photo above: Fire burns during a wildfire near the village of Schinos, Greece, on May 19, 2021. | Valerie Gache/AP Photo
We have seen the forecast, and it is NOW!
See too, by Ishaan Tharoor, Columnist, August 10, 2021: Welcome to ‘Trump world,’ the climate future scientists fear. We read:
Imagine in the coming years a global politics shaped by resurgent nationalism. Governments prioritize their own energy and food needs, invest more in national security than in global development, and undercut international efforts to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases. In this future, carbon emissions will roughly double by the end of the century, hastening along with them the drastic array of catastrophic environmental effects linked to global warming, from the melting of the Arctic to heat waves that make whole regions uninhabitable to an intensification of the extreme droughts, wildfires and floods that have already blighted parts of the world this summer.
When some climate scientists speak casually, they categorize this imagined future as “Trump world,” a reference to former president Donald Trump’s rejection of climate science in favor of an aggressive nationalism that championed short-term economic growth no matter the looming calamities posed by a human-influenced climate change. But things don’t have to go that way.
This is a fascinating/disturbing article, by Nadja Popovich and Winston Choi-Schagrin Hidden Toll of the Northwest Heat Wave: Hundreds of Extra Deaths. We read:
During the deadly heat wave that blanketed Oregon and Washington in late June, about 600 more people died than would have been typical, a review of mortality data for the week of the crisis shows.
The number is three times as high as the states’ official estimates of heat-related deaths so far. It suggests that the true toll of the heat wave, which affected states and provinces across the Pacific Northwest, may be much larger than previously reported.
This week, the region is once again steeling itself for extreme heat.
The New York Times’ analysis, based on mortality data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the two states, covers all causes of death, including Covid-19. But the public health agency’s initial calculations indicate that only about 60 deaths in the region were related to the coronavirus that week.
The figures are preliminary. C.D.C. officials said the death count could rise further in coming weeks as the states continue to report. “Consider it a floor,” said Lauren Rossen, a health statistician at the agency who works with the mortality data.
The Times’ estimate “is entirely consistent with a large body of knowledge indicating that days of extreme heat are dangerous and can lead to excess deaths,” said Greg Wellenius, a professor in environmental health at Boston University who has studied heat-related mortality.
Please see also: Drought forces first water cuts on the Colorado River. They’re just the beginning. We read:
The swift and dramatic changes within the Colorado River basin — home to 40 million people, 15 percent of America’s crop output and 11 national parks — exemplify the accelerating, snowballing effects from climate change that the world’s leading scientists warned last week are on track to dramatically remake the planet unless governments can rapidly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
It doesn’t make sense to me to go back and redo the Colorado River Compact, even though we know today that the Colorado River can’t produce 16.5 million acre feet to satisfy the upper basin, the lower basin and the treaty with Mexico“We are seeing the effects of climate change in the Colorado River basin through extended drought, extreme temperatures, expansive wildfires, and, in some places, flooding and landslides, and now is the time to take action to respond to them,” Tanya Trujillo, the top Interior Department official overseeing water science, said Monday as she announced the new water delivery cuts.Despite the worsening conditions, the sprawling Colorado River watershed has thus far been a success story for climate change adaptation. The states and big water users there accepted years ago that their long-term future would be a drier one, and that they couldn’t count on a wet year or two to make up for the drought years. For the past decade and a half, they have opted for an approach that set aside fighting over the dwindling water resources and got down to the hard work of planning how to share the pain to head off disaster.
It doesn’t make sense to me to go back and redo the Colorado River Compact, even though we know today that the Colorado River can’t produce 16.5 million acre feet to satisfy the upper basin, the lower basin and the treaty with Mexico.—Ted Cooke, general manager of the Central Arizona Project
But now, as the workhorse waterway enters a new era of water scarcity, the limits of political buy-in for that approach are being tested.
“Climate change is changing the face of the river. It’s changing how much water will be there, it’s adding deep uncertainty to a system that was designed for a stationary river,” said Eric Kuhn, the former general manager of the Colorado River District, which represents Western Colorado’s water interests.
The long-feared era of disastrous climate change has arrived.
For the first time, the planet’s top scientists said in a monumental report released on Monday they have definitively linked greenhouse gas emissions to the type of disasters driven by a warmer climate that have touched every corner of the globe this year: extreme rainfall in Germany and China, brutal droughts in the western U.S., a record cyclone in the Philippines and compound events like the wildfires and heat waves from the Pacific Northwest to Siberia to Greece and Turkey.
Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, @KHayhoe | August 9, 2021
The headlines of today’s IPCC Working Group 1 report are no surprise. We’ve known them for years, even decades. Their power lies in the starkness with which they are presented. No more equivocation, nothing for recalcitrant entities to hide behind.–AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis
Those numbers have real-world consequences for billions of people, with cascading impacts on agriculture, human migrations and even wars, numerous studies in recent decades have warned.
An extreme heat wave that once would have occurred only twice a century would instead hit about every six years at the 1.5-degree threshold, the IPCC says. With 2 degrees of warming, you can expect them every four years.
“Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe,” the IPCC authors concluded in the summary to the report that brought 234 authors across 66 countries together to analyze more than 14,000 studies. “Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since” the last report released in 2013.
“The IPCC report underscores the overwhelming urgency of this moment,” and the upcoming UN climate summit in Glasgow needs to be a turning point, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said in a statement Monday. “The world must come together before the ability to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is out of reach. As the IPCC makes plain, the impacts of the climate crisis, from extreme heat to wildfires to intense rainfall and flooding, will only continue to intensify unless we choose another course for ourselves and generations to come.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged that the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill Democrats are pursuing “will do more to combat climate change” than any previous Senate legislation. “The future of our planet looks bleak until we do something, right now,” he said on the floor.
And the message from those scientists about those disasters is stark: Get used to them. The research shows nations must start playing defense to withstand the weather disasters that will only grow worse unless emissions from fossil fuels are eliminated.
“I think people are more and more starting to get scared,” said Jim Kossin, senior scientist with climate risk firm The Climate Service who was among the IPCC authors for the chapter on extremes. “I think that’ll help to change people’s attitudes. And hopefully that’ll affect the way they vote.”
What’s become virtually certain to scientists is that heat waves are hotter, longer-lasting and more frequent. Oceans are overheating, locking in further warming. Glaciers and ice shelves will continue to melt for decades — regardless of new action by governments — pushing tides higher to flood cities and propel storm surges further inland.
Extreme, rare events are happening in such quick succession that scientists barely have enough time to recalibrate their models. Those calamities are buckling societal institutions and physical infrastructure. And as scientists’ ability to project those events improves, it’s making them even more nervous.
While critics have for decades complained that the climate warnings lacked details about how to prepare for catastrophic change, the new report highlights the increased precision, particularly in scientists’ understanding of the behavior of clouds, that allows them to narrow considerably the range of possible futures, said Piers Forster, a climate physics professor at the University of Leeds. That means gambling on future warming being lower than expected “can be ruled out.”
But the good news, Forster said, is that researchers have “much stronger confidence” that rapidly lowering greenhouse gas emissions would mean “temperature rise can still be limited to 1.5C.”
The additions reflect both the advancement of the science and the political urgency of the moment, authors said.
“Societally, who cares about a very deep explanation of a process that produces this other phenomenon?” said Claudia Tebaldi, an Earth scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and an IPCC author for the regional effects chapter. “[We] look at what the quantities that those people see connected to the impact. What is important for human health in a heat wave? What is the minimum temperature, the maximum temperature? Is it three days, is it five days?”
Advanced computing improvements have enabled those types of precision forecasts, said Paul Durack, a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and an IPCC author on the science methods chapter. Scientists can now run powerful simulations accounting for numerous variables that are getting ever-more complex, such as modeling what happens with greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change like deforestation or the thawing of methane-holding Arctic permafrost.
Some of those advances clarified that the world had already warmed 0.1 degree Celsius more than previously thought, the report said.
Scientists have also made “substantial progress” in offering far more detailed projections, examining climate impacts on a geographical grid down to blocks of four kilometers, compared to 100 kilometer grid blocks previously, said William Gutowski, an atmospheric scientist at Iowa State University who helped write the regional effects chapter. That allowed the IPCC report to break down climate impacts and trends into regions for the first time, enabling, for example, the U.S. to be parceled into Western, Central and Eastern portions.
But the IPCC report said even that reality has changed with the advent of so-called attribution science. The emerging field is propelled by improved computing power that runs model ensembles with human-caused emissions against a world without those emissions to tease out the human fingerprint in those events. That science has shown human activity has made disasters ranging from Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall in Texas in 2017 or the Pacific Northwest heat wave in June more intense.
“When climate change first came onto the agenda, people thought of it as something that was far in the future — maybe that it was going to affect their grandkids. But I think that that kind of debate has been shifting, partly because of these event attribution studies and the extremes that we’re observing,” said Nathan Gillett, a research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada who led the chapter on science methods.
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