Washington. – Carlos Del Castillo He was raised in Puerto Rico, near the Caribbean Sea, but speaks with an unmistakable Cuban accent. He belonged to a family with many merchant sailors, and had a ship called the Calypso, like the ship of Jacques Cousteau. Del Castillo has dedicated his life to the oceans, and today he runs Ocean Environment Laboratory of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Oceans also experience heat waves. In reality, The oceans have a feverDuring a press conference about NASA’s studies on climate change, and the impact of the brutal heat wave hitting the northern hemisphere.
‘Next year will probably be hotter’Del Castillo is expected in an interview with LA NACION. There is usually something problematicThe predictions we make fall short of what we measure. It might be a little worse than we expect. Better or worse, the difference is that you will be hit by a large or small car, but you will be hit by a car. It won’t be good, he says.
Why next year could be worse?
One of the problems with explaining climate change is that temperatures follow cyclical patterns. The temperature for a year is important, but the year doesn’t tell the whole story. The important thing is we have data over decades and we analyze the temperature pattern. Imagine a zigzag, the temperature rises and falls, but the important thing is that the pattern increases. We expect next year to be warmer because we are entering an El Niño event, which adds a few warmer temperatures to the annual average. We wouldn’t be surprised if it got any hotter, and we know average temperatures will continue to rise.
Why is the trend getting worse?
– There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, more greenhouse gases. The ocean absorbs half the carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere and half the heat. But there comes a point at which the ocean becomes saturated, and the ability to absorb it decreases, and we still don’t fully understand why. But the point is, as we keep adding carbon dioxide, we continue to make this blanket over the planet thicker, and temperatures will continue to rise, there’s no doubt about that. One problem is that the predictions we make are usually lower than what we measure. It might be a little worse than we expect. Better or worse, the difference is that you will be hit by a large or small car, but you will be hit by a car. It won’t be good.
Have we passed the point of no return?
– We don’t know, there are scientists who think so, and there are scientists who think we are close, but there is no consensus about whether we have reached this point. The consensus is that it is not a good idea to get to this point.
– What will the climate be like in 20, 30, 40 years?
– It will be more hostile, more colorful. If we stopped emitting carbon dioxide now, sea level would continue to rise, because the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would continue to warm the planet, and that would continue to warm the oceans. If we stop now, there’s enough lethargy in the system anyway for temperatures to continue to rise. The very interesting topic is the extremes, we’re seeing more storms, much stronger storms, and something seems unexpected, heavier snow, because there’s more moisture. The winter will be colder, and if there is more moisture, there will be more snow. The energy and moisture in the atmosphere create conditions for more extreme events. We think that the heat waves will be stronger, at the moment in the Middle East the temperatures are reaching the limit of human survival.
What is the best case scenario?
Stopping emissions isn’t a real scenario, it’s a fantasy. The most positive scenario is to continue with emissions as they are now, which is also not very possible to have, but it is the best scenario we can think of. The fact that people in many parts of the world want to have a slightly higher standard of living requires a huge level of energy, and the easiest way to get it is by burning fossil fuels. It is a social justice issue. We have reached the social and economic level and the level of progress that we have achieved by destroying forests and burning oil. What are we going to do with developing countries that want to reach a level that is not what we have, but a little close? It is a social justice issue that must be analyzed. On the other hand, the generations that have now grown up in developed countries fully understand that global warming is true, and they are the next generations of voters and politicians who are going to have to do something. Technology is advancing, the sale of electric cars is growing rapidly. There is some hope that we will have technological developments that will allow us to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And what we do is we try to communicate so that people become aware.
-What do you think?
– When I started in this business, I was worried about the world because I would leave my grandchildren. Now I worry about the world I live in. Things accelerated more than I thought. It’s more complex than we originally thought, but at the same time crises create opportunities and I hope that as technological developments accelerate, scientists are already looking at ways to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But that takes energy, that’s the interesting thing, where do we get energy from? We must look for sources that do not pollute, because then we do nothing. It’s hard, it’s fascinating, and it’s hard to explain.
– There is also the subject of those who disbelieve the problem.
-This is demise. The evidence is so overwhelming that these things are generally hushed up more. But there will always be skeptics, there are those who still say the earth is flat. We can’t do anything about it. It’s interesting the role of the media, who are trying to be fair, to present both sides of the debate, but there was a point where it was clear enough that climate change was real, that they still put the mic in their mouths. climate deniers. But there comes a point when someone says two plus two equals five, and you stop putting a microphone in their face. We’ve already reached that point. Soon, we got to that point.
– You said that the oceans have a fever, can you explain that?
These heat waves that occur outside the ocean also occur in the ocean. These temperatures are higher than what aquatic life is used to tolerating. The point is, almost all parts of the ocean are warming, and the results are more energy in the atmosphere, a warmer atmosphere, more moisture, and higher sea levels. Half of the rise in sea level is caused by thermal expansion, when the water heats up it expands, and the other half is from the melting of the polar caps. Storms get more frequent, and hurricane energy increases when the water is warmer. What happens in the sea does not stay in the sea. The oceans have existing systems that are of paramount importance in distributing the planet’s heat. If the surface temperature rises, these existing patterns can be disrupted. It will be very disastrous. These great ocean currents shape the climate as we know it. Human civilization developed during a period when the climate was very mild. Technological developments in art and culture are based on the stability of society, and this stability exists because the climate was stable. We do not yet understand how ocean biology will change.
What can each person do?
We are responsible for our sphere of influence. The things we can do are doable. First, let’s find out. Try to reduce our energy consumption. For example, simply, the light one uses in one’s home, light bulbs, buy economy cars, try to use less fuel, when you’re in your house with air conditioning, set the thermostat higher, it gets a little hot, and in winter, a little lower, wears a jacket, as Jimmy Carter said. It’s little things, but when you add it up and multiply it by the population, it’s something tangible. And obviously, if you think this is a real problem, you should notify government representatives to resolve it.
How do you maintain optimism?
– I have no other choice, I have a 16-year-old daughter, and scientists always tend to think that we will be able to do something better, that technology will improve, and as we know and read about it, we see that the ball is moving in the right direction. And my great hope is that the new generations who will take the lead are deeply concerned about the planet we are leaving. And I tell my generation that future generations will not judge us well. We will not pass the test of history because we have clear information in front of us. Scientists began to say that many years ago, and the necessary measures were not taken in time. We will not be well judged by posterity, and it will be a just judgment.