Current Climate Change: Other Effects

Current Climate Change: Other Effects

K38d: Current Climate Change: Other Effects 1. Global phytoplankton decline 2. Slowdown of Ocean Currents 3. Declining oxygen in air and oceans 4. Rising nighttime vs daytime temps 5. Stronger hurricane force winds

6. Mass extinctions 7. Ocean acidification and death of coral reefs 8. Rising methane levels 9. Poleward expansion of deserts 10. Tropical diseases spreading north

Global Phytoplankton Populations in the Ocean have Declined for Decades

Marine phytoplankton account for 46% of the primary productivity of the Earth An early estimate of 40% phytoplankton decline since 1950 was too high, and re-analysis by the same and conflicting authors together shows regionally varying and much smaller rates of change (Boyce et al. 2014) What might cause phytoplankton loss?

Surface-warmed and more stratified oceans inhibit nutrient upwelling from below and thus limit growth, for one Fresh Meltwater is 2.7% Less Dense than Seawater, Inhibiting Polar Sinking and Global Conveyor Currents Boyce et al. 2014: Most Oceans Show Declining

Chlorophyll in Surface Waters Boyce et al. 2014: Sample-weight phytoplankton trends Shaded. Most Oceans Show Decline AMOC Slowdown: Another Predicted Effect of Polar Melt and Increasingly Stratified Oceans

Since 2004 weve had a set of 22 sensors deployed in the tropical Atlantic to monitor the strength of the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current). They find a large 3% per year decline in the strength of the AMO C current (linked to polar climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorff in RealClimate.org)

If our analysis is correct, then this indicates that climate models underestimate the weakening of the Atlantic circulation in response to global warming probably because the flow in these models is too stable (see Hofmann and Rahmstorf 2009). Although these models predict a significant weakening for the future, they do not suggest this as early as the observations show it (see Fig. 2 Rahmstorf Continues

If the circulation weakens too much it can even completely break down the AMOC has a well-known tipping point (Lenton et al., 2008). The latest IPCC report (just like the previous one) estimates a probability of up to 10% that this could happen as early as this century. However, this assessment is based on models that may underestimate the risk, as mentioned above. Expert surveys indicate that many researchers assess the risk higher than the (generally

conservative) IPCC, as is the case for sea level. In a detailed survey (Kriegler et al. 2009), the 16 experts interviewed saw already at moderate global warming (+2-4 C) a probability of a tipping (major re-organization) of the flow between 5 and 40 percent. With strong global warming (4-8 C) this probability was even estimated as between 20 and 65 percent.

The strength of the AMOC is declining, and predicted to continue (Rahmstorf et al. 2015) More data is starting to come in from the Subpolar array Global Warming: Oxygen Content of

the Air and Oceans is Dropping More of our atmospheric oxygen is getting bound up with carbon to become CO2 a very tough, tightly bound molecule Warmer oceans can hold less dissolved oxygen (and less dissolved CO2 as we saw) Increasing ocean stratification due to slowing thermohaline current and to lessened

resulting upwelling is starving the phytoplankton which produces our oxygen Bottom axis= time 1960-2007. Vertical axes: Fraction of total emission of carbon which remains in the atmosphere (top), taken up by land biosphere (middle), and taken up by ocean (bottom). Note as the ocean absorbs more CO2 and warms, it is becoming less effective at soaking up additional CO2. Land more complicated, as CO2 helps plants early on, but eventually dries soils and rapid growing zone shifts cripples plants (sorry for the terrible copy of this tiny graph.)

Night Temperatures Observed Rising Faster than Day Temperatures causes a decrease in the daily temperature range (DTR) ( Braganza 2004). This too is a unique prediction of greenhouse effect warming

(Alexander 2006). Why? Because temperatures reflect the integrated heating that has already happened during the day, so that peak temperatures occur in the late afternoon, not at noon as you'd naively expect if there were no lag. The hot ground can't efficiently radiate away this heat because it is trapped by CO2, and this keeps night-time temperatures warmer. Daytime temperatures are warmer too but not as much as

night time temps, because it is not increased incoming sunlight that is causing Global Warming, it is human-caused greenhouse gases inhibiting re-radiated cooling, which happens mostly late evening. Night-time minimum temps are rising faster than are daytime maximum temps, although both are rising. This is a classic signature of greenhouse warming.

This is Bad. Since it is the cold temperatures at night which controlled pine bark beetles, zika mosquitoes, and many other pests. Note in the mid/late 20th century data cooling by human-generated aerosol pollution and the PDO cool phase caused daytime temperatures to stay

roughly constant in spite of increasing CO2, while nighttime temperature increased ( Wild, Ohmura, and Makowski 2007). This data, however, is not quite as conclusive as it might appear. The DTR is a subtraction of two datasets which have noise, and is therefore noisier. Also, rising human-caused aerosols also affect night vs day temperatures in ways

not well quantified yet. Preferentially Rising Night Temps: Implications A study in 2015 (post IPCC AR5) shows that rising night time temperatures will decrease the amount by which forests can sequester CO2. Plants and trees give back some

photosynthesized CO2 to the atmosphere at night, and the higher temperatures will alter the balance between photosynthesis and respiration. This could cause forests to stop their net sequestering carbon entirely in the future. Rising Ocean Heat Content: Implications

Rising Ocean Temperatures Equal More Thermal Energy Models Predict Rising Hurricane Power, which we are seeing Rising ocean temperatures are not predicted to make MORE hurricanes, but they ARE predicted to (on average) make them

stronger. Higher sea surface temperatures drive stronger convection and hence more powerful storms, by straightforward physics, and this is confirmed by data for the past 30 years Stronger Hurricane Winds

| Analysis and model results of satellite-derived tropical cyclone lifetime-maximum wind speeds. a: Box plots by year. Trend lines are shown for the median, 0.75 quantile, and 1.5 times the interquartile range. b: Trends in global satellite-derived

tropical cyclone maximum wind speeds by quantile, from 0.1 to 0.9 in increments of 0.1. Trends are estimated coefficients from quantile regression in units of metres per second per year. The point-wise 90% confidence band is shown in grey, under the assumption

that the errors are independent and identically distributed. The solid red line is the trend from a leastsquares regression of wind speed as a function of year and the dashed red lines delineate the 90% pointwise confidence band about this trend. Pacific Hurricanes (Typhoons)

Same trend (Mei et al. 2015) Stronger Convection -> Low Pressure Eye of Storm Deepens (gray) -> Driving Stronger Winds (dots) ATD Area of Total Devastation grown 50% for small-area events, but grown over 300% for biggest area catastrophic events (Grinsted et al. 2019)

The number of Category 3 or higher tropical storms is rising. (Trend interrupted by cool phase of PDO in recent decade till 2014. Newer data (not shown) amplifies this trend) With stronger winds, higher humidities, and deeper hurricane pressure gradients

no surprise that were seeing storms of unprecedented power. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 delivered a once-in-25,000 year deluge to SE Texas. Whats more, this same area had a once-in-500 year storm just a year earlier in 2016, and another once-in-500 year storm the year before that in 2015.

But, as always our attention spans only for as long as the standard news cycle, then we tune out. Hurricanes with wind speeds above 250 km/hr have quadrupled (300%) since 1980 (Rahmstorff et al. 2018 left).

Michael Mann has urged: "The current intensity scale doesn't capture the fact that a 10 mph increase in sustained wind speeds ups the damage potential by 20 percent," Mann said. "That's not a

subtle effect. It's one that we can see." Based on the spacing of Categories 1-5, there should be a Category 6 approaching peak winds of 190 mph Expect official recognition of Category 6 soon.

What About Tornadoes? Tornadoes are smaller and occur over land, and therefore without the same water-condensation energy driver as hurricanes. Data is not good enough yet to say whether we see, or expect to see, stronger tornadoes as global warming ramps up.

Disregard Richard Mullers simplistic claim that tornadoes are perhaps weakening with global warming he doesnt seem to understand how to interpret the data. See links within story above. U.S. tornadoes are shifting East to wider, more populated regions

Humans: Total Domination over Earths Ecosystems As recently as 1900, wild vertebrates made up ~50% of the total vertebrate biomass, on land. Now, only 3%. Today, humans and their livestock make up 97% of the vertebrate biomass on land (Bodley 2008), and 72% of ALL vertebrate biomass on Earth. 90% of the large fish have already

been fished out. You. Will. Be. Assimilated. is coming to be reality. 36% to 40% of the primary productivity of the entire planet has been diverted to humans (Haberl, et al. 2012) and Hannah et al., while at the same time we have diminished global primary productivity on land since 1950 by 20-55% depending on region. Were crowding out all other species. Mass extinctions are

the expected result Humans and their livestock exploding far beyond the declining carrying capacity of Earth. In 2050; can you still see the tiny sliver of green (wild animals) crushed at the bottom? This 2008 graph is already out of date. Population passed 7 billion in 2012, at graph top. Human population is rising now at an unsustainable

rate of 1 billion additional people every 13 years. Mostly since fossil carbon energy was discovered and powered our domination Humans Multiplying. Other Species Driven to Extinction. From U.S. Geologic Survey Data Corals suffer from climate change for two reasons

1. Rising heat causes the corals to lose their colorful symbiotic algae, which produce oxygen and other nutrients for the coral polyps 2. Rising acidity is hurting the ability of aragonite corals and other aragonite species to pull CO2 out of the ocean and create the CaCO3 which constitute their exoskeleton This inability to create CaCO3 raises the

saturation of CO2 in the ocean and hurts the ability of the oceans to absorb atmospheric CO2 Rising Acidity of the Oceans is Expected to Kill ~all Aragonite Corals by 2050 Aragonite corals are the beautiful multi-varied tropical corals we all think of, and which provide

habitat for most of the oceans fish at some point in the fishs life cycle (There are also soft corals, which are not threatened) ( EarthTouch video 12:39) Already, 83% of the original Caribbean coral reefs have d ied

It may be happening faster 2016s record heat is bleaching virtually all of the aragonite coral Northern Great Barrier Reef a thousand kilometers long this is the largest coral reef in the world, now bleached white and ~half expected to be dead sometime in 2017

And now, near the end of 2016: "The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016, after a long illness. It was 25 million years old." That startling first sentence leads a must-read obituary by Rowan Jacobsen for Outside Magazine online.

"For most of its life, the reef was the worlds largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more biodiversity than all of Europe combined. It harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. Among its many other achievements, the reef was home to one of the worlds largest populations of dugong and the largest

breeding ground of green turtles. However, in fairness, the reef is not quite dead, only 93% of the reef has been bleached in 2016, mostly at the warmer northern end. Now in 2017, the Reefs again being bleached, now reaching the middle, with recovery less likely (video 1:20)

March 2016 left, and 2 months later, in May 2016 at right, coral bleaching and death at Lizard Island on Australias Great Barrier Reef. Warm water kills the symbiotic algae, followed by death of the coral animals if waters stay too warm Why Havent You Been Hearing About the Great Barrier Reefs Imminent Death?

No one knows if a serious effort could have saved the reef, but it is clear that no such effort was made. On the contrary, attempts to call attention to the reefs plight were thwarted by the government of Australia itself, which in 2016, shortly after approving the largest coal mine in its history, successfully pressured the United Nations to remove a chapter about the reef from a report on the impact of

climate change on World Heritage sites. (This is the same UN which controls the publications of the scientists of the IPCC) Its Just Business Australias Department of the Environment explained the move by saying, experience had shown that

negative comments about the status of World Heritage-listed properties impacted on tourism. In other words, if you tell people the reef is dying, they might stop coming. On the Rapid Loss of our Coral Reefs

This isnt something thats going to happen 100 years from now. Were losing them right now, said marine biologist Julia Baum of Canadas University of Victoria. Were losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined. To lose coral reefs is to fundamentally undermine the health of a very large proportion of the human

race, said Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.They populate a tiny fraction of the ocean but provide habitats for one in four marine species. Not just Australia, but American Samoa

and Hawaii Current Extinction Rate: Estimated at 1,000 Times the Normal Historical Background Rate, Rising to 10,000 Times (de Vos et al. 2014) 90% of all large fish are already gone.

Why? Over-fishing, death of coral reefs (needed by ~half of all fish species at some point in their life cycle) dying due to CO2 induced ocean acidification and warming. Phytoplankton at base of food chain in decline McClennahan (2009) has documented how the loss of coral reef systems has affected the size and species mix of fish using historical

photographs from Florida trophy fishing businesses over the past 50 years. The progression is startling 1956 1957

1965 1978 1983 2008

Today: increasingly its jellys There are people trying to figure out how to eat them. They already do, in some poor Asian countries. And a company is trying to make diapers out of them,

and tampons Sounds pretty uncomfortable to me, but enviro-faith requires sacrifice At the very least, a hefty marketing challenge, no? Im trying hard to look for the silver lining here.

Methane=CH4: From domesticated cattle, from melting permafrost, and peat, is ~25x more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2, pound for pound (avged over 100 yrs) Melting Permafrost Accelerating Global Warming methane trapped in melting Arctic Lakes is being released. Still a minor source of global methane emission today, but rising, and a long term major

threat (see K42: the Future) K. Anthony (U. Fairbanks) on Arctic lake methane Note, Methane oxidizes to water + CO2. The halflife residence time of a CH4 molecule in the atmosphere is about 10 years. Both water and CO2 are less powerful greenhouse gases than methane. Methane Bubbles Frozen in

Arctic Lakes It is calculated that theres potentially as much or more methane in these thawing lakes than already exists in the entire atmosphere, although the true amount remains uncertain so far Methane explosion craters are now appearing in Siberian

Permafrost, which is getting extraordinary warming. Researchers Ice-Climbing the Walls of a Methane Crater. Atmospheric methane content at bottom of crater is 50,000 times normal It would take a million such explosions before dominating Earth climate, it is estimated. But more are being discovered.

The amount of additional greenhouse warming is uncertain; but certainly significant if injection becomes rapid, since methane is ~100 times more powerful than CO2, pound for pound as emitted. Ongoing research hopefully will clarify Mechanism of Crater Formation Pingos, which are cores of ice in the

permafrost, are melting due to warming of the Siberian Arctic The water flows away, leaving the subsurface volume to fill with methane from the thawing permafrost When pressure is too high, this explodes Craters discovered so far, are up to 200 feet in size

Now in 2017, scientists are discovering Over 7,000 new domes filled with methane and are ready to explode, in the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas of Russia alone Disturbing as the future rise of permafrost CO2 and methane is (see

separate powerpoint on Post IPCC Climate Science) currently the evidence is that it is a very minor part of our methane rise. Mostly it is due to tropical wetlands and our agriculture and livestock The Boundary Between the Polar Cell and the Ferrel Cell is the Polar Jet Stream The steep temperature gradient between

these cells means a steep pressure gradient (density difference between cold dense air and warmer less dense air) This causes high winds in the upper troposphere the Jet Stream ( short video animation) The jet stream guides mid-latitude lowpressure (storm) systems.

The boundaries between cells, where air pressure differences can drive fast winds, are called the Jet Streams. If the winds are fast, the streams tend to be straighter-going west-toeast. If they weaken, they can meander north and

south more (as seems to be happening with current climate change). They also tend to get stuck for long periods; even years More and more of the Earths surface is experiencing major droughts

When storms happen, the rising humidity enabled by hotter air, together with the slower moving jet stream caused by the amplification of global warming in the Arctic vs. the tropics, means increasingly severe floods as well. If the temperature gradient between the Polar and Ferrel

cells in the Pacific decreases it makes for a weaker Polar Cell it makes for a weaker Polar Jet Stream, which then meanders more in latitude but on average migrates poleward. It will also cause the tropical cell to expand (more heating) and the desert band to migrate northward in the Northern Hemisphere.

This has already been observed. Weakening Jet Stream means Meandering, means longer lasting storms and droughts Expansion of the Hadley Tropical Cell In a variety of climate models (Barnes and Polvani 2013, a

doubling of CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm, (which seems virtually unavoidable) indicates the northern hemisphere jet stream boundary migrates north by 1 degree (112 km), and twice that in the Southern Hemisphere (Bengtsson et al. 2005) . However, Hansen says observations actually indicate as much as a 4 degrees (270 miles) of north shift has already happened (17 min into this talk)

Currently, at 410 ppm, were 46% of the way towards a doubling of pre-industrial level CO2 concentrations. Observations are outpacing by 200% the models northward migration; meaning a factor of 3. Hadley Cells and the Rising Temperature of the Oceans Rising ocean temperatures is raising the energy

of the Tropical Cell by 570 billion watts per year, since 1979 (Huang & McIlroy 2014) Combined with the weakening cold of the Arctic polar cell, this is causing the polar cell boundary (polar jet stream) to migrate poleward, carrying horse latitude desert northward as well Southern Californias climate will become Northern Californias climate, it is predicted.

Tropical Diseases Spreading North As hot temperatures rise in the tropics and spread north and south to formerly temperate latitudes, tropical disease rates are rising steepl y

Dengue fever cases have risen 2000% in Brazil since 1990 Tropical diseases are spreading north into the U.S. (Scientific American article) Dengue fever, malaria, Lyme disease, And now - Zika Virus as well, which causes microencephaly and severe

brain damage in the unborn It isnt just these tragic Zika victims who will suffer mental handicaps Satish et al. 2012 (and discussed further here) show that all of us will suffer a strikingly large 21% reduction in decisionmaking ability when CO2 levels reach 560ppm, and accelerating worse with

higher levels. When we need clear thinking most, we will be even less able to pick competent leaders, (if that is possible). From Satish et al. 2012. Multiple measures of mental functioning decline with rising CO2

Bees suffering as well. Protein content of pollen is dropping due to rising CO2 Fans of carbon sequestration in soils? Realize that rising temperatures are strongly doing the exact opposite From the Netherlands, Dr. Thomas Crowther speaks for a team of

50 world scientists all warning the official climate projections are missing an important carbon feed-back. As we warm, the soil will release carbon dioxide and methane equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of the United States. We estimated that the carbon emissions from the soil are going to be approximately equivalent to 17 percent of current anthropogenic emissions. So every year, humans will emit a certain amount, and then the soil will be responsible for an extra 17%. Whereas at the

moment, the U.S. is also 17% of the total anthropogenic emissions. So its really on that same order of magnitude: every year the soils will emit about an equivalent amount of carbon that we expect to be emitted from the US. (source) Dr. Thomas Crowther Compounding Pollution from Rising Seas

Louisianas Big Oil counted on barrier islands and swamps to prevent exposure of oil pipeline infrastructure from corrosive seawater and storm surges Maybe they should have thought about rising sea levels caused by their business models destroying that protection and the looming $100 billion nightmare now just beginning to unfold

Stories like this will multiply of course. Not time in this course to list them all Key Points: K38d Current Climate Change: Other Effects Ocean phytoplankton in decline since 1950, and continuing to worsen Hurricane wind speeds are rising, as predicted Stratosphere cooling while troposphere warming: a signature of

greenhouse warming Night temps rising faster than day temps: a signature of greenhouse warming Aragonite corals to disappear by ~2050 with unknown but significant extinctions of fish populations which depend on them, due to ocean acidification Most large wild fish gone. Most vertebrate wild animals gone. We and our livestock are 97% of all global land vertebrates today.

Methane at 2x pre-industrial levels, mostly from livestock and tropical swamps from e.g. new dams, but rapidly rising fraction from fracking, and from melting permafrost Methane emissions rising rapidly, and need much more research Mental abilities decline with rising CO2 Tropical diseases moving north as Earth warms

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