Biodiversity Loss, Insect Apocalypse, Marine Heatwaves and Deoxygenation, Trans-Species Viral Risks

Biodiversity Loss, Insect Apocalypse, Marine Heatwaves and Deoxygenation, Trans-Species Viral Risks // May 7, 2022

I chat about ongoing loss of biodiversity around the planet, since we never seem to talk enough about or acknowledge this ongoing catastrophe to the plants and animals on Earth.

For example, the ongoing record setting heatwave in India and Pakistan has been in the news for weeks, yet, how many of you have read or heard anything about the impact on the flora (plants) and fauna (animals) in the regions subjected to this heat and high humidity?

The only effect I have heard has been the withering grain crop losses, and impacts to human food supplies. Everything discussed in the news and elsewhere is on human-centric impacts; there is next-to-nothing on the horrendous effects of the heat and drought on living ecosystems.

Humans need a planet that supports life, and as plants and animal species diminish in richness and numbers we eventually cross extinction thresholds and then ultimately face increasing risks of complete ecosystem collapse. We really don’t want to go there.

Species are migrating to the poles to seek cooler regions. As a result of these habitat changes, many more species are overlapping with other species that they did not interact with before. As a result, viruses carried by species are crossing species-barriers, allowing them to enter and mutate inside other species. Clearly, the risks of some of these viruses finding humans is ever increasing, and worsening as warming worsens. I discuss a new paper on these risks.

Ref: Mass extinction in oceans can be avoided by curbing fossil fuels,

Ref2: Climate change linked to fewer bugs, study finds, by Evan Bush:

The insects that keep the world running by pollinating plants and supporting food chains face grave risks, a new study has found.

The combination of climate change and heavy agriculture is having a profound impact on the abundance and diversity of insects, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

In areas where substantial warming has been documented and where land has been converted for intensive agriculture — meaning it involves monoculture or the use of pesticides — insects were nearly 50 percent less abundant, and more than a quarter fewer species could be found, the study said.

Ref3: The World Has Been Losing 10 Soccer Fields of Tropical Forest Per Minute, Eric Roston

Tropical deforestation drives more than 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, about the same share as the entire population of India. A new analysis released Thursday found that the world lost tropical forest in 2021 at a rate of about 10 soccer pitches a minute.

Last year saw a global loss of 3.8 million hectares (14,286 square miles) of tropical forest, according to the University of Maryland’s 2021 tree-cover loss data published by the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch. That’s a decrease of 11% from 2020, following a 12% rise in 2019, with fire accounting for much of the year-to-year variation.
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Ongoing Abrupt Climate Change more than DOUBLES Number of Large Tropical Storms (Cat 3 and Higher) // May 2, 2022

A new peer reviewed scientific paper that was just released this week performed a statistical study on the number of tropical storms expected under climate change in the near term future to what we have experienced in the near term past.

In most basins around the world, the number of large tropical storms of Category 3 and higher is expected to at least double, when comparing the storms in the period 2015-2050 relative to those that occurred in the period 1980-2017.

The exceptions to this are in the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Mexico.

Four state of the art climate models were used in this analysis, and they examined the wind speeds and return periods of the tropical storms in all the different ocean basins where they occur. Also, statistics on these storms was examined for a selection of 18 coastal cities. Tables were presented for the top ten countries experiencing the largest relative and absolute change in people exposed to Category 1 wind speed Return Periods below 100 years. Also, for the top ten countries experiencing the largest relative and absolute changes in the number of people exposed to Category 3 wind speeds.

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Paul (guest appearance in this video)
Shackleton (guest appearance in this video)
Newton (guest appearance in this video)
Sally Mop

Ref: A globally consistent local-scale assessment of future tropical cyclone risk, Bloemendaal, Moel, Martinez, Muis, Haigh, van der Wiel, Haarsma.

There is considerable uncertainty surrounding future changes in tropical cyclone (TC) frequency and intensity, particularly at local scales. This uncertainty complicates risk assessments and implementation of risk mitigation strategies. We present a novel approach to overcome this problem, using the statistical model STORM to generate 10,000 years of synthetic TCs under past (1980-2017) and future climate (SSP585; 2015-2050) conditions from an ensemble of four high-resolution climate models.

We then derive high-resolution (10-km) wind speed return period maps up to 1000 years to assess local-scale changes in wind speed probabilities. Our results indicate that the probability of intense TCs, on average, more than doubles in all regions except for the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Mexico. Our unique and innovative methodology enables globally consistent comparison of TC risk in both time and space and can be easily adapted to accommodate alternative climate scenarios and time periods.
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Executive Summary: Human Resilience to High Heat-Humidity is MUCH Lower than 35C Wet-bulb Threshold // May 1, 2022

I wanted to reiterate some points from my last video, since they are vital for human survival in the face of extreme temperature and humidity conditions, such as those ongoing, that are brutalizing both India and Pakistan.

Satellite imagery and data collection (remote sensing) today showed that regions of India at the surface surpassed 55 C, and even reached 60 C in some parts. This type of heat is not really survivable to either man nor beast or plant.

The key point is that the wet-bulb survivability condition of 35 C with 100% humidity is a theoretical value. In practice, young healthy people exposed to warm-humid conditions can only survive outside of wet-bulb temperatures are lower than about 31 C, and when exposed to hotter-drier conditions, they can only survive wet-bulb equivalents of 25 to 28 C.

Older people, people with underlying health problems, people on medication such as antidepressants (antipsychotics), very young people (babies and toddlers), and the obese are even less tolerant of high heat and high humidity conditions, but studies need to determine exactly how less tolerant they are.

Acclimatization to warm humid climates causes some physiological changes in the human body, such as lowering core body temperature, lowering resting heart rate, and lowering skin temperatures which can make these wet-bulb temperature limits slightly higher.

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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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