A New Climate Reality


The world is changing so fast, it's often difficult to see it in context. We watch it from a mathematical point of view, points on a graph, comparative analyses, blips on radar from sensors slapped on the bows of ships, dry bits of brain matter fighting the brain freeze caused by information overload of drought on the Southwest U.S., typhoon caused floods in Bangladesh, tornadoes in the U.S. and where is all that snow coming from?

It begins to look horrifyingly familiar: one person's agony is another's data.

Once in a while, however, we do try to step back and take empathetic stock.

First and foremost with the actual climate events: storm, drought, wind, fire, flood.

There are the forces (forcings) behind those events: The increase in greenhouse gases, the loss of glaciers and sea ice, the inability of the Southern Ocean to function as a carbon sink (in case you were wondering why things seemed to be changing so quickly), the greater wind speeds due to the increased temperature differential between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, pollution, of course; the C02 released into the atmosphere from the recent fires in Southern California and in Greece last summer and don't get me started on whether the Methane once trapped in the tundra, now no more, is over-hype or horror...

Then there is the impact upon so many species, fully one-third of which the new IPCC report warns may be lost due to climate change. Polar bears are the most obvious indicator, but there are also the diminishing pollinators we depend upon, which could be climate change or misuse of colonies, or disease, or all of the above; the coral in the Great Barrier Reef, the wolves that are about to be removed from the endangered list, so hunters can shoot them and put them back on again...

One might begin to understand why we gravitate toward cold data over warming empathy.

Then there was a curious incident in Northern Ireland recently. Don't know if you heard about it, but a ten-mile wide migration of billions of Mauve Stinger Jellyfish swam, as one, all the way to the Northern Irish Sea and killed every Salmon within their reach (est. 100,000).

The fishermen who desperately tried to reach the trapped fish (there were wide nets placed a mile offshore to create a near-wild farm environment) stopped and stared in shock as they faced a solid block of glowing red jellyfish to the horizon, and then in horror when they realised they could not get through to their prized and beloved stock, the salmon that had been so revered, it had been served at the Queen's table for her 80th birthday.... Continued...