Two disturbing graphs

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The Economist (with takes graphs seriously) published two arresting ones recently.

The first showed that, whilst extreme poverty is falling across most of the world, and very rapidly in some places, it's level in sub-Sarahian Africa, and may indeed have risen slightly.  The World Bank forecasts say that it will be eliminated in Asia by 2030, but in Africa it seems to be stuck.  Why?  Well, you know why: weak economies, high birth rates, corruption.  Extreme poverty has also risen in the Near and Middle East in the past 10 years; but the reason here is war.  In the same edition were linked features on child marriage and the strategies being employed to eliminate it, and on demography and fertility and the trends across Africa and the Middle East.  It's a gloomy read in many respects.

The second was in a feature on the recent hurricanes and typhoons which showed the deviations (since 1960) in the average global ocean heat content.  It's a story of warming as you'd expect, and a clear link to climate change.  The Economist says:

"The link with climate change comes from the accumulation in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases produced by the industrial burning of fossil fuels and by deforestation. They create an imbalance in the energy flowing in and out of the planet, driving temperatures up. About 90% of that additional energy ends up stored in the oceans. Researchers who monitor sea temperatures down to 2,000 metres have plotted a steady rise since the 1950s, reaching a record high last year. So far, 2018 is on course to set a new record.  Kevin Trenberth of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research says this explains storms like Florence and Mangkhut. Tropical storms in the Atlantic (known as “hurricanes”) and Pacific (“typhoons”) draw their energy from this abyssal heat store. Warmer oceans mean more intense and longer-lasting storms. Climate models have long forecast this. Moreover, sea levels are rising at a rate of 3mm per year. Two factors explain this: water expands as it warms; and glaciers are melting at both poles. Higher seas mean storm surges reach farther inland. And, as the atmosphere warms, it can hold more moisture that eventually falls as precipitation. ..."

There's more (and the graph) here.



Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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