Wow–my last post was UBER depressing, huh? Sorry about that (it also had a record number of hits over 48 hour period). The data has been building up for awhile and I haven’t done a long-form piece on the predicaments. If you’re new to the blog, I don’t write often enough for these to sink in. But here we are. There seem to be several scientists closing in on the same conclusion that has haunted our favorite Conservation biologist over the past few decades. That conclusion is that we’re facing end stage climate collapse Specifically, the issue is that record high world temperatures are especially bad in the area around the Arctic. This article from the Washington Post points out that areas around Siberia have been hit with unprecedented highs: In Northern Siberia, along the coast of the Arctic Ocean – where weather observations are scarce – model analyses showed temperatures soaring 40 degrees above normal on July 5, to over 90 degrees. “It is absolutely incredible and really one of the most intense heat events I’ve ever seen for so far north,” wrote meteorologist Nick Humphrey…
Once the temperatures are high enough to melt off the summer Arctic ice, the world’s last backstop against runaway heating is gone. A jump of one or two C above current temperatures (which are already 1.6 C above pre industrial baseline) would be sufficient to wipe out most of our staple crops. Something like 65% of our daily calories come from wheat (similar percentages affect cultures whose main staple crops are Rice). We’re due to have a lousy harvest in most parts of the world this year, owing to inclement heating and late rainstorms (along with expected drought conditions).
There are those who would argue that the temperature would not move up abruptly under the ‘blue ocean scenario’ of zero ice. Okay, but (as I pontificated on July 4), what would happen if we experienced a loss of global dimming over the next few months? Average temperatures for the planet moved up by 1 degree C. The other argument for quick upward movement of the temperature is the unlocking of the methane hydrates, the hundreds of billions of tons of methane currently kept inactive under the poles thanks to the ice keeping temperatures low. If (as Natalia Shakhova has predicted) we could see a multi-gigaton release of methane ‘at any time’, we are truly effed. Methane is also a greenhouse gas (100x more potent per unit than carbon dioxide), and a single burst of methane could push temperatures well past the point where we could grow crops. This is why Guy McPherson’s issue of multiple feedback loops in warming is so important. We might duck any one of the issues he’s brought to the fore in his overview essay (last updated in August 2016). But we won’t duck all of them forever, and there’s no guess how the individual feedback loops will interact.
No crops mean no humans or domesticated animals. It’s a moot point whether humans can survive the higher temperatures, because we won’t have anything to eat. The pipe dream of hydroponic farms is just that–there’s not any way we can grow food absent livable climate.
So NOW what?
This is the reader participation part of the page. Those of you expecting climate collapse leading to extinction in short order might want to share your personal plans (hint: getting shotguns and living out existence a la Walking Dead is not an option). Are you stockpiling food? Are you making your last visits to see distant friends and family? Are you planning for revolution once the news comes out? Hint: absent real deliberation and community organizing, our last moments may look like an armed insurrection, complete with military intervention). Share in the ‘comments’ section below. I’ll try to clear out the trolls and deniers as best I can.
SO LONG AND THANKS FOR NUTHIN’