- West Antarctica ice loss is now unstoppable, regardless of human CO2 emissions.
- Expect 1-2m of sea level rise by 2100.
- Expect 3-5m of sea level rise by 2200.
- East Antarctica ice is also destabilizing, if this continues expect an additional 5m by 2200, and 10+m later.
I observe that sea level rise predictions worsen with each new major study. I therefore interpret these predictions as best case.
We have known about this threat for 50 years. More evidence in support of Varki’s denial theory.
Recent studies, surveyed in this report, suggest that WAIS passed a tipping point for large-scale deglaciation decades ago.
This should not be surprising, because such an event was foreseen almost 50 years ago. In 1968, pioneer glacier researcher John Mercer predicted that the collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula could herald the loss of the ice sheet. Ten years later, Mercer contended that “a major disaster — a rapid deglaciation of West Antarctica — may be in progress … within about 50 years” (“West Antarctic ice sheet and CO2 greenhouse effect: a threat of disaster”, Nature 271:321-325).
He said that warming “above a critical level would remove all ice shelves, and consequently all ice grounded below sea level, resulting in the deglaciation of most of West Antarctica”. Such disintegration, once under way, would “probably be rapid, perhaps catastrophically so”, with most of the ice sheet lost in a century. Credited with coining the phrase “the greenhouse effect” in the early 1960s, Mercer’s Antarctic prognosis was widely ignored and disparaged at the time. Now in seems uncannily prescient.
The author warns that reality may worsen as scientific understanding improves.
The general view amongst scientists I have communicated with is to expect a sea-level rise this century of at least 1 metre, and perhaps in excess of 2 metres in light of the work surveyed above. Scientists have found the business of putting a true upper limit on how much ice could melt — and how quickly — is a difficult one.
Amongst a myriad of devastating global impacts, a 1-metre sea-level rise would inundate up to 20% of the land area of Bangladesh and displace 30 million people, wipe out 40-50% of the Mekong Delta, flood one-fourth of the Nile Delta, and depopulate some coral atoll small states.
Meanwhile, the majority of citizens around the world deny this issue exists and do not discuss, let alone act, on possible changes to their lifestyles.
And Obama sets an example by taking his second long distance vacation in as many months.
2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change.
Direct temperature measurements stretch back to 1880, but scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4m years.
Arctic ice melt is ‘already affecting weather patterns where you live right now’.
In 2016, global warming delivered scorching temperatures around the world. The resulting extreme weather means the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected, according to scientists.
The natural El Niño climate phenomenon, which helped ramp up temperatures to “shocking” levels in early 2016, has now waned, but carbon emissions were the major factor and will continue to drive rising heat.
Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: “El Niño was a factor this year, but both 2015 and 2016 would have been records even without it.” He said about 90% of the warming signal in 2016 was due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. He expects 2017 to be another extremely hot year.
The new data shows the Earth has now risen about 1.1C above the levels seen before the industrial revolution, when large-scale fossil fuel burning began. This brings it perilously close to the 1.5C target included as an aim of the global climate agreement signed in Paris in December 2015.
Noaa also found Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest annual average extent on record and Antarctic sea ice to the second smallest extent on record. The warming in the Arctic in 2016 was “astounding”, Schmidt said.
How many more years of records before scientists break through their inherited denial and admit we are spinning out of control?
Economic growth has been minimal since 2008 yet CO2 is increasing at a record rate. That’s a really bad sign. Where are the adults?
As we reported in November, 2016 is on track to see a record rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increase.
“The MMCO [Middle Miocene Climate Optimum] was ushered in by CO2 levels jumping abruptly from around 400ppm to 500 ppm, with global temperatures warming by about 4°C and sea levels rising about 40m (130 feet) as the Antarctic ice sheet declined substantially and suddenly. ” — Skeptical Science
For 2016, Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations are Rising at the Fastest Rate Ever Seen
I’ve been monitoring climate science for many years and I’ve observed that this year’s worst case scenario often becomes subsequent year’s likely scenario. That’s a really bad sign. Where are the adults?
“What this means is that even if all of human fossil fuel emissions stop, the Earth environment, from this single source (soil), will generate about the same carbon emission as all of the world’s fossil fuel industry did during the middle of the 20th Century. And that, if human emissions do not stop, then the pace of global warming of the oceans, ice sheets, and atmosphere is set to accelerate in a runaway warming event over the next 85 years.”
“Sadly, soil respiration is just one potential feedback mechanism that can produce added greenhouse gasses as the Earth warms. Warming oceans take in less carbon and are capable of producing their own carbon sources as they acidify and as methane seeps proliferate. Forests that burn due to heat and drought produce their own carbon sources. But increasing soil respiration, which has also been called the compost bomb, represents what is probably one of the most immediate and likely large sources of carbon feedback.”
“The upshot of this study is that amplifying carbon feedbacks from the Earth environment are probably starting to happen on a large scale now. And we may be seeing some evidence for this effect during 2016 as rates of atmospheric carbon dioxide accumulation are hitting above 3 parts per million per year for the second year in a row even as global rates of human emissions plateaued.”
“What this means is that the stakes for cutting human carbon emissions to zero as swiftly as possible just got a whole hell of a lot higher. If we fail to do this, we will easily be on track for 5-7 C or worse warming by the end of this Century. And this level of warming happening so soon and over so short a timeframe is an event that few, if any, current human civilizations are likely to survive.
Furthermore, if we are to avoid terribly harmful warming over longer periods, we must not only rapidly transition to renewable energy sources. We must also somehow learn to pull carbon, on net, out of the atmosphere in rather high volumes.”
“In other words, even the optimists at this time think that we are on the cusp of runaway catastrophic global warming. That the time to urgently act is now.”
Beyond the Point of No Return — Imminent Carbon Feedbacks Just Made the Stakes for Global Warming a Hell of a Lot Higher
This is a thoughtful interview by Nick Breeze of Adrian Tait on the psychology of acknowledging the reality and implications of climate change.
What’s particularly interesting about this interview is that they are mostly talking about evolved denial of reality, yet because of their own inherited denial, they are not aware that denial is their main topic.
If you are not interested in or disagree with Varki’s denial theory, the interviews are still worth watching.
Fact 1: Trump denies the reality of human caused climate change and will probably reduce the US climate science budget.
Fact 2: Climate scientists have had zero success at influencing human behavior to reduce CO2 emissions.
Fact 3: Of all the groups in society, climate scientists should be setting a low carbon lifestyle example, but they don’t. See fact 2.
Fact 4: Firing all the climate scientists will definitely reduce CO2 emissions.
Climate scientists have been adding bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to their models as a means for addressing climate change that allows us to do something in the future rather than today, and that may not require us to change our lifestyles.
BECCS is crazy wrong on many levels.
There is no evidence that BECCS can scale up, nor that we can afford the astronomical construction cost, or higher operating cost from the reduced power plant efficiency required to capture the carbon, or the energy to transport and process the biomass, or that we have somewhere safe to store gigantic quantities of CO2, or that any of this can be implemented on a time scale that matters, or that enough net energy will be left at the end of the process to run a hamster wheel let alone an advanced civilization.
On top of all that, humans are already using far more than their reasonable share of the planet’s primary net productivity. From which of the few wild species left are we going to take the biomass to run BECCS?
BECCS will cause us to waste precious time and money before some engineer assigned to implement it stands up and says it won’t work and should never have been considered in the first place.
Despite being crazy beyond belief it is promoted by intelligent people with PhD’s and good intentions.
And it’s our best option on the table to avoid disaster.
Wow! Where are the adults?
There must be something REALLY big and powerful, like evolved denial, in play to explain our collective crazy insanity.