SIMULTANEOUS HEAT WAVES: NO HISTORICAL PRECEDENT
June has been a month of record breaking heatwaves in the US, India, Pakistan, Europe and great swathes of Africa. As the month closes, China reports a double whammy of extreme climate events, with blistering heat in the northern and central provinces and devastating floods in the South.
In the flood zones, cars and houses are under water as hundreds of thousands have been evacuated. In the north highways are buckling from the extreme heat. You know the drill.
These concurrent disasters are consistent with statistical trends that show more or less indisputably that global warming is ramping up the intensity, the range and the frequency of extended droughts and floods.
Again: no single extreme weather event can be blamed on global warming, but the past decade has boosted the probability beyond any reasonable doubt. If we define a heat wave as three days with high temps over 100°F, the number of days with one heat wave in the Northern Hemisphere doubled over forty years from 73 to 152 . The same study reported a SIX fold increase in frequency between 1979 and 2019. Peak intensities were estimated by about 17% greater.
Global food supply – a warning
In addition to the fact that heat waves cause death and suffering, when planning your future it is useful to think about where your food will come from. As you may have noticed during the pandemic, any given consumable (or anything else) can disappear from shelves overnight. Pandemic, war or mass crop failure (or all of the above), the cause is irrelevant. We have seen how quickly human behavior deteriorates when toilet paper is hard to get or even (if you are of a certain age), when the Cabbage Patch doll supply runs out. Wait until there is no bread. (bread = wheat).
There is no one in charge. No one is going to save you but you. The fan blades are already turning and we have had more than adequate warning.
SUMMATION the Arctic is warming much faster than the lower latitudes, reducing the normal temperature differentials between the polar regions and the Northern Hemisphere. In the case of the current heatwave onslaught, the secondary cause – that is, in addition to high temperatures – is the disruption of those “normal” global circulation patterns, especially the Jet Stream. Weather in North America, Europe and Asia is interlinked.