When reports of heat waves started back in June, a countdown timer started in my head. The media would start yammering in 3 … 2 … 1 …, “ZOMG! Global warming!”
The hallmarks of greenhouse gas-induced climate change are, in approximately this order:
- higher night time temperatures and warming at high latitudes (Arctic and Antarctic)
- ocean acidification and thermal expansion (that cause one type of rising sea level)
- reduced rainfall in dry areas, increased in wet areas
- desertification of continental interiors, including hotter summers, droughts, water shortages, and the rest….
We’ve had the first two sets for a couple of decades already. But that wasn’t a problem because nobody felt hot, except maybe a few polar bears and glaciers.
(There were also a bunch of scientists running around with their hair on fire, but scientists do boring stuff like talk about evidence and numbers –even when their heads are burning — so that didn’t count.)
Now we’re well into the phase where warming starts to bite. Floods and droughts seem to be larger, longer, and harsher. Russia is burning. Desertification in China is proceeding on schedule. Huge dust storms blanket Beijing and dump Chinese particulates all the way over here, where I live, near Los Angeles.
Now the media are starting to notice, now that they had to turn up the A/C. Hell, now Presidents are starting to get a vague sense that maybe, perhaps, there’s a problem here somewhere.
The Russian President has been shocked — shocked! — to find his country in a huge heat wave that’s ruined at least a third of the grain crop and fosters wildfires. Last year, he said, “We will not let anyone cut our development potential.”
Floods, fire, and famine are cheap.