Yesterday I posted the possibility of a series of cyclone that may devastate the lives of Pacific islanders if we have as many cyclones in the South Pacific as they had in the North. Today we have a forecast of a tropical storm near Caledonia. These storms can do massive damage to countries who have a fragile natural infrastructure.
As the Sun moves into the Southern hemisphere the heat is transferring to the Southern Pacific. The picture from Weather Underground shows the situation in the Northern summer with a string of typhoons heading towards China/Japan.
The second illustration is late November and shows a subtle shift of the ocean heat towards the South. It will take some time for the heat to build and it will be at its maximum after our mid summer.
Lets hope that we do not get a string of typhoons like those in the North as many of our island nations will be washed away.
About 8200 years ago the Gulf stream was stopped by the flood of fresh water coming from the melting of the ice sheets on Greenland and North America/Canada at the end of the ice age. This caused a disastrous temperature drop in Europe of about 5C which lasted for 100 to 150 years.
Lets hope that this cold patch of cold water in the North Atlantic is not caused by the melting ice sheet on Greenland although there has been a slowing of the Gulf Stream reported in the last few years.
With the UN COP21 Paris meeting approaching and countries lagging in their commitments to reduce CO2 emissions we have to ask, how safe is a 2C temperature rise? Its not humans who are affected as we are very tough and resilient to wide temperature ranges, its the environment on which we depend that matters.
We are already committed to certain outcomes, such as the 1.5C to 1.75C temperature increase, that will come from the 400 ppm of CO2 we have already put into the atmosphere.
As the planet warms the ice melts and we should have between 12 and 20 metres of sea level rise over a period of centuries if the planet repeats its original action.
Ocean acidity is rising as the CO2 is absorbed into the oceans and we know that plankton and coral reefs find it difficult to survive in an acidic ocean but quite how bad it will be is poorly understood.
Marine life is much more sensitive to temperature changes than land creatures and many fish are already on the move to regions that suit them better.
Trees are also very sensitive to temperature and rainfall as they are not mobile have developed over millions of years to a certain set of conditions and are not tolerant to even small changes.
Even if humans can survive the higher temperatures, it will be a bleak world without the trees we know and love and the oceans that provide us with sustenance.
This screen capture illustrates the massive power of the Southern ocean and is a reminder that this system drives much of the world's climate and weather systems.
Get the original here
It helps drive the thermohaline ocean circulation system and effects winds and weather all round the world.
Currently we are in an El Nino year and the contrast between the hot Equator and the cold of Antarctica is driving the system faster and giving New Zealand an extra cold spring. We will have to wait for the summer heat to take over before we warm up properly.
Both systems are giving us drought because of the consistent power of the West winds.
Occasional blog posts on topical news items concerning the climate. Please click the RSS feed to receive updates.