Scientists are running out of words to adequately describe the world’s climate chaos. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration already say Earlier this month, it was announced that there is a 99 percent chance that 2023 will be the hottest year on record. Maximum temperatures in September were on average 0.5 degrees Celsius above previous records, following what one climate scientist called “absolutely stomach-churning bananas”. When one of the hurricanes rapidly strengthened by this summer’s unusually high ocean temperatures rose from a 60-knot tropical cyclone to a 140-knot Category 5 storm, one scientist said: tweeted“Wait a minute, what??”
For many climate scientists, words are failing, becoming at least as extreme as the weather. This is part of the challenge they face in delivering ever more shocking statistics to a public that may be overwhelmed by even more dire climate news. They need to say something urgent…but not so urgent that people feel powerless. They need to be shocking…but not so shocking that their statements are dismissed as exaggerations. But what can they do if the evidence itself is indeed extreme?
“We’ve been thinking about how to communicate the urgency of climate change for decades,” says Christina Dahl, lead climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Climate and Energy Program. . “You have to find a balance between being scientifically accurate, because that’s your credibility as a scientist, your trust, your personal security, your self-esteem. But very We also need to communicate in a powerful way.”
There is another problem. Choose the best one. Perhaps it is becoming increasingly insufficient to characterize a particular disaster. For example, the phrase “mega” can describe intensified climate-related catastrophes, from large fires to major floods. “We add ‘mega’ to everything,” says Heather Goldstone, chief communications officer at the Woodwell Climate Research Center. “It’s a huge heatwave, a huge drought, and a huge storm. And it loses its punch after a while. It still doesn’t convey the true enormity of what we’re facing.”
And scientists are just people too. Kate Marvel, senior climate scientist at climate advocacy group Project Drawdown, said: “It’s really difficult to balance being a scientist and being a thinking, feeling human being.” talk. “Because we all have conflicts. We are not neutral observers. live here. “
Scientists walk a fine line and are constantly changing. They are objectively measuring our world and its climate, collecting temperature data and showing how the ice in Antarctica and Greenland is rapidly deteriorating, or how it destroyed Lahaina in August. They are building models for how wildfires are becoming more intense, or how droughts are becoming more intense. “Absolutely gobbling bananas” is a phrase you won’t see in scientific papers, but it reflects how much even the world’s objective measurers are held back by their objective measurements. Masu.