Published on February 19, 2014
Turn Down the Heat Coursera Final Assignment Robert D. Cormia
Overview • Era of consequences – Climate change has arrived – At 0.8 deg C it’s significant • We don’t have 20 years to wait – Headed right at 450 ppm CO2 – 400 ppm today, adding 2+ ppm/yr • May not be ‘doable’ at 2 deg C – Rate of change may be too fast – Ecosystem and cryosphere failures
Assessing Dangerous Climate Change – James Hansen et al PLOS 2013
Era of Consequences • At just 0.8 deg C…. – Record droughts, fires, superstorms, and heat waves (frequency, intensity) – Pest migration, spring arrives two weeks earlier =>ecosystem stress – Crop stress, arid soil, desertification – Heat related disease, death, suffering – Insurance/property loss, sea level rise
Sochi Summer Winter Games Temperatures are soaring to 17 degrees Celsius in Sochi in the next couple of days and due to the warm weather, snow is melting in Krasnaya Polyana, the mountain cluster for the Winter Games, February 12, 2014. http://www.canada.com/olympics/columns/sochis-summer-winter-games
Temperature Anomaly NOAA Global Temperature Analysis - https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/13
Record Heat/Droughts • • • • • • USA – 2000 to 2009, esp. 2010 to 2012 Australia – Melbourne Europe – 2003/6 and esp. 2013 Russia – 100 deg F for over a month South Africa – 2013 Earth – warmest years on record – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record
US Drought Zone 2000-2009 http://www.nrdc.org/health/climate/drought.asp
Record Drought in Europe
California Drought => Fires U.S. Forestry Service fire crews conduct a burnout operation as flames near homes in Azusa, California, in January. Over 500 firefighters, air tankers, helicopters and bulldozers worked to contain the fire which grew to over 1,700 acres. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/02/14/drought-stricken-california-other-states-prepare-for-landmark-year-in-fires/
Fires in Melbourne Australia http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/14/world/asia/melbourne-climate-change-c40/index.html
Heat Storms in the US Record heat across the US in summer, including an oppressive heat index
Superstorm Sandi 2012 www.theatlantic.com
Don’t have 20 years to Wait • Trajectory to 450 ppm CO2 (2032-2035) – 450 ppm CO2 => 2 deg C committed/forcing – Amplifying feedbacks take us to 3+ deg C • Ocean acidity 450 ppm CO2 => pH 8 – concentration [CO2] = [HCO3] • Decisions made today impact 2030 – Still investing in carbon intensive energy – At 2+ ppm/year, for 20+ years, 450 ppm CO2
Keeling Curve CO2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeling_Curve
CO2 Trajectories http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/files/synthesis-report-web.pdf
Why 450 ppm CO2 Limit? • 2 deg Celsius committed warming – Radiative forcing of ~ 2.5 Watts/M2 • Ocean acidification – pH 8 and under-saturation of bicarbonate ion – Less than 10% of coral will survive (~ 50 years) • Deglaciation of ice sheets – Rapid melting and instability, Greenland ice sheet • Sea level rise for centuries – Estimated 1 meter rise (or more) by 2100
Ocean Acidification http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification
Ocean Acidification CO2 dissolves in water to produce mild carbonic acid, which dissociates into bicarbonate and carbonate ion. Increasing acidity removes carbonate ion from solution. At pH 8 (450 ppm CO2) carbonate ion is under-saturated, shells will be difficult to form and stay stable . http://www.ocean-acidification.net/FAQacidity.html
May not be ‘Doable’ at 2 deg C • Secondary feedbacks to 3 deg C – Committed deglaciation of the ice sheets – Methane hydrates destabilize, release CH4 • Ocean warming AND acidification – Impacts to base of the food chain – Bleaching and degradation to coral • Open sea in the arctic alters ocean currents, albedo, and the jet stream – Rapid destabilization of climate system
Feedback Driven Warming • More radiative forcing, more warming – More warming, more water vapor => T – Warmer planet releases soil carbon (CO2/CH4) which leads to more warming • CO2/CH4 release amplifies warming – CO2 has a half-life of centuries – CH4 has a global warming potential of >20 • Loss of arctic ice/glaciers, lower albedo – Ground and oceans absorb more sun/energy
Effect of Climate Feedbacks Missing feedbacks, asymmetric uncertainties, and the underestimation of future warming Margaret S. Torn and John Harte AGU GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L10703
Soil Feedbacks at 2 Deg C USDA-NRCS, http://soils.usda.gov/use/worldsoils/mapindex/soc.html
Arctic Sea Open Ice in 2015 http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/11/arctic-sea-ice-set-to-collapse-in-2015.html
Methane Hydrates http://www.wwfblogs.org/climate/content/methane-arctic-seafloor-mar2010
Ecosystems and Humanity – IPCC Assessment http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/climate-change-is-not-being-nice-to-mother-nature-overview/
Summary • We are at the front edge of climate consequences: storms & droughts • Trajectory towards 450 ppm CO2 – Ocean acidification, 2 deg C warming • Amplifying feedbacks may kick in – Deglaciation, albedo, methane hydrates • May not stop at 2 deg => 3 or 4 deg C – 4 deg C may not be ‘doable’ for biosphere
References/Attribution • Climate Change Index - http://www.igbp.net/4.56b5e28e137d8d8c09380002241.html • 350.org • CO2now.org • NOAA Climate Center • • https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/13 http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ • Skeptical Science - https://www.skepticalscience.com/ • International Arctic Research Center • http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/ This presentation is intended solely for use/remix for educational purposes
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