Climate Change Keeps Looking Worse and Worse

More bad news on climate change, I’m afraid. A team of scientists has completed a highly accurate assessment of ocean temperature increases based on measurements of atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide. The hotter the ocean gets, the more of these gases you expect to find, so these measurements act as a “whole-ocean thermometer.” Here are the results in a nutshell:

APO stands for “atmospheric partial oxygen,” and the chart shows the portion of ΔAPO that’s caused by climate change. This can then be reverse engineered to tell us how much ocean warming is caused by climate change.

Other studies have recently produced estimates of ocean warming that are higher than we previously thought, and this one provides confirmation using entirely different methods. Needless to say, this is bad news: if ocean temperature is rising faster than we thought, it means that sea level is also rising faster than we thought. This is potentially disastrous for low-lying regions like Florida, Bangladesh, and islands in the western Pacific.

But that’s not all. One of the key questions in climate change science is “sensitivity”: that is, how much temperature will rise based on a doubling of atmospheric CO2. This new estimate increases the lower bound from 1.5ºC to 2ºC, which in turn reduces the amount of CO2 we can emit and still keep global warming below the target range of 2ºC above historical levels.

The odds of staying below that 2ºC target were always slim. Now they’re slimmer still unless we get serious about climate change mighty fast. So far, there’s not much sign of that happening.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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