3 degrees.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/08/12/atlantic-bathwater-why-the-ocean-is-so-warm-right-now-and-what-it-means/

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 14, 2016

      Also, with so much moisture in the air, the heat of the day is trapped by clouds and moisture, so low temperatures in the New York City to Richmond, Virginia, corridor will only fall to around 80 degrees.

      These conditions are particularly dangerous to those who are most vulnerable, such as the sick or elderly, especially if they are without air conditioning.

      Dangerous Heat, Humidity Across Most of the Northeast

      The 7 percent law in action.

      Reply
      • “…with so much moisture in the air, the heat of the day is trapped by clouds and moisture”.

        – Aviation will add to that.

        Reply
    • John McCormick

       /  August 14, 2016

      Bob, this is more evidence the Gulf Stream is slowing and being blocked by the cool pool of fresh water south of Greenland. That blue mussels are becoming rare in the Gulf of Maine , along with lobsters and cod, are further proof.

      Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks. I notice the author managed to make it through the entire piece without mentioning the C word. Good thing, don’t want to unnecessarily alarm anyone.😦

      Reply
  47. Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe 12m12 minutes ago

    Looking at a max radar return composite over the last 24-hrs shows clear path of moisture from the Gulf to Northeast

    Reply
  48. Colorado Bob

     /  August 14, 2016

    If Katrina taught us anything, it’s the poor, the old, and the disabled, that climate change will take first.

    Over the years , I have read people’s comments about “thinning the herd”, in order to achieve this “New Paradigm” we need. Well it’s killed 3 old men in South Louisiana , who had the yearly carbon foot print of 2 hours of the Trump campaign.

    I suspect the heat indexes in the Northeast will kill far more than that over the next few days. But because they are the poor, the old, and the disabled, we never hear of their passing . But we are “thinning the herd” .

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 14, 2016

      BITTER, i”M NOT BITTER !

      Reply
    • And air pollution before it became known as having GHG has been doing this for decades. It harms/kills children, the aged, and the infirm — FIRST. This info is on all official pronouncements.
      This is not promising in an emissions addicted society.

      “Rage — against the dying of the light.”
      – D Thomas

      Reply
  49. – A bit about the ‘lack’ of high ground in these flooded areas. This is mostly flat alluvial plain.

    – gulfcoast.harc.edu

    Reply
  50. Jay M

     /  August 14, 2016

    Who needs tropical depressions with AGW?

    Reply
    • Jay M

       /  August 14, 2016

      It’s almost like storms will chase people out of certain areas prior to SLR
      ironic

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 14, 2016

      Indeed , That great clip over Tucson. we saw up stream . The water cycle has muscles now. A low pressure system will ruin your world now. We’ve seen this almost daily here for years. A drought may take 3 years to kill 3 Billion dollars of work. A flood takes 3 days.

      Reply
  51. Colorado Bob

     /  August 14, 2016

    The 7 percent law –

    Even as the severe weather eased in the eastern part of the region, rivers further west in Louisiana were spilling over, and flooding could worsen over the next 24 to 36 hours, Edwards said.

    He described the floods as more severe than those that struck the state in March, when at least four were killed and thousands of homes were damaged in Louisiana and Mississippi.

    “This is unprecedented,” Edwards said, advising residents to heed warnings. “Please don’t rely on your experiences in the past.”

    Link

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 14, 2016

      ….and then there’s the next 7 percent coming up….

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  August 14, 2016

        Well said. and we are well our on our way today to that day. 3 feet of rain isn’t out of the question.

        Reply
  52. Colorado Bob

     /  August 14, 2016

    Trump thinks his beach resorts will dance around cyclones.

    Let’s all hope they hit him right in the teeth –


    Donald Trump’s lawsuits haven’t stopped during his presidential campaign, perhaps most notably in the must-win battleground of Florida.

    A Miami judge recently ordered Trump to pay a small businessman almost $300,000 over an unpaid paint job at his Miami golf resort and a trial is set to begin Monday in Palm Beach County over claims that Trump owes refunds to 60-some members of his Jupiter golf club.

    The cases are examples of hundreds of lawsuits involving Trump in his adopted home state of Florida. He and his companies have been aggressively suing Floridians and getting sued by them since the New York,developer bought an estate here in 1985, court records show.

    Link

    Reply
  53. Colorado Bob

     /  August 14, 2016

    Andy_in_SD
    I live were this happened, The Comanches stole the slaves, The Comanches let the Comecheros come and trade, from Pecos NM . In 1780 they rode into Taos, And told the Spanish how it would be. They held the plains for 160 years.

    Reply
  54. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 14, 2016

    Looks like NYC & DC may get a dose of gross to go with the heat / humidity.

    You can now thank climate change for encouraging cockroaches to fly. A massive heat wave is hitting the East Coast this weekend, and apparently the heat and humidity make these insects want to take to the sky.

    http://www.attn.com/stories/10693/heatwave-could-bring-out-cockroaches-ability-to-fly

    Reply
  55. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 14, 2016

    Dhaka Bangladesh, an average of 1000 climate refugees arrive in this city each day.

    Reply
  56. Cate

     /  August 14, 2016

    “Overshoot.”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/as-earth-swelters-global-warming-target-in-danger-20597

    Climate scientists will meet in Geneva from Aug 15-18 to plan a U.N. report about the 1.5°C goal, requested by world leaders in the Paris Agreement for publication in 2018.
    Overshoot is among the issues in preparatory documents.
    “There is a risk that ‘overshoot’ is a slippery slope towards lower ambition,” said Emmanuel de Guzman, secretary of the Climate Commission of the Philippines, which chairs a group of 43 emerging nations in the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).
    Brazilian scientist Thelma Krug, who will lead the Geneva meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said a “wholesale transformation” of economies and society will be required to achieve the Paris targets.
    The IPCC report will look at both the damage to nature from a 1.5°C rise and ways to rein in rising temperatures.
    Draft documents for the 2018 report by the IPCC also mention more radical solutions, such as spraying chemicals into the upper atmosphere to dim sunlight through “geo-engineering”.

    Reply
    • So, overshoot should be a motivator for higher ambitions and a greater response. There is, instead, this meme that if goals are not reached, then the whole mitigation framework should be abandoned. This kind of thinking, if adopted, will put us on a path to BAU in short order.

      As for geo-engineering through solar radiation management…. Well, that’s yet one more way to add climate chaos to the equation. It does provide a short-term overall possible temperature gain buffer. But one that already has a degree of saturation due to current aerosol loading. We can bump this up to a point, but only so far. In addition, it has a high potential to alter precipitation patterns resulting in severe droughts for some regions with billions of people affected. It also has zero effect on the issue of ocean acidification.

      In the end, use of solar radiation management will tend to create a short-term buffer for higher temperatures at a high cost and at high risk of the kind of slippery-slope continued emissions the above statement references. As a final point, it is worth noting that during the Permian Extinction, massive volumes of aerosol hitting the atmosphere likely helped to create large temperature swings similar to what we might end up engineering. Such potential for rapid weather swings was probably one factor that led to the nutrient seeding and eventual switch to high temperatures which probably set up a Canfield Ocean state during that time.

      For these reasons, use of solar radiation management should carry the ‘very high risk of moral and physical peril’ label.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  August 15, 2016

        From a layman POV wouldn’t the level of SRM needed to stop the polar ice melt require the over land temps to be lowered to the point that northern hemisphere agriculture would be greatly diminished or possibly not even possible. The inertia in the polar melt is from below the ocean surface the removal of which is measured in decades if not centuries. It seems to me that cooling that off from above to the safe level would mean very cool if not down right cold northern summers. Precip rates be damned. If it’s too cool to grow food it might just as well be too hot. More pollution to fix pollution seems like shooting yourself in the other foot so that they both work the same and calling it fixed. The view from here seems to be scrubbing the CO2 out of the air and retreating from the coast as our best move. Followed by the long wait for the ocean to cool off. While we are waiting for that we can spend our time learning how to save what ever the hell we have left. Maybe some crowd sourcing for ideas for a new steady state economy, because the bean counters aren’t going to produce it.

        Reply
        • The models show severe droughts in numerous regions resulting from significant SRM aerosol loading. Already vulnerable regions like Africa tend to be hit hardest. But it’s very widespread. Model assessments show billions of people negatively impacted. Primarily due to agricultural effects. In this case, it’s tough to see whether cure or disease is worse.

        • climatehawk1

           /  August 15, 2016

          IMHO, problem of governance of geoengineering is colossal. Just the thought of figuring out how we decide who gets screwed (especially when we aren’t that certain of impacts) seems like, oh, a 50-year project.

  57. Spike

     /  August 14, 2016

    Nice article on scientific reticence amidst the unfolding mayhem including interview excerpts with Irish scientist, and also referencing your recent work Robert🙂.

    http://www.flassbeck-economics.com/how-climate-change-is-rapidly-taking-the-planet-apart-part-2-amplifying-feedbacks-divestment/

    Reply
    • – Yeah, quite a bit of Scribbler there on two separate posts. Eh, Robert. Good.

      – I like the conversational tone of the article. Tis Irish too.

      – Interesting note re research, etc:

      ‘There are just too many problems, too many phenomena, too many feedback loops…

      ‘The IPCC works on the basis of the best and most relevant peer-reviewed publications. You know as well as I do that you need funding to write up peer-reviewed publications. If you look at the proposals that are being accepted – the funding which leads to scientific output, it’s very clear that some things cannot be said. The organisations that fund research have their own agenda. That agenda is always the same: it’s keeping business-as-usual intact and promoting it.
      As for the selection of the most relevant science, what is most relevant? It’s what governments want to hear…

      [Or, as a newspaper editor told me re atmospheric fallout, “People don’t don’t want to hear bad news.”] – DT

      Reply
      • Dahr Jamail is referenced too.
        It’s a comprehensive article.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  August 16, 2016

        Exactly, DT. The climate science establishment is, in my opinion, complicit through passivity in the denial and willful ignorance that is getting us exterminated. However I am disappointed that even now no truly eminent group has come out to utter the truth, or perform some act that will wake the sleeping idiots up before they wake to find themselves extinct. I’m not recommending self-immolation on the steps of Congress, but in India a nice public hunger strike still proves effective. While the good lack all conviction and the Gadarene swine are still full of passionate intensity (with apologies to WB Yeats)our goose is cooked.

        Reply
  58. PlazaRed

     /  August 14, 2016

    This looks like an interesting scenario for tomorrow, with a big low to the south east of Greenland and another over the Arctic.
    Could and probably will lead to a lot of ice break up and melting.
    The low over the south east of Greenland is not projected to move far over land but it will influence things there for sure.

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#2016/08/15/1800Z/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-23.34,74.24,466

    Reply
  59. Bruce Amiata

     /  August 14, 2016

    ‘“wholesale transformation” of economies and society”

    — piece of cake, really.

    Reply
  60. – High minimum air temps are a worry.

    Reply
    • Ian Livingston Verified account
      ‏@islivingston

      Third 81 low in a row at DC. If it holds, will be the 7th 80+ low of the year and tie 2011 for the most on record since 1872.

      Reply
  61. Flood warning, flash flood watch still in effect

    … a weak low pressure system that has inched slowly across the area, mimicking the effects of a tropical depression.

    The center of the system is now located over the Arklatex region and is still edging northwest towards a hookup with a westward moving frontal system. On Sunday morning, heavy thunderstorms have redeveloped on the southeastern edge of the counter-clockwise system over the Gulf of Mexico and are moving inland over central Louisiana.

    Here’s the latest on river flood levels, as of mid-day Sunday. However, there’s also this from forecasters — on the Tickfaw River, Holden has cresed at 22.16 feet. Killian could reach between 7.5 and 8 feet, and should crest during next 12 hours. That’s not reflected in table below:
    Southeastern Louisiana river forecasts:
    [Startling numbers here of a few, to many, feet above flood stage.]
    http://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2016/08/flood_warning_flash_flood_watc.html#lf-content=170849172:556266635

    Reply
  62. WU has quite a bit on the flooding(s).

    Reply
    • Jonathan Erdman Verified account ‏@wxjerdman 6h6 hours ago

      The power of #flood water: A stretch of Hwy 10 near Greensburg, LA posted Sat. (Credit: @qurius_george/IG) #lawx

      Reply
    • – Outflanked.

      Historically, much of this region has had flooding due to water coming ‘down’ the Mississippi River Basin/drainage — or a single event storm/hurricane.
      Now it is moisture coming/streaming ‘up’ from the Gulf of Mexico.
      That’s what I see happening.

      Reply
      • Eric Holthaus Verified account ‏@EricHolthaus 19h19 hours ago

        Eric Holthaus Retweeted WWL-TV

        Louisiana:
        The river was more than six *feet* higher than the previous record flood. That includes all hurricanes.

        Reply
  63. Reply
  64. – W. Pac

    Reply
  65. – Canada – Ontario

    Dryden continues cleanup after ‘incredible’ downpour, flood
    Heavy rainfall causes flooding throughout city

    CBC News

    “The incredible thing with this event was that it was so localized it just happened to span the entire town,” he said. “Literally four kilometres, and it was pretty stationary.”

    The storm system lingered over the city, about 350 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, for about 90 minutes on Friday afternoon.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/dryden-storm-flood-1.3720509?cmp=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Reply
  66. Reply
  67. I haven’t yet read it but I now send it on the basis of concept alone…

    Reply
  68. John McCormick

     /  August 14, 2016

    Robert, you and the comments are taking all of us on a measured, recorded, witnessed and experienced conversation about our path to a fatal outcome.

    Your gift of words and communicating have to leap past this blog and into internet/cable messages during prime time of any channel. Money is there for the asking. FCC rules will apply but it is all about the narrative; is it not.

    Picture this op-ed posted by you and Bill McKibben:

    “Imagine you are passenger in a Mazda convertible traveling, at 75 rpm, north from Albany in late January. Road is clear until raindrops appear on the windshield as the car starts its climb up a long hill.

    You instinctively shout to the driver ‘talk your foot off the gas and the brake. We have to coast through this while we react to what is ahead. Steer in a straight line only and gently on the wheel. If there is a curve or slow truck in our lane we might die.’

    As the driver obeys and slows to 50 mph down the grade and even lower speed we are not safe. There is no way to prepare for any impact ahead but we might have bought ourselves some time to reacty by slowing down.. So, how can we downshift and increase our chances of survival? That remains to be remain to be seen.?

    Make this a strategy the big greens are not involve and have no motivation to do so..

    ps. anyone, weigh in with ideas and suggestions how this kind of messaging can be funded.

    John McCormick

    Reply
    • I think this is a good metaphor, John. We’ve got to put our civilization at a safer speed and be more alert to signs of trouble.

      Reply
  69. Jimbot

     /  August 14, 2016

    Dear R.S.
    I appreciate all your excellent research and reporting on the research for us all. I used to like to read SF works including Arthur C. Clarke et al. Nowadays however it seems that the reality is so bizarre we read fiction to get try to get back to normal. It seems that the politicians and their masters have written their playbook from Huxley and Orwell and have synergistically surpassed both scenarios, haha.

    The Beginner’s Guide you have referenced avoids mentioning the little detail of what value they are using for the CO2e of methane ( other gases, methane being the most significant from what I have read ). Much of the older IPCC work ( including in 2007 ) was using the value of 20 times CO2 for methane. I think currently, by many scientists, this is considered to be be very conservative to the point of being an unrealistic whitewash of the true situation. It refers to a certain quantity of methane being input to the atmosphere in year 1 and it’s effective value in year 100, after most of it ( by that time ) being converted to CO2 from the OH molecules in the atmosphere. The OH being created largely by sunlight breaking down water vapour. At year 100 the remaining quantity of methane is considered to be 20 times CO2 as it CO2e value.

    I think Robert Atack ( not to mention his fellow Kiwi Kevin Moore ) is correct in questioning this and in calling for using the instantaneous value, since as he says the CH4 content is increasing and not decreasing. The instantaneous value could be somewhat greater than 200 times the value of CO2, even much greater perhaps, ( it seems to be unknown or not widely published ). So if methane is now at 1800 ppb ( or 1.8 ppm, 140 % increase from pre-industrial of 0.75 ppm ) in the atmosphere this would mean it is contributing another 360 ( 200 x 1.8 ) CO2e to the 400+ from CO2. This would put us around 760 CO2e currently ( not counting the other gases ), which would help explain all the rapid non-linear changes going on almost everywhere, especially to do with temperatures.

    Reply
    • The value used for methane in this calculation is equal to a GWP of approx 40x CO2 for methane. The actual GWP over longer terms is approx 20. Shorter term GWP as it relates to TCS is probably in the range of 80 approx. The 40 value is probably relevant for this Century.

      Methane tends to plateau due to the hydroxyl sink. So you need to have a constant emissions value to simply maintain current levels. In other words, it’s not additive like CO2 beyond a certain point.

      If emissions halt, methane tends to fall out pretty fast without a substantial feedback from the Earth System. A more exact value for CO2e in the context of TCS may be closer to 520. But it’s a sensitive value subject to our emissions response.

      I think for ECS and ESS, the 490 CO2e value is probably more appropriate, which is why I use it here. There is also the issue of aerosols which constrain about 70 ppm CO2e TCS forcing. Both current methane and aerosols are dependent largely upon emissions and in cases where mitigation is planned and hoped for, then their shorter term values are less of a factor on the 100 year timeframe. To this point, if methane emissions continue to grow along a BAU path, the aerosol negative forcing becomes less of a factor while the higher methane TCS becomes moreso. So your concerns come more into play under a BAU/RCP 8.5 type scenario by about mid Century.

      The push now is to get us off that path by sparking consumption reductions (adding energy efficiency gains and a related carbon tax) while moving fast along an energy transition pathway. If we can achieve this, then the 40 GWP value for methane holds.

      For my own back of the napkin calculations, I’ve tended to add a +1 percent factor to the NOAA values. This is what I call — conservative on the high side — and is why I tend to come ahead of official calculations by about 1-2 years. The notion is to stay ahead of what’s coming rather than react after the fact.

      Reply
  70. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 14, 2016

    Here is a piece of anecdotal evidence about the volume and pace of events and how it has sped up while increasing in scope, frequency and breadth.

    For those who’ve followed and posted here for some time, reflect on the past. Robert would post an item, and we would discuss while posting current new things, no different than today.

    The difference? The sheer amount of events, the speed of them, the scope. Our posting is like a small proxy summary. You could graph it if you had the time / inclination.

    If you haven’t, you should see climatehawk1’s twitter tweets. Just the pace and volume as well as global coverage. First, you appreciate his efforts, second you stop in your tracks and think “uh oh…”.

    Reply
    • Hey, thank you for the mention, Andy, that’s very kind. I’m grateful to you and other commenters here for digging up a lot of the material I tweet, and also to those who are on Twitter and provide retweets and alerts there.

      As luck would have it, I’m going to be stepping away from the keyboard in a few days for my first extended vacation since 2012 (need to recharge my personal batteries), but intend to be back at it in early September. And yes, I agree, “uh-oh” is what is running through my mind pretty continuously these days.

      Reply
      • Andy_in_SD

         /  August 15, 2016

        Enjoy,

        I took 2 one week breaks this year myself. First time I took time off since 1992.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  August 14, 2016

      I couldn’t agree more Andy.
      This site is so incredibly important. The combination of links and personal thoughts and observations is simply unique to this space. Robert deserves so much credit for moderating out the idiotic comments that plague so many other sites. His work in that area is as commendable as is his writing. It’s easy to take for granted until you read the comments on any climate article everywhere else. We have an honest discussion here. I thank you all for your contributions to the greater learning.

      Reply
  71. Ken Provost

     /  August 14, 2016

    John: If we’re really “on a path to a fatal outcome” as you say (and I agree), and “Money is there for the asking. FCC rules will apply”….I’m afraid RS and McKibben would both be asked to “tone it down” and give the masses more Hope.

    I think the level of this blog is exactly right for maximum effect — something more popular would have to be more muted and less edgy, and even more optimistic than it is now.

    Reply
    • John McCormick

       /  August 15, 2016

      Ken, thanks for your comment. I hold firm that earth’s atmospheare and heaat transfer systems are in an abrupt change and will only worsen as more CO2e is emitted. We have been holding ourselves back from pulling the fire alarm even while we see the smoke.

      Reply
    • Hello, Ken.

      Just want to say that I wouldn’t be posting if I thought a ‘path to a fatal outcome’ was inevitable. I think it’s more an issue of that there’s a shot been fired at us. In fact, we shot it at ourselves. We can act now to take as much heat out of that shot as possible. Which I think we should absolutely do. We won’t know for certain whether or not it’s fatal until after. This is kind of one of those cases of an event that humankind has never experienced before. So we don’t really know how well we’ll endure. Past evidence for species enduring habitat destruction, loss of favorable environments, and loss of species that serve as life supports show that such situations are stressful and a high risk to all species, including humankind. So the issue now is to mitigate or to prevent as much of the danger as possible by cutting human fossil fuel emissions as swiftly as possible. If we do that, then the shot won’t hit quite as hard and the chances of us making it through are higher.

      Reply
  72. Griffin

     /  August 15, 2016

    Wow.

    Reply
  73. Griffin

     /  August 15, 2016

    Lower Lake, CA. A developing fire that is already incredibly destructive. I hope everyone gets away safe!

    Reply
    • wharf rat

       /  August 15, 2016

      LOWER LAKE (CBS/AP) — Much of the communities of Lower Lake, and Clearlake were evacuated as firefighters battled a quick-moving wildfire Sunday afternoon….

      “When you see black smoke and flame from your driveway, you don’t want to take a chance,” said Colbeck, who lost her rental home and all of her belongings in the massive fire that evacuated Lower Lake last year.

      That blaze killed four people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes. It was considered California’s third-most-destructive wildfire after ravaging most of rural Lake County and parts of Napa County about 90 miles north of San Francisco. A report issued this week concluded that faulty wiring in a hot tub ignited the 120-square-mile fire.

      http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/08/14/california-wildfires-evacuations-lake-county/

      Reply
  74. Reply
  75. – Via Jason Box — Greenland ice sheet – For someone else to analyze:

    Reply
  76. Via Jason Box

    Reply
  77. Abel Adamski

     /  August 15, 2016

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/15/the-blob-how-marine-heatwaves-are-causing-unprecedented-climate-chaos

    ‘The blob’: how marine heatwaves are causing unprecedented climate chaos

    Wide-scale disruption from warming oceans is increasing, but they could change our understanding of the climate

    First seabirds started falling out of the sky, washing up on beaches from California to Canada.

    Then emaciated and dehydrated sea lion pups began showing up, stranded and on the brink of death.

    A surge in dead whales was reported in the same region, and that was followed by the largest toxic algal bloom in history seen along the Californian coast. Mixed among all that there were population booms of several marine species that normally aren’t seen surging in the same year.

    Plague, famine, pestilence and death was sweeping the northern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2015.

    This chaos was caused by a single massive heatwave, unlike anything ever seen before. But it was not the sort of heatwave we are used to thinking about, where the air gets thick with warmth. This occurred in the ocean, where the effects are normally hidden from view.

    Nicknamed “the blob”, it was arguably the biggest marine heatwave ever seen. It may have been the worst but wide-scale disruption from marine heatwaves is increasingly being seen all around the globe, with regions such as Australia seemingly being hit with more than their fair share.

    It might seem strange given their huge impact but the concept of a marine heatwave is new to science. The term was only coined in 2011. Since then a growing body of work documenting their cause and impact has developed.

    An excellent article well worth reading in it’s entirety.
    The consequences are massive in many areas

    Reply
  78. Kevin Jones

     /  August 15, 2016

    JMA has July 2016 in at 0.06C above July 2015’s record warmth.

    Reply

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