Admin Correction: This story and headline originally reported the incorrect heat index for Iowa on Monday. Both have been changed to reflect the correct data.
Hours later, Karins noted that the AWOS-3 sensors indicating a 150°F heat index in Iowa are notoriously inaccurate; Karins has since amended his heat range assessment for the area on Monday to 120-130° F.
Humans Face Major Population 'Correction' This Century, Scientist Warns
Homo sapiens has evolved to reproduce exponentially, expand geographically, and consume all available resources," Rees writes in the paper. "For most of humanity's evolutionary history, such expansionist tendencies have been countered by negative feedback.
"However, the scientific revolution and the use of fossil fuels reduced many forms of negative feedback, enabling us to realize our full potential for exponential growth," he said.
"The one-off human population boom is destined to bust. H. sapiens' innate expansionist tendencies have become maladaptive," he said. "However, far from acknowledging and overriding our disadvantageous natural predispositions, contemporary cultural norms reinforce them.
"Arguably, in these circumstances, wide-spread societal collapse cannot be averted—collapse is not a problem to be solved, but rather the final stage of a cycle to be endured...In the best of all possible worlds, the whole transition might actually be managed in ways that prevent unnecessary suffering of millions (billions?) of people, but this is not happening—and cannot happen—in a world blind to its own predicament."
Hot spell pushes 'zero-degree' line to record height in Switzerland
5300 meters is 3.3 miles.
A hot spell enveloping Europe has pushed the zero-degree line - the altitude at which the temperature dips into the minus - to a record height of nearly 5 300 metres in Switzerland.
The zero-degree line is determined by meteorologists using weather balloons that take off twice a day from Payerne in western Switzerland.
MeteoSwiss said the new height was clocked overnight from Sunday to Monday at 5 298 metres, "which constitutes a record since monitoring began in 1954".
The previous record of 5 184 metres was set on 25 July last year.
"The area known as the zero-degree isotherm is the threshold between air layers with temperatures above 0C at lower altitudes and those with temperatures below freezing at higher altitudes," MeteoSwiss said.
"Among other things, the zero-degree isotherm affects vegetation, the snow line and the water cycle, and so has a considerable impact on the habitats of humans, animals and plants alike," it added, calling the marker "an integral part of weather forecasts in the Alpine region".
Rising methane could be a sign that Earth's climate is part way through a 'termination-level transition'
Imagine accelerating a car with your foot flat down. The car speeds up but eventually air resistance equals engine power and the car hits maximum speed. In 1999, it looked like methane had reached a similar equilibrium between its sources and sinks. Then in late 2006, the amount of methane in the air climbed fast. Even more unexpectedly five years later, the rate of growth sped up again. During the 2020s the growth rate has become yet faster, faster even than during the peak of gas industry leaks in the 1980s.
Today's growth seems to be driven by new emissions from wetlands, especially near the equator but perhaps also from Canada (beavers are methane factories which pull huge amounts of plant matter into ponds they've made) and Siberia. This is a result of climate change: increasing rainfall has made wetlands wetter and bigger while rising temperatures have boosted plant growth, providing more decomposing matter and so more methane. Emissions from huge cattle lots in tropical Africa, India and Brazil may also be rising and rotting waste in landfills near megacities like Delhi are important sources too.
In the past few million years, Earth's climate has flipped repeatedly between long, cold glacial periods, with ice sheets covering northern Europe and Canada, and shorter warm inter-glacials.
When each ice age ended, Earth's surface warmed by as much as several degrees centigrade over a few millennia. Recorded in air bubbles in ice cores, sharply rising methane concentrations are the bellwethers of these great climate-warming events. With each flip from a glacial to an interglacial climate there have been sudden, sharp rises in atmospheric methane, likely from expanding tropical wetlands.
These great climate flips that ended each ice age are known as terminations. Each has a Roman numeral, ranging from Termination IX which happened about 800,000 years ago to Termination IA which initiated the modern climate less than 12,000 years ago. For example, around 131,000 years ago during Termination II, the British climate suddenly flipped from glaciers in the Cotswolds to hippopotami wallowing in what is now Trafalgar Square.
Full terminations take several thousands of years to complete, but many include a creeping onset of warming, then a very abrupt phase of extremely rapid climate change that can take a century or less, followed by a longer, slower period during which the great ice caps finally melt. In the abrupt phase of the great change that brought about the modern climate, Greenland's temperature rose by around 10°C within a few decades. During these abrupt phases, methane climbs very steeply indeed.
The argument that we should just adapt to climate change is so misguided
It’s hard to deny what’s going on, but there’s still money to be made in delaying climate action. Thus, the denier narrative has shifted from saying climate change isn’t real to saying climate change is real, but we’ll just adapt to it. The “just” is the part that worries me. Clearly, we need to adapt. Our society was built for a climate that no longer exists, and we have no choice but to change. But we should never pretend adaptation is the easy way out.
Climate change is complicated. As my colleague Katharine Hayhoe often points out, it’s not so much global “warming” as it is global weirding. Climate change is making heat waves longer, hotter and likelier. Warm air is thirstier air, driving more evaporation and increasing the risk of drought. But all that water sucked up from the Earth’s surface has to go somewhere. As air gets warmer, it holds more water vapor, making extreme rainfall events even wetter. Warm water is hurricane food, and storms are getting stronger, dumping more rain and, aided by rising seas, surging farther inland.
Worse still, climate change increases the risk of compound extremes — that’s science for “double whammy” — multiple events that occur simultaneously or in quick succession. Think landslides caused by heavy rain after a wildfire or a heat wave that hampers rescue efforts after a hurricane.
Adaptation is harder than the “we’ll just adapt” crowd suggests because the climate keeps changing. When people say “adapt,” I always wonder: Adapt to what? Suppose we manage to “adapt” to the current game of whatever hellscape roulette we’re experiencing. What will we do when the world changes again? If we do nothing to stop climate change, then more and more places will become uninhabitable — and how can we adapt to that? The simple truth is this: Until humans stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the planet will keep warming. Adaptation is a moving target until the climate stabilizes. That won’t happen until global greenhouse gas emissions reach net zero.
And so much more….