Sunshine and warmth this late-afternoon Thursday here in California’s Central Valley.
Instead of the horrific political news, how about some horrific environmental news — climate change is here and growing worse. Although there have been warnings blaring for decades, the extreme weather shit scenario is about to hit the fan quickly and could be even quicker if nothing is done to impede the rising global heat. Bad weather due to climate change is the ‘new normal’ for us for right bw and going forward.
Barbara Mayes Boustead, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, notes the changing standard: ‘“Often these are happening on a background of a changing normal, a changing baseline … As that shifts, we may see events like these more often in the future, and things that might have once been very, very rare become less rare.”‘
Severe heat, torrential rainfall, drought, and the like — extreme weather — are products of a heating world. Yesterday another red flag, sirenes wailing, red lights flashing more warning of just how bad a predicament our planet be:
The first individual year at +1.5C will not in itself mean that the "Paris Agreement 1.5C" has been exceeded
HOWEVER, even in the IPCC's very low emissions scenario, long-term warming is more likely than not to exceed 1.5C on average over 2021-2040 (?)https://t.co/GI0BtLfL2a
— Prof Richard Betts (@richardabetts) May 18, 2023
Brief nutshell via the BBC yesterday:
Researchers say there’s now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027.
The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year.
If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary.
Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century, before fossil fuel emissions from industrialisation really began to ramp up.
And breaking the limit even for just one year is a worrying sign that warming is accelerating and not slowing down.
The 1.5C figure has become a symbol of global climate change negotiations. Countries agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C under the 2015 Paris agreement.
Going over 1.5C every year for a decade or two would see far greater impacts of warming, such as longer heatwaves, more intense storms and wildfires.
But passing the level in one of the next few years would not mean that the Paris limit had been broken. Scientists say there is still time to restrict global warming by cutting emissions sharply.
A good, in-depth piece on the same report at the Guardian, also yesterday.
Another climate-related topic: El Niño this year and hotter than hot times ahead as per a new report from the World Meteorological Organization:
We've seen record-hot temperatures in recent years. That's just the start of the kind of heat we’re headed toward as El Niño collides with human-caused climate change, the @WMO warned on Wednesday. https://t.co/BMzYdwKdc6
— grist (@grist) May 18, 2023
Details from Grist yesterday:
It’s a near certainty that one of the next five years will be the world’s hottest on record, the organization said, the result of human-caused climate change colliding with an “El Niño” weather pattern that warms the globe. Marked by hotter surface waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean, El Niño is replacing La Niña, a cooler pattern that has actually tempered the heat of the last three years.
The meteorological association cautioned that the world could see temperatures that are 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than preindustrial times, with a two-thirds chance that at least one of the next five years will breach that threshold. Holding global temperatures below 1.5 degrees has been a rallying point for island nations that threaten to get swallowed by rising seas, and became an aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement that roughly 200 countries negotiated in 2015. While temporarily hitting the 1.5-degree mark is different from seeing an average of 1.5 across many years, the extra heat from El Niño, on top of climate change, could usher us closer to this hotter future.
Every tenth of a degree that the planet warms pushes it toward worrisome tipping points, such as the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Surpassing the 1.5C mark could also inch environments closer to irreversible feedback loops: The Amazon, for example, might transform from a rainforest into a grassy savanna, releasing the vast stores of carbon held in its trees.
The world has already warmed an average of 1.2 degrees C (2.2 degrees F) since the Industrial Revolution initiated the widespread use of fossil fuels, hotter than at any point in the last 125,000 years. Most estimates say that the longer-term average of 1.5C won’t arrive until at least the early 2030s, though the meteorological organization said there’s a 1 in 3 chance the five-year average temperature could top that threshold. It puts things into perspective: Decades from now, the string of hot years the world has recently witnessed will be looked back on as some of the century’s coldest.
Further from The Verge:
That one-two punch from El Niño and climate change is expected to “push global temperatures into uncharted territory,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a press release today. “This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared.”
There’s a 98 percent chance that one of the following five years will be the warmest on record, according to a WMO report released today. There’s also a 98 percent likelihood that the average temperature for the entire five-year period will be hotter than the previous five years.
The planet is already running a fever. The last eight years have been the eight hottest on the books, the WMO reported in January. In the past few years alone, we’ve witnessed the jaw-dropping damage that extreme temperatures can bring.
With El Niño likely to push the mercury up even higher than we’ve seen during the persistent La Niña event over the past few years, global temperatures could soon breach a worrying benchmark. There’s now a 66 percent chance that during at least one year between 2023 and 2027, the annual average global temperature will rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial era (aka before burning fossil fuels created enough greenhouse gas pollution to heat the planet).
To be clear, 1.5 degrees of warming is a big deal. The Paris climate agreement strives to keep the world from warming beyond that threshold. So far, the planet has warmed by around 1.1 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — which is the main driver of the more extreme weather we’re already seeing today. There’s still a slim window of time to achieve that goal — since the WMO predicts that the world will only temporarily overshoot the 1.5-degree target over the next five years.
“This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5°C level specified in the Paris agreement, which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency,” Taalas said in the press release.
Not only with our environment of weather, but our economic environment is also on the line, too — via Wired this morning:
The economic consequences, researchers report today, could be a $3 trillion hemorrhage over the next several years, with low-income tropical countries getting hit especially hard. Writing in the journal Science, they determined that the El Niños of 1982-83 and 1997-98 led to worldwide losses of $4.1 trillion and $5.7 trillion, respectively, which dragged on for more than five years after the climatic events had dissipated. By the end of this century, the cumulative bill for El Niños could come to $84 trillion. “There’s an economic legacy of El Niño in GDP [gross domestic product] growth,” says Christopher Callahan, an Earth system scientist at Dartmouth College who coauthored the paper. “That primarily occurs in the countries in the tropics that are strongly affected by El Niño. But this effect is quite large.”
When you check out the political environment, however, with climate-change-denying asshole Republicans, all these scientific reports are even more profoundly worse. The horror coming is torched by the horror of the nowadays.
One maybe out of their own scenario, but CGI is right owned:
Yet CGI, or not, once again here we are…
(Illustration out front: MC Escher’s ‘Old Olive Tree, Corsica‘ (1934). and found here)