The phrase, "the new normal," is non-operative. Misleading. False.

There is no "normal" now, at least with respect to weather phenomena. The extent to which meteorological conditions at any given moment are consistent with what we consider historical "norms," is merely coincidental.

The climate system that is manifesting these meteorological conditions is not "normal." It is without historical precedent in any meaningful sense of the term as regards civilization.

The rainfall events we have been witnessing in Fort Lauderdale, Pennsylvania, Vermont; the heat records being broken everywhere; the record high ocean temperatures; the record low antarctic sea ice figures are all features of a climate system that is not normal. A climate system that is not in anything approaching an equilibrium state. A climate system that is being driven by a change in atmospheric composition that is wholly without precedent in earth's history, save for giant impact events, and perhaps periods of extraordinary volcanism.

There is nothing "normal" about what we're experiencing, and it will never again be "normal" within the lifetime of anyone alive on earth today. Maybe the great-great-grandchildren of children being born today may live in a climate that may resemble that of the holocene, if we do everything we can.

Even if we were to cease all CO2 emissions and methane releases, today, it will be decades, likely centuries absent active measures to extract CO2, before atmospheric concentrations of CO2 return to something approaching what we associate with a "normal" climate.

During all that time, the climate will be undergoing dynamic transformations, seeking equilibrium. That's what "normal" will mean. Unpredictable. Unprecedented.

"Business as usual" is likewise a non-operative phrase.

Every flood plain manager in the country should be asking to have extreme rainfall events modeled for their areas of responsibility. They should identify critical infrastructure at risk from extreme rainfall events and begin efforts to harden or relocate it. Signage should be installed on all roads identified as vulnerable to flash flood events so people are aware of the risks. Such roads should be closed when conditions make extreme rainfall events likely. People living in regions vulnerable to flash flooding need to be relocated. In the interim, evacuation plans must be developed that are workable. Shelters identified. We need to become experts at temporary housing and services for persons displaced by extreme weather events. We also need to become very efficient at handling mass casualty events.

None of this is "normal."

I think people are beyond the "denial" stage at least with regard to the fact of climate change. They may not be beyond denial in terms of what we must do now.

We are in a state of emergency from now on. And we should begin acting like it.

Originally posted at Notes From the Underground 05:35 Monday, 24 July 2023