Monday, October 17, 2016

Important climate milestones

Sou | 3:30 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment
While the Trump farce is entertaining, shocking and scaring people in the USA and around the world, there have been some important achievements on the climate front, not all of them reasons for celebration.

Here are some of them:

  • The ParisAgreement - On 5 October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved. The Paris Agreement will enter into force on 4 November 2016. 
  • HFC phase down - There is a global agreement to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which will have a big impact on the rate of warming this century.
  • Reducing aviation emissions - The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) CORSIA resolution — Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation — will cap aviation emissions at 2020 levels by 2027.
  • BP won't explore the Great Australian Bight - Under the previous Labor Government, then Minister Martin Ferguson did a deal with BP to explore the pristine Great Australian Bight. BP has now said it won't be doing that, for cost reasons.
  • Never again below 400 ppm - with the latest CO2 levels in the atmosphere at the lowest time of the year, it's clear that never again for a very long time will the atmosphere have less than 400 ppm CO2.


  1. "Never again below 400 ppm - with the latest CO2 levels in the atmosphere at the lowest time of the year, it's clear that never again for a very long time will the atmosphere have less than 400 ppm CO2."

    The fact that the 'most advanced' country in the world can select a person like Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, and take him all the way to the election, indicates that the inherent human frailty thus displayed means that we're not likely to do anything to halt the inexorable increase in atmospheric CO₂ until it's well-past 500 ppm, and perhaps significantly more.

    If the day comes when the headline is "Never again below 500 ppm" and we're still in the current state of frantically trying to initiate appreciable action on mitigation, the sub-heading should be "the collapse of human society (and quite possibly the human species' extinction) is guaranteed".

    It reminds me of the episode in the rather execrable series 'The Mentalist' when the character Dr Alicia Seberg calls Patrick Jane and says "I need your assistance immediately, I’ve been murdered." She's been infected with an untreatable, lethal virus and a lot of the episode involves the characters and the viewers watching her the approach of her inevitable demise. Perhaps humans need to be told at exactly what point in our continued emissions of CO₂ we'll have irreversibly murdered ourselves, our children, and the only life-support system we'll ever have in the entire universe.

    1. Sorry - I did see the good news...

      I'll be more receptive to such though when it's finally reflected in a substantial flattening of the trajectory of the Keeling curve. :-(

    2. Bumping Bernard J's remark on the Keeling Curve.

  2. There's a new paper just published which may shed some light on the satellite "temperature" record we all know and love (NOT!):

    I haven't read it yet, but the abstract looks great and the authors include all the NOT from UAH MSU/AMSU people. Will the politicians take notice? Not likely before the US election, as the two sides already have positions set in concrete...

  3. It's still a few years premature to declare that we are now beyond 400 ppmv CO2, never to return to below for a long time.

    To say so is to forget the higher northern latitudes and the increasing amplitude of the seasonal cycle of CO2 the farther north you go. For example, the Barrow, Alaska observatory (BRW) measures an annual maximum (April/May) to the following minimum (August) variation of 16 to 18 ppmv, whereas the Mauna Loa observatory (MLO) measures about 6+ ppmv.

    Consequently, it is virtually certain that the high Arctic will see a CO2 minimum below 400 ppm next summer and very likely below 400 ppm the summer after that. I estimate that it may be as late as 2020 or 2021 before there is a CO2 minimum definitively above 400 ppm in the high Arctic.

    The Global Monitoring Division of NOAA's Earth System Research Lab has an interactive Data Visualization tool at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/ where you can explore such details. It's surprising just how far south from the high Arctic you can go before a below 400 ppm minimum for next summer becomes unlikely.

    But regardless of whether it's 2019, 2020, or 2021 when we pass the real "Never again below 400 ppm--year-round, world-wide" mark, it is virtually certain that within 5 years afterward we will have blown past the "Never again below 410 ppm--year-round, world-wide" mark, and within 5 years that .... (In 10 years past the 400 mark it is virtually certain to be more than 410, but I hope significantly less than 420.)

    1. A global view suggests otherwise:


    2. Jammy Dodger:

      It is important not to confuse a global mean such as you reference with the field of regional variations over time and all latitudes and longitudes (or reasonable samplings thereof).

      Did you checkout the Barrow observatory (BRW, 71.32 N)--one of NOAA's 4 baseline in situ observatories, or the Alert, Nunavut (ALT, 82.45 N), or any of the other observatories at 60 deg North and higher, using the NOAA Data Visualization facility (IADV) that I reference in my first comment?

    3. No confusion on my part GP Allredge. Are you sure it is not you who does not quite understand the idea of a global climate milestone?

  4. Correction:

    For "and within 5 years that ....", read "and within 5 years *after* that ....".


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.