Two degrees Celsius is the threshold between what is considered impactful but manageable global warming and catastrophic global warming. Climate scientists will tell you it isn’t that clearcut. We are already seeing major impacts at only one degree-ish. At two degrees, we may get major feedback loops happening, like the melting of permafrost and the release of methane hydrates from northern seas and oceans which would accelerate warming further.
Two degrees C. has been translated into 350 ppm carbon dioxide. We have now topped 400 at times in the atmospheric readings on the Big Island of Hawai’i – I think it is Mauna Kea, but it could be Mauna Loa – and the levels keep rising.
What is disturbing me even more is that global atmospheric methane, after a long period of stability, began rising in 2007. Methane is more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but is a much more powerful greenhouse gas – 86 times more powerful in a twenty year context and 106 times more powerful in a decade. Given that our timeframe to get global warming under control is now very short, methane in the atmosphere is particularly troubling as it has such a strong effect in the immediate future.
So, why do I hear the word degrees and immediately go into my global warming spiel? I write about this a lot, as an offshoot of my commentary on the dangers of shale oil/gas aka unconventional fossil fuels aka fracking. I have spent countless hours writing and researching and commenting on these topics. It started as a personal thing as my state, New York, is currently under a moratorium, while our neighbor state Pennsylvania is drilling extensively. And I live in a border town.
I could literally write about this for hours, but I will spare you. I apologize if I was unclear at all in this post. It’s the whole stream of consciousness thing – no fact-checking or editing allowed…
This is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt was “degree/degrees.” Join us! Read how here: http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/24/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-2514/
Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions