Arctic Emissions of Nitrous Oxide Worse Than Expected, Radio Ecoshock, Mention on CounterPunch

Duh. Arctic Emissions of Nitrous Oxide GHG a Dozen Times Worse Than Expected. OOPS. Part 1 of 2 // Apr 20, 2019

Surprise… Nitrous oxide emissions from our rapidly warming north are up to 12-times higher than we previously thought, since thawing Arctic permafrost is a huge source. The problem is:

  • 1) The top 3 meters of permafrost contains 73 billion tons of nitrogen;
  • 2) As it thaws microbial action releases bucket loads of N2O; and
  • 3) N2O is a very powerful Greenhouse Gas, with a Global Warming Potential about 300 times that of CO2 (lifetime in atmosphere of 114 years).

In this video I chat about what this all means.
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Oops. Arctic Emissions of Nitrous Oxide GHG a Dozen Times Worse Than Expected. Duh. Part 2 of 2 // Apr 20, 2019

In this second video, I show the science in plots and images from the paper:

Abstract:  The microbial by-product nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance, has conventionally been assumed to have minimal emissions in permafrost regions. This assumption has been questioned by recent in situ studies which have demonstrated that some geologic features in permafrost may, in fact, have elevated emissions comparable to those of tropical soils. However, these recent studies, along with every known in situ study focused on permafrost N2O fluxes, have used chambers to examine small areas (<50 m2).

Wilkerson, Dobosy, Sayres, Healy, Dumas, Baker, Anderson: Permafrost nitrous oxide emissions observed on a landscape scale using the airborne eddy-covariance method, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 4257-4268, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-4257-2019, 2019.

Introduction (small edits, to be concise):  ‘N2O is the third most influential anthropogenic greenhouse gas behind CO2 and CH4. Inert in the lowest atmospheric layer, N2O eventually rises into the stratosphere. There, photolysis and electronically excited oxygen atoms convert N2O to nitrogen oxides that catalytically deplete ozone. N2O is currently the dominant anthropogenically emitted ozone-depleting substance. It is expected to remain so throughout the entire 21st century. Due to increased industrial processes and agricultural practices that rely on heavy fertilization, N2O concentrations have been steadily rising in the atmosphere. With a global temperature-change potential over a 100-year timescale of 296, the climate system is more sensitive to changes in N2O concentrations than to changes in either of its carbon-based GHG counterparts.
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The Burning Question, Radio Ecoshock Interview with with favorite host, Alex Smith.  This is from Thursday, April 17, 2019.  As he says:

Canadian climate scientist Paul Beckwith joins me to thrash through scary new science: the limits before extinction, ocean drivers of our lives, and why weather has gone rogue.

‘In the month of March 2019, the Arctic was 20 degrees hotter than it should be. Under that massive heat, sea ice is at a record low. Unprecedented Arctic warming is distorting weather in the Northern Hemisphere where the majority of humans live. Extreme weather has brought unhappiness, vast damage, and death. In this new climate age, the idea of progress has been replaced by constant efforts to recover‘.
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The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems, by Robert Hunziker, APRIL 19, 2019.  What happens when all of the sea ice is gone?  After quoting recent work or mentions of Dr. Peter Wadhams, Paul is also quoted:

According to the tenacious climate scientist Paul Beckwith, the “refrigerator effect” is lost in the Blue Ocean Event, meaning the “water temperature is not pegged close to the freezing point when there is no ice left to melt.” (Source: Paul Beckwith, climate system scientist, University of Ottawa)‘.
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Arctic Feedbacks Stopping Winter Sea-Ice Refreezing, Two Videos

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Arctic Feedbacks Stopping Winter Sea-Ice Refreezing: Part 1 of 2 // Apr 18, 2019

I discuss the very latest cutting edge scientific understanding on a powerful Arctic feedback that keeps regions of open, ice-free Arctic from refreezing during the dead of winter–December 1st to February 28th:

 

  • Albedo feedbacks are NOT happening at this time since the Arctic is in total 24/7 darkness.
  • What IS happening: turbulent heat flux (sensible + latent) plus increased upwelling long-wave radiation brings heat from the ocean up into the lowest 1.5 km of the atmosphere;
  • More downwelling long-wave radiation prevents sea-ice formation.
  • This feedback increased 8.9% per year from 1979 to 2016.

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Arctic Feedbacks Stopping Sea-Ice Refreezing: Part 2 of 2 // Apr 18, 2019

Second video, of two.  Continues where first video, left off.

   

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Food Supply Threats from Ongoing Catastrophic FLOODING in US Midwest

 

Food Supply Threats from Ongoing Catastrophic FLOODING in US Midwest // Apr 12, 2019

I chat about ongoing US Midwest misery from a deep, persistent jet stream trough. After a cold snowy winter, a “bomb cyclone” dumped up to 5 feet of snow over a wide area; then another hit the region; the forecast indicates the possibility of a third event. These storms occur over the ocean as well known “nor’easter’s”, but rarely over land. Ongoing rain and snow from ongoing storm trains flooded many farms, and destroyed stored grains. Normal April planting is not happening. Not good for our food supply.
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Three other recent videos:

Chat on Persistent Cold Blob over North America // Apr 5, 2019

Our destabilizing climate has many unpleasant surprises over our entire planet. The Arctic is warmer than normal by 5.7C; Antarctica is 2.4C colder than normal.

A long-term, stuck Rossby wave trough of the jet stream gave North America a cold blob:

  • Basically a “global warming hole”while the rest of the planet baked.
  • As the Arctic “center of cold” shifts from the North Pole to central Greenland (83 degrees N latitude),
  • This cold blob could become a frequent feature as we near a Blue Ocean Event in the Arctic.
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Climate System Upheaval: Arctic Sea-Ice, Snow Cover, Jet-Stream, Monsoonal Consequences // Apr 6, 2019

As Arctic sea-ice plunges to record lows, many pundits are calling for a near-term Blue Ocean Event in which the entire Arctic Ocean is essentially devoid of ice. In my last video analysis (and this one), I chat:

  • Time frames for increasing duration of the open ocean state, from 1 month to 3 to 5 and then to year-round.
  • I emphasize the overlooked but equally important loss of terrestrial snow cover to make the Arctic a very dark and hot place. I discuss:
  • Changes to jet streams, including a 17 degree latitude shift south in its center of rotation, and
  • Changes to weather drivers from jet-stream to monsoonal, even in the Arctic.
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Arctic Sea-Ice Collapse Accelerating. What Next? // Apr 6, 2019

Continue last video, on Climate System Upheaval, left off.

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State of Climate: Not Good at All, Faster Than Expected

State of the Climate: NOT Good at All // Apr 2, 2019

Second of two videos.  Every spring, for the past 25 years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) releases their State of the Climate report. This years edition clearly shows how dire our climate situation is becoming.

Just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. In this, and the next few videos, I chat on highlights and key points that are in the report, which I highly recommend you read as well. Consequences to us and all other species on our planet are profound.

Ref: ‘Climate Change: Global Impacts ‘Accelerating’‘, 28 March 2019:  ‘The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that the physical and financial impacts of global warming are accelerating.  Record greenhouse gas levels are driving temperatures to “increasingly dangerous levels”, it says.  Their report comes in the same week as the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported a surge in CO2 in 2018‘.

Ref:  ‘Global Climate Indicators‘:  ‘The Global Climate Indicators are a set of parameters that describe the changing climate without reducing climate change to only temperature.

They comprise key information for the most relevant domains of climate change: temperature and energy, atmospheric composition, ocean and water as well as the cryosphere.’

WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate‘, click here to download 44 pp. PDF, 1233_en.
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State of the Climate: FASTER than Expected // Mar 30, 2019

First of two videos.  Above video was second.
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Two-Way Connections Between Arctic & World, Record Northern Temps

Two-Way Connections Between the Arctic and the rest of the Globe // Mar 26, 2019

Third video. I discuss a new UN Environmental Report titled “Global Linkages: A Graphic Look at the Changing Arctic” (Google it!). Mainstream Media focused on only one small part of the report (namely the question as to whether 3-5C of warming is locked-in for the Arctic) and ignored the rest of the report.

The report contains many excellent graphics that I chat about, namely the:

  • Cryosphere, permafrost,
  • Short-lived climate pollutants, persistent organic pollutants,
  • Ocean acidification, plastics, mercury, and
  • Biodiversity, including migration and invasive species.

Ref:  click to download Linkages, report Arctic_Graphics, large PDF here.
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Linkages from Globe to Arctic and from Arctic to Globe /// Mar 24, 2019

Second Video. ‘Most of the territory sweltered in record or near-record temperatures, triggering concern over rapidly disintegrating ice roads, a call in some quarters for government action on climate change, and even a warning about rotting meat‘.

Refs:  ‘For first time since records began, NWT hits 20C in March‘.  20 Mar, 2019,

The Northwest Territories highway system:  ‘Highways and Winter Roads‘.
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Record Temperatures 20-25C Above Norm in far North /// Mar 23, 2019

First Video. The Northwest Territories of Canada had March temperatures above 20C for the first time (hit 21.6C or 71F); breaking norms by 20-25C (normal is below freezing). I discuss a new study from UN Environment that made global news about the inevitability of sharp rises in temperature being locked in.

Arctic temperature amplification has mostly been due to:

  • Albedo declines with reduced sea-ice and land snow cover.
  • Wavy jet streams bring heat (sensible and latent) to the Arctic;
  • Arctic air moved south in a big blob over North America, and
  • Ocean mixing brings heat from depth to the surface to melt out ice.

Refs:  Factcheck 22 March 2019: ‘Is 3-5C of Arctic warming now ‘locked in?

Appears phrase I originated years back, continues to make its way into the mainstream press now.  Timely recent example.  One among several:

Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable – UN‘.

Climate Model: Temperature Change (RCP 2.6) – 2006 – 2100‘.
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Faster Than Expected, Earth Spasms: Abrupt Climate Change

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Faster Than Expected Abrupt Climate Change Wisdom // Mar 12, 2019

Fourth video in prior series, from Tuesday, called ‘Reflections on Abrupt Climate Change‘.
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Earth Spasms from Profoundly Abrupt Climate Change  // Mar 12, 2019

Fourth view in this by now, four part series.
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Reflections on Abrupt Climate Change

Reflections on Abrupt Climate Change // Mar 11, 2019

For many years, myself and colleagues at AMEG (Arctic Methane Emergency Group; founded by John Nissen in the UK) have brainstormed on how risky our rapidly accelerating climate destabilization is to all ecosystems on Earth, including humanities, and what we need to do about it [1].

In this first of a series of videos, I chat on abrupt climate changes in the past, what is happening now, and what we can expect in the near future.
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The Latest and Not-So-Greatest on Abrupt Climate Change // Mar 11, 2019

Second of two videos.
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[1] While the first link is not current, we share them as they are nevertheless still representative.  The second one is to the Facebook AMEG Page. Paul also writes about AMEG, here:  Arctic Methane Emergency Group: Plea to G20 Leaders, from July 07, 2017.

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