Here’s a definition that should send chills down the spines of investors: “An unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” This sums up a black swan event. Nassim Nicholas Taleb mainstreamed the concept through his writings. His points became particularly topical through his book, The Black Swan, around the time of the financial crisis — a major, destructive event that many people found unexpected and, beforehand, maybe even impossible.
There’s a similar risk brewing on the horizon. Climate change could be the next black swan event that causes an ugly ripple effect through our lives and economies. The majority of current investment strategy comes up short on modeling, even considering that this as a legitimate concern, at least for our lifetimes.
Here’s a lesson in extreme irony: The term originated when people didn’t believe black swans existed at all. Because no one had ever seen one, it certainly looked as if Read more…
By 2100, extreme heat waves could cover 80 percent of the globe
Heat distorts the appearance of a car as a heat wave spreads across the American West on June 30, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, California.
Hundreds of thousands of East Coasters suffered through hot and sticky climates for much of July, as temperatures reached record highs in some places. Although these types of extreme heat waves are unusual, they will become more frequent and severe across the globe in the next 30 years, and there’s nothing that can be done about it, according to a new study from a team of international researchers.
Most environmental and climate researchers believe that extreme heat waves are the result of global warming and high levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. But no matter what actions are taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, intense summer heat waves are expected to Read more…
CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory
It hasn’t been a typical summer in Siberia. High temperatures for this time of year are usually in the mid-to-low 60s Fahrenheit, but this July they hit 90 degrees, and didn’t drop much below a high of 80 until just this week. Meanwhile, potentially record-breaking wildfires continue to rage, with over 22,200 acres of active burning.
The Siberian Times emphasized the lighter side of the heat wave, with photos of young people playing beach volleyball in swimsuits, a rare sight in Novosibirsk.
But high temperatures are becoming more frequent, and they are an important factor in Siberia’s historic fires. And although the whole planet is warming, Russia has seen it happen particularly quickly, “about .51°C per decade compared to Read more…
As of Friday August 9th, the heat wave in eastern Asia continues but in central Europe it has subsided. Some of the highlights below.
This map illustrates quite well where the core of the heat wave in China has taken place. It is dated August 1st, so you can now add 9 more days to number of days of “continuous high temperatures” which means days of 35°C+ (95°F+). Map from the Chinese newspaper ‘Global Times’.
On Wednesday August 7th Shanghai once again broke its all-time heat record with a 40.8°C (105.4°F) temperature, besting the record set just the day before (40.6°C/105.1°F), and also on July 26th. Prior to this summer, the record for Shanghai was 40.2°C (104.4°F) during the summer of 1934. Records in Shanghai date back to 1872. On August 8th the Read more…
WASHINGTON — A new massive federal study says the world in 2012 sweltered with continued signs of climate change. Rising sea levels, snow melt, heat buildup in the oceans, and melting Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheets, all broke or nearly broke records, but temperatures only sneaked into the top 10.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday issued a peer-reviewed 260-page report, which agency chief Kathryn Sullivan calls its annual “checking on the pulse of the planet.” The report, written by 384 scientists around the world, compiles data already released, but it puts them in context of what’s been happening to Earth over decades.
“It’s critically important to compile a big picture,” National Climatic Data Center director Tom Karl says. “The signs that we see are of a warming world.”
Sullivan says what is noticeable “are remarkable changes in key climate indicators,” mentioning dramatic spikes in ocean heat content, a record melt of Arctic sea ice in the summer, and Read more…
Some of the earliest clues scientists had that Earth’s climate has changed over time were mismatches between the fossil record and a current ecosystem. How could this palm tree have grown in Wyoming? Why have fossils of the tropical breadfruit tree been found as far north as Greenland? These cold places must have once been warm and wet. The world is not as it has always been.
And somehow, despite the tumult, species adapted, moving thousands of miles to habitats where they could survive. Won’t species today just do the same as temperatures rise in the years ahead?
It seems they may not have the chance. A new paper in the journal Science finds that Read more…
Death Valley in July. (David McNew / Getty Images / July 14, 2013)
By Monte Morin
Long before scientists began to study global warming, author Raymond Chandler described the violent effects of dry, “oven-hot” Santa Ana winds gusting through the city of Los Angeles.
“Every booze party ends in a fight,” he wrote in his 1938 story “Red Wind.” “Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband’s necks. Anything can happen.”
While social commentators have long suggested that extreme heat can unleash the beast in man, formal study of the so-called heat hypothesis — the theory that high temperatures fuel aggressive and violent behavior — is relatively new. Using examples as disparate as road rage, ancient wars and Major League Baseball, scientists have taken early steps to quantify the potential Read more…