"Sudden surge of broken heat records is scaring scientists."

Now, I'm no expert, no genius, no trained climatologist, but I've been scared for quite some time.

I've never been convinced that our climate models are doing us any great service. Although, in any rational world, they would have been enough to compel radical changes long ago. But we don't live in "rational" world, we live in a capitalist one.

Again, I've just been assuming these guys and gals all know a hell of a lot more than I do. You don't often hear earth's climate system described as a complex, non-linear dynamic system; but I think that's what it is. It has feedback mechanisms that introduce non-linearities in the system outputs. But our models, at least it seems to me, have been mostly treating it as a linear system "If you increase CO2 in the atmosphere x-amount, you get y-amount of global temperature increase."

And somehow, we've concluded that 1.5°C of overall warming is somehow "safe" or "acceptable." Why?

Complexity implies that the system is difficult to predict. The system outputs exist in a "phase space" that can be somewhat well defined, but how and when it gets to any particular point in that phase space can be very difficult to predict. And many, if not almost all, of those points in the climate system phase space are likely incompatible with our present civilization and population numbers.

I think the assumption has been that for small increases in temperature, the system will behave mostly linearly. But we haven't seen small increases in the composition of the earth's atmosphere, we're trying to predict where the climate system will end up if we double atmospheric concentrations of CO2.

To my, limited, profoundly ignorant, way of thinking, that seems to suggest that that places us well inside the realm of non-linearity already, and that predictions are largely meaningless at that point. Complexity.

Anyway, I hope I'm just dumb and this is all going to work out.

But I've been scared for a long time. More scared now.

Not that being scared does anyone any good.

Originally posted at Notes From the Underground 07:50 Saturday, 8 July 2023