My Predictions: Near-Term Climate System Mayhem

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My Predictions: Near-Term Climate System Mayhem // Published on Jan 30, 2017

Complete loss of Arctic sea ice & snow cover year-round. Country-sized glaciers from Greenland & Antarctica crashing into the oceans causing massive tsunamis & raising sea-levels by at least 10 feet by 2050 & 25 feet by 2070. Reversal of wind & water flows at the North Pole Ocean. Huge storms. More often. Lasting longer. Crop failures & global mayhem.

A sci-fi disaster movie plot?
NO.
Our planet in a decade or so…

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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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6 Responses to My Predictions: Near-Term Climate System Mayhem

  1. Jimbot says:

    Dear Professor Beckwith,

    Thank you for all the good work you are doing informing the public, as much as some wish to know at least.

    I have been wondering about an opinion of a commenter from Nature Bats Last, chemist Kevin Moore, regarding estimating methane, CH4, heating potential. He proposes that we should be using the instantaneous value of the heat trapping ( forcing ) rate for methane rather than the value after much of it has decayed in the atmosphere by converting to CO2, say after a decade or 100 years or so.

    The reason, as he stated it, is that the atmospheric concentration is increasing and not decreasing, so the decay factor is irrelevant. This would seem to be even more the case since methane is said to have a very fast acting effect in terms of noticeable heating occurring. It seems to be difficult to find this instantaneous value stated anywhere in terms of CO2 equivalent. As Kevin Moore said, it should be possible to determine this from a relatively simple lab experiment. Just wondering what your opinion is of using this approach to determining the heat trapping potential of atmospheric methane. I think I have heard you mention recently up to 200 times CO2e for shorter time periods, maybe a year, but you weren’t quite specific about the time factor.

    I read a recent paper from some research scientists, I think it was the American Geophysical Union who sponsored it. There they stated that the methane factor had been under estimated by about 27% and they did use the word “instantaneous”. However, they were only looking at certain specific wavelengths. You might say they studiously avoided mentioning the familiar CO2e factor although I thought I was able to decipher the units they used.

    Anyway, probably best you don’t answer this Paul, or you might find yourself with another 6 units of First Year Geography to teach or worse. Maybe even the Peter Wadhams or Guy McPherson treatment.

    Like

    • Dale Lanan says:

      Jim, Global Warming Potential of Methane compared to carbon dioxide (which is ref = 1) is only meaningful when given a time from release. Value can approach time zero but not be zero. US EPA web site, when it still existed prior to the Trump still didn’t give accurate picture of the severity of the meaning of methane. When it, prior to Trump, said methane was over 25 times as strong as Carbon Dioxide it gave a value well fabricated for oil $$..
      The Physics either is wrong or Earth is in process of End Anthropocene snap to hot state but if the world aligns the value of work to what helps Biosphere hold Earth Habitable Zone then an evolutionary change will have a chance to see light and a new specie born.

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      • Jimbot says:

        Hi Dale ( and Jay ),
        I think we can say that we are all going to the zero vanishing point concurrently on this seemingly fixed timeline trajectory we are on. Unless the world realigns possibly.

        If the new methane is coming in faster than the old methane is dissipating, i.e. concentration is increasing, then why do we need to know what effect it will have in 100 or 10 or 1 years? Isn’t that like saying the Fukushima radiation effect will be half of what it currently is in 1000 years assuming TEPCO stops the release of more radiation from the 3 reactor meltdowns?

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    • jay says:

      Methane

      Here’s the kicker: methane, the gas produced extensively by the livestock industry worldwide, traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 5 year period, and 72 times more within a 20 year period. The good news is that methane also leaves the atmosphere within a decade. This makes for a short-lived, but intense climate changer.

      So methane warms the planet rapidly, but it dissipates from the atmosphere more quickly than carbon dioxide. According the EPA, the GWP of methane is 21, which indicates its effect over a 100 year period. A 2009 report published by The World Watch Institute stressed that the more relevant GWP figure is 72, since it’s within the next 20 years that we desperately need to act to stop climate change before a domino effect is initiated and our imbalanced bio-systems spiral out of livable conditions.

      http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/methane-vs-carbon-dioxide-a-greenhouse-gas-showdown/

      My understanding methane eventually degrades to become CO2

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      • Dale Lanan says:

        Attempt to search “EPA website” brought up email and lock out of key function on cloud for me instead of the free access to check what exactly if anything the Trumped EPA is saying about the strength of methane as a greenhouse gas.
        A noose is apparently being placed around the ability of people to speak but here is a copy of an article about methane greenhouse gas based in part on EPA information prior to Trump taking power and re-booting the EPA Website http://www.thinkprogress.org/how-the-epa-and-new-york-times-are-getting-methane-all-wrong dated August prior to vote year.
        Here is a copy of an article about external monitoring of Trump Regime changes to EPA Site; http://www.climatecentral.org/news/epa-climate-web-pages-change-21133 quite recent.
        Facts matter and accuracy matters too in a play to regain standing of Earth Habitable..
        It is my belief that if we snap world to alignment with Earth Standing with Ocean pH 8.23 for lack of a better term, that a quantum mechanics ecological experiment with balance can work some magic that allows world enterprise from there on out to work on House..

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  2. Randall says:

    Hi sir. Glad somebody with the smarts is educating us who want truth.
    Local environment here in northern Wisconsin has seen crazy things.
    Trees dying like crazy , wildlife numbers crashing. It’s BIG what’s comming.
    Rj

    Like

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