Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Giddy Up 409

Baby you're much too fast
    -Prince (Little Red Corvette)

But life is just a party
And parties weren't meant to last
     -Prince (1999)


     I hope you are enjoying the recent spate of warm weather.  If it hits 85 in April, what does August hold in store? 

     Well, at least it gets your mind off the political campaign.  Here's some fun facts. from here

"According to Media Matters, there have been a whopping 1,477 questions asked during the 20 Republican and Democratic debates so far. Just 22 of those questions—or about 1.5 percent—have been about climate change. Nine of the debates, including one that took place four days after the historic Paris climate agreement, included no global warming questions whatsoever.  

      Perhaps  this whole climate deal has settled down?    Well... not really.   It seems that things are actually moving faster than anticipated.    The UN reports that the future is happening now, as 60 million are affected by climate disruptions including droughts, and floods..

       Recently the Keeling curve hit a record 409.     Temperature records are indicating that we may alredy be hitting 1.5 degrees above pre industrial temperatures.  see here

 "February was also notably far above the long-term average, enough so that scientists described that month as a "shocker," as well as it being "a kind of climate emergency." Then, on the heels of February, the Japan Meteorological Agency released data showing that March was even hotter. NASA data confirms this increase, and also shows that March was 1.65 degrees Celsius higher than the 1951-1980 March average, while February was 1.71 degrees Celsius hotter than the February average over that time period."

(1.5 is believed to be sufficient to begin the process of melting permafrost, releasing tons of frozen carbon and methane.  see here )

      Meanwhile up north, its hotter than ever.  

Inline image 1
 Image source: CIRES.)

As Robert Scribbler reports:

"From just about every indicator, we find that the Arctic sea ice is being hit by heat like never before. And the disturbing precipitous early season losses we now see in combination with the excessive, extreme warmth and melt accelerating weather patterns are likely to continue to reinforce a trend of record losses. Such low sea ice measures will also tend to wrench weather patterns around the globe — providing zones for extreme heatwaves and droughts along the ridge lines and related warm wind invasions of the Arctic that will tend to develop all while generating risk of record precipitation events in the trough zones. To this point, the North American West is again setting up for just such a zonal heatwave pattern. Extreme heat building up in India and Southeast Asia also appears to be following a similar northward advance."

For an interesting review of the impacts of an ice free arctic, see here

Speaking of melting ice, I recently saw a video of James Hanson explaining a new paper he and 18 co-authors published.  It cane be seen here/

     Here's  a transcript.     Here's how it starts:
"Hi, I’m Jim Hansen, Director of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions program at Columbia University Earth Institute. I want to discuss some implications of the paper Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms that is being published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, a paper on which I have 18 exceptional American and international co-authors.
We have uncovered information and a partial understanding of feedbacks in the climate system, specifically interactions between the ocean and the ice sheets. These feedbacks raise questions about how soon we will pass points of no return, in which we lock in consequences that cannot be reversed on any time scale that people care about.
Consequences include sea level rise of several meters, which we estimate would occur this century or at latest next century, if fossil fuel emissions continue at a high level. That would mean loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s large cities and all their history.
A more immediate threat is the likelihood of shutting down the oceans overturning circulations in the North Atlantic and Southern oceans. That’s where superstorms come in.  Let me explain."
Here is the paper by Hanson et al

         So, why is the issue all but ignored by the media and politicians?   Perhaps the Hanson video provides the answer.  Listen as he patiently tries to explain the multiple interacting factors ; and the evidence from deep history.  Then take a look at this   Why we can't understand global warming .   Previous issues have been simple in terms of cause and effect. CFC's destroys ozone, tobacco causes cancer, DDT softens egg shells  -   but to understand climate change , you have to be able to deal with multiple causes, effects,  and  feedbacks.  You have to see the system.    

     "Any application or force to something or someone that produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation: When causation is direct, the world cause is unproblematic. We learn direct causation automatically as children because that's what we experience on a daily basis. Direct causation, and the control over our immediate environment that understanding it allows, is crucial in the life of every child. That's why it shows up in the grammar of every language.

The same is not true for systemic causation. Systemic causation cannot be experienced directly. It has to be learned, its cases have to be studied, and repeated communication is necessary before it can be widely understood.
That's right, no language in the world has a way in its grammar to express systemic causation. You drill a lot more oil, burn a lot more gas, put a lot more CO2 in the air, the earth's atmosphere heats up, more moisture evaporates from the oceans yielding bigger storms in certain places and more drought and fires in other places, and yes, more cold and snow in still other places. The world ecology is a system - like the world economy and the human brain.
As a result, we lack a concept that we desperately need. We need to understand and communicate, for instance, about the greatest moral issue of our times - global warming. The ecology is a system operating via system causation. Without an everyday concept of system causation, global warming cannot be properly comprehended. In other words, without the systemic causation frame, the oft-repeated facts about global warming cannot make sense. With only the direct causation frame, the systemic causation facts of global warming are ignored. The old frame stays, and the facts that don't fit cannot be comprehended."

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home