Climate Feedbacks Start To Kick In More

Droughts and heatwaves are putting vegetation under devastating pressure while also causing wildfires resulting in deforestation and loss of peat at massive scale, contributing to the rapid recent rise in carbon dioxide levels. 


It will take a decade before these high recent carbon dioxide emissions will reach their full warming impact. Furthermore, as the world makes progress with the necessary cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, this will also remove aerosols that have until now masked the full wrath of global warming. By implication, without geoengineering occurring over the coming decade, temperatures will keep rising, resulting in further increases in abundance and intensity of droughts and wildfires.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than elsewhere. The image below shows that Arctic waters are now much warmer than in 2015. On June 22, 2016, sea surface near Svalbard was as warm as 13.8°C or 56.9°F (green circle), i.e. 11.6°C or 20.9°F warmer than 1981-2011.


High temperatures, as high as 34.1°C or 93.3°F at green circle, were recorded on July 1, 2016, over the Lena River which flows into the Laptev Sea, as illustrated by the image on the right [click on images to enlarge them].

Wildfires can release huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane and soot. 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 image to enlarge ]
The video below, created by Jim Reeve, shows an animation with carbon monoxide levels in May 2016.



As increasing amounts of soot from wildfires settle on its ice and snow cover, albedo decline in the Arctic will accelerate. In addition, heatwaves are causing rapid warming of rivers ending in the Arctic Ocean, further speeding up its warming and increasing the danger of methane releases from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

As more energy stays in the biosphere, storms can be expected to strike with greater intensity. Rising temperatures will result in more water vapor in the atmosphere (7% more water vapor for every 1°C warming), further amplifying warming and resulting in more intense precipitation events, i.e. rainfall, flooding and lightning.
Record-breaking daily rainfall events around the world. From Lehmann et al. 
Recently, West Virginia got hit by devastating flooding, killing at least 26 people and causing evacuation of thousands of people and a huge amount of damage. Flooding can also cause rapid decomposition of vegetation, resulting in strong methane releases, as illustrated by the image below showing strong methane presence (magenta color) at 39,025 ft or 11.9 km on June 26 (left panel), as well as at 44,690 ft or 13.6 km on June 27 (right panel).

[ click on image to enlarge ]
Furthermore, plumes above the anvils of severe storms can bring water vapor up into the stratosphere, contributing to the formation of cirrus clouds that trap a lot of heat that would otherwise be radiated away, from Earth into space. The number of lightning strikes can be expected to increase by about 12% for every 1°C of rise in global average air temperature. At 3-8 miles height, during the summer months, lightning activity increases NOx by as much as 90% and ozone by more than 30%.

In conclusion, feedbacks are threatening to cause runaway warming, potentially making temperatures rise by more than 10°C or 18°F within a decade. Already now, melting ice sheets are changing the way the Earth wobbles on its axis, Nasa says. As Paul Beckwith discusses in the video below, changes are also taking place to the jet streams.



The danger is that changes to the planet's wobble will trigger massive earthquakes that will destabilize methane hydrates and result in huge amounts of methane abruptly entering the atmosphere, as illustrated by the image below.

Have we lost the Arctic? It looks like Earth no longer has two poles, but instead has turned into a Monopole, with only one pole at Antarctica. On June 29, 2016, Arctic water (sea surface) was as warm as 15.8°C (60.5°F), or 13°C (23.4°F) warmer than 1981-2011. Meanwhile, surface temperatures over Antarctica that day were as low as -66.6°C (-87.8°F).
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


Links

 Feedbacks in the Arctic
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

 Wildfire Danger Increasing
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/wildfire-danger-increasing.html

 Arctic Climate Records Melting
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/arctic-climate-records-melting.html

 Ten Degrees Warmer In A Decade?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/03/ten-degrees-warmer-in-a-decade.html

 Arctic Sea Ice gone by September 2016?
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/arctic-sea-ice-gone-by-september-2016.html

 February Temperature
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/03/february-temperature.html

 International Energy Agency (IEA)
http://www.iea.org/

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
http://www.noaa.gov/

 Projected increase in lightning strikes in the United States due to global warming, by Romps et al. (2014)
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/346/6211/851

 Impacts of anthropogenic and natural NOx sources over the U.S. on tropospheric chemistry, by Zhang et al. (2003)
http://www.pnas.org/content/100/4/1505.abstract

 Wildfires Rage in Siberia, NASA June 30, 2016, images acquired June 29, 2016
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=88284

 Melting ice sheets changing the way the Earth wobbles on its axis, says Nasa
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/09/melting-ice-sheets-changing-the-way-the-earth-wobbles-on-its-axis-says-nasa

 Record-breaking heavy rainfall events increased under global warming, by Lehmann et al. (2015)
https://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/record-breaking-heavy-rainfall-events-increased-under-global-warming

 'Thousand-year' downpour led to deadly West Virginia floods (July 8, 2016)
https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/thousand-year-downpour-led-deadly-west-virginia-floods



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