They Just Keep on Coming
- Aug 23, 2022 3:05 pm GMT
This summer it seems that every time I read a scientific or news publication or watch a program on television with a similar subject-matter, I am confronted by major effects of climate change. Going forward, these will increase in frequency and severity stressing our ability to adapt to them. They are also very complex and thus difficult to predict in advance. Most of these are secondary, tertiary or higher-order effects.
These include the following, which we have known about for some time:
- The sea-level is rising primarily due to a secondary effect and a tertiary effect of climate change. The secondary effect is the thermal expansion of sea water as it warms. The tertiary effect is the melting of glaciers and ice sheets (primarily the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets) as they warm, providing run-off into the oceans thus further increasing the level of the oceans.
- Both heat and CO2 enter the oceans and the latter acidifies them, causing major damage to coral, shellfish and possibly other aquatic life.
- The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet has freshened the water in the North Atlantic, which has disrupted the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC, the Gulf Stream and other major ocean currents).
- Increasing atmospheric temperatures and the MOC disruption have caused major changes to weather patterns around the world.
The latter has led to the slow-down or stalling of the Jet Stream in summer, leading to long-term heat waves throughout much of the World. Section 2 of this post will explore recent heat waves, and section 3 will describe other higher-order effects of climate change.
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