2018-08-07 01:41:15 UTC
the a/c and food there will be "no real problem".
The Planet Is Dangerously Close to the Tipping Point for a 'Hothouse Earth'
06 Aug 2018 04:56pm ET
It's the year 2300. Extreme weather events such as building-flattening
hurricanes, years-long droughts and wildfires are so common that they
no longer make headlines. The last groups of humans left near the
sizzling equator pack their bags and move toward the now densely
This so-called "hothouse Earth," where global temperatures will be 7
to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 5 degrees Celsius) higher than
preindustrial temperatures and sea levels will be 33 to 200 feet (10
to 60 meters) higher than today, is hard to imagine - but easy to fall
into, said a new perspective article published today (Aug. 6) in the
journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Top 9 Ways
the World Could End]
In the article, a group of scientists argued that there is a threshold
temperature above which natural feedback systems that currently keep
the Earth cool will unravel. At that point, a cascade of climate
events will thrust the planet into a "hothouse" state. Though the
scientists don't know exactly what this threshold is, they said it
could be as slight as 2 degrees C (around 4 degrees F) of warming
above preindustrial levels.
Sound familiar? The 2 degrees C mark plays a big role in the Paris
Agreement, the landmark 2016 agreement signed by 179 countries to
combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions (the same one that
the US announced it would withdraw from last year). In that accord,
countries agreed to work to keep global temperature rise well below 2
degrees C, and ideally below 1.5 degrees C, above preindustrial levels
"This paper gives very strong scientific support # that we should
avoid coming too close or even reaching 2 degrees Celsius warming,"
article co-author Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm
Resilience Center and a professor of water systems and global
sustainability at Stockholm University in Sweden, told Live Science.
Changing Earth's rhythm
For the last mn years, Earth has naturally cycled in and out of
an ice age every 100,000 years or so. The planet left the last ice age
around 12,000 years ago and is currently in an interglacial cycle
called the Holocene epoch. In this cycle, Earth has natural systems
that help keep it cool, even during the warmer interglacial periods.
But many scientists argue that due to the immense impact of humans on
climate and the environment, the current geological age should be
called the Anthropocene (from anthropogenic, which means originating
with human activity). Temperatures are almost as hot as the maximum
historical temperature during an interglacial cycle, Rockström said.
If carbon emissions continue unabated, the planet might leave the
glacial-interglacial cycle and be thrust into a new age of the
Today, we emit 40 bn tons of carbon dioxide a year from burning
fossil fuels, Rockström said. But roughly half of those emissions are
taken up and stored by the oceans, trees and soil, he said.
However, we are now seeing signs that we are pushing the system too
far - cutting down too many trees, degrading too much soil, taking out
too much fresh water and pumping too much carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere, Rockström said.
Scientists fear that if we reach a certain temperature threshold, some
of these natural processes will reverse and the planet "will become a
self-heater,"Rockström said. That means, forests, soil and water will
release the carbon they're storing.
"The moment the planet becomes a source of greenhouse gas emissions
together with us humans, then as you can imagine, things are
accelerating very fast in the wrong direction," he said. [Doom and
Gloom: Top 10 Postapocalyptic Worlds]
Many [10 and counting] tipping points
In their perspective paper, Rockström and his team corroborated
existing literature on various natural feedback processes and
concluded that many of them can serve as "tipping elements." When one
tips, many of the others follow.
Nature has feedback mechanisms, such as a rainforest's capability to
create its own humidity and rain, that keep ecosystems in
equilibrium. If the rainforest is subject to increasing warming and
deforestation, however, the mechanism slowly gets weaker, Rockström said.
"When it crosses a tipping point, the feedback mechanism changes
direction," Rockström said, and the rainforest morphs from a moisture
engine into a self-dryer. Eventually, the rainforest turns into a
savanna and, in the process, releases carbon, he said.
This, in turn, can become part of a cascade that would influence other
processes around the world, such as ocean circulation and El Niño
events. Other tipping points include the thawing of permafrost, loss
of Arctic summer sea ice and the loss of coral reefs.
A global call for help
The first big goal should be to completely stop carbon emissions by
2050, Rockström said. But that won't be enough, he added.
In order to stay away from these tipping points, the "whole world
[needs to] embark on a major project to become sustainable across all
sectors," he said.
Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now
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UK churches divest from fossil fuel companies
Attracta Mooney, Financial Times
Turn your home into a battery: scientists discover cheap concrete that
could store electricity
Tom Whipple, The Times
Manchester wildfires will leave toxic legacy, scientists warn
Joe Shute and Anne Gulland, Daily Telegraph
Dozens killed, 1000s flee in terror as big earthquake hits Lombok and Bali
ABC News, 06 Aug 2018
Indonesia's resort islands of Bali and Lombok are rocked by a magnitude-6.9
earthquake, killing dozens and prompting a tsunami warning and panic among
holidaymakers and residents.
Households at 'tipping point', as more Aussies struggle to pay living costs
ABC News, 06 Aug 2018 08:43Z
A quarter of Australian households have less than $1,000 in cash savings, as
more people dip into their savings to meet basic living expenses.
severe-weather.EU @severeweatherEU 06 Aug 2018 09:29Z
The Baltic sea is super hot right now! Sea surface temperatures in 24-26 °C
range in the southern half and up to 23 °C at its northern extreme! The
entire sea is well over 4 °C warmer than usual! The North sea too is warmer
than usual, about 2-4 °C above normal. Map: DMI pic.twitter.com/bhSZNCqbjB
Banking royal commission: ASIC will be given power to embed staff in big
four banks, AMP
* Should ASIC cancel the big four's operating licences if they behave badly?
* How ASIC went missing in action with the banks
ABC News, 06 Aug 2018 14:42Z
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will, for the
first time, have enhanced powers to embed its enforcement staff into the
major banks and wealth manager AMP as part of an "expanded armoury" to
fight white-collar crime.
The corporate cop will have its budget boosted by more than $70 mn as
the regulator pushes back against claims at the financial services royal
commission that it has been "asleep at the wheel" in the fight against
In what is described as a new supervisory "refocus", ASIC will be empowered
to place dedicated staff within the "big four" banks - ANZ, Westpac,
Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank - to directly monitor
governance and compliance.
The Planet Is Dangerously Close to the Tipping Point for a 'Hothouse ...
Live Science, 06 Aug 2018 21:35Z
At that point, a cascade of climate events will thrust the planet into a
"hothouse" state. ... [Doom and Gloom: Top 10 Postapocalyptic Worlds] ...
Earth risks tipping into 'hothouse' state: study
Phys.Org, 06 Aug 2018 22:36Z
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