We may be about to see if the Guy McPherson paradox is true in the coming months.
Bernie Sanders will NOT be your saviour!
13 March, 2020
It’s time to stop denying how precarious the situation is.
Remember the Paris Agreement? In 2015, politicians pledged to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pledged they would try and limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Well, an analysis by Sam Carana shows that it was already more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial when the Paris Agreement was reached.
In Sam Carana’s analysis, the year 1750 is used as the baseline for pre-industrial. The analysis shows that we meanwhile have also crossed the 2°C threshold (in February 2020) and that the temperature rise looks set to rapidly drive humans and eventually most if not all species on Earth into extinction.
Yet, our politicians refuse to act!
Accelerating temperature rise
Indeed, there are indications that the recent rise is part of a trend that points at even higher temperatures in the near future, as also discussed at this analysis page. Polynomial trends can highlight such acceleration better than linear trends. The 1970-2030 polynomial trend in the image below is calculated over the period from 1880 through to February 2020. The trend points at 3°C getting crossed in 2026.
In above image, the January 2020 and February 2020 anomalies are above the trend. This indicates that the situation might be even worse.
A polynomial trend calculated over a shorter period can highlight short-term variation such as associated with El Niño events and can highlight feedbacks that might otherwise be overlooked. The 2010-2022 trend in the image below is calculated with 2009-Feb.2020 data. The trend indicates that 2°C was crossed in February 2020, and looks set to keep rising and cross 3°C in 2021, more specifically in January next year, which is less than a year away.
Such a steep rise is in line with unfolding developments that are causing the aerosol masking effect to fall away, such as a decrease in industrial activity due to COVID-19 fears. The image below shows a potential rise of 18°C or 32.4°F from 1750 by the year 2026.
Above image was posted more than a year ago and illustrates that much of this potentially huge temperature rise over the next few years could eventuate as a result of a reduction in the cooling now provided by sulfates. In other words, a steep temperature rise could result from a decline in industrial activity that is caused by fears about the spread of a contagious virus, as also discussed in the video at an earlier post.
The situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.
• Analysis: Crossing the Paris Agreement thresholds
• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
• How much warming have humans caused?
• Arctic Ocean January 2020
• Climate Plan
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2020
On February 20, 2020, 09Z, surface temperature anomalies reached both ends of the scale over North America, while the Arctic was 3.7°C or 6.7°F warmer than in 1979-2000. On that day, the average 2 m temperature anomaly for the Arctic was 3.5°C or 6.3°F.
These high temperature anomalies at 2 meters in the left panel go hand in hand with the wind patterns at 250 hPa (jet stream) as shown in the center panel and the wind patterns at 10 meters shown in the right panel. Closer to sea level, circular winds around low pressure areas bring warm air into the Arctic, from Russia and from the Pacific Ocean.
Above image shows winds at 250 hPa (jet stream) with speeds as high as 317 km/h or 197 mph (green circle) in the left panel, while the right panel shows circular winds at 850 hPa reaching speeds as high as 176 km/h or 109 mph (green circle).
These wind patterns have caused much warm air to enter the Arctic, while relatively little cold air has moved out of the Arctic. Furthermore, stronger winds cool the sea surface. As a result, Arctic sea ice extent on February 24, 2020, was 14.1 million km², slightly more than the 2010s average of 14 million km².
Arctic sea ice, however, is very thin. Stronger winds can also accelerate the speed at which ever warmer water is flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean, as discussed in a previous post. The overall result is that sea ice volume is at a record low for the time of the year.
This is further illustrated by the sea ice thickness (in meters) comparison below between February 28, 2015 and February 28, 2020, i.e. forecasts for February 28, run on February 27.
Rise in greenhouse gas levels is accelerating
Temperatures are rising at ever faster speed as the rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere is accelerating. As illustrated by the image below, the daily average CO₂ level at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, was 416.08 ppm on February 10, 2020, higher than it has been for millions of years. Since the annual peak is typically reached in May, even higher levels can be expected soon.
From the way emissions are rising now, it looks like we could soon reach even higher CO₂e forcing than during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) mass extinction event, some 55.5 million years ago, as discussed in a previous post. Very worrying also is the recent rise in methane levels recorded at Barrow, Alaska, as illustrated by the image below.
The buffer is gone
As the sea ice is getting thinner, there is little or no buffer left to consume the influx of ever warmer and salty water from the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. As illustrated by the image below, there is a tipping point at 1°C above the 20th century average, i.e. there are indications that a rise of 1°C will result in most of the sea ice underneath the surface to disappear.
|[ from earlier post ]|
As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat as it melts, so the temperature will not rise at the sea surface. But there is ever less sea ice volume left to absorb ocean heat, and the amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.
Meanwhile, temperatures keep rising globally and more than 90% of global warming is going into oceans.
As the temperature of the oceans keeps rising, the danger increases that heat will reach the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean and will destabilize hydrates contained in sediments at the seafloor, resulting in huge releases of methane.
Are humans functionally extinct?
|For more background as to when temperatures
could cross 2°C, see also this discussion on trends
Species can be regarded to be ‘functionally extinct’ when their numbers have declined below levels needed for them to reproduce healthy offspring. This can occur due to causes such as loss of habitat and disappearance of other species that they depend on.
Species can also be declared to be ‘functionally extinct’ when they are threatened to be wiped out by a catastrophe that appears to be both imminent and inescapable, which would cause their numbers to dwindle below a critical threshold required for survival of the species.
Rising temperatures now threaten most, if not all, species to go extinct in a matter of years. In 2020, the global temperature rise could cross the critical guardrail of 2°C above preindustrial that politicians at the Paris Agreement promised would not be crossed. In fact, they pledged to take efforts to avoid a 1.5°C rise. Their failure to do so constitutes a de facto declaration that humans are now functionally extinct and that the looming temperature rise will drive most, if not all species on Earth into extinction.
See also the 2015 post: WARNING –
The situation is dire, in many respects. Current laws punish people for the most trivial things, while leaving the largest crime one can imagine unpunished: planetary omnicide!
The dire situation calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.
P.S. Don’t forget to vote!
One of the most important things one can do to change things is to vote, e.g. in the U.S., vote for Bernie Sanders and the Green New Deal!
Fossil fuel and control over its supply is behind much of the conflict, violence and pollution that has infested the world for more than a century.
Instead of using fossil fuel, the world must rapidly transition to the use of wind turbines, geothermal power, solar power, wave power, and similar clean and renewable ways to generate energy.
The transition to clean, renewable energy removes much cause for conflict, since it is available locally around the world and its use in one place doesn’t exclude use of clean, renewable energy elsewhere.
The transition to clean, renewable energy will provide greater energy security and reliability, besides its numerous further benefits, e.g. it will make more land and water available for growing food and it will give us more jobs, better health, and a cleaner environment. And, because it’s more economic, the transition to clean, renewable energy will pay for itself as we go.
Bernie Sanders calls for a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy as part of the Green New Deal.
Please share this message, vote for Bernie Sanders and support the GND!