Toxic Climate

October 6, 2014

648909_9122271_lzAnother bright morning here on California’s north coast, and a Monday at that, and the summer-like weather continues as we’re forecast for ‘warm’ temperatures and gentle ocean breezes.
All masquerading as weather.

And climate, though, the latter is shifting. An observation: Just about every week recently there’s an environmental study/report/research released indicating some bad indicator in our survival system, sometimes more than one. This morning’s bit also resonates a theme I’ve seen for years off these publications — shit is worse than we first figured.
From Climate Central: Research published Sunday concluded that the upper 2,300 feet of the Southern Hemisphere’s oceans may have warmed twice as quickly after 1970 than had previously been thought.

(Illustration found here).

As in the words of Nicholas Stern, the British economist and academic: “Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.”
In this case, the word, ‘then,’ Lord Stern making reference to was 2006 — not all that long ago.

Oceans are the mysterious key to how quick this shift in our environment from living to dying. The study released yesterday made use of a system that measures the life of the oceans — 50-pound devices, called Argo floats, spread out between New Zealand and Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar.
More from Climate Central:

“The Argo data is really critical,” said Paul Durack, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher who led the new study, which was published in Climate Nature Change.
“The estimates that we had up until now have been pretty systematically underestimating the likely changes.”
Durack and Lawrence Livermore colleagues worked with a Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist to compare ocean observations with ocean models.
They concluded that the upper levels of the planet’s oceans — those of the northern and southern hemispheres combined — had been warming during several decades prior to 2005 at rates that were 24 to 58 percent faster than had previously been realized.
That rapid ocean warming has consequences for the Earth’s climate and its shorelines.
“We continue to be stunned at how rapidly the ocean is warming,” said Sarah Gille, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor.
Gille was not involved with this paper, nor was she involved with a similar one published Sunday that examined the role of ocean warming in rising sea levels.
She described both of them as “tremendously interesting” studies.
“Even if we stopped all greenhouse gas emissions today, we’d still have an ocean that is warmer than the ocean of 1950, and that heat commits us to a warmer climate,” Gille said.
“Extra heat means extra sea level rise, since warmer water is less dense, so a warmer ocean expands.”

People just don’t realize how precarious the situation.
Similar to how the vast-majority of Americans are clueless to really how horrible the economic inequality is in the US. One problem is there’s just too much shit going on all the time to keep up with every-freakin’ thing, and compounded hugely, is the whole-lot of pure, ugly bullshit polluting the air.

Ebola is the current frightfest — one of the more-astute observers of American bullshit, Charles P. Pierce at Esquire last week, made note of the bat-shit crazy, fringe that makes a lot of noise. Pierce was aiming at the Ebola circumstances, but it sure as shit is climate change, too.
Key point:

The country simply cannot go on this way, with one of our two political parties completely insane, and with a counter-cultural universe that claims the right to promulgate its own science as equal to the science produced by actual scientists, and with this dangerous lunacy treated as legitimate by powerful people who ought to know better.
As I once wrote, it doesn’t matter how many people vote for the anti-gravity party, you still can’t flap your arms and fly to the moon.
A dangerous disease is not a matter of debate.
Your profitable fantasy and the reality of the disease do not deserve an equal place in the discussion of what we as a society will do about the disease.
The response is going to have to be precise and empirical. It is going to have to be impatient with cant, and immune to the delusions on which demented ideology feeds.

And another one of my favorite commenters, Gail Collins, had a neat column last week at the New York Times, taking note of the beaching of 35,000 walrus in Northwest Alaska, and how climate-change-denying GOP assholes, whose very states, and locales, are already experiencing environmental especially sea-level rise, are so adamant that global warning is a hoax.
And concluded:

Also on the record as not being a scientist: Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, and Marco Rubio. Florida is absolutely awash in backed-up ocean water and elected officials who are not scientists.
Louisiana has a rapidly receding coastline and a governor who’s afraid of the energy industry.
Alaska has drowning villages and a political establishment in denial.
We are the walrus.

‘Goo goo goo joob’ — or whatever. In surfing climate shit last week, I also came across this piece, which appeared last month in Rolling Stone, and a hard-nosed handle on the Koch brothers, and their seemingly self-orchestrated horrifying and demented roles as climate-change facilitators.
Key nasty and gloomy part:

The volume of Koch Industries’ toxic output is staggering.
According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries.
Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined.
The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution.
Koch’s climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell.
Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.

And changes do come. Just right now, the bright sunshine I described at the top, now at the bottom, has morphed into fog — but yet normal for ocean side.
Ha, ha, funny word, ‘normal.’

(Illustration out front found here).

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