NH: My background is in meteorology, geosciences and interdisciplinary studies. I have a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from South Dakota State University. I completed a Master of Science in Geosciences with a concentration in Applied Meteorology from Mississippi State University in 2016. My education and research studies have been in the societal impacts of weather/climate, natural hazards, and advanced forecasting techniques. I also have a background in global climatology. I did undergraduate research into human decision-making in response to tornado warnings and graduate research in tropical cyclone impacts.
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ML: What is the most disturbing aspect of anthropogenic global warming that you are seeing today and what are its implications for the future?
NH: To me, the most disturbing aspect is the destruction of ice on the planet. It is commonly discussed among climate scientists that the planet has a high “inertia”. This means in natural climate change, there is typically a significant lag between what is happening in the atmosphere (rise in greenhouse emissions) and climate response (warming of the planet), forcing a more gradual temperature rise.
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ML: With the environmental damage that has already been put into the pipeline, modern organized human society may not survive this century and we are already seeing signs of this with the destruction caused by recent extreme weather events. The city of Beira in Mozambique, recently hit by Cyclone Idai, is said to be “the first city to be completely devastated by climate change.” Do you think it’s possible to transition to a net-zero carbon emission civilization within a brief period? Would this not require a radical reconfiguration of every sector of our economy and the way in which we treat each other and the environment?
At 500 parts per million of equivalent carbon dioxide concentration, enough greenhouse gases are currently in the atmosphere to ultimately warm the planet 4-5 degrees C/7-9 F above 1700s temperatures, raise the sea level by 220 feet/67 meters (assuming 1 ppm CO2 equivalent = 1 ft sea level rise, based on past longer-term paleoclimate change response), remove significant amounts of soil moisture, leading to the destruction of agriculture. And this is without any other carbon releases or feedbacks. Building more in an attempt to maintain civilized society with high energy consumption makes this all worse.
ML: There are around 454 nuclear reactors around the world with several dozen more currently under construction. At least 100 U.S., European and Asian nuclear power stations are built just Campagnolo C Record Mavic Open SUP CD Ceramic Wheels Set 700c Road Bike 8sp. With accelerated sea level rise and stronger storms on the horizon, we should be planning right now to decommission and close down these future nuclear disasters. What is your stance on nuclear energy?
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ML: What do you think about Campagnolo C Record RETRO FRICTION Shifter Lever Left SHIFT Vintage Bike NOS by scientists to dim the sun in order to reduce global warming and buy humanity more time to “fix” the problem? Proposed technology that could pull CO2 out of the atmosphere at the scale required is generally considered a Campagnolo C Record shifters 2 Shift Levers Green 7 Spd Chorus FREE SHIP US NOS At what point do you think our civilization will lose faith in technology to solve all our problems?
ML: In the recent extreme flooding in the U.S. Midwest, farmers suffered devastating losses with similar food shocks Campagnolo Campy 10 SPEED Bicycle Bike Repair Tool UT-CN200 around the world. How do you see the world feeding itself in such an uncertain future, especially when industrial monoculture is actually increasing worldwide?
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We are entering a range of weather conditions not supportive of agriculture. And not simply monoculture. All agriculture. Even other ways of doing Ag require stable weather conditions, seasonality, soils and ability to conduct economic activity between peoples. None of this will be possible in these conditions. And that assumes the ecosystems which support agriculture also remain stable and available and that is not likely given the ongoing global extinction of insects.
NASA before/after imagery of flooding near Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.