Dome casings

The science is clear on the heated dome | News, Sports, Jobs

The insanely high temperatures of the past week in the northwestern United States and Canada were – and are – frightening. The heat and the fires it caused killed hundreds of people and are believed to have killed a billion sea creatures. Daily temperature records have been broken by more than 9 degrees Farenheit in some places. In Lytton, BC, the heat reached 121F. The forest fires that consumed the city produced their own thunderstorms, as well as thousands of lightning strikes.

An early study shows that human activity has made this thermal dome – in which a high-pressure ridge acts as a cover preventing hot air from escaping – at least 150 times more likely. The World Weather Attribution Group of scientists, which uses computer climate models to assess global heating trends and extreme weather conditions, warned that last week had passed even their worst-case scenarios. While it has long been recognized that the climate system has tipping points beyond which humans risk losing control of what happens, scientists have made no secret of their concern that part the generally cold Pacific Northwest had been turned into a furnace.

The worrying signs of climate change are not limited to North America. Pakistan and Siberia have also seen record temperatures in recent weeks, as have Moscow, Helsinki and Estonia. In Madagascar, the worst drought in 40 years has left one million people facing food shortages. Climate author David Wallace-Wells suggested that current conditions should be seen as harbingers of a “Permanent emergency”. As policymakers struggle to absorb the very serious implications for human societies of current models, it is frankly difficult to accept the suggestion that these models may underestimate the threat. The prospect of the jet stream blocking and weather systems such as tropical storms stop moving in the way we’re used to, carries nightmarish possibilities.

If there is anything positive to be learned from this new information and reports of the suffering and destruction caused by the heat, perhaps it is that it intensifies the pressure on policymakers to take action. . Last week, the Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board issued a warning ahead of a G20 meeting in Venice. He urged finance ministers and central banks to take more account of “far-reaching” climate impacts. The magnitude of these impacts will depend on decisions taken by governments over the coming months and years. So far, the binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions needed to avoid temperature rises above 2 ° C stand out in their absence. With each worrying news about the climate, the stakes keep rising.

To avoid future thermal domes, countries like the United States and Canada must stop pumping so much energy into the climate system.

* Guardian Editorial

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