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Unforced Variations: June 2019

Filed under: — group @ 3 June 2019

This month’s open thread for climate science discussions. Remember discussion about climate solutions can be found here.

183 Responses to “Unforced Variations: June 2019”

  1. 1
    zebra says:

    Feedbacks and Tipping Points…

    Are not the same thing.

    I suspect that the overreaction to papers that discuss releases of CO2 and CH4 from “nature” arises to some degree from conflating the two terms, consciously or not.

    Nothing I have read gives any indication that warming up swamps or rice paddies or permafrost would produce a self-sustaining effect. That’s what would constitute a “tipping point”. The gases released would be sufficient to continue causing more gases to be released on their own.

    But we do have a feedback effect. Temperature (proxy for energy gain) increases more rapidly because of those releases, and would decline less rapidly depending on the persistence of those gases if humans stopped burning fossil fuels.

    The question I posed a couple of times, of course still unanswered, is… so what? How significant are these effects in terms of minimizing negative consequences?

    Well, if we stopped burning fossil fuels, in the fantasy time range like 30 years, I doubt it would matter much at all.

    On the other hand, if BAU, I also doubt it would matter much at all. How much worse would it be, he asks again, if we reached +4C in 85 years instead of 100?

    Can anyone offer a quantitative assessment to contradict this?

  2. 2
    mike says:

    It would be enlightening to see an update from Dlugokencky regarding CH4 emissions.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2009GL039780

    from that article: “The most likely drivers of the CH4 anomalies observed during 2007 and 2008 are anomalously high temperatures in the Arctic and greater than average precipitation in the tropics. Near‐zero CH4 growth in the Arctic during 2008 suggests we have not yet activated strong climate feedbacks from permafrost and CH4 hydrates.”

    The wrangling over the source of the CH4 spike seems quite academic to me. As it should be because it appears the science on CH4 emissions is far from settled. Nothing to get perturbed about. I think we are seeing spikes in methane from all over the planet due to flooding, changes in wetlands, thawing of permafrost, etc.

    I think one important consideration with these global changes producing CH4 spikes is to think about where the planet in a cooler state has stored CH4 or geologic features and conditions that will produce large amounts of ghg as the planet warms.

    at Adam Ash at 150: quite right! It is up to Crowther to either show more work to support his assertion or walk it back. I don’t think he has done either, yet.

    No worries,

    Mike

  3. 3
    Hank Roberts says:

    Conditions will continue to get worse, and worse, over time. Pity the orcas and anyone else who likes locally harvested seafood:

    Salish Sea Response to Global Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, and Future Nutrient Loads
    Tarang Khangaonkar, Adi Nugraha, Wenwei Xu, Karthik Balaguru
    First Published: 17 May 2019

    Y2095 climate change impact on Salish Sea under the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario was examined using downscaled global climate projections.

    Hypoxia projected to expand from <1% today to ≈ 16% of the total area and strong T impacts and S intrusion in the intertidal regions.

    Salish Sea average change projections: T + 1.8°C, DO —0.7 mg/L, pH —0.12, and 23% increase in algal biomass; & small impacts on circulation.

    http://el.wiley.com/wf/click?upn=-2F4d0Y8aR13lVHu481anTzUsxpIxqnXKO7aDEMGBvYypDYLmOREZ49UvzGxcwdvdbwYHbRuWVOUTqOGAjrAH2TyICmNC-2BaMr0OVN2FVAFbaPf9Jg2YIuhSWhKswrEbKuowlWZ1q8YqkeMtuuOhsrgjOga0HWkuMmHlaZ-2FmUka5n7rtGtxK08yj6XC1KwVXb0-2BxSi-2FGzWA9ptK7IMVFjwnVac2qf3pgCSI6cZ75kuUEPQChjA9rcMGWc6ahbeyA5X8iyljNRqpPAQibzYnJEjRf-2BXFDA8AXpdavnJi2mWel7oQkw5X1sELTUwwPwTLEXsaKB4t8ZnwRf-2Ffrg-2BzQeAGEap13gxjHhZYB9KA9Z6-2F3ic-2FdI1svi6CFsBYqvbNnE8CIsT0vMD6Xe82AsNAgfI9JBW6mXT57i02rs1goxU4Ykc-3D_pOSOxTS0BTxFqSWj0chTbSKcNjwBDz48vHYfDkkdW54ln0QVhErNJXVugwCKz6fptU4WWturDg3brICMQjTFUBf7LIWfWXUoZNDw5t7ecgG3xhnz-2BAXXkXDm3U97zct-2FJLQzjlE6x6X9-2Bd6vKccbwPXvkAXi7Oyh4yjJYB3f9-2BjLgwjuVWqmwsTuF08XOzzj-2F7RmvIQtUngThn24JEIt6ebWlsScnJhF-2BFE6ZB4XNmWyNXZTHYUphph6pnvZlPNBrF-2Fn92yrrTH691ZgWd4L5N10Kv2ou603IpLddijZspo-3D

  4. 4
    mike says:

    21st-century modeled permafrost carbon emissions accelerated by abrupt thaw beneath lakes

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05738-9

    “Permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) modeling has focused on gradual thaw of near-surface permafrost leading to enhanced carbon dioxide and methane emissions that accelerate global climate warming. These state-of-the-art land models have yet to incorporate deeper, abrupt thaw in the PCF. Here we use model data, supported by field observations, radiocarbon dating, and remote sensing, to show that methane and carbon dioxide emissions from abrupt thaw beneath thermokarst lakes will more than double radiative forcing from circumpolar permafrost-soil carbon fluxes this century.

    … Northern permafrost soils represent the largest terrestrial organic carbon pool (1330–1580 petagrams, Pg)1 on Earth. While frozen, this soil carbon reservoir is stable.

    However, recent observations2,3,4,5 and projections1,6,7,8,9,10 of future soil warming and permafrost thaw suggest that permafrost soil carbon will be increasingly vulnerable to decomposition by microbes that generate the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). This release of permafrost carbon as greenhouse gases constitutes a positive feedback likely to amplify climate warming beyond most current earth system model projections.”

    It probably makes sense to keep an eye on the largest terrestrial carbon pool on Earth and reflect on the possible impacts from abrupt or slow thaw of northern permafrost soils. These soils are currently releasing CO2 and methane and will peak in a couple of decades according to the lead author.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2785/unexpected-future-boost-of-methane-possible-from-arctic-permafrost/

    “The mechanism of abrupt thaw and thermokarst lake formation matters a lot for the permafrost-carbon feedback this century,” said first author Katey Walter Anthony at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who led the project that was part of NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), a ten-year program to understand climate change effects on the Arctic. “We don’t have to wait 200 or 300 years to get these large releases of permafrost carbon. Within my lifetime, my children’s lifetime, it should be ramping up. It’s already happening but it’s not happening at a really fast rate right now, but within a few decades, it should peak.”

    No worries,

    Mike

  5. 5
    sidd says:

    That Haustein-Otto paper is quite interesting. You dont need Atlantic ocean variation once you put the aerosols in.

    “Using a two-box impulse response model, we demonstrate that multidecadal ocean variability was unlikely to be the driver of observed changes in globalmean surface temperature (GMST) after 1850 A.D. Instead, virtually all (97-98%) of the global low-frequency variability (>30 years) can be explainedby external forcing. ”

    TCR comes out as 1.6 ish

    “our most precise TCR estimate is 1.57K with an associated inter-decile uncertainty range of 0.87-2.27K(10-90th percentiles).”

    “high- and low-frequency AMV pattern appear to be externally forced ”

    (AMV is atlantic multidecadal variability)

    ” changes to the mean state are dominated by radiative forcings on longer timescales and ENSO-related variability on shorter timescales”

    Amazing how far a two box model can go

    sidd

  6. 6
  7. 7
    nigelj says:

    Mike @4, regarding the recent spike in global methane levels you are wondering about, I recall reading some months ago that there is no evidence of increased rates of methane in the arctic permafrost area because monitoring stations there haven’t shown increased methane emissions recently. The article I read (possibly scientific american I cant recall) said the source is in the tropics due to climate change there, and from fracking gas in America. However this may have changed more recently, and there are various land subsidence issues appearing in the permafrost in some areas, so things could be changing.I think we can actually be fairly confident that scientists will be looking at this to see if its significant.

  8. 8
    mike says:

    Well, Nigel, if you remember reading it somewhere, that should be good enough for all of us, right?

    If you happen to remember where you read it, or you come across it again, please share a link.

    Meanwhile, please get in contact with all the scientists identified in this article and share your news with them. You could save them a lot of time hunting for evidence of methane releases from the Artic permafrost with your newsflash that you read somewhere that it’s not happening.

    https://www.iflscience.com/environment/thawing-permafrost-is-melting-so-rapidly-its-ruining-scientific-equipment/

    Thanks for sharing,

    Mike

  9. 9
    mike says:

    “The sudden collapse of thawing soils in the Arctic might double the warming from greenhouse gases released from tundra, warn Merritt R. Turetsky and colleagues.”

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01313-4

    A good portion of the huge ghg deposits that might arise from the warming Arctic would not even happen or be complete until 2300. Why would scientists like Turetsky et al be raising an alarm about an event that’s going to take hundred of years to complete?

    I heard second or third hand that this should not be a concern, so why are studies of permafrost thaw still getting funded. Something here does not make any sense.

    Cheers

    Mike

  10. 10
    sidd says:

    O dear. I seem to have not posted the references for my last comment.

    doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0555.1

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/814

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-why-natural-cycles-only-play-small-role-in-rate-of-global-warming

    sidd

  11. 11
    Russell says:

    Since April’s  Nation / CJR  co-sponsored conference on climate crisis communicatiion, the media have been lit up with Clear And Present Danger climate editorials like the Fourth of July.

    The Grand Finale is Overpeck & Conde’s Science editorial. which while the antithesis of Spencer & Christy’s 1990 production denying the problem

    Precise Monitoring of Global Temperature Trends from Satellites
    Science 30 Mar 1990: Vol. 247, Issue 4950, pp. 1558-1562
    DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4950.1558

    eerily mirrors its form.: same journal, same page, same media profile, same pontification.

    Are we witnessing the convergent evolution of political playbook Best Practices and mainstream science journalism?

  12. 12
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH has posted the May global TLT anomaly at +0.32ºC, to coolest anomaly of the year-to-date which up-to-April ran +0.37ºC, +0.36ºC, +0.34ºC, +0.44ºC. It is the 5th warmest May in the UAH TLT record behind 1998 (+0.64ºC), 2016 (+0.53ºC), 2017 (+0.45ºC) and 2010 (+0.42ºC) and above =6th 2015 & 2002 , 2016 (+0.26ºC).
    May 2019 sits at =51st warmest month in the UAH TLT all-month record.
    With five months behind us, it is perhaps become meaningful to set out the warmest start-of-years & annual rankings table. 2019 sits firmly in the top-five warmest years and, even on Spencer’s AGW-defying UAH TLT record, it looks to be placed 3rd, 4th or 5th in a ranking dominated by big El Niño years.

    …….. Jan-May Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.69ºC … … … +0.52ºC … … … 1st
    1998 .. +0.60ºC … … … +0.48ºC … … … 2nd
    2010 .. +0.45ºC … … … +0.34ºC … … … 4th
    2019 .. +0.37ºC
    2017 .. +0.34ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … … 3rd
    2002 .. +0.25ºC … … … +0.22ºC … … … 7th
    2007 .. +0.23ºC … … … +0.16ºC … … … 11th
    2005 .. +0.22ºC … … … +0.20ºC … … … 8th
    2018 .. +0.22ºC … … … +0.23ºC … … … 6th
    2003 .. +0.22ºC … … … +0.19ºC … … … 9th
    2015 .. +0.21ºC … … … +0.27ºC … … … 5th

  13. 13
    mike says:

    Conde Nast thinks things are not looking great:

    https://www.cntraveller.in/story/world-environment-day-humans-will-perish-31-years-warns-latest-climate-change-study/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

    The skyrockety folks at Scripps are also getting wound up about the CO2 issue.

    CO2 just hit an all-time record. But that’s not the worst of it.

    https://mashable.com/article/climate-change-co2-record/

    a quote from that piece:

    “414.8 ppm, while the highest monthly CO2 level in recorded history, is not the only number that’s critical to appreciate. The other is 3.5 ppm. That, noted Scripps, is the leap in CO2 ppm since last May. It’s the second highest year-to-year jump on record, and smashes average CO2 increases from earlier decades. After the Scripps monitoring station atop Hawaii’s towering Mauna Loa went online in 1959, CO2 rose around just 0.7 ppm per year in the early decades of operation. Then, in the 1990s, the rate increased to 1.5 ppm per year. The last decade has averaged 2.2 ppm.

    Yet, in the last year, it was a 3.5 ppm gain. Concentrations of the planet’s most influential greenhouse gas are accelerating.

    “It’s extremely alarming to see atmospheric CO2 continuing to increase relentlessly year after year when all scenarios that lead to a stable climate require that it go down,” said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University. ”

    I urge MAR and Nigel to reach out and talk to these folks. Explain the facts to them, please. Help them run the numbers, will you?

    Cheers,

    Mike

  14. 14
    patrick027 says:

    re (May) 153 Barry Finch – It seems like what this amounts to is a matter of heat capacity. I often think of radiation as separate from the non-photon material it passes through, so I wouldn’t include it’s energy as part of the internal energy of the material. Radiant energy density will vary but a ballpark figure 300 W/m2 * 4 / (300 Mm/s) = 4 E-6 J/m3; air ~ 1 kg/m3, 1004 J/kg*K – but that includes the energy of expansion at pressure; just the internal energy is 717 J/kg*K, so a difference of 1 K will involve a change of internal energy density typically millions of times the total radiant energy density (exact amount varying with height and temperature, of course).

    But if you’re measuring temperature, as long as stuff is near LTE, it doesn’t matter. If the target in the satellite reaches a temperature such that it is in thermal equilibrium with the radiation, then that temperature is the brightness temperature of the radiation – which means that the (spectral) radiance matches the Planck function value Bv at that Temperature (it’s not actually “Bv” but I didn’t feel like bothering to put “nu” in there). This is the same temperature as the source of that thermal radiation – with the complexity that the source itself may be distributed over a variation in temperature. The Bv is the weighted average of Bv(T) over what can be seen by the satellite – the weighting corresponds to visibility (specifically, the derivative of trasmittance, if there is no scattering); it is called an emission weighting function.

  15. 15
    MA Rodger says:

    And hot on the heels of UAH, RSS has posted its May global TLT anomaly at +0.62ºC, again the coolest anomaly of the year-to-date. which to April ran +0.37ºC, +0.36ºC, +0.34ºC, +0.44ºC. It is also the 5th warmest May in the RSS TLT record behind 2016 (+0.71ºC), 1998 (+0.69ºC), 2010 (+0.66ºC) and 2010 (+0.65ºC), pretty-much identical to UAH except the spread of anomalies is 3x bigger in UAH.
    May 2019 sits as 42nd (=51st un UAH) warmest month in the RSS TLT all-month record.
    In the warmest start-of-years & annual rankings table below, 2019 sits firmly in the top-three warmest years (top-five in UAH) with a final position as second behind 2016 potentially the most likely at the moment (4th most likely in UAH).

    …….. Jan-Nov Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.97ºC … … … +0.78ºC … … … 1st
    1998 .. +0.71ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … 5th
    2019 .. +0.69ºC
    2010 .. +0.68ºC … … … +0.61ºC … … … 3rd
    2017 .. +0.63ºC … … … +0.66ºC … … … 2nd
    2018 .. +0.50ºC … … … +0.52ºC … … … 6th
    2015 .. +0.50ºC … … … +0.59ºC … … … 4th
    2005 .. +0.48ºC … … … +0.46ºC … … … 8th
    2007 .. +0.48ºC … … … +0.40ºC … … … 10th
    2014 .. +0.44ºC … … … +0.46ºC … … … 7th
    2002 .. +0.42ºC … … … +0.39ºC … … … 12th

  16. 16
    MA Rodger says:

    Mike @13,
    You appear to be trying to recruit the likes of Ralph Keeling to your skyrocketry. Perhaps you should tell him of this membership as he may not be that impressed. The quote from the actual Scripps posting on the subject:-

    “The rate of CO2 increase is still very high,” said Ralph Keeling. “We’re likely seeing the effect of mild El Niño conditions on top of record fossil fuel use.”

    And do be aware that most of the stuff @13 is not saying those skyrockety things you probably think it is saying.

  17. 17
    nigelj says:

    Mike @8, I can’t remember the article, but I found this article and it is similar enough:

    https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/after-2000-era-plateau-global-methane-levels-hitting-new-highs

    According to the article: Air samples of methane are collected at various latitudes. There’s no evidence of a signficant increase of methane in the arctic region currently ( by currently the study is a couple of years old) . It all points at mostly rice farming in the tropics and some methane from fracking and forest fires (in southern latitiudes).

    I do personally think it sure looks like an increase is likely in the short to medium term, but you asked about the present situation. Your link is interesting and scary, but its mostly about future predictions and CO2 emissions not methane.

  18. 18

    Hi,

    I was wondering if the analysis of electricity productions via PV and solar inverters could be a reliable data analysis. What do you think ?
    Imeon Inverters by example can analyse the electricity production of all their online solar inverters. It will be intersting to have their dashboards.

  19. 19

    mike, #13–

    Personally, I think that CNN/Conde Nast story is the poster child for how NOT to cover the story. The whole point of the scenario analysis is to consider “fat tail” possibilities–ie., things that are less likely but still possible, and given the existential stakes, amply worth considering and safeguarding against.

    See the actual Breakthrough Institute summary, here:

    https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/148cb0_a1406e0143ac4c469196d3003bc1e687.pdf

    What they say, boiled down, is: “By 2050, large chunks of our planet could be practically uninhabitable and our civilization could fail. Oh yeah, and a large proportion of humans then living would die.”

    Any sane person should find that alarming enough to think about avoidance of that risk.

    But how does CNN report it? The headline says it all:

    Humans will perish in 31 years, warns latest climate change study

    What’s the harm?

    Well, it invites 2 responses, IMO: one, “That’s just too dire to believe, so I’m ignoring this,” and two, “Well, if that’s what’s going to happen anyway, better party now!”

    Plus, it misrepresents the whole stated intent and purpose–IOW, it’s just factually wrong.

  20. 20
    patrick027 says:

    re my 14 re May 153 Barry Finch –

    okay, I understand the basic physics but I haven’t studied the scientific instruments involved, so to clarify, I was assuming the target blackbody was only a blackbody on one surface, with that surface receiving the radiance the satellite is measuring from the whole hemisphere of directions, such as if placed at the focus of a sufficiently-designed lens and/or parabolic mirror-etc. system (if just the mirror, it would have to be relatively deep to focus the attention of the satellite – i.e. standing at the focus, you would want to see a small, distant aperture, completely surrounded by reflection of the radiance coming from that aperture; there would have to be some mechanism for spectrally selecting the radiation allowed it, too).
    And of course, the target receiving the radiation would be otherwise thermally insulated; the back surface would be reflective, etc.

    An alternative would be to have some … perhaps photonic crystal?? or antenna array? … material that only acts as a blackbody for some narrow subset of directions (and frequencies) and perfectly reflects all else.

    It might be necessary to have some correction for the measurement to take into account imperfections in the design…

  21. 21
    Fred Magyar says:

    zebra @ 1 says:

    “Nothing I have read gives any indication that warming up swamps or rice paddies or permafrost would produce a self-sustaining effect. That’s what would constitute a “tipping point”. The gases released would be sufficient to continue causing more gases to be released on their own.”

    Tipping points are mathematically defined within Chaos theory.
    A classic example is the Lorenz attractor. Tipping points can be found in many different systems, physical, chemical, biological and supposedly in social and economic systems as well.
    See link to math course below:

    Mathematical Basis of Tipping Points
    https://www.dur.ac.uk/ihrr/tippingpoints/mathematicaltippingpoints/

    An example of a tipping point might be the climate warming enough to melt the permafrost and begin releasing previously sequestered CO2 and CH4.

    A feedback loop is simply defined as the output of a system that is returned as an input. A feedback loop can be either positive or negative.

    An example of a positive climate feedback loop is the release of methane. As the climate warms, CH4 that was previously sequestered can be released into the atmosphere, thus further warming the climate and causing even more methane to be released, rinse and repeat.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017RG000559

    Methane Feedbacks to the Global Climate System in a Warmer World

  22. 22
    nigelj says:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/113298790/climate-change-doomsday-scenario-could-start-by-2050-if-we-dont-act-report-warns

    This seems to me to be a plausible worst case climate scenario. It seems more plausible than ideas that climate change could drive humanity completely extinct, especially given that areas like Russia, northern Europe and Canada would have quite livable temperatures even under extreme warming. Of course there will be competition for this land…not going to be pretty.

  23. 23
    Killian says:

    Re #8 mike said Well, Nigel, if you remember reading it somewhere, that should be good enough for all of us, right?

    I read the same. It’s all land use, not Arctic CH4, they said.

    Meanwhile, please get in contact with all the scientists identified in this article and share your news with them. You could save them a lot of time hunting for evidence of methane releases from the Artic permafrost with your newsflash that you read somewhere that it’s not happening.

    https://www.iflscience.com/environment/thawing-permafrost-is-melting-so-rapidly-its-ruining-scientific-equipment/

    Thanks for sharing,

    Mike

    Yeah, it is really interesting the permafrost is falling apart, thermokarst lakes are flash melting permafrost below them, Walter, et al., say permafrost emissions could double…

    but there’s no detectable increase in Arctic CH4. Are CH4 signatures from natural sources the same, as opposed to those from FFs? If so, I wonder if there is an attribution issue given CH4 is higher at the pole than at mid-latitudes.

    Something’s gotta give, and people need to be careful about assuming what is not proven is not happening.

  24. 24
    Mr. Know It All says:

    World production of NG by year – scroll down for graph:

    https://yearbook.enerdata.net/natural-gas/world-natural-gas-production-statistics.html

    US production:

    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9070us2m.htm

    Question: How would the differences in gravity over the regions of the earth affect distribution of CH4? Hudson’s Bay is said to have lower than average gravity:

    https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/missing-gravity.htm

    Keep my Nobel Prize shined up please.

  25. 25
    manyandvaried says:

    nigel: I do personally think it sure looks like an increaese is likely in the short to medium term, but…

    AB: you’re bending over backwards so as to accomodate as physical reality the idiot your opponent is describing…

  26. 26
    nigelj says:

    Many and Varied @25, yes I am. You know me better than I know myself! I’m trying too much to be accommodating, but I do think it looks likely something will blow in the arctic medium term a bit sooner than current predictions. There is a lot of physical change with collapsing holes etc, not everywhere, but it does make you think.

  27. 27
    zebra says:

    #21 Fred Magyar,

    Fred, no. You are saying they are the same but they are not.

    Read my comment again.

  28. 28
    mike says:

    The US has recently experienced one of its worst tornado outbreaks of the past decade, with more than 500 reported over 30 days. The number so far this year is also more than 200 above average.
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/tornadoes-and-climate-change-what-does-the-science-say-2

    The science does not show any particular linkage between climate change and the current tornado season. I lived on southern end of tornado alley (northern end of hurricane for a few decades. These are amazing storms to observe. I understand why folks might want to chase them, but I don’t feel drawn to that work. I won’t chase them and hope they don’t chase me.

  29. 29
    mike says:

    with regard to GHG emissions from Arctic warming: It’s a huge amount of carbon that is currently locked up in frozen ground and cold ocean environs. Methane releases get a lot of headlines and are a big concern, but it’s not certain that the carbon releases from these disturbed sources will be in the form of methane. Methane can be broken down in the water column, so we may dodge part of potential methane releases from undersea. When it is broken down in water column, we probably end up with increase in CO2 in the ocean.

    Similar thing can happen in thawing permafrost. There is no guarantee that carbon release from permafrost will be methane, it could appear as atmospheric CO2. From what I read, the isotope stuff is pretty useful at discriminating methane source. Time frames are important to keep in mind if you are trying to keep an eye on methance sources. Studies that are a couple years old may not tell us what is going on today. The scientists who are spending time on the permafrost seem to be noting significant thawing and warming. That is not a good thing for addressing AGW and it appears that the IPCC process has not included the feedback of arctic warming, so that’s a concern in terms of our “carbon budget.”

    Meanwhile, there is a reported spike in atmospheric methane to go along with a troubling trend of increasing atmospheric CO2. If you want to slap slipstick on these pigs, go for it.

    Looks bad to me. I worry about our grandkids.

    Mike

  30. 30
    mike says:

    to KM at 19: we often end up back with the question of how to communicate the challenge of AGW. There is an assumption that there is a goldilocks solution to the communication problem. If the science is too hot, people won’t believe it, if it’s cold, they won’t act, but if we get the communication just right, everyone will wake up and work together to solve the challenge. Personally, I think the communication squabble is a distraction. I also think the conde nast presentation is over the top, but I think it may achieve some balance with the utter crap that gets pushed by the deniers and lukewarmers. scan mkia comments for that stuff. But who knows? Lots of folks are certain they know (not aimed at KM, to be clear). It must be great to know for certain. I carry a lot of uncertainty about how to proceed and that grinds a bit. The philosophical question of how to live in the face of certain death predates the current climate challenge. How then should we live? That’s an important question.

    To Al at 16: I am not recruiting anyone. I can simply post their quotes and let them speak for themselves.

    “The rate of CO2 increase is still very high,” said Ralph Keeling. “We’re likely seeing the effect of mild El Niño conditions on top of record fossil fuel use.”

    “It’s extremely alarming to see atmospheric CO2 continuing to increase relentlessly year after year when all scenarios that lead to a stable climate require that it go down,” said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University.”

    If that sounds ok to you, I am happy for you. When I read these quotes, I get worried for our grandchildren.

    Cheers

    Mike

  31. 31
    mike says:

    direct quotes from scientists in the mashable article linked at 13:

    “The further we go into the uncharted climate territory of unprecedented CO2 levels, the more likely we are to encounter surprises,” added Green, referencing the extreme weather and climate disruptions wrought by such warming. “We are heading toward the part of the climate map labeled ‘here there be dragons’ and rather than turning around, or even slowing down, we are running faster.”

    “When I think of the Keeling curve, I see it as the most important confirmation that the rate of the rise in CO2 (or the pace of CO2 increase) is like nothing we have ever seen before and probably like nothing the planet has ever seen before, certainly in the last million years and possibly ever,” said Kris Karnauskas, an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

    Today’s CO2 measurements, like the Scripps’ measurements taken atop Mauna Loa and other stations around the globe, are direct, incontrovertible proof that the planet is experiencing profound atmospheric changes.

    “These are measurements of the real atmosphere,” Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division, said in a statement. “They do not depend on any models, but they help us verify climate model projections, which if anything, have underestimated the rapid pace of climate change being observed.”

    “We still need to remember that the story isn’t built on a single number,” emphasized Green. “The full story of the climate crisis, which is even more alarming, is built from many, many data points on global emissions, ocean heat, Arctic warming, deforestation, and many other metrics.”

    Are they just grabbing headlines? There be dragons? Are they going to scare us into action or into giving up and throwing a party? That’s up to each one of us.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  32. 32

    nigel, #22–

    This seems to me to be a plausible worst case climate scenario.

    Actually, though the scenario is pretty horrific, I don’t think it’s technically the worst case. It assumes, IIRC, that Paris pledges are kept but not ratcheted up. Certainly one could imagine widespread defection from Paris, and from NDICs. Should that happen–as Orban, Bolsonaro, Putin, Trump et al would certainly work like hell to ensure–then we’d presumably see even worse emissions, and the hell described in the Breakthrough Institute scenario would get a little hotter still.

    Though maybe not by the 2050 mark, or not greatly, since supposedly there’s not a lot of sensitivity much prior to that to differing emissions scenarios; rather, the difference would increase subsequent to 2050.

    Another way in which the scenario could get worse is described in the paper itself:

    This leads to warming of 2.4°C by 2050, consistent with the Xu and Ramanathan “baseline-fast” scenario. However, another 0.6°C of warming occurs—taking the total to 3°C by 2050—due to the activation of a number of carbon-cycle feedbacks and higher levels of ice albedo and cloud feedbacks than current models assume. [It should be noted that this is far from an extreme scenario: the low-probability,high-impact warming (five percent probability) can exceed 3.5–4°C by 2050 in the Xu and Ramanathan scheme.]

    So, they didn’t pick the most extreme plausible high climate sensitivity case for their scenario.

    It seems more plausible than ideas that climate change could drive humanity completely extinct…

    Their scenario may stop at 2050, but the history won’t. So, don’t count the future chickens. Particularly in the case I mentioned, in which emissions, contrary to the scenario *don’t* peak in 2030.

    Now, I don’t think that any of this is what is most likely to happen; as expressed above, I think we’re going to see more rapid progress in decarbonization than most here think or expect. But for all we can tell right now, it sure *could* happen. And the surest way to make it happen is to slacken efforts at mitigation.

    So, organize, communicate, vote, march, and yes, mitigate one’s personal emissions as much as possible. Then communicate that, too. Rinse and repeat.

  33. 33
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @32, yes whether its by 2050 or a bit earlier or later is not important. The implications are what matters.

    “So, organize, communicate, vote, march, and yes, mitigate one’s personal emissions as much as possible. Then communicate that, too. Rinse and repeat.”

    Agreed, but I’ve noticed a new thing, whenever anyone talks about their attempts to reduce their carbon footprints, it’s labelled “virtue signalling” which appears to be the latest attempt by denialists and those on the right of politics to shame and annoy people, and silence them. Do you get this phenomenon in the USA? Anyway I largely ignore it.

  34. 34
    Killian says:

    …more likely scenario than extinction…

    The two are in no way mutually exclusive; they are at different points on a given timeline.

    Kevin, et al: So nice to see you all acknowledging what you’ve been told for so long wrt risk and rapid change. Why, pray tell, are you still in denial on the solutions side?

  35. 35
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @30,

    As I said @16, the Keeling quote from that Scripps Inst. post does not support skyrocketry. It does talk of the reasons for rising CO2 still being very high – “We’re likely seeing the effect of mild El Niño conditions on top of record fossil fuel use.” – Keeling makes no mention of ballooning emissions from permafrost or the biosphere. Indeed, the full post gives no support for skyrocketry that I can see. When it mentions “accelerating” CO2 concentrations, it is talking of values since measurements began and not specifically the here-&-now. I note the “rate of increase is accelerating” references/links-to NOAA’s AGGI page which shows a pretty constant acceleration in CO2 forcing 1959-2018 – no sign of anything skyrockety there. And, it should be said, no sign of any plateauing although that is not unexpected.

    And also as I said @16, the MashableUK post you linked to @13 & quote from @30/31 may tell us that “Earth’s CO2 trend has been skyrocketing” [my bold] and back that up with the comment on here-&-now increasing CO2 concentrations “in the last year, it was a 3.5 ppm gain. Concentrations of the planet’s most influential greenhouse gas are accelerating,” but I don’t see any quotes in the post that support or imply skyrocketry, nothing that goes beyond the cause of rising CO2 levels being anthropogenic emissions & ENSO. No skyrocketry. Just anthropogenic-emissions are driving AGW and at this rate we are creating a very bad future.

  36. 36
    Fred Magyar says:

    zebra @ 27says:

    “Fred, no. You are saying they are the same but they are not.”

    I am?! Sure could’ve fooled me…

    Cheers!

  37. 37
  38. 38

    zebra, #27–

    FWIW, I read Fred’s comment 2 #21 as differentiating between tipping points and feedback loops, not asserting that they are the same.

    The picture I got was of feedbacks functioning as mechanisms by which tipping points may be instantiated. Per his comments:

    An example of a tipping point might be the climate warming enough to melt the permafrost and begin releasing previously sequestered CO2 and CH4.

    So here the TP is the change in temperature, which entrains the release of GHGs–or perhaps more appropriately stated, the TP is the temperature value[s] at which this effect begins to occur.

    An example of a positive climate feedback loop is the release of methane. As the climate warms, CH4 that was previously sequestered can be released into the atmosphere, thus further warming the climate and causing even more methane to be released, rinse and repeat.

    IOW, the feedback loop is the actual change process invoked by the reaching of the TP value. So the two concepts are related, but still distinct.

    Or at least, that’s how it groks to me.

  39. 39

    Mike, #30–

    The philosophical question of how to live in the face of certain death predates the current climate challenge. How then should we live? That’s an important question.

    Indeed it is, and one utterly beyond the reach of scientific advice (though scientific perspectives may usefully inform the bases from which we proceed to address this pesky little enigma.) And one of the things making it so pesky today is that, while the answers to this will vary among individuals, the consequences of our collective answers affect *all* individuals.

  40. 40
    Russell says:

    31:

    Could Mike elaborate on Sarah Green’s report that “We are heading toward the part of the climate map labeled ‘here there be dragons’ …” ?

    Such an extraordinary discovery deserves more publicity than Extinction Rebellion can provide. if they are more than mythical, the climate communicators at Game of Thrones might subsidize the molecular resuscitation these nondescripts by George Church.

  41. 41
    mike says:

    https://m.phys.org/news/2019-06-industrial-methane-emissions-higher.html?fbclid=IwAR2IUOGORWs4ZuiXsEkVP5d4VQWL0OPu7XfGWkgpk2lcQtTsMJCaRBrZkkc

    This story sheds a little light on a couple of regular topics. The current topic has to do with the source of methane spike in atmospheric measurements. I am not sure that this industrial under-report of methane releases scales us to be a significant portion of the global spike, but that question relates to another regular topic: can we trust emission reports from industries, nations, etc.?

    It appears from scanning this story that the Cornell and EDF folks have cried foul. Here’s a quote from the piece: “We took one small industry that most people have never heard of and found that its methane emissions were three times higher than the EPA assumed was emitted by all industrial production in the United States,” said John Albertson, co-author and professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It shows us that there’s a huge gap between a priori estimates and real-world measurements.”

    One small industry… emissions were three times higher than EPA estimated for all US industrial production.

    A couple of questions arise for me:

    Do we feel better if the methane spike is traced to this kind of problem instead of arising from the warmed Arctic?

    Is there any corporate accountability for this level of discharge and under-reporting? This looks like negligence that may rise to the level of criminality to me.

    But, no worries, maybe it will turn out ok.

    Cheers

    Mike

  42. 42
    mike says:

    I know that as a group, most of us like truth. We sometime discuss the evidence that truths/facts about climate change have not been successful at changing the way humans behave. Here’s a piece to read on that topic if you have a couple of minutes:

    https://medium.com/@maartenvandoorn/why-truth-doesnt-change-people-s-minds-and-what-does-7558a6f378fb

    “All this points to a strategic-psychological lesson for those on a mission to change the world.

    People can be willing to give up their reality, but that usually starts with stimulating their imagination.

    If we want to change not just high school textbooks but the reality people experience and live, then it is good to realize the first step might start with an image or a myth rather than with a fact.

    For most people, in most tribes, the desire to remain comfortably untouched by reality is just as deeply entrenched — to say the least — as the wish to get things right.”

    If we want to be effective at persuading our species to avoid a climate catastrophe, maybe we should start with an image or a myth? How about we consider stimulating the individual and collective imagination of our species with a fable/myth/story about how our species could go extinct in the lifetime of ourselves or our grandchildren?

    Could that be what the Conde Nast author is attempting with their imaginative piece? If extinction of our species is a clear exaggeration and the truth is something along the lines of millions or billions of human deaths and untold suffering, should we double down on truth even if we know it is not the most effective means of spurring change?

    Cheers friends

    Mike

  43. 43
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Kevin McKinney says:
    7 Jun 2019 at 5:56 PM

    Very well stated Kevin.

  44. 44
    Nemesis says:

    @mike, #29

    Btw:

    http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2019/06/industrial-methane-emissions-are-100-times-higher-reported-researchers-say

    “The team discovered that, on average, 0.34% of the gas used in the plants is emitted to the atmosphere. Scaling this emission rate from the six plants to the entire industry suggests total annual methane emissions of 28 gigagrams – 100 times higher than the fertilizer industry’s self-reported estimate of 0.2 gigagrams per year.

    In addition, this figure far exceeds the EPA’s estimate that all industrial processes in the United States produce only 8 gigagrams of methane emissions per year.”

    Duh, that’s exactly what I expected several years ago already. It’s a simple formula:

    Be optimistic while doing BAU, realize “higher, faster, hotter” later on, rinse and repeat.

    See also:

    https://m.phys.org/news/2019-05-deep-sea-carbon-reservoirs-superheated.html

  45. 45
    Killian says:

    Scripps has updated their Keeling Curve animation to include the recently surpassed 415ppm CO2.

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2019/06/04/animation-of-keeling-curve-history-updated-to-include-2019-milestone/

  46. 46
    Nemesis says:

    @mike, #42

    From the article who quoted:

    ” For most people, in most tribes, the desire to remain comfortably untouched by reality is just as deeply entrenched — to say the least — as the wish to get things right.”

    MOST people on planet earth are in very poor conditions, they got ZERO wealth and therefore Zero political power, their ecological footprint is almost Zero AND they can’t afford and they never could afford to be “untouched by reality” for a second. BUT a global minority, namely in the rich countries will go on playing games and fiddling numbers until

    no more quickly.

    Man I just can’t wait to see that happen and I will see it happen soon I swear.

    Love,
    Nemesis

  47. 47
    Nemesis says:

    Correction of my recent comment:

    ” From the article who quoted…” should be ” From the article you quoted…”

  48. 48
    Killian says:

    First the floods, then the eutrophication. Dead Zones are coming to a flooded delta near you…

    https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-forecasts-very-large-dead-zone-for-gulf-of-mexico

  49. 49
    Killian says:

    Re #30 mike said to KM at 19: we often end up back with the question of how to communicate the challenge of AGW. There is an assumption that there is a goldilocks solution to the communication problem. If the science is too hot, people won’t believe it, if it’s cold, they won’t act, but if we get the communication just right, everyone will wake up and work together to solve the challenge. Personally, I think the communication squabble is a distraction.

    Yes. I have long tried to get people to realize there’s a different strokes for different folks thing going on. Shut up about others’ approaches and do your thing. The caveat, of course, is that which is not being done at all: Clear statement of long-trail risk coupled with a comprehensive solution set.

    ExtinctionR, School Strikes, etc., have shown the first part of that equation is powerful, as I have suggested it would be. The problem is, virtually all of the solution sets being put forward will fail.

    So, what we very badly need now is a much greater awareness of what a viable solution set looks like, and the longer we wait the narrower that gets. IMO, we’re already left with simplicity as the only way forward that matches the risk analysis.

    Still, how that’s communicated? Talk to your tribe in the manner they require.

  50. 50
    zebra says:

    #38 Kevin McKinney,

    Kevin, as I said to Fred, read my comment again:

    I suspect that the overreaction to papers that discuss releases of CO2 and CH4 from “nature” arises to some degree from conflating the two terms, consciously or not.

    Nothing I have read gives any indication that warming up swamps or rice paddies or permafrost would produce a self-sustaining effect. That’s what would constitute a “tipping point”. The gases released would be sufficient to continue causing more gases to be released on their own.

    But we do have a feedback effect. Temperature (proxy for energy gain) increases more rapidly because of those releases, and would decline less rapidly depending on the persistence of those gases if humans stopped burning fossil fuels.

    The question I posed a couple of times, of course still unanswered, is… so what? How significant are these effects in terms of minimizing negative consequences?

    Well, if we stopped burning fossil fuels, in the fantasy time range like 30 years, I doubt it would matter much at all.

    On the other hand, if BAU, I also doubt it would matter much at all. How much worse would it be, he asks again, if we reached +4C in 85 years instead of 100?

    Can anyone offer a quantitative assessment to contradict this?

    end quote

    So, again, no, the fact that some permafrost melts is not evidence of a tipping point.

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