Monday, February 29, 2016

Massive Carbon Monoxide Spike a Mystery

On February 26, 2015 The Global Forecast System model recorded an intense and wide-ranging carbon monoxide (CO) spike over the West Coast of North America. A region stretching from British Columbia, through Washington and Oregon, and on over most of California experienced CO readings ranging from about 5,000 parts per billion over the Southern mountains of B.C. to as high as 40,000 parts per billion over Southern California.

Peak readings appear from Northern California near Eureka and the southern edge of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and along a line south and eastward over Central California to just north and west of Los Angeles near Palmdale along the San Andreas Fault Line.
These readings are between 50 and 265 times above typical background CO levels of about 150 parts per billion. It appears that geological activity may have produced an intense burp of gas. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) readings were also elevated, with peak readings also appearing in Southwestern California.

No major geological organization has yet made any report on this large CO spike. However, scientific research in Nature Asia, by K. S. Jayaraman notes that major CO and SO2 spikes may be an indication of future earthquake activity.

Tectonic map of the Pacific Northwest, showing the Cascadia subduction zone.

Line on this map follows the surface trace of the San Andreas Fault

Relief map of the western United States with the background velocity field (relative to a fixed North American plate) determined from two decades of GPS

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Major Atmospheric Methane Spike

On February 20th 2015, for about 12 hours, the NOAA METOP measure recorded a major atmospheric methane spike in the range of 3,096 parts per billion at 20,000 feet. This was the highest methane reading ever recorded and the first time any measurement has exceeded the 3,000 parts per billion threshold.

This far exceeds the global atmospheric average of around 1830 parts per billion.
The mammoth methane gas leak that spewed uncontrollably from a damaged well in California’s Aliso Canyon was finally capped last week. The Aliso Canyon leak thrust an estimated 96,000 metric tons of potent methane, and other noxious substances, into the atmosphere at a rate of 58,000 kilograms of methane per hour.

In Texas, researchers estimate around 60,000 kilograms are spewed every hour by over 25,000 natural gas wells in operation on the Barnett Shale. This amounts to around 544,000 tons of methane every year. Texas is dealing with a comparable disaster that has been overlooked by officials and the media because the state’s methane emanates from a powerful industry.

Global average abundances of the major, well-mixed, long-lived greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC-12 and CFC-11 - from the NOAA

February 25, 2015 Copenicus methane graphic tracking surface methane readings.
A vast expanse of permafrost has started to thaw for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago. It is caused by the recent 3+°C rise in local temperature over the past 40 years - more than four times the global average. Peat bogs cover an area of a million square miles (or almost a quarter of the earth's land surface) to a depth of 25 meters.
This has the potential to release vast quantities of methane trapped below the surface - billions of tonnes of methane. World-wide, peat bogs store at least two trillion tons of CO2. This is equivalent to a century of emissions from fossil fuels.

This is one of scientist's most feared tipping points.

Russian scientists examining enormous craters which have appeared in the Yamal region of Siberia

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Soaring Ocean Temperatures melting Arctic Ice

Temperatures in January 2016 over the Arctic Ocean were 7.3°C (13.1°F) higher than in 1951-1980, according to NASA. These high temperatures go hand in hand with sea ice extent. Arctic sea ice extent this year is the lowest in the satellite record.

Extremely low sea ice extent is fueling fears this year's Arctic ice maximum extent was already been reached. A much higher ocean temperature is behind both the low sea ice extent and the high temperature anomalies.
Arctic sea ice extent in January was 402,000 square miles below average — an area equivalent to about 60 percent of Alaska.

January 2016 is now the hottest month of January in the 137-year record, following 2015 as the hottest year. The January 2016 globally-averaged temperature across land and ocean surfaces was 1.04oC (1.87oF) above the 20th century average.
Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Climate Change Effects Accelerating

Sea levels on Earth are rising several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years and are accelerating because of man-made global warming.

Until the 1880s, the fastest seas rose was about three to 1 to 1.5 inches a century. In the 20th century the world's seas rose 5.5 inches. Since 1993 the rate has soared to a foot per century. Two different studies published Monday said by 2100 that the world's oceans will rise between 11 to 52 inches.
2015 was the hottest year in recorded history and the winter of 2016, for the Arctic, has been the hottest during any period of record keeping and probably the hottest in at least 150,000 years.

Sea ice is retreating. The permafrost is thawing. The glaciers are melting. And the flow of the Jet Stream appears to be weakening.
Before 1700, levels of carbon dioxide were about 280 ppm. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have reached the 400 ppm theshold.

Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere. It traps 29 times more heat than carbon dioxide. Global methane levels have risen past 1800 parts per billion (ppb), the highest value in at least 800,000 years.
Frozen methane clathrate deposits found at the bottom of seabeds and in permafrost is a natural source of greenhouse gases. Significant amounts of methane is being released into the atmosphere from methane clathrate deposits found in the Arctic.

The warming of methane clathrate releases more methane into the atmosphere creating more global warming. This positive feedback feeds additional methane release. This cycle repeats ... a feedback loop.

Siberian Methane blow hole