This week, yet again, the media is dominated by raging fires ravaging the California landscape. Whole towns are evacuated; hundreds of homes are going up in flames. Yet still everyone holds back, hesitates, as though afraid to make the final declaration.
Yesterday, on NBC Nightly News a veteran weather forecaster was asked to explain the cause of these intense infernos. His response: La Niña – the sort of opposite of El Niño.
He’s probably right, but it’s unlikely anyone living in California would argue against the frequency and intensity of these devastating fires having increased dramatically over the past decade.
While it’s comforting to blame El Niño and La Niña for the problems in California, these atmospheric genies that act like an enormous weather pendulum swinging ocean currents and temperatures backwards and forwards across the globe, have been around for eons. It’s easy to sit back and listen to ‘experts’ postulate their theory that the increase in El Niño/La Niña intensity documented over the last twenty years is nothing more than a temporary aberration – a mere quirk of the weather patterns – and the explanation might be acceptable, were it not for all the other evidence piling up to discount it.
This year has seen environmentally devastating weather conditions throughout much of the planet. Records are not yet available, but it is likely to prove, yet again, another of the warmest years on record. In parts of the world heatwaves have killed many. In other areas devastating floods have been responsible for catastrophic disasters. Only a few months ago, Greece was consumed by fires equally as intense, if not worse than those presently experienced by California.
Still the ‘experts’ will not commit themselves. Like the proverbial ostriches, they bury their heads in the sand and mumble incoherently about El Niño or La Niña being the only culprits of this wayward weather.
Scientists from the Global Carbon Project, the University of East Anglia, UK, and the British Antarctic Survey, have just published a report stating that carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000. 17% of that figure is due to industrial nations taking no action to curb their carbon emissions. The cause of the other 18% is even more concerning.
Oceans around the world have always been a vast filter of CO2 from the atmosphere, absorbing much of the carbon that would otherwise turn this planet into another greenhouse-gas-run-riot environment like our sister planet, Venus. Scientists have now realized the oceans are no longer able to store more carbon dioxide. They are reaching saturation point. Uptake of CO2 in the North Atlantic has halved in the last fifteen years. A similar situation exists in the Southern Oceans. The 18% CO2 increase, additional to the 17% caused by wayward politicians, is due to this factor.
Earth’s filters are clogged.
Landmass also acts as an absorber of CO2. Trees and plants do their share, but it is mainly the great forests of the Amazon basin that are the main ‘lungs’ of the planet. Prior to our ‘conversion’ from hunter-gatherers to agrarians there was much more forestation on the planet, but even today the landmass will normally absorb a similar amount of carbon dioxide to that of the oceans.
But, the very nature of the rainforest is changing. A twenty year study in Amazonia has revealed that, even in areas still untouched and pristine, the vegetation has altered. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing a shift in tree growth that will almost certainly have an increasingly negative effect on the forest’s ability to absorb CO2.
It would seem Planet Earth is reaching saturation point. The implications are enormous.
Meanwhile, our leaders mouth platitudes designed to placate our fears, while continuing to grant free reign to the greatest polluters on the planet – industry. Much is presently being made of an individual’s responsibility to decrease his ‘carbon footprint’, but industry still churns millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year with no restraint whatever.
It is right to applaud the ‘green’ communities that have sprung up all over the planet, doing their little bit to help reduce emissions, but their effectiveness is negligible set against the criminal complacency of the corporates.
Once the Earth’s natural filters become blocked and cease functioning, this planet will no longer be able to support life. It will happen quickly; snowballing. Temperature will rise ever more rapidly as the ‘greenhouse effect’ escalates. A 6 – 7 degree increase will mark the inevitability of human extinction.
As that happens, will the weather forecasters still be insisting its just La Niña?
Read More of El Niño/La Niña HERE.
Read about ocean CO2 absorption HERE.
Read more on the disastrous 2007 weather HERE.
Filed under: Weather or not