Just when you thought it was safe to go out again and enjoy life a bit – forget it!  We will soon be hit by a climate catastrophe on a scale previously un-dreamed of. You and I, or our grandchildren, are going to have to pay the price  for our extravagant lifestyles. At least that is if you believe James Hanson et al.’s new paper.

A fundamentally different climate phase, a “Hyper-Anthropocene”, began in the latter half of the 18th century as improvements of the steam engine ushered in the industrial revolution (Hills, 1993) and exponential growth of fossil fuel use. Human-made climate forcings now overwhelm natural forcings. CO2, at 400 ppm in 2015, is off the scale. CO2 climate forcing is a reasonable approximation of the net human forcing, because forcing by other GHGs tends to offset negative human forcings, mainly aerosols (Myhre et al., 2013). Most of the CO2 growth occurred in the past several decades, and three-quarters of the ~ 1 deg.C global warming since 1850.
Our analysis paints a very different picture than IPCC (2013) for continuation of this Hyper-Anthropocene phase, if GHG emissions continue to grow. In that case, we conclude that multi-meter sea level rise would become practically unavoidable, probably within 50–150 years. Full shut- down of the North Atlantic Overturning Circulation would be likely within the next several decades in such a climate forcing scenario. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise, and the attendant increases in storms and climate extremes, could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet un- governable, threatening the fabric of civilization.

One of his arguments is the proposal that a sudden increase in sea level occurred at the end of the last inter-glacial – the Eemian. As a result they predict for us an exponential sea-level rise of several meters and Armageddon type  super-storms to hit us within the next few decades. You have been warned!

Supposedly a late surge in spring Antarctic insolation at the end of the Eemian interglacial led to sudden collapse of the ice sheets and a surge in sea-levels. Interglacials always start with an increase in summer insolation over northern ice sheets (65N) and end when summer insolation drops. Hansen has decided that it is really insolation in early spring that matters, probably because it fits his storyline better.


Note the vertical straight lines for CO2 at 0 !

The timing with summer insolation is not as good as it appears here since maxima occur about 6000 years later than those shown. Hansen’s argument is that the second southern peak in insolation shown in blue at 121.1 ky ago was enough to accelerate strong melting in Antarctica shutting down AMOC. A similar fate awaits us because we have increased CO2 forcing.

Warming in polar regions might be expected to reduce North Atlantic storms which are driven by strong meridional temperature gradients. Hansen’s argument though seems to be that excessive Greenland melt water will instead cool the North Atlantic, dampening the AMOC. Europe will get colder and storms will therefore get worse. That will serve us right for hoping that the future might bring barmy Mediterranean temperatures to Britain! Instead London will soon have to be abandoned as sea level rise accelerates, while our western coasts will be pounded by  super-storms with waves over 100ft high all within the next 50 years.

Oh and there’s nothing we can do about it either, because CO2 levels won’t fall enough over the next 1000 years to make any difference anyway. It’s all the fault of James Watt for inventing the steam engine.

About Clive Best

PhD High Energy Physics Worked at CERN, Rutherford Lab, JET, JRC, OSVision
This entry was posted in AGW, Climate Change, climate science, Ice Ages, Science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to ‘Hyper-Anthropocene’

  1. ralfellis says:

    But I still don’t understand why they average albedo warming out across the globe. Annual snow extent in Canada is melted by local insolation in Canada, not the average temperature in Argentina. Likewise, the melting of the ice age ice sheets was due to local insolation in the NH, which can reach 80 W/m2, rather than the 4 W/m2 global figure that Hansen calculates.

    As an aside, my ice age modulation paper went 50-50 at the Royal Society, but the editor refused it. There was a great deal of prejudice in the review, indicating I was not the right sort of person to write science papers. So the paper has gone abroard, to see if the reviews are blind there – just as good justice should be blind. It has also been completely rewritten, to take into account questions about dust sources during the glacial maximums.

    • Clive Best says:


      I am disappointed to hear that your paper was blocked finally by the Royal Society editor. Your proposal is original, credible, and deserves to be published. You could try ACP , because at least then it will have an open and transparent discussion. The Hansen et al. paper is clearly unbalanced IMHO, with the evidence seemingly manipulated to support the most extreme scenario imaginable. Although there was some strident discussion finally, ACP could never have rejected a paper with those authors.

      all the best


      • ralfellis says:

        Thanks, I will look at them later perhaps, I was not familiar. In the meantime it has gone to a Chinese Geoscience journal, as they are definitely not followers of AGW. And this was a problem with the RS.

        But the one good thing that came out of this, was a quesion on dust sources. So the paper was rewritten to include this, and came out with some other interesting conclusions. By invoking low CO2 concentrations in flora regulation, instead of temperature, it seems likely that most of the LGM rainfall models are incorrect. By invoking only temperature, they end up with impossible lapse rates, and therefore aridity. But if low Co2 is used instead, all these problems go away.

        So the paper is better for the rejection, but I hope it passes next time.


      • ralfellis says:

        Actually, the Royal Society ‘Open Science Journal’ also pride themselves on the open nature of their peer review process. It is in the name of the journal.

        Except in this case, the entire review was done in secret. And they never acknowledged or replied to any of my communications, when I challenged the rejecting reviewers knowledge of the subject (the reviewer said there was no evidence in any paper, that Co2 effected plant biomass levels at the LGM).

        So much for Open Science.

  2. A C Osborn says:

    I know a certain “Dr” who must have read that paper before commenting on Euans Forum, he believes every word of it.

  3. Javier says:

    Hansen’s new scenario is simply not credible. This is stretched theory, coupled with extreme assumptions that make for good science fiction. Perhaps he is eyeing Hollywood buying the script for a movie. He could then add some more selling points and just when we are all subdued by Hyper-Anthropocene extreme climate and sea level rise, a strong solar flare coinciding with a magnetic polar inversion and a meteorite impact could really do us in. Could be a prequel for Game of thrones.


    In an email Hans wrote …

    “The essence of science is to be able to have a discourse and discuss pro and cons about hypotheses and theories especially if you claim that the organization you represent has the intention to reach a standard that is at a scientific level. I have found that leading members of PSI show little will to discuss scientific matters and to leave out personal emotions making it close to impossible to have a meaningful dialog.

    “Doug Cotton might behave in a miserable way showing his anger towards certain scientists and PSI. Still, the book he has published contains many arguments which deserve a serious and thorough investigation. This is why I have recommended a number of Australian politicians to read what he writes. Much of it is essential in the debate of the IPCC false claims and even the future economies of western countries and even more. ”


    You can’t assume (like Postma and Bright-Paul) that the mean of 168W/m^2 could produce a mean temperature above 233K (-40°C) just because the radiation is variable and can reach over 1,000W/m^2 for a very small portion of Earth’s surface. The variability actually leads to a LOWER mean temperature than that for steady flux. How would you explain Venus surface temperatures with your conjecture anyway?

    That’s why the correct paradigm had to be discovered, as I did – https://itsnotco2.wordpress.com

    IT’S ABOUT TIME all you CLAUSIUS FANS got it into your heads that (for NON-RADIATIVE HEAT) the Clausius corollary of the Second Law* only applies in a horizontal plane wherein gravitational potential energy does not change and thus does not affect entropy. THIS IS OVERWHELMINGLY IMPORTANT IN REGARD TO PLANETARY TEMPERATURES.

    It is NOT radiation that supplies all the necessary thermal energy to maintain a planet’s surface temperature – it is free (or “natural”) convective heat transfer happening at the molecular level and carrying out the SECOND LAW* process of MAXIMUM ENTROPY PRODUCTION. But you will need to study my paper that arrogant people at PSI rejected in 2013.

    * Second law of thermodynamics: “In a natural thermodynamic process, the sum of the entropies of the interacting thermodynamic systems increases.” There’s nothing in there about heat from hot to cold.

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