A vicious circle is functioning already? Warming liberates methane and methane causes warming

Perjantai 18.1.2019 klo 20:26

Methane is about 20 times as effective in causing climate warming as carbon dioxide. Much of the methane is in deposits under permafrost in the Arctic areas. Recently, another source under the permanent ice in Greenland has become apparent. The estimations of atmospheric methane level indicate that the amount liberated from agricultural sources, ruminants and swine, industrial sources, and waste treatment is not enough to explain the measured level in the last years. This means that the Arctic deposits are already contributing to the level. Notably, people visiting permafrost areas have reported that small craters can be found in permafrost, suggesting that underground methane has escaped in those places. Also, the ice cover in Greenland has been melting with simultaneous liberation of methane.

The possibility of getting close to temperature increase, which generates vicious methane cycle; methane causes temperature increase which liberates methane, is demanding that climate actions restrict temperature increase to the 1.5-2 degrees agreed in the Paris Climate Accord. By doing this, it is probably possible to prevent entering the vicious circle. However, it is most likely not possible to do it cheaply, so that the "climate promises" of different political and economic circles, which say that we do climate actions as long as they do not disturb economic growth, are utter nonsense. If real climate asctions were the goal, growthnideology would be scrapped, and the high-GNP countries would dacrease their "standard of living" to half to enable funding of climate actions to be able to avoid entering the vicious methane circle.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, natural gas, temperature, permafrost

Gulf Stream may be slowing - should we be worried?

Sunnuntai 15.4.2018 klo 17:10 - Mikko Nikinmaa

The weather in Europe has been very peculiar in recent years. Heat waves, long cold spells, storms and extremely heavy rain have been common - it has become more a regularity than an exception to have strange weather. While the reason for this cannot be given for certain, based on recent articles in Nature (D. J. R. Thornalley et al. Nature 556, 227–230; 2018 and L. Caesar et al. Nature 556, 191–196; 2018), it is tempting to speculate that the sequence of events may be the following. 

1. Increasing temperature causes ice to melt. (Ice is always salt-free)

2. The water from melting ice causes the arctic seawater to have decreased salinity.

3. Decreased salinity slows down the Atlantic circulation. Also the locations of circulation are affected.

4. The climate has been relatively stable for more than a thousand years, because the Atlantic circulation has been stable.

5. Because the changes in Atlantic circulation are unprecedent, the associated weather phenomena cannot be predicted.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, arctic ice, temperature

Urban life and climate change - nature-based solutions

Maanantai 5.3.2018 klo 12:23 - Mikko Nikinmaa

These days most people live in cities. Actually urban life is probably the most compatible with sustainability provided that measures are taken to implement actions that on one hand decrease the effects of urban settlements to the environment and on the other hand decrease the effects of environmental changes on the feasibility of urban life.

Why is urban life sustainable? All the distances can be made short so that one does not need anything but public transport. (And public transport between urban settlements suffices). Energy and electricity production can be centralized and use effective and environment-friendly means. Also garbage collection can be made effective: in fact, there would not be the huge plastic pollution problem, if garbage collection had been effective.

However, the present cities are not planned to be sustainable. In many cases they are not built for people (minimizing distances) but for cars (maximizing the road area). The cities are largely concrete and steel, and all the water needs to run in canals lined with cement etc. Most cities are coastal, and the concrete, cement and asphalt continue to the sea-city interphase. With these properties, the effects of climate change in cities are maximal. In the absence of vegetation, the temperature can be several degrees higher than in a forest. Since the waterways do not contain any wetlands, heavy rains cause flooding, and since there is no free, absorbing vegetation between tha sea and the city, the storms also cause flooding of the cities. To change these features, one would need to build green roofs, small absorbing wetlands in the city's water channels, and stretches of coastal forests between the sea and the city. In fact, one of nature's innovations in storm-suspectible coasts is mangrove forests. With the help of the above changes in the outlook of cities, many of the extremely expensive damages caused by unusual weather could be altogether prevented.

The incentive to writing the above came from acknowledging the set of open access books on Environmental Science by Springer https://www.springer.com/gp/page/oabook/environment. One of the important areas covered is the relationship of urban landscapes and climate change.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: temperature increase, green roofs, floods

Climate change - fallacies in the studies of the sceptics

Lauantai 9.9.2017 klo 16:20 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Although more than 95 % of scientists and 95 % of the reports agree with the climate change, the climate sceptics are very vocal, and as a result, their opinions in the media get much higher coverage. Recently, a common feature of climate change deniers has been to say that "the majority of scientists has also earlier been wrong". They consider themselves (or are considered to be) modern day Galileos, who dare to differ from the mainstream opinions. There is, however, a drastic difference: Galileo's opinions were based on the fact that the observations and calculations could not be explained by the earlier theories as well as by his. In contrast, the climate change deniers do not in their studies include the data that do not fit their ideas. This is actually quite ridiculous, since the same people often claim that the studies supporting the climate change do not take all the data into account. These and other problems in the climate sceptics' studies are described in detail in the open access article by Rasmus E. Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland & John Cook in Theor Appl Climatol (2016) 126:699–703 "Learning from mistakes in climate research"

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: temperature increase, IPCC

Harvey and other storms

Perjantai 1.9.2017 klo 17:57 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Harvey hurricane caused huge damage in Texas, hundreds or maybe even thousands of people are missing or dead after heavy rains in Mumbai, tropical storms are causing havoc in China, Japan and Philippines. Thunderstorms and heavy rain are causing serious problems in many parts of Europe. One cannot open a newspaper today without finding an item related to incidents related to bad weather. And still some people deny the existence of climate change. It is ironic that the president of USA goes to Texas and says that he will do everything in his power to resolve the problem. Yet, the same person says that the root of the problem does not exist - it is just a hoax invented by the Chinese. How many natural disasters are needed, before the hard line climate change deniers will actually start considering that man would have to do something. It is not the case of economy and environmental thinking being opposites any more, economy for tomorrow has to take the environment into account, or there won't be tomorrow's economy. The huge number of unusual weather events across the world gives us a very strong warning sign. Everyone should do what they can...

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, temperature

G20 and climate change

Lauantai 8.7.2017 klo 9:28 - Mikko Nikinmaa

In the G20 meeting, it is 19-1 for climate change actions. Only Trump is still against. I am not saying my opinion of the person, but the denial is irresponsible. Even if climate change were for a large part a natural phenomenon, as climate sceptics maintain, one cannot deny that human actions contribute. This being the case, man should take any action possible to reduce human effects.

And there are clearly effects seen. There are already climate refugees in the USA. Places where people lived in Mississippi river delta in Louisiana are now under water. Clearly Trump government doesn't care that people in his own country have had to move. Also, one just heard the news that a huge iceberg may be loosening from Antarctica - the size is 7 x the area of New York. Further, temperature records have been broken - there have been three consecutive days with over +50 degrees Celcius in Iran. Unnatural weather: winds, floods, cold spells, heat waves occur very frequently all over the world.

Aren't these indications enough to show that something has to be done?

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate refugees, temperature increase, energy production

Soon Santa Claus cannot use reindeer sleigh even in North Pole

Torstai 22.12.2016 klo 16:00 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Although Trump's men do not believe that climate change is happening, it is quite worrying that the temperature in North Pole is presently 30-40 C higher than normally this time of year. It is close to the melting point. Soon Santa cannot drive reindeer sleigh even there.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, arctic temperature