June 30, 2021 Wayne Northey

How did a small town [Lytton BC] in Canada become one of the hottest places on Earth?

The unprecedented heatwave in the Pacific north-west risks becoming the new normal if we don’t act now

Listen to this article

by Eric Holthaus

Wed 30 Jun 2021

WN: We’re in this new normal, with much more and worse to come!1

And subsequently this grand tragedy happened to Lytton (by , and , Lytton, British Columbia, ): ‘Like a war zone’: B.C. village of Lytton destroyed by fire.

Unlike the story, Chicken Little: The Sky is Falling, and its final line,

. . . grateful that the fox had not eaten them—and that the world was not ending! Instead, they all lived happily ever after.,

Bart Simpson and the other dupes on ACD

it is accurate to say that much of the world is ending–as we know it; that prospects for widespread human flourishing even in wealthy countries, are drastically diminishing; that the ACD (Anthropogenic Climate Disruption) pandemic is out of control the world over.

And while the naysayers in the above story are the good guys, they are not in our human story. On the contrary. For far more cataclysmic than acorns dropping on heads has been happening since the nineteenth century; or one might say alternatively, the world is threatened with a deluge of sizzling “acorns” that menaces every aspect of our common human existence.

I have two brothers who deny all this. And like them there are millions around the world awash in a form of gaslighting Reality itself, who one might say emphatically have already, in their ACD denialism, gone nuts!

Yes, for them, the sky indeed has already fallen–the wool pulled completely over their eyes . . .

excerpt:

On Sunday, the small mountain town of Lytton, British Columbia, became one of the hottest places in the world. Then, on Monday, Lytton got even hotter – 47.9C (118F) – hotter than it’s ever been in Las Vegas, 1,300 miles to the south. And by Tuesday, 49.6C (121F).

Lytton is at 50 deg N latitude – about the same as London. This part of the world should never get this hot. Seattle’s new all-time record of 108F, also set Monday, is hotter than it’s ever been in Miami. In Portland, the new record of 116F would beat the warmest day ever recorded in Houston by nearly 10 degrees.

This heat wave was a perfect storm long in the making. After centuries of fossil fuel burning and decades of warnings from scientists, it’s time to say it: we are in a climate emergency.

It’s the mountains of the Pacific coast that have had an essential and unique role in making this particular heat wave possible. Climate change is not just warming the surface of the planet, it’s warming Earth’s entire troposphere – the lowest layer of the atmosphere where all our weather occurs. That’s particularly true in mountainous areas, where temperatures are rising even faster than elsewhere. When snow and ice recede or even disappear from mountains, the bare soil beneath can warm unimpeded. A 2015 study found that mountainous areas above 2,000 meters (6,500ft) are warming about 75% faster than places at lower elevations.

Warmer mountains along with the mega-drought now plaguing western North America – the most widespread severe drought on record – contributed to a high pressure “heat dome” that has been self-reinforcing this week to create truly extreme conditions along the Pacific coast. Dry, descending air rushing down the mountain slopes offshore towards the ocean created a literal pressure cooker, sending temperatures soaring to never-before-seen values.

Downstream of Lytton, flood warnings are now in effect for the river valleys as sudden snow and ice melt has created a torrent of rushing water. For the time being, Canada’s glaciers are melting so fast they’re flooding out homes under clear skies.

The imagery we should remember from this heat wave isn’t swimming pools and fountains, it’s friends and neighbors sharing air conditioning amid a pandemic in a city that’s 40 degrees warmer than normal. It’s young people braving heat stroke to demand climate action from a president who promised it to them. It’s the anxiety of not knowing when or where the next heat wave will be, but knowing that it’s coming. It’s about surviving a society where decades of racial segregation means that redlined neighborhoods are 15 degrees hotter than others.

Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist, author of hugely hopeful The Future Earth, and founder of Currently, a weather service built for the climate emergency

Please click on: Heat Waves: The New Normal

Footnotes
  1. See: Scientists warn of climate change intensifying heat waves, b, where we read in part:

    Experts also raised concerns about the human impacts, particularly to those in disadvantaged communities or who are otherwise vulnerable.

    “Think about all the vulnerable people: pregnant women, babies, the elderly … anyone who is at risk in society is also going to have compounding impacts from a heat event like this,” Myhre said. “Just like COVID, this is an example of how inequity is exacerbated when disaster happens.”

    “This is just the beginning of the heat waves we will see,” Myhre added, warning of “really catastrophic heat-induced events in places that have no infrastructure to protect people.”

    “One of the reasons why we are able to navigate the heat waves this year is we currently don’t have any smoke and we’re able to ventilate our houses,” she noted. However, she said, “if we get to a point where we have smoke,” the effects of the heat will be even more acutely felt.

    See too: Climate change has gotten deadly. It will get worse., by Sarah Kaplan, July 3, 2021. We read:

    Another physical phenomenon, called the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, shows that for every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming, the atmosphere can hold 7 percent more moisture. This means that warm conditions make storms much wetter, leading to record-breaking rainfall events like Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

    Extreme heat is likely to be one of those things. Studies of heat waves suggest that a half a degree Celsius increase in summertime temperatures can lead to a 150 percent increase in the number of heat waves that kill 100 people or more.

    Research published last year in the journal Science found that the human body can’t tolerate temperatures higher than 95 degrees when combined with 100 percent humidity.Jeff Duchin, Seattle and King County’s chief public health officer, put it more bluntly: “Climate change is a health emergency,” he said in a statement this weekend. “And reducing greenhouse gas emissions is literally a matter of life and death.”

    “It did not have to be this way,” [Michael, a climate scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California] Wehner said. “We have known enough to take action for 20 years. And if we had taken action 20 years ago, it would be a lot easier.”

    “But there’s no ‘I told you so,’” he continued. “I just feel bad. Just bad. I really wish we had been wrong. But we weren’t.”

    The only comfort, said [Katharine, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy] Hayhoe, is in knowing that action can still be taken. Though the world could exceed 1.5 degrees of warming within this decade, scientists say we can avoid crossing that threshold if we cut global greenhouse gas emissions by about 7.6 percent per year.

    Such cuts would require an unprecedented transformation of human society. But look at the alternative, Hayhoe said.

    “We have choices to make, she said. “And the quicker we make those choices, the better off we will all be. The future is in our hands.”[]

Wayne Northey

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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