What has shifted?
For decades, climate scientists have been wary of attributing intense weather directly to manmade atmospheric warm ing, but that’s changing in the face of historic heat waves and cascading natu ral disasters. In recent weeks alone, a”derecho,” a complex of unusually pow erful, hurricanelike storms, tore through the Midwest, destroying houses and crops across a 745mile path; Hurricane Laura crashed into the Gulf Coast with sustained 150mph winds; and hundreds of California wildfires incinerated a place the size of Rhode Island in only a week. The Southwest suffered a punishing heat wave using a top of 130 in Death Valley, perhaps the hottest day in history. It followed closely highs of 125 at Iraq and a record 100degree day in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, a oncein100,000years occasion. These freak patterns, researchers say, are almost certainly the result of mankind pumping 2.6 million pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere per second. “We have gotten to the point where, in regards to extreme heat waves, there is virtually always a human fingerprint,” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.
How strange is current weather?
The saying”500year storm” is losing its significance: Houston has endured five of them in a fiveyear span. California’s wildfires– ignited by 1,200 lightning strikes in a 72hour span–generated
The next and thirdworst blazes in history, despite the aid of the fall’s powerful Santa Ana winds. The Atlantic coast has seen 10 named storms so far this season, a mark typically hit in October, and forthcoming storms have been estimated to be twice as intense as usual, because of exceptionally warm ocean waters. Hurricanes have done $335 billion in damage within the last 3 decades, com pared with $38.2 billion throughout the entire 1980s, corrected for inflation.
The 2nd, 3rd & 4th largest wildfires in California's history continue to rage. The sky on the West Coast turned red & orange. Please don't tell me the Green New Deal is radical. What's radical is having a president in office who rejects science and calls climate change a hoax. pic.twitter.com/SGuN6noKF7— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 10, 2020
What’s the link to climate change? Weather patterns are formed through an intricate web of atmospheric and oce anic conditions, and that’s the reason why scientists traditionally resist drawing causal links between climate change and any 1 event. However, when both rising temperatures and disasters become consistent and pervasive, the relationship becomes obvi ous. Warming of the planet’s surface triggers atmospheric instability than can manufacturer stronger, more frequent storms, while increasing ocean temperatures and remarkably moist atmosphere circulates hurricanes which develop quickly stronger, then stall after making landfall and dump tor rential rain.
Where can it be worst?
The potential for climate chaos has been previewed in northern latitudes, where a CO2 domino effect plays out: Warm winters melt snow, causing the ground to absorb more heat, which contributes to dry soil that fuels wildfires and thaws permafrost, releasing carbon to the air. In Russia this summer, thawing permafrost caused a power plant fuel tank to collapse, spilling over 20,000 tons of gas into the Ambarnaya River. Russia’s typical tem perature was nearly 11 degrees above its JanuarytoApril standard, the largest anomaly ever for almost any country. In February, Antarctica struck a record 69 degrees, causing a 120squaremile chunk of glacier to crack off.
How else’s climate change felt?
Disrupted weather patterns are all rippling around the planet, creat ing bizarre, almost biblical catastrophes. The torrential rain there cre ated ideal conditions for desert locusts, which replicated at terrifying prices. From March, countless billions of those fingerlength pests sailed across the area, devouring every harvest in their path, and forcing thousands of Africans to the verge of starvation. Individuals are experiencing climate change through their own nostrils. Airborne pollen increases as temperatures climb, which is the reason res idents of Alaska, where heating is occurring twice as fast as the global average, report particularly awful allergies. “There’s irrefutable data,” explained Jeffrey Demain, director of an undercover allergy center.
This isn’t because “2020 sucks”, it’s because of climate change and the fossil fuel industry, who knew for decades the damage they would cause, but decided to destroy life on earth because it made them rich.— Jamie Margolin (@Jamie_Margolin) September 10, 2020
This isn’t a “2020 is a bad year” thing, this will continue to worsen. pic.twitter.com/o25Sggb2F5
What will the future hold?
weather. “The amount of heat we’ve placed in the planet’s oceans in the past 25 years equals 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom bomb explosions,” said Lijing Cheng, a Beijing physics professor.
Warming oceans are circulating more gradually –by about 15 percent from the Atlantic Ocean because 1950. The reduc tion within their moderating influence could cause warmer summers, colder winters, changing rainfall patterns, and much more destructive storms. Climate change
Is not a theoretical risk. In California, average temperatures have climbed 1.8 degrees since 1980 while precipitation has dropped 30 percent, doubling the amount of extremerisk times for wildfires each year. A few weeks ago, rancher Taylor Craig drove because of his life as flames raced toward his Northern California home. Afterwards, sit ting in a Walmart parking lot, Craig said he realized he’d joined a new and growing team.
A CO2 silver lining
The pandemic forced auto and airplane travel to drop off a cliff, and satellite images of pollution in the atmosphere provided a striking before-and-after contrast. At the peak of April’s coronavirus lockdowns, Google’s mobility statistics indicated that 4 million people cut their journey half. Because of this, worldwide daily CO2 emissions fell by an estimated 18.7 million tons, fall- ing to levels not seen since 2006. Reduced auto, bus, and truck traffic donated to 43 percent of the drop-off, though emissions from residential buildings ticked up 2.8 percent, mostly from people running air conditioners while stuck at home. Scientists, however, aren’t celebrating. They anticipate only a 7 percent decrease in car- bon emissions annually, and point to historical evidence of emissions firing back up after declines during recessions or world wars. “It goes to show exactly how large a struggle decarbon- ization is,” said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. To get to the global emissions goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord, CO2 would need to drop as it did in 2020 every year for the next decade.