The real effects of Climate Change are changing minds as well


But it may be small consolation:

The study, Climate Change in the American Mind, which was released in December, found that 46 percent of those surveyed said they had personally experienced the effects of global warming, two-thirds said global warming is affecting weather in the United States and more than half said warming has made natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes worse.

That change is evident in North Carolina, where record rainfalls statewide and the devastating effects of natural disasters, especially the repeated inundation of eastern North Carolina from hurricanes, has helped change the dialogue from one of questioning whether climate change is happening to what can be done about it.

Probably doesn't need to be said, but we all knew that, eventually, the catastrophic effects of Climate Change would become overwhelmingly obvious to even the most hard-headed deniers. But of course by that time, it really would be too late to stop it. I expected (maybe naively) that would happen in 2035-2040 or so. I'm afraid I was wrong. Methane buildup in the atmosphere is a game-changer:

Since the second half of the 19thcentury, anthropogenic carbon emissions have resulted in greenhouse warming of the globe(IPCC, 2014). This warming has caused considerable environmental impact worldwide. The ice caps have lost 50 percent of their ice area and 80 percent of their ice volume since the middle of the 20thcentury, causing sea level rises of 10-20 centimeters (Berliner, 2003). Global precipitation has become more uneven, leading to either drought or flooding conditions. This has resulted in both droughts and flooding. Warmer ocean temperatures and a greater concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere are fueling more powerful hurricanes. Up from 270 ppm before 1880, the atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration is now 404 parts per million (Moss, 2010). This is projected to increase at a rate of 2 ppm per year for the foreseeable future, strongly suggesting thatthe 1 degree Celsius of greenhouse warming that has occurred since the industrial revolution will only further increase in the coming decades.

This accelerating warming could potentially lead to several significant impacts that could exacerbate warming yet further.Among the most substantial of these impacts is the destabilization of methane hydrates. Methane hydrates are deposits of frozen methane occurring on the ocean floor. These deposits contain vast amounts of carbon, suggesting that their destabilization could result in substantial additional greenhouse warming should this gas be emitted into the atmosphere. This is because methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2 . Enough carbon is stored in methane hydrates that if even a small fraction of it were to be released into the atmosphere, resulting warming would potentially rival all anthropogenic warming since the industrial revolution.

Perhaps what renders methane hydrate destabilization one of the most significant environmental impacts of existing climate change is that initial releases of methane would cause warming that would lead to further hydrate destabilization and methane release. This would cascade in a positive feedback loop that would result in considerable climate warming (Smith, 2006). Such global temperature increases could potentially occur very rapidly depending on the rate of venting from these methane deposits, resulting in considerable cost to both the biosphere and human society.

This is also known as the "Clathrate Gun" theory, once considered a worst-case scenario, but now (very likely) a reality. It takes decades for atmospheric methane to destabilize/convert into carbon dioxide, but during that time, the greenhouse effects are huge.

Back to the OP, and the continued denialism of the NC GOP:

Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, a veteran legislator who is co-chair of the House Environment Committee and the appropriations subcommittee that drafts the environmental and natural resources budget, said she remains skeptical about the cause of climate change and taking policies too far in response.

“I’m convinced that the climate changes. I’m not convinced that man has that big a part in it,” she said in a recent interview with Coastal Review Online. “I’m sure there is a small amount, but when you start looking at changing everything in America, when the Chinese haven’t changed anything, and other countries haven’t changed anything …”

McElraft said she does support preventive measures, which have helped in coastal areas, but she isn’t convinced the state needs to start elevating roads. She said the emphasis should instead be on clearing debris from waterways. The state’s beach areas fared far better in terms of rising water than inland communities, she said.

Tell that to the people in New Bern. Or the people in Morehead City, which Hurricane Florence smashed to pieces. You know what, you can't fix stupid, but you can vote it away.



I'm already thinking about it

I'll be retiring (I hope) in another decade and climate change is already giving me pause about where I want to settle down when I leave the full-time work force.

There's no way I would look into a vacation home/condo on the coast of NC now, for example - by the time I retire, we'll really start seeing the impacts of sea-level rise and increased unstable weather patterns. Why invest in a something that will start to possibly loose value when I want to use it?

I'm also looking at overall climate scenarios for different states I'm thinking about retiring to. Already, NC's weather has shifted so it's more like South Carolina. In another decade, it might shift to be more like Georgia and Florida. Do I really want to deal with sweltering summers and more hurricanes? My other great love - the southwest - is looking at intense droughts and water shortages.

I used to think that preparing for retirement would primarily be about saving the money and planning for things like healthcare. Now I have to also think about the possible "worst cases" that could impact the weather, climate, and population in the areas I'm interested in retiring to.

Jesus, I really feel for the kids that will have to deal with this someday.

I wish I could move

My wonderful family is anchored here, so moving is pretty much out of the question. The Pacific northwest would be at the top of my list. Probably Northern California, but maybe southern Oregon. On the coast.