At least a quarter of the Co2 released by human activities like deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels has been absorbed by the oceans, causing them to become 30% more acidic over the past two centuries – faster than any known change in ocean chemistry in the last 50 million years and a rate way in excess of marine life’s adaptation capacities.
The biosphere is so suffused with plastic that microplastic particles can be found strewn all through the food-chain and detected in high concentrations even in polar melt-ponds.
It hardly matters, as our rapidly changing climate is but one facet of our broader ecological predicament, which is why the narrow focus on localised reductions of carbon-emissions espoused in the now fashionable Green New Deals is disingenuous. Green Industrial Revolution is an oxymoron. You cannot mine, smelt, manufacture and spend your way to a healthier biosphere.
And there’s not much we can do, at least on the collective level. The system has self-organised in such a way that the very fuels which are the sine qua non for modern industrial civilization and for keeping billions of us humans fed, clothed, (where applicable) warm, employed and generally not dead, are rendering the biosphere ever less hospitable to us. In other words, industrial civilisation is inherently self-terminating and our predicament all-encompassing. It is a terrible irony.
What we are likely to see moving forward:
An overall, accelerating warming trend, resulting in many more meteorological records being broken for heat than cold
Disproportionately rapid warming in the Arctic eroding the temperature-gradient between the pole and the rest of the northern hemisphere, resulting in weak, fractured and often stuck jet streams thence stuck weather patterns and storms
The penetration of warm air into the Arctic via these weaker jet streams and the corollary, i.e. Arctic air spilling out to the south, causing some extreme cold events
Accelerating ice-loss in the Arctic
More persistent droughts in many parts of the world (major cities like Sao Paolo, Chennai and Cape Town have been dangerously close to running entirely out of water. Sooner or later a city, probably in the southern hemisphere, will run dry); insane fires
Accelerating Antarctic sea-ice loss and ice-sheet destabilisation via sub-marine warming and the channelling of warm air from lower latitudes into the sea-ice zone
Accelerating rise of sea-levels (I use the plural because sea-level is not uniform around the planet)
All these and much, much more!
Speaking meteorologically, things are going to get weird; so, pull up your comfiest chair and pour out a glass of your finest brandy – we have ringside seats for a clusterfuck of unprecedented proportions and we’ll be following it here with climate change news updates at climateandeconomy.com.