Sunday, January 22, 2017

Can the world be saved without geoengineering?

Can the world be saved without geoengineering? What is your view?

The Climate Plan includes the more effective and safe geoengineering methods as separate lines of action, next to emission cuts. There are discussions on this at the Climate Alert group. Feel encouraged to join in!

In the following videos, a number of geoengineering methods are discussed. The videos were recorded in Marrakesh, Morocco, at the time of the UN climate negotiations that were held from 7-18 November 2016. Stuart Scott interviews Peter Wadhams, Hugh Hunt, Matthias Honegger and Douglas MacMartin.


• Climate Alert group

• Geoengineering group

• Climate Plan

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 well above 1.5°C

In December 2016, it was 6.58°C (11.84°F) warmer from latitude 83°N to the North Pole. In December 2016, the world as a whole was on average 0.82°C (1.47°F) warmer than in 1951-1980.

Temperatures are rising fast, and especially so over the Arctic Ocean. In February 2016, the world was 1.34°C (2.41°F) warmer than 1951-1980, while part of the Kara Sea was 11.3°C (20.34°F) warmer than 1951-1980, as the image on the right illustrates.

The 1951-1980 period is the default baseline used by NASA. When comparing the current temperature to years such as 1900 or 1750, the difference will be even larger, as illustrated by the image below.

In 2016, the global temperature was well above the 1.5°C (2.7°F) guardrail set by the Paris Agreement. This is illustrated by the different baselines used in image below (the use of different baselines was discussed in an earlier post), given that the Paris Agreement uses preindustrial levels as baseline.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
To some extent, the rise above 1.5°C was due to El Niño, as the trendline indicates, but the trend also indicates that temperatures will cross the 1.5°C mark in 2017 even if 2017 will be El Niño/La Niña-neutral.

Worryingly, another El Niño is actually forecast for 2017, as discussed in an earlier post.

Even more worrying is that rise of this trendline could well be too conservative.

Ocean temperatures are rising rapidly, as illustrated by the image on the right, and the rapid warming of the oceans is causing a dramatic fall in sea ice extent, as illustrated by the image below and as discussed in an earlier post.

The lack of sea ice spells trouble. Not only is snow and ice decline causing more sunlight to be absorbed (rather than getting reflected back into space as before), there are further feedbacks associated with this. As the temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator decreases, changes are taking place to wind patterns that cause further acceleration of warming in the Arctic, as discussed in an earlier post. This in turn threatens to trigger huge amounts of methane to erupt abruptly from the seafloor.

Methane levels over the Arctic Ocean are much higher than over the rest of the world, as illustrated by the image below, showing the situation in the afternoon of January 17, 2017, with peaks reaching levels as high as 2406 ppb. Particularly worrying are the solid magenta-colored areas over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, indicating methane levels above 1950 ppb.

When also taking into account further elements that could cause warming, a potential warming of 10°C (18°F) could eventuate by the year 2026, i.e. within about nine years from now, as discussed at the extinction page and as illustrated by the image below, from the Temperature page.

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


• Climate Plan

• Extinction

• Temperature

• Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean

• Global sea ice extent falling off chart

• How much warming have humans caused?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Global sea ice extent falling off chart

Global sea ice extent is falling off the chart, as illustrated by the image below.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is one of the world's best-know archives for satellite data on sea ice.

In its recent news release, NSIDC notes that the difference between the 1981-2010 average global sea ice extent and the 2016 extent was over 4 million km² in mid-November 2016 (image on the right).

The fall in sea ice extent constitutes a huge amount of energy that is no longer reflected back into space and is instead absorbed by the ocean, the atmosphere and by the process of melting itself.

In line with earlier calculations by Professor Peter Wadhams, a 4 million km² sea ice decrease could equate to a radiative forcing of as much as 1.3 W/m². All this extra energy does not directly translate into a rise in temperature of the atmosphere, since a lot of energy has over the past few decades been absorbed by the ocean and has also gone into the process of melting itself. However, it now looks like the temperature of the atmosphere is catching up fast, as illustrated by the image below.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
On the right is a forecast by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

It shows that we've barely been in a La Niña, which typically makes the atmosphere cooler than it would otherwise have been.

Already now, another El Niño is on the way that could soon make it up to 2.5°C warmer than it is was late last year.

Global sea ice volume is also at record low, as illustrated by the image below on the right.
Arctic sea ice thickness hit a record low in November 2016 when thickness fell below 0.7 m or 2.3 ft.

As the ice gets thinner, the risk of collapse grows, as increasingly stronger winds and storms and stronger wave action can more easily break up thin sea ice, making it more vulnerable to melting and to get carried out of the Arctic Ocean by stronger cyclonic winds and stronger exit currents.

Disappearance of Arctic sea ice increases the risk of huge methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. The outlook is terrifying. As I calculated last year, surface temperatures of the atmosphere could rise by some 10°C or 18°F within a decade, i.e. by 2026.

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


• Climate Plan

• Extinction

• How much warming have humans caused?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Canadian Arctic Archipelago Hit By M5.8 Earthquake

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale hit the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on January 8, 2017.

Above image was created with USGS (United States Geological Survey) content. The image shows the epicenter of the quake (gold star). The earthquake hit Barrow Strait on January 8, 2017 at 23:47:12 (UTC), at 74.320°N - 92.305°W and at a depth of 18.9 km.

Another earthquake hit Barrow Strait on January 9, 2017, this time with a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale, within a day of the earlier M5.8 quake (both in orange on map below). These two earthquakes are among the largest quakes to hit the area in the past five years (map area shows all M1+ quakes since January 9, 2012).

These earthquakes are important, given their magnitude and given that they hit an area without large faultlines (though earthquakes are not uncommon here, also see this discussion). Importantly, these earthquakes occurred in an area prone to glacial isostatic adjustment, as illustrated by the image below.

From "", (unfiltered version). Credit: A, G., J. Wahr, and S. Zhong (2013) "Computations
of the viscoelastic response of a 3-D compressible Earth to surface loading: an application to Glacial Isostatic
Adjustment in Antarctica and Canada", Geophys. J. Int., 192, 557–572, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggs030

Glacial isostatic adjustment as a phenomenon typically takes place over relatively long periods. Yet, extreme weather events can trigger earthquakes in areas that are already on the edge.

The extreme weather situation is depicted by the combination image below.

Similar to the M4.6 earthquake that hit Baffin Island on February 12, 2015, this earthquake occurred at a time when surface temperature anomalies over parts of North America and Greenland were at the bottom end of the scale. At the same time, temperature anomalies over the Arctic Ocean are at the top end of the scale, as illustrated by the left panel in above image. The right panel in above image shows pressure differences reaching the top and bottom ends of the scale.

Earthquakes in the Arctic Ocean are dangerous as they can destabilize methane hydrates. Huge amounts of methane are present in sediments under the Arctic Ocean in the form of free gas and hydrates. Earthquakes can send out strong tremors through the sediment and shockwaves through the water, which can trigger further earthquakes, landslides and destabilization of methane hydrates. The situation is especially dangerous when combined with extreme weather events that can cause cracks and movement in sediments.

Above map, from an earlier post, shows the location of fault lines on the Northern Hemisphere.

The combination image below shows methane levels on January 9, 2017, am, at two different altitudes.

[ click on images to enlarge ]

As temperatures in the Arctic Ocean keep rising, the jet streams and polar vortex are changing their shapes. The North Polar Jet Stream becomes more wavy, and this makes that more extreme weather events can happen such as the events described above.

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


• Climate Plan

• Seafloor Methane

• High Methane Levels Follow Earthquake in Arctic Ocean

• Something had to give - Baffin Island hit by M4.6 earthquake

• Ring Of Ice

• High Methane Levels over Laptev Sea

• Methane Release caused by Earthquakes

• Sea of Okhotsk

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Most Important Videos Uploaded In December 2016

Peter Wadhams is interviewed by Stuart Scott, Executive Director of United Planet Faith & Science Initiative, in this video called Farewell to Arctic Ice, uploaded December 27, 2016, and recorded at UN climate negotiations in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Peter Wadhams is an 'expeditionary' scientist and Emeritus Professor of Ocean Physics from Cambridge. Peter Wadhams' observations of the Arctic ice for over 4 decades makes him one of the worlds authorities on the subject.

In the video, Peter Wadhams discusses some of the issues described in his current book A Farewell to Ice (right), which is available as hardback or ebook (256 pages, published September 1, 2016).

For more, view some of the recent posts at Arctic-news blog, such as:
Accelerated Warming of the Arctic Ocean
Monthly CO₂ not under 400 ppm in 2016
Seafloor Methane and
Sea ice is shrinking

Below is the sea ice volume image (created by Wipneus) that is discussed in the video.

Mark Jacobson gave a presentation called How the Future of Energy Impacts the Future of Our Cities, as part of the Digital Cities Summit, October 2016. The video was uploaded on 7 Dec 2016 by Stanford University School of Engineering.

Imagine a future where the entire U.S. energy infrastructure runs on clean, renewable energy. It’s possible to do it by 2050, says Stanford civil and environmental professor Mark Jacobson, and even without any new technologies. Mark Jacobson laid out the hidden upside of using solar, wind and water resources – rather than burning fossil fuels – to power everything from appliances and machinery to cars and building systems. “If you electrify everything, something magical happens. Without really changing your habits, you can reduce power demand by about 42%,” Mark Jacobson says.

Such a huge reduction in power demand comes mostly from the efficiency gains of electricity over combustion and eliminating the energy needed to mine, transport and refine fossil fuels. In addition to the pure energy savings, Mark Jacobson estimates that we could avoid 4 million to 7 million deaths from air pollution, eliminate $15 trillion to $25 trillion in global warming costs, create 17 million more jobs than would be lost if we don’t transition, and reduce the energy poverty of up to 4 billion people worldwide.

For more, click on the links at Roadmaps to convert 139 countries of the world to Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) for all purposes.

Paul Beckwith produced a two-part video, called 'Abrupt Climate Disrupting Arctic Changes'. The first part is at Part 1 of 2 and the second video, featured below, is at Part 2 of 2. The videos were uploaded on December 30, 2016.

In the videos, Paul Beckwith describes that gut-wrenching disruptions are underway in the Arctic, including record-high temperatures, near-record summer ice loss and spring snow cover loss, and record low sea-ice winter growth.

This second video is particularly interesting at the segment from 8:30 to 12:00 minutes, where Paul Beckwith discusses how wind patterns are changing over the Arctic and how this will make the Beaufort Gyre and other ocean currents reverse when we get complete sea-ice loss.

For more on this, see also the post Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean.

Peter Wadhams also featured in this video interview by Jennifer Hynes for ExtinctionRadio, uploaded December 29, 2016.

There is also a shorter version of this interview, without music.

The interview is part of episode 62 at, uploaded December 28, 2016. This episode also includes interviews by host Mike Ferrigan with Paul Beckwith and Tim Garett.

Guy McPherson gave a presentation at the Fayetteville Free Library in Syracuse, New York, on December 22, 2016. Part 1 is the presentation, featured below. Part 2 covers questions and answers, following the presentation. The videos were uploaded December 27, 2016.

Two images used in the presentation are added below.

On the right, the elements adding up to a potential global temperature rise by 2026 of over 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit), from the Extinction page. For more, also view the Temperature page at

Below, the timeline of Earth's temperature in history after a graph by Chris Scotese, from The Politics and Science of Our Demise.
For more, also view the Climate Change Summary and Update at

An earlier presentation was given by Guy McPherson in Wellington, New Zealand. The presentation was given at Victoria University in Wellington and was streamed live at 6:00 p.m. New Zealand time on 6 December 2016. The video was uploaded on December 7, 2016.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean

Stronger Winds causing further Warming of the Arctic Ocean

Warming is accelerating in the Arctic. On December 22, 2016, the Arctic was on average 3.33°C or 5.99°F warmer than it was in 1979-2000.

Within the Arctic, the Arctic Ocean is warming most rapidly. The image below gives a snapshot of the situation on December 22, 2016 at 06:00 UTC. The Arctic as a whole was as much as 3.34°C or 6.01°F warmer than in 1979-2000. At the same time, temperatures over much of the Arctic Ocean were at the top end of the scale, i.e. as much as 30°C or 54°F warmer than in 1979-2000 (pink color at 90°N latitude).

The temperature in the Arctic (north of 80°N Latitude) is also illustrated by the image below. The red line of the temperature for 2016, up to December 22, 2016. The green line is the 1958-2002 temperature.

Over the entire year 2016, warming was most profound over the Arctic Ocean, which was more than 2.5°C or 4.5°F warmer than 1981-2010, as illustrated by the image below.

The animation below illustrates how this anomaly developed over the past few years, each time showing a 365-day period, starting in 2014 and each time shifted by roughly one month.

These high temperatures over the Arctic Ocean reflect warm water of the Arctic Ocean, with heat added from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The image below shows ocean warming, with temperatures rising particularly rapidly on the Northern Hemisphere.

[ Ocean warming, from earlier post ]
Warmer water of the Atlantic Ocean is pushed by the Coriolis force toward the Arctic Ocean. The huge amounts of energy entering the oceans translate not only into higher temperatures of the water and of the air over the water, but also into higher waves and stronger winds.

Above image shows winds on December 29, 2016.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
As above image shows, waves were as high as 7.65 m or 25.1 ft in between Norway and Svalbard on December 29, 2016.

Sea surface temperatures west of Svalbard were as high as 14.6°C (58.2°F) on December 29, 2016. Sea surface temperature went up at the end of December at this spot, while the longer-term average went down in line with the change in seasons.

Underneath the surface of the North Atlantic, the water is much warmer than at the surface, and this temperature difference increases as winds get stronger and cause stronger evaporation, which has a cooling effect on the sea surface. This is illustrated by the image below, showing both the North Pacific and the North Atlantic on November 28, 2016.

The fact that the North Pacific shows a huge cold area, while the cold area in the North Atlantic has virtually disappeared, suggests that the cold area in the North Pacific is not the result of melt-water. The path of the cold areas and the low temperatures over the continents at higher latitudes, give further indications that strong winds are causing such cold areas. The image below shows that a cold area reappearing in the North Atlantic as it gets hit by strong winds (see video further below).

Above images and the image below, from an earlier post, illustrate how stronger evaporation and the resulting precipitation, at times in combination with melt-water, could create cold freshwater lids on both the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. The situation in the North Atlantic is very dangerous, as such a lid can cause much more heat to get carried into the Arctic Ocean underneath the sea surface of the North Atlantic, due to reduced heat transfer to the atmosphere from water on its way to the Arctic Ocean.

The image below, from an earlier post,  shows the depth of Barents Sea, which is relatively shallow around Svalbard.

As the image on the right shows, this spot warms up due to a sea current that brings warm water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean.

Above images give an indication of the temperature of the water in the Atlantic Ocean underneath the sea surface, as the water comes to the surface near Svalbard, as also illustrated by the plot on the right.

The Arctic Ocean is now warming underneath the sea ice due to the inflow of warm water from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is also warming due to feedbacks such as increased levels of water vapor in the atmosphere, warmer river water running into the Arctic Ocean and soot from wildfires that can settle on snow and ice, resulting in further albedo changes.

Further feedbacks of global warming include warmer air temperatures, higher waves and stronger winds that all speed up the demise of snow and ice.

Stronger winds are pushing warm water from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean. Why are these winds getting stronger? As the Arctic warms faster than the rest of the world, the temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator decreases, making the Jet Stream wavier, with longer loops extending to the north and to the south. At the same time, the temperature difference between the oceans and the continents (Europe, Asia and North America) is increasing, speeding up the Jet Stream as it travels, e.g., over the North Atlantic towards the Arctic Ocean.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
The above 14.6°C SST on December 29, 2016, near Svalbard is the result of warm water being pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean. The situation is illustrated by the above combination image that shows that the Jet stream is forecast to reach speeds as high as 319 km/h or 198 mph in between North America and Greenland on December 31, 2016 (left panel). At the same time, surface winds are forecasts to reach speeds as high as 95 km/h or 59 mph (center panel) and waves as high as 8.96 m or 29.4 ft in between Norway and Svalbard (right panel).

The situation is further illustrated by the video below, showing winds over the North Atlantic from December 27, 2016 to January 3, 2017, as forecasts by

The fact that this is not a one-off event is also illustrated by the image on the right, showing that the Jet Stream reached speeds of 384 km/h or 239 mph over the Pacific Ocean on December 27, 2015. At the same day and time in 2015, the Jet Stream reached speeds as high as 430 km/h or 267 mph as it moved over North America on its way over the North Atlantic.

In conclusion, increasingly stronger winds are causing huge amounts of heat to enter the Arctic Ocean from the North Atlantic, and also from the Pacific Ocean. As the water of the Arctic Ocean keeps warming, the danger increases that methane hydrates at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean will destabilize.

The danger is illustrated by the two images above and below, recorded by the MetOp2 satellite on the afternoon of Christmas eve and Christmas.

Continued warming could trigger huge abrupt methane eruptions leading to mass destruction and extinction.

Potential warming by more than 10°C or 18°F by 2026 (from: Climate Plan Summary, see also: the extinction page)

The image below shows the associated temperature rise from preindustrial to 2026, with figures discussed in more detail on the Temperature page.

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

Two videos complement this. Have a look at the video entitled Abrupt Climate Disrupting Arctic Changes: Part 2 of 2 by Paul Beckwith, in particular the segment from 8:30 to 12:00 minutes where Paul discusses how wind patterns are changing over the Arctic.

For further thoughts on the situation, also have a look at the video below in which Jennifer Hynes interviews Peter Wadhams.


• Climate Plan

• Climate Plan summary

• Feedbacks

• Extinction

• Temperature

• The University Centre in Svalbard: UNIS

• Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI)

• Monthly CO₂ not under 400 ppm in 2016

• Methane's Role in Arctic Warming

• Gulf Stream brings ever warmer water into Arctic Ocean

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lake Baikal

The amount of methane stored in the form of hydrates at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia is an estimated 1 trillion m³, which translates into 424 trillion kg of methane, or 424 Gt of methane. By comparison, the amount of methane in the atmosphere is about 5 Gt.

Aral Sea
Methane hydrates remain stable under a combination of sufficiently low temperatures and sufficiently high pressure. The temperature of the water at the bottom of the lake is about 3.5°C. This means that a large amount of water needs to remain present in the lake at any time, in order to keep the methane hydrates stable.

Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake. Due to its depth, Lake Baikal is also the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water. Lake Baikal has 23,615.39 km³ (5,700 cu mi) of fresh water and a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft).

If the water level in Lake Baikal were to fall, the pressure on the methane hydrates would decrease, resulting in huge methane eruptions, dwarfing the amount of methane currently in the atmosphere.

What are the chances that water levels in Lake Baikal will fall in future? The above animation shows the fate of the Aral Sea, further to the west in Asia (also on the map at top). The Aral Sea virtually disappeared over the course of the last few decades. Some people point at climate change as the cause. More people point at irrigation by farmers.
Yenisei River

Lake Baikal could go the same way. Climate change may well reduce the flow of the rivers that now feed Lake Baikal from Mongolia (image right). Furthermore, climate change may well reduce crop yields worldwide as well as the availability of fresh water, increasing temptations to use the water of Lake Baikal for irrigation.

Further decline of Arctic sea ice is likely to push up temperatures across Russia. The image below shows that temperatures as high as 36.6°C or 97.8°F were forecast for June 13, 2016, over the Yenisei River in Siberia that ends in the Arctic Ocean.
[ click on images to enlarge or go to original post ]
Even higher temperatures were recorded in 2015 at a location in Siberia well within the Arctic Circle.

Demands for water could increase even more dramatically due to wildfires and the need to fight such fires. The image below shows that on June 23, 2016, wildfires north of Lake Baikal caused emissions as high as 22,953 ppb CO and 549 ppm CO₂ at the location marked by the green circle.

[ click on images to enlarge or go to original post ]
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


 Climate Plan

 Gone: endemic Baikal sponge has died completely in several areas of the vast lake

 Volume to weight conversion

 Lake Baikal, Wikipedia

 Aral Sea, Wikipedia

 Climate Feedbacks Start To Kick In More

 High Temperatures In Arctic

 East Siberian Heat Wave

 Wildfires in Russia's Far East