Yep, We’re Screwed: Top Ten Recent Climate Change Findings that should Scare You

1. A warmer planet will spur aggression and violence, according to UC Berkeley scientists.

2. Climate change is causing animals to migrate into new areas, spreading diseases across species: “Earth’s changing climate and the global spread of infectious diseases are threatening human health, agriculture and wildlife,” say the National Science Foundation’s Sam Scheinter of a new paper just published in Science.

3. The oceans are heating up, according to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of data from 2012: “Global average ocean surface temperature was higher than the 1981–2010 average and has been for at least a decade . . .” “Heat content in the upper 2,300 feet of the ocean remained near record high values in 2012. Overall increases were also observed in the deep ocean below . . .” The increases in upper ocean temperatures explains why land surface temperature rise has stalled in recent years: the oceans are acting as a “sink.” Unfortunately when that effect ends, land surface temperature may shoot up.

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4. The oceans are rising, threatening coasts and low-lying cities like Miami and New Orleans. Likewise, according to the same study, sea levels are rising like never before since human beings have been keeping records: “Average global sea level reached a record high in 2012. Total sea level has increased at an average rate of 3.2 mm per year since 1993.”

5. America burning up:

NASA explains,

“With climate change, certain areas of the United States, like the great Plains and Upper Midwest, will be at a greater risk of burning by the end of the 21st-century. Areas like the Mountain West that are prone to burning now will see even more fires than they do today.

NASA’s recent video explains:

6. Arctic sea ice, as it melts, fractures and forms pools on the surface, is becoming darker and less reflective. It is no longer reflecting as much sunlight back into outer space, allowing it onto earth and accelerating global warming.

7. The melting of tundra in the East Siberian Arctic shelf could cause a sudden release of massive amounts of methane, costing the world economy $60 trillion.

8. Climate has changed in past eons because of things like varying volcanic activity, meteor strikes, and so forth. But human beings in this century are putting so many billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually that they are causing climate change at a place orders of magnitude faster than anything in the archeological record. Species often went extinct even during the slower climate change eras of the distant past. The current change event will almost certainly kill off large numbers of species, including much of ocean life.

9. The ozone hole over the Antarctic, caused in part by human-produced chemicals, may be speeding up global warming.

10. Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” of subterranean natural gas has been hailed as making available a fuel that burns cleaner than coal. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently done flyovers of fracking sites in Utah and found disturbing evidence of substantial methane emissions. Methane is a very powerful and dangerous greenhouse gas that would more than cancel out the benefit of natural gas over coal.

13 Responses

  1. There are also recent climate change findings that are more hopeful. Some new studies suggest, for example, that the sensitivity of the climate to rises in CO2 may not be so great as previously thought. We need both sides of the story.

    • Seriously? Denialism masquerading as thoughtfulness. How sweet.

      • Who said CO2 emissions were harmless? Not me. If you want a peer reviewed paper with a lower value for climate sensitivity, try Otto et al. (2013) Nature Geoscience. link to metoffice.gov.uk

        And I’m not saying this study is definitive. It’s just one paper and may turn out to be a one-off. Or it may not. However, many of the points made by Juan Cole are single papers which may be corroborated by further studies, or they may not.

        Climate sceptics are accused of cherry picking. They won’t be convinced by a list that looks full of only cherries.

  2. When an organism overwhelms its host to the point of weakening the very life source upon which the organism depends, the point of the life source dying is to deny the organism any further medium upon which to survive or reproduce. Thinking of the Earth in terms being alive, any parasitic life form will eventually kill off what it needs to survive, upsetting the natural balances and flooding the body with toxins that eventually do in not only the host but anything that needs the host’s strength and vitality.
    Of course, the foregoing is somewhat redundant but the parallel has to be drawn between what we each need to do as individuals to manage and what the Earth must do for its system to function. Whether there are parasites, toxins, or uncontrolled populations of reproducing of cells, an individual can only tolerate so much. Ironically, what keeps the system functioning (so far) are chemicals that potentially reduce or eliminate the overpopulation along with the constant threat of radiation to terminate their very existence.
    Certainly, there are classifications of cells that believe that their dominance will assure their ultimate control and success but this is all illusion given their very narrow scope and view of their objectives. Mindlessness and madness tend to obscure or blind the actors to the fact that their roles are debilitating in the long term. Without self-control and being conscious of the importance of all other aspects of the system, most of which are candidates for competition themselves, survival is tenuous at best.
    And, yes, we are ‘screwed.’ Honey bees are dying off. Exotic ants are making transcontinental trips. Algal blooms are killing lakes. Invasive species of all sorts are taking over from natives. GMO crops are poisoning farmers. This ‘screwing’ is the result, by and large, of trying to keep up with competitive forces rather than attempts at cooperative efforts to maintain a delicate balance that has evolved over time WITHOUT human involvement.
    But, we can think of this as another form of the evolutionary process, Nature allowing the excesses to progress to a point of unsustainability when the destructive urges will have run their course and petered out. As smart as humans can imagine themselves, hubris will the eventual limiting factor. Perhaps there will be a time when diseases (including many that have been recently ‘eradicated’) will prevail along side of famines and resource wars to restore equilibrium. The question for that time becomes a matter of whether or not the survivors will understand the importance of compromise and accord, not only among themselves but with the organism upon which they depend.

    • You said it all! Now if you can just get ALL to listen, hear, believe, and act!

  3. These are all good points that point to climate change. However, the geochemical record shows that the same cycle has repeated itself for as far back as we are able to access data. Regarding the hypothesis of accelerated AGW, the so-called “hockey stick” graph was proven to be an near-complete fabrication when the EAU email records were released.
    Rather than the utter lunacy of hoping that a massive human catastrophe will “restore equilibrium”, I would hope that we all can adopt lifestyles that take the health of our planet into account. And by “all”, I especially mean the countries that are the most egregious polluters on the planet: India, China, Mexico, and Africa.

    • Quoting Seboeis: “egarding the hypothesis of accelerated AGW, the so-called “hockey stick” graph was proven to be an near-complete fabrication when the EAU email records were released”

      Umm, no. The fundamental conclusions from the original “hockey stick” graph/paper by Mann et all have been reproved by the National Academy of Sciences and then by Mann’s team again.

      see link to newscientist.com
      and
      link to pnas.org

    • And the United States of America. How could you forget that? Or is the game to say “we all understand there’s an emissions problem – now you drop your CO2 first.” Kind of like Orwell’s phoney war in 1984, where it appears the leaders of all three superstates agree to pretend to fight so they can use a permanent state of war against their own citizens. The most lucrative trade relationship in the world today is between China and the US; not surprisingly those are the two that play Eastasia versus Pacifica on climate matters.

      As to your point that we’ve had runaway climate events before, note that there was no shaky, corrupt, bubble-prone Wall Street in 400,000,000 BC, much less an entire human race that has made itself economically vulnerable to tiny perturbations in prices, supplies, weather, terrorist acts, etc. In past climate catastrophes, up to 90% of species went extinct. The surviving organisms lived very differently than before.

      All of that without the problem of human emissions causing a runaway warming in decades (still too long for us to care about) rather than in millenia.

  4. @ Seboeis – thanks for channeling the Heartland Institute’s talking points in your post!

  5. I’m not sure what I would say to people like you all here…but I will say this as a libertarian leaning conservative who believes in a Cause of all causes: Our climate IS changing, our morality is degrading, trust between nations and families are eroding, our economy is worsening, you can add the rest. We will destory each other, before global warming ever floods New Orleans. John 14:6.

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