Anthropogenic Climate Change, Climate Change Flat-Earthers, CO2, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Ecological Overshoot, Environmental Collapse, Fossil-Fuel Based Economy, Marine Ecologist Roger Bradbury, Mercury Pollution, Methane, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ocean Acidification
The following is recent information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (click on graphs to enlarge):
“This time series shows the 2012 year-to-date temperature through July, which was the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the lower 48. The year-to-date evolution of the contiguous U.S. temperatures for each year back to 1895 are also shown, with the five warmest and five coolest years highlighted. The January-July 2012 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 56.4°F, 4.3°F above average. The data for 2012 are preliminary.”
“This time series also shows the 2012 year-to-date temperature through July. Outcome scenarios based on persistence of temperature from August through December, the remaining five months of 2012, are shown. The January-July 2012 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 56.4°F, 4.3°F above average. The data for 2012 are preliminary.” And the following is a map of extreme global weather for July 2012(click to enlarge): At this point, even if you don’t believe humans have anything to do with these extreme weather events which have grown progressively worse, the fact is that the climate is no longer falling within historic parameters from the records that have been kept over the last 116 years. An epic climate event is underway and there are 7 billion people in its path. Our leaders and the ‘captains’ of industry act as if they are powerless to do anything about it, much less alter our dependance on fossil fuels. In fact, we’re scrambling to the thawing Arctic to exploit more carbon-rich resources to cook. Nearly all scientists acknowledge that the release of CO2 from humankind’s burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution is the primary factor in today’s abnormal weather events. And recently, even former Koch-funded climate scientist deniers are changing their tune on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. It’s worth repeating the mind-blowing computation that we, the industrialized world, burn more than 100,000 tons of fossil fuel every hour. Certainly this has caused the acidification of the world’s oceans. A startling report from late last year stated:
The acidification of the world’s oceans from an excess of CO2 has already begun, as evidenced recently by the widespread mortality of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists say this is just a harbinger of things to come if greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar.
And you can’t find fish from our waterways that is not contaminated with mercury:
Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) — Mercury contaminated every fish studied in 291 U.S. streams and rivers tested by scientists, and one in four had levels unsafe for people who eat average amounts of fish, a government report said today.
And in July a confrontational piece in the New York Times, written by marine ecologist Roger Bradbury, states rather bluntly:
IT’S past time to tell the truth about the state of the world’s coral reefs, the nurseries of tropical coastal fish stocks. They have become zombie ecosystems, neither dead nor truly alive in any functional sense, and on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation.
Overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution have two features in common. First, they are accelerating. They are growing broadly in line with global economic growth, so they can double in size every couple of decades. Second, they have extreme inertia — there is no real prospect of changing their trajectories in less than 20 to 50 years. In short, these forces are unstoppable and irreversible.
Coral reefs will be the first, but certainly not the last, major ecosystem to succumb to the Anthropocene — the new geological epoch now emerging.
As blogger it’ll-all-end-in-tears puts it, “The naming of the epoc feels like an appropriately hubristic climax to our age. The consequences of our prolonged war on the ecosystems that support (not serve…) us might well be coming around to extract their own price.”
Funny thing about the environment that we abuse and take for granted on a daily basis…Everything seems OK, until it suddenly isn’t.
I don’t know about you, but I like things to be somewhat predictable and dependable. It appears, however, that we have transgressed Mother Nature one too many times. Consider that at a one degree celsius increase, marked changes to the climate include the USA midwest becoming a desert with the remaining topsoil blowing away. The thinning polar ice caps and melting permafrost will release methane which is twenty times more potent than CO2:
Two new research papers published today improve our understanding of the planet’s methane emissions, and might raise worries about the role of the gas in warming the planet. The first suggests that there may be extensive methane deposits under the Antarctic ice sheets. Meanwhile, the second concludes that emissions of the gas from Arctic permafrost have been underestimated.
Island nations will flood. Forest fires will be more frequent. The frequency and intensity of storms will increase. Between a 1 and 2 degree increase, the albedo effect is diminished at the poles where sunlight reflects back into the atmosphere. Trees stressed from drought will also add more CO2 than O2. The world’s rivers will shrink. Countries will become destabilised and unleash waves of ecological and political refugees in search of H20, food, and fuel. Between a 2 and 3 degrees increase, life becomes unbearable as soils emit more CO2, forests such as the Amazon burn away and release vast amounts of stored carbon, and the basic essentials of life (water, food, and fuel) become scarce. Nations wither and disappear.
And yet there will still be people who think it’s all a conspiracy.
Cartoon illustration by Horsey.