U.S. has hottest summer on record

The United States had its hottest summer on record this year, narrowly edging out the previous milestone that was set 85 years ago during the Dust Bowl.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that the average temperature this summer for the contiguous U.S. was 74 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.6 degrees warmer than the long-term average. The heat record caps off a season full of extremes, with parts of the country experiencing persistent drought, wildfires, record-breaking heat waves, hurricanes and other extreme weather exacerbated by climate change.

This summer beat the previous record set in 1936 by a hair, coming in at less than 0.01 degrees warmer than during the Dust Bowl year, when huge portions of the West and Great Plains were parched by severe drought…

Global warming is making heat waves and other extreme weather events both more likely and more severe, and climate scientists have said conditions this summer offer a glimpse of what could become more common in the future.

If you accept and understand the science, get ready to sweat. If you don’t accept the science, guess what? You still get to sweat!

Five possible climate futures

The UN’s latest report on the state of the climate offers a stark warning that humanity’s future could be filled with apocalyptic natural disasters. But that future isn’t set in stone. Depending on global economic trends, technological progress, geopolitical developments, and most important, how aggressively we act to reduce carbon emissions, the world at the end of the 21st century could turn out to be radically different. Or not.

The spectrum of possible futures that await us underpin the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, whose first chapter on the physical science of climate change was released last week. The new report features five climate narratives that differ in terms of the level of projected warming and society’s ability to adapt to the changes ahead. Each narrative pairs a different socioeconomic development scenario with a different carbon emissions pathway, resulting in a Choose Your Own Adventure-style series of endings to the story of 21st-century climate change.

In some of those endings, humanity rises to the climate challenge while making concurrent efforts to reduce poverty and improve quality of life for everyone. The world is hotter and the weather is more dangerous, but the worst climate impacts are averted and societies are able to adapt.

In others, global cooperation is fractured by nationalism, increases in poverty, soaring emissions, and unimaginably hot weather.

You can start by reading this article…if you want to take part in building the changes that are needed. I hope you will.

Siberia is thawing. But, wait, there’s more!

Scientists have long been worried about what many call “the methane bomb” — the potentially catastrophic release of methane from thawing wetlands in Siberia’s permafrost.

But now a study by three geologists says that a heat wave in 2020 has revealed a surge in methane emissions “potentially in much higher amounts” from a different source: thawing rock formations in the Arctic permafrost…

The difference is that thawing wetlands releases “microbial” methane from the decay of soil and organic matter, while thawing limestone — or carbonate rock — releases hydrocarbons and gas hydrates from reservoirs both below and within the permafrost, making it “much more dangerous” than past studies have suggested…

“What we do know with quite a lot of confidence is how much carbon is locked up in the permafrost. It’s a big number and as the Earth warms and permafrost thaws, that ancient organic matter is available to microbes for microbial processes and that releases CO2 and methane,” Robert Max Holmes said. “If something in the Arctic is going to keep me up at night that’s still what it is.” But he said the paper warranted further study…

The study said that gas hydrates in the Earth’s permafrost are estimated to contain 20 gigaton of carbon, approximately four times the amount present in atmospheric methane.

At the moment no one has a clue what the potential threat from this carbon is or will be as the climate warms. The only question is “How bad will the news be?”

Pacific Northwest heatwave virtually impossible without climate change

The last week of June saw shocking temperatures in Oregon, Washington state, and British Columbia. Differentiating a forecast in Canada from a forecast in Phoenix is usually a breeze, but not in June. All-time high-temperature records—not just daily records—were smashed across the region. Portland International Airport broke its all-time record of 41.7°C (107°F) by a whopping 5°C (9°F). The small town of Lytton set a new record high for the entire country of Canada at 49.6°C (121.3°F) on June 29. In the days that followed, most of the town burned in a wildfire…

As with other extreme weather events, the World Weather Attribution team has generated a rapid analysis of this heat wave in the context of climate change…The goal is to fit a mathematical relationship that tells you how unusual an event was—it can produce figures like 1-in-10 or 1-in-50 odds in any given year, for example. But with events this extreme, the statistics are often challenging, as this heat wave went far beyond anything in the instrumental record. As near as they could estimate, the researchers put this heat wave at a 1-in-1,000 probability—the kind of thing that ought to happen roughly once in a thousand years.

Comparing this to the world before human-caused climate change requires adding in model simulations. As usual, the team compared historical temperatures in the area to a large database of models, tossing the simulations that fit the historical trend poorly. Statistics from simulations of climate in the late 1800s can then be combined with the historical data to see how rare this event would have been in the past.

Remember, it’s taken our dumbass species two centuries to screw things up this bad. Just because quantitative events have accumulated sufficiently to produce qualitative change…the disasters we’re sliding into…doesn’t mean they were caused by short-term phenomena. Nor will there be much of a chance for short-term solutions.

Firestorm


SFGate

“Really horrifying”: Fire clouds spark 710,117 lightning strikes in western Canada in 15 hours.

Storm-producing fire clouds threw out hundreds of thousands of lightning strikes over wildfire-stricken British Columbia and northwestern Alberta provinces in Canada Wednesday and Thursday, bewildering meteorologists…

Of those (710K+ lightning strikes), 597,314 were in-cloud pulses, meaning the strikes didn’t hit the ground. There were 112,803 cloud-to-ground strikes detected over the same area, (Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist with the company Vaisala) said.

“As a whole, Canada doesn’t generally see a lot of lightning — about 90% less than the United States.”

Yup. No need to worry about climate change. Unless you have some understanding of just how interconnected, reactive, cumulative, physical processes in nature can become.

Global warming now responsible for a third of heat-related deaths

Between 1991 and 2018, more than a third of all deaths in which heat played a role were attributable to human-induced global warming, according to a new article in Nature Climate Change.

The study, the largest of its kind, was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of Bern within the Multi-Country Multi-City Collaborative Research Network. Using data from 732 locations in 43 countries around the world it shows for the first time the actual contribution of man-made climate change in increasing mortality risks due to heat.

Overall, the estimates show that 37% of all heat-related deaths in the recent summer periods were attributable to the warming of the planet due to anthropogenic activities. This percentage of heat-related deaths attributed to human-induced climate change was highest in Central and South America…and South-East Asia…

RTFA. Keep up with it, folks. The political struggle to fight this ever-expanding disaster requires information, knowledge.