Disastrous weather: the specter of the future of summer

Winter seems just a distant memory because we struggle through our dog days in the middle of summer. However, Dickens’ song “A Christmas Carol” proves to be a standout at the moment. As much as Scrooge has been provided, by the ominous ghost of Christmas, a glimpse of what the horror would have happened to him if he had not fixed his ways, we have also been given a warning of the disasters brought about by climate change threatening us. The future is if we fail to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

We may extend this metaphor even further. Who is the miser in this scenario? Could it be the one-name Democrat senator from West Virginia’s coal state, Joe Manchin, who single-handedly halted the efforts of his fellow Democrats to pass meaningful climate action? Probably. But the miser put little charcoal on fire, while Mansion wants to add a lot (and to his own financial benefit) for the current planetary fire. And the miser was finally recoverable. The jury is still out on Mansion.

But this is where scaling works so well attack From record heat wavesAnd the Forest firesAnd the flood And the Fatal avalanches that plagued us this summer, such as the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn usjust a sign that much worse and more deadly climate events will occur due to climate change if we fail to control global warming.

Politicians who deny climate change like to attack the IPCC as worrisome. she likes fossil fuel barons who finances them. But if anything, the IPCC likely underestimated the role climate change plays in the increase Constant extreme weather We saw him last summer.

One of us collaborated on research that investigated how the asymmetric pattern of global surface warming (polar regions warmed more than mid-latitudes) alters the behavior of the summer jet stream. Specifically, the tendency to high-amplitude meandering favors the jet stream which remains locked in place, Which leads to intense persistence Deep high and low pressure centers associated with alternating extreme heat, drought, wildfire, or severe flooding.

This phenomenon of “resonance” of the jet stream was involved in The funnel ‘thermal dome’ Experienced last summer in the Pacific Northwest. she was Also related to Extreme heat in the central/eastern US and flooding in the west in mid-June. and here associated with The deadly heatwave and wildfires in Europe over the past week, and similar heat extremes we are seeing this week in a large part of the United States

Climate models do not do a good job of reproducing this particular phenomenon. Thus, models may underestimate the role that climate change plays with these more frequent and amplified summer extremes. Uncertainty, again, is not our friend. To the extent that some important processes are not well represented in the models, whether it is ice sheet collapse and sea level rise, or the rise of extreme weather events, it is possible that the models underestimate some of the key impacts of climate change.

Just a month ago, when 100 million Americans faced extreme heat, We said it was time To ring the alarm again, louder and more urgent. this week, Even more Americans You’re facing sweltering heat, and so we ring that bell again, if possible, loudly and urgently.

While we notice the truly devastating consequences of past inaction, we also face obstacles to necessary actions today. Far-right majority in the Supreme Court It has limited the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) To reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, Mansion, in the latest Lucy and Football gambit, has again dwindle any hopes Democrats will pass climate legislation in the current session of Congress.

It’s easy, at a moment like this, to be disappointed but We shouldn’t. If “A Christmas Carol” could have ended happily, why couldn’t this story? In either case, salvation involves coming to terms with the mistakes of the past. In the “Christmas Hymn”, it included the efforts of one individual – the miser. In the current climate crisis, we are all collectively participating.

If we want to see meaningful climate legislation pass Congress, it will require a massive turnout in the midterm elections by voters who value and prioritize a livable climate. With Congress ready to pass a major climate bill that spurs renewable energy and discourages fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction, the United States will be in a position to meet its commitments to the rest of the world to halve carbon emissions by 2030.

With the United States in the leadership position in the field of climate, and countries such as Australia Now back to the negotiating tableHowever, we can expect other major polluters such as China and India to increase their commitments.

It all starts with us, and in the upcoming midterm elections. If Tiny Tim can survive, so can global climate action.

Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Penn State University. He is the author of a bookThe new climate war: The fight to take back our planet.” Follow him on Twitter: Tweet embed

Susan Joy Haswell is the director of the nonprofit Climate Communication. publish quick Facts On the links between climate change and extreme weather events. Follow her on Twitter: Tweet embed


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