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Global Warming...New Report...and it ain't happy news

 
 
bulmabriefs144
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 27 Aug, 2022 07:45 am
@hightor,
Sweden is a cold yet fertile land. Within years, this "contest" will turn it into a desert.

https://i.redd.it/jd40trg1p3531.jpg

What actual Swedish forests look like.

More of Greta Thunberg's idiocy.

https://cdn.mamamia.com.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/25065821/greta-feature-image.jpg

https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2019/09/23/USAT/e765d198-5f99-4a00-9402-a5fcb754cdc0-VPC_GRETA_THUNBERG_EMOTIONAL_DESK_THUMB.jpg?width=3200&height=1800&fit=crop

2/3 of this gal's pictures are of her making pouting faces.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Aug, 2022 09:40 am
A century and a half after the Challenger mission transformed our understanding of the seas, researchers meet to tackle the latest threats.

Scientists set for ocean crisis debate 150 years after ‘extraordinary’ expedition
Quote:
In a few days, several hundred researchers will gather in the UK to debate the crises facing the oceans – and to pay tribute to the expedition that first opened them up to scientific scrutiny.

Exactly 150 years ago, the Challenger expedition began a transformation in our understanding of the seas. It revealed the existence of myriad forms of life at every depth and showed the ocean floor was not a featureless plain, as then thought, but was peppered with mountain ranges and deep trenches.

“We now know that the oceans play a fundamental role in driving Earth’s chemical, physical and biological processes,” said Nick Owens, director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science. “They are crucial to the health of the planet and they are suffering from multiple threats today. Challenger began that understanding, and it is appropriate that we mark the expedition’s 150th anniversary by comparing the state of the oceans then and now.”

When Challenger set sail, the seas were hardly affected by global warming; acidification caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide was not a problem; and the millions of tonnes of plastic that now pollute our seas remained a distant threat. “The picture of the oceans that was revealed by Challenger provides us with a perfect baseline for looking at the state of our seas today,” said Owens, who will speak at the Challenger 150 conference which opens in London on 6 September.

Challenger sailed from Sheerness in December 1872 with a company of 250 sailors, engineers and marines – plus six scientists led by the Scottish naturalist Sir Charles Wyville Thomson. Over the next four years, the vessel, which was fitted with a steam engine for dredging, sailed 68,890 nautical miles across the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern oceans; took 133 scoops from the ocean floor; carried out 492 deep-sea soundings and made 263 serial water temperature observations along its route.

Apart from measuring sea depths, temperatures and currents, the expedition collected marine life from every part of the ocean. More than 100,000 species were collected, preserved and returned to the expedition’s headquarters in Edinburgh. It took a further 20 years to study these specimens, among which more than 4,700 new species of plants and sea life were discovered. The final report, completed by John Murray after Thomson’s death in 1882, ran to 50 volumes.

“It was an extraordinary achievement,” said the marine researcher Adrian Glover of the Natural History Museum, one of the hosts of the Challenger 150 conference. “Essentially, the Challenger expedition was the first multidisciplinary international science project.

“Until then, science tended to be carried out by individuals working in small laboratories. Challenger changed that. It tackled geology, chemistry, biology and a host of other disciplines. It led to the birth of international interdisciplinary projects that now form the mainstay of research into topics such as climate change.”

At the time, most scientists thought the deep ocean floor was utterly uniform: a vast, flat expanse, filled with soft mud, said Erika Jones, curator of navigation and oceanography at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

“Challenger showed this was definitely not the case. It came back with these amazing charts that showed mountain ranges, valleys and vast trenches deep below the waves.” The deepest of these is now known as the Challenger Deep. It lies 10,900 metres below the surface in the western Pacific Ocean and is the deepest-known point on the surface of the Earth.

It was also thought that the deep ocean could not support life because it was too dark and too cold, and pressures were far too great. Challenger changed that view as well, added Jones, whose book, The Challenger Expedition: Exploring the Ocean’s Depths ,will be published in October.

The species discovered by Challenger ranged from tiny shellfish to strange fish like the stargazing seadevil, Ceratias uranoscopus. However, the Challenger discovery that may have the greatest impact in coming years looked undramatic at the time. Dredging the Pacific seabed, the expedition brought up small nuggets of dark material covered with faint indentations. “These were polymetallic nodules, and we now know they litter the seabed in their trillions,” said Glover. The first nodule found by Challenger is on display in the Natural History Museum, he added.

These nodules are rich in manganese, nickel, cobalt and copper – used for making the electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels that are needed to replace the carbon-emitting lorries, power plants and factories wrecking our climate. Mining companies say their extraction should be an international priority. By dredging up nodules from the deep, we could help to halt the scorching of our planet’s ravaged surface, they argue.

Many marine scientists disagree. “It is hard to imagine how seabed mines could feasibly operate without devastating species and ecosystems,” says UK marine biologist Helen Scales – a view shared by David Attenborough, who has called for a moratorium on all deep-sea mining plans.

Along with overfishing and climate change, the issue will be debated at the conference. Mining companies say it should be relatively straightforward to suck up the nodules that litter the seabed. Many marine biologists disagree. The impact could be catastrophic, they say, though they acknowledge that this message can be difficult to get across.

“What is scary from a scientific point of view is that it is so difficult to demonstrate to the public how important these environments are for the health of the planet in terms of global nutrient cycling, carbon capture, and maintaining biodiversity,” said another keynote speaker, the marine chemist Katherine Duncan, of Strathclyde University.

“Images of the destruction of rainforests have a visceral impact but those of the ocean floor do not have that effect. A sponge is not as photogenic as an orang-utan.”

Yet the seabed has a lot to offer humanity, Duncan insisted. Her research involves a process known as pattern-based genome mining which she has used to study sediment cores extracted from the ocean floor 4,000 metres deep off the coast of Antarctica.

This work has already revealed the existence of two new species of marine bacteria, Pseudonocardia abyssalis and Pseudonocardia oceani, which make antimicrobial compounds and could one day be used to make new ranges of antibiotics.

Although a relatively new science, research on marine organisms has already created dozens of effective drugs. Examples include the sea squirt Ecteinascidia turbinata which attaches itself to mangrove roots: it was found to have anticancer properties and led to the development of Yondelis, a sarcoma and ovarian cancer drug. Similarly, an extract from the sea snail, Conus magus, has been used in synthetic form to create Prialt, a chronic pain drug. Corals, sea slugs, marine worms and molluscs have also been used to create promising medicines.

“The worry is that if we begin deep-sea mining without proper controls, we run the risk of destroying invaluable sources of medicines for the future,” added Duncan.

Other threats to the health of the oceans include overfishing. More than 150 million tonnes of fish are caught for human consumption every year, and it is now estimated that a third of the planet’s fish stocks are being exploited unsustainably.

However, it is climate change that is the ultimate threat, Owens said. “The oceans drive so many planetary processes and they are also absorbing most of the heat generated by our fossil fuel emissions. In the end, there is only so much they can take, and from what we have learned about impacts over the past 150 years, it is clear they cannot take much more without there being significant impacts on the planet.”
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Aug, 2022 10:58 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Major sea-level rise caused by melting of Greenland ice cap is ‘now inevitable’
Quote:
Loss will contribute a minimum rise of 27cm regardless of what climate action is taken, scientists discover

Major sea-level rise from the melting of the Greenland ice cap is now inevitable, scientists have found, even if the fossil fuel burning that is driving the climate crisis were to end overnight.

The research shows the global heating to date will cause an absolute minimum sea-level rise of 27cm (10.6in) from Greenland alone as 110tn tonnes of ice melt. With continued carbon emissions, the melting of other ice caps and thermal expansion of the ocean, a multi-metre sea-level rise appears likely.

Billions of people live in coastal regions, making flooding due to rising sea levels one of the greatest long-term impacts of the climate crisis. If Greenland’s record melt year of 2012 becomes a routine occurrence later this century, as is possible, then the ice cap will deliver a “staggering” 78cm of sea-level rise, the scientists said.

Previous studies have used computer models of ice cap behaviour to estimate future losses, but the physical processes are complex and this leads to significant uncertainties in the results.

In contrast, the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change used satellite measurements of ice losses from Greenland and the shape of the ice cap from 2000-19. This data enabled the scientists to calculate how far global heating to date has pushed the ice sheet from an equilibrium where snowfall matches the ice lost. This allowed the calculation of how much more ice must be lost in order to regain stability.

“It is a very conservative rock-bottom minimum,” said Prof Jason Box from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (Geus), who led the research. “Realistically, we will see this figure more than double within this century.”

The 27cm estimate is a minimum because it only accounts for global heating so far and because some ways in which glacier ice is lost at the margins of the ice sheet are not included.

The advantage of this study is that it provides a solid estimate of inevitable sea-level rise but the method used does not give a timescale over which the ice will be lost. Nonetheless, based on scientists’ overall understanding of how sheets such as Greenland lose ice into the ocean, the researchers said most of the rise would occur relatively soon. In 2021, other scientists warned that a significant part of the Greenland ice sheet was on the brink of a tipping point.

“The minimum of 27cm is the sea-level rise deficit that we have accrued to date and it’s going to get paid out, no matter what we do going forward,” said Dr William Colgan, also at Geus. “Whether it’s coming in 100 years or 150 years, it’s coming. And the sea-level rise we are committed to is growing at present, because of the climate trajectory we’re on.”

Colgan said: “If [2012] becomes a normal year, then the committed loss grows to 78cm, which is staggering, and the fact that we’re already flickering into that range [of ice loss] is shocking. But the difference between 78cm and 27cm highlights the [difference] that can be made through implementing the Paris agreement. There is still a lot of room to minimise the damage.”

Mountain glaciers in the Himalayas and the Alps are already on course to lose a third and half of their ice respectively, while the west Antarctic ice sheet is also thought by some scientists to be past the point at which major losses are inevitable. Warming oceans also expand, adding to sea-level rise.

“There is growing support in the scientific literature for multi-metre levels of rise within the next 100 to 200 years,” said Colgan. A collapse of the colossal east Antarctic ice sheet, which would lead to a 52-metre rise in sea levels if it all melted, could be averted if rapid climate action is taken.

Prof Gail Whiteman, at the University of Exeter, who was not part of the study team, said: “The results of this new study are hard to ignore for all business leaders and politicians concerned about the future of humanity. It is bad news for the nearly 600 million people that live in coastal zones worldwide. As sea levels rise, they will be increasingly vulnerable, and it threatens approximately $1tn of global wealth.” She said political leaders must rapidly scale up funding for climate adaptation and damage.

(Links in report)
bulmabriefs144
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 30 Aug, 2022 07:25 am
@Walter Hinteler,
So we're no longer having high temperatures create droughts then.

Now we have plenty of water for everyone, and don't have to worry about the water table.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Aug, 2022 07:46 am
@bulmabriefs144,
bulmabriefs144 wrote:
So we're no longer having high temperatures create droughts then.

Now we have plenty of water for everyone, and don't have to worry about the water table.
Try to find some basics about weather and climate.
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 06:09 am
As Colorado River Dries, the U.S. Teeters on the Brink of Larger Water Crisis

Quote:
(...)

The United States is kind of a snapshot of what’s happening in the rest of the world. There’s no place we can run to. Things are happening really, really fast and in a very large scale. We as a society, as a country or as a global society are not responding with the urgency, with the pace and the scale that’s required. I am specifically talking about rapid changes that are happening with freshwater availability that most people don’t know about. The problems are often larger than one country. A lot of it is transboundary. And we’re just not moving fast enough.

(...)
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2022 07:14 am
Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest reached their highest levels since 2010 in August, data released by the government on Wednesday showed. This surpassed the record fires of 2019, which caused worldwide horror shortly after President Jair Bolsonaro took office.

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which analyses satellite data, registered 31,513 fires in the Amazon up to 30 August, making last month the worst August since 2010, when 45,018 fires were recorded.

August and September are considered the fire season in the region. The dry season allows farmers to set fires to deforest more land.

By 30 August 2022, 12.3 per cent more fires had already been registered than in August 2021 and about 20 per cent more than the average since 1998, according to INPE data for August.


Indepedent watchdog confirms rampant deforestation in the Amazon
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Sep, 2022 11:49 am
EXCLUSIVE Scientists detect second 'vast' methane leak at Pemex oil field in Mexico
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2022 06:00 am
‘We’re Sued on Pretty Much Everything We Try’: Canada’s Climate Minister

Quote:
When Steven Guilbeault became Canada’s environment minister he was assigned a lengthy mandate letter which boils down to, more or less: fix climate change, please.

In fact, his official title is Minister of Environment and Climate Change — a mantle he wears after being an environmental activist for 30 years before he transitioned to politics.

At age four he staged a tree sit to protect a neighbourhood forest from development in La Tuque, Quebec. As an adult he co-founded Equiterre, the largest environmental organization in the province. He once scaled the CN Tower for Greenpeace to demand Canada ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

He's a stalwart bike commuter year-round in Montreal and says he’ll never own a car. But when he signed up to be a politician and was elected as a Liberal MP in the Montreal riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie in 2019, it was just over year after the party had bought the Trans Mountain pipeline.

So what does Guilbeault say Canada can and will do to fix climate change? The Tyee sat down with him at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver yesterday, just after he announced a federal investment of nearly $1 million over four years to increase biodiversity conservation efforts in the Átl'ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region. The following interview has been condensed for length and clarity.

The Tyee: You've been tasked with reducing methane emissions by 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030. This is a province that's trying to radically expand its LNG industry. Just one project, LNG Canada, will increase its greenhouse gas emissions by 8.6 megatonnes of greenhouse gases per year in 2030 and 9.6 megatonnes per year by 2050. How are you working with B.C. to reduce emissions as the emission-producing industry is being built?

Minister Guilbeault: As you may know we already have methane regulations for the oil and gas sector. We have goals of reducing the emissions in those sectors by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025. This will largely be done through investment in technologies. We're not looking at carbon capture but existing technologies. Right now the emissions that we're seeing can go to 40 to 45 per cent. Companies can do that, using existing technology, in a cost effective manner. They make money doing this.

We're still doing the analysis in terms of going to 75 per cent emission reduction. But the industry will have to — it will be a regulation. Regardless of the level of their emissions they will have to figure it out. Regulations are not technologically prescriptive. They don't say you need to use x technology or y technology. We're telling them: this is the target and you figure it out.

That's what they tell us they prefer doing. They don't like us telling them how to do it. So they will be mandated by law to achieve those goals.

Speaking of emissions, the federal government has said it will cap emissions but is excluding emissions from the products we export, like oil and gas — products entirely designed to be burned and emit greenhouse gas emissions. If the government was serious about reducing emissions why not full-count every single emission we create to better understand total emissions and how to reduce them?

One word, IPCC. We're using IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] guidelines for our greenhouse gas inventories, as are most of the countries in the world. The way the IPCC guidelines have been written is that you count the emissions at the point of combustion. We're doing what everyone else around the world is doing at the proposal of the IPCC.

Should the IPCC change their guidelines to move towards what some people call full-carbon accounting then Canada would certainly be happy to do that. But no country that I know is including its scope-three emissions in its national inventories. No one is doing that. These emissions are captured somewhere. They're not escaping to the world greenhouse gas accounting system.

Canada, a petrostate, is one of the biggest per-capita emitters in the world. Shouldn't we be more conscious of full-carbon accounting, even if the IPCC doesn't recommend it?

I think we are taking our international responsibilities very seriously. We've doubled our international climate finance, to $5.3 billion. And we’ve doubled investments in our climate plan.

We recognize our historic responsibility. We're doing a lot of things to try and make up for the fact that we are a large emitter. The fact that we're not counting scope-three emissions doesn't mean that we don't take our responsibility very seriously.

The federal government has banned the sale of internal combustion engines for light duty vehicles by 2035. Phasing out ICE cars will reduce emissions on the road, but this upholds the core problem of promoting personal vehicles instead of public and active transit. Why did the government choose to promote personal vehicles instead of strongly taxing or prohibiting personal vehicles and promoting and investing in public transit?

I would challenge that assumption, because we're investing about 10 times more in transit than we're investing in electrification. People only talk about the electrification stuff. I know people like electric vehicles. It's hot, it's hip, it's cool. But our investments in transit are in the order of $30 billion between when we started a few years ago to 2030. Our investments in electrification are in the order of around $2.5 billion — though I don't have those numbers right in front of me.

So we are doing exactly what you're saying. Not only that, but we're the first government in the history of this country to have a permanent fund dedicated to active transportation infrastructure.

As a bike activist I could only dream of a federal government that would invest with my community and municipality in new bike infrastructure. That didn't happen until now. Some people say it's only $400 million. But it's $400 million every year! It could it be more, of course, but it is making a difference all around the country.

When you look at the pyramid of transportation the first thing you want to do is “avoid.” So by making cities more bikeable, more walkable with more public transit, that's exactly what we're doing. Further down you're trying to transform, change to other technology. I don't own a car. I've never owned a car, I'm highly unlikely to ever own a car. I'm part of a car co-op in Montreal and bike 12 months of the year when in the city. I believe in this and this government believes in this as well.

Canada's forests are now considered carbon sources, meaning they emit more carbon than they absorb in a given year. Forests are provincial jurisdiction but the Supreme Court has ruled pollution is federal jurisdiction. Would the federal government ever intervene in B.C.'s forests to try and prevent forest fires and their resulting pollution?

You want another federal-provincial fight? I don't think there's enough of them going around (laughs).

I'm having strong discussions with most of my provincial leaders about carbon pricing. I just got a letter today from a number of premiers who say, “Carbon pricing is too hard. It's too complicated. You can't do it.”

We live in a political system with separate federal and provincial responsibilities. What we're trying to do on climate change is to ensure that everyone is taking on their responsibilities.

Coming back to oil and gas, I know there are people out there who say we should be capping production. That's a point of view I respect. But constitutionally we can’t really do that. Same thing with resource management.

In B.C. we're signing an agreement for $50 million to protect old-growth forest, which will protect about 400,000 hectares of old growth in the province. This is an example of things we can do without necessarily encroaching on provincial jurisdiction.

But the reality is we're getting sued on just about everything we do. We got sued on carbon pricing. Then when we won in the Supreme Court we got sued on the application of carbon pricing. We're getting sued on impact assessment [Bill] C-69. We're getting sued on plastics — actually we have two different court cases on plastics. If we can't show the court what we're doing respects the Constitution, respects jurisdictions and has a level of regulatory legislative preparedness we will lose in the courts.

I'm curious what you'd apply the carbon pricing to. How would you measure it? B.C. currently estimates emissions from forest fires, for example, but does not include those emissions in its official emissions count.

There are a number of ways to count carbon emissions — it’s something that we're looking at very closely. We want to make sure what we are reporting in our greenhouse gas inventories, either in Canada or to the UN, is as an accurate reflection of what nature is seeing or the atmosphere is seeing.

But to your question of if we could apply carbon pricing to a naturally occurring, or climate change-induced natural event? That's not in the books.

How is the commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2023 going?

It's part of our agreement with the NDP and you may have seen that in the last budget we phased out another one. We said it would happen and it is going to happen.... We will encourage our provincial counterparts to do what we're doing but we can't dictate what provinces decide to do or not do.

There's a lot of talk about a just transition to ensure workers in the oil and gas industry aren't left behind as their industries wind down. Statistics Canada says the oil and gas industry employed 72,800 people in 2019, but only a fraction of those workers are specialized and will need retraining to pivot to another industry. The oil and gas industry exacerbates climate change, which killed 602 people in B.C. in 2021 — 595 due to extreme heat, five due to extreme flooding and two due to extreme wildfire. This seems like we're worrying about tens of thousands of people's jobs but not hundreds of people's lives. How do you square that?

Since the beginning of the year, we've published regulations on the fields tender to force gasoline and diesel distributors to reduce the carbon footprint of their product. We have a discussion paper out on the oil and gas cap. We're discussing regulation on the zero emission vehicle mandate. We have a new target for reducing methane's. We've launched a consultation paper that will lead to regulation on a net-zero grid by 2035.

We've done all that in the last eight months and we're moving ahead with a more stringent pricing system across the country. We're not waiting on anything to move on climate change and to ensure that we reduce our emissions as fast as possible.

I think the just transition piece is an important component of everything we're doing to ensure we do it in a way that is fair and trusted. It's about workers but it's also about communities as well because some communities will be heavily impacted. So how do we work with them? What does the future look like for them? We're not waiting to act until we have a just transition. We're moving all of these pieces relatively at the same time.

Canada has missed every emissions reduction target it has set. Now we've got the goal of reducing emissions by 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and being net-zero by 2050. The climate crisis is killing people in this province and we've got a poor track record of hitting our emissions targets. Why should Canadians trust the federal government when it says it's doing something about climate change now?

Show me a time in our history where our government has done half of the things we've done in terms of investment. Everyone's talking about how the new U.S. inflation act bill was passed. And it's $300 billion of investment. We're investing $110 billion.

The U.S. hasn't started — we've been at it for five years, or six. So proportionately we're doing three times more in terms of investment than the U.S. is doing. We're doing pricing — unfortunately they won't for the foreseeable future. The U.S. is advancing on methane on zero emission vehicles. They don't have a cap on oil and gas, they don't have a federal clean fuel standard.

No government has ever tried the way we have. I think that's what gives me hope. But we need to do the work and we need to keep going at it every day.

There are things that are still being developed; regulation, for example, or the oil and gas cap.

Canada missed all of its previous targets because we didn't try. We had no real plans, certainly no measures. Now we have all these things. We have fiscal measures, we have financial measures, we have regulations, we have legislation, we're throwing everything at it, and I'm confident that we will get there. But we need to do the work.

tyee
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Sep, 2022 07:13 am
New research finds an estimated 25,000 properties in Louisiana could slip below tidal boundary lines by 2050. Florida, Texas and North Carolina also face profound economic risks.


Rising seas could swallow millions of U.S. acres within decades
Quote:
The water is coming.

There’s no longer much doubt about that, as scientists have increasingly documented how the warming of the planet has accelerated sea level rise along coasts around the world.

But a new analysis published Thursday by the research nonprofit Climate Central reveals a troubling dimension of the economic toll that could unfold in the United States, as hundreds of thousands of homes, offices and other privately owned properties slip below swelling tide lines over the next few decades.

Here are five takeaways from the research about the people and places that stand to lose most, the likely ripple effects and reasons the world must cut its emissions of greenhouse gases in order to eventually stem the rising waters:

1. Sea level rise will shift coastlines — and property lines

Researchers at Climate Central took scientific data on projected sea level rise, as well as information about state tidal boundaries, and combined that with records on more than 50 million individual properties across hundreds of U.S. counties to identify parcels most likely at risk.

Their conclusion: Nearly 650,000 individual, privately owned parcels, across as many as 4.4 million acres of land, are projected to fall below changing tidal boundaries by 2050. The land affected could swell to 9.1 million acres by 2100. According to Thursday’s analysis, properties with a collective assessed value of $108 billion could be affected by the end of the century, based on current emissions. But, the authors noted, because complete property values were not available for all counties, the actual total is likely to be far higher.

The changes also could come gradually at first, then quickly. In many communities, the authors wrote, structures are clustered in areas that historically are on safe ground. But once rising seas reach those densely developed elevations, “the number of affected buildings sharply increases.”

“As the sea is rising, tide lines are moving up elevation, upslope and inland,” said Don Bain, a senior adviser at Climate Central and an expert in sea level rise, who led the analysis. “People really haven’t internalized that yet — that ‘Hey, I’m going to have something taken away from me by the sea.’”

2. The Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast stand to lose most

It’s no surprise that Louisiana, where the seas are swelling and land is sinking, faces a daunting loss of property in the years to come.

The Climate Central analysis estimated that more than 25,000 properties totaling nearly 2.5 million acres in the state could fall wholly below tidal boundary lines by 2050 — a number that far exceeds any other place in the nation. That would amount to 8.7 percent of Louisiana’s total land area, the report found.

But other states also appear to face widespread threats. The top three at risk behind Louisiana are Florida, North Carolina and Texas, all of which have large swaths of low-lying, imperiled coastlines.

While property across the Southeast might face the most collective risk, other states also have reason for concern. New Jersey and New York, for instance, also stand to see thousands of properties fall below tidelines in coming decades. Same for Maryland, which the researchers project could see more than 2,500 buildings impacted.

The impacts of sea level rise already are evident, as some communities face the prospect of retreat and a growing number grapple with nuisance or “sunny day” flooding.

Eventually, such issues will “transition from something that’s rare to becoming something that’s normal,” said William Sweet, an oceanographer at the NOAA National Ocean Service and the nation’s top scientist on sea level rise.

3. It’s not just about flooded homes. It’s about eroding tax bases.

The loss of homes and other properties — especially those along the waterfront — isn’t just a tragedy for owners. It is a surefire way to erode the revenue municipal governments need to operate.

“Ultimately, this is a local problem and a local story,” Bain said. “We finance local government through our property taxes.”

If sea levels continue to rise unabated, that poses more than just a problem to beaches and condos that line the coasts. It eventually will translate into fewer taxable properties, and less money to fund schools and fire departments, fix roads, maintain sewers and provide other essential services.

“Diminished property values and a smaller tax base can lead to lower tax revenues and reduced public services — a potential downward spiral of disinvestment and population decline, reduced tax base and public services, and so on,” Thursday’s analysis found.

4. The potential ripple effects are vast.

Eroding tax bases are a big problem. But hardly the only one. The study also found a litany of other complications that likely will result as sea levels inch higher and higher.

“The legal and political ramifications of these changes are complex, and will likely vary among locations,” the analysis found. “Those ramifications extend well beyond loss of tax revenue as property owners object to paying taxes on submerged land.”

Beyond those initial shocks, municipalities and individuals will also be forced to confront the significant costs for removing inundated structures and flooded septic tanks. Governments could be on the hook for properties that get abandoned, adding additional expenses not covered by their budgets.

But even before then, communities already are wrestling with the need to repair streets and roads damaged by flooding, as well as overwhelmed or outdated sewer and water systems. “How city and county management teams respond to these risks, or if they respond at all, is material to the city’s and county’s future ability to repay debt and protect its credit rating,” the authors wrote.

5. The future is not (entirely) set in stone.

The world’s foremost scientists have found that given the carbon built up in the atmosphere after generations of burning fossil fuels, the rate of sea level rise is increasing and will continue over the next several decades.

Those findings are in line with a major report earlier this year from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which found that sea levels could rise along U.S. coastlines by roughly a foot between now and 2050 — roughly as much change over the next three decades as over the past century.

“That trajectory appears somewhat set,” said Sweet, who was not involved in Thursday’s study.

What remains undetermined is how communities across the United States prepare for the changes they know are coming, and what this country and others do to slow the heating of the planet.

“If we get our act together, we can get to a lower curve, and that buys us time,” Bain said. “We don’t want [seas] rising so fast that it outpaces our capacity to adapt.”

Sweet said the data from NOAA and related efforts, such as Thursday’s study, hopefully give public officials and individuals information they need “so they can make the smart choices to best defend and prepare against rising seas” — from shoring up infrastructure to making thoughtful decisions about development.

But ultimately, he said, the world must act in concert to make sure the problem doesn’t grow worse indefinitely.

“Emissions matter, especially as we get beyond the next 20 or 30 years,” Sweet said. “You reduce emissions, you reduce your likelihood of higher sea levels.”
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Sep, 2022 10:39 pm
As global warming passes certain limits, dire changes will probably become irreversible, the researchers said, including the loss of polar ice sheets and the death of coral reefs.

Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points
Quote:
Climate tipping points are conditions beyond which changes in a part of the climate system become self-perpetuating. These changes may lead to abrupt, irreversible, and dangerous impacts with serious implications for humanity. Armstrong McKay et al. present an updated assessment of the most important climate tipping elements and their potential tipping points, including their temperature thresholds, time scales, and impacts. Their analysis indicates that even global warming of 1°C, a threshold that we already have passed, puts us at risk by triggering some tipping points. This finding provides a compelling reason to limit additional warming as much as possible. —HJS
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Sep, 2022 01:41 pm
The US government launched a new website designed to help Americans face the challenges of extreme weather and other hazards arising from climate change.
The new Climate Mapping for Resilence portal provides real-time information on climate related hazards currently effecting the United States and also information which can help will communities, cities and states states plan for the future impacts of global heating and climate change.

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Sep, 2022 08:34 am
World heading into ‘uncharted territory of destruction’, says climate report
Quote:
Governments and businesses failing to change fast enough, says United in Science report, as weather gets increasingly extreme

The world’s chances of avoiding the worst ravages of climate breakdown are diminishing rapidly, as we enter “uncharted territory of destruction” through our failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions and take the actions needed to stave off catastrophe, leading scientists have said.

Despite intensifying warnings in recent years, governments and businesses have not been changing fast enough, according to the United in Science report published on Tuesday. The consequences are already being seen in increasingly extreme weather around the world, and we are in danger of provoking “tipping points” in the climate system that will mean more rapid and in some cases irreversible shifts.

Recent flooding in Pakistan, which has covered a third of the country in water, is the latest example of extreme weather that is devastating swathes of the globe. The heatwave across Europe including the UK this summer, prolonged drought in China, a megadrought in the US and near-famine conditions in parts of Africa also reflect increasingly prevalent extremes of weather.

The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, said: “There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters. They are the price of humanity’s fossil fuel addiction. This year’s United in Science report shows climate impacts heading into uncharted territory of destruction.”

The world is as likely as not to see temperatures more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, within the next five years, the report found. Governments agreed to focus on holding temperatures within the 1.5C limit at the landmark UN Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow last November, but their pledges and actions to cut emissions fell short of what was needed, the report found.

Since Cop26, the invasion of Ukraine and soaring gas prices have prompted some governments to return to fossil fuels, including coal. Guterres warned of the danger: “Each year we double down on this fossil fuel addiction, even as the symptoms get rapidly worse.”

The world was also failing to adapt to the consequences of the climate crisis, the report found. Guterres condemned rich countries that had promised the developing world assistance but failed to deliver. “It is a scandal that developed countries have failed to take adaptation seriously, and shrugged off their commitments to help the developing world,” he said.

Rich countries should provide $40bn (£34.5bn) a year at once to help countries adapt, he said, and increase that to $300bn a year by 2030.

The question of adaptation to the impacts of extreme weather, and the “loss and damage” that vulnerable countries are experiencing, is likely to be one of the key issues at the forthcoming Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt in November. Leading figures are concerned about the prospects for that conference, as geopolitical upheavals have imperilled the fragile consensus reached at Glasgow.

Tasneem Essop, the executive director of the Climate Action Network, said governments must prepare for Cop27 with action plans that reflected the urgency of the crisis. “The terrifying picture painted by the United in Science report is already a lived reality for millions of people facing recurring climate disasters. The science is clear, yet the addiction to fossil fuels by greedy corporations and rich countries is resulting in losses and damages for communities who have done the least to cause the current climate crisis.”

She added: “For those already experiencing the climate emergency, particularly in the global south, the Cop27 conference in Egypt must agree to new funding to help them rebuild their lives.”

The United in Science report was coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization, and involves the UN Environment Programme, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the World Climate Research Programme, the Global Carbon Project, the UK’s Met Office and the Urban Climate Change Research Network.

The United in Science report found:
◘ The past seven years were the hottest on record and there is a 48% chance during at least one year in the next five that the annual mean temperature will temporarily be 1.5C higher than the 1850-1900 average.

◘ Global mean temperatures are forecast to be between 1.1C and 1.7C higher than pre-industrial levels from 2022-2026, and there is a 93% probability that at least one year in the next five will be warmer than the hottest year on record, 2016.

◘ Dips in carbon dioxide emissions during the lockdowns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic were temporary, and carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels returned to pre-pandemic levels last year.

◘National pledges on greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to hold global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

◘ Climate-related disasters are causing $200m in economic losses a day.

◘ Nearly half the planet – 3.3 to 3.6 billion people – are living in areas highly vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, but fewer than half of countries have early warning systems for extreme weather.

◘ As global heating increases, “tipp nts” in the climate system cannot be ruled out. These include the drying out of the Amazon rainforest, the melting of the ice caps and the weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, known as the Gulf stream.

◘ By the 2050s, more than 1.6 billion people living in 97 cities will be regularly exposed to three-month average temperatures reaching at least 35C.

0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Sep, 2022 01:05 am
Americans learn skills to survive the climate crisis – in a wilderness course
Quote:
Societal breakdown has not arrived, but the contours of such a collapse aren’t too hard to imagine – which is why some are taking part in a survival course

There are several ways to react to a summer of harrowing climate disasters – from indifference to simmering angst to deflating the tire of an SUV – but for Eve Simonsen, the most logical response was to take her two children two hours from home to learn how to build a temporary shelter made of sticks and heaped leaves.

Simonsen was one of about 30 people to take part in a recent wilderness survival course held in a patch of forest in upstate New York, which I joined. Several of the participants who scoured for twigs to make a fire and labored to set traps for unsuspecting animals said they wanted to learn such skills to help prepare for the cascading impacts of climate breakdown.

“I want them to be more prepared than I am,” Simonsen said, nodding towards her 12-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son. “I want them to be more aware and ready to deal with whatever is coming. I don’t think it’s going to be as dramatic and Hollywood as Mad Max, but yes, I think that’s the direction that things are headed in.”

Simonsen, an entrepreneur who lives in New York City, said she frets about a looming water crisis; her friends share her growing unease about the shifting climate. The recent discovery of dinosaur tracks in Texas, uncovered by a dried-up riverbed, caused by a severe drought worsened by the climate crisis, was particularly alarming to her. “I think about that kind of ****, it trips me out,” she said. “These things are happening all over the place and are more rapid. So I’m constantly like, ‘What’s my plan? Where can I go?’”

Her agitation could prove to be a touch premature. Societal breakdown has not arrived, and climate scientists are clear the very worst consequences of global heating can still be averted by concerted action to reduce carbon emissions and funding for various adaptive measures.

But the contours of such a collapse aren’t too hard to imagine, following the convulsions from two years of pandemic and a seemingly endless carousel of climate disasters around the world.

Just this summer, a third of Pakistan has been submerged by floodwater, displacing millions of people and causing a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster” of “epic proportions”, according to its government. China has experienced perhaps the worst heatwave in recorded history; the Amazon may already be turning into grassland; there were wildfires in a boiling London and long-lost second world war ships and bombs, like Texas’s dinosaur footprints, have emerged from parched European rivers. The US has been strafed by everything from roiling heat in California to floods in Kentucky. The climate crisis used to be a distant, ignorable topic.

Now, according to recent polling by Yale University, a third of all Americans now believe they have personally suffered from its impacts.

Shane Hobel, who runs the wilderness course in rural New York, said there had been a surge in interest for his services – not from committed preppers who live in bunkers surrounded by rifles and tinned food but from city-dwelling doctors, lawyers, architects. “I’ve never heard people as desperate as now, you can hear it in their voices,” Hobel said. “They all show up carrying the same fear, that food and water supplies are going to be a concern, that they will need to know these skills. Everything is volatile from climate down to politics down to religion, down to all of it,” he added.

Hobel, who wears a long, greying ponytail, has led an eclectic life: he was once a stuntman and motorcycle instructor and now moonlights as both a private investigator and survival consultant for the film and TV industry (he once helped track down two escaped panthers in a nearby county). He draws upon his Native American heritage and training for the courses.

Over the past five years, he has run a variety of survival programs from his property, a 90-acre wedge of land a few miles east of the Hudson river and near the Appalachian trail. A reputed former mob hangout – a burned-out jalopy is near the campsite – the land contains several derelict buildings that Hobel considers too cold and mold-infested to occupy. Instead, he has spent the past five years living in a small tent.

“I’m the only person that I know who would put up with this ****. Everyone I know is like, ‘Shane I don’t know how the **** you’re doing this, man,’” said Hobel, who blames broken promises by investors to turn the property into a sort of Earth centre, with permaculture and beekeeping, as well as the wilderness courses.

Hobel estimates he spends around $18,000 on takeaway food a year because he has no refrigeration and has to pour large containers of water over himself as expeditious showers. The winters are particularly harsh.

... ... ...
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2022 11:19 pm
Tintagel Castle is one of several sites at risk of collapsing into the sea without urgent work to protect them from climate change.

Cornish castle linked to King Arthur at risk from rising sea levels
Quote:
A Cornish castle immortalised in British mythology as the place of King Arthur’s conception is at risk of tumbling into the sea as climate change increases the pace of coastal erosion.

Tintagel Castle is one of several sites at risk of being lost forever, English Heritage has warned, as rising seas pound the coastline.

The heritage body described the rate of land lost over the last few years as “alarming”, warning that sea levels are now rising at their fastest rate for nearly three millenia.

The charity has now launched a multimillion-pound fundraising appeal to fund works to halt the damage to the sites it manages.



English Heritage identifies six most vulnerable sites as climate change intensifies coastal erosion
Quote:
Off the Cornish coast, English Heritage is also concerned about the garrison walls in St Mary’s, the largest of the Isles of Scilly. They were built after the attack of the Armada in 1588 due to concerns that Spain would send a second fleet.

But the sea is now more of a threat than enemy forces, with the shape of the walls creating pinch points, or “armpits”, where the tide’s power is focused.

English Heritage is also concerned about Piel Castle in Cumbria, set on a low-lying island about half a mile from the coast in Morecambe Bay. Much of the island has already been lost and the castle’s keep is at risk.


0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  2  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2022 08:10 am
In the End, Climate Change Is the Only Story That Matters

To pretend otherwise is just to build the walls of your sandcastle higher.

Quote:
While we watch the disembowelment of various lawyers in the employ of a former president* and wrap ourselves in the momentum of the upcoming midterm elections, the climate crisis—its time and tides—waits for no one. Every other story in our politics is a sideshow now. Every other issue, no matter how large it looms in the immediate present, is secondary to the accumulating evidence that the planet itself (or at least large parts of it) may be edging toward uninhabitability.

All summer, the main climate story was the worldwide drought. Reservoirs dried up, rivers shrank, huge rock walls showed “bathtub rings” as markers of where all the water used to be. Lake Mead gave up its forgotten mob victims, and rivers in the Balkans gave up Nazi ships scuttled almost 80 years ago, one step ahead of the Red Army. All of which was fairly interesting, but when you’re thirsty, archaeology is no substitute for water.

Now, though, it’s fall again, running toward winter, and for people who live near the seacoast and on islands, that means it’s cyclonic storm season again; and cyclonic storm systems are now bigger and stronger and more relentless than they’ve ever been, strengthened every year by the accumulating dynamics of the climate crisis.

By the end of this week, Hurricane Fiona—which already had torn up Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, and the Turks and Caicos—was building up strength again as it moved north and took dead aim at Nova Scotia and the rest of Atlantic Canada.

From the Washington Post:

Ahead of Fiona, the Canadian Hurricane Centre has issued a hurricane watch for portions of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Iles-de-la-Madeleine and Newfoundland. “Hurricane Fiona has the potential to be a landmark weather event in Eastern Canada this weekend,” the Centre tweeted.

Usually, Atlantic Canada gets battered by winter storms roaring in from the North Atlantic. Its encounters with tropical hurricanes usually consist of withstanding their remnants. At worst, a hurricane comes ashore in this region as a Category 2 storm, as was the case with Hurricane Juan. Even the legendary Nova Scotia Cyclone of 1873, which came up on roughly the same track as Fiona seems to be following, and which sank 1,200 boats and killed 500 people, probably came ashore as a Category 1 storm. If Fiona strikes as a Category 3 or 4, it will be a historic storm for that part of the world.

And Fiona has cousins lining up behind it.

Fiona is one of five different systems that meteorologists are carefully tracking in the Atlantic, which has roared to life amid the peak of hurricane season. There’s also Tropical Storm Gaston, which is centered 375 miles west-northwest of the Azores over the northeast Atlantic. The Azores are under tropical storm warnings, and could see conditions deteriorate Friday and remain inclement through late Saturday. In addition, a tropical wave exiting the coast of Senegal in Africa could strengthen into a named storm in the next few days. There is also a disturbance midway between Africa and South America that could gradually develop. Of potentially high concern is another fledgling storm that could deliver a serious blow to the Gulf or Caribbean.

It will be maddening to see all the news stories about the damage done by these storms, and about the people left homeless and without electricity or clean drinking water, which will not put these facts in the context of the climate crisis. This is the only way any of the other stories make sense. The storms are bigger, stronger, and they maintain their strength for longer—and all of that is a consequence of the changes that we have wrought to the climate. At this point, to cover these massive weather events without mentioning the underlying dynamic that drives them is like covering a war without mentioning explosives.

But at the other end of the world, there was an even more catastrophic storm in which the climate crisis was directly involved. Climate has changed the weather in this place, and it has changed the history of it, too. It was a place in which human beings and polar bears depended for their livelihoods upon sea ice that isn’t there any more, at least not when it’s supposed to be.

In 1871, a fleet of 33 whaling ships in pursuit of bowhead whales became trapped in the ice off Point Belcher, a small outcrop in far northwestern Alaska that reaches out into the Chukchi Sea 100 miles south of Point Barrow. The captains agreed to abandon the ships, leaving behind goods estimated to be worth $1.6 million, including the entire season’s haul of whale oil and baleen from that year’s hunting. Then the 1,200 men, women, and children (it was customary for captains to bring their entire families along on voyages these songs) made a harrowing journey across the Arctic wilderness as the pressure of the ice slowly crushed the ships they left behind.

And all of this happened…in August.

Once, the ice was strong enough for human beings and polar bears to go out and hunt on it every year before Labor Day. This was fortunate for all concerned, because the Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea were the places that typhoons went to die. They would come roaring up the Western Pacific, bludgeoning the Philippines, or Taiwan, or Japan, or the Koreas. Then they would beat themselves to death on the sea ice or, if they managed to make it to shore, would exhaust their energy on the solid permafrost back behind the beaches.

Last week, the remnants of Typhoon Merbok slammed into hundreds of miles of Alaskan coastline. There was no ice to slow it down and most of the permafrost was gone, so the heavy rainfall made the earth unreliable. Houses came off their foundations. One was spotted sailing down a river until it snagged on a bridge. The typhoon came ashore with the strength of a tropical storm, if not an actual hurricane. From Alaska Public Radio:

National Weather Service climatologist Brian Brettschneider described the storm on Saturday as the “worst-case scenario.” Forecasters had predicted earlier this week that it could be one of the worst storms to hit Alaska’s western coast in recent history. And it was. “In some places, this is clearly the worst storm in living memory,” said University of Alaska Fairbanks climatologist Rick Thoman. Hundreds of people across multiple communities are sheltering in schools, which are serving as emergency evacuation centers. In some communities, local leaders’ early actions helped residents do what they needed to move valuable vehicles and boats to higher ground. In other communities, the storm overwhelmed efforts. “This is the first time I’ve seen it this bad,” said Alvina Imgalrea in Chevak. In Napakiak, Job Hale said, “It’s just a lake everywhere.”

The climate crisis has taken away all of Alaska’s natural defenses, so now it takes the full fury of storms that in earlier days would never have made landfall intact. They would have expended themselves on the frozen sea or shattered on the rock-hard earth.

A while back, I spent a week on Shishmaref, a barrier island in the Chukchi Sea a little bit north of where the typhoon struck two weeks ago. Because of the retreating sea ice and vanishing permafrost, Shishmaref, which has been continuously occupied in one way or another for 4,000 years, is itself vanishing into the ocean. One day—if nothing changes, or perhaps even if something does—Shishmaref will be gone.

The people I met there have no doubt that the climate crisis is real. They know they can’t hunt on the ice the way that they had for millennia. The season is shorter and the ice less reliable. Every winter now, somebody from the village or the surrounding area is lost because they fell through the ice. The thawing permafrost means the people of the village have lost what they called “the Eskimo freezer,” the practice of burying seal meat to preserve it. When I was there, the people in the village were working with state officials to build a road to a gravel quarry from which they could gather the material to build a road that would allow them to move off the island. I found this almost unbearably poignant as well as infuriating.

To stand on the bluffs above the Chukchi Sea, looking down at a series of broken and ruined seawalls that have already failed to hold back the power of the ocean, and to consider that there are politicians in this country who are unwilling to do anything about the climate crisis, or who even deny it exists, is to wish they all could come and stand on these bluffs and look out at the relentless, devouring sea.

esquire
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 01:18 pm


Europe’s summer heat wave wasn’t just felt on land; the Mediterranean Sea saw surface temperatures as much as 5°C above the average. The ESA’s animated map, above, shows the difference between sea surface temperatures from March to August 2022 and the 1985-2005 average for those months. The redder, the hotter than average. [ESA via Map Room]
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 01:44 pm
What Fiona did to one community:

https://globalnews.ca/news/9158828/storm-fiona-disaster-insurance-dominic-leblanc/
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2022 12:09 pm
Scientists fear methane erupting from the burst Nord Stream pipelines into the Baltic Sea could be one of the worst natural gas leaks ever and pose significant climate risks.

The extent of the leaks is still unclear but rough estimates by scientists, based on the volume of gas reportedly in one of the pipelines, vary between 100,000 and 350,000 tonnes of methane.
Nord Stream 2, which was intended to increase the flow of gas from Russia to Germany, reportedly contained 300m cubic metres of gas when Berlin halted the certification process shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine. That volume alone translates to 200,000 tonnes of methane.

The Danish Energy Agency said on Wednesday that the pipelines contained 778m cubic metres of natural gas in total – the equivalent of 32% of Danish annual CO2 emissions.

Sources: Spiegel, The Guardian, German Federal Environment Agency (Bundesumweltamt), Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen).
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Sep, 2022 06:55 am
Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona dumped great amounts of water across larger stretches of land – global heating is to blame.

How the climate crisis is driving stronger storms further inland
Quote:
“It’s all about the water,” warned meteorologists as Hurricane Fiona battered Puerto Rico last week and as category 4 Hurricane Ian edged closer and eventually hit Florida on Wednesday.

The water refers to the rainfall and storm surge – both of which are becoming more intense and destructive thanks to global heating, changing the pattern of hurricanes across the world.

Hurricane Fiona dumped more than 31in of rain over 72 hours across parts of Puerto Rico causing widespread flooding and landslides. In Florida, torrential rain from Hurricane Ian is expected to stretch across large parts of the state and into Georgia and the Carolinas, and the National Hurricane Center predicted as much as 18 ft of water – that’s 5.5 meters – above ground level, with the capacity of flooding neighbourhoods far inland.

“Sea levels have risen around the planet as it’s gotten warmer, which means storm surge is higher and reaches further inland,” said Kristina Dahl, climate scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists. This means homes, businesses and other infrastructure that once seemed safe from storm surge, are now vulnerable and unprepared.

Storms are getting wetter due to climate crisis as well. Warmer air can hold more moisture, which leads to more rain being dumped during summer rain storms across the US.

Ian on Wednesday was very wet and also moving slowly: Florida is not very wide, but it’s likely to take at least 24 hours to move off land, giving it more time to drop more rain and cause more flooding. A 2018 study by a Noaa scientist found hurricanes over the US had slowed 17% since 1947, which, combined with an increase in rainfall, has led to more floods.

The tropical storm season typically runs from 1 June to 30 November, though it’s not uncommon to get an early or late arrival. This year meteorologists forecast 14 to 20 major named storms for the season – a prediction based on factors including the jet stream and La Niña. But August passed without a named storm for the first time since 1997.

“There was a complete void and we don’t know why, it will take time to research,” said Joel Cline, the tropical program coordinator at the National Weather Service. “The forecast hasn’t changed, so it’s likely to get busy over the next few weeks.”

That means we could see as many as eight more named hurricanes by the end of November, according to Noaa.

Evidence that global heating is making tropical storms increasingly common is not solid, but what we do know is that since the 1980s, a greater number of storms have been reaching the highest categories, 4 and 5, as a direct result of global heating. Hurricane Fiona strengthened to category 4 as it moved toward Bermuda, and Ian was already a 4 when it made landfall in Florida on Wednesday afternoon.

“The primary reason we’re seeing this shift is because storms draw their strength and power from heat in the ocean, so all the large amounts of extra heat we’ve added is like adding fuel to the fire,” said Dahl. More than 90% of the excess heat from manmade global heating over the past five decades has been absorbed by the oceans.

It’s not just that storms are becoming more powerful and destructive, researchers dating back to the 1970s have found they are also gaining strength and power more quickly in a process called rapid intensification which is probably down to global heating. In 2017 in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria, which caused the longest blackout in US history and led to 3,000 deaths, intensified from a category 1 to a category 5 hurricane within just 15 hours.

This has real life impacts. Preparing for a category 1 hurricane is different to getting reading for a category 5, and it means communities and emergency response teams have less time to evacuate, stock-up on essentials and ensure older and infirm residents are safe. Being able to predict when rapid intensification might occur is a work in progress, as is research into the link between wind shear and supercharged storms.

Wind shear measures the strength and direction of wind higher up in the atmosphere. We know that hurricanes need low wind shear to develop and stay formed, whereas strong vertical wind shear can inhibit hurricanes by tilting the structure of a storm and forcing cool, dry air into its core. Higher atmospheric and ocean temperatures may increase the probability of high wind shear, but the evidence remains inconclusive.

Equity isn’t covered by the physics used to forecast hurricanes, but it shows us that we’re not all in this together. There’s a growing stack of evidence – historic and real time – which shows that countries and communities who have contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions are the ones most likely to be exposed to extreme events like hurricanes.

It’s low income and communities of color who are most likely to live in areas and homes at highest risk of flooding and storm surges. “They are also the ones who will find it hardest to recover and rebuild, in part because of systemic bias in the way aid is allocated in the US,” said Dahl.

Ian caused a total blackout in Cuba, Fiona did the same in Puerto Rico, and recovery on both islands will be a lot slower than for many folks in Florida.

As we watch the cost of these big storms rise – costs that currently fall on taxpayers – legal and community advocates are calling for the fossil fuel industry to shoulder some of the burden. “There’s a mountain of evidence that fossil fuel companies have known for decades about the harms but continued with the same business model, so there’s growing push to make them take financial responsibility for helping communities prepare and clean-up,” Dahl said.
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