Earth’s annual healthcheck — and our future

A compendium of graphs plots key indicators of our changing climate. Unless trends are reversed today’s lethal extremes will be lethal new normals’.

Climate scientist Zach Labe shows us in a collection of simple graphs from his WordPress page how many of Planet Earth’s vital signs have been changing over recent decades. He plots the best available data, and lets the plots tell the story without adding his redundant commentary.

However, If you want, you can still follow links that explains how the data was collected and analyzed. Click on Climate Visualizations at the top of the screen to open a pull-down menu, and then on FAQ and my methods at the bottom of that menu.

Plotting the reality

Four critical variables (the three critical greenhouse gases and global average temperature) show us how our changing climate is progressing.

The collection of graphs shows completely unambiguously that ever more heat energy is being loaded into our planetary climate system to make it hotter and more humid — where heat and humidity are the drivers for all kinds of extreme weather events.

If you look at the most recent years of Rising Temperature (beginning with 2020) you might think temperatures have stopped rising. However, this is almost certainly dangerously wrong. We have just finished an unusual three successive periods of La Niña conditions that result in below average global temperatures. GIven the generally increasing rate of temperature rise, the next El Niño periods are likely to be substantially hotter than the last ones (2014-2019) when Australia suffered the record-breaking bushfires of our Black Summer that even burned temperate rainforests that survived previous fires for many hundreds of years.

What do the graphs tell us?

In the past VoteClimateOne’s Climate Sentinel News has posted many articles attesting to the increasing frequency, extent and ferocity of extreme weather and the increasing chaos and costs these cause.

As the energy in the climate system continues to rise, catastrophes will increasingly overlap such that more damage and chaos will be caused by following events before recovery from earlier ones is complete. We are already seeing examples of this in NSW’s Northern Rivers and southwestern areas. At some point (in the not distant future — if global warming is not reversed) the still growing social and physical costs will lead to social and physical collapse of society.

Can you do something to change the picture?

At this point both major political parties in the NSW government are still defending and even subsidizing the fossil fuel industry’s (coal and gas) continuing increasing emissions of greenhouse gases.

It is time for you to help elect a government able to act effectively against the climate emergency by ensuring neither party has a majority to do things without people’s support. Hard-right members in either party who will do deals with anyone to stay in power to enforce their religiofascist dogmas tend to ignore even stark objective realities such as the climate crisis shown by Earth’s vital sighs. Such people need to be replaced by electing teals, other community-oriented independents and Greens who accept the reality of the climate emergency and are willing to prioritize acting on it.

My Climate Sentinel News article, Is Premier Perrettet a far-right puppet, or the puppet master?, documents and explains how the kind of ultra dogmatic hard-right politicians got into power that most need to be replaced by parliamentarians who will represent and work for the voters’ benefits. As the now deceased Lyenko Urbanchich, ex MLC David Clarke, federal Senator Alex Hawke, the Tudehope family and the Perrottet family have shown on the far right of the NSW Liberal Party, if your faction can fill key positions in party and factional organizations with collaborators who can organize cadres of ‘storm troops’, it is easy to put whoever the faction ‘leader(s)’ may want into Parliament. The party’s ‘safest’ seats are taken over by using the cadres to subvert preselections by branch stacking and simple thuggery or by bypassing preselection entirely with direct appointments (as has been demonstrated many times over the 40 years of history covered in my article).

Here I focused on the Liberal hard-right. But it should be recognized that Labor also has had and probably still has a very similar hard-right. This was made most evident in the impact Bob Santamaria had on the Labor Party in the 1950’s that led to it a near-lethal split to form the Democratic Labor Party. I have not had the time to adequately research the NSW Labor Party, but its leader, Chris Minns shares many characteristics with Dominic Perrottet, and has even backed and defended him over the treatment of climate protester Violet Coco. Like the Liberals, Labor also safe seats giving factions many opportunities to subvert real democracy. To me this is more than enough reason for VoteClimateOne to advise voters in such seats not to vote for factional puppets in hopes of making the seat marginal. Even if you don’t get rid of the puppet this time, you may be given a real opportunity in the next election to preselect someone actually representing you (rather than someone dogma) in the next election.

How to vote?

We won’t suggest who you should vote for. However we try to show you in our NSW voting guides where we think each candidate in your electorate stands relative to action on the climate emergency and whether we think there are reasons a particular candidate might be considered to be a puppet or less trustworthy on issues than others in the electorate. These recommendations won’t be complete or final until we have had a chance to work our way through those on the ballots provided by the Electoral Commission.

Featured image

Featured image from Dettre, M., (18/08/2022). Lismore City News, Questions over NSW flood victims’ buyback / More than a thousand people lost homes in the NSW Northern Rivers floods. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS).

Health Minister Minster Mark Butler says ongoing trauma can manifest in increased rates of anxiety, post-traumatic stress and domestic and family violence: “Mental health is one of the government’s highest priorities and I recognise that these flooding events have been hugely traumatic for many people,” he said…. For some of these communities, this has been their fourth flood in 18 months.”

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

Sea levels are rising now. Here’s some evidence

The North American Coastal Plain loses nearly 700 km² of wetland forest a year (and more on the Pacific Coast) from rising salt water levels

© Provided by WNCN RaleighSea-level rise creating ‘ghost forests’ in North Carolina

by Rachel Duensing, 16/03/2022 in 17 News WNCN Raleigh

Sea-level rise creating ‘ghost forests’ in North Carolina: Imagine a forest the size of Raleigh and Durham. Now imagine a forest that size dying every single year.It’s an unfortunate reality that’s happening right now across the North American Coastal Plain, including part of our backyard here in North Carolina.

Featured Image: Atlantic white cedars dying near the banks of the Bass River in New Jersey.
Credit: Ted Blanco/Climate Central / / From: ‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Trees, by John Upton, Climate Central

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

European Space Agency research on rising sea-levels

The European Space Agency presents some of its satellite-based research programs on ice melting and rising sea levels..

by Space for Our Climate 10/02/2022 — European Space Agency
New research sums up sea-level rise: Sea-level rise is arguably one of the most serious consequences of the climate crisis. While using satellite data to monitor how the height of the sea is changing provides critical evidence for decision-making, satellites are also essential to measuring the individual components, such as seawater temperature and glacier melt, that contribute to the overall rise. Confidence in the accuracy of these separate measures is key. ESA-funded research now confirms that the figures match up.

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

Rising sea-level risk: can’t know when or how much

Melting polar glaciers are main contributors to rising sea level. The melting process is highly non-linear and thus inherently unpredictable

At least since the 1800s, world sea levels have been rising gradually but at a slowly accelerating rate. Since in the last 140 years it has risen around 17 cm, with around 6 cm of that in the 20 years between 2000 and 2020. And this is only a small part of the hugely complex planetary climate system that has an inherently unpredictable capacity to produce abrupt and catastrophically large changes in climate conditions.

Shows a slow acceleration in the rate of sea level rise.

The rising sea-level has two sources: runoff from the land (mostly glacial melt water) and thermal expansion of the ocean itself due to warming from excess solar energy accumulating from the global warming process.

Sourced from East Coast flooding is a reminder that sea level is rising as the climate warms – here’s why the ocean is pouring in more often – by Jianjun Lin, 07/11/2021 in the Conversation.

The melt water in the rising sea-level comes from two primary sources, melting glaciers and ice cap on Greenland that has increased 6-fold over the last couple of decades; and melting glaciers and ice cap on Antarctica which has more than doubled over the same time. This is measured by the loss of mass variable – representing the weight of the water that has been added to the oceans.

As described in the feature article below, the melting rate of a glacier is determined by its speed as it is creeping/sliding down the continental slope into the ocean. This in turn is determined by a complex set of interacting factors, e.g., temperature, angle of slope, width and roughness of the bed, how much meltwater is in the bed to lubricate/float the ice, where and how the ice may crack and crumble, how many bends there are in the valley, ocean conditions at the foot, whether and to what extent warm and salty (salt lowers the melting temperature of ice) ocean water penetrates into the glacier bed under its foot, thickness and extent of the floating ice shelf at the glacier’s foot and so on. Simply stated, melt rates are inherently unpredictable. However, one thing we can be sure of is that the melt rate will speed up as ambient temperatures increase the rate of ice melting, and rain replaces snow as the main form of precipitation.

The geological record provides good evidence that episodes of abrupt ice melting can cause raise sea-levels a lot faster than they are now, perhaps even showing large changes in rate over a few decades.

See Wikipedia: Meltwater pulse 1A: Meltwater pulse 1A (MWP1a) is the name used by Quaternary geologists, paleoclimatologists, and oceanographers for a period of rapid post-glacial sea level rise, between 13,500 and 14,700 years ago, during which global sea level rose between 16 meters (52 ft) and 25 meters (82 ft) in about 400–500 years, giving mean rates of roughly 40–60 mm (0.13–0.20 ft)/yr…. This rate of sea level rise was much larger than the rate of current sea level rise, which has been estimated to be in the region of 2–3 mm (0.0066–0.0098 ft)/yr.

There may well be enough ice in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet — especially if combined with an equally rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet to support an equivalent amount of melting to the Meltwater Pulse 1A. It is notable that the land surface underlying very large areas of both West Antarctica and Greenland are below sea level – giving ample opportunities for warm ocean water to help speed the melting and collapse of the ice sheets.

Glacier front meets the sea

Why Melting Ice in Antarctica is Making Waves: Scientists recently discovered that the Thwaites Ice Shelf, a floating ice shelf that supports the Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier, could collapse in as little as five years because of global warming.

Climate Reality Project, 28/01/2022

This past December, the massive Thwaites Glacier in Western Antarctica made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Specifically, because new research revealed that the ice shelf preventing it from sliding into the ocean and drastically raising sea levels could collapse well within the next decade.

This Florida-sized glacier had already worried experts for years, going as far as to regularly be called the “Doomsday Glacier”. And yet, this update from the scientific community was still groundbreaking. 

It’s news that the world — particularly low-lying island and coastal communities — should understand and act on. So, what exactly is Thwaites Glacier, what does the latest research about it say, and what consequences could come from its decline?


Thwaites Glacier is a massive body of dense ice located in Western Antarctica. Measuring about 80 miles (120 km) across, it’s the widest glacier on Earth.

Decline of West Antarctic Glaciers Appears Irreversible

Thwaites Glacier in Western Antarctica. Credit: NASA

The glacier has an ice shelf — a permanent piece of floating ice connected to it — that branches out into the Amundsen Sea. Now, understanding what exactly an ice shelf does is crucial.

Read the complete article….

As long as the world continues to warm and large amounts of snow and ice remain lying on the land, sea levels will continue to rise. The risk of an abrupt sea-level rise is real. The human and economic costs of such an event would be catastrophic if it happens. It therefore makes very good sense that mitigation works should begin soon with planning in place at federal, state and local levels to accelerate the work if we have any clear early warning signs that abrupt melting is actually beginning.

It is also clear that our present LNP COALition governments deeply deny the risks Australia faces from global warming and the climate emergency, and should be replaced with rational people who put action on the climate emergency at the top of their to do lists if they should be elected to Parliament.

The puppets show and tell
Captain Humbug (A.K.A. Scotty from Marketing) showing the parliamentary puppet troop what it is all about behind his then PM, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.” With these words Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison taunted the Opposition, attempting to ridicule its commitment to renewable energy.” – Picture from The Conversation (15-02-2017). See also Katherine Murphy in The Guardian on 09/02/2017 for the live video — “Scott Morrison brings coal to question time: what fresh idiocy is this? What a bunch of clowns, hamming it up – while out in the real world an ominous and oppressive heat just won’t let up.”

Also, from the official transcript dated 20/12/2019 from the PM’s own office, Scotty made it abundantly clear to John Stanley on 2GB Radio that HE doesn’t fight fires… “But I know Australians understand… that, you know, I don’t hold a hose, mate, and I don’t sit in a control room. That’s the brave people who do that are doing that job. But I know that Australians would want me back at this time out of these fatalities. So I’ll happily come back [from his secret holiday in Hawaii] and do that.”

Sixteen year-old Greta tells us and everyone at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos how we and our governments should actually respond to the climate emergency:

Listen to Greta’s speech live. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand.

In other words, smell the smoke, see the reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. All Capt. Humbug and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything else we may care about. In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hope. She wants you to panic enough to wake up and fight the fire…. so she can have some hope for her future. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System will help you use your vote wisely on behalf of our offsprings’ futures.

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