Climate Change, Climate Lag Time, Climate Tipping Points, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Eco-Apocalypse, Extinction of Man, John Cook at the University of Queensland, Lake El'gygytgyn, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Professor Julie Brigham-Grette, Professor Peter Sammonds of the University College London, Professor Scott Elias of the Royal Holloway University in London, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Contrary to what some may have you believe, future climate projections gleaned from current models have not accurately predicted how truly dire the future is for all living things on Earth. In order to get a true reading of what is in store for us, Prof Julie Brigham-Grette lead her team to a remote meteor crater in Russia where Lake El’gygytgyn rests. What makes this spot special is that this area has never been disturbed by glacier erosion, leaving behind a perfect sediment record of the Earth’s climate dating back millions of years.
Lake El’gygytgyn may be the only place in the world that has this incredible unbroken record of sediments going back millions of years,” said Prof Scott Elias, at Royal Holloway University of London. “When you have a very long record it is very difficult to argue with.
A 2011 study in the journal Paleoceanography showed that during the Pliocene Epoch [~ 4.6 to 2 million years ago] the Earth’s CO2 levels were at the level it is today (400ppm). At that time, temperatures were 8 degrees Celsius warmer in the Arctic summer than they are today. Humans have ramped up the CO2 level so high and in such a short period that the Earth’s climate system has not yet fully reacted to this drastic atmospheric change. This is what we call the climate lag time. In 2005, Hansen estimated the “climate lag time” to be between 25 to 50 years.
An article on this subject given to me by Gail from Wit’s End mentions the “climate lag time” as well:
There is a time lag of up to 30 years for the temperature to be forced up by the extra CO2 in the atmosphere, so the scientists’ findings give a clue to what to expect by the middle of the century…
When looking at these recent Lake El’gygytgyn findings, the NTE estimates of Guy McPherson don’t seem all that strange after all:
My feeling is we have underestimated the sensitivity, unless there are some feedbacks we don’t yet understand or we don’t get right in the models.”
Prof Robert Spicer, at the Open University and not part of the new study, agreed: “This is another piece of evidence showing that climate models have a systematic problem with polar amplification,” ie the fact that global warming has its greatest effects at the poles. “This has enormous implications and suggests model are likely to underestimate the degree of future change.“…
“I think we will feel the effects of climate change quickly – in years or decades – because changes in the Arctic sea ice bring changes in the circulation of the atmosphere and the oceans,” says Elias. ” Arctic sea ice keeps that entire region cool and when it melts, the dark ocean revealed absorbs even more heat.”
Recent wet and cold summer weather in Europe, for example, has been linked to changes in the high level jet stream winds, which in turn have been linked to melting Arctic ice, which shrank to its lowest recorded level in September. Climate change has also already increased the likelihood of extreme heatwaves and flooding .
“Clearly the Arctic is warming very, very rapidly at the moment,” said Prof Peter Sammonds, at University College London. “And if all the sea ice goes, there is no good reason why it might come back again.
In other eco-apocalyptic news, the public (including JMG) are still asleep at the wheel:
Scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change stands
Posted: Thu, 16 May 2013 14:10:00
I think we are a little too late for instituting policy change. The Earth will do that for us.
We Have Failed Miserably On Climate Change
From The Guardian:
It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.
Ralph Keeling, who runs another monitoring program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said a continuing rise could be catastrophic. “It means we are quickly losing the possibility of keeping the climate below what people thought were possibly tolerable thresholds,” he said.
Kevin Moore said:
Mike, it would be great if you could do an item on Global Dimming.
The BBC did an excellent documentary on the topic 8 or 10 years ago which highlighted the effect of industrial pollution on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth, down 10 to 20% in various locations from the amount reaching the surface in the 1950s. It also highlighted the effect particulate matter and aerosols have on the formation of raindrops.
The effect of the grounding of planes Sept 12th, 13th 14th was dramatic. Clearer skies allowed more heat in and allowed more heat to radiate back into space, with the former exceeding the latter.
The evidence suggests the collapse of Industrial Civilisation will be a bit like removing a thin sunshade that has been enveloping much of the Earth for decades.
On the other hand, there was a recent item suggesting clouds were less important than previously thought in reflecting heat into space.
On the matter of thermal lag, I have been saying for a long time that air and land temperatures are not good indicators of warming and that we need to take a lot more notice of the warming of the oceans and the latent heat of phase change. When a bit more of that ice cover has gone we should expect Arctic Sea temperatures to surge, methinks.
I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with NTE in the range 2030 to 2040 but somehow NTE 2040 to 2060 seems more than likely.
The Faustian Bargain
In “Climate response to zeroed emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols”, Matthews and Zickfeld show that when aerosols and other greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as carbon dioxide, are eliminated from the atmosphere [their modeling assumes all at once, in the year 2010] to “zeroed emissions”:
We have continued our profligate use of fossils fuels and benefited from the temporary cooling that the associated aerosols production provides, and now the urgent need to stop burning fossil fuels to avoid catastrophic global warming will push up global warming “a few tenths of a degree over about a decade” as the aerosol effect is lost.”
John Christian said:
Yes, this is true. China has been doubling their coal burning over the past 10 years and as we all know the last round of serious SO2 emissions also had a cooling effect. Regulations in pollution and the clean air act changed that and temperatures started climbing again.
Its interesting that the added aerosols just puts the warming “on hold”, while underneath it all the CO2 is still building up and doing its job to counter the cooling of the aerosols. I doubt we need much higher CO2 now for even that to overcome any added aerosols from further burning of coal.
So in essence, for each coal plant decomissioned we will experience a warming as the CO2 is then free to “do its job” undisturbed – and indeed in case of a major collapse in economy that results in coal plants being shut down we will experience a rather drastic increase in temperatures.
In addition, when we get a normal solar cycle again (this past one was a weak one) that will also strengthen the warming. As well as a major El Niño event in the coming years and all the silly “there has been no warming these past 15 years” nonsense will go away. Atm its really a very noisy problem as the general public seems to need to witness their loved ones die from the heat or having their houses ripped from the ground before they believe in anything.
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xraymike79: Thanks for another great read with links.
If you haven’t yet read the Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis you should take a look at it when you have time.
here’s his short summary of the hypothesis, which his site finds examples of every day
The seas, lakes and oceans are now pluming deadly hydrogen sulfide and suffocating methane. Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic water-soluble heavier-than-air gas and will accumulate in low-lying areas. Methane is slightly more buoyant than normal air and so will be all around, but will tend to contaminate our atmosphere from the top down. These gases are sickening and killing oxygen-using life all around the world, including human life, as our atmosphere is increasingly poisoned. Because both gases are highly flammable and because our entire civilization is built around fire and flammable fuels, this is leading to more fires and explosions. This is an extinction level event and will likely decimate both the biosphere and human population and it is debatable whether humankind can survive this event.
I’ll take a look at it and see if there is any scientific basis for it.
I have the movie “What Dreams May Come” playing in the background and my ears pricked up when I heard this:
Nature is harsh and unforgiving. It has no concern for human foibles, prejudices, and false beliefs. It will take its pound of flesh despite the torment and suffering of 7 billion people.
Michael Sosebee said:
Great post x-ray mike.! I noticed you made a reference to JMG (John Michael Greer) and his recent post attacking the notion of NTE and any who dare promote it’s “myth”. I accused him of ad-hominem, hyperbolic attacks which smack of the same sort of sophistry that is employed by the climate denial script. The problem for JMG is his thesis of “catabolic collapse” becomes irrelevant.
I felt pretty sad after reading this:
It seems as if JMG is getting a hammering over his article
JMG is wrong and if he’s an honorable man, then he will admit his mistake and learn from it. He will win back a lot of people if he does so.
“When you have a very long record it is very different to argue with.” “different” should read : difficult. 🙂 Thankyou for your firstrate website xraymike it’s a regular for me now. 🙂
Aptitude Design said:
So,in my mind,the only remaining question is this: will it continue to get hotter, or is the erratic weather a prelude to a big freeze? Either way, life shall be difficult. I expect a rapid drop in population, which probably will include me. we have shifted the balance, now we must learn to live with the consequences.
John Christian said:
I highly doubt there will be a big freeze. CO2 levels will be rising still and with it a rather significant amount of methane which will make sure that the northern hemisphere at least will have troubles freezing over in spite of the milankovitch cycles trying to cool the planet. However, chances are that during winter months we will see blasts of extreme cold going further south than we are used to, for the same reasons we have had them these past 3 months. As the Arctic warms up (remember even -20C is warmer than -30C) the jetstream will have erratic behaviour.
But ofc if average global temps climbs to +6C during this century its really like rolling a whole new set of dice for what’s in store for us.
John Christian said:
I mean ofc these past 3 years!
I emailed the Professor to see if she had time to answer some questions I had. If she responds, I’ll post what she says.
Here she is explaining some scary stuff from her research:
Great website Mike!
Some poignant and impotant videos summing up most of what’s to come:
Video: Arctic Dynamics (Part 1 & 2) by David Wasdell
“Congratulations! Have now seen video through and am deeply impressed by the way you get the whole Arctic issue across. Better than I could have done. This deserves maximal exposure in the world.”
Peter Wadhams – Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge.
Thanks for posting that video and keeping us informed. I’ll watch it when I get home(on a monitored computer right now).