Newly Understood Climate Change Complications

The issue of climate change stems from byproducts of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. In the case of methane, a greater culprit, the emissions largely come from huge factory animal farms and trapped underground methane released into the atmosphere during the process known as fracking, the extraction of natural gas from subterranean deposits. The following are examples and symptoms of a planet in the process of swift alteration. There are some unfortunate cycles forming which feed into each other, the results quickening magnification of the problem.

Mega storms which have a climate change component at their angry hearts have mowed down millions upon millions of trees in tropical forests. We've heard very little about this in the media. We are better aware that companies and corporations are destroying vast swaths of oxygen-producing carbon-sequestering green in the very same regions where the lungs of the Earth originate. Both are at issue. Oftentimes these slain trees are burned wholesale thereby releasing their sequestered carbon into the atmosphere worsening the problem. What you may not know is that the natural transpiration cycle of the trees at the equator helps to form a band of clouds which deflects solar radiation back into space. Life-giving and cooling waters pour down from this band of clouds renewing the forest. A positive cycle. Just as pollution from fossil fuels exacerbates asthma in the lungs of people the wholesale felling of trees coupled with carbon-releasing forest fires in the tropics causes health issues for the forests. The erosion of this protective band of clouds is allowing for more sunlight and heat which further warms a warming ocean. This contributes to heat exacerbating the drying process of remaining forests. Simultaneously, warmer waters engender bigger storms which shear down and destroy even more of the trees which in turn release their sequestered carbon into the atmosphere all the while corporations slay more of the remaining forest further degrading the lungs of the earth. It's a vicious cycle.

Huge craters have appeared in Siberia - the stuff of science fiction you say; made by aliens. Russian scientists have determined that enormous deposits of methane have exploded up and out into the atmosphere rupturing the earth leaving craters hundreds of feet deep. The gas had been previously contained in permafrost. The permafrost is melting due to the warming climate allowing the gas to rise and escape. More greenhouse gas in pops of huge bubbles compound the warming problem. Remember: methane is approximately 80 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse warming gas. We are apparently the science fiction aliens exacting our own demise.

Meanwhile the voracious pine bark beetle in the western U.S. because of warming conditions has migrated northward in a into western Canada and Alaska. The species has killed millions of acres of trees. Add these to the millions mowed down in the tropics which no longer sequester carbon. More heat and less water in the increasingly arid region of the west support fewer new saplings unable to find foothold in a region subject to increasing desertification. Too-dry soils are setting in motion another vicious cycle.

Fires are becoming more numerous, more fierce over an annually lengthening fire season in the western U.S. and Australia. Airborne fine ash from forest fires in the western U.S. is traveling in upper air currents hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles north of origination. A fine layer of ash is settling on remaining pristine snow and ice in the polar north. The gray dingy ash is a noticeable shadow on snow to those who live and work in this region. The darker color invites the heating rays of the sun melting even quicker the remaining snow and ice beneath. More dark, open waters invite the warming rays of the sun. Greater heat. Numerous fires. More ash. Increased melting - all feeding another vicious cycle.

The wholesale warming in tandem with changing precipitation further stresses every old growth forest upon the face of Mother Earth degrading overall health, contributing to increasing states of decline in these brilliant, rarefied places. Entire vast intricate ecosystems are negatively impacted, some of the building blocks have already fallen away. All these complicated, amazing and miraculous old growth forests at the pinnacle of a slow, natural cycle are drawing closer to a tipping point.

The unfortunate fact is that these cycles are looping into each other aggravating and magnifying the others in a round robin of titanic proportions. If we as the responsible species do not wrestle control of the growing problem of climate change our Mother Earth will be irreparably changed. Tribes and cultures have foolishly blundered into their own extinctions through the centuries - Easter Island is a vivid example.

NOAA and NASA scientists upon disseminating and comparing all numbers have reported that 2015 was yet again the new hottest year on record. Nearly every year we shatter the old record - the one achieved just one quick year earlier. We have the knowledge to alter a coming catastrophe. There is tepid political movement and plenty of rhetoric. But politicians tend to be mercenary and choose to ignore historical lessons for expediency. The question remains: will we find the backbone to do all that is necessary to save us from ourselves?

penned by Wayne Paquette, January 2016