Posted on 22 October 2021 at 13:23
An AU researcher has just found the 974,238th reason why human civilization should seriously do something about greenhouse gases.
It turns out that the oceans and extreme weather in the Sun Belt are linked. His experience was not directly about climate change, but it is close enough that I now have an information medium to perch on and preach about the emergency.
In related news, Congress is grappling with legislation that would finally take action to combat this climate change. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin wants the weather rules to be gouged out and his late partner, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, is not speaking.
But Sinema works for Tucson, whether she knows it or not, and she needs a few thousand proverbial kicks right now to get her moving.
So it’s zero hours to do something about climate change and Tucsonians have real power right now – as much as they ever will. They can tell their senator who is responsible.
Hey, I wish both sides knew about the dangers of climate change, but that’s not where we are.
The party that takes climate change seriously has unified control over Congress and the White House.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden will travel to the Glasgow climate conference at the end of the month. If the United States has done nothing, how will it be able to get other nations to do anything about the climate crisis? With Earth’s largest economy retreating from the patches, the rest of the world can’t, and won’t, fix our climate.
If nothing is done this time around, we may have to wait another 12, 16 or 20 years for the Democrats to control the House, Senate and White House. Human effort doesn’t have that kind of time.
The good teacher
And if you want another reason to act, may I introduce Jianjun Yin, assistant professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona.
He and Ming Zhao, a physicist in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, conducted an experiment to measure the potential effect of ocean currents on extreme weather conditions. Their research is adjacent to climate but not specific to climate.
They wanted to know what would happen if somehow the deep water conveyor in the Atlantic Ocean was cut and if that would make the winter conditions more extreme.
The Deep Water Conveyor is just a very dense, slow tube of salt water moving through the oceans of the earth. It acts as a kind of insulation and heat distribution device, preventing the climate from getting too extreme.
The Earth would lose 0.5 petawatt of energy moving through the oceans if the deep water conveyor stopped working.
“If the ocean heat transport decreases, the atmosphere has to transfer more heat,” Yin told me. “The transfer must take place.
You might remember something your weird science teacher muttered about the “law of conservation of energy”.
What is the size of zero point five petawatts? A single petawattt is enough to power 50 civilizations (not houses, not suburbs, not cities, not nations but the whole of civilization 50 times).
Just close the Atlantic part of the conveyor and suddenly 25 more energy civilizations are moving into the atmosphere.
Release a bunch of heat into the atmosphere, and it will move towards the poles. It will reverse the cold polar air to the south. Suddenly Texas has frozen water pipes and no electricity.
“You can have extreme weather conditions in a southern state like Texas,” Yin said in an interview. “Extreme weather conditions represent the north-south heat exchange.”
Yin’s research simply asked, “What if the heat transfer from south to north stops?” Then he measured the results.
“Our work was the first to use advanced climate modeling to quantify the climate effect,” he said, adding that the modeling had improved over time. “The model is quite reliable. The model can get a lot of things right. The model is based on a lot of observations and regression theories.”
Then he wants to do the same experiment but add a warmer climate to the mix. Warmer air will change the numbers.
So we have an experience which has given a number and will lead to further investigation.
There are limits to his research and he’s cool with it.
It is important to draw clear lines around the scope and boundaries of the research so that it does not get distorted or sensationalized. The last thing Yin needs is for an alarmist columnist to shout from the keyboard, “AU researcher proves climate change will kill us all!”
Climate change did not exist within the four walls of his experience. However, it is in the next room.
Yin turned off heat transfer by modeling an injection of fresh water into the Atlantic. In real life, Greenland is already doing this because of greenhouse gas emissions.
The deep water conveyor is deep because it is dense in salt water.
The warm water on the surface of the Atlantic flows northward and as it loses its heat it becomes denser and sinks deep before heading south. There, it rises while warming up and goes back north.
The melting ice of Greenland dumps a heap of fresh water into the ocean by diluting the salt water. It could cut the Atlantic conveyor belt if greenhouse gases continue to melt the ice and leave the atmosphere to work on its own.
Heat is energy. A warm atmosphere is a more energetic atmosphere that triggers chaos.
That’s why I think “Climate Chaos” can be a better term than “Climate Change”. In addition, the ensuing chaos creates strange weather conditions, impossible to predict in the long term. It’s the chaos theory or the butterfly effect.
Fires, floods and plague follow one another in chaos.
And yes, there is something you can do about it – right now.
Congress must act now. Delay means misfortune for ourselves and the generations that will follow.
Manchin would have canceled much of the plan.
Scientists vary on some details, but most agree that humanity has a 2050 deadline to decarbonize the global economy. We can debate how to get there, but the journey must begin now.
Voters tend to stick with a divided government when they have it, as they have given only one party control of the House, Senate and White House in 11 of the Last 40 years. Democrats wasted the BTU tax on tackling climate change in 1993 and cap-and-trade policies in 2010. I’d love if Republicans had a revelation and took the crisis seriously, but they won’t. not (but please prove me wrong).
As it stands, we have been making up for inaction since the beginning of the 90s. Waiting means that a future congress must pass 60 years of work in 20 years. The system will not allow this under any circumstances. The fixes will get tougher as the response is delayed, and that severity will be easier to defeat or reverse in subsequent elections.
That’s it. Right now. If Democrats squander this third chance, the only honest answer will probably be to start planning the unthinkable.
I’ll spit that out. Let’s start with the end of disaster relief for any weather event deemed “climate related”. New York, Miami, and all of Oklahoma’s trailer parks are going to have to move.
Then we can move on to military contingencies in a world where fresh water is running out.
Call to action
Manchin wants to let West Virginia pretend that the year is still 1964 at least until 2025. Sinema has his “maverick” brand to protect. The carbon is loaded in the air in no time. It takes millennia to get by. The “Sinem-in” team risks thousands of years of human beings knowing that they were the two individuals most responsible for the global disasters that followed.
Imagine if all we knew about Ramses the Great or Hammurabi was that they messed up the weather and we’re still dealing with it. Nero and Caligula wouldn’t look so bad.
Thus, Sinema’s web page claims that “OUR OFFICE IS HERE TO SERVE YOU” (although given the way it acts, this can only refer to Monsanto and BlackRock Capital). Then call her at (202) 224-4521.
Progressives can quibble about free college, universal paid family leave, and child tax credits whatever they want (and they should). The climate is the must. It must be done now.
Rumor has it that Sinema cares about this issue. Then demand that she tell Manchin and the Blue Dogs that they don’t get their infrastructure plan without strong climate legislation. The climatic provisions were removed from the infrastructure plan to be adopted later. It is now later.
Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist who has worked in daily journalism for almost 20 years and is the former communications director of the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things the Devil doesn’t want.
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