World Scientists' Warning 2022

Torstai 3.11.2022 klo 13:43 - Mikko Nikinmaa

The alliance of world scientists, with the lead of William Ripple in Oregon, have again done a report of what has been happening during the recent past. The report is published in BioScience and can be accessed freely at https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biac083. The year 2022 has been characterized by a multitude of climate-related disasters, which the report tabulates. I have taken the information from the table and give it below.

In addition, the film “The Scientist’s Warning” has now been released and is free to view online at https://scientistswarningfilm. Further, different climate-related resources can be accessed in the Alliance of World Scientists website https://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

Climate disasters in 2022.

January–September

Many rivers in Europe have run low or dried up partly because of the worst drought in 500 years and intense heat waves. Climate change has likely played a significant role in this crisis by increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts and heat waves.

February

La Niña and climate change contributed to record-breaking rainfall on the east coast of Australia. This led to flooding that damaged thousands of properties and killed eight people.

February–March

Record-breaking flooding occurred along the northeastern coast of Australia, leading to standing water, which, in turn, promoted the spread of mosquitoes that carry the Japanese encephalitis virus. Such flooding is likely becoming more common because of climate change.

February–July

The number of people affected by drought in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia who have limited access to safe water increased from 9.5 million to 16.2 million. This increasing drought severity may be at least partly due to climate change (Ghebrezgabher et al. 2016).

March

A severe drought in the Southern Plains of the United States put the winter wheat crop at risk. Although droughts are complex phenomena with many possible causes, increasing drought intensity has been linked to climate change (Mukherjee et al. 2018).

March–April

A deadly heat wave occurred in India and Pakistan, killing at least 90 people and contributing to widespread crop losses and wildfires. It was estimated that climate change made this event 30 times more likely to occur.

April

Climate change likely contributed to extreme rainfall in Eastern South Africa, which triggered flooding and landslides that killed at least 435 people and affected more than 40,000 people.

April–June

Widespread dust storms in the Middle East led to thousands of people being hospitalized; such dust storms may be increasing in frequency because of climate change.

May

Extremely heavy rainfall in northeastern Brazil resulted in landslides and flooding that killed at least 100 people. Climate change may be responsible for the increasing frequency of extreme rainfall.

June

A severe storm in Yellowstone (United States) caused the Gardner River and Lamar River to overflow, destroying parts of various roads in Yellowstone National Park. Such extreme flooding could be increasing in frequency because of climate change.

June

Several countries in Western Europe experienced a record-breaking heat wave. This heat wave contributed to major wildfires in Spain and Germany. Many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere also experienced extreme heat; for example, temperatures reached 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit in Isesaki, Japan—an all-time record for the country. Similarly, a heat dome in the United States contributed to record-breaking temperatures. Other affected countries include Finland, Iran, Norway, and Italy. In general, extreme heat is becoming more common because of climate change (Luber and McGeehin 2008).

June

Following extreme heat, China experienced record-breaking rainfall, which may be linked to climate change.

June

Bangladesh experienced the worst monsoon flooding in 100 years, killing at least 26 people. This flooding is likely at least partly due to climate change causing monsoons to become more variable.

June–July

Extreme rainfall led to flooding in some parts of New South Wales, Australia. Sydney is currently on track to experience the wettest year on record. It is likely that climate change contributed at least partly to this rainfall and flooding.

June–August

Deadly floods in Pakistan have killed more than 1,000 people and affected roughly 33 million people, including 16 million children, since mid-June. Impacts include surging rates of dengue fever, gastric infections, and malaria. These floods may be at least partly related to climate change causing monsoon rainfall to become more intense.

June–August

China experienced an extraordinary heat wave, which may be the most severe that has ever been recorded globally. Such events are likely becoming more common because of climate change. The extreme heat contributed to large-scale crop failures and wildfires, in addition to exacerbating a major drought that caused 66 rivers to dry up and led to a significant decline in hydroelectricity generation.

August–September

California and other parts of the Western United States faced extremely hot temperatures because of a heat dome, which caused seven firefighters to be hospitalized with heat-related injuries. The effects of the heat dome may have been worsened by climate change.

September–October

In the United States, Hurricane Ian caused damage across many parts of Florida and the Carolinas, killing more than 100 people and leaving at least 2.5 million without electrical power. Ian is one of the costliest and strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. Climate change is likely causing strong and rapidly intensifying storms such as Ian to become more common.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, floods, wildfires, drought, heat waves

Extreme heat in Europe - a new normal together with cold spells in winter, if climate change is not stopped

Tiistai 20.9.2022 klo 11:29 - Mikko Nikinmaa

The climate models predict that the circulation of warm water towards north and cold water to the south can radically decrease in near future. This is mainly the result of the melting of Greenland ice sheath, which liberates a lot of fresh water to the Arctic Ocean/North Atlantic. Because of this, the surface water becomes less dense than earlier and will not sink in the water column. The downward movement of surface water is the main driver of northward current of warm water in Gulf Stream. Since Gulf Stream keeps the European climate temperate increasing especially winter temperatures, its weakening may change the climate towards Siberian-like.

Other major effectors of European climate are the jet streams at high altitude. Their movements to a large extent determine the movement and stability of low and high pressure zones, and depending of the location of the zones if tropical or arctic air is moving towards Europe. The jet stream has recently started to split more often than earlier, and between the split any weather pattern becomes more stationary that earlier. Although there is no conclusive evidence that the increased splitting of jet stream would be caused by climate change, it has only started to occur recently, more or less at the same time as the global average temperature has increased more than one degree centigrade.

The two factors, weakened Gulf stream and jet stream function, predict that Europe can expect extended heat spells in summer and cold winters. The cold winter weather may occur even though the global temperature increases markedly. So, the truth value of the following is zero. “Look, it is cold now, there is no climate change”, as climate sceptics certainly shall say. But scorching heat in future summers becomes even worse than in 2022   

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: Gulf Stream, heat waves, temperature, jet stream

Forest Fires of the Arctic - as Big Problem as Amazonian Forest Fires

Maanantai 22.8.2022 klo 17:34 - Mikko Nikinmaa

When people are talking about the role of forest fires in climate change, the talk is almost invariably restricted to destruction of Amazonas and other major rain forest areas. Without doubt the problem of Amazonian deforestation is highly important as it has been estimated that if more than 20 % of the rainforest area disappeared, the rainforest would start turning into savannah. Amazonas has already lost more than 15 % of the forest area. For the world’s carbon dioxide balance this is a huge threat, as savannah is a much weaker carbon dioxide sink than rain forest.

However, wildfires elsewhere can be as big a problem to the earth’s well-being as fires in rain forests. To give an idea of the overall problem of wildfires, the estimated carbon dioxide release in 2022 already exceeds the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of European Union. Thus, small reductions in anthropogenic emissions cannot compensate for the forest fires.

The Arctic forest fires cause many additional problems. The magnitude of forest fires in the Arctic areas has tripled in the last 50 years. The first immediate problem is naturally the carbon dioxide given up in the burning forest. Luckily, much of the carbon dioxide is quite rapidly taken up by regrowth. Much worse problem of the Arctic wildfires is that the permafrost starts to melt. It is estimated that about twice the amount of carbon as is currently present in atmosphere is currently stored below permafrost, mainly as natural gas. Imagine if that becomes liberated via the craters developed by the melting permafrost – such a catastrophe is not included even in the most pessimistic climate models.

In comparison to the liberation of natural gas the other problems associated with wildfires may be considered small but are still serious. For salmonids migrating up the rivers to spawn, the fires cause problems liberating significant amount of nutrients and muddying the water. Consequently, the oxygen level of the water decreases, and the bottom becomes unsuitable for egg development. This, together with increased water temperature may wipe out the populations of salmonids altogether. Lichens, which are an important food item for deer (such as reindeer and caribou) may take up to 50 years to recover from burning. Similarly, cranberries and blueberries can rapidly grow back from roots, if only the above-ground part of the plant burns. However, if the fire is so severe that also the roots burn, the recovery is slow, as seeds must come from elsewhere to replace earlier growth. Losses of plants and animals can also otherwise be replaced only slowly, so that since the biodiversity of Arctic areas is low, it will remain extremely low in burnt areas for many years after fires.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions, heat waves

Profits before Planet

Keskiviikko 20.7.2022 klo 19:57 - Mikko Nikinmaa

This summer in the industrialized north has been hotter than ever. Temperatures over +40 C have been reached even in England. And the heat is not restricted to one area, but above-average temperatures are measured everywhere in Northern Hemisphere. On top of the acute heat waves it is now estimated that the present trend for temperature increase to 2.7 C above preindustrial values causes 40 % of world’s human population to live outside the thermal niche.

One would imagine that the heat and wildfires would wake up even the climate sceptics, but no. And, unfortunately, many of the people who have much influence on fossil fuel production and consumption belong to the group that does not care about what is happening to the climate. It is profits before planet. These people often say that they are worried about leaving debt to the future generations. However, a little more debt hardly matters, if one can have tolerable climate instead of scorching heat.

Oil price has recently rocketed, and consequently oil companies are making huge profits. It is naturally too much to ask that instead of lining the owners’ pockets, the profits would be used for combatting climate change. Putin’s Russia is one of the countries benefiting from high oil price, even if the sales to Europe and North America are stopped. Putin has throughout his reign been known as climate sceptic, so it was no surprise that he recently ridiculed the European aim to turn from fossil fuels (where Europe is dependent on Russia) to green energy. In the USA the Supreme Court ruling made it virtually impossible to carry out climate actions. The final blow to President Biden’s climate plans came when the “Democratic” Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia decided not to support any legislation supporting climate action. Needless to say that his major donors are companies depending on coal (and oil). What is common to the above people is their age: people around 70 or older hardly need to suffer the scorching heat that younger people must suffer 30-40 years from now.  Unfortunately, even younger people in politics do not seem to take climate change seriously. For example, the candidates for Conservative Party leadership did not have climate change among the important topics they need to address.

And it was +40 in London.

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Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, fossil fuels, heat waves