“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
We begin this month’s climate disruption dispatch with comments from NASA’s Earth Observatory about the extreme juxtaposition of temperatures we are experiencing in North America this summer.
“If you live in the northern hemisphere, the past few weeks have been strange,” NASA states. “In places where it should be seasonably hot – the eastern and southern United States and western Europe – it’s just been warm. In places where weather is usually mild in the summer – northern Europe, the Pacific coast of North America – it has been ridiculously hot.”
To get a look at how this appears on a map of the northern hemisphere, click here.
Records for high temperatures (mid-30s°C, mid-90s°F) were approached or broken in Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, and Sweden in late July and early August. Searing temperatures also dried out forests and fuelled wildfires in Siberia; in the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, and California; in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Northwest Territories; and even in Sweden. At the same time, cool air moved from high northern latitudes into much of the U.S., setting record-low daytime and nighttime temperatures as far south as Florida and Georgia. Temperatures dropped to the winter-like levels in the mountains of Tennessee.
The extremes generated by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) were off the charts last year, as well, according to a recently released report from Live Science.
In 2013, global temperatures continued their long-term rising trend as the planet hit new records for greenhouse gases, Arctic heat, warm ocean temperatures and rising global sea levels. Additionally, Arctic sea ice extent was its sixth lowest and continued to decline by 14 percent per decade, Super Typhoon Haiyan recorded the highest wind speed for a tropical cyclone with sustained winds reaching 196 mph, record high temperatures were recorded in the Arctic, including record temperatures being recorded 60 feet down into the permafrost.
Indeed, when we observe what is happening in the Arctic, just one look at this before (1979) and after (2014) photo of the ice cap makes the stark reality of our situation clear.
A study recently published in Nature warns that the two-headed dragon of air pollution and ACD will likely result in 50 percent more people going hungry by 2050, due to damaged crop growth.
This month’s overview of how the four aspects of the planet are being impacted by ACD provides another sobering reality check, demonstrating how rapidly our world is moving toward an unsurvivable state.
Examples of the impacts of ACD across planetary species (including our own), which are struggling to adapt, are plentiful this month.
In the far south, Antarctic climactic variations are causing dramatic changes in fur seals that are being born smaller, showing genetic changes, and breeding later in life.
Speaking of the poles, ACD is causing fish and other ocean life to migrate into previously cooler waters, causing disruptions of the previously balanced ecosystems in both areas.
Southern Britain is now beginning to be invaded by birds and bugs from the Mediterranean, which are being drawn by the UK’s abnormally hot sun.
Across Africa, population growth and ACD are causing increasing competition for land, which is leading to increasing violence across much of that continent. One example of this is the al-Shabaab Islamist militants forcing people off their lands for farming purposes.
In southwest Florida, mangroves already on the move due to ACD are now appearing as though they will drown within the next 100 years due to ever-increasing sea-level rise.
In the North Atlantic, the numbers of codfish spawning are at an all-time low, and regulators are pointing towards ACD as the reason.
Salmon in Oregon are feeling the impacts, as diminishing river flows, higher water temperatures and the effects of drought are combining to take their toll on the Klamath Basin fisheries. Not surprisingly, drought-plagued California is also seeing large numbers of juvenile salmon die off due to low river flows and hotter-than-normal temperatures.
In Washington State, Gov. Jay Inslee, a champion of working to both educate and mitigate the impacts of ACD is working overtime to inform people about how billions of baby oysters in his state are dying.
And finally, in what could easily be categorized as “disgusting human tricks,” ACD tourism is coming to the Arctic, where people can take a cruise ship for a trip through the now ice-free Northwest Passage.
Read the rest of the story at Truthout.