[Marxism] Looming Danger of Abrupt Climate Change ? CounterPunch:
eleutherios.rizooto at gmail.com
Thu Dec 26 15:54:32 MST 2013
A significant chunk of the warming occurring today is due to GHGs and
other human activities. It's proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The
questions are precisely how much so far is attributable and how much
warming is yet to come (and details on processes involved and on
regional/local effects). Ocean salinity also matters beyond mere
tropospheric (lower atmosphere) warming, as it determines the currents
and overall ocean circulation system. It also disrupts ocean life and
ultimately fishing, which is major source of protein for humans (and
stocks are already waning even without additional environmental stressors).
Shifts in the atmospheric circulation (which are tied to oceans and vice
versa) also are significant for human civilization and other life.
Shifting atmospheric patterns are likely to make the US grain belt more
arid (simultaneously as the aquifer already used for supplementary
irrigation is depleted) and could shift the monsoon which billions in
southeast Asia depend on for fresh water. Drying out of fresh water
resources like rivers also affects nuclear and other water cooled
turbine electrical production, sometimes to the point of forcing plant
shutdowns and questioning viability of facilities in some locations.
Yes, climate regimes can sometimes lurch rapidly although there is
nothing concrete known of such occurrence in the offing. Antarctic ice
is at historically high levels currently and in the longer term most
expect net gains as increased precipitation in the interior outpaces any
melting on the periphery. Shifts in the positions of warm currents could
appreciably alter the ratio, however, and lead to substantially more
melting. There is no evidence that this will occur, but given the
proximity of warm currents to the ice it's a real concern. A large
majority of glaciers on other continents are in (sometimes rapid)
retreat and the Greenland ice sheet is less stable although there is
some question again in details of how fast Greenland could melt and by
which processes. The Arctic sea ice, which contributes almost nothing
*directly* to sea level change, appears to be quite vulnerable to
complete or nearly complete summer melting in coming decades (possibly
within years), which would affect the amount of solar energy absorbed in
the region as well as atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns.
Extremes in the jet stream have become common the last few years and
months, and this is possibly though not robustly tied to Arctic ice
changes (which itself is highly modulated by weather in the short term).
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