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Climate for a Tribulation

Change's Emotional Challenge

Web pages have to say the conclusion up front or you'll move on quickly. The main point here is that too much has changed in recent decades that all of the troubles humanity faces are getting beyond our abilities and resources to effectively respond. Here is an 2011 UPDATE and even a link to a report on change.

The POINT IS a present material dilemma soon leads to revisiting a spiritual question. What is life? How do we respond to mounting global woes? Is change leading us to some kind of tribulation period?

The following account is an update of sorts. could include hundreds of articles and commentaries on climate change, but in reality, just a little information comes to some basic conclusions. You can go everywhere else to read all the rest.

Our MAIN CONCLUSION is, in the face of global changes, not just climate change, we as a human race face the biggest dilemma on a spiritual scale. How we respond to change and respond to humanity in a time of need and trial, that's the point. How you respond is sustainable, even if life on the planet loses its sustainability over time. Our responses will encounter psychological stresses and a growing cry to fix it, do something, reverse the damage, make the planet a safe place for life.

-------------- CHANGE UPDATED ----------------

There are numerous sources documenting humanity's impressions on climate change--some scientific and others not so.  In fact, we paused on writing a lot about climate change due to the multitude of science sources and numerous doubts expressed by non-data driven counterpoint groups.  Why?  Simply because a key WindowView conclusion is that the most vital element to change is not in the OMINOUS consequences but instead it is HOW humans will respond.  Part of that response is to one another and ultimately relates to a spiritual reality beyond our physical condition. What we believe matters a great deal!

From the believer's perspective, all things work together to God's will and purposes.  In that context we need to accept what ever changes are at play, globally, and then consider the broader and deeper implications. The ultimate reality comes down to the interface between events and the dilemma of finding faith in the midst of chaos and emotional responses.  THIS IS the point we are highlighting here. 

Belief is not an emotional response if also based on well grounded truth.  Let's consider some information related to immediate episodes of change and think how the human condition is confused before grasping well founded faith.


Report Cover

The Australian Climate Commission just released their publication entitled: THE CRITICAL DECADE Climate science, risks and responses.  As we recall elsewhere in WindowView, the Sigma Xi scientific society called the 90's a critical decade for responses to global change--to no avail--humans sat on their hands. At the start of the Aussy Climate Commission's document they note the following:

"Climate science is now being debated outside of the normal discussion and debate that occurs within the peer-reviewed scientific literature in the normal course of research. It is being attacked in the media by many with no credentials in the field. The questioning of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the “climategate” incident based on hacked emails in the UK, and attempts to intimidate climate scientists have added to the confusion in the public about the veracity of climate science."

[Get your own PDF copy of the 2011 report HERE]

So clearly we have a population that sees both evidence for and against validation of climate change. Ironically, within the WindowView, we see so much evidence for precipitous GLOBAL changes (the list is long and way beyond climatic parameters) just by what an ever enlarging human population does, and that regardless of any CLIMATE considerations. People are just blind to the obvious implications.  As long as the consequences are not yet local, denial is okay. Once the reality sets in by some kind of poverty under the superficial affluence, or outright bare bones impoverished state of just surviving, then the cries of the affected are glossed over. Are we hoping the consequences can be ignored long enough the effects will just go away.  

In biblical terms, consequences bring a kind of self inflicted or unintended judgment.  But how does one "get the concept," as intended here?  If one says dry conditions are due to drought driven by extreme episodes of local climate change, then dry ground and brush fires occur.  But is that all?  Might other consequences reveal a more hysterical component that will drive people askew?

The Climate Commission notes:


"For example, there is little doubt that extreme weather events such as bushfires and floods have significant impacts on human health and well-being. The 2011 Queensland floods have led to long-term, mental health and related problems, such as depression, bereavement, post-traumatic stress disorders and other mood and anxiety disorders; and the 2009 Victorian bushfires also led to considerable psychological distress, some of it prolonged, to those who experienced the fires and survived (A.J. McMichael, personal communication). Such extreme weather events have occurred before the advent of human-induced climate change, and the degree to which climate change affects risks associated with extreme events is a very active area of research."

As long as the consequences seem removed from you, the thoughts of what life really means can be put off. But tornadoes in the middle of the US (a record breaking 875 in April 2011 alone - see NOAA Report), earthquakes around the world ( as described here in another blog post), fires in Australia, floods all over the globe, and other physical and climatic challenges ALL are pause for thought.  And not just survival now, but thoughts on the value of our lives, what existence is, and the eternal implications. There are in fact eternal implications. Life now, and at no other time, is your opportunity to embrace the greater reality ... or just live in denial of the greater truth.

If you are interested, you can visit the Australian Climate Commission on the web and download the report, or again visit the WindowView link here to download the PDF.

------------- REVISITING THE CONCLUSION -------------

There is a lot that is EMOTION driven about all the climate issues. We know some reject the science because of personal beliefs. But when changes occur, the emotions of the moment are in response to the ominous events.

The human response in the material moment should be to helping others get through the moment. On the spiritual level, we need remember that our lives are temporal and the challenges we face may in fact help us to grow a deeply rooted faith.

Change brings tribulations. The Bible speaks of a time of tribulations to come. There may e some interplay between the biblical timeline and the global changes that create a human theater of sorts. Will some god-like figure promise humanity a way out? But there is no way out of the truth that our physical existence is only for a time. The real God inure at the root of faith is one that supposes the temporal dilemmas we face in the present time.

The material thinkers will decry we must counter change to make the planet safe for life. If you do a web search regarding the report cited here, you'll see a lot of diverse reactions, but none bring into perspective the real reason for tribulations or finding solace in a greater biblical truth.

------------ THE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS ----------

We say: Just remember, humans are at war, struggle over water rights, try to grow food to sustain the entire population, strive to achieve market success and expanding growth to build wealth, struggle politically, fall short of achieving peace, and fail to reach a harmonious and unified front to solve global problems. We are a fractured family and species in peril. Global change is a growing matrix of complex issue!

They say a lot just about climate in following summary points quoted directly from the Australian report. Consider this:

"– The average air temperature at the Earth’s surface continues on an upward trajectory at a rate of 0.17 °C per decade over the past three decades. 
– The temperature of the upper 700 m of the ocean continues to increase, with most of the excess heat generated by the growing energy imbalance at the Earth’s surface stored in this compartment of the system. 
– The alkalinity of the ocean is decreasing steadily as a result of acidification by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. 
– Recent observations confirm net loss of ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets; the extent of Arctic sea ice cover continues on a long-term downward trend. Most land-based glaciers and ice caps are in retreat. 
Sea-level has risen at a higher rate over the past two decades, consistent with ocean warming and an increasing contribution from the large polar ice sheets. 

– The biosphere is responding in a consistent way to a warming Earth, with observed changes in gene pools, species ranges, timing of biological patterns and ecosystem dynamics.
– There is no credible evidence that changes in incoming solar radiation can be the cause of the current warming trend. 
– Neither multi-decadal or century-scale patterns of natural variability, such as the Medieval Warm Period, nor shorter term patterns of variability, such as ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) or the North Atlantic Oscillation, can explain the globally coherent warming trend observed since the middle of the 20th century. 
– There is a very large body of internally consistent observations, experiments, analyses, and physical theory that points to the increasing atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide (CO2) the most important, as the ultimate cause for the observed warming. 

– Improved understanding of the sensitivity of the climate system to the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration has provided further evidence of its role in the current warming trend, and provided more confidence in projections of the level of future warming.
– Despite the dip in human emissions of greenhouse gases in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis, emissions continue on a strong upward trend, on average tracking near the top of the family of IPCC emission scenarios. 
– Ocean and land carbon sinks, which together take up more than half of the human emissions of CO2, appear to be holding their proportional strengths compared to emissions, although some recent evidence questions this conclusion and suggests a loss of efficiency in these natural sinks over the past 60 years.

– If global average temperature rises significantly above 2 °C (relative to pre-industrial), there is an increasing risk of large emissions from the terrestrial biosphere, the most likely source being methane stored in permafrost in the northern high latitudes.
– The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report has been intensively and exhaustively scrutinised and is virtually error-free. 
– The Earth is warming on a multi-decadal to century timescale, and at a very fast rate by geological standards. There is no doubt about this statement. 
– Human emissions of greenhouse gases – and CO2 is the most important of these gases – is the primary factor triggering observed climate change since at least the mid 20th century. The IPCC AR4 (2007a) report attached 90% certainty to that statement; research over the past few years has strengthened our confidence in this statement even more. 

– Many uncertainties surround projections of the particular risks that climate change poses for human societies and natural and managed ecosystems, especially at smaller spatial scales. However, our current level of understanding provides some useful insights: (i) some social, economic and environmental impacts are already observable from the current level of climate change; (ii) the number and magnitude of climate risks will rise as the climate warms further.
– A plausible estimate of the amount of sea-level rise by 2100 compared to 2000 is 0.5 to 1.0 m. There is significant uncertainty around this estimate, the largest of which is related to the dynamics of large polar ice sheets. 

– Much more has been learned about the dynamics of the large polar ice sheets through the past decade but critical uncertainties remain, including the rate at which mass is currently being lost, the constraints on dynamic loss of ice and the relative importance of natural variability and longer-term trends. 
– The impacts of rising sea-level are experienced through “high sea-level events” when a combination of sea-level rise, a high tide and a storm surge or excessive run-off trigger an inundation event. Very modest rises in sea-level, for example, 50 cm, can lead to very high multiplying factors – sometimes 100 times or more – in the frequency of occurrence of high sea-level events.

– Observations since 1970 show a drying trend in most of eastern Australia and in southwest Western Australia but a wetting trend for much of the western half of the continent. – Given the high degree of natural variability of Australia’s rainfall, attributing observed changes to climate change is difficult. There is no clear trend, either in observations or model projections, for how the major mode of variability, ENSO, is responding to climate change. Evidence points to a possible climate change link to observed changes in the behaviour of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).
– Improvements in understanding of the climatic processes that influence rainfall suggest a connection to climate change in the observed drying trend in southeast Australia, especially in spring. In southwest Western Australia, climate change is likely to have made a significant contribution to the observed reduction in rainfall.

– The consensus on projected changes in rainfall for the end of this century is (i) high for southwest Western Australia, where almost all models project continuing dry conditions; (ii) moderate for southeast and eastern Australia, where a majority of models project a reduction; and (iii) low across northern Australia. There is a high degree of uncertainty in the projections in (ii) and (iii), however.
– Rainfall is the main driver of runoff, which is the direct link to water availability. Hydrological modeling indicates that water availability will likely decline in southwest Western Australia, and in southeast Australia, with less confidence in projections of the latter. There is considerable uncertainty in the projections of amounts and seasonality of changes in runoff.

– Modest changes in average values of climatic parameters – for example, temperature and rainfall – can lead to disproportionately large changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme events.
– On a global scale and across Australia it is very likely that since about 1950 there has been a decrease in the number of low temperature extremes and an increase in the number of high temperature extremes. In Australia high temperature extremes have increased significantly over the past decade, while the number of low temperature extremes has decreased.
– The seasonality and intensity of large bushfires in southeast Australia is likely changing, with climate change a possible contributing factor. Examples include the 2003 Canberra fires and the 2009 Victoria fires.

– There is little confidence in observed changes in tropical cyclone activity in the past because of problems with the lack of homogeneity of observations over time. The global frequency of tropical cyclones is projected to either stay about the same or even decrease. However a modest increase in intensity of the most intense systems, and in associated heavy rainfall, is projected as the climate warms.
– On a global scale, several analyses point to an increase in heavy precipitation events in many parts of the world, including tropical Australia, consistent with physical theory and with projections of more intense rainfall events as the climate warms.

– A number of potential abrupt changes in large sub-systems or processes in the climate system – so-called “tipping elements” – have been identified largely through palaeo-climatic research. Many of these, if triggered, would lead to catastrophic impacts on human societies. – Examples of tipping elements include abrupt changes in the North Atlantic ocean circulation, the switch of the Indian monsoon from a wet to a dry state or vice versa, and the conversion of the Amazon rainforest to a grassland or a savanna. – Very large uncertainties surround the likelihood, or not, of human-driven climate change triggering any of these abrupt or irreversible changes. Experts agree that the risk of triggering them increases as temperature rises. – Abrupt shifts in atmospheric circulation can occur very quickly and can have large impacts on regional climates. The recent cold, snowy winters in northern Europe, and their possible link to climate change, comprise a good example of this risk.

– The budget approach directly links the projected rise in temperature to the aggregated global emissions in Gt CO2 or Gt C for a specified period, usually 2000 to 2050 or 2100. For example, humanity can emit not more than 1 trillion tonnes of CO2 between 2000 and 2050 to have a probability of about 75% of limiting temperature rise to 2 °C or less.
– Given an overall carbon budget between 2000 and 2050, the approach does not stipulate any particular trajectory, so long as the overall budget is respected. This allows a strategy that delivers least cost to the economy over time in making the transition to a low- or no-carbon economy.

– Reducing emissions of CO2 does not reduce or stabilise its concentrations in the atmosphere; it slows the rate of increase of CO2 concentration. To stabilise the concentration of CO2 requires emissions to be reduced to very near zero. 
– The peaking year for emissions is very important for the rate of reduction thereafter. The decade between now and 2020 is critical. – Targets and timetables are, in principle, less important in the budget approach, but the urgency of bending emission trajectories downwards this decade implies that more ambitious targets for 2020 are critical in preventing delays in the transition to a low- or no-carbon economy.

– About 15-20% of net CO2 emissions globally have originated from land ecosystems, primarily from deforestation. This represents the removal of carbon from a stock in the active atmosphere-land-ocean carbon cycle. It does not introduce any additional carbon into the atmosphere-land-ocean system, but simply redistributes it. 
– The combustion of fossil fuels represents the injection of additional carbon from an inert, underground stock into the active atmosphere- land-ocean cycle. This additional carbon is redistributed among the three main stocks in the active carbon cycle, thus adding to the amount of atmospheric CO2. 

– Avoiding emissions by protecting ecosystem carbon stocks is a necessary part of a comprehensive approach to mitigation. Sequestering CO2 into degraded ecosystems is also an important mitigation activity because it reverses an earlier emission. However, sequestering CO2 into land ecosystems does not remove it from the active atmosphere-land-ocean cycle. Therefore, the sequestered carbon is vulnerable to human land use and management, which can rapidly deplete carbon stocks, and to major changes in environmental conditions, which can change the amount of carbon stored in the long term. 
– The only way that CO2 sequestered into land ecosystems can permanently “offset” fossil fuel combustion is if the sequestered carbon is subsequently removed from the land ecosystem and stored in an inert state or in a stable geological formation, thus locked away from the active atmosphere-land-ocean cycle. Another approach to offsetting is to replace fossil fuels with biofuels."

The importance to global change is in looking at how social, biological, and physical sciences all reveal data and signs for more ominous changes in the near future. This is change in every aspect of human and earthly affairs ... globally. The Window looks further to see change as a backdrop to a biblical timeline. Driving forces for change force us to ask the most important questions about our true origin, who we are, why we are here, and what the Scriptures tell us about the future. Change forces us to look deeper to face choice or crisis. Life is an opportunity to look for the answers.

This is just one of many panes in the WindowView. This is a fraction of the process identified earlier within the section entitled 'Convergence.' Keep exploring the view, visit our page titled 'Experience WindowView' to see how global changes are part of a larger holistic paradigm which is the reason behind assembling this cyber-place. Putting the picture together helps to envision humanity's direction along the dimension of time.

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