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Neil Wagner

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No Break in the Breaking News That Our Climate Is Breaking

Posted: 06/22/2012 9:43 am

2012-06-21-WOE12_24TippingPoint.gif

These are the best of times and the worst of times for the climate change cartoonist field. On the plus side, there is no problem coming up with new ideas -- there are new, horrifying climate findings being reported every day. On the down side, there are new, horrifying climate findings being reported every day. The research below has been reported to the media in just the last few weeks.

  • "China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20 percent higher than previously thought, a new analysis of official Chinese data showed on Sunday, suggesting the pace of global climate change could be even faster than currently predicted." Read More.
  • A recent study published in Nature shows that ocean warming over the past 50 years can only be explained when human influence is included in the models. "The bottom line is that this study substantially strengthens the conclusion that most of the observed global ocean warming over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities." Read More.
  • According to a paper by Stanford biology Professors Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily, and the Nature Conservancy's Peter Kareiva, "...humanity has never been moving faster nor further from sustainability than it is now." Read More.
  • "Four major [U.S.] heat records fell in a stunning new climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday. The lower 48 states set temperature records for the warmest spring, largest seasonal departure from average, warmest year-to-date, and warmest 12-month period, all new marks since records began in 1895..." Read More.
  • There's now a massive algae bloom under Arctic sea ice -- something scientists had thought impossible, but the melting ice is letting sun get through to the water now. This development "will require a complete rethinking of Arctic ecosystems." Read More.
  • "Since 1970, warming began accelerating everywhere [in the U.S.]. The speed of warming across the lower 48 more than tripled, from 0.127°F per decade over the 100-year period, to 0.435°F per decade since 1970, while the gap between the fast and slowly warming states narrowed significantly..." Read More.
  • "...sea ice has been disappearing so fast that 2012 is leading all other years on practically all sea ice extent and area graphs.... Sea ice area has never been so low for this date in the satellite record... 2012 has over half a million of square kilometres less ice than record minimum years 2007 and 2011." Read More.
  • "What if we are approaching a critical threshold -- one that, once crossed, would lead to accelerated, widespread and largely unpredictable environmental degradations? This is the frightening conclusion of a paper ... The consensus statement by 22 respected scientists uses past examples to suggest that Earth's current systems will experience a major disruption -- perhaps within a few generations. 'The environment will enter a new state,' said Hadly. 'And we don't know exactly what that state will look like.' " Read More.
  • "A prestigious group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation." Read More.
  • "As Andrew Revkin of Dot Earth puts it, warming has led to 'pop-up forests' in regions of the planet that usually see little more than summer shrubs. That's a sign of just how fast the Arctic in particular can respond to global environmental change. And as the Arctic greens, it could speed warming even more as the darker foliage absorbs sunlight that would have been reflected back into space by the white tundra... The advance of forest into the Arctic could increase Arctic warming by as much as 1° to 2°C by the end of the 21st century." Read More.

In the 1989 film, The Fabulous Baker Boys, the Baker brothers' work lands them a week-long stay at a resort hotel. During an argument, Jeff Bridge's character threatens brother Beau with a pineapple from the complimentary fruit basket. When the citrus missile is released and finds its target, a stunned Beau gasps, "You HIT me!"

"I TOLD you I was going to hit you," replies Jeff.

That, folks, is where we stand with climate change. Our dismissal of its warnings that it would hit us has led to our current condition -- stunned and pelted with pineapples.

That analogy sounded better in my head.

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