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The summer of 2018 will be remembered as the first time global warming became front-page news around the world. “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle. We are seeing them playing out in real time  in the form of unprecedented heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires,” says Michael Mann (Professor  & Scientist at Penn Sate University). We are staring into the face of climate change.

Staring Into the Face of Climate Change

Scientists are quick to remind us that the extreme weather events — heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods — that are wreaking havoc on a global scale this summer are not directly caused by climate change. But they are also eager to point out, with confidence, that global warming is amplifying their intensity and duration.

Starring Into the Face of Climate Change – Summer of 2018, Below2C

A recent study published in Proceeding of the National Acadamy of Sciences outlines the grim prospect of 10 climate processes that are happening now that could move the earth into a hothouse state beyond which the world’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will be increasingly futile. Joachim Schellnhuber (Director of Postdam Institute for Climate Impacts) is one of the authors of the Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene report.

“I think that in the future people will look back on 2018 as the year when climate reality hit,” said the veteran scientist. “This is the moment when people start to realise that global warming is not a problem for future generations, but for us now.”

A Salon articles reported in early August that “the crisis over global warming warrants an unparalleled response.”

Global Heatwaves

The Northern Hemisphere has seen a succession of extreme weather events caused by unrelenting heatwaves in North America, Europe, Asia and parts of Africa.

Heatwaves in Canada, Algeria, Japan, the UK, Europe, the US and in Pakistan and India (earlier in the year) killed thousands of people. For the second year in a row, California’s Death Valley recorded the hottest July ever reaching an average temperature of 42.2C (108.1 Fahrenheit). In April of this year, Pakistan recorded Earth’s warmest month ever with temperatures reaching 50.2C in the city of Nawabshah. The Saharan city of Ouargla in Algeria recorded 51.3C, believed to be the highest ever measured in Africa.

Such extreme temperatures are behavior-changing. Humans and animals suffer under such sweltering heat. People stay inside when air cooling is available and animals begin to migrate to cooler places at higher altitudes. “Not long ago, 50C was considered an anomaly, but it is increasingly widespread,” reports The Guardian in its recent Halfway to boiling: the city at 50C featured article.

The last four years have been the hottest ever recorded and 2018 is shaping up to be the 4th hottest year on record. But in spite of this sweltering heat, new research shows that the planet has actually been in a global warming pause that will end soon. Models now show that natural variabilities will make the next four years even hotter.

Wildfires

Europe: wildfires have been burning in the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Britain, Estonia, Latvia and Germany. In July Greece declared a state of emergency as wildfires spread so quickly that people died as they tried to flee from their burning villages. The fires killed at least 92 people.

Arctic Circle: Sweden is the worst affected country as intense wildfires rage throughout the Arctic during the record-breaking heatwave affecting much of the Northern Hemisphere. Siberia has seen a wave of extensive wildfires (estimate of 10 million hectares burning in July) producing smoke that reached Canada and the U.S.

California: Three of the biggest fires ever are still burning. The state is in the middle of another record-breaking fire season – 820,000 acres, more than double the area at the same point in 2017.

British Columbia: After the worst wildfire season ever recorded in 2017, the summer of 2018 has already seen 600 more fires than 2017. And it’s far from over. Thick smoke from fires has made visibility poor for days on end forcing the grounding of firefighting aircraft and making it impossible for crews to work safely. Flight cancellations and delays were necessary at several airports as smoke blanketed portions of the province. Air quality conditions in some regions led to a very high health-risk rating of 10 or higher on August 19. Conditions have forced Premier Horgan to declare a provincial state of emergency to tackle the ongoing wildfire situation.

Where is Canada's Climate Leadership, Below2C

Floods

In July, flooding and landslides in Japan caused over 225 deaths. Millions were evacuated as some regions received up to 20 inches of rain.

In late August, floods caused over 1000 deaths in seven Indian provinces during this year’s monsoon rains. The rainfall in some regions was more than double the usual monsoon volume displacing millions from their homes. Elsewhere around the globe heavy rains and damaging winds caused flash flooding, levees and dams to break, high water rescues, evacuations and loss of life. In Toronto, a month’s equivalent of rain (2-3 inches) fell in three hours on August 7.

The list of flood events includes Athens, Britain, Australia, Omaha, Thailand, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Viet Nam, Laos, Spain, Washington DC, China, Nepal, Nigeria, Texas, Spain and Pakistan — for the period of June to September.

Freakish Arctic Temperatures

For the very first time known to humans, the Arctic’s thickest and oldest sea ice, also known as “the last ice area” is breaking up just north of Greenland. Climate scientists are alarmed by the spikes in temperature produced by this year’s heatwave leading to temperatures up to 20C higher than average.

This is an anomaly among anomalies ~ Michael Mann.

Observation is Different from Prediction

After a scorching summer of death and destruction caused by persisting and endless heatwaves, I am left wondering whether this is the summer that will break the back of climate deniers. In his opinion piece in TheGuardian, Michael McCarthy writes that “the blazing summer of 2018 has led to a shift in tone from some rightwing sceptics who can no longer deny the obvious.” He claims that the perspective on the climate is shifting from “projections” to “observations”.

Predictions contain a large degree of uncertainty that has given climate sceptics the ammunition to deny climate change or the need to take action. But observation is quite different. “Seeing things happening around you cannot be gainsaid like predictions can, and in this remarkable summer of 2018, events in the real world have been starting to catch up with the climate models’ forecasts of an overheating globe, says McCarthy.

Much of our world is hot. It’s flooding and it’s on fire. We are seeing the face of climate and we can no longer look away.


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9 COMMENTS

  1. “Models now show that natural variabilities will make the next four years even hotter.” This follows the sentence “But in spite of this sweltering heat, new research shows that the planet has actually been in a global warming pause that will end soon.”

    What isn’t stated is how long this “global warming pause” has been in effect. I am curious to know how long a pause.

    And, being that the “last four years have been the hottest ever recorded,” I take this to be weather, and not, climate related or induced.

    Also, where you wrote “natural variabilities” it makes it seem like global warming will still be in “pause” mode for at least another four y.ears. This seems to me to be counterintuitive especially considering that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps increasing.

    I’m just saying.

    • Alan – I do not know just how long the “global warming pause” lasted. There’s some controversy about whether or not there’s actually been a pause. The oceans seem to have absorbed some of the heat that apparently was missing.

      Thank you for your feedback and comments.

      • ” The oceans seem to have absorbed some of the heat that apparently was missing.” Sounds to me like consciousness has dawned that you cannot use samples of land surface temperatures as definitive measures of change on a water covered world. , PDO and ENSO make a mockery of solar dominated temperature analysis.

        • The response is to the so-called “hiatus” in global warming. There has not been nor will there be a hiatus. We are warming up. Period.

  2. How is your “Raising Awareness” thing going Rolly? Have you noticed it isn’t working to slow (let alone stall) human induced warming? Have you noticed the pace of warming is actually increasing? Have you heard yet that unless we get off of the dime we’ll go extinct during this coming decade? Are you ready to start actually doing something innovative that comes from some out of the box thinking? Whether you are or not I’m ready and still looking for a few others that are as well.

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    — Margaret Mead
    Many people just don’t know what they can do. They ask themselves what can one individual possibly do? They suffer from despair. They require direction. They need to get involved.
    — Rolly Montpellier

    • Well Les I have noticed that warming is actually increasing. Only a climate denier or a moron would be oblivious to that fact. And I do know that time is running out for humanity to solve climate change. And yes we should all be doing more individually, collectively, nationally and globally.
      As far as raising awareness, it’s a thankless job and hard work. Is it working? Not as well as I would like I’m afraid to say. But “to do nothing as our leaders proclaim absurdities is a crime of complacency” (D. Brown). I will not be complacent.

  3. ADOPTING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY BUSINESS MODEL
    With the right tech approach; adopting the circular economy business model can boost renewable energy, cut greenhouse emissions, help many towns, cities, counties, companies and institutions create hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of jobs, boost infrastructure investments, cut bottom line Economic costs, reduce our excessive waste, improve our overall Energy efficiency, protect our water supplies, and help enable the Environmental sustainability movement to spread more rapidly among nations while reducing harmful global emissions and even doing so while keeping some coal and oil use in the energy mix.
    If we could; why would we not want to move more aggressively to the circular economy business model and power our energy needs on extraction of carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere instead of powering our energy needs by pumping more carbon into it? Due to global warming I think that’s the primary question we now face, and as an inventor and renewable energy technology developer I would like to offer a big, bold and obvious solution to many diverse problems that threatens life on planet earth. Over the next 10 years we know we will see major changes in where our energy comes from and how we produce, store and use it as we try to tackle the big trilemma of energy affordability, availability and sustainability. We also know big changes are being driven by many and diverse environmental and social pressures, and we know the choices we make now will affect us far into the future.
    Whether we admit it or not; fighting induced global warming and climate change will become an epic battle if we are to avoid dooming billions of our descendants to a far worse social, economic and environmental situation than that which we have enjoyed. So lets begin to think outside the box and innovate and create the innovative new weapons of war needed to fight induced climate change.

    AAECorp. is offering a new 3E technology concept that offers new solutions because we need to be innovative if we are to pass on a tenable condition to future generations. I’m hoping to put this new technology into production and license it to firms internationally that can put energy conversion projects based on this innovation into production in countries all around the world, and in that way spread its application quickly and widely enough to have a positive effect on human induced global warming before it becomes too late to make any difference. Unlike solar, hydro, nuclear and wind energy, renewable energy from diverse biomass and wastes can be dispatchable and even carbon negative and therefore help the whole world resolve the global warming problem through adding new concept innovations in stand-alone, distributed, microgrid and grid-tied energy delivery systems that serve humanity’s long term interests much better.

    Our position is; to win an epic battle, humanity needs new, modern and innovative tools of battle just as America needed advanced new tools of battle (ships, planes, tanks etc.) to win victory in Europe and in the Pacific during World War Two. My small firm, – Advanced Alternative Energy – has developed and patented negative emissions technology and therefore I’m inviting requests for more information from all interested in helping humanity move quickly forward on a much saner pathway. Please call or email me if you would like information on my novel, new concept technology, a technology designed for the epic battle ahead, and designed to help us win the fight for humanity’s long term survival.

    I believe we will do far better and be far safer in the long run if we can deploy a practical way to power whole economies on extraction of greenhouse emissions that have already been emitted into earth’s atmosphere while also greatly reducing ongoing greenhouse emissions and begin protecting communities and electric power grids much better. I’m claiming to be the inventor of one of weapons we need to fight global warming and climate change and one of the repowering “tools” needed to enable humanity to overhaul the power delivery system, in North America and elsewhere, and to help get us out of the box fossil fuels and governmental inaction have humanity boxed up in. I believe we can do this through deployment of advanced alternative energy projects at residential, community and county scale and we should do so because good paying infrastructure construction jobs are much needed worldwide. AAEC is now seeking support from any and all that may care to support this grass roots – trickle up – project.

    The following is a notice I’ve posted on Facebook and elsewhere.

    COLLABORATORS, STRATEGIC ALLIANCES AND/OR INVESTMENT IS NEEDED FOR NOVEL NEW CONCEPT CLEANER GLOBAL REPOWERING TECHNOLOGY. AAEC WILL GLADLY ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS AND PROVIDE MORE DETAILS ON REQUEST.

    AAEC’s CEO invented, patented, tested and further developed a novel new concept low-carbon energy technology we’ve designed for serving as the core technology for a range of much cleaner alternative/renewable energy production systems and energy efficiency improvements across the American landscape and around the world. AAEC’s novel new concept technology consists of a biomass, fossil fuel, and waste combustion, gasification and pyrolysis conversion technology that can provide low-carbon, scalable, heat and power requirements as well as both biofuel and biochar production. AAEC’s technology is designed for both stand-alone use or as backup for alternative energy systems that depend on solar, wind or other intermittent sources of energy, and in this way it will help enable a doubling of the deployment of alternative energy projects around the world in coming decades.

    AAEC developed this novel new concept energy technology to enable homeowners, businesses, towns, cities and even counties to convert completely to cleaner energy. AAEC is for all those who understand that distributed alternative / renewable energy derived from solar, wind, biomass and waste is a viable pathway to stall global warming and produce a much better future for our descendants, and ultimately for all humanity. AAEC offers a viable and affordable way to move to a future where people are better at controlling global warming. Fossil fuel firms and utilities may at first oppose what AAEC offers, preferring to continue passing on the high costs in cleaning up their operations to their customers, even if far better options are available that would benefit them as well.

    AAEC management believes we will all do better and be safer in the long run if we can deploy a practical way to power nearly all human activities on extraction of greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into earth’s atmosphere while also cutting back on ongoing greenhouse emissions and begin protecting communities and electric power grids. I’m claiming to be an inventor of one of the “tools” needed to enable humanity to overhaul the power delivery system, in the USA and elsewhere, and help get us out of the box fossil fuels and governmental inaction have humanity bound up in. I propose that we do this through deployment of modern advanced alternative energy projects at residential, community, city and county scale as good paying, infrastructure producing, jobs are needed that protect rather than degrade sustainability.

    Les Blevins says my small energy technology development firm is seeking collaboration from any and all that may care to support our novel new trickle up distributed energy technology development project. Through collaboration or financial support AAEC will enable bringing localized clean low-carbon energy production to the people of the world much as the PC brought computing to the people of the world.

    Les Blevins President at Advanced Alternative Energy
    1207 N 1800 Rd. Lawrence, KS 66049
    Ph: 785-842-1943 Email [email protected]
    https://www.facebook.com/Advanced-Alternative-Energy-277213435730720/?fref=ts
    http://aaecorp.com/ceo.html ;

    “Humanity has pushed the world’s climate system to the brink, leaving itself only scant time to act. We are at about five minutes before midnight.” — Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2013

    “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil but
    because of the people who don’t do anything about it” ~Albert Einstein

    • Carbon capture, sequestration and reuse techniques have been around for some time now.

      That said, there are three possible problems I see with capturing and reusing greenhouse gas emissions such as already-released-into-the-air carbon dioxide and methane:

      First, is the bigger message this is sending out: That is to say that it’s okay to keep pumping these gases into the atmosphere willy-nilly. That’s like saying: “Go ahead and pump all the greenhouse gas emissions into the air you want; knock yourself out!” To be clear, I am in no way advocating such, but, in essence, this could very well be the underlying message received/taken. And, if this is the case, another instance where an unintended consequence or unanticipated fallout results or occurs.

      The second is, by doing that, aren’t we then only addressing emissions of greenhouse gases to the exclusion of criteria and toxic air pollutants?

      And, lastly, due to there being so much atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions concentration, even if applied on a comparatively large scale, how much heat-trapping material that is hanging in the air can be removed and reused? There are gigatons of such gases being emitted yearly. 1 gigaton equates to 1 billion tons.

      Les, for my edification, can you please elaborate further on the gasification, pyrolysis conversion and biochar production processes you mentioned? That would be most helpful. Thank you.

  4. Les,
    I’m quite aware that you’re promoting the adoption of the Circular Economy Business Model which may very well be a partial solution to our climate woes. How is that going so far? Do you have any startups?

    I’ve approved your explanation/ad about your project because I think it’s is worthwhile exploring. I wish you well.

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