- Published: 27 September 2018 27 September 2018
In this short exchange between Anthony Hobley (CEO Carbon Tracker) and Professor Michael Mann, filmed in the Arctic, they discuss the how the extreme global climate events of 2018 are connected to the amplified warming that is currently taking place in the Arctic. Dr. Hugh Hunt Reports:
These kinds of cross-disciplinary discussions are critical in helping all of us expand our perspective beyond our scope of vision. Professor Michael Mann is a leading climate scientist with a global reputation. Anthony Hobley, CEO of the Carbon Tracker, has helped change the dialogue of how we understand the risks to the financial industry from not embarking on an orderly transition to clean energy economy. This dialogue combines two perspectives on the same problem in a thought provoking way.
Michael Mann: “2018 is the year where climate change really showed its face. The impacts are no longer subtle. We see this now play out on our TV screens, our newspaper headlines. This onslaught of heatwaves, droughts, and superstorms that we have seen in recent months has finally awakened the public imagination and attention.”
Many in the UK have brushed off the recent UK summer drought by comparing to the recording breaking year of 1976. But Carbon Tracker CEO, Anthony Hobley, quickly points out, “I saw a chart that shows that the heatwave in ’76 was isolated to the UK. This time what we saw was a truly global heatwave.”
Michael Mann continued, “It was the global coherence of these extreme weather events… it is one thing when you have one country trying to deal with these extreme events but when you have literally the entire planet trying to deal with these damaging weather events, then you are really starting to transition into new territory.
“The Arctic is not like Vegas, what goes on in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic!”
Mann: “The melting of ice in the Arctic is literally impacting the whole world…. When you melt all that ice in the Arctic we are actually changing temperature patterns in the Arctic. It is these contrasts in temperature when you go between the warm tropic and the cold Arctic, the gradients, we call it, that creates the jet stream.”
“As you warm the Arctic you start to lose that contrast. You slow down the jet stream and cause it to meander. If you slow down the jet stream, you start to get those summer extremes that we are talking about. It is actually impacting weather patterns in Europe, in North America, and this summer, these extreme weather patterns, these unprecedented droughts, and heatwaves, were associated with a very unusual jet stream pattern. We are pretty certain that this is made more frequent by human-induced warming.”
Anthony Hobley: What are we likely to see going forward?
“2018 maybe a depiction of what life is going to be like for decades to come. We are now in a period of elevated risk because of global warming and the impact it is having on extreme weather events. 2018, which is this extreme summer, unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across the Arctic, that may become a typical summer, in just a matter of decades, if we continue on the course we are on.”
“In an extreme summer? We don’t have an analogue of what that might look like!”
Anthony Hobley: We are literally playing with fire!
Michael Mann: This is literally the only planet right now, in the universe, that we know that can support life… there is no planet B!
Anthony Hobley is recording a whole series of climate discussions on Youtube called Green & Tonic, click here to subscribe
Dr. Hugh Hunt is chairman of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series and a Reader of Engineering Dynamics and Vibration at the University of Cambridge. He can be followed on Twitter at @HughHunt