Climate Science

This is a by no means a comprehensive list of climate science sites. It's meant to give a quick overview for the need to decarbonize as soon as humanly possible.

Main Sites

Climate NASA | Global Carbon Project | United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change Newsroom

Latest News

Vox coverage on Green New Deal

Every year the Global Carbon Budget releases progress on current atmospheric CO2 and GHGs levels. For 2018 emissions are projected to rise to a growth of 2% (projected 1.7% - 2.8%), after 2017 ended with 1.6% growth and 2016 was flat[2].

Global Carbon Budget 2018 Infographics

Noteable Coverage

Vox: IPCC Special Report, and links this year's UNFCCC meeting: COP24.

Climate Change Exposé, New York Times: Loosing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

Forbes: Growth for Cleantech and Clean Energy Markets

Carbon Brief: Reaching 1.5ºC will be challenging at best.

Latest CO2 PPM

Atmospheric Anthropogenic Carbon to be Removed

How much Carbon do we need to remove? A rough estimate of is 500 Gt Carbon from emissions. This number shoots up close to 700 Gt Carbon if the Land Sink deteriorates. As of 2017, the total was 627 Gt Carbon.

The red eXes are extrapolations of when we'd hit 450ppm from the light blue Mauna Loa ppm to GtC average curve. This assumes the current exponential growth rate continues unheeded till 450 ppm. 450ppm is projected to happen by 2032. The solid black line is the amount of fossil fuel emissions combined with land use change emissions which are projected to be in the atmosphere to cause 450 ppm.

Carbon Removal of the total cumulative emissions could look like the decline splines shown in teal or purple.

Note, to go a step beyond pure carbon-dioxide sequestration and fully remove carbon from the global carbon cycle, carbon can be solidified to stop it from expediting climate change.

Global Surface Temperature Rising

This paper: 'Time scales and ratios of climate forcing due to thermal versus carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels' shows how Earth Global surface temperature is warming due to CO2 combustion and CO2 radiative forcing (Greenhouse gas) effect.[3]

Exit Cryosphere Stability Zone

If one models global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (CO2 PPM) over the last 5M years using the Antarctic Vostok Ice Core data correlated to ice sheet existence, a large region emerges which includes data points starting with Northern Hemispheric Glaciation at about 2.7M years to just prior to the present. This data correlates a range of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 180 CO2 PPM[4] to sub 370 CO2 PPM[5] to temperatures that stay within a change of 2.5 Cº, over the last 2.7 M years. Outside of 2.7M years we observe higher temperatures and CO2 concentration and radically reduced Arctic ice sheet, glaciers, and radically raised ocean levels.[5] At present, Earth's climate is exceeding the previous stability zone due to increased global surface temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration, leading to radical changes to global oceanic oscillations, and possible shutdown of thermohaline circulation[6] and increased reduction in polar ice sheets and further sea level rise. The shear fact that CO2 concentration has surpassed that during the Northern Hemispheric Glaciation point should raise great concern.

Additionally, historically the change in CO2 concentration happened at a slow rate on the order of 1 ppm per century, where as humans have caused changes on the order of about 100 ppm per century. "And the system variables (carbon dioxide and temperature) are now "decoupled" in the sense that we are far from equilibrium (rate of change). How global temperature responds to a combination of GHG forcing and loss of albedo (surface melting in Greenland) is unknown.", per Assoc. Prof. Robert Cormia.

Image Credit: Assoc. Prof. Robert Cormia of Foothill College

Atmospheric CO2 and temperature

Sources: Atmospheric CO2 and temperature: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Co2-temperature-records.svg
RCP CO2 pathways: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/carbon-and-other-biogeochemical-cycles/fig6-25-3/

Tipping elements and points in the climate system

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
Steffen et al., 2018
"We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values."


References

New scenarios show how the world could limit warming to 1.5C in 2100 https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-scenarios-world-limit-warming-one-point-five-celsius-2100

Global Carbon Budget 2018 https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-2141-2018

Global Carbon Budget 2017 https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-405-2018

Time scales and ratios of climate forcing due to thermal versus carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL063514

Stable Carbon Cycle–Climate Relationship During the Late Pleistocene https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1120130 

The role of CO2 decline for the onset of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.04.015

Role of tropics in changing the response to Milankovich forcing some three million years ago  https://doi.org/10.1029/2002PA000837

Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn https://doi.org/10.1029/95JD03410

NCDC NOAA Lawdome Data

Steffen et al., 2018, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, https://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252.full