By Keith Antonysen
Munich Re which underwrites insurance companies has indicated that 2017’s high costs for climate change are the “new normal”. It could be regarded as merely an argument to increase premiums; except, a number of climate parameters suggest otherwise. Carbon Brief provides a summation of situations which have progressed over time:
- Oceans act as a sink for warmth, it takes them a long time to warm or cool through their sheer volume. In 2017 they were the warmest ever recorded.
- 2017 was the second or third warmest year recorded, depending on which dataset was used. Of significance, 2017, was the warmest year recorded without the influence of an El Nino event.
- The Arctic sea ice extent and volume have continued to decrease, the lowest extent in September was the eighth lowest ever recorded. Volume has changed downward by about 80% since 1979.
- Antarctic is being investigated quite profusely at present, its sea ice has been at low levels. The huge 5,698 square kilometre Larson C ice sheet broke clear in July 2017. A number of major ice sheets are considered to be at risk as grounding lines are moving shorewards.
The significance of the Arctic, Antarctica and oceans are that they virtually act as a thermostat influencing global temperature
Oceans warming is causing coral reefs to be severely damaged, dead spots are beginning to form in Oceans, a slight decrease in ocean oxygen production, a slight slowing down of the AMOC (Gulf Stream), and phytoplanton dying; these are matters of huge concern.
The cryosphere also presents huge concerns … thawing of permafrost, release of methane and CO2, has an influence on climate generally. The Siberian continental shelf and tundra have a huge potential to release copious amounts of CO2 and methane. The clathrate explosion scenario is a remote possibility; though, we have already had explosions of pingos in Siberia. Arctic sea ice is in poor condition with the bulk of multi year ice having been lost and about 80% of volume having gone since 1980. Arctic sea ice could be lost within two years, a somewhat remote possibility; but, being lost in ten plus/minus years is a real possibility (follow the maths); regardless, the situation is not good.
California has had wild fires in winter.
With continuing use of fossil fuels more aerosols are pushed into the atmosphere; ironically, once fossil fuels are no longer used aerosols will dissipate and the atmosphere will warm initially.
A number of hyperlinks have been provided which give only an extremely small fragment of information in relation to climate change, thousands of papers are published in reputable science journals each year.
Climate change is already having an impact on individuals, communities and countries through extreme storms, drought, and huge wildfires. The dollar costs of climate change are increasing, hardly a legacy to pass onto younger people.