I finally watched a documentary in the tape-now-watch-later section of the TV. The History Channel’s “Crude” [not to be confused with several others of the same or similar names] is a decent elementary explanation, with beguiling animations of Jurassic era creatures and representations of Carbon and Oxygen bound together as CO2 rising into the atmosphere and falling into the oceans. It describes how oil came to be, the first discoveries and subsequent envelopment of the world by drilling sites. Then, somewhat surprisingly, but hearteningly, the experts who have been explaining this go on to describe what the return of so much CO2 to the atmosphere and oceans, by burning all the oil, means. In rational, straightforward speech they describe what a warming world once meant, and what they know about our proximity to a tipping point. Chilling — and on popular TV!
Having dreamt on that over night I woke to a significant front page article in the NY Times in need of a sharper headline:
Weather Runs Hot and Cold, So Scientists Look to the Ice
“United States government scientists recently reported, for instance, that February was the 324th consecutive month in which global temperatures exceeded their long-term average for a given month; the last month with below-average temperatures was February 1985.”
Almost every paragraph of Justin Gillis and Joanna Foster’s report rings bells of alarm, not only that above.
How about this:
…the sea ice cap has shrunk about 40 percent since the early 1980s. That means an area of the Arctic Ocean the size of Europe has become dark, open water in the summer instead of reflective ice, absorbing extra heat and then releasing it to the atmosphere in the fall and early winter.
The animations of the anoxic oceans in Crude, following the great volcanic upheavals as the continents pulled apart, will pop up in my brain now, every time I read another climate warning, filled with new confirmatory data.