Overview of Chapter Z: Presents the life of a leading climatologist from Canada and Germany whose forecast models show the extent of the danger the world faces as the twenty-first century progresses. The chapter also examines the history of the environmental movement in West Germany and Canada, the history of international climate agreements, and the role of the United Nations. The chapter concludes with the UN’s October 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC.
1. Why have governments struggled to reach a climate change agreements?
2. How important are organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? How effective or organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?
3. Given what we know about climate change, is it moral to have children in the 2020s?
1. Identify global climate heroes working in academia, business,NGOs, social media, and government. What about their backgrounds inspires?
2. Prepare a list of nominees who: 1) have a family name beginning with the letter Z; 2) who are not well-known figures; 3) are alive today; and 4) deserved recognition for work . Who should be chosen from this list to represent the 21st century for Improbable Voices instead of Zickfeld?
• The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is the weakest it has been in one thousand years and " is likely approaching of a critical threshold beyond which the circulation system could collapse," according to Niklas Boers of the Potstdam Insitute for Climate Impact Research. A collapse of the AMOC would have catastrophic consequences for the planet. Here is a good summary of the study and here is the link to the actual study, which requires a subscription or purchase.
•In August 2021, the IPPC issued a new report, which essentially concludes that temperatures will rise so much in the next 20 years and even the outside goal of holding temperatures to 2 º C above pre-industrial levels may not be attainable any more. See https://www.ipcc.ch/2021/08/09/ar6-wg1-20210809-pr/
• In May 2021, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 419 ppm, which meant that the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were 50% higher than at the start of the industrial era. See this article.
• In March 2021, scientists reported that the Gulf Stream is the weakest it has been in a thousand years. This directly relates to Zickfeld's research. For reactions to the news about the changes to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)', see this article.
• On January 13, 2021, an international team of scientists announced in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences that the ocean temperatures between the surface and 6500 feet are the warmest ever measured. For a summary of the findings, see this article.
• On January 8, 2021, the Copernicus Climate Change Service announced its determination that 2020 was the hottest year ever for Europe and the second hottest year on record for the world, after 2016.
• In August 2020, Michalea D. King and Ian M. Howat published a study showing that the rate of glacial melt in Greenland in the opening years of the 21st century is such that winter snows cannot replenish the glaciers. For the original study, see Michalea D. King et al, "Dynamic Ice Loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet Driven by Sustained Glacier Retreat," Nature Communications Earth & Environment, 1, 1 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-020-0001-2 . For an article with interviews with the two lead scientists, see '"Canary in the Coal Mine': Greenland Ice Has Shrunk Beyond Return, Study Finds," New York Times, August 15, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/08/15/world/europe/15reuters-climate-change-arctic.html
• In August 2020, Christopher G. Piecuch published a study showing that the Florida Current, the headwaters of Gulf Stream and “a vital limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation” weakened over the past 110 years. He also determined that the “weakest decadal-mean transport…likely took place in the past two decades.” This finding supports the work Zickfeld published in 2004 on the AMOC. See Christopher G. Piecuch, “Likely Weaking of the Florida Current During the Past Century Revealed by Sea-level Observations,” Nature Communications, 11, 3973 (2020), accessed August 16, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17761-w
• The chapter discusses the impact of industrial pollution on German forests in in the 1970s. An August 2020 study assessed the state of forests in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the aftermath of the 2018 heat wave, which witnessed a mean temperature increase of 3.3ºC between April and October over the long term average. The study finds that there weas "unprecedented drought-induced tree mortality in many species throughout the region." See Bernhard Schuldt et al, "A First Assessment of the Impact of the Extreme 2018 Summer Drought on Central European Forests," Basic and Applied Ecology, Vol. 45, June 2020, 86-103, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1439179120300414?via%3Dihub
This tribute video presents clips of interviews with Maurice Strong, including footage from Stockholm in 1972.
This extensive presentation and conversation features Zickfeld explaining what the difference between 1.5 degrees and 2.0 degrees.
This map shows the broad way in which major ocean currents have traditionally travel around the globe. According to Zickfeld's research, oceans will continue to warm even if CO2 emissions cease. This means that the risk of disrupting the flow of ocean currents increases and the impact of that change will be greater as time progresses.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, accessed October 21, 2020, https://climate.gov/
The costs of climate change are far ranging. This graphic helps illustrate the complexity of the issues involved.
Source: "Climate Effects on Health," The Center for Disease Control, August 21, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm
If you feel like the days are hotter than they used to be, and if you worry that there is worse yet to come,this map and graph will not put your mind at ease. The map shows locations of heat waves in the United States between 1900-2010. The graph, entitled "Early emergence of Anthropogenically Forced Heat Waves in the Western United States and Great Lakes," shows that we can only expect more hot days in the years ahead. That's why I celebrate each cool day I have.
Source: "Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and Its Impact on Global Monsoons and Extreme Weather Events," Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Physical Oceanography Division,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, March 19, 2018, https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/research/moc/moc_monsoons/index.php
Maurice Strong played an important role in climate negotiations in Stockholm in 1972 and in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Here he is seen in May 2010, after receiving the Freedom from Want Award in the Netherlands.
Source: cropped image courtesy of Lymantria, posted to Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maurice_Strong_Four_Freedoms_Award_2010.jpg