There are a couple of important new articles that should be read by everyone watching the climate crisis unfold.
Both articles fit right in with my last post, Prepare For Climate Collapse – Part I. Part II is going to be about what each of us can do. But I’d like to share some comments from these two articles and what this means.
From the first article – the question is posed that warming is already far and above what policy makers “think” (what they’ve been told, they are not scientists). The Earth is already past the so-called 2°C “safe threshold” that keeps making the (s)newz:
“In other words, temperatures for most people on Earth are already 2.07°C higher”
2016 is of course, expected to be even warmer. The “safe threshold” to avoid dangerous climate change has already been reached. I’ve warned about this before – the science is still catching up with the actual events and far too many critical points have been overlooked. Policy makers were literally lied to about a 2°C limit being “safe” or even achievable. It’s not – and it is already too late.
But read this summary (emphasis mine):
To lower temperatures, cutting emissions alone will not be enough. Stopping all emissions by people would make that the aerosols that are currently sent up in the air by burning fuel and that are currently masking the full impact of global warming, will fall out of the air in a matter of weeks. Until now, about half of the global temperature rise is suppressed by such aerosols. Stopping aerosols release overnight could make temperatures rise abruptly by 1.20°C in a matter of weeks. Furthermore, carbon dioxide that is emitted now will take ten years to reach its peak impact, so we’re still awaiting the full wrath of carbon dioxide emitted over the past decade. A recent study calculates that global mean surface temperature may increase by 0.50°C after carbon emissions are stopped, and they will decrease only minimally from that level for the next 10,000 years.
There are also many other contributing events to an even warming climate, such as the albedo effect and methane releases being measured. The take away from all this is we are always behind the curve on what emissions (all of them, including CO₂, CH4, N20) by at least a decade for effects to be even measured. Even if all greenhouse gas emissions were stopped, we’re still in serious, serious trouble.
I’ve known this for years and have understood that no matter what – temperatures will rise, and they will rise rapidly.
Recall in my last post that the “atmospheric rivers” being created by increased temperatures and a ramped up hydrological cycle means extreme precipitation events? Well, there’s more to it then just that, as bad as it is. There is also what it means to have more of this water vapor in the atmosphere:
Furthermore, water vapor will increase by 7% for every 1°C warming. Water vapor is one of the strongest greenhouse gases, so increasing water vapor will further contribute to a non-linear temperature rise.
So hotter temperatures increase evaporation and precipitation, which also increase atmospheric water vapor, which also increases warming, which is also one of the strongest greenhouse gases.
It’s not just emissions that are the problem anymore. It’s also one of the most basic elements on Earth, water. We’ve triggered a terrifying feedback loop and something we can’t even being to imagine adequately.
And did you catch that “10,000 years” for minimal leveling of temperatures? This is actually only an educated guess from scientists. Nobody really knows exactly how long it is going to take to stabilize the climate, except that it is going to take a long, long time.
This is why our very survival is at stake, and why our food production will fail first. We can shelter ourselves (some of us), but we cannot shelter our food production sufficiently. Not even close.
Jason Box’s article on Greenland ice melt is also worth commentary. Greenland glaciers have doubled their speed (travel) to the oceans. Yet it is ice loss (meltwater) that is now taking first-place on the overall ice loss.
The competition between how much ice is lost through glacier flows into fjords versus meltwater runoff is intimately synergistic with meltwater interacting with ice flow all along the way. Increasing melt sends more water down through the ice sheet, softening the ice so it flows faster. Once at the bed the water lubricates flow. Squirting out the front of glaciers into the sea, the meltwater drives a heat exchange that undercuts glaciers, promoting calving, loss of flow resistance and faster flow.
“The trigger effect for galloping glaciers was warm pulses of subtropical waters that undermine glaciers at great depth in the sea, at the grounding lines where this warm water can invade.”
So many thousands of miles away, where the oceans are warmest (and where El Nino is still ramping up), these warm ocean currents are impacting Greenland glaciers. And of course, not just Greenland, but the Arctic and the Antarctic too. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is now considered an “unstoppable” loss.
There is no way to cool this vast body of water. There is no way to slow down these ocean currents unless nature does it for us, which it clearly isn’t. 70% of the Earth is covered by oceans. Most of the extra heat being absorbed is within the world’s oceans.
More than a century of people externalizing the environmental costs of stupendous economic growth, loading the atmosphere now with 42% more carbon dioxide, 240% more methane, 20% more nitrous oxide, 42% more tropospheric ozone, etc. We have far too much gaseous carbon compounds now in our atmosphere, people. The carbon pollution is, by the way, making our oceans too acidic, threatening the base of the marine food chain. Would someone step forward and deny the changing ocean chemistry? Do I digress?
This is a big deal. This is a huge deal for human habitation and survival. As oceans heat up, more ice melts where it is needed most. And remember something I keep saying, “You can’t replace all that missing ice”. This ice helps regulate the world climate, without which will create a very hot world.
“The enormous increase of heat in our oceans, from past decades of enhanced greenhouse effect, negates any hope that negative feedbacks or even solar output will prevent a much warmer world.”
Box points out the increasingly obvious points that current models simply fail to account for what scientist already know is missing from their projections, such as the heat exchange between oceans and glaciers, ice algae growth, dust on ice surfaces and wildfire carbon on ice. And there are many more, even the “unknown unknowns”.
We’ve known for years and years that the IPCC reports and predictions have left out absolutely crucial feedbacks and events being measured on purpose and its predictions are widely inaccurate.
Again, the take-away from all from all of this is the fact that warming is unstoppable, it will be far, far worse then what manages to make it the news, it will be hot as hell, and this will all cause climate collapse, extreme weather events and I’ll say it again – severe impacts on the world’s food supply, along with devastation to our entire civilization.
It’s a big deal and it will be ignored.
Until it can’t.
It’s hard to say how many people have to die before this receives the focus and attention it deserves, assuming of course that humans still want a habitable planet. Probably quite a few. Probably millions of deaths. Probably many more then the thousands that have already died.
It’s going to get ugly people. Never assume for a moment that your government and leaders are going to solve this problem in time. It’s extremely unlikely. They’ve dithered around far, far too long, catering to big business, industry and lobbyists. Others embraced absolutely stupidstitious fantasies. But they’ve left the world leaderless and powerless on the most pressing problem facing humanity. That’s why I intend to write Part II of Prepare for Climate Collapse. I can’t save you, but I can try to help you plan ahead for what is sure to happen.