Both of Earth’s poles are having heatwaves, right now.


David Goldman/AP

Startling heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles are causing alarm among climate scientists, who have warned the “unprecedented” events could signal faster and abrupt climate breakdown.

Temperatures in Antarctica reached record levels at the weekend, an astonishing 40C above normal in places.

At the same time, weather stations near the north pole also showed signs of melting, with some temperatures 30C above normal, hitting levels normally attained far later in the year.

At this time of year, the Antarctic should be rapidly cooling after its summer, and the Arctic only slowly emerging from its winter, as days lengthen. For both poles to show such heating at once is unprecedented.

The rapid rise in temperatures at the poles is a warning of disruption in Earth’s climate systems. Last year, in the first chapter of a comprehensive review of climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of unprecedented warming signals already occurring, resulting in some changes – such as polar melt – that could rapidly become irreversible.

Read it and weep for what we have done. Ignoring what the barons of corporate wealth have done to our planet in their quest for more and more money and power is destroying the only home we have for our species. We can try for stopgap measures. The much harder task will be trying to claw back what commerce has destroyed. Simply as a side effect of greed.

Doomed A68 iceberg dumped 1 trillion tons of water into the ocean over 3 years

After the world’s largest iceberg snapped off of the Antarctic Peninsula in July 2017, it drifted north on a three-year death march, shedding an unfathomable amount of meltwater into the sea. Now, a new study of the doomed iceberg (named A68a) reveals just how much water the infamous mega-berg actually lost — and how that could impact the local ecosystem for generations to come…

Using observations from five satellites, the study authors calculated how much the iceberg’s area and thickness changed as it drifted north through Antarctica’s Weddell Sea and into the relatively warm waters of the Scotia Sea. There, while the berg appeared to be headed for a direct collision with South Georgia island, iceberg A68a lost more than 152 billion tons (138 billion metric tons) of fresh water in just three months…

“This is a huge amount of meltwater, and the next thing we want to learn is whether it had a positive or negative impact on the ecosystem around South Georgia,” lead study author Anne Braakmann-Folgmann, a researcher at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling in the U.K., said in a statement. “Because A68a took a common route across the Drake Passage, we hope to learn more about icebergs taking a similar trajectory, and how they influence the polar oceans.”

And this is just the beginning, folks. As global warming proceeds, processes like these will reoccur. Better start learning about results and side effects.

A “bomb cyclone” is battering California

A “bomb cyclone” in the Pacific is dumping extreme rain and several feet of snow on California. The wild weather follows a summer of extreme drought and wildfires, and it could bring flooding, mudslides and debris flow to the parched and wildfire-scarred Golden State.

The term “bomb cyclone” refers to the rapid intensification process — “bombogenesis” — that forms it. Such storms occur when pressure in the central region of the storm descend by at least 24 millibars…in 24 hours, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued numerous warnings on Sunday concerning extreme rainfall, flooding and debris flows. In some regions, rainfall may reach into the double digits in inches.

RTFA because you should add it to that database of info about climate change that’s beginning to form up there in your cerebral cortex. We’re all sort of weather freaks here at Lot 4…for one reason or another. So, this gave rise to discussion how and when this event references climate change.

The only point I raised in the discussion I need to offer here, too. Climate is governed by what is called flywheel effect. Look it up if you want to learn about the physics involved. What it means is that fixing all the problems needing to be fixed, answering all the questions asked, might stop the cause-and-effect relationships that bring about events like this…maybe, just maybe, in a couple decades. Even if you succeeded making those changes in a week or two.

Which ain’t happening, either.

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.

Antarctic ice sheet retreat may further accelerate melting


Svein Østerhus

The Antarctic ice sheet was even more unstable in the past than previously thought, and at times possibly came close to collapse, new research suggests.

The findings raise concerns that, in a warmer climate, exposing the land underneath the ice sheet as it retreats will increase rainfall on Antarctica, and this could trigger processes that accelerate further ice loss.

The research is based on climate modelling and data comparisons for the Middle Miocene (13-17 million years ago) when atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures reached levels similar to those expected by the end of this century.

RTFA for an explanation of the several processes involved. And, this time, they may not be halted by natural circumstances; but, proceed steadily into further dramatic melting and sea level rise.

Will Climate Change affect global trade? You betcha!

Some new drone footage shot as the ONE Apus was arriving in Japan last week gives us the first aerial view of the extent of damage on the deck of the ship after its historic cargo loss in the Pacific Ocean…

The owners and managers of the containership estimate that 1,816 containers were lost overboard when the ONE Apus encountered severe weather as it sailed towards Long Beach, California on November 30.

The number of containers damaged but remaining on deck is yet to be determined, but these images (and what we’ve seen already) show that the number is likely to be significant.

Authors of the article estimate 2,250 containers were swept away.

After the cold fall winds swirling around Hurricane Sandy pushed an enormous storm surge toward the New York and New Jersey coastlines several years ago, the ensuing damage left an indelible imprint on the public imagination. Restaurants with ocean views were battered by wild waves, homes were rent asunder, and historic lighthouses were pummeled into piles of rubble. New York City was paralyzed for days, and some 40,000 people were left homeless.

…Scant attention was paid to the goods containers strewn like toys around the marine terminals or to the gantry cranes left inoperable by saltwater damage. For a week, container ships laden with cargo floated aimlessly in the calmed harbor while responders scrambled to repair the damage.

As concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere at a record-breaking pace, changes to the climate system—not least sea level rise and increasingly ferocious extreme weather—will pose a growing threat to international trade. Costal transport infrastructure, especially ports, is highly vulnerable. But this is a two-way relationship. International trade plays a well-established role in making climate change worse by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, but what Sandy portends is that climate change will also imperil the smooth flow of international trade.

And this is just the beginning.

Uh-oh! More climate change news…

In the last 10 years, warming in the Arctic has outpaced projections so rapidly that scientists are now suggesting that the poles are warming four times faster than the rest of the globe. This has led to glacier melt and permafrost thaw levels that weren’t forecast to happen until 2050 or later. In Siberia and northern Canada, this abrupt thaw has created sunken landforms, known as thermokarst, where the oldest and deepest permafrost is exposed to the warm air for the first time in hundreds or even thousands of years.

As the global climate continues to warm, many questions remain about the periglacial environment. Among them: as water infiltration increases, will permafrost thaw more rapidly? And, if so, what long-frozen organisms might “wake up”?

Zombie viruses, walking mosquito mutants, the possibilities are endless…and the stuff of sci-fi “B Movies” for the next decade or so.

UK advancing the end of combustion engines


Even an opportunist dolt like Boris gets it…

The United Kingdom will ban the sale of new combustion-engine vehicles by 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today. It will also ban the sale of new hybrid cars by 2035. Johnson made the announcement tonight as part of a new ten-point plan for a “green industrial revolution.”

This is the second time Johnson has moved up the deadline. The original plan was to stop sales of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040. Back in February, Johnson moved the target to 2035. He’s come under increasing pressure to crack down on gas-guzzling cars in order to meet the UK’s broader goal of eliminating emissions contributing to climate change by 2050…

Speeding up the transition to all electric vehicles puts the UK ahead of much of the pack when it comes to other governments’ pledges to phase out cars running on fossil fuels. France has a goal of ending the sale of new gas-guzzlers by 2040. California recently made a pledge to do so by 2035. Norway has a more ambitious goal of ending new sales by 2025…

The United States is governed by people who still think the Earth is flat. They are elected to office, again and again, by people who thank them for their “leadership”.

Bah, humbug!