‘Off the charts’: Earth’s vitals are going haywire

TAMPA, Florida (WFLA) In my 3-decade career as a meteorologist, and now chief meteorologist and climate specialist, I have never observed so many of Earth’s vital signs flashing red. Meteorologists and climate scientists around the world are in awe of the simultaneous literal off-the-charts records being broken.

Yes, it’s climate change.


The steady trend of rising temperatures in recent decades has positioned Earth’s basic climate so high that reaching these extremes, which were previously rare if not unheard of, is now expected when conditions are ripe. And right now they are, with El Nios added heat and many other simultaneous and variable natural weather patterns.

So, to be more precise, its climate change with other natural patterns have overlapped.

With El Nio now in place, we are glimpsing how far we can strain the climate system, reaching heights never seen before. Many more are on the way for 2023-2024 as El Nio gets stronger and more heat is released from the oceans into the atmosphere.

From ocean temperatures, sea ice, land ice to smoke emissions from wildfires, the graphs below speak for themselves. Let’s start with ocean temperatures.

Due to a combination of factors, the North Atlantic Ocean is well past record warm right now. The kind of heat that would be found only once in 10 or 100 of thousands of years in a climate before human-caused warming takes hold. Take a look at the North Atlantic sea surface temperature that will deviate from normal in 2023 compared to previous years.

(Image credit Professor Eliot Jacobson)

The Atlantic has warmed by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, due to warming from greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and also, more recently, due to declining air pollution, which allows more light to pass through solar.

In the short term, we also have a weaker Atlantic maximum which means weaker low-level tropical winds (trade winds) and, therefore, less dust kicked up from Africa. Less dust on tropical Atlantic skies means more sun gets through and warms the surface.

In the comparison below, by Dr. Michael Lowry, you can see the absence of powder compared to normal. Use the scroll bar to view the eastern tropical Atlantic. (Also note the excess smoke in the North Atlantic from the Canadian wildfires. We’ll come back to that).

An extreme heat wave off the coast of Europe also contributes to the heat. And it’s not limited to the Atlantic. In the Pacific, El Nio is warming tropical waters as heat persists from a warm landmass over the north-central Pacific Ocean.

When you add it all up, Global Ocean temperatures are way beyond record warm, making heat virtually impossible statistically before human-caused warming existed. Below you can see the black line indicating that this year’s sea surface temperature has strayed away from normal (about 4 standard deviations above normal) which is way above records.

(Image credit Climate Reanalyzer)

Another graph that really stood out for its out-of-the-box look is Antarctic sea ice. Right now, sea ice is expected to be growing rapidly near the South Pole. Instead, the growth is strenuous and the deviations from normal are the highest ever observed, at a very surprising time of year given that it is winter there.

(Image credit Zack Labe)

To see it another way, take a look at the map of Antarctica below. Red shows areas lagging behind in sea ice growth; almost everywhere!

While climate change is likely playing a role in the downward trend of recent years, it probably cannot explain the rapid decline in sea ice growth in recent months. Atmospheric and oceanic currents are highly variable near Antarctica and it will likely take a lot of research to quantify the reasons.

Longer-term, there are worrying signs at the bottom of the world, with some new papers showing a steep drop in circulation of the vital tipping.

That southern ice plunge also caused global sea ice to be at record highs above normal levels.

(Image credit Zack Labe)

Now let’s move on to the wildfires in Canada. It’s early fire season, but already Canada has experienced its worst bushfire season on record in terms of burning area, fire size and intensity. As the climate warms, areas dry out and fires spread more vigorously. There has been a persistent heat dome for months in parts of Canada this year leading to less rain and warmer weather.

A measure of fire size and intensity from 2000 to 2023. Magenta is 2023.

This has led to a record amount of greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian wildfires. That much emissions is nearly equal to that of Canada’s normal greenhouse gas emissions in an entire year and it’s still early in the fire season.

(Image credit Copernicus)

We can see a worrying sign from wildfire emissions data that as we warm the Earth, rising wildfire emissions will thwart deliberate emission reductions by governments that aim to reduce climate change. It’s an irony.

Finally, let’s talk about Greenland. The image below was recently posted by Dr. Jason Box, a Greenland expert. It’s how much snow/ice melt has increased from this graph over the past few days.

Surface melting over Greenland

While this may seem like a record high, this graph shows gray values ​​between the 10th and 90th percentiles. It means that it does not show values ​​higher than 90%. This peak was caused by very hot temperatures, some of which can be attributed to twenty descendants.

Further inspection reveals that we have seen much larger peaks in just a few years before, especially in 2021, the record year for Greenland. This chart below was made by Professor Eliot Jacobson.

(Image credit Professor Eliot Jacobson)

But for Greenland it is still early in the season. A huge heat dome will form on the island next week and melt rates will be very high. With the heat added into the system by El Nio, it’s worth watching to see if 2023 can top 2012 for the title.

So far, I’ve written all of this without mentioning the ongoing heat wave in the United States. While it was over Mexico and Texas, it became one of the longest-lasting early-season heatwaves on record and, by some measures, is the worst heatwave on record, especially in Mexico and southwest Texas.

Numerous all-time records were broken, with stations in Texas experiencing more than a straight week of record-breaking heat. That heat moved east into the US Deep South and Florida. The heat dome will finally fade over the next few days.

The bottom line is that, with Earth’s warming climate and El Nio intensifying, we can expect to see Earth’s climate system wonder again and again in the coming year.


#charts #Earths #vitals #haywire
Image Source : www.wfla.com

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