The Arctic sea ice melt and methane feedback situation is a planetary emergency in its own right.
The sea ice melt is passed its extremely dangerous tipping point (T. Lenton 2012), (C. Duarte 2012).
The sources of methane feedback emissions are warming wetlands, thawing permafrost and warmed sea floor methane hydrates.
These regions hold three to four times all the carbon in the atmosphere.
The loss of all the summer sea ice will increase the rate of Arctic warming 3.5 times (D Lawrence 2008) which will boost the rate of methane emissions from the Arctic.
Since the record sea ice loss of 2007, the atmospheric methane concentration has been increasing and the scientists say this increase is due to carbon feedback emissions, some of which are coming from the rapidly warming Arctic.
Wetlands and methane hydrate can both respond rapidly to an increase in global warming. Arctic Methane hydrate has the potential to abruptly release a catastrophic amount of methane to the atmosphere.
Land based permafrost responds slower to warming as the methane is emitted as a result of micro-organisms digesting the thawed organic material.
However at a certain amount of thawing permafrost thaw becomes self perpetuating - irreversible. This because the microbial activity generates heat indide the thawing permafrost.
Nothing makes today's planetary emergency more definite than the rapidly changing state of the Arctic because there are many +ve amplifying feedbacks triggered by Arctic warming. These can cascade as a mighty deadly domino effect (C Duarte 2012)
Loss of Arctic summer sea ice effect on Northern hemisphere PDF.
It is well known that the vast expanse of Arctic summer sea ice (and spring-summer snow) have a cooling effect on the region which moderates the climate and weather of the temperate northern hemisphere. This the Arctic summer air conditioner for the entire Northern hemisphere. The loss of the 'albedo' cooling effect will disrupt the climate and increase extreme weather northern latitudes. Research shows this has started already. Drought is projected to increase. Extreme cold could affect some regions at unseasonal times. Without an emergency response now, crop yields of the world's best food producing regions will progressively decline.
Sept 2012 'Planetary emergency' due to Arctic
melt, experts warn
Arctic sea ice past ice free tipping point.
The first great Arctic amplifying feedback domino is falling and others are starting.
James Hansen made public statements in 2008 and in 2012 following the two record drops in Arctic Summer sea ice- warning the world had entered a state of planetary emergency. The reason is that, as he said in 2008, the Arctic sea ice had crossed its ice free tipping point in 2007, which is a very large +ve amplifying feedback. This will boost Arctic feedback GHG emissions and the rate of the Greenland ice sheet melt, both being planetary catastrophes. Tipping point expert Tim Lenton has also said he thinks the Arctic summer sea ice is past tipping the point.
The sea ice experts and the IPCC are sticking with their very underestimating
model projections saying the year round Arctic summer sea is good for many decades ,while Arctic expert Prof Peter Wadhams says extrapolating the rapid trend of declining Arctic thickness it is only good for a few years.
Two Arctic methane science papers prove we have an Arctic warming planetary emergency. In 2013 A Vask's research of Siberian Permafrost caves determined that the vast Siberian permafrost has a tipping point for thawing of only 1.5C and that global climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw extensive regions of permafrost. We are absolutely committed to a 1.5 warming due to the ocean heat lag alone.
Russian scientists have been researching methane emissions venting through the sea surface over the vast shallow East Siberian shelf. Here there is methane hydrate and subsea floor free methane gas. In 2012 the results of years of onsite research was published The Degradation of Submarine Permafrost and the Destruction
of Hydrates on the Shelf of East Arctic Seas
as a Potential Cause of the “Methane Catastrophe”:
Some Results of Integrated Studies in 2011 saying The emission of methane in several areas of the ESS is massive to the extent
that growth in the methane concentrations in the atmosphere to values capable of causing a considerable and
even catastrophic warning on the Earth is possible.
The Arctic at the top of the world is at the center of the planetary emergency and the trigger is the rapid loss of Spring-Summer Far North-Arctic snow and Summer sea ice.
Arctic snow-ice albedo cooling
This albedo cooling effect keeps the Arctic frozen and keeps the enormous pool of Far North and Arctic carbon safely cold and frozen. The shiny white snow and sea ice reflect incoming solar energy back out to space.
Less Arctic albedo cooling results in more Arctic warming, an amplifying feedback
called Arctic/polar amplification.
While the Arctic sea ice provides a vast extent of albedo cooling (which is now declining fast) to its September minimum, Far North snow from Spring to mid Summer provides an equally vast expanse of albedo cooling equivalent to the sea ice albedo (M. Flanner 2011). This is also rapidly declining as the snow declines earlier every year.
Arctic & Far North carbon
Arctic permafrost holds twice the carbon in the atmosphere and subsea floor frozen solid methane gas hydrate holds at least as much carbon as in the atmosphere. All this carbon will be released with too much warming, and that has started already.
All atmospheric GHG are rising. Methane is highest in the Arctic and this powerful GHG since 2007 has been rising due to planetary feedback type emissions, some of which are coming off the Arctic.
10 Jan 2020 Ice-free Arctic Ocean allowed ancient carbon leaks
8 Jan 2020 Palaeoclimate evidence of vulnerable permafrost during times of low sea ice, A Vaks Dec 2019 NOAA Arctic Report Card Arctic switched from C sink to source confirmed. Permafrost feedback underway 11 Nov 2019 Chad Thakeray Arctic could be ice free by 2044 21 Oct 2019
Arctic loses carbon as winters wane- The region is a source of carbon.
Arctic net Carbon source
Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region
11 Sept 2019 Western Siberian rivers and lakes emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
16 July 2019 ANTARCTIC 40-year record Antarctic sea ice increases followed by decreases at rates far exceeding the rates seen in the Arctic 10 July 2019 Radiative heating of an ice free Arctic ocean +i trillion tons CO2 8 July 2019 Responses of tundra soil microbial communities (permafrost thaw)
1 July 2019 Direct observation of permafrost degradation and rapid soil carbon loss in tundra (5/year!) 10 June 2019 Maximum permafrost thaw depths already exceeding those projected for 2090 Climate change drives widespread and rapid thermokarst development in very cold permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic. 17 May 2019 United States Heat Wave Frequency and Arctic Ocean Sea Ice (Gt Plains)
30 April 2019 Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release
23 April 2019 Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost 15 Jan 2019 Rapid decline of Arctic sea ice volume: Causes and consequences (2030-2035) 4 April 2016 On the Potential for Abrupt Arctic Winter Sea Ice Loss 5 Feb 2019 Sea Ice free by 2035 Pacific Ocean Variability Influences the Time of Emergence of Ice‐Free Arctic Ocean (by 2040)
5 Dec 2018 Declining sea ice is making the Arctic ocean warmer (Fall and early Winter)
Oct 2018 Arctic sea ice thickness, volume, and multiyear ice coverage: losses (1958–2018) -66% in 50 yrs (Kwok)
10 Sept 2019
Coastal erosion in the Arctic intensifies global warming
Sea level rise in the past led to the release of greenhouse gases from permafrost
2018 Deglacial mobilization of pre-aged (ancient) terrestrial
carbon from degrading permafrost permafrost-carbon release through
sea-level rise likely contributed significantly to abrupt increases in atmospheric CO2 around 14.6 and 11.5 kyrs BP
Year round rain increases Greenland melt 6 Mar 2019 Sea ice -abrupt climate change 16 Jan 2019 Permafrost is warming at a global scale (rapid-Arctic continuous accelerating)
24 Sept 2018 Arctic lake fossil methane
5 Sept 2018 Mineral Weathering and the Permafrost Carbon‐Climate Feedback
16 Aug 2018 Abrupt thaw' of permafrost beneath lakes could significantly affect climate change models
June 2018 Arctic red snow algae increase melt rate
18 July 2018 Scientists lack vital knowledge on rapid Arctic climate change
11 July 2018 Accelerating (carbon emissions) rates of Arctic carbon cycling
9 Jan 2018 The Polar WRF Downscaled Historical & Projected Climate for the Coast and Foothills of Arctic Alaska TEMP
Dec 2017 Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall
5 Sept 2017 Emerging role of wetland methane emissions in driving 21st century climate change
19 June 2019
Strong geologic methane emissions discontinuous
permafrost Mackenzie Delta, Canada
April 2017 AMAP Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic 2017
17 January 2017 Mitigation implications of an ice-free summer in the Arctic Ocean
June 2017 N2O Increased nitrous oxide emissions from Arctic peatlands after permafrost thaw
April 2017 AMAP SWIPA
10 April 2017
Observation-based constraint on permafrost loss as a function of global warming. Global warming will thaw about 20% more permafrost than previously thought
Dec 2016 NOAA Arctic Report Card Arctic tundra has switched from carbon sink to soutrce.
14 Dec 2016 Scientists measure pulse of CO2 (& methane) emissions during spring thaw in the Arctic
4 Dec 2016 Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth's greatest mass extinction
Jan 5 2016 Cold season emissions dominate the Arctic tundra
19 Oct 2015 Alaskan boreal forest fires release more carbon than the trees can absorb
21 Nov 2016 Enhanced nitrous oxide emissions found in field warming experiment in the Arctic Jan 2009 Large tundra methane burst during onset of freezing 18 Feb 2014 Study Finds Polar Albedo Falling at Twice Expected Rate, Added Heat Equal to 25% CO2 Forcing Globally.
While the most talked about Arctic global catastrophe is sea level rise from the meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, that is the last of our Arctic worries.
Before that is abrupt climate change from the slowing of the deep ocean conveyor current (MOC) from the fresh melt-water, which is slowing faster than expected (research March 2015). The worst case MOC scenario 'Imagining the Unthinkable' was published in 2003.
Long before that happens there is the effect on the Northern Hemisphere (NOAA refs), which includes the world's best agriculture
Worst of all is Arctic multiple amplifying feedback 'runaway', which starts with the snow & ice albedo amplifying feedback.
Known Arctic feedback processes
Arctic permafrost is vast & deep
The Arctic is warming up to 4X the global average
Arctic permafrost carbon
350 PgC by 2100
+1.5C by 2100
(IPCC AR5 WG1 FAQ 6.1)
Sc. Am. 19 Nov 2015Permafrost Meltdown Raises Risk of Runaway Global Warming
April 2014 MOST IMPORTANT Wetlands synthesis. Wetlands from thawed permafrost emit much more methane, which is certain to trigger more warming (article)
MAY 4 2011
Lawrence Berkely LAb
As Climate Changes, Methane Trapped Under Arctic Ocean Could Bubble to the Surface.
March 2004 Disappearing Arctic sea ice reduces available water in the American west
Jan 2016 Big increase in methane from Russian peatlands
April 2017 Between 1976 and 1996 average sea ice loss in the Arctic was 8,300 square miles per year. Between 1996 and 2013, this number more than doubled to 19,500 square miles per year. April 2017 AMAP SWIPA SPM (AMAP: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme). NOAA 201895% of thick old ice lost
At 2.2C global warming, daily maximum temperatures are above zero C for all regions of Arctic permafrost
VIDEO NOAA Record Arctic sea ice low of 2012
Effects beyond the Arctic .
Earth Emergency Arctic has switched from carbon sink to source with accelerating permafrost feedback underway NOAA Arctic Report Card 2019
The Arctic Carbon Time-Bomb is Triggered 2019 PDF
2017 Strong Methane emissions from Canada Arctic permafrost
Sept 2016 : L. Livermore Arctic sea ice loss California drought
Dec 2017 Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall (drought)
VIDEO Oct 2019 Carbon emissions grow exponentially, Arctic permafrost thaws faster