Clear and bright with temperatures climbing to under 100 this near-noon Thursday here in California’s Central Valley and the next couple of days we’ll join a goodly chunk of the rest of America with furnace-like conditions — the only thing, we’ll supposedly be a little cooler than, say, Texas, but free of apocalyptic smoke from Canadian wildfires in say, Pennsylvania, where it resembles Mars.
As I’ve warned, all this shit is greatly influenced highly by climate change. (Reportedly, five times worse due to global warming).
And the blowback is enormous — via the Guardian‘s live blog this morning:
A new survey by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) Research Institute has found that 53 percent of Americans reported that extreme weather events — including hurricanes, tornadoes, heatwaves, wildfires and flooding –– have adversely affected their health.
In survey results reviewed by the Guardian, the institute found:
- 42 percent have experienced short-term injury or illness
- 23 percent report complications to an existing chronic condition
- 15 percent have suffered a long-term injury or a new chronic condition
Moreover, more than half of the respondents reported negative impacts on their property (51 percent), communities (58 percent) and feelings of general safety (65 percent) from extreme weather events.
A circumstance now a continuous way of life:
Lead headline tonite on the Washington Post–and for much of the rest of the century pic.twitter.com/J8gyiS8giQ
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) June 29, 2023
As the world heats, temperatures go up — duh!
And this year is even worse. Via NPR yesterday:
If there’s one kind of weather extreme that scientists clearly link to climate change, it’s worsening heat waves.
“They are getting hotter,” says Kai Kornhuber, adjunct scientist at Columbia University and scientist at Climate Analytics, a climate think tank. “They are occurring at a higher frequency, so that also increases the likelihood of sequential heat waves.”
In Texas, the Southern U.S. and Mexico, a three-week heat wave has gripped the region with temperature records falling for days in a row. Extreme heat has also hit India, China and Canada, where widespread wildfires are burning.
“Most of the world’s population has experienced record-breaking heat in recent days,” says Daniel Swain, climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
This year, something else is adding fuel to the fire: the El Niño climate pattern. That seasonal shift makes global temperatures warmer, which could make 2023 the hottest year ever recorded.
This year, the planet also made a seasonal shift to an El Niño pattern. It starts when the ocean in the central and eastern Pacific warms up. That extra heat alters weather patterns, raising temperatures globally.
“That’s its role in the global climate system — is moving some of the energy up from depth and dumping it into the atmosphere,” Swain says.
With El Niño just getting started this year, it’s likely the full effect isn’t being felt yet in heat waves or rainfall patterns. Typically, the Southern U.S. gets wetter and the Northern U.S. gets drier.
“That lag is because it takes some time for that extra heat near the surface of the ocean to actually make it into the atmosphere and be moved around by wind currents,” Swain says.
Climate experts say signs point to a strong El Niño this year, which could break global temperature records. The past eight years have already been the hottest since record-keeping began, and 2016, the hottest ever recorded, was also a year with a powerful El Niño.
“Even if it’s not going to be the hottest on record, we’re certainly seeing the warmest decade so far,” Kornhuber says. “That alone should already be worrying enough.”
If the world continues emitting fossil fuels, these kinds of heat events are expected to become far more likely. Even if the world can meet its goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), extreme heat waves still are likely to be more than eight times more common than they once were.
“The long-term driver is human-caused climate change where we’re sort of stair-stepping up along that inexorable upward trend,” Swain says. “El Niño represents the exclamation point on that trend.”
And, of course, action taken has fallen way short:
Update of humanity's energy supply through 2022.
Despite the continued growth of wind & solar, the fraction of energy from fossil fuels remains nearly unchanged at 78%. ?
We have yet to really begin the rapid energy transition that Paris Agreement climate targets demand. pic.twitter.com/T9YOhQEmx6
— Dr. Robert Rohde (@RARohde) June 27, 2023
Worse (if such a thing) than the natural shit, is Republican interference.
Via Common Dreams, also this morning:
Senate Republicans introduced legislation earlier this week that would prohibit President Joe Biden from declaring a national climate emergency as millions across the U.S. shelter indoors to escape scorching heat and toxic pollution from Canadian wildfires, which have been fueled by runaway warming.
Led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)—a fossil fuel industry ally and the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—the GOP bill would “prohibit the president from using the three primary statutory authorities available (the National Emergencies Act, the Stafford Act, and section 319 of the Public Health Service Act) to declare a national emergency solely on the basis of climate change,” according to a summary released by the Republican senator’s office.
Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), another friend of the oil and gas industry, is leading companion legislation in the House.
A treadmill of a future.
Ice cubes in a bag, or not, yet once again here we are…
(Illustration out front: Salvador Dali’s ‘Hell Canto 2: Giants,’ found here.)