Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump Takes Office Following the Three Hottest Years in Recorded History


A chart of global surface temperature anomalies, meaning changes from a baseline, for the 2016 calendar year. Here the baseline is 1951–1980 (source: NASA). For the most part, the globe is a mask of red, and the Arctic is a sea of dark read, virtually "burning up."

by Gaius Publius

Nature bats last, and when it comes to global warming, nature is three-for-three during 2014, 2015 and 2016. For the third year in a row, global temperature has been the warmest in recorded history. Global temperature in 2014 surpassed all previous years; 2015 temperature surpassed that, and 2016, the year just ended, was the hottest of all.

In addition, "this is now the fifth time that the temperature record has been shattered in the current century (along with 2005, 2010, 2014, and 2015), and it’s the 40th consecutive year featuring an annual temperature above the 20th century average. All 16 years of the 21st century rank among the seventeen warmest on record, with 1998 being the eighth warmest" (Gizmodo).

This is worrisome enough, but it's clear that temperature rise is accelerating as well, though not necessarily on an every-year basis (2017 may be a bit cooler than 2016 due to the La Niña effect, but no one knows for sure). 

In general, expect more change, and expect it to occur more rapidly than anyone wants or expects. Also, expect more and faster consequences, both trivial-but-noticeable and deadly.

The Arctic Is "Burning Up"

The phrase "burning up" is meant figuratively, of course, but only because the Arctic is so cold to start with. As I wrote late last year, the North Pole was 50 degrees warmer than normal in December — that's the winter month of December — warm enough in fact to melt winter ice. You can see warming that reflected in the chart at the top. The darkest red on the chart is around the Arctic. The summer with no Arctic ice is fast approaching, perhaps this year or next will see it, and the winter with no Arctic ice is on the horizon as well. Many alive today will see the last Arctic ice in human history.

Why is the Arctic so much warmer than, say the Antarctic? Because the northern hemisphere is where almost all the industrial activity is. Take a look at the GIF image below.

The animation shows a time sequence of greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. Notice the circulation flowing north and east on lower and upper air currents, and none to the south. Now picture the same for Europe, Russia, India and China.

The northern hemisphere is awash in daily CO2 emissions from industrial and consumer energy use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and methane). That rate is increasing, not slowing. Tick, tick, tick.

If Trump Won't Stop This Disaster...

Which brings me to my real main point, which I'll pose as a question for now. Let's assume Donald Trump and his cabinet-level band of climate destroyers — Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, EPA director-designate Scott Pruitt and others — are determined to make the climate disaster worse, and to make it arrive sooner than it otherwise would.

What are the choices left to us besides laying down and taking it?

That's the question. There are answers. Americans are a resourceful lot, not much given (usually) to laying down and taking it. It will be interesting to see what the American people come up with when they know that help from their government will never come.

Watch for it. Because they will do something.


Labels: , , , , , , ,


At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post.

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Let's hope democracy and the American people rise to the occasion and get rid of the Trumpanzee within six months. Let's embarrass the hell out of him! It has happened before in our history, that the people show backbone, so maybe there is hope. Women are onto him, for sure, and will make a YUGE statement tomorrow all over the country. Down with the pussy grabber! The environment cannot wait for this to happen slowly. At least some states appear to be taking it on. And if Trump goes, perhaps many of the Repugs will go in two years. If we can last that long. And if the Dems finally stand up to all of this horror with full force.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post, indeed. But faulty conclusion.

No americans won't do anything about it. They'll take it. And they will neither notice it nor believe that WE are responsible.

Americans are two things: relentlessly stupid; and delusionally religious.

The science is now facing the conclusion that this cannot be fixed. At 385ish ppm, the system became resonant -- runaway. It's 406ish now. And humans number close to 8 billion, all with needs for warmth or cooling, transport, food, waste processing and so forth.

And profit. GAWDDAMN we loves us our profit. In any choice between profit and death, especially slow death, we take profit every single time.

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, that would leave us with pence, arguably worse than that gargoyle of a hominid.

And even if we got rid of all the Rs and were left with only Democraps, we'd still be fucked. They love big oil as much as the Rs do. They're paid a lot of money to do so.

No, the climate change thing won't be fixed no matter who is/isn't the unitary nor who is/isn't in the congress. It's unfixable. Science.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Well, Gaius. I just checked out the Huff Post. Trump had the White House page on climate change taken down. Instead there is a page about more drilling for oil. He certainly makes his intentions clear! We are so screwed. What a horror he is. Evil personified.

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Whose BushWhacking FAULT Is THI$? :


Post a Comment

<< Home