Heat in Time — ‘A Kind of Vicious Circle’

July 2, 2020

Hot but manageable this late-afternoon Thursday here in California’s Central Valley — temps have been high-90s this week, but by the weekend, supposedly back into the unbearable triple digits.
Heat in the summer time…

In a news respite from the unsurprising coronavirus surge (yet still scary as shit), the worsening nasty antics of the T-Rump, unrest in the streets, Russian bounty stories, and a shitload of other items ticked-off the media ticker today across a spectrum of human experience, is a big-bad problem seemingly now on the news back burner — climate change.
We’re still getting hot, fucking hotter than we’ve been in 12,000 years:

Yesterday via CBS News:

Less than two weeks ago, the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk soared to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, appearing to break an all-time record for the Arctic and alarming meteorologists worldwide.
Now that temperature record has been verified by Russia’s state weather authority.

The confirmation came the same day a comprehensive new study was released suggesting that present-day global temperatures are the warmest they have been in at least 12,000 years, and possibly far longer.
The study used a variety of geological clues and statistical analysis methods to reconstruct ancient temperature estimates.
..
For decades, the Arctic has been warming much faster than the rest of the globe.
Experts have frequently described that imbalance by saying that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the global average.
But that is no longer accurate.
Just days ago, Gavin Schmidt, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, corrected the reference by providing evidence that the rate of Arctic warming is actually three times faster.

Also yesterday, a bit more via ScienceNews:

Accelerated warming within the Arctic region, known as Arctic amplification, is due to “positive feedback” effects that act to enhance the warming already underway.

The largest of these warming feedback effects is the loss of ice cover, both on land and in the ocean, Stendel says (Martin Stendel of the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen).
Bright snow and ice reflect much of the incoming radiation from the sun.
But the rocks or water beneath them are much darker and absorb more of the sun’s heat instead of reflecting it back into space.

As melting leaves more and more rocks and water exposed, more solar radiation gets absorbed within the region, causing temperatures to rise.
“It’s a kind of vicious circle,” Stendel says.

Just a reminder, beyond everything else, there’s also a real-big picture out there, waiting in the wings…

(Illustration: ‘A Break in Reality’ by Xetobyte, found here).

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