Following another record year of “natural” catastrophes, Canadian climate scientist and You tube activist Paul Beckwith works over our tenuous situation with host Alex Smith. Radio Ecoshock 180207
Has the weather gone off the rails? Are we falling off a climate cliff already? To find out what is going on, I’m calling up our regular scientist correspondent Paul Beckwith. He’s got a Masters Degree. He taught climate science at two Universities. Now Paul is educating the world with his many climate videos.
Paul Beckwith is the first scientist to become a full-time Professor on You tube. He often creates several a week, complete with graphs and graphics, on the latest topics – or on deep climate science that the media completely misses. I notice he get thousands of views within 24 hours of pretty well every video.
Find them all here on Paul’s web site, paulbeckwith.net. Like this one: “Everything you wanted to know about Jet Streams but we’re afraid to ask.” Or this video, “Hot Humid Wedge Slices Through Dark Frigid Arctic” which we discuss in this show.
THIS ISN’T YOUR FATHER’S WEATHER
Let’s go back to the 1990’s picture of climate change. Pretend to have beautiful birds singing in the background. The nights will be warmer they told us, and winters nicer. The world will warm slowly, maybe 1/10 of a degree every ten years. It was all on graphs, showing a gradual change, some of it nice.
There could be problems around 2050, and maybe even serious problems by 2100, after we are all dead. How did climate mayhem interrupt that orderly day dream so fast? From the stories I report, I think the weather gone off the rails decades too soon.
One of my Radio Ecoshock correspondents in Virginia says its freaky to go from -10 degrees F, -24 C to 60 degrees F, 15 C – all in 24 hours. It’s so hard to say when unstable weather becomes chaos…
Those kind of gyrations are pretty hard on people, but even harder on road, bridges, communications, and oh yeah, animals and plants. Paul covers that in this video “Wild Gyrations in Winter Temperatures. Why?” (over 5,000 views so far).
AUSTRALIA IS HOT, HOT, HOT!
In Australia, at the Australian Open tennis championships, it was over 104 degrees F. 40 Celsius, two days in a row. Sydney and Adelaide were roasting out, well over 40 degrees C. or 104 Fahrenheit. Australian media reports:
“Sydney hits its highest temperature recorded since 1939 with Penrith reaching 47.3C” Penrith is a suburb of Sydney and that is stupidly hot at 117 degrees F.
IT’S OFFICIAL: NOW WE ARE GETTING WEATHER BOMBS
As the New York Times reported: “A new weather disaster phrase entered the lexicon with the ‘bomb cyclone’ of Jan. 4, which covered the city in 9.8 inches of snow, a record for the date.”
Paul Beckwith was right on that with this video: “Unprecedented Storms of OUR Lives: Climate Bomb Mayhem”, published on Jan 8, 2018. He writes:
“Weather bomb. Bombogenesis. Cyclone Bomb. Terms for the beast that hammered North America’s East Coast, knocking iguanas out of trees in Florida, bringing ice floes from the ocean onto coastal Boston streets, and dumping feet of snow. Air pressure in the “eye” plummeted faster than most hurricanes (59 mb in 24 hours) to 951 mb (equivalent to a Category 3 storm). Climate change disruption of our planetary heat transport via atmosphere and oceans is accelerating; this is just the first few moves of the chess game.”
IT WAS LIKE SUMMER IN ALASKA – IN JANUARY
Alaska just had its warmest December on record. “The statewide average temperature was 15.7 degrees Fahrenheit above average for that month.”
“It was 65 degrees Fahrenheit, in Alaska, in the middle of January.” (same source, mashable.com)
UPPER AND LOWER ATMOSPHERIC POLAR VORTICES: It takes TWO to TANGO
Posted on January 25, 2018
I discussed this last January with Judah Cohen. He said the Arctic Vortex really referred to the Stratosphere, not to weather systems below – but he has accepted the public recognition of a lower Vortex, so now we have two.
THE DENIAL INDUSTRY STRIKES BACK
Here is Paul’s new video on all the lies and myths used to discount obvious global climate change. “Fossil Fuel Funded Fairy Tales (chemtrails, HAARP, sun changing, etc.) All Deny Greenhouse Gas Warming” posted on January 23, 2018.
Paul’s posts often get immediately get trolled with hate messages complete with gif graphics. Could these be Russian trolls or bots, whether paid by Russia, a huge fossil fuel producer, or hired by someone else?
We talked about the Russian intervention into the U.S. election, and then we discover that Russia has changed over some of it’s military budget for cyberwarfare instead. They have tried to influence social issues and elections in lots of countries. I haven’t seen a really in-depth investigation into the way Russia as a fossil fuel dependent country invades our minds in the climate debate. I’ll bet there’s a lot there.
We also have to consider these Russian troll factories can also try to raise money, by selling their services to others. It would not surprise me at all to discover big oil companies like ExxonMobil, who’s leader Rex Tillerson was so heavily invested in Russian and the Russians, are just one company hiring Russian trolls to sow doubt about climate change, and maybe even attack scientists who speak out on You tube.
THE NEED FOR A CLIMATE CHANNEL
Cable TV like MSNBC and CNN and going 24/7 on Trump and the Russia scandal. It’s great reality TV, with an unknown plot line and lots of cliff-hangers.
What if we had two cable channels doing nothing but climate change and weird weather coverage all over the world. Reporters on African crop failures, climate-induced bug infestation, real time shots of glacier collapse, bomb cyclones, California fires the works. Paul Beckwith would be instantly one of the talking head guests on that network. Maybe we could cook up some controversy while educating, and get people watching.
Maybe Paul’s videos are the beginning of a climate channel?
WILDFIRE IN THE CITIES
In Fort MacMurray Canada we saw the first instance of a modern wildfire burning down part of a city. Then it happened again on the outskirts of California and in Montecito. But we have not yet seen a major metropolis burn down.
Scientists studying nuclear fires say the black smoke from all those wild materials in city construction can actually cool the climate, maybe for years. I wonder how long it is until the first big city burns, just from heat and drought. For example, Cape Town is about to run out of water. Could it put out a big fire?
When one big city burns, others will rush to cut down trees and parks, just as some cities in Western Canada removed forests from their outskirts after Fort MacMurray. If homeowners and cities remove flammable trees, then it becomes a new local warming feedback: the last sources of natural cooling would be removed, and the urban heat island effect described by Mat Santamouris would strike. It’s bound to happen in the next decade or two.
FORGET THE DAYDREAM OF MIGRATING NORTH WHEN THE TIME COMES…
Speaking of climate escape plans, North Americans who think they will migrate to northern Canada are nuts. First of all, even if it gets warmer in the sub-Arctic this century, it’s still going to be really cold some of the winter. It will be totally dark for a couple of months as it always is. The sun is not going to move. There is either no soil in the sub-Arctic, or very acidic soil, so agriculture isn’t going to go well in those circumstances. People think it’s going to be like the prairies, but further north, until they meet the muskeg, rock, and billions of bugs. We need to shut that escape daydream down.
By the way, Radio Ecoshock is heard in the Yukon on the little station CFET 106.7 FM Tagish Yukon Territory, every Saturday at 1 pm. Hello to my Yukon listeners. Don’t say I didn’t try to protect you from the misguided coming hordes of climate refugees.
DO WE HAVE SOLUTIONS TO DECARBONIZE?
Paul Hawken edited a book called “Drawdown” where he describes lots and lots of ways to not just cut carbon emissions, but draw down the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Do you think the technology to stop the climate catastrophe is already known, just waiting for social acceptance and political decisions?
There are two general schools of thought about climate action in the future:
1. We will be so hard hit by climate disasters and their economic and social burdens that society re-organizes as the West did in World War Two, to re-shape the economy for carbon draw-down.
2. We will be so hard hit by climate disasters and their economic and social burdens that society collapses, there are mass die-offs, and a weakened humanity lives with whatever impacts in the carbon already up there, or even dwindles down to nothing, joining the other species we have driven into extinction.
Maybe there will be a mix of these two possible futures?
PAYING FOR SCIENCE COMMUNICATORS
Every city has a manager and a planner. Why don’t they have a chief scientist, and head science communicator? Why don’t we plan out climate health, the way we do public health? We accept preventative health programs, but not safe climate programs.
Paul Beckwith currently depends on You tube watchers to pay his household bills. Be sure and donate to Paul’s climate teaching work!
Amazon is replacing retail stores, and with them a lot of downtown areas and malls. I wonder if real-time You tube science education will replace Universities. Will Universities move from buildings to the Internet? Would that be a good thing?
Then we have the new fake journals publishing vanity science. One company in Hyderabad India supposedly publishes over 7000 science journals, where you can buy space, and even pretend it was peer-reviewed. There are companies organizing scientific conferences that look like the real thing. Denialist and cranks are using all that as “proof”.
I think we need an information virus program, that can block out known fake journals. Maybe it can block out Russian trolls and fossil-fuel bots as well. How is the information consumer going to be protected?
GET IN TOUCH
I’m your Radio Ecoshock host Alex Smith, thank you for listening again this week.