Climate change is likely to be the predominant scientific, economic, political and moral issue of the 21st century
Skip to comments.‘Beijing Jim’ Hansen: Sea Level Rise of Many Metres This Century “Almost Dead Certain”
Posted on 01/23/2011 5:47:22 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
You gotta hand it to the guy, despite almost every single one of his prognostications turning out to be wrong, he doesnt bat an eyelid but just right on going. And they keep letting him.
The latest escapade from Beijing Jim involves a paper hes writing which says its almost dead certain that the sea will rise by a multiple number of metres this century. As Treehugger reports:
[Business as usual] scenarios result in global warming on the order of 3-6°C. It is this scenario for which we assert that multi-meter sea level rise on the century time scale are not only possible, but almost dead certain.
Treehugger. Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise by 2100 Certain with Business As Usual Emissions: James Hansen.
Apparently, Beijing Jim reckons that something called albedo flip will speed the process of melting all the ice in the word (including the 90% of the worlds ice in Antarctica, currently chilling at around -40 degrees celcius). For more, you can read the draft paper here.
Whats so touching about the way Treehugger reports this latest paper is the level of doe-eyed trust they seem to still have in him:
James Hansen may be as much as a celebrity as one can be in the world of climate change science, so when he and colleague Makiko Sato say that were in for multi-meter sea level rise by 2100 you have to pay attention, even when that prediction falls well outside the range predicted by many other climate scientists
Isnt that nice? His predictions for temperature rises with business as usual scenarios from 1988 that kicked this whole thing off were miles out, yet still they believe in him, despite what those horrid sceptics say with their insistence on, yknow, verifiable evidence and empirical science rather than a simulation on a computer.
maybe he means a “multi-millimeter sea level rise by 2100”.
I agree with 2 out of those 3 words. I’m certain.
Guess this is close to the original paper:
January 20, 2011
Climate change is likely to be the predominant scientific, economic, political and moral issue of the 21st century
Right now, were headed towards an ice-free planet. That takes us through the Eemian interglacial period of about 130,000 years ago when sea levels were 15 to 20 feet higher, when temperatures had been thought to be about 1°C warmer than today. Then we go back to the early Pliocene, when sea level was about 25 m [82 feet] higher than today, as NASAs James Hansen and Makiko Sato explain in a new draft paper, Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change.
The question is how much warmer was it in the Eemian and early Pliocene than today and how fast can the great ice sheets disintegrate?
We already know were at CO2 levels that risk catastrophe if they are sustained or exceeded for any extended period of time (see Science: CO2 levels havent been this high for 15 million years, when it was 5° to 10°F warmer and seas were 75 to 120 feet higher).
Hansen and Sato go further, saying were actually at or very near the highest temperatures of the current Holocene interglacial the last 12,000 years of relatively stable climate that has made modern civilization possible.
They argue that the Eemian was warmer than the Holocene maximum by at most by about 1°C, but probably by only several tenths of a degree Celsius. Their make the remarkable finding, that sea level rise will be highly nonlinear this century on our current business-as-usual [BAU] emissions that:
BAU scenarios result in global warming of the order of 3-6°C. It is this scenario for which we assert that multi-meter sea level rise on the century time scale are not only possible, but almost dead certain.
While this conclusion takes them well outside of every other recent prediction of sea level rise (SLR), Hansen deserves to be listened to because he has been right longer than almost anyone else in the field (see Right for three decades: 1981 Hansen study finds warming trend that could raise sea levels). Also, at least one recent study that attempts to integrate a linear historically-based analysis with a rapid response term finds we are headed towards SLR of as much as 1.9 metres (6ft 3in) by 2100″ if we stay on BAU (see Sea levels may rise 3 times faster than IPCC estimated, could hit 6 feet by 2100).
Hansen and Sato make their case for a strong nonlinear SLR based on a phase change feedback mechanism, that, as well see, appears consistent with the recent scientific literature and observations1:
There is a simple explanation for why the Eemian and Holsteinian were only marginally warmer than the Holocene and yet had (both) poles several degrees Celsius warmer. Earth at peak Holocene temperature is poised such that additional warming instigates large amplifying high-latitude feedbacks. Mechanisms on the verge of being instigated include loss of Arctic sea ice, shrinkage of the Greenland ice sheet, loss of Antarctic ice shelves, and shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheets. These are not runaway feedbacks, but together they strongly amplify the impacts in polar regions of a positive (warming) climate forcing.
Augmentation of peak Holocene temperature by even 1°C would be sufficient to trigger powerful amplifying polar feedbacks, leading to a planet at least as warm as in the Eemian and Holsteinian periods, making ice sheet disintegration and large sea level rise inevitable.
Empirical evidence supporting these assertions abounds. Global temperature increased 0.5°C in the past three decades (Hansen et al., 2010) to a level comparable to the prior Holocene maximum, or a few tenths of a degree higher. Satellite observations reveal rapid reduction of Arctic sea ice (Stroeve et al., 2007) and surface melt on a large growing portion of the Greenland ice sheet (Steffen et al., 2004; Tedesco et al., 2011).
Arctic response to human-made climate forcing is more apparent than Antarctic change, because the response time is quicker due to the large proportion of land area and Greenlands temperature, which allows a large expansion of the area with summer melting.
However, we must expect ice sheet mass balance changes will occur simultaneously in both hemispheres. Why? Because ice sheets in both hemispheres were in near-equilibrium with Holocene temperatures. That is probably why both Greenland and Antarctica began to shed ice in the past decade or so, because global temperature is just rising above the Holocene level.
Ice sheet disintegration in Antarctica depends on melting the underside of ice shelves as the ocean warms, a process well underway at the Pine Island glacier (Scott et al., 2009). The glaciers grounding line has retreated inland by tens of kilometers (Jenkins et al., 2010) and thinning of the ice sheet has spread inland hundreds of kilometers (Wingham et al., 2009).
The article has a longer discussion of the albedo flip underlying their conclusion:
Summer melting on lower reaches of the ice sheets and on ice shelves introduces the albedo flip mechanism (Hansen et al., 2007). This phase change of water causes a powerful local feedback, which, together with moderate global warming, can substantially increase the length of the melt season. Such increased summer melting has an immediate local temperature effect, and it also will affect sea level, on a time scale that is being debated, as discussed below.
We suggest that the warmest interglacials in the past 450,000 years were warm enough to bring the albedo flip phenomenon into play, while interglacials in the earlier part of the 800,000 year ice core record were too cool for surface melt on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and ice shelves to be important. Increased surface melting, loss of ice shelves, and reduction of summer and autumn sea ice around the Antarctic and Greenland continents during the warmest interglacials would have a year-round effect on temperature, because the increased area of open water has its largest impact on surface air temperature in the cool seasons.
Further, we suggest that the stability of sea level during the Holocene is a consequence of the fact that global temperature remained just below the level required to initiate the albedo flip mechanism on Greenland and West Antarctica.
One implication of this interpretation is that the world today is on the verge of a level of global warming for which the equilibrium surface air temperature response on the ice sheets will exceed the global mean temperature increase by much more than a factor of two.
Coincidentally, a new article in Nature Geoscience, Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008, appears to lend support to this thesis. After synthesizing a variety of remote sensing and field measurements, the authors find the albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere is substantially larger than comparable estimates obtained from 18 climate models. The news release notes:
A new analysis of the Northern Hemispheres albedo feedback over a 30-year period concludes that the regions loss of reflectivity due to snow and sea ice decline is more than double what state-of-the-art climate models estimate.
The findings are important, researchers say, because they suggest that Arctic warming amplified by the loss of reflectivity could be even more significant than previously thought.
Also, the Hansen/Sato thesis seems consistent with a 2008 study in Geophysical Research Letters by leading tundra experts, Accelerated Arctic land warming and permafrost degradation during rapid sea ice loss. The lead author is David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), who I have interviewed a number of times . The studys ominous conclusion:
We find that simulated western Arctic land warming trends during rapid sea ice loss are 3.5 times greater than secular 21st century climate-change trends. The accelerated warming signal penetrates up to 1500 km inland .
Back to Hansen/Sato. They have extended discussion of linear versus non-linear ice sheet disintegration and conclude:
The asymmetry of glacial-interglacial climate cycles, with rapid warming and sea level rise in the warming phase and a slower descent into ice ages, suggests that amplifying feedbacks can make the wet ice sheet disintegration process relatively rapid (Hansen et al., 2007). But how rapid?
Paleoclimate records include cases in which sea level rose several meters per century, even though known natural positive forcings are much smaller than the human-made forcing. This implies that ice sheet disintegration can be a highly nonlinear process.
We suggest that a nonlinear process spurred by an increasing forcing and amplifying feedbacks is better characterized by the doubling time for the rate of mass disintegration, rather than a linear rate of mass change. If the doubling time is as short as a decade, multi-meter sea level rise could occur this century. Observations of mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica are too brief for significant conclusions, but they are not inconsistent with a doubling time of a decade or less. The picture will become clearer as the measurement record lengthens.
What constraints or negative feedbacks might limit nonlinear growth of ice sheet mass loss? An ice sheet sitting primarily on land above sea level, such as most of Greenland, may be limited by the speed at which it can deliver ice to the ocean via outlet glaciers. But much of the West Antarctic ice sheet, resting on bedrock below sea level, is not so constrained.
And so they end their paper with this prediction and warning:
IPCC BAU (business-as-usual) scenarios assume that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase, with the nations of the world burning most of the fossil fuels including unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands.
An alternative extreme, one that places a substantial rising price on carbon emissions, would have CO2 emissions beginning to decrease within less than a decade, as the world moves on energy systems beyond fossil fuels, leaving most of the remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels in the ground. In this extreme scenario, lets call it fossil fuel phase-out (FFPO), CO2 would rise above 400 ppm but begin a long decline by mid-century (Hansen et al., 2008).
The European Union 2°C scenario, call it EU2C, falls in between these two extremes.
BAU scenarios result in global warming of the order of 3-6°C. It is this scenario for which we assert that multi-meter sea level rise on the century time scale are not only possible, but almost dead certain. Such a huge rapidly increasing climate forcing dwarfs anything in the peleoclimate record. Antarctic ice shelves would disappear and the lower reaches of the Antarctic ice sheets would experience summer melt comparable to that on Greenland today.
The other extreme scenario, FFPO, does not eliminate the possibility of multi-meter sea level rise, but it leaves the time scale for ice sheet disintegration very uncertain, possibly very long. If the time scale is several centuries, then it may be possible to avoid large sea level rise by decreasing emissions fast enough to cause atmospheric greenhouse gases to decline in amount.
What about the intermediate scenario, EU2C? We have presented evidence in this paper that prior interglacial periods were less than 1°C warmer than the Holocene maximum. If we are correct in that conclusion, the EU2C scenario implies a sea level rise of many meters. It is difficult to predict a time scale for the sea level rise, but it would be dangerous and foolish to take such a global warming scenario as a goal.
If Hansen and Sato are right, we will know within a decade or two. Unfortunately, continuing to do nothing while we wait to find out all but ensures we cross the tipping point and entire the realm of worst-case scenarios. Further delay is beyond immoral.
Hansen is about 70 yr. old.
I'd say he'd be safe in making predictions for things beyond about 2050. That way no one can prove him wrong while he is alive.
What the H**L is an albedo flip ???
“GISS headquarters sunk by the end of the century!”
It's like when Zer0's hair goes from grey back to black.
it was special brand of snake oil for Hair...
"Several years ago I received the Heinz Environment Award. I don't know who nominated me for that award or how the selection works."
"I am confident that it has no impact on my evaluation of the climate problem or on my political leanings."
"In the upcoming election I will vote for John Kerry."
Source: Columbia University.edu [pdf]:
Also see: Teresa Heinz Kerry: Bag Lady for the Radical Left:
NASA's Hansen Mentioned in [George] Soros Foundation's Annual Report:
"Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to limit the impacts of climate change."
I saw an article the other day that said sea levels were going down. Hansen is nothing but another brain dead liberal with agenda who has a phd, piled higher and deeper crap sign by his name. He is an embarassment to NASA.
Of “many” meters, would be 3 meters or more, right?
There are only 90 years left in the century, so 3.3cm per year minimum, no?
This should be easy to quantify then. By 2020, sea levels should be up 33cm. That’s a lot and certainly easy to refute if it doesn’t happen.
18-below this morning. 33-below Saturday morning. Yep, this global warming climate change whatever is some rough stuff. Good thing folks are basking on the beach in Florida in their long underwear and sweaters. Attaboy Jim.
In America, you don't have to go to the coast, the coast comes to YOU!
That is 100% Grade A government approved, NASA inspected, taxpayer funded BULL PUCKEY!
Claim That Sea Level Is Rising Is a Total Fraud - Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner
Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner is the head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is past president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project. Dr. Mörner has been studying the sea level and its effects on coastal areas for some 35 years.
EIR: What is the real state of the sea-level rising? Mörner: You have to look at that in a lot of different ways. That is what I have done in a lot of different papers, so we can confine ourselves to the short story here. One way is to look at the global picture, to try to find the essence of what is going on. And then we can see that the sea level was indeed rising, from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year. Not more. 1.1 is the exact figure. And we can check that, because Holland is a subsiding area; it has been subsiding for many millions of years; and Sweden, after the last Ice Age, was uplifted. So if you balance those, there is only one solution, and it will be this figure.
Don't you just love paying to have your government lie through its teeth to you? Lying so it can take more money from you.
It’s the tipping point where you go from “Almost Dead Certain” to “Almost Dead Wrong”
Kinda like when a duck’s built in flotation system fails and he sinks like a stone.
Which is, of course, all nonsense. It's the build up of year round ice and snow in the broad reaches of North America (mostly Canada) that really counts and which ultimately controls global climate.
In fact, it's the North American ice sheet that's always the big dog when it comes to a colder climate. Asia ends up with a smaller total glaciated area as well as a smaller total amount of ice as compared to North America.
South Asia (the Himalayas) become more glaciated but never become non-glaciated and may be considered a third permanent ice cap along with Greenland and Antarctica.
This last August an interesting South Pacific/South Atlantic, Mid-Pacific/Mid-Atlantic batch of winds blew toward South America, Middle America and North America and created a Northern Flow from literally Tierra Del Fuego to Baffin island. A tremendous amount of moisture was sucked into the flow ~ and fortunately was blown East across the North Atlantic before it could be turned into snow and ice in the Arctic.
That particular phenomenon doesn't usually happen but it was pretty obvious from satellite shots that if this continued for a month or two we could have a tremendous ice build up in North America ~ IN ONE SEASON. That's not like a thousand years, or a century, or a decade ~ that's like ONE SEASON.
It would change Earth's climate like flicking a switch.
THis man makes the “Mad Hatter” seem very sane.
This morning I heard another brain dead liberal say the average temperature is going up even though the snow just melted from the second snowstorm of the season.
The reason the liberals are lining up to support this is not just to win an arguement. The EPA is enforcing greenhouse gas pollution reduction. What does that mean? The idiots at the utility I work for are saying that they are spending $750 million for CO2 pollution! Then they are building 2 more nuclear plants that the state can't afford and the rate payers can't afford the rates now.
A neighboring utility charges $93 per 1000 kw-hrs (has large Nuclear plants up and running), but this smaller utility that heavily uses coal and only has one NUC has rates at $123 per 1000 KW-Hrs. The President of the company says rates are soon going to $150 per 1000 MW-Hrs, all for getting off coal because the communist moron in the White House says utilities can burn coal but they will go broke doing it.
As your electric rates go through the roof, you will be laughing at the global warming arguments. The money stolen from you will be used to enslave you and your family.
Thanks for the addition.
Read an academic journal article some time back that addressed this - apparently, because all that sea ice FLOATS, it already displaces the majority of it’s volume. Even if all the ice from the ice caps melted - it would not cause the sea levels to rise “meters” - not even close.
When the sunlight reflected by white ice is suddenly absorbed as ice melts to become the dark surface of open water.
And since nearly all of the United States has snow cover...it isn't starting for awhile.
Good idea,...needs to happen soon.
Thanks,...I had not see the sequel to the original...
ClimateGate: UVAGetting its Nixon On
Big Government ^ by Christopher C. Horner
Read it and responded. Thanks E.
PS. I am going to force myself into soon more closely examining just where the CCX (Chicago Carbon Exchange) is heading. The web site of theirs I sent you brings up some questions I want to find answers to. With more industrial and other type corps,companies dropping out of trading carbon credits,whatever, at this exchange, it seems like it might be turning more into just a place where hedge fund investors and the like trade. Shovel money around at their convenience to make a few bucks on short trades etc.. In which case it just might fully collapse. If I get anywhere on this quest I’ll let you know.
2050?! I think 2030 would be far enough. I doubt he's going to live to 110, unless making b.s. pseudo-scientific predictions that are little better than the progostications of a carnival psychic with a crystal ball somehow grants exceptional longevity.
I predict that he's worm food by 2025, at the very latest.
But sea levels will also fall by the same amount so the rise will be hidden in the fall and will not be detectable except by examining the entrails of goats and swirling tea leaves.
“The Hansen” has spoken!
Then again the state of North American ice sheets may depend on whether or not Firestone et al. are right or wrong about their NA boloid theory about 13,000 years ago.
Please help me out here.
"Almost every single one [predictions} has been wrong?"
Which one has been right?
out of how many predictions total?
If this guy is on the wrong side of "flipping a coin" accuracy, he should be investigated and fired for incompetence!
Am I the only one who sees the weasel words?
"It is this scenario for which we assert that multi-meter sea level rise on the century time scale are not only possible, but almost dead certain.
Unfortunately, the premise (non facts) which supports 'this scenario' is false. Hence the assertion falls firmly in the "Garbage in, Garbage Out" category.
I beg to differ my good sir, it should be a 3 man outpost to include the honorable Dr. Mann whom is the author of the "hockey stick" temperature fraud.
A good one not to forget.
“Almost Dead Certain”
“Sort of Pregnant”
“A Little Dead”
“A Warm Snowstorm”
...Apparently, Beijing Jim reckons that something called albedo flip...
Sorry, but albedo flip really sounds like some sort of unnatural act to me.
The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization
by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
Oh,...that should be chilly reading....best done by a warm fireplace.