October 2023 climate extremes

A relatively unedited set of links, graphics and and comments on our still growing climate crisis.

A physicist’s thoughts on our excursion down the highway to our possible extinction Earth’s Hothouse Hell.

Opinion: Climate Doomism Disregards the Science

“Climate change is a highway, not a cliff, and we can still take the exit ramp. (Michael E. Mann | September 14, 2023)”: something I have written many times. The trouble is, humanity doesn’t seem to be making any effort to slow down enough to make the turn onto what is likely to be a narrow and difficult road back up the hill…..

It is also important to recognize that climate change isn’t a cliff that we go off at certain thresholds of planetary warming such as the oft-discussed 1.5°C (2.7°F) warming level, though it is often framed that way. Climate action isn’t a binary case of “success” or “failure.”

A better analogy is that it’s a dangerous highway we’re going down. We need to take the earliest exit ramp possible. Dangerous climate change impacts, as we have seen, are already being felt — in the form of devastating droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and superstorms. Supply chains have been disrupted through a combination of a pandemic — which is likely at least in part a result of ecological destruction — and more extreme weather, sometimes with disastrous consequences, such as shortages of baby formula. Extreme heat is leading to substantial decreases in worker productivity, costing the US economy alone nearly 100 billion dollars a year. Dangerous climate change cannot be avoided. It’s already here.

So, it’s a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get. Worse impacts can be avoided if we limit the warming below 1.5°C (2.7°F). But if we miss that exit off the carbon emissions highway, 2°C (3.6°F) is certainly preferable to 2.5°C (4.5°F). And if we miss that exit, 2.5°C (4.5°F) is certainly preferable to 3°C (5.4°F). Consider, for example, the matter of species extinction. The IPCC estimates as much as fourteen percent of species could be lost at 1.5°C (2.7°F) warming and eighteen percent at 2°C (3.6°F). Tragic for sure, but greater rates of extinction are expected from other unchecked human activities, including habitat destruction and human exploitation of animals.

However, the number climbs to twenty-nine percent at 3°C (5.4°F), thirty-nine percent at 4°C (7.2°F), and forty-eight percent at 5°C (9°F). Half of all species would, by any reasonable standard, constitute a sixth extinction event rivaling the great extinctions of Earth’s geological past. But that is avoidable in a scenario of meaningful climate action.

Despite the breathless claims of climate-driven mass extinction that one sees all too often in today’s headlines, we are not yet remotely committed to such a future. We can avoid catastrophic climate impacts if we take meaningful actions to address the climate crisis. Yes, that’s an important “if.” But the science actually tells us it’s doable. …

My only complaint here, is that Mann is not a biologist with much knowledge of species extinctions and ecosystem collapses accompanied by all kinds of chaos intertwined with the breakdown of complex dynamical systems. The side roads he lists are not smooth easy roads like the superhighway.

1 October – we’re off to a fast start on the downhill run to oblivion

https://twitter.com/extremetemps/status/1708403503670980738. In case you can’t read the fine print the grey anomaly areas are 12 °C above the baseline average for the location — hence the wildfires. Today, on 4 October they’re more normal; but at least in Victoria, we’re seeing major flooding.

Burning of the North American boreal forests

CBC NEWS: Five charts to help understand Canada’s record-breaking wildfire season

Taking a look back at the impacts of the country’s unprecedented fire season

Benjamin Shingler, Graeme Bruce · CBC News · Posted: Oct 19, 2023 4:00 AM EDT | Last Updated: October 19

Bright orange flames can be seen on a forested mountainside above a large house.
A wildfire burns near a home in the city of Kelowna, B.C., on Aug. 18, 2023. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

For the complete article see: https://www.cbc.ca/news/climate/wildfire-season-2023-wrap-1.6999005

Record breaking global warming isn’t over yet by any measure.


Lethal humidity driving more extreme extremes: Mexico’s major Pacific Coast resort city of Acapulco, comprehensively trashed by Otis!

The result of a 30 hour rapid intensification of a tropical storm into a category 5 killer hurricane is the near destruction of this famous resort city followed by total social breakdown of its million inhabitants leading to mass looting of the necessities of life not directly destroyed by the storm. Some 80% of the luxury highrise hotels and condominiums have been damaged – many to the extent that their innards have literally been blown out the windows. Cut off by avalanches and washed out roads and broken communications systems, the Mexican government has reported 39 deaths, while numerous social media videos show highrises with their innards literally blown out through their walls. Having visited Acapulco a couple of times in the course of fieldwork for my PhD thesis, like the situation in Derna, I find the extent of the recent damage difficult to comprehend.

Almost completely lost in the news is the fact that Cabo San Lucas (the tip of the Baja California Peninsula) was also being trashed by Cat 1 hurricane Norma almost simultaneously with the destruction of Acapulco

Posted by William P. Hall

Some call me a 'climate scientist'. I'm not. What I am is an 'Earth systems generalist'. Born in 1939, I grew up with passionate interests in both science and engineering. I learned to read from my father's university textbooks in geology and paleontology, and dreamed of building nuclear powered starships. Living on a yacht in Southern California I grew up surrounded by (and often immersed in) marine and estuarine ecosystems while my father worked in the aerospace engineering industry. After studying university physics for three years, dyslexia with numbers convinced me to change my focus to biology. I completed university as an evolutionary biologist (PhD Harvard, 1973). My principal research project involved understanding how species' genetic systems regulated the evolution and speciation of North America's largest and most widespread lizard genus. Then for several years as an academic biologist I taught a range of university subjects as diverse as systematics, biogeography, cytogenetics, comparative anatomy and marine biology. In Australia, from 1980, I was involved in various activities around the emerging and rapidly evolving microcomputing technologies culminating in 2 years involvement in the computerization of the emerging Bank of Melbourne. In 1990 I joined a startup engineering company that had just won the contract to build a new generation of 10 frigates for Australia and New Zealand. In 2007 I retired from the head office of Tenix Defence, then Australia's largest defence engineering contractor, after a 17½ year career as a documentation and knowledge management systems analyst and designer. At Tenix I reported to the R&D manager under the GM Engineering, and worked closely with support and systems engineers on the ANZAC Ship Project to solve documentation and engineering change management issues that risked the project 100s of millions of dollars in cost and years of schedule overruns. All 10 ships had been delivered on time, on budget to happy customers against the fixed-price and fixed schedule contract. Before, during, and after these two main gigs I also did a lot of other things that contribute to my general understanding of complex dynamical systems involving multiple components with non-linear and sometimes chaotically interacting components; e.g., 'Earth systems'. Earth's Climate System is the global heat engine driven by the transport and conversions of energy between the incoming solar radiation striking the planet, and the infrared radiation of heat away from the planet to the cold dark universe. As Climate Sentinel News Editor, my task is to identify and understand quirks and problems in the operation of this complex heat engine that threaten human existence, and explain to our readers how they can help to solve some of the critical issues that are threatening their own existence.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.