Sudden Climate Change Syndrome

I arrived in Bangkok late Wednesday night local time – lots of travel. I returned from the Heartland conference to Toronto on Monday night, left Toronto early morning Tuesday for Bangkok, connecting in Tokyo with a two-hour layover in Vancouver. I’d looked at going from New York but surprisingly Air Canada’s prices from Toronto were better than any prices from New York and, like nearly everybody, I’m really watching expenditures these days. After about 24 hours in the air – and over 30 hours travel time all in, finally in Bangkok.

It was fairly mild in Toronto when I left – about 5 deg C highs. Before I left, I learned that, presumably as a result of global warming, daily highs were about 33 deg C in Bangkok. Naturally, I was extremely worried about whether I could adapt to a 28 deg C change in temperature in only 36 hours. Should I acclimatize myself in 1 deg C intervals? If I tried to adjust to a 28 deg C change all at once, wouldn’t I be at the same sort of risk as a diver decompressing too fast? Wouldn’t it be safer to acclimatize to each 1 deg C change in temperature for a week or so, before trying to scale Everest, so to speak? My son assured me that it was quite safe and that other brave adventurers had adapted to sudden climate change in the past. I was unconvinced but set off anyway.

After a few days, I am happy to report that I have managed to adapt to this sudden climate change. I was strangely fatigued for a few days. Bangkok time is 11 hours different than Toronto and I understand that this fatigue phenomenon has been termed “jet lag” by researchers unfamiliar with the many ways in which climate change can manifest itself, but that the most recent research either Nature or Science in press – I’m not sure which) has demonstrated that it is really a form of “sudden climate change syndrome”.

I was also concerned about the effect of global warming on Thailand since my last visit in 1968. The projected temperature in Thailand for my arrival was already far higher than Hansen’s projected temperature for Toronto under doubled CO2. Perhaps Bangkok had been overrun by dinosaurs and other Cretaceous monsters since my last visit. It turned out that Bangkok had indeed been overrun, but by Toyotas, Hondas and air conditioners. If you want to drive across the city, you’d better allow a couple of days.

I have some notes on the Heartland Conference, which I’ll post up either later today or next week. I was only able to attend on Monday because of travel commitments. I was most interested in a few presentations that dealt with issues relating to “water cycle feedback”, using this term to encompass clouds, water vapor, latent heat and lapse rate feedbacks – the non-”sociological” part of Lindzen’s keynote speech and session presentations by William Kininmonth and Jan Veizer. More on this on another occasion.

I’m not going to permit comments on this thread because I don’t want people using the above two sentences as a springboard for expounding their own views and solutions, while I’m not online to keep an eye on things. Plenty of time when I’m back.

Thanks to Ryan and Roman for providing interesting posts while I’m away and to Anthony for his support in so many ways and for posting up my ppt. I’m offline for a week.


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