By now, most of us are aware of global warming and the weather problems that it has created. One of the most severe problems that the combination of heat and drought create is loss of crops. In history, we’ve had previous civilizations that have thrived, then lost their ability to provide food for their population … and vanished. Now and then, archeologists uncover some of these abandoned cities and are often marveled by the sophistication of their understanding of astronomy, mathematics, etc. If such civilizations were so intelligent, how, then, could they have allowed themselves to simply vanish?
Now it’s our turn. As “forewarned is forearmed,” and because today’s civilization covers the entire planet, let’s see how we do. Comments afterwards.
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Compound extreme heat and drought will
hit 90% of world population – Oxford study
Dr. Jiaobo Yin
University of Oxford
7 January 2023
More than 90% of the world’s population is projected to face increased risks from the compound impacts of extreme heat and drought, potentially widening social inequalities as well as undermining the natural world’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere – according to a study from Oxford’s School of Geography.
Warming is projected to intensify these hazards ten-fold globally under the highest emission pathway, says the report, published in Nature Sustainability.
These joint threats may have severe socio-economic and ecological impacts which could aggravate socio inequalities.
In the wake of record temperatures in 2022, from London to Shanghai, continuing rising temperatures are projected around the world. When assessed together, the linked threats of heat and drought represent a significantly higher risk to society and ecosystems than when either threat is considered independently, according to the paper by Dr Jiabo Yin, a visiting researcher from Wuhan University and Oxford Professor Louise Slater.
These joint threats may have severe socio-economic and ecological impacts which could aggravate socio inequalities, as they are projected to have more severe impacts on poorer people and rural areas.
The frequency of extreme compounding hazards is projected to intensify tenfold globally due to the combined effects of warming and decreases in terrestrial water storage … over 90% of the world population and GDP is projected to be exposed to increasing compounding risks in the future climate. According to the research,
‘The frequency of extreme compounding hazards is projected to intensify tenfold globally due to the combined effects of warming and decreases in terrestrial water storage, under the highest emission scenario. Over 90% of the world population and GDP is projected to be exposed to increasing compounding risks in the future climate, even under the lowest emission scenario.’ Dr Yin says …
”By using simulations from a large
model, and a new machine-learning
generated carbon budget dataset,
we quantify the response of eco-
system productivity to heat and
water stressors at the global scale.”
He maintains this shows the devastating impact of the compound threat on the natural world – and international economies. He says, limited water availability will hit the ability of ‘carbon sinks’ – natural biodiverse regions – to take in carbon emissions and emit oxygen.
Professor Slater says …
hazards in a warming Earth is
essential for the implementation
of the UN Sustainable Develop-
ment Goals (SDGs), in particu-
lar SDG13 that aims to combat
climate change and its impacts.
“By combining atmospheric dyna-
mics and hydrology, we explore
the role of water and energy bud-
gets in causing these extremes.”
Limited water availability will hit the ability of ‘carbon sinks’ – natural biodiverse regions – to take in carbon emissions and emit oxygen.
The work has wide-reaching implications across the broad fields of sustainability, including climate science, hydrology, ecology, water resources, and risk assessment.
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The scale of the problem is so vast, most of us can’t think of what we can do, as individuals, to change the trend that’s causing the problem … any more than a flea on an elephant’s behind can influence its walking path.
The giant organizations that create the things that have caused the problem – such as oil-producers, manufacturers of machinery that consume oil and emit CO2 and other contaminants, or producers of chemicals that are harmful to our lives – have the financial wherewithal to heavily influence the politicians who control the governments of many nations. And greed tends to dominate interests of wellbeing of the populace, as it did in history.
What can we, as individuals, do?
The biggest effort we can take is to lead by example. Powering our homes and our e-cars with solar panels will certainly reduce the emissions we create. Planting trees wherever possible will increase our environment’s ability to soak up CO2 and emit more oxygen. And once we’ve done some of these things, share the outcomes with others, to encourage them to do the same.
Finally, here are some comments from D …
“This article is quite emotionally heavy. What we want to remind each person that reads this is:
“Each of you has a responsibility to first and foremost live your life. Our wish is that you live your life in joy. Not just ‘big joys.’ They come around infrequently. But the daily ‘little joys’ of watching a sunset, witnessing a bird in flight, feeling rain on your face, or watching a child smile. These simple joys calm the soul.
“The best way to combat all these negatives is to find daily peace and joy, and live life to its fullest.
“We also hope that you find the time and space to do as much as is possible for you to conserve the environment … as well as enjoy the beauty of nature.”
I really value D’s perspective! It reminds me of an Eleanor Roosevelt quote:
“The purpose of life is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear,
for newer and richer experience.”
To attract readership or viewership, the media follow the “If it bleeds, it leads” principle. D’s comments can help us shed the fear they produce.