The Three Most important graphs you've (almost) never seen on climate:

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volumes [Septembers] 1979-2014

Volume (as opposed to surface area) loss, so thinning of ice as well as oscilating retreat of area are both factors:

The above shows the critical volume not surface area (see also here for area (extent) collapsing faster than previously estimated; also here)

2012 October UPDATE(above was as of 8/25/12 as the graph above says), update of Oct 3rd, giving final end of melt season numbers, sadly, even more extreme, we're at 3.3 not 3.6 for the latest annual minimum Volume:

And, now: What what level is co2? And in the past? Two graphs, historical and present. Right now

Conclusion? By ~2015 peak annual global average Co2 levels (red line) will hit 400 ppm (parts per million), and by ~2016, which may coincidentally be when summer arctic ice is gone, even the average annual (seasonally adjusted, look at black line) global concentrations will be at about 400ppm. (and pushed higher each year by annual emissions)

Just a short few years ago, in 2010, it looked like this:

Now Look at the preceding 800,000 graph and find "400ppm" there. A massive spike of geologic proportions. And "[Corporate Capitalist, and Western and now Asian Industrial] Business As Usual doesn't stop there as 400ppm is zoomed by towards 425, 450, 500ppm, 600ppm and beyond by end of this century, possibly by mid-century. Again compare 400ppm and beyond with history:

  • "the real problem is that fossil fuels are still the cheapest energy because we subsidize them. The taxpayer subsidizes them"

  • new:

  • JOHANNESBURG, 19 November 2012 (IRIN) - A new report..paints an unnerving picture of a four-degree Celsius warmer world by the end of the century.

    In such a scenario, there could a "new class of heatwaves" of magnitudes never experienced before, says the report entitled Turn Down the Heat, Why A Four Degrees Celsius Warmer World Must Be Avoided. ..[the report is] synthesis of the latest climate science prepared by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and German NGO Climate Analytics for the World Bank. ..

    "Current scientific evidence suggests that even with the current commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20 percent likelihood of exceeding 4 degrees C by 2100, and a 10 percent chance of 4 degrees C being exceeded as early as the 2070." ......However, "warming would not stop there," says the report. "Because of the slow response of the climate system, the greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations that would lead to warming of 4 degrees C by 2100 would actually commit the world to much higher warming, exceeding 6 degrees C or more, in the long term......

    ..writes Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank in the foreword. "A 4 degrees C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread report should "shock us" into action....The biggest jump in warming would be expected to occur over land (range from 4 degrees C-10 degrees C). Increases of 6 degrees C or more in average monthly summer temperatures would be expected in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the USA "there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4 degrees C world is [even] possible [if we get there, so we should make sure to NOT ever, ever get there]."

  • And summer arctic ice collapse estimate of Nov 2012 is: circa 2015 the entire ice cover likely to collapse by 2015. Less ice means that less sunlight will be reflected back into space; as a result, warming in the Arctic will accelerate dramatically. Because a third of the Arctic Ocean is composed of shallow shelf seas, surface warming will extend to the seabed, melt offshore permafrost and trigger the release of methane, which has a much greater greenhouse warming effect than CO2. A Russian-U.S. expedition led by Igor Semiletov has recently observed more than 200 sites off the coast of Siberia where methane is welling up from the seabed. Atmospheric measurements also show that methane levels are rising, most likely largely from Arctic emissions. To avoid the consequences of a collapse of summer ice, we need to bring back the ice we have lost. That will require more than merely slowing the pace of warming — we need to reverse it, Professor Wadhams adds.

    But even putting aside predictions about the future of Arctic ice collapse - just look at what's already happened and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that "collapse to a substantial extent" hasn't already happened. It's just not yet as complete a collapse as where we're unfortunately headed.