EXTREME WEATHER: BOMB CYCLONE IN EUROPE, RECORD FLOODING IN MISSISSIPPI AND HURRICANE PETRA IN SWITZERLAND

Storm Dennis is a bomb cyclone that just whacked England with 100 foot waves and hurricane force 98 MPH winds. It follows Storm Ciara, which delivered heavy rains and flooding last week. Dennis is the second strongest storm to hit the region.

These storms are called bomb cyclones after the scientific term bombogenesis, which means they intensify rapidly. Technically, the storm has to feature a barometric pressure drops by 24 millibars in 24 hours. Dennis doubled that, falling 50 millibars in 24 hours.

Bombogenesis is not a new phenomenon, but it has become alarmingly common in only the past couple of years.

Storm Dennis follows on the heels of the widely ignored Hurricane Lorenzo from late last year, a Cat 5 monster that was the most powerful hurricane in the eastern North Atlantic hurricane of all time.

Switzerland reported the strongest winds in it’s history as Hurricane Petra caused flooding, extensive infrastructure damage and 80 MPH winds, 

In Jackson, Mississippi, where the natives don’t believe in global warming, extreme stormage has nevertheless caused record flooding on the Pearl River, causing evacuations across the state and northward into Tennessee.

Record floods along the Pearl River in Mississippi
Flooding in Mississippi, where there is no global warming

Europe has just recorded the warmest January in its history

DRIVEN BY CLIMATE CHANGE, A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS DESCENDS ON EAST AFRICA

Plague of locusts East Africa

The Horn of Africa is being invaded a downright biblical plague of locusts, filling the skies with nasty, voracious flying insects and consuming the food supply of tens of millions of people. The perp is not the vengeful god of the Old Testament, however, but rather changing weather patterns driven by rapid climate change. that have allowed the once limited species to survive longer, leaping over bodies of water that once limited their spread.

The phenomenon is driven by an outbreak of unusual cyclones in the region, in turn caused by an disruption to the Indian Ocean Dipole. The unusual and protracted wetness in the normally dry region is allowing the desert locusts to reproduce exponentially. While the climate science is somewhat arcane, the results are all too real. This ocean temperature gradient is also linked to the wildfire catastrophe in Australia.

This is not the first time locusts have swarmed the region, but it is unprecedented in its scale and duration.

You will begin hearing about this disaster once there are some visuals for the news networks, as millions may face (what the UN likes to call) “food insecurity” in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Iran is also preparing for a repeat of the invasion of 2019 as the insects cross the Red Sea.

The plague of locusts in the Book of Exodus did not portend the End of Days, but it did ruin the day for a lot of Egyptians.

Central Americans Are Fleeing Ecological Disaster

Guatemala: When the immigrants of Central America aren’t raping and murdering, they look more like starving climate refugees.

The Central American nations that are the main source of attempted migrations north through Mexico are fleeing drought, heatwaves and rain pattern disruption, long term conditions that are as much a driver of their desperation as the failed states they inhabit. The migration is only one of several major global mass climate people movements, a meta historical event all but ignored by an American media too busy promoting Democratic debates as if they were professional wrestling bouts.

Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador are a Hellscape of poverty unrest, gang activity and violence (a hefty percentage of which is rooted in a long history of American governmental interference in the region – but that’s another story).  It’s so bad that hundreds of thousands of parents would rather risk ICE, starvation, death and the thugs of the Build the Wall gang, on the long shot that they will find asylum. Americans are aware of this only peripherally, when not too busy debating whether or not Shaikira was wearing enough clothes at the Super Bowl. And we seem to blame the victims.

We virtually never hear about the other more powerful force driving the refugees: the ongoing collapse of the ecosystems that the people of Central America rely upon for food. The region is into the fifth year of a drought and heat wave that encompasses large chunks of these largely rural nations. Rainfall and other once stable weather patterns have been disrupted, leaving agricultural yields a fraction of what they once were. The average temperature in the region has risen about 1° F in 60 years and rainfall continues to decrease. Climate scientists predict that conditions are only going to get worse as catastrophic floods increase and coastlines are eaten by the rising ocean.**

About 80% of this year’s maize crop was destroyed by drought, with something like 15,000 children under 5 suffering acute malnutrition.
The World Food Programme estimates that about one million Guatemalans fall short of normal daily food requirements.

The millions of Americans who hate these immigrants don’t care to know about mass starvation on a dying land. And it’s not as if these are Muslim nations, full of people who are just naturally terrorists. No, these are our fellow Christians (albeit “Catholics” – close enough). And it’s not as if the “taking jobs from hardworking Americans argument holds water at this point, if it ever did.

The key to denying “the other” access to your prosperity is to demonize them, and no one does it better than Trump and his moral minions. And that makes it easier on the conscience when you see the pictures of kids begin taken from their parents, on purpose, as a warning to other would be lawbreakers. 

The lawbreakers who are trying to feed their kids.

The Climate Emergency Thwaites for No One

[The massive ice shelf FOX calls the “Doomsday glacier” is floating on warm water]

Unusually warm water beneath its grounding zone (grounding line) is accelerating the melting of a key Antarctic glacier (74,000 sq. mi). New research on the Thwaites Glacier (lately dubbed the Doomsday Glacier by no less than FOX News) on the West Antarctica Ice Sheet shows the water underneath the floating ice shelf to be about closer to 36F.  The glacier is melting from below.

The Thwaites mass is an Ice Shelf, a hybrid formation that rests on bedrock on one end while floating on the other. The grounding line of these ice shelves – where the glacier meets land – anchors the ice, and also serves to hold back the much larger mass of land ice behind it. The existence of warm waters beneath the grounding line is more bad news for the stability of the Antarctic continent and the growing threat of rising sea levels.

The recent measurements were taken by a team from  the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, which drilled a bore hole half a mile through the ice at the grounding line and lowered instruments into the water.  The news follows last year’s discovery of a mammoth cavity beneath the glacier.

“The fact that such warm water was just now recorded by our team along a section of Thwaites grounding zone, where we have known the glacier is melting, suggests that it may be undergoing an unstoppable retreat that has huge implications for global sea level rise,” said David Holland, director of NYU’s Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NYU Abu Dhabi’s Center for Global Sea Level Change in the official news release.

The Thwaites is about the size of Florida. If all of its ice flows into the ocean, it will raise sea levels an additional 2 feet on its own.

January 2020 Climate Crisis Update

BRAZIL: CRAZY RECORD RAINS + FLOODS + MUDSLIDES

One year after extreme weather induced a mining waste dam collapse (271 dead) catastrophe, record rains have wrought flooding and landslides in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Dozens are dead and missing and thousands have been evacuated as rains continue for the third day.

New records were set for most rainfall in a 24 hour period.

Several men clear debris following a landslide (picture-alliance/AP Photo/Futura Press/A. Mota)

ADD DUST STORMS AND DEVASTATING HAIL TO AUSTRALIA’S APOCALYPTIC TROUBLES:

The wildfires that have consumed Australia’s southeast, including areas around it’s major population centers, have gotten plenty of media coverage. That is due in large part to the good visuals that accompany this type of story. An area about the size of Virginian has been burned. Millions of animals and birds have died. The economic toll had not even begun to be calculated when the area was hit with a massive dust storm followed by an apocalyptic hail storm.

2019 was the hottest, driest year on record in Australia, which is saying something. Summer is only half over. With no moisture in the air, the intensity of these fires is hard to describe.

INDONESIA RECORD STORMS / JAKARTA SINKS

Beginning New Year’s Day, Jakarta has been inundated by catastrophic storms that brought intense rainfall and lethal flooding to the city of 30 million, with 15 or 20 inches coming in 24 hours. Even in a megalopolis prone to flooding, this storm is in a class of its own. Millions have been evacuated. The situation of course, is exacerbated by stupid human tricks, because massive quantities of groundwater have been sucked out from beneath the city. As is often the case, there is both too much water and not enough to drink.

Monsoons are normal in this region, but the new weather patterns bring much greater quantities of rain over the course of fewer, less predictable storms.

NEW WINTER HEAT RECORD AS TEMPS REACH 66.2 F IN NORWAY

Norway broke it’s all time national high temperature record for any January, reaching 66.2F (or 19C as they say in Norway) two weeks ago.  The far northern country broke several records last summer as well.

Record highs were also reported in Boston and New York, running 35 degrees higher than normal.

STORM GLORIA BRINGS 60 MPH WINDS AND 45 FOOT WAVES TO SPAIN / FRANCE

Coastal towns were lashed by 60-foot waves, and villages farther inland were buried under mountains of snow. Dozens of people died and bridges collapsed as  sea surges reached as far as two miles inland.

OCEAN TEMPERATURES HOTTEST EVER IN 2019 AND CLIMBING FASTER

The heat in the world’s oceans reached a new record level in 2019. Although 2019 was only the “second warmest” on record for atmospheric temperatures, the oceans are heating up faster than ever. Oceans absorb and store 90% of solar heat energy. Hotter seas cause more severe storms and further contribute to rising seas through thermal expansion and kill marine life.

Climate Emergency 2019 Review

climate emergency 2019 review shows events and conditions from 2019

For the most part, people who accept climate change (and even those who understand that it is caused by humans remain unaware of the fact that this is a climate emergency that has been under-stated rather than over-stated. Seen globally however, the realities may be more persuasive. This is a small sampling of global events and conditions from the past year.

ARCTIC AMPLIFICATION: The Arctic region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The global consequences in terms of disruption to wind and weather patterns are hard to overstate.

ALBEDO FEEDBACK CYCLE: Self-perpetuating feedback cycle, as sea ice melts, more solar radiation heats the open water, ice melts faster.

PERMAFROST FEEDBACK CYCLE: Permafrost is thawing, releasing CH4 and CO2 into the atmosphere, causing more warming, causing more permafrost melt. The quantity of  CH4 trapped in permafrost is unknown.

SLOWING AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation): A significant tipping point, the global ocean circulation that drives the Gulf Stream has been slowing. The ocean current is a critical factor in regulating temperatures.

MASSIVE MARINE HEAT WAVE: The “Blob “ is back. This Pacific heat wave is the second worse ever. The worst was the Blob of 2014 – 2016, which lasted three years, causing serious disruption to marine ecosystems and marine life on the west coast, not to mention the largest toxic algae bloom in the history of the US West Coast. Marine heat waves are increasing in frequency, compromising underwater ecosystems which as kelp forests and coral reefs.

OCEANS [Global Warming is really Ocean Warming] The ocean absorbs 90% of the planet’s excess heat.

                LOSING O2 AT UNPRECEDENTED RATE: General oxygen levels continue to decline, while “dead zones” (where there is no oxygen) have quadrupled. intensive farming, experts have warned.

                INCREASING CO2/ ACIDIFICATION:  Change in water chemistry is a threat to a wide range of marine animals, including shellfish and stardish. A new report from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarizes the economic consequences.

                COASTAL INUNDATION: Major urban centers face rapid ocean rise, including Charlotte, NC, Miami, Norfolk, VA, Shanghai, China, Bangladesh, Alaska, Mumbai, Solomon and other Pacific Islands.

GLOBAL WILDFIRES/DEFORESTATION:  Supercharged Wildfires burn hotter and are harder to control. Amazon gets the coverage, but out of control wildfires burned in 2019 in Australia, Bolivia, Chile Indonesia, Cyprus, Siberia, Alaska, Southern Europe and California. Firenados are increasingly common. Global outbreaks of wildfires is stressing resources. Megatons of carbon are released into the atmosphere.  The Wildfire/Deforestation Feedback Cycle pours more carbon into the atmosphere and accelerates global warming.

ALL GLOBAL ICE SYSTEMS COLLAPSING \ sea ice \ land ice \ ice shelves \ alpine glaciers           

                GREENLAND ICE MELT ACCELERATES 7X: The worst case scenario now happening in real time/ Greenland land ice has 25 ft sea level rise.

                The island lost 197 tons of water in a day.

                ICE RIVERS (GLACIER SURGE) APPEAR IN SIBERIAN ARCTIC  

                ALPINE GLACIERS MELTING FASTER EVERYWHERE:  Last glaciers in Indonesia, Andes have 10 more years.  Third Pole glaciers supply water for billions of people in Asia.

Glacier funerals to place in Iceland, Switzerland. Glacier Lake Outbursts threatens dozens of mountain towns and villages in the Andes/Europe/Asia.

                ANTARCTIC SHELVES NO LONGER STABLE. The shelves that hold back land ice on Antarctica and Greenland are receding quickly. Coastal ice is melting from below.

                ARCTIC SEA ICE CONTINUES RAPID DECLINE: Now melting 6X faster, generating Feedback Cycle #1 (Albedo).

TEMPERATURE RECORDS 2019:

         42,487 daily high temperature records vs 25,027 low records.

         364 all-time high temperatures were set in 2019, versus just 70 all-time lows.

UNPRECEDENTED HURRICANE /CYCLONE BEHAVIOR:  Hurricanes and storms of all types are more intense, move more slowly, contain more moisture (causing more damage),  and intensify more rapidly. Damage over the past few years is unprecedented. For three hurricane seasons in a row, storms with record-breaking rainfall have caused catastrophic flooding in the southern United States:               

SPECIES MIGRATION/EXTINCTION: Rapid changes in ecosystems cause migration of a wide range of animals, birds and insects.

                FISH DISAPPEAR FROM ANGOLA COAST: O2 Depleted and water warming 3X the global rate, mega-trawlers.

                HUMAN MIGRATION: Central American, Alaska, Africa, Asia are dying as they attempt to reach safe havens.

                BIRD MIGRATION PATTERNS DISRUPTED

DYING ECOSYSTEMS: Coral Reefs, Kelp forests, mangrove forests, ghost forests.

TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS: A combination of agricultural pollution and warming seas is plaguing coast regions around the planet with nasty  consequences for water supplies, marine life and human health. Incidences are spreading globally.

SHARP INCREASE IN METHANE RELEASES. Atmospheric CH4 is highest in 800,000 years, generating more greenhouse gases via Permafrost Thaw Feedback Cycle #2.

Methane is leaking from gas wells in Texas and elsewhere, while new sources within the permafrost are spewing even more into the atmosphere.  Global methane concentrations increased 250 % since pre-industrial time.

US FARM CRISIS:  Record rainfall and flooding has gotten Midwestern farmers closer to recognizing the climate emergency. “We’re seeing things we’re not used to seeing.”

Pray For Amazonia

June – July – August 2019: Pray for Amazonia.

The Amazon rainforest is on fire again, driven by the Southern Hemisphere’s version of Trumpian plunder monkeys. As of late August, the fires have been burning for several months, and consumed a record amount of rain forest. The number of fires identified so far this year is over 40,000.

  • Darkness in Sao Paulo. Smoke from fires hundreds of miles away darkened the skies of South America’s largest city, bringing on a doomsday sensation in Brazil’s capital city.
  • While previous record burning years were caused in part by cyclical drought, this year’s fires have been largely ignited by farmers and ranchers clearing more land. Loggers in particular are invading “protected” areas, emboldened by Bolsonaro’s rhetoric.

  • From January to July 2019, fires consumed 4.6 million acres, a 85% increase over last year.
  • To understand this story in context, note that it takes place as 1) yet another heat wave is hitting Europe, the third in as many months 2) Greenland lost about 1 billion tons of land ice in a single day 3) total loss of sea ice within 150 miles of Alaska’s coast is reported 4) Wildfires in Siberia continue into a fourth month as smoke drifts over Alaska and North America.

    Marine Heat Waves

    Largely invisible to the public, Marine Heat Waves (MHW) are separate and distinct amplifications of a general trend that has warmed the oceans significantly over the past 50 years. These large scale underwater temperature spikes are impacting entire ecosystems, especially coral reefs and kelp forests. If climate change continues at this pace, there is no reason not to conclude that massive destruction will occur in these critical marine environments, with large scale threats to marine species and food supplies anticipated. It is important to state clearly that this process is well underway.

    The oceans have absorbed more than 90% of  excess fossil-fuel-generated greenhouse gas emissions over the past 50 years. To some degree, in the short term, this process has disguised the extent of overall warming by providing what might be called a buffer for the atmosphere. In other words, surface temperatures would be higher than they are if not for this effect. The degree to which this was happening was not fully understood, and this faux hiatus was quickly leveraged by fossil fuel operatives as the end of the global warming hoax. Unfortunately, it is more accurately described as the beginning of a global warming acceleration. The heat absorbed by the oceans has not left the planetary system. The oceans will retain this heat.

    A January report from the journal Science (incorporating adjusted data from the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) indicates that the oceans have actually been warming 40% faster than the previous consensus. 2018 being the warmest ocean temp year ever measured globally followed sequentially backward in time by the years 2017, 2016 and 2015.

    One report from National Oceanographic Data Center’s Ocean Climate Lab projects that if the heat absorbed by the oceans over the past 70 years were added back to the atmosphere, air temperatures would climb 65 degrees F. That would be bad.

    In addition to the absorption of heat energy, the ocean is absorbing enough excess CO2 that the pH of the water (and the chemical composition) is changing, becoming more acidic. The ocean dissolves about 25% of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels, currently about 22 millions tons daily.

    Here are some of the obvious and less obvious consequences:

    Expanding ocean volume: Melting land ice on Greenland and Antarctica are contributing to rapid sea level rise, but the planetary ocean is also expanding as it warms. This is a simple matter of physics. Warmer liquids take up more space.

    More extreme hurricanes: This is a much larger topic, but suffice to say the past few years have delivered overwhelming evidence that this process is well underway. Warmer waters contain more energy and directly increase wind speeds. Rapid intensification, which has presented a whole new set of problems for forecasters, is in part due to deeper layers of warm water.


    November 2016 photo provided by ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies: dead staghorn coral killed by bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. (Greg Torda/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

    Threats to marine life on multiple levels: Temperature increases begin to compromise underwater ecosystems simply by exceeding the range the species can tolerate. Coral reefs are bleaching and dying around the planet, but especially in the Southern Ocean and off the northern coast of Australia in the Great Barrier Reef. The latter, a World Heritage Site, has sustained irreversible damage.

    Kelp forest off the California coast.

    Kelp forests are an amazing sight generally observed first hand only by scuba divers, but they also comprise another key ocean ecosystem. Underwater “kelp trees” grow to 40 feet or more, and provide shelter and food for a wide range of fish. Kelp forests are dying of heat and invasive species such as purple urchins.

    Disruption of commercial fishing supplies: This phenomenon is separate from depletion of species due to over fishing. The combination of industrial over fishing, pollution and rising water temperatures is devastating many commercial species. In general, marine species are migrating to cooler waters in the direction of the poles, which causes the food chain to break down across the board.

    Disruption of ocean currents: In 2012, a marine heat wave in the Gulf of Maine ushered in a new era that spells complex change for the iconic lobster fishery in the region. Meanwhile, squid and butterfish species are moving up from the south. This particular marine region is an excellent example of the connectivity of the Earth’s waters, because the changes in the Gulf of Maine is caused in part by the rapidly melting glaciers to the northeast in Greenland. The fresh water is disrupting the water circulation in the North Atlantic, with yet to be anticipated consequences for the future. This is only one example.

    Changes in ocean chemistry (pH): The ocean is becoming more acidic, with a slight .1 pH downtick.  But the pH scale is logarithmic, so small changes are significant. The shift in chemistry has already had a negative impact on oysters, mussels, urchins and starfish as shells show a tendency to dissolve when forming. In addition to shellfish, tiny zooplankton are affected by pH, as they build shells of their calcium carbonate. While the overall effect of chemistry and warmer temps on zooplankton is as yet unknown, consider that they are the basis of the marine food web. Their skeletons become a key mechanism for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Over geologic eras, species adapt gradually to changing conditions in a variety of ways, especially by migration and to some degree by evolving. Ocean pH has been stable for millions of years. However, in the Anthropocene age, the pace of change is faster than the ability of many species to adapt.

    Decreases in oxygen levels: Decline in dissolved oxygen has been observed for some time, but the scale of the condition is increasing significantly. Oxygen levels in various tropical regions have dipped by 40% over 50 years. Elsewhere, the average loss is about 2%.

    Toxic algae blooms: Another phenomenon that combines agricultural pollution and warming water temperatures, toxic algae outbreaks now threaten water supplies and marine recreation industries around the globe.

    Melomys: The Little Brown Rat Has Left The Coal Mine*

    Melomys is the First Mammal Extinction Directly Attributed To Anthropomorphic Global Warming.

    One of the characteristics of a certain type of climate denier is a tendency to spout ignorant quips in the face of climate facts. For example, “Hey, I wouldn’t mind a little more warmer weather”or “who cares what goes on at the North Pole, I don’t live there.”

    So we may expect a similar reaction from this unique population segment when they hear of the ultimate extinction of a little brown Australian rat known as the Bramble Cay Melomys. 

    “Hey one less rat in the world. I hate rats.”

    Australia’s “little brown rat” is not a particularly aesthetic creature, but it does have the distinction of being the first mammal to permanently exit the planet due to anthropogenic climate change. It was native to the Great Barrier Reef and lived on a small island in the Torres Straits.

    But not a single melomys has been spotted since 2009 and the species was finally declared officially extinct this week. The cause was the rapid sea level rise driven by warming oceans, accompanied by devastating storm surges that wiped out habitat and food supply. Since these are burrowing mammals, many likely drowned in their homes.

    While humans tend to focus on designer species such as whales, elephants and big cats, there is a very long list of other species that have recently disappeared, or are under extreme threat of extinction. As most people are aware, the loss of any species in the food chain changes everything.

    Over the ages, species have always gone extinct and been replaced. But has more and more humans swarm the planet, things have changed. The current extinction rate – sometimes known as the Sixth Great Extinction – is approximately 100 extinctions per million species per year. This rate is 1,000 times higher than historic background rates. That rate is expected to climb as global warming accelerates.

    In most geological ages of the past, species have adjusted to changing climate conditions by moving. Whether flora or fauna, species that live in alpine environments move up. Species that live in warming regions move toward the poles if they can. But in the Anthropocene, the rate of change is hundreds of time faster than in eras past. Species have barely started packing before they are gone.

    Humans, the most mobile of species, has always adjusted through migration, voluntary or involuntary. The current global refugee crisis is due in large part to collapsing ecosystems on every continent.

    Ultimately, Australia’s little brown rat met an untimely end because it was unable to migrate. It ran out of island.

    Humans will also continue to relocate on a mass scale…unless they run out of planet.


    RECENTLY EXTINCT

    Although the melomys is the first mammal to be declared extinct specifically due to global warming, it is only the latest in a growing list of mammals (and birds and planets) declared extinct in the past few decades. Generally speaking, cause for extinction are complex and virtually always incorporate some combination of human activity and climate change.

    • Vaquita Porpoise  2017
    • Javan Rhino 2011
    • Aloatra Grebe 2010
    • Baiaji Dolphin 2006
    • West African Rhino 2001
    • Dusky Seaside Sparrow 1989
    • Golden Toad 1989

    Departing soon

    • Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Down to 3)
    • Most amphibians are threatened with extinction

    You may also be aware on the margins of your consciousness that the global insect population is in steep decline. If your reaction is “Good, I hate insects,” well, you are probably having the wrong reaction.

    * Understood to be a mixed metaphor.

    The Third Pole and Global Glacier Collapse

    Rapid Glacier Melt In the Himalayan Plateau Threatens Water Supply for Billions | Abridged Ecosystem Transformation

    With perhaps hundreds of feet of sea level rise contained in the rapidly melting land ice of Greenland and Antarctica, the situation at the poles is enough of a planetary climate crisis for anyone. But the catastrophe at the Third Pole may be more destructive in it’s short term effects.

    The “Third Pole” is a term coined to describe the Himalaya-Hindu Kush mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau. These extensive ice fields hold the planet’s largest reserve of fresh water outside of the Greenland and Antarctica. Up to 1.3 billion people depend on the ten river systems that originate here for drinking water, irrigation and power in eight countries in South Asia. Among the rivers with sources in the glaciers are the Ganges, Indus, Yellow and Yangtze. If the people downstream from the sources are factored in, the number climbs to 2 billion humans (about 25% of the global population).

    Warming temperatures are liquefying glaciers across the vast Himalayan region. By one count, 509 glaciers have disappeared over the past 50 years.

    Before global warming kicked in, winter snowfall replenished the glaciers. Now, as temperatures climb, snow falls when temperatures are fairly high, so much of the water flows directly into rivers. The decay of the glaciers is visible from year to year. What is happening across the Third Pole is the most prominent example of this slow mo global climate phenomenon as alpine glaciers in South America, Europe and Alaska recede.

    As quoted in The Big Thaw, a February 2019 National Graphic article by Daniel Glick, Daniel Fagre of the U.S. Geological Survey Global Change Research Program said, “Things that normally happen in geologic time are happening during the span of a human lifetime. It’s like watching the Statue of Liberty melt.” As the article goes on to point out, the iconic snows of Kilimanjaro have receded more than 80% since 1912. In the Andes, an artist is painting the bare rocks white in honor of the glaciers that used to provide water for the villages.

    Link to full article

    COMPLEX CAUSE AND EFFECT
    In places where glaciers have disappeared completely, the impact on the water supply is devastating. However, where glaciers still exist, they melting more rapidly: the local effect may actually be more fresh water collecting in new lakes. So more water in the short term, followed by no water.

    This gives rise to a frightening event at the opposite end of the spectrum: a phenomenon called Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF), in which an ice dam holding back meltwater suddenly collapses, releasing a wall of water into the valley. This is not a new type of event, but as glaciers recede it is becoming more common.

    In the Third Pole Region, smaller spring-fed forest rivers are also drying up, due to climate change, deforestation, migration and unenlightened hydro projects. Rainfall and snowfall have decreased significantly over the past three decades and groundwater has been depleted by indiscriminate drilling (see Ogallala Aquifer depletion).

    Monsoons also feed the large rivers, so the receding glaciers are only part of the overall scenario. But the monsoons have also become unreliable.

    The impending drinking water crisis is not the only change looming in the Hindu-Kush. Agriculture and herding lifestyles have already been severely compromised as yet another regional migration gathers steam. Less grass grows and it does not grow as high. Herds are depleted remnants of their former selves. Local herbs are disappearing.

    As temperatures continue to warm, biodiversity is beginning to crash. The term “biodiversity” sounds scientific and vaguely liberal, but what it refers to is the death of species across the spectrum of life. Whether in the mountains, the oceans or prairies, the consequences of the sixth great extinction are just beginning to manifest themselves across the food chain.

    Most species that inhabits an alpine ecosystem have nowhere to go but up. And out.

    Humans are different. The pastoralists can leave the alpine valleys and find work in the towns and cities for now. But their herds can’t come with them.