For me watching QAnon believers waver in their belief in their idiotic failed guru’s ‘plan’ has as about the same interest value as seeing the US rectify its political mistake of 2016. Amusing short term entertainment.
If you want more relevant short-term news, then recently I’ve been increasingly looking at the climate over the Arctic. That has become increasingly unstable this year after a widely forecast stratospheric warming event over the northern pole actually happened on schedule in early January. As was also expected, it disrupted and weakened the northern polar vortex causing lower level cold air to spin out in the northern hemisphere.
One of the lobes has already brought extreme cold to Siberia, where temperatures in Yakutia, in eastern Russia, haven’t climbed above minus-40 in more than a month, according to the Associated Press. Delyankir, in northeastern Russia, dropped to minus-73 degrees Jan. 18. The concentrated cold has been fierce and extreme, and looks to remain in place in eastern Russia through at least early next week.Washington Post: “What a ‘wrecked’ polar vortex means for winter-starved Americans“
That is ~ -58 Celsius for the rational standard unit world.
A twitter link in the article points out the range of temperature at that location over the last 7 months.
One of the most extreme places on the planet for temperature variation.https://t.co/1SSK6ti2es— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) January 19, 2021
While these northern continental latitudes are known for their extreme ranges of temperature, a variation of about 95 degrees Celsius does seem a bit extreme in a single location. Wikipedia records the most extreme temperature range as being 105.8 degrees Celsius in a similar latitude and location. However this was between a low in 1885 and high in 2020 – more than a century apart rather than 7 months.
The point about this is that a large proportion of the world’s supply of food comes from the north of Eurasia and North America. Instability in the northern polar region has nasty effects on producing it.
At present the weakened polar vortex hasn’t caused major disruptions in the polar jet stream. Probably because it is multi-lobed.
“For this event, though we have seen fairly typical influence of the [polar] disruption on the surface in the form of persistent high-pressure systems (or ‘blocking’) over the Arctic, many locations have not yet seen extreme cold,” wrote Amy Butler, a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Chemical Sciences Laboratory, in an email. “This seems tied to where in particular the blocking has occurred, which may also be affected by tropical influences.”
She also noted that the messy split of the polar vortex may be causing it to play out differently than other years when the vortex was displaced.
“While the polar vortex has become very stretched out and wobbly, it has not displaced as strongly southward or split as clearly into two lobes as in other events,” wrote Butler. “[That] means it might not be able to influence the underlying jet stream quite as well.”Washington Post: “What a ‘wrecked’ polar vortex means for winter-starved Americans“
This kind of Arctic instability is becoming more frequent and as the world climate heats up, paradoxically, the upper northern hemisphere is likely to get more polar blasts as the Arctic sheds its cold to lower latitudes.
Thankfully at present, the course of these kinds of events in the northern hemisphere are entirely unpredictable compared to the southern polar regions. With climate change we can expect to see similar effects over a longer time period.
I’m less concerned about the direct extreme events like cold or heat waves, hurricanes and tropical storms, flooding, tornadoes, sea level rises, wildfires, destruction of habitats and so on.
Ecosystems and humans will adapt at a cost. The trend is always going to be worse for the next couple of centuries. We are just the beginning of that trend.
Researchers say that the influence of climate change on extreme events is strong and likely to continue growing.
“Just like 2019 before it, 2020 has been full of disastrous extremes,” said Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
“We have seen all this with a 1C of global average temperature rise, highlighting the sensitive relationship between average conditions and extremes.”
“Ultimately, the impacts of climate change will be felt via the extremes, and not averaged changes.”
“Unfortunately, we can expect more years to look like 2020 – and worse – as global temperatures creep higher.”
While 2021 is likely to bring a similar story of losses from extreme events, there is some sense of optimism that political leaders may be on the brink of taking steps that might help the world avoid the worst excesses of rising temperatures.BBC: “Climate change: Extreme weather causes huge losses in 2020“
Ultimately, I suspect that the increasing costs of insurance and infrastructure repair will educate even the most stupid ideological chumps that they need to harden where they live.
That is discounting the complete idiots. The ones that live in fragile locations like bulldozed fore dunes or in reclaimed swamps and the other daft geological locations that such suckers have built on. At some point, even without climate change, they or their successors will find this to be an educational experience. I just don’t want to pay for the stupidity of people who like to build on the equivalent of a cliff edge..
With climate change, I’m not worried about the moral imperatives that some people seem to feel. What I call the conservation moral ethos. For me, it is too short-term a perspective and too unaware of what the earth is really like. Too embedded in a human-centrist moral awareness without facing the real extrinsic threats in rapid human induced climate changes.
Sure the coral reefs will bleach and become deserts for a while. Then they will be recolonised by species with a different temperature range. We see coral reefs throughout the longer term and in the recent history over thousands of years changing according to climatic shifts.
Studying earth sciences as I did four decades ago, with the time perspectives that requires, drives it home just how chaotically changeable the lithosphere that we live on and the volatile atmosphere and hydrosphere that we live in. You realise after looking at through the geological and biological history of our planet just how odd and rare that a complex biosphere and a civilisation is likely to be. Just how fragile and resilient it is.
What I worry about is somewhat more pragmatic. How it affects us as a civilisation. Mostly what are the effects of climate change on the primary underpinnings of our civilisation. That ultimately rests mostly on our food supply.
The problem is that the last 10 to 11 thousand years since the last glacial period was probably the one of the most stable climatic periods since Antarctica drifted into southern polar region and then froze up in ice sheets about 34-35 million years ago and triggered a sustained ice age with frequent glacial periods. What humans consider to be a ‘normal’ climatic state is less than 0.05% of that time period
During that time as a species and a civilisation we developed the complexity that is our agricultural systems. All built on an illusory ‘stable’ climate where temperature ranges didn’t vary by much and extreme events were minimal.
Our food creating system is the foundation of the most fragile widespread ecosystem in the world. The one that sustains our population and societies.
Yield growth for wheat, maize, and other crops has been declining in many countries due to extreme heat, severe weather, and droughts. By some estimates, in the absence of effective adaptation, global yields could decline by up to 30 percent by 2050. Countries that are already grappling with conflict, pollution, deforestation, and other challenges are likely to suffer the brunt of these impacts. The 2 billion people already without access to sufficient food, including smallholder farmers and other people living in poverty, will be hit hardest.
Already, despite decades of global commitment, hunger and food insecurity persist at staggering rates. According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, nearly 750 million people experienced severe food insecurity in 2019 and the number of undernourished or food-insecure people is rising, with climate shocks a major contributor. Unless urgent action is taken, climate change will increase food prices, decrease food availability, and exacerbate instability and conflict because of competition over water and fertile land.UN Foundation: “Climate change and the future of food“
Our world population is still going to be increasing until at least 2050. Food prices, civil and regional wars or conflicts like terrorism activity show little or no respect for national boundaries. This is the real cost of climate change. It strikes at the base of our civilisation, and at the same time at the tools we need to deal with it.
It is hard to shift technologies to reduce future harm as is already happening slowly, when at the same time we’re trying to adapt for previous bad infrastructure and development decisions, and while conflicts over the most basic of resources is threatening instability.
Fools similar to the QAnon idiots will probably think that a human die-back is a good thing while they finger their weapons and fantasise first action shoot-em up games. Others will descend into catastrophic fantasies of drowning in sea level rises that wont happen for centuries and are limited to about 75 metres anyway. And others who get more concerned about smearing blame on the dead or past decisions rather than dealing with the current and future issues.
But perhaps the adults should start just looking at the real and pretty immediate challenges of climate change.