Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Right, Blame Gaia

Drylanders don't see it. If only they did.

The oceans are heating. They're spawning oceanic heat waves that play proper hell with the marine ecology. Here, just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, we have "The Blob" - an area of superheated ocean that can stretch nearly all the way to Hawaii. It's associated with oceanic dead zones, the sharp decline in marine species and who knows what else - hey, this is pretty new stuff.

You may not have heard much about heavy floods in Africa but, if you've followed the news at all, you've heard about the extreme brush fires plaguing
Australia and the seemingly endless drought across that country's agricultural zones.

Guess what? Those African floods and the Australian conflagration are now being put down to superheating of the Indian Ocean. It's called the Indian Ocean Dipole.
Scientists and humanitarian officials say this year’s record Indian Ocean dipole, as the phenomenon is known, threatens to reappear more regularly and in a more extreme form as sea surface temperatures rise. 
Of most concern are years in which the sea surface off the coast of Africawarms up, provoking increased rains, while temperatures off Australia fall, leading to drier weather. 
It is similar to El Niño and La Niña in the Pacific, which cause sharp changes in weather patterns on both sides of the ocean (and into the Atlantic, north and south).
India is also impacted.
Recent research suggests ocean heat has risen dramatically over the past decade, leading to the potential for warming water in the Indian Ocean to affect the Indian monsoon, one of the most important climate patterns in the world.
The oceanic events are the stuff for hydrologists and oceanographers. We lay people can get the loss of Arctic sea ice or the retreat of glaciers, that sort of thing, but ocean currents and heat absorption/release, that's much harder to grasp.

Waiting in the wings is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, PDO, which is an extended play version of El Nino lasting 20 to 30 years. I won't dwell on it but you can read about it here.

Like it or not, the oceans are reshaping our lives, our societies, and they're just getting started. You can't fix these things with penny ante carbon taxes.


Lorne said...

All the chickens are coming home to roost, Mound, but people continue to willfully ignore the clucking at their doors.

The Mound of Sound said...

While we're not putting much effort into adaptation we will see how long we can continue to ignore it. Australians are beginning to question how much longer they can endure these droughts and brush fires before vast swathes of their country have to be abandoned as unviable. How do you walk away? What must you do for these internally-displaced populations? The strains on societies could be enormous.

New Orleans, Venice and many other major population hubs may be, eventually will be overwhelmed by the combination of subsidence and sea level rise. New York and most of the US eastern seaboard faces subsidence. Mexico City, San Francisco - it goes on and on. Those hens are coming home to roost.

Northern PoV said...

The Situation Room, October 2039
What the U.S. Military Will Be Doing in a Climate Crisis Future
By Michael T. Klare

The Situation Room, October 2039: the president and vice president, senior generals and admirals, key cabinet members, and other top national security officers huddle around computer screens as aides speak to key officials across the country. Some screens are focused on Hurricane Monica, continuing its catastrophic path through the Carolinas and Virginia; others are following Hurricane Nicholas, now pummeling Florida and Georgia, while Hurricane Ophelia lurks behind it in the eastern Caribbean.

On another bank of screens, officials are watching horrifying scenes from Los Angeles and San Diego, where millions of people are under mandatory evacuation orders with essentially nowhere to go because of a maelstrom of raging wildfires. Other large blazes are burning out of control in Northern California and Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State. The National Guard has been called out across much of the West, while hundreds of thousands of active-duty troops are being deployed in the disaster zones to assist in relief operations and firefighting. ....

The Mound of Sound said...

NPoV - I read Klare's piece. Thanks for the heads up. While there's nothing new in it he does capture how Trump is leaving the US in jeopardy to a looming, existential threat.

The Pentagon has plenty of research into climate change - what it means for the US military, for the nation and globally. That stuff is footnoted in the last two Quadrenniel Defense Reviews.

Anonymous said...

And guess what, the Australian Government and most of its people are still in denial of Climate Change. Anyong