Climate Index – Failing Earth Systems – Updated 7/19/21
At present, these systems that support life on Earth are failing (work in progress, will be updated frequently):
Slowdown of the World’s Ocean Currents
The Gulf Stream — one of Earth’s major climate-regulating ocean currents — is moving slower than it has in thousands of years, a new study suggests. Human-induced climate change is largely to blame (3).
This “unprecedented” slowdown could impact weather patterns and sea levels on both sides of the Atlantic, the researchers found. And it only looks poised to worsen over the coming decades if climate change continues unabated.
Scientists have found new evidence that the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation has slowed by about 15 percent since the middle of the last century. If it continues to slow, that could have profound consequences for Earth’s inhabitants.
Studies suggest it would mean much colder winters and hotter summers in Europe, changing rainfall patterns in the tropics, and warmer water building up along the U.S. coast that can fuel sea level rise and destructive storms. The changes in the North Atlantic could also intensify streams of icebergs into shipping lanes and coastal ice jams that hinder navigation (4).
The errors here are the usage of misleading verbs. “If, “could”, “suggest” avoids admitting these events are in fact already happening and have been for some time, as these events do not happen overnight and take many decades (at least) to develop, meaning that they have already “tipped”, but none of the articles admit this fact. The evidence however suggest otherwise, this would not be happening if this Earth system hadn’t already tipped into a new state, a state which is known to be worsening. The suggestion that this would only happen in “2100” (3) is false; it is happening right now.
The definition of “critical tipping point” is unaddressed in the source article (3), however we can determine this fact for ourselves – no need for the “current to grind to a halt” to declare a “critical tipping point” has finally occurred. Any sustained negative impacts upon the Gulf current indicate that the critical tipping point has already been reached, especially so since this is continuing to worsen by their own admission.
Finally, there is no reason to suggest that this will change somehow for the better as cascading interdependent Earth systems already demonstrate a steady worsening across all measurements and metrics. In a newly released paper, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is definitely slowing down, with severe impacts to Europe and weather systems worldwide.
Deep Ocean Mixing
The ocean has become significantly more stratified over the last half century as the climate has warmed, inhibiting the ability for heat, oxygen, and carbon dioxide from the surface to be transported deeper into the ocean. The decrease in ocean mixing could amplify warming due to human-caused climate change at the Earth’s surface, intensify ocean acidification, and impact the marine food chain, among other impacts (1).
The layers of the world’s oceans aren’t mixing like they used to due to climate change, potentially speeding up how fast the planet will warm in the coming decades. This new finding, contained in a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, finds that the reduction in the mixing of ocean layers is piling up warm water near the surface while cutting back on the circulation of cold, deep water.
The reduced up and down mixing is expected to have sweeping implications beyond just accelerating global warming. It is projected to increase energy available to hurricanes and other storms, reduce essential nutrients for fish in upper ocean layers and diminish the oceans’ ability to store carbon, among other impacts. (2)
The errors here are the usage of misleading verbs and adverbs. “Potentially” avoids admitting these events are in fact already happening and have been for some time, as these events do not happen overnight and take many decades (at least) to develop, meaning that they have already “tipped”, but none of the articles admit this fact.
The slowdown of carbon dioxide sequestering in the deep ocean has enormous effects upon global temperatures as greenhouse gasses are being absorbed less and less.
“Could amplify warming” (1) fails to admit this is amplifying warming now, as measured by different studies (5). “a significant warming trend in the deep sea where temperature fluctuations are typically measured in thousandths of a degree.” Yet even this link (5) does not realize the significance of the rising temperatures taking many decades (at least) if not hundreds of years to reveal temperature increases.
The excess heat energy absorbed by the worlds oceans is enormous (5.5). Vast quantities of heat are absorbed by the ocean (approximately 93%) (6) which is declining, and why the past five years have shown the highest global temperatures, and nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005 (7). Moreover, “These data reveal that the world oceans were the warmest in recorded human history in 2019” (7) which is not at all insignificant – it’s catastrophic.
This indicates that the ability of the world’s ocean to absorb additional heat is actually rapidly declining as the Earth continues to warm from anthropogenic emissions. The tipping point (stability) of the world’s oceans to continue to absorb heat, and allow heat, oxygen, and carbon dioxide from the surface to be transported deeper into the ocean is reducing (1) far too rapidly for future biosphere habitability. Near-term we can expect only worsening conditions that will actually threaten the survival of our own species. This is almost never found within the climate literature or climate news publications. Instead, using our source article (1), we read “Oceans are becoming more stable. That might sound good, but it’s not,” said Mann. “It has rather profound and troubling implications.”
No mention is made of what “profound” and “troubling” means as climate scientists seem to be generally unwilling to breach these topics and are likely out of their depth on what this will mean for human habitation and human survival. Yet is it precisely this lack of warning that permits legislatures and industry leaders to delay actions that could be taken. At this late stage, virtually all climate science reporting and publications should be issuing extensive and explicit warnings on their findings and research. This rarely happens. Example: (8) The Deep Sea Is Slowly Warming.
Policy makers and pundits, scientists and the general public read whatever is presented to them, but actually absorbing little (unless trained to do otherwise, a rarity). The failure of climate science publications is to including the meaning of their findings in terms that will properly alarm the reader to take action.
Carbon Uptake by the World’s Oceans and Forests
The global uptake of C02 has been declining in the world’s oceans and forests due to reduced carbon uptake. The ocean is so sensitive to declining greenhouse gas emissions that it immediately responds by taking up less carbon dioxide (9). The oceans contain a very large reservoir of carbon that can be exchanged with the atmosphere because the CO2 reacts with water to form carbonic acid and its dissociation products (10). Since pre-industrial times, C02 emissions have not declined except temporarily during COVID-19 (2020) from 6.4%, or 2.3 billion tonnes, in 2020 (11). Since then, carbon emissions shot back up again.
The pandemic has provided a unique lens on the challenge that lies ahead for nations committed to fighting climate change. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the world would need to cut carbon emissions by 7.6% per year for the next decade to prevent the globe from warming more than 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels — a goal set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Reductions on this scale would be even larger than 2020’s drop in emissions (1/15/21) (13).
Temperatures are already higher then 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels (15), which is not being revealed in any of the climate literature or news reports. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) didn’t bother to define “pre-industrial” when setting targets, yet the UNFCCC describes the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “the most credible sources of scientific information on climate change” which we know is quite incorrect and inaccurate (the IPCC has a poor history of accurate reporting). The IPCC uses the UNFCCC definition of “pre-industrial”. This is circular reasoning (14) and an example of how truly massive errors are introduced into the climate narrative that become a “standard reference” used by everyone else.
The assumed baseline of 1850–1900 is considered a “practical choice, since it includes the period of most reliable temperature records and less than 3% of total fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions had occurred by that time” (14) yet this is erroneous and grossly inaccurate, as these measurements only included fossil fuel burning, cement manufacturing, and gas flaring (from 1751 – 2014), hardly a full representation of all human activities accurately representing all greenhouse gas emissions since 1750 (18).
The reality is very different. Enormous land changes, population growth, settlement and development were taking place globally since 1750, fully a hundred years before the 1850 “assumption”, including advancements production, manufacturing and processing methods. Detailed temperature rises from 1750 are described here (15) including (Milankovitch cycles). The actual amount of warming from 1750 to 1850 is an additional 0.58C, with a measurable increase in C02 beginning in 1610, quite possibly the real starting point for the Anthropocene although humans were definitely changing the atmospheric chemistry by the 4th century.
Carbon uptake in the world’s oceans and forests is now declining, a fact that is often missing from climate science and news. CO2 “ocean saturation” levels were being detected in the southern ocean by 2008 (12) – at least 13 years before the temporary drop in CO2 due to COVID-19, yet this isn’t even mentioned in Nature’s 1/15/21 report (13).
You can view the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ocean saturation modeling for the IPCC RCP 8.5 scenario for future dates (approx. 950 ppm atmospheric CO2 by 2100) here which clearly shows both the Northern and Southern Oceans reaching dangerously high levels of CO2 saturation, which will mean the end of all coral reefs and coral reef habitat (critically important) worldwide. This will also have an enormous impact upon oxygen production (50% – 80% of the world’s oxygen) and a catastrophic decline in ocean plankton.
Yet even this science fact is being grossly downplayed as you will find here (16) with NO mention of Earth’s oxygen loss from acidification, yet “pre-industrial” is accurately pegged at 1750. It was also identified as 1750 here too “Before the Industrial Revolution started in the mid-1700s, the global average amount of carbon dioxide was about 280 ppm.” (17). This and many other official publications demonstrates that climate scientists and climate news publications will not use the more accurate “pre-industrial” date of 1750 when it does not suit their narrative, but actually know when it really was.
Two more quick references:
Pre-industrial CO2 levels were around 280 ppm (parts per million), but current levels are approaching 420 ppm, and could approach double the pre-industrial amount by mid-century if significant emissions cuts are not made.
When was c02 at 280 ppm?
Based on air bubbles trapped in mile-thick ice cores (and other paleoclimate evidence), we know that during the ice age cycles of the past million years or so, carbon dioxide never exceeded 300 ppm. Before the Industrial Revolution started in the mid-1700s, the global average amount of carbon dioxide was about 280 ppm.
The gross dishonesty about the established date of the pre-industrial time frame has led to countless false predictions and claims regarding the real present temperature increases already being experienced (2021), and the future temperature increase actually to be expected. We are already above the 1.5C “limits” proposed by the Paris Agreement. We have virtually no chance whatsoever to lower limits below 2C either which will mean many more devastating storms, extinctions, droughts and deluges are “baked in” now for the future. Holding temperatures below 2C is likely to be an impossibility as cascading failure within Earth Systems continue to collapse.
Forest carbon uptake is also declining. The world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, is now a net emitter of CO2 due to rising temperatures, drought, and deforestation (19). Atmospheric rivers of heavily laden water vapor helped regulate the global climate, these are now drying up (20). Tropical deforestation could add 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°Fahrenheit) to global temperatures by 2100, this would need to be added to other known temperature increases already underway (of which there are many).
Forests around the world are also in serious decline, losing over 25 million hectares per year. Disinformation surrounds this topic with misleading claims about how to end deforestation, and how effective this would be to reducing or even stopping climate change, yet year by year, deforestation continues. Over 90% of the old growth forests in the United States have disappeared. The assumption that deforestation and tree planting will restore the carbon balance has been assessed and found to be false (21). The world simply produces too much carbon now, which is generally never acknowledged. Gross dishonesty surrounds claims of “net-zero”, “carbon capture”, “clean energy” and other carbon claims (22) that allege a zero-carbon economy is simply a technological step away, but these claims are factually dishonest and physically unachievable to meet their stated claims.
All energy sources except photosynthesis require fossil fuels for the production of ore and minerals, mining operations, transport and shipments, smelting and forming, machining and processing, fabrication and assembly, and their construction, erection and maintenance. This applies to all other so-called energy sources, wind, water, hydro, geothermal, solar and tidal energy. They do not and cannot create and maintain themselves, they all require a deep infrastructure that all relies on fossil fuel combustion, which emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at ever stage of the process and lifecycle. Tree planting cannot hope to uptake these carbon emissions, and never will. Even if we absolutely maximised the amount of vegetation all land on Earth could hold, we’d sequester enough carbon to offset about ten years of greenhouse gas emissions at current rates. After that, there could be no further increase in carbon capture.
For the past 30 years, the Arctic has warmed at twice the rate as the rest of the globe, this is known as Arctic amplification (23). The Arctic helps cool the planet. Changes in the Arctic climate affects the climate in the rest of the world. Changes in the Arctic have effects that cascade through the food chain, from phytoplankton to marine mammals such as seals, walrus, whales, and polar bears. Disappearing ice increase ocean albedo, with oceans absorbing more heat from the sun, increasing water temperature melting more ice (positive feedback). Permafrost is also thawing in vast regions releasing methane and carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere much faster then plants can absorb. Over the past 60 years air temperatures have increased 4°C in the Arctic setting up positive-feedback that mean there will be more melting and more CO2 and methane emitted.
In a supposedly “landmark study” (24) a computer simulation was run dozens of times to simulate Arctic warming and the impacts upon the the polar troposphere—the lowest layer of the atmosphere and home to its weather. Allegedly, “there are few signs of colder winters in Eurasia or North America, more cold extremes, or more frequent weakening or waviness in the jet stream” despite a constantly increasing ice loss in the Arctic. The supposed take-away from this study is that Arctic amplification is not causing more extreme weather events. However, the observed phenomena reveals a entirely different outcome – there are more frequent extreme weather events now happening. Historic “highs” and historic “lows” are now being commonly reported, allegedly “once in a thousand year” events. In the summer of 2021, thousands of high temperature records were broken and a deadly heatwave over the Pacific Northwest killed over 1,000 people.
Rossby waves are a natural phenomenon that form as a result of the rotation of the Earth. But “blocking events” that cause high or low pressure regions are not well defined, using a “bewildering range of indices” to identify blocking events. This leads to numerous errors – including modeling errors that claim there are “few signs” of extremes, which do not match observed events. But perhaps more importantly is the actual temperature measurements that reflect that something indeed is now very different, higher highs, and lower lows in areas not generally known for either extreme.
One set of model runs simulated the Arctic atmosphere without pronounced sea ice loss, using ocean temperatures and sea ice extent from 2000. The other kept the ocean temperatures the same, but reduced the ice coverage to the extent expected decades from now, after 2°C of global warming, when the Arctic could be ice free in the summer. Keeping the oceans the same should highlight the influence—if any—of sea ice loss.
This makes no sense as pronounced sea ice loss is constantly getting worse, year by year. Nor does it make any sense to keep the ocean temperatures the same when they are being measured as still rising. If the goal here was to allegedly find a “baseline”, this isn’t how you do it. Why would ocean temperatures be the same if the ice was melting? And why simulate no “pronounced ice loss” from the year 2000? Ice was already being lost by 2000 and decades before. This is a classic case of modeling based on desired results. You’ll get the answer you want, versus the answer correct science would have found.
This did not go unnoticed by some climate scientists:
Cohen isn’t convinced, noting that the models also forecast unrealistically warm winter weather in the midlatitudes, making other predictions suspect. “There’s clearly something missing.”
And Francis says the PAMIP experiment may be too simplistic, now that “we know there’s a lot more to Arctic amplification than sea ice loss.” Satellites and weather balloons have shown that the high troposphere in the tropics is warming fast because of tremendous storms that shoot hot, humid air upward. The Arctic is much less stormy, but many scientists now believe so-called atmospheric rivers regularly deliver this warm tropical air to the Arctic—a mechanism that PAMIP ignored.
The reality is anyone can devise a model to deliver a desired outcome, which makes it scientifically useless, and why other modeling also failed to represent the effects of amplification (24). Modeling can be helpful and useful, but it does not replace actual measurements which show the jet stream becoming more erratic (25).
Impacts upon the global Jet Stream and Weather Patterns
Climate scientists have for decades believed that rising temperatures and melting ice have had an impact upon the global Jet Stream and its effect upon world weather patterns. A recent paper measuring the wintertime polar and subtropical jet streams shows that the jet stream is getting wavier, and creeping slowly polewards (25). Correspondingly, extreme weather events have increased significantly in the past 20 years (26), with a “staggering rise” in deadly events killing 1.23 million people. Increases in seasonal temperatures, high and low temperature records, heat waves, precipitation, tropical cyclones, river flooding, and drought have been recorded world wide. Forest fires, fish die-off and an unusually high number of human deaths are associated with extreme heat.
Climate is weather over a longer period of time (long-term averages). When weather events occur, this is actually that state of the atmosphere at any given time. Extreme weather events have nearly doubled in the past 20 years, which indicates that the climate has irrevocably changed (for the worse).
Allegedly, some weather changes, and thus long-term average climatic changes, are thought to be beneficial, examples are crop improvements and water replenishment (27). Without taking into consideration other negative effects, these claims might seem superficially true, but they’re not and should not be claimed as beneficial at all. Crop losses (yield) due to the changing weather patterns and the disrupted jet stream are “substantial” (28) and can only worsen as more temperature extremes are experienced. Additionally plant pests and diseases are also expected to only increase, further reducing crop yield.
Supposedly, “northern expansion” of crop producing regions will help offset the decline in yields, but this claim does not take into account the issue with poorer northern soils (less fertile), short growing seasons, solar incidence angles and the changing climate already affecting those regions. At present (2021), crop production in northern regions is considered globally “marginal”, with a potential to grow by 20% in future years (29). This isn’t nearly enough to feed the world. Alaska only has a total of 20 million acres with soils and climate suitable for cropping (30). Over one-third of the arable land for crops however, has already been lost worldwide in the past 40 years (31). The shortage between what is lost, and what will be lost in lower latitudes, and what can be utilized in the northern regions is absolutely enormous.
Allegedly, the world needs to increase crop production by 50% by 2050 to avoid massive starvation (31) at a time when climate change is globally reducing crop yields, lowering crop nutrition (32), and impacting historical growing regions dramatically.
Global yields per 1°C temperature increase are expected to reduce wheat by 6.0%, rice by 3.2%, maize by 7.4%, and soybean by 3.1% (yields). Extrapolated, this means massive losses of wheat 18%, rice 9.6%, maize 22.2% and soybeans 9.3% (3°C increase) not factoring in any other relevant to harvest issues (pests, disease, extreme weather, inadequate rainfall or flooding).
Crop nutrition also drops with higher temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide, losing 10% in protein, 8% in iron and 5% in zinc. Four important B vitamins decreased between 13% and 30% (33). This translates into needing to somehow increase arable areas that are declining to achieve the same levels of nutrition, while population levels continue to climb, land losses are accelerating, and freshwater aquifers are still in decline worldwide.
Climate zones are shifting all around the world, with changes to the tropics, arable lands, crop producing regions and human habitability. 90% of the estimated 1.8 billion acres of potential crop land is located in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa and half of the total is concentrated in just seven countries (Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Sudan, Argentina, Colombia and Bolivia. There is virtually no spare land available for expansion in South Asia, the Near East and North Africa (34). Some of these locations are in conflict areas.
The regions facing a shortage of arable land in the future include some of the most developed and populous nations in the world. The hope is that these nations will have the resources as well as the incentive to explore new ways of increasing productive capacity. Similarly, nations with the greatest potential for arable land cultivation are predominantly located in the developing world. It is the responsibility of global governance bodies to ensure that these resources are not exploited, but rather developed to the benefit of both the individual country and the world (34).
Over-populated countries combined with a shortage of arable land is not a reason to “hope”. Grave concern and urgent actions are needed. The developing world, while having the “great potential for arable land cultivation” also just happens to be in regions that will experience the highest wet-bulb temperatures on Earth in the mid-latitudes which are mostly covered by trees. Global governance bodies have done little to protect these resources, but rather to exploit them to their fullest, benefiting the target countries the most, while leaving these impoverished areas neglected (and often wasted). This paragraph is perfect hopium writ-large by either the uninformed or the overtly optimistic, there is no historical or present reason to actually believe or accept any of this as a probable outcome.
Ecosystems collapse for marine and terrestrial species
Global biodiversity is in decline world wide, with a million species predicted to go extinct within a few dozen years (35). One-third of marine mammals, reef-forming corals, sharks, and shark relatives are on the brink of extinction. At least 60% of the world’s fishes are being overfished. Gigantic trawlers scrape all life from the ocean floors leaving behind huge permanent scars devoid of life. Three-quarters of the earth’s land area has been altered by humans, leaving more than half a million species without enough habitat to survive. Around 40 percent of amphibians are in jeopardy, and some of our most charismatic species—giraffes, grizzly bears, and right whales—are in dire need of our help. Many others are either already gone or clinging to existence in captivity. Over one-third of the world’s forests are now gone. Millions of species are now going extinct, some which we have never even identified. We know they once existed because we can still find their skeletons.
Supposedly, the “world lacks the political will to transform human civilization, economics and living standards that would better conform to the physical limitations of the natural world” (or so we are often told). Allegedly, it is just a matter of time, money, innovation and technology that will fix everything that is wrong. This is the same empty lie that has been with humanity for thousands of years while biodiversity inevitably continues its long decline.
Comparatively speaking, the world is now severely impoverished of natural life, from the time the industrial “revolution” started until now. But enormous levels of damage were already being detected much earlier in the human story. This biodiversity loss isn’t often mentioned because the contrast from then until now is simply too great, too enormous and nearly impossible to comprehend. Using only modern references to biodiversity loss has become the “standard” for most publications and research papers. Coral reefs, marine and terrestrial species losses are no exception to this scientific dishonesty. The world rarely knows what has been lost already, because it is simply not being wholly reported or even fully understood.
At least 68% of biodiversity has already been lost in less then 50 years (36). But what about the proceeding years? Why isn’t this relevant? At least 680 vertebrate species have been lost since the 1600’s (37) but this still doesn’t accurately assess the total human impact. The amount of forest and trees lost is nearly beyond our comprehension. Early written accounts reveal enormous tracts of forests that were found throughout the world that simply no longer exist. We almost never hear of these references to what has been lost.
Here’s why: Nobody really knows the true extent of what has already been lost, not really. It has never been fully studied, but we have some strong indicators from written records of enormous levels of abundance that no longer exist anywhere on the planet.
Similar to the dishonesty surrounding the “pre-industrial” date, biodiversity loss appears to be less then it actually is in nearly all publications. Species extinction through human activity and intervention dates back thousands of years. It may have taken longer to eradicate species in the ancient past, but far more have been irrevocably loss then we have accurately documented. Those that still yet survive to this day have experienced truly catastrophic declines in numbers with many now on endangered lists. A species does not have to go functionally “extinct” to leave a gaping hole in biodiversity. Other species can and do move it taking advantage of these opportunities, until they too disappear.
This has happened all across the planet as species after species disappears at an accelerating rate (37), leaving the remaining species competing for fewer and fewer resources. This mirrors the human experience almost exactly, except in our case, our population has completely skyrocketed and we also have heavily depleted non-living resources, many which are not renewable and cannot be replaced.
The relevance of biodiversity losses cannot be understated. Humans evolved under the same conditions that other species did. We are intricately linked to the same support systems they are. If they are going extinct, so shall we. Our reliance upon their survival is identical to our survival.
Oxygen production in marine and land environments
Methane release from permafrost and sea beds
Atmospheric ‘rivers’ (evaporation) over the Amazon and Tropic Rain Forests
Loss of global biodiversity in species
Great Barrier Reef and reef collapse
Freshwater decline and depletion of major aquifers
Polar Ice Decline (Arctic, Antarctic, Greenland)
Freshwater Ocean Intrusion
Global Aquifers Depleted
Terrestrial Ice Collapse
Ocean acidification is caused by excessive atmospheric C02. Presently, ocean acidification has increased the acidity of the world’s oceans by 30% (38).
Ocean Carbon Dioxide Saturation
Seasonal Temperature Variations
Extreme Weather Events
Soil Loss and Erosion
Abnormal Temperature Related Deaths