See what Dec 2015 to Feb 2016 looked like, temperature-wise:

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2016 started off way hotter than 2015. A sudden jump like this is called a step change. If you expect we'll now cool off to our previous decadal average, forget that. We've "leveled up". 

The current warming surge amounts to what’s called a step change — a practically instantaneous shift in our planet’s climate.

This sudden shift in temperature has arrived because of a confluence of events: Long-term global warming, the multiyear effect of El Niño, and extreme weather — including persistent heat waves at the regional scale.

The major cause of February’s exceptional warmth is global warming,…

El Niño can’t explain all or even most of the current warming spike — especially the warmth in the Arctic.

El Niño warming probably explains about 0.2 degrees Celsius of the current global surge, according to a modeling study from the Met Office (the U.K.’s national meteorological service).

Based on the Met Office’s estimates and my calculations, 2016 will probably be around 1.1 to 1.5 degrees above the 1850-1900 average. An annual breach of 2 degrees could happen as soon as 2030, according to climate model simulations,…

According to a five-year prediction from the Met Office, global temperatures may fall slightly over the next year or two, as the El Niño wanes and temporarily cooler ocean temperatures associated with La Niña take hold. But global warming will make that respite brief: 2018, 2019 and 2020 will likely be warmer than 2015, and the warming trend is expected to continue long after that. Sixteen of the 18 years that followed the last big El Niño (1997-98) were warmer than 1997. [emphasis mine]

When Will The World Really Be 2 Degrees Hotter Than It Used To Be?

Step changes also happen in other climate issues, such as the rate of sea level rise. Sudden jumps in the rate of melt indicate a tipping point was passed, and new self-reinforcements have kicked in.

Doubling times in non linear events often don’t fit a pure exponential curve — instead tending to follow a series of spikes and recessions with major transitional events coming at the end of any ‘curve.’ [emphasis mine]

Our path ahead: major transitional events kicking us into new regimes of change we'll hate.

Dr James Hansen — Human Warming Pushing Seas Toward Exponential Ris...

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Replies to This Discussion

If returning "to earlier religious practices" includes believing there are a heaven and hell, that god is just and will punish the wrongdoers, and we will be reunited with loved ones, even pets, then I will have none of it. 

Joan, you overlooked the context.

Did “the wise ones of the Native Indians” have a heaven and hell, et cetera?

Agreed! Those beliefs in an afterlife, where everything will be magically made right, dismiss and devalue our one real life, our one real world.

Even religions without that are likely to demand that people accept things not on evidence or experience but on authority, direct from the god(s) (or rather from the duly appointed humans in duly appointed silly hats speaking for them).

Many people do find comfort in being able to address "Someone" with their hopes and fears. Maybe there's a use for gods that know that they're imaginary (as much as a fictional character knows anything); such gods could serve as "spokescharacters" not for Christmas gift-giving or car insurance, but for the best interests of humanity.

A blogger took up the challenge in the Quran that humanity "could not" produce a comparable scripture on our own, and wrote an arguably better (and far shorter!) one, The Big Whoop Book. Its deity, Big Whoop, happily admits that he doesn't exist (outside people's heads); and he nevertheless has one tenet for us, which happens to be identical to "atheism's one commandment": "Don't be an asshole." (More commentary in chapters 2-5, including a treatment of sex I wish the better-known scriptures followed!)

Another, more ambitious, good scripture might be A. C. Grayling's The Good Book (subtitled "A Secular Bible" or "A Humanist Bible" depending on the publisher).

Looming in 50 years, a complete shut down of Antarctic Bottom Water [AABW] production. It seems climate models don't account for the way surface freshwater produced by Antarctic ice melt will choke off sinking cold water off the Antarctic coast. This cold salty water production drives thermohaline ocean circulation, also called the global conveyor belt. Without it, oceans will stagnate, and lacking new cold oxygen rich water, they'll begin turning anoxic and warmer. Only the abstract is available to the public. Stagnant oceans will transform our planet into one unrecognizable.

Projected Slowdown of Antarctic Bottom Water Formation in Response ...

We find that the additional freshwater induces a substantial slowdown in the formation rate of AABW, reducing ventilation of the abyssal ocean. Under both the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 meltwater scenarios, there is a near-complete shutdown of AABW formation within just 50 years, something that is not captured by climate model projections.

Most research on thermohaline circulation shut-down has been limited to the Atlantic Ocean's portion, called AMOC, which is most threatened by melting from Greenland. They found that past slowing lead to severe cold in Europe, because the Gulf Stream was no longer delivering warm water. While this is also happening, AABM is the strongest driver of global deep ocean circulation, affecting the Southern Ocean and Pacific first. However it's all connected, and a planet wide shut down is extraordinarily serious.

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This needs to be in the popular press as well!

Damn! As nuns in a Catholic school were describing their heaven’s wonders, I pictured myself in a comfy chair watching what’s happening on the earth. I WANT TO LIVE FOREVER!

Step change to Arctic climate coming, from permafrost degradation.

Abrupt shifts in Arctic climate projected

… as the permafrost degrades, the severity of wildfires will double from one year to the next and remain at the new and higher rate for regions in the Northwestern Territories and the Yukon.

"There's not much high-resolution climate modelling done of the Arctic. Our initial climate model experiments at 50km resolution allowed us to extract critical information on climate shifts,…  What we came away with, was a picture of alarming changes to climate driven by permafrost degradation."

Prior research in the field has tended to project a gradual degradation of the permafrost, with few direct effects on climate. Typically, researchers will model climate changes by looking backwards and forwards in 20-30 year blocks, making it easier to miss the abrupt changes that are taking place. The McGill researchers analyzed the effects of changes in the permafrost on a completely different level.

"As we started analyzing more closely climate model simulations for the Arctic region, we noticed abrupt changes in soil moisture, as well as abrupt increases in intense rainfalls with a probable increase in lightning and wildfires too." [emphasis mine, order changed]

Climate change over the past 420,000 years reveals step changes, not gradual ones. Some of the steps are HUGE!

Scientists predict widespread surface permafrost degradation awaits, as an abrupt Summer change over a few months. This regime change is expected to be permanent. But like most complex abrupt changes, they don't have enough data to predict when.

Here we project that soil moisture will decrease abruptly (within a few months) in response to permafrost degradation over large areas of the present-day permafrost region,...
This regime shift is reflected in abrupt increases in summer near-surface temperature and convective precipitation, and decreases in relative humidity and surface runoff. Of particular relevance to northern systems are changes to the bearing capacity of the soil due to increased drainage, increases in the potential for intense rainfall events and increases in lightning frequency. Combined with increases in forest fuel combustibility, these are projected to abruptly and substantially increase the severity of wildfires,... [emphasis mine]

Abrupt changes across the Arctic permafrost region endanger norther...

The Arctic may have crossed key threshold, emitting billions of ton...

The 2019 Arctic Report Card says that the Arctic has already shifted into a new state. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, it's adding almost another 10% to human emissions.

The Arctic is undergoing a profound, rapid and unmitigated shift into a new climate state, one that is greener, features far less ice and emits greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost,…

 … the 2019 Arctic Report Card, … paints an ominous picture of a region lurching to an entirely new and unfamiliar environment.

…  permafrost ecosystems could be releasing … almost as much as the annual emissions of Japan and Russia in 2018, respectively.

“These observations signify that the feedback to accelerating climate change may already be underway,” the report concludes.

… the carbon being emitted by the Arctic amounts to less than 10 percent of fossil fuel emissions each year.

… the region is undergoing extensive changes in the marine environment as well as frozen lands. The Bering Sea, in particular, has seen “disquieting” shifts in the past two years,… [emphasis mine]

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In related news Greenland's Ice Sheet is melting seven times as fast as in the 1990's. Did the IPCC predict that? Nope.

Greenland's ice sheet melting seven times faster than in 1990s

If you imagine that dramatic shifts in the Bering Sea won't matter to you,

... more than 40% of the yearly American fish and shellfish catch comes from the Bering Sea. If some of those species migrate north out of reach of the US trawlers, that will affect the American protein stock.

The Scariest Climate Stories Emerging From the Arctic




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