Friday, August 05, 2016

Pssst, want an Anthrax vaccine?

The dog days of summer, and the dog days of the presidential election season have coincided.  One party does not care about the daily warmth nor the long-term climate change:
The platform approved by a voice vote yesterday evening doesn’t explicitly question the science behind climate change. But it calls for reduced funding for renewable energy and international adaptation programs, and it seeks an end to the global agreement reached in Paris late year to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
“We oppose any carbon tax,”
Only the GOP could adopt such a platform!

Meanwhile, "based on the findings of 450 scientists from 62 countries" the "new “State of the Climate” report by the American Meteorological Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information" informs us that::
Last year officially surpassed 2014 as the warmest year ever noted on record.
Rising oceans, accumulating atmospheric greenhouse gasses, and escalating temperatures on both sea and land all reached new record highs in 2015 — surpassing landmarks set a year prior.
I am sure the GOP and its loyal members merely let out a collective yawn over this latest hoax!

The record warmth, month after month, and year after year, is apparently making true what were mere theoretical scenarios.  Like how pathogens buried in the cold, cold permafrost might find it to be a hospitable place for them:
The ongoing anthrax outbreak in Siberia is offering us a preview: What was once considered a future theoretical possibility — a re-animated deadly bacterium emerging from the permafrost — is now a reality.
"Ongoing"??? And I thought I keep up with the news!  Let me tell you first about that:
Eight people are confirmed as infected with anthrax, a rare but deadly bacterial disease. It is believed to have spread from reindeer.
More than 2,300 reindeer have died in the outbreak, in the Yamalo-Nenets region of Siberia. Reindeer-herding families have been moved out.
A heatwave has fuelled the disease.
Temperatures in the danger zone - now under quarantine - have soared to 35C.
Russia has sent troops trained for biological warfare to help deal with the emergency.
Anthrax?  The first time I ever heard about it was in the days after 9/11.  Until then, I had no idea about something called Anthrax.  And now, they are coming up from the deep freeze?
Officials believe that the heat melted permafrost and exposed an infected reindeer carcass in the Siberian tundra, AFP news agency reports.
The last outbreak in the region was in 1941.

So, back to the climate scientists and their theoretical scenarios.
Scientists have been warning for years that melting permafrost might release ancient pathogens, frozen for millennia or longer in northern soils. Over the last decade or so, bacteria have been discovered alive in Alaskan permafrost at temperatures as low as minus-40 degrees Celsius, and in permafrost layers as old as three million years in Siberia. Although the vast majority of known bacteria are harmless, we don’t yet know what’s buried up there, or how dangerous it might be to humans.
And it’s clear that, for now, weather conditions in Siberia are far outside their normal range. Last month, parts of Siberia near where the anthrax outbreak is occurring were as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) warmer than normal, averaged over the entire month. That’s like New York City suddenly adopting the climate of Tucson, Arizona, for the whole month of July. To say the Arctic climate is off the charts this year is an understatement.
What the what?

So, if we continue to set records for warmest month and warmest year, then ...?
“This is uncharted territory in the human experience, and especially the ecosystem is likely to respond in abrupt ways”
Anything else?
Permafrost-borne diseases are only one threat of climate change, and scientists warn that further abrupt changes are possible (if not likely) unless greenhouse gas emissions are quickly reduced. At this point, humanity has a decision to make — which is good news in the sense that a different course is still possible. But as with this week’s anthrax outbreak, if we continue to lock in future warming, we won’t be able to say we weren’t warned of the consequences.
Hey, thanks, Obama thanks, GOP, for reassuring us that Earth is cooling!

Most read this past month