Mutilation of the tree of life via mass extinction of animal genera
We are in the sixth mass extinction event. Unlike the previous five, this one is caused by the overgrowth of a single species, Homo sapiens. Although the episode is often viewed as an unusually fast (in evolutionary time) loss of species, it is much more threatening, because beyond that loss, it is causing rapid mutilation of the tree of life, where entire branches (collections of species, genera, families, and so on) and the functions they perform are being lost. It is changing the trajectory of evolution globally and destroying the conditions that make human life possible. It is an irreversible threat to the persistence of civilization and the livability of future environments for H. sapiens. Instant corrective actions are required.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)
Report says Antarctica witnessed world’s most intense heatwave in 2022
The world’s coldest region recorded the most intense heatwave ever last year, according to a study published last month.
In March 2022, temperatures in Eastern Antarctica spiked about 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above the monthly average, said the study “The Largest Ever Recorded Heatwave – Characteristics and Attribution of the Antarctic Heatwave of March 2022”.
In just four days, a warm mass of air from Southern Australia was able to move into East Antarctica, “probably the first time that at least it’s happened that fast”, Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, author of the study, was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.
What is coral bleaching? Here’s how an unprecedented ocean heat wave causes changes below
Marine heat waves spread across more than 40% of the world’s oceans this summer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In South Florida and parts of the Caribbean, the coral bleaching began by mid-July. The warmer-than-normal conditions continued through August and into September.
Wildfires Are Killing Decades of US Clean Air Improvements
The problem isn’t limited to the West. Burke noted that the study found smoke influenced pollution levels even in the South, Midwest, and Northeast—regions where wildfires are far less common. “The influence of wildfire smoke is broad, and it is affecting populations that did not used to be affected,” Burke said. “We are seeing influence in states that basically have none of their own wildfires. They are getting affected by wildfires from thousands of miles away.”
Eastern Iowa crops and livestock suffer through one of the driest summers on record
Overall, 2023 ranks in the top 10 driest years for Northeast and East-Central Iowa. Linn and Benton counties each have received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall throughout the summer, marking their record-driest summers. About 80 percent of the state’s topsoil moisture levels ranked below adequate, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress and Condition report Monday.
“The current drought, which is approaching 170 consecutive weeks of at least moderate drought conditions somewhere in the state, has been the longest in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s nearly 24-year period of record,” said Justin Glisan, the state drought coordinator and climatologist, in a statement.
Drought conditions now affect 67% of Mexican territory
Two thirds of Mexico is now in a state of drought, after a year plagued by heat waves and abnormally low levels of rainfall.
According to Mexico’s Drought Monitor, updated every two weeks by the National Meteorological Service (SMN), 67.1% of the country was experiencing some degree of drought on September 15. This is the highest proportion for that date since the record began in 2014, and almost five times higher than the figure of 14.3% registered on the same date in 2022.
New technology produces water in Death Valley, but Jevon’s Paradox looms
The inconvenient truth of striving for resource efficiency is that it often results in higher consumption
However, Paniagua has concerns regarding an issue identified by British economist William Stanley Jevons two centuries ago in relation to technological solutions. Jevons noted that improving efficiency in steam engines did not lead to a decrease in coal consumption. Instead, it resulted in an increase due to the proliferation of machines. This paradox helps explain why expanding road networks often leads to more traffic. “I’m not saying that will always happen,” said Paniagua. “But having more irrigation capacity often leads to more surface area being irrigated. A friend of mine is concerned that a nuclear fusion solution to produce abundant and affordable energy could potentially be misused. Nonetheless, this should not dissuade us from our pursuit of enhancing efficiency.”
[Kind of surprising to see Jevon’s Paradox mentioned in MSM]
State of catastrophe declared as torrential rains and unrelenting floods force more than 30,000 people to evacuate their homes
Chile has been severely affected by extreme weather conditions in recent months amid the El Niño weather pattern.
June brought flooding to Santiago, the country’s capital, leading to evacuations of citizens amid what Santiago metropolitan area governor Claudio Orego said was the “worst weather front we have had in 10 years,” per Reuters.
Now, the central-south region has seen flooding and landslides that have cut locals off from essential services and prevented access to electricity.
Meanwhile, unrelated to El Niño, the country also experienced wildfires in February that Chile’s National Forests Association said destroyed more than 741,315 acres in the south-central region.
Florida flash flood threat looms as relentless storms pummel state through the week
These won’t be your typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms. The heavy rain results from available tropical moisture getting pushed along the stalled front and raining down on Florida.
“This is not just rain. This is tropical rain, can’t-see-out-of-the-windshield rain, gotta-pull-over kind of rain,” Merwin said.
‘My family was terrified’ | Round Rock residents left with extensive damage after hailstorm
Some of the largest hailstones were the size of a baseball.
Residents in Round Rock are picking up the pieces after Sunday night’s hailstorm. The storm ripped through Central Texas, starting north of Georgetown and into South Austin, producing a swath of hail that went more than 30 miles. Some of the largest hailstones were the size of a baseball.
Europe is still with exceptionally warm conditions, except the Central Mediterranean
In the East, anomalies are extreme:#Ukraine for example is recording >30C every day with locally warm nights and Tmins 16/18C, like in mid summer
Tmins >15C next days even in Estonia
Antarctica just hit a record low in sea ice — by a lot
Sea ice extent around Arctic was the sixth lowest on record as well
Sea ice levels around Antarctica just registered a record low — and by a wide margin — as winter comes to a close, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). This significant milestone adds worry that Antarctic sea ice may be entering a state of decline brought on by climate change.
American football season is getting hotter. Young players are dying
This summer, the hottest on record in North America, teams across the US have been forced to reckon with a changing climate. High school and college teams in searing south-west states – where temperatures rarely dropped below 110F (43.3C) this summer – escaped to practise in the mountains, or by the coast. Teams took to practising at dawn, before temperatures became unsafe. Friday night games were held later in the evening, or pushed to the next morning.
And under the searing late summer sun, athletes and coaches are increasingly questioning the sport’s macho, push-past-the-pain mentality. Coaches acquired wet-bulb thermometers, which account for humidity as well as air temperature, to better measure heat stress, as well as cold immersion tubs to treat heat stroke.
The Benefits of Collapse Acceptance – Part 1 – Prof Jem Bendell
I have learned much from the many people who made major life changes precisely because of their recognition that we are in an era of unfolding societal collapse.
[Not news, but some valuable ideas here for how to live in these times.]
You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with an “Economy” thread.
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