Millions are caught in the climate fire. Australian scientist Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick on global overview: “Extreme terrestrial heat in 2023”. But it is not just climate. Huge natural systems are failing. From University of Hawaii, Dr. Charles Fletcher is co-author of the heavily viewed new paper  “Earth at risk: An urgent call to end the age of destruction and forge a just and sustainable future”. Toss in hot news of crazy weather flips, AI catastrophe forecasts, failing ocean currents, and here you go – a full Radio Ecoshock show.

Welcome.  I’m Alex Smith.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (57 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)


Listen to or download “Overheated Blues” AI/ASmith public domain climate song.


As weatherman Scott Duncan says: “April 2024 will go down as one of the most incredible flips on record in Europe. Summer to winter for some.” Meanwhile it was 39.2 C – that’s 102.6 Fahrenheit – in the shade in Turkey, the highest April temperature ever recorded in that country.  North Africa was sizzling with Chad and Niger breaking national records for April, just as American forces move out, and Russians move in.  No wonder flimsy rafts full of Africans dare death trying for Europe.

How hot was it? We begin with a scalding autopsy for 2023 heat waves around the world.



Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick

In 2023, extreme heat waves rolled across Earth’s surface so fast and so long – who can remember? In some places heat up to 9 degrees C or 16 Fahrenheit hotter than normal.  Summer-level heat waves struck in winter, again in spring, followed by simply astounding heat on every continent but Australia.  Twenty twenty three wasn’t just the hottest year ever recorded.  It was a year when forests burned, cities cooked, and crops died.

Let’s patch together the heat headlines, including many you did not see.  Our guest Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick led an international team of scientists, publishing their global overview paper “Extreme terrestrial heat in 2023”.

Dr. Perkins-Kirkpatrick is with the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, in Canberra – and the ARC Centre of Excellence for 21st Century Weather at Australian National University.

Listen to or download this 17 minute interview with Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick in CD Quality or Lo-Fi



We start with South America, which is so badly neglected in northern hemisphere mass media.  We might expect ten or twenty days of unheard-of oppressive heat.  But people in parts of South America experienced from 130 to 150 days of extreme heat in 2023 – almost half a year of too hot days and nights.

The paper notes: …“exceptional heat in winter and early spring that broke all-time summertime records.” That is mind-bending, a super warning.  During 2023, the average daily maximum temperatures in Argentina were an astounding 9 degrees C hotter – that is 16 degrees Fahrenheit hotter – than what used to be considered “normal” recorded temperatures. Argentina’s air conditioning industry is booming.

Climate extremes in South America are seldom reported in Northern Hemisphere media.  That continent is a blind spot.  Millions of people there experienced a “heat wave” that lasted anywhere from a third to almost half a year!  Such long-lasting heat waves kill people, animals, and crops.  Months of extreme heat reduce economic activity and cause mental and physical damages for whole populations.  Just imagine five months record-smashing heat every day in regions and countries without air-conditioning or other social support.  It is a nightmare.  Most North Americans and Europeans hardly know that it happened.

For a week at the start of August 2023, the average daily maximum temperatures in Argentina were an astounding 9 degrees C hotter, that is 16 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than what used to be considered “normal” recorded temperatures.  It was 3 to 7 degrees hotter maximum, or 5 to 12 degrees hotter for in Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and parts of Brazil.

July 2023 just roasted the American southwest.  Phoenix often reached 48 degrees C – that is 118 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade.  Every day in July was over 43 degrees C, 109 Fahrenheit.  These measurements are taken at the Phoenix airport.  It must be much hotter at pavement level in the city.  The majority of humans now live in cities.

In 2023, around the Mediterranean, summer heat came in April.  Then it got even worse.  This team says: “July was the hottest month ever recorded in southern Europe”. I wonder if people even remember.  With repeated heat waves lasting what seems like forever, maybe our brains are getting bleached like the coral?

The co-authors are global.  In addition to Perkins-Kirkpatrick from Australia, others are from universities in Spain, India, China, Brazil, Germany, and Columbia in New York. The report explains:

Multiple relentless heatwaves occurred in 2023, with much of the world experiencing at least 20 more heatwave days than the 1991–2020 average. Prominent and record-breaking events included exceptional wintertime and spring heat in South America, large heatwaves over Europe, Africa and Asia, and a prolonged event over south-eastern USA and Central America.”

“Many 2023 heatwaves exhibited record-smashing extreme temperatures, including a widespread heatwave spanning Thailand to Northern China that featured the worst April heatwave in South China on record.

And it’s back again in 2024 at least in Southeast Asia!  See:  Searing heat is back across Southeast Asia and it’s not going away anytime soon   By Heather Chen, CNN Published Wed April 10, 2024

The paper “Extreme terrestrial heat in 2023” was published April 4, 2024.  You can find a summary here, but the full paper was behind a paywall.  I found a full .pdf of it free here.



Extreme heat in North America, Europe and China in July 2023 made much more likely by climate change
25 July, 2023

Climate change report: Heat-related deaths on track to rise 370% by mid-century

By the way, our local electric grid was down the day of this interview.  Land-line phones keep working during blackouts and I used a mixer and other peripherals to record to a hand-held recorder – all powered by the two hour battery backup funded by Radio Ecoshock listeners.  Thus even the powerless continue to speak.



Governments and business want to know when weather catastrophes are coming.  Yes, current tools of meteorology can predict most of it, but not the fast most extreme events.  There have been nasty surprises.  Part of the problem, it takes time and expensive computer power to test out all the combinations of winds – high above and low down – pressure systems, everything.  Now Google claims it built an AI dedicated to testing for future weather catastrophes.

It’s called The “Scalable Ensemble Envelope Diffusion Sampler” or SEEDS model.  The new AI is similar to ChatGPT but trained on mountains of historical weather data.  The new Google tool should reduce computing needs and provide extreme weather warnings for small organizations or business.  My concern: this AI operates within the universe of weather records from history.  Can it cope with weather extremes no one has ever seen before?  That is what we are dealing with now, already in the 2020’s, with more to come.  Here is a link to the new paper about Google’s catastrophe model.

Eventually, maybe with a 100 billion dollar computing center, an AI might include not just weather, but all the social factors, on-going wars and pandemics, political division and billion-dollar fraud to predict civilization-wide bottlenecks and break-downs.  Then the billionaires can head to their bunkers in New Zealand.

Maybe the same God machine will realize the power is about to go out.  So it seeks solar and wind while shutting down fossil burning power stations and equipment as the wells.  The thing is: we do not need to wait for AI to solve our problems.  With climate at least, we know what needs to be done.  We are not doing it, and instead are furiously making the atmospheric energy imbalance worse.

The latest Global LNG Outlook from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis predicts “Tidal wave of new LNG supply to flood market” – just as demand for natural gas is actually falling in key markets.  “The IEEFA expects Europe’s gas and LNG demand to fall through 2030. Europe’s natural gas demand has declined 20% since 2021, due to fuel switching, increased nuclear and renewables generation, and energy efficiency measures.  LNG imports to Japan and South Korea fell 8% and 5%, respectively, in 2023.

As the United States becomes the world’s largest LNG exporter with more gas coming online world-over, the IEEFA predicts LNG ports now in development could fail.  Are we listening Canada?  Fossil fuels are just a bad investment in every way.

Could a politico-social Artificial Intelligence manipulate public thinking into a real transition? Do we want a machine using our own psychology to get climate action?  Of course, algorithms and deep learning machines are already at work day and night on the stock exchange, on social media and in the labs for medicines and weapons.  How bad would it have to be, how hot and starving, before humans beg intelligent machines to save us from ourselves?  Find a new song about the Artificial Savior at the end of this blog – mostly written by AI of course.

While all that develops, a team of super intelligent humans mapped out Earth Risks and possible responses.



Charles (“Chip”) Fletcher

“The climate crisis is now well underway”

That is according to a group of well-known scientists.  Their big picture overview was just published in a PNAS paper titled “Earth at risk: An urgent call to end the age of destruction and forge a just and sustainable future”.  Is it really that bad? Is there any way out of a hot-house disaster?


From the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, we have reached scientist and interim Dean, Dr. Charles Fletcher, often known as “Chip”.  He is co-author of the April 2024 in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Chip Fletcher

Listen to or download this 29 minute interview with Charles (Chip) Fletcher in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


“Propelled by imperialism, extractive capitalism, and a surging population, we are speeding past Earth’s material limits, destroying critical ecosystems, and triggering irreversible changes in biophysical systems that underpin the Holocene climatic stability which fostered human civilization.”

– from “Earth at Risk” Abstract

As Canadian author Leslie A. Davidson said:  “We are not lost, we are going in the wrong direction.”  We know a lot of what to do about climate change, but we continue on the wrong path – toward a world 3 degrees C hotter or worse.  As the paper says: “Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions set a new record in 2023, rising an estimated 1.1%, the third annual increase in a row since the COVID-19 recession.”

Several co-authors of this “Earth at risk” paper will be familiar to Radio Ecoshock listeners as guests.  Beyond William Ripple, originator of the Second Scientists’ Warning, we find famous scientist  Michael Mann, science historian Naomi Oreskes, British climate advisor David King and one of my favorite experts on how heat kills, Camilo Mora from the University of Hawaii.

This team writes: “The authors of this review believe that humanity stands at an inflection point in human history that will determine many characteristics of future life on Earth.



Not breaking news, just the same old disaster, world oceans continue to smash temperature records and scientific expectations.  The graph comparing ocean heat in 2023 is unreal, with a big jump, and the first few months of 2024 are even higher!  This jaw-dropping stuff but hard for the land-living humans to understand.  Yeah, yeah, world coral is bleaching a fourth time and may lose out. But deep under the sea, another big story is coming out.  Ocean currents that determine climate across the world are slowing down.

Yes ocean surface temperatures are record hot, especially in the North Atlantic.  These hot surface waters are curling under glaciers an melting mega-tons of ice.  This Earth has become less reflective as ice shrank back in the Arctic and Antarctic.  Sea level will certainly rise.

But there is a deeper issue.  Here on Radio Ecoshock, we began this story with master scientist Kevin Trenberth on ocean heat.  Then Australian scientist Matthew England explained the bottom water circulation around Antarctica has already tipped into a slower state.  That massive current which powers the global ocean pump of currents, could eventually stop, as it has before.

All that Antarctic deep water is connected to the North Atlantic current called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC.  We’ve run numerous interviews about AMOC weakening and what that means for weather in New England and all of Northern Europe, especially the UK and Ireland.

But absolutely new science shows the deep current of the Atlantic has slowed significantly, about by about 12 percent.  If that doesn’t sound like much, you cannot imagine the incredible amount of water involved, ocean water not moving, not arriving.  The article “Weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation abyssal limb in the North Atlantic” was published in Nature Geoscience on April 19th.  Disappearing deep water currents is one more link in the chain of things we can’t see, don’t know, and should never be messing with.

We have to kick the habit, you and I.  These fossil power drugs are prone to overdose for all humans and all current living things. Please self-activate.  Climate activists wanted – everywhere, all the time.

Next week: big oil wants you to love the Canadian tar sands. You are going to eat your dose of oil and love it as all the advertising and fossil-friendly bots train your brain.  Experts in public relations will tell you how they do it.



– A blog side-note from Alex

So the power went out in our little village while I had interviews scheduled.  A transformer blew up, caught fire, and the local volunteer fire department quickly had it all under control.  Then the internet blew up.  From thousands of miles away a Facebook poster explained the government did it, no doubt using HAARP, to frighten all rural people into 15 minute cities where we can be controlled.  Then Facebook’s Meta AI chimed in with completely out-of-context comments.  Maybe 40 people use that local forum, and the AI can’t be blocked.  That’s how fast everything is moving: AI penetrates the fringes and can’t be turned off.

As our power came back 18 hours later, I realized again how much I don’t want the whole system to crash even though it should.  Good thing none of this happened in Phoenix in summer.  A May 2023 study figures about 12,000 people would die if electricity went out there in a heat wave.  Almost 800,000 thousand people would need care in the Emergency Department, but of course that is impossible.  In February 2024, I interviewed the lead author Brian Stone, Director of the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Tech. Nobody is ready to live through the heat, when the breaking point comes.


Climate Cities: Radical Adaptation


In my view, grid blackouts during extreme heat will not only happen, they will become more common.  Electric grids in most developed countries were not designed to withstand long periods of very high heat.  Some power generators depend on river water for cooling.  When that gets too hot, the power stations shut down.  This already happens in several countries, from America to France. Power lines sag and may contact trees or building previously a safe distance below.  This may be why some California electric companies are shutting off power during extreme heat waves – after their equipment sparked massive wildfires.  Other equipment, including transformers, can overheat and catch fire.  The system is not built for what is coming.

Never mind a series of news articles over the years where government officials admit foreign hackers have entered power control sites, including hydro dam controls, and could have left sleeper software there to be activated as cyber-war or criminal blackmail. Some experts think China, Russia and possible Iran could bring down parts of the grid in Europe and North America.

Very large solar storms, called a Carrington event, can also bring down parts, possibly very large regional arrays, of the electric grid and all electronic equipment attached to it, like your stuff.  Listen to my show EMP = Instant Blackout with former Director of the U.S. Task Force on National and Homeland Security, Dr. Peter Pry.

EMP = Instant Blackout


My wife and I lived for 10 years without electricity.  We still have backup batteries, powered by 200 watts of solar panels.  You need at least a 300 watt inverter to recharge your cell phones, run a laptop computer (getting on the Net with a phone hot spot), and maybe a fan during heat.  To run more, you need a 1000 watt inverter.  We have a collection of a half dozen LED lanterns all with rechargeable batteries.  You can get all this for less than $500 U.S. (400 pounds UK, 467 Euros), although our two batteries added another $500 for high capacity RV/solar batteries.  Then when the power goes out, you have time to adapt and maybe keep functioning for a little while. We just used our backup system.  It allowed us both to keep working.  We cooked with propane in our old camper, hoping the juice would return before our big freezer thawed.  It did.

Meanwhile the giant new pipeline for tar sands oil to the Port of Vancouver is about to open.  It will deliver more very high carbon to the overheated atmosphere.  American production is booming, Australians, Norwegians, the Saudis, Russia, Iran – everyone is producing more climate killing fuels.  We are not lost, we are just going in the wrong direction.

I guess we will just wait until our Artificial Savior comes.

I’m Alex Smith.  Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock, and caring about our world.

Listen to or download my Public Domain song “Artificial Savior”.


AI song: “Artificial Savior” lyrics (try these lyrics yourself at,, or wherever machine music is made. Insert the lyrics and see what happens, or choose your own music style.)

Burning questions,
In advance.


In a world of chaos
We cannot see.
We turn to machines
Begging on our knees.

Artificial savior
When will you save us?
Oh Deus ex Machina!


Fear and hunger in our eyes
The world’s a battleground
No compromise.
But how bad does it have to be?
For machines to save humanity?

[Verse 2]
Minds so advanced.
Can they rescue us
From this fossil trance?
Burning questions
In advance.

Artificial savior
When will you save us?
Oh Deus ex Machina!