How hot can the Earth get?

Global warming is a thing, but the Earth has been a lot warmer in the past. It is thought by some geologists that we are in an interglacial period of an ice age, so it is possible that it will be a lot cooler in the future too when the ice returns, putting us into an ice age proper. Also far into the future the sun will expand, the oceans evaporate creating total cloud cover which will set the greenhouse effect into overdrive, water vapour is a greenhouse gas, and life on earth will be impossible. But the return of the ice and the evaporation of the oceans are far into the future. What I am really concerned about is the global warming that is happening now.

Global warming is a thing, and humans are contributing to it. When Covid-19 is under control climate change/global warming will still be here. We need to keep an eye on the weather, Not only for the obvious, such as the record heatwaves in the last two weeks in Death Valley, California, 130° Fahrenheit or 54° Celsius, but also for tropical storms on the increase and for the cooler rainy weather that has plagued the British summer.

It sounds counter intuitive, but global warming can cause cooler summers in localised areas. A warmer average global temperature means increased evaporation from the world’s oceans leading to greater cloud cover and wetter weather, but in localised areas. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas more droughts and more floods are likely, and more stronger tropical storms and hurricanes.

Then there are those areas in winter where there is increased snowfall. How can this be caused by global warming? What is happening here is that there are greater fluctuations in the jet stream. As the difference between watm and cold temperatures are greater in winter, large fluctuations cause fingers of cold weather to stretch south and fingers of warm weather to go north. That is for the Northern Polar Jet stream. reverse the directions for the south.

The warm fingers are the problem, where they extend over the sea ice it can cause melting as well as in the summer. Like ice in a drink melting and the liquid staying at the same level, the melting of sea ice will not affect sea levels. It is bad news if you care about polar bear conservation as they hunt on the ice. The big difference will be if the continental ice sheets on Greenland, Antarctica and other places starts to melt, that will case a rise in the mean sea levels throughout the globe. No one knows how much ice there is in these continental ice sheets, but estimates say the resulting rise in sea level could be up to 70 metres, swamping major cities, though it would happen at such a slow rate that people would be able to move inland, but the resulting refugee crisis of people fleeing from Bangladesh, the Seychelles and other low lying countries will be great.

As ever it is the poor people who will be hit the hardest.

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