Saturday, May 13, 2017

Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?

How much could temperatures rise? As the image shows, a rise of more than 10°C (18°F) could take place, resulting in mass extinction of many species, including humans.

How fast could such a temperature rise eventuate? As above image also shows, such a rise could take place within a few years. The polynomial trend is based on NASA January 2012-February 2017 anomalies from 1951-1980, adjusted by +0.59°C to cater for the rise from 1750 to 1951-1980. The trend points at a 3°C rise in the course of 2018, which would be devastating. Moreover, the rise doesn't stop there and the trend points at a 10°C rise as early as the year 2021.

Is this polynomial trend the most appropriate one? This has been discussed for years, e.g. at the Controversy Page, and more recently at Which Trend Is best?

The bottom part of above image shows the warming elements that add up to the 10°C (18°F) temperature rise. Figures for five elements may be overestimated (as indicated by the ⇦ symbol) or underestimated (⇨ symbol), while figures in two elements could be either under- or overestimated depending on developments in other elements. Interaction between warming elements is included, i.e. where applicable, figures on the image include interaction based on initial figures and subsequently apportioned over the relevant elements.

A closer look at each of these warming elements further explains why abrupt warming could take place in a matter of years. As far as the first two elements are concerned, i.e. the rise from 1900 and the rise from 1750 to 1900, this has already eventuated. The speed at which further warming elements can strike is depicted in the image below, i.e. the rise could for a large part occur within years and in some cases within days and even immediately.

Assessing the Danger

The danger can be looked at on three dimensions: timescale, probability and severity. On the severity dimension, a 10°C temperature rise is beyond catastrophic, i.e. we're talking about extinction of species at massive scale, including humans. On the probability dimension, the danger appears to be progressing inevitably toward certainty if no comprehensive and effective action is taken.

In terms of timescale, a 10°C temperature rise could eventuate within a matter of years, which makes the danger imminent, adding further weight to the need to start taking comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

The Threat

With little or no action taken on global warming, it appears that the Antropocene will lead to extinction of the very human beings after which the era is named, with the Anthropocene possibly running from 1950 to 2021, i.e. a mere 71 years and much too short to constitute an era. In that case a better name for the period would be the Sixth Extiction Event, as also illustrated by the image below.

[ See: Feedbacks in the Arctic and the Extinction page ]
In conclusion, it's high time that homo sapiens starts acting as genuinely wise modern human beings and commit to comprehensive and effective action as discussed at the Climate Plan.

Further reading

Warming elements are discussed in more detail at the Extinction Page, while specific elements are also discussed in posts, e.g. methane hydrates are discussed at Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean, decline of the snow and ice cover and associated feedbacks is discussed at Arctic Ocean Feedbacks and less take-up by oceans of CO₂ and heat from the atmosphere is discussed at 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021? and at the new post High Waves Set To Batter Arctic Ocean.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.


• Climate Plan

• Feedbacks

• Extinction

• Controversy

• Which Trend Is best?

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean

• High Waves Set To Batter Arctic Ocean

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade


  1. i am trying to find a way to tell my kids and have some hope..

    1. The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

    2. This is a terrible dilemma for parents. I am thinking that this may be a good time to reinstate the rule of parents keeping things to themselves. What will it benefit them to have a bunch of horrifying possibilities put in their heads. There's nothing they can do about it. Just let them live their lives until such time as something must be said - and then only say the minimum. Because no one really does know how this is going to play out. It does look, even to a layperson such as myself, as if there will be no way to avoid at the very least severe weather pattern changes, and much more likely that there will be a variety of sources of major and not beneficial change coming at us, and soon. But no one knows exactly what or when.

  2. This is most definitely NOT the time to be keeping secrets from your kids. Their ability to survive any future is dependent upon their education. If my parents withheld this information from me, I would never forgive them. You brought your children into this world, therefore you have a responsibility to furnish them with the truth. The facts remains, the sixth mass extinction event is underway... And we are most certainly on that list.

    1. Imagine a play that is still being written and the discovery of fun in a showdown that happens when a specie, in fact discovers Corp $$.
      The body of $ is but a figment of overindulgence of brain power to isolate profit from consequence. Now imagine Quantum Jump of Shark to Earth Real Where the work we do naturally tends to help restore Earth Biosphere Vibrancy aka pH 8.2 of Ocean OK.