Last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University said Arctic ice is disappearing because of too much greenhouse gas, weakening the jet stream and creating more extreme weather.
More hurricanes, floods, severe ice storms, droughts that threaten the food supply; windier, hotter, colder, wetter, dryer. Extremes. The atmosphere around our planet that keeps us alive is razor thin and the ecological balance is very fragile. We are screwing with these and the trouble is apparently only beginning. Statistics point to alarming increases in ocean and air temperatures in the past three decades especially, and spikes in all extreme weather events. Just ask any insurance company how quickly the earth is becoming uninsurable.
IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT POLAR BEARS
David Titley, a former admiral with the U.S. Navy and director for the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk was at the meeting and was quoted as saying “It’s about people, not polar bears.” He questioned whether we will be able to adapt in time to the accelerating pace of extreme climate change and extreme weather events. There are already hundreds of millions of ‘climate refugees’ on earth.
OUR FOOD SUPPLY
A lab director at the U.S. National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment noted that most of our food crops and cattle are produced in mid-lattitudes that our now experiencing recurring droughts, or at the other extreme, floods. In 2003 Europe suffered a drought that claimed 70,000 lives. Maize production decreased by 30%. The fruit harvest was reduced by 25%. Grains and hay to feed animals dropped 30%. Wine production was the lowest in 10 years. For the money people out there, the total loss was 4 billion Euros. As the photos below show, Europe is far from being an isolated case.
On top of droughts; fires, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods are increasing, because of imbalances like the the jet stream, as mentioned. And because thicker, polluted air now holds more moisture longer, then like a water balloon springing a leak, dumps a lot more precipitation over a smaller area, all of a sudden.
The photos in this blog are courtesy of the Climate Reality Project and also have attributions printed on them. They were mostly taken in the past 3 or 4 years, showing the catastrophic consequences of increasing extreme weather events. Is this just cyclical bad weather that will calm down soon? No. Nothing in the data suggests that. Quite the opposite. This is the beginning of a continuously growing worldwide disaster.
We’re all responsible for this: Governments who are stuck on oil and coal, and pretending natural gas will save us; the media that can’t distinguish between bogus science and real science, industry when it prefers the green photo op to real long term energy planning, you and I when we imagine we are powerless and continue to buy gas guzzling cars, oil furnaces and continue voting for governments that claim they are ‘managing the economy.’ In reality they permit the uncompensated destruction of the only real resource on which any economy can be based, our planet.
You can do something about it. It’s never too late to start. Click here for solutions you can implement personally. It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s ours. It’s the defining issue of our era. Let’s not let anyone distract us with other priorities. Climate change is at the top of the list. Just look at the weather forecast. Outlook: Extreme.