Global Warming Is Accelerating

Yves here. As most eyes are focused on the conflict in the Middle East it isn’t as if the climate crisis has paused in deference. Tom Neuburger gives a short recap of compelling and not at all happy global warming factoids.

By Tom Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

I’ve written quite a lot about this lately (for example, here), but it can’t be said enough. Global warming is accelerating. 2023 is the warmest year on record, and by a lot.

Image source. Click for interactive version.

The following, by climate writer and scientist Zeke Hausfather, presents the case clearly. First, an explanation of scientists’ new ability to track daily global temperatures:

While global temperature records are not yet in for the full month of October 2023, real-time reanalysis products increasingly allow scientists to track global temperatures on a daily basis.

Reanalysis pulls together a huge amount of data from satellites, weather balloons, aeroplanes, weather stations, ships and buoys to provide a detailed look at how the Earth’s climate is changing in real-time.

Modern reanalysis products, such as JRA-55 and ERA5, use state-of-the-art methods to produce records that align well with traditional surface temperature datasets over recent decades.

Now the results of that data. Note that the start point goes quite a way back, to 1958.

The figure below shows the daily global temperature anomaly values from the JRA-55 reanalysis product for each day since the record began in 1958 (grey lines). It shows the current year to date (2023) in red and the prior record warm year, 2016, in blue. Nearly every single day since mid-June 2023 has been warmer than any prior days since the JRA-55 record began in 1958 – and, potentially, much further into the past. [emphasis added]

This is the figure:

Daily global mean surface temperature anomalies from the JRA-55 reanalysis product, using its standard 1991-2020 baseline period. Lines show global surface temperature anomalies for each day since the record began in 1958 (grey), the current year of 2023 to date (red) and the previous record warm year in 2016 (blue).Again, nearly every single day since mid-June 2023 has been warmer than any equivalent day since 1958. That is, this July 1 was the warmest July 1, this July 2 was the warmest July 2, and so on. By a lot.

Warming in the Antarctic

The Antarctic is also in trouble. From climate scientist Zack Labe (whose Twitter feed is a godsend):

More on the Western Antarctic glacier here.

When that ice turns to water, it will add ten feet to global sea level rise. It’s going to be interesting to watch folks figure out how to move New York, and where to move it to. It will also to be interesting to watch as they realize, New York willneed to be moved.

You would think at some point someone would seize the wheel from the global leaders steering our global Titanic. But they’ve locked themselves in the bridge, and the ship still chugs to its destined fatal encounter.

There’s a conclusion to draw from this, about what we should do do. I’ll let you draw it.

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  1. Amfortas the Hippie

    shows up in hyperlocal anecdata, too.
    feast or famine…and the swing between la nina and el nino is more extreme.
    5 years since the last monsoon-like period where i’m at.
    and after almost 6 months of almost no rain, i’ve had at least 6 inches in the last 18 hours.
    and both the hurricanes that have impacted west central texas this season have been from the Pacific…which is also anomalous.
    in sep-oct of 2018, during the initial panic phase of our cancer adventure, we got 30 or so inches of rain…more than a year’s worth in a month and a half.
    forecast says that’s likely what we’re heading in to, now.
    the extreme swings between drought and flood are the most noticeable feature of climate change, for me….and its more or less predictable, just by watching the la nina/el nino sst anomalies.
    a month after the folks at the climate prediction center called a shift to el nino, a hurricane out of baja plus an unseasonable cold front broke the inertia of the la nina drought.
    i just wish i were a better roofer,lol…my house leaks with more than 2″ at a time…pots everywhere…and i’ll be running box fans all day today to dry it all out.
    and sunday, we’ll go from 85 degrees down into the 30’s monday morning.
    the good news, for me, is that el nino usually serves up warm winters, here, to go with the extreme wet…so another ice age, like in ’21, is unlikely.
    i need more rainwater tanks.

    1. i just dont like the gravy

      Yes, please improve your rainwater collecting infrastructure! If I was there I would gladly help you.

      Do your rainwater tanks overflow into swales or a “rain garden”? Would be a great way to ensure that excesses during extreme rain events can at least be collected subsurface.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        planned pond for overflow of the tank at the wilderness bar…as well as the 2 at the new cabin/bunkhouse.
        just as soon as there’s extra jack for the pondliners(much, much cheaper than they used to be)
        the rest…just overflows in place…and the landscape is such that it sinks in right there.
        one of the first things i did with the tractor was break a big hole in a dike over on mom’s north gully…county did all that 40+ years ago…but the outflow of that gully system pushes the flood into the belt of trees there, now.
        my dam break lets it all flow into our front pasture, where it pools and sinks in.
        after a rain like we just had, i expect the whole front pasture to be at least ankle deep…and it’ll take 2 days to soak in.
        ive spent a lot of time over the past almost 30 years watching the hydrology during such flood events.
        on my side of the place, there’s a gully that was constructed in the 30’s—by mule drawn earth moving equipment, no less(knew 2 old men who worked on it)—not connected to any drainage any more.
        part of that is where the bar pond will go.
        tanks are the most expensive part of rain collection…all my gutters were obtained from the dump/
        for a long time tanks were around a dollar a gallon…now, they’re down to around 65 cents…uv resistant fiberglass is my go-to…but i’ve rescued a few from the dump that are those caged poly things on pallets//paint them to protect from the sun.
        cant remember the latest price on pond liner…but thats the way to go for volume…renting a smallish excavator out here will run ya $250 per weekend.

        1. TimH

          caged poly things: IBC totes – 275 gallon (1000l), 40″ by 48″ by 46″ height, 128 lbs. empty, 2200 lbs. full

          Need a concrete base because of the weight… but can stack 2 high.

          Easy to find used.

          1. Bsn

            We only have a large garden, not a farm. Under a few rows I dung in some perforated pipe about 2′ deep. It’s a godsend (should I capitalize that?). I water under those rows perhaps once every 2 weeks. No evaporation, it waters deep, and the plant roots have to go deeper to find the flow. More roots, more plant, more veggies. Much more effective than water reservoirs or catchment, though that helps some. I’ve even had some volunteers that sprouted from the previous year and I never watered them. Their roots somehow found the water even though the buried pipe was about 8′ feet away. I plug the ends after watering to deter rodents. Once installed, easy peasy and a lot less heavy than catchment containers (a pint a pound the world around).

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Just about every climate scientist I know or who I follow online has been freaking out this year over the data. Up to now, change has more or less followed the models – bad, but not necessarily catastrophic in the short to medium term. But this year has been so crazy it seems very likely we’ve gone over some tripping points, many of which are points of no return. We are plunging into the unknown.

    The sad irony is that its happening just as there is finally some good news on emissions. The latest IEA report strongly indicates that oil and gas use has peaked and coal is in strong decline while renewables are growing far faster than expectations. And the IEA has a history of overpredicting fossil fuel use and underpredictions for renewables.

    1. Reply

      Keep watching China as their coal use has been a driving force. If their economy crashes, as has been bruited about, that could have a material impact on global temperatures.

      Is India a dark horse in the coal race?

      1. bdy

        Near term, things hot up when coal is reduced. The reduction in sulfur particulates from China and the shipping industry are significant contributors to this years record highs. Foolish, IMHO to leave particulate reflection off the table for political reasons. We can’t pull all that reflective sulfur out of the system without replacing it with something (calcium is best and safest bang for buck IIRC).

        I get it. The effects are wildly unpredictable; fossil fuel guys will use it as an excuse to drill-baby-drill; may cause more harm than good; yada-yada. But we’re hinging survival, according to IPCC, on pie in the sky bs like carbon capture. Why not put the modeling and theory into something that’s actually feasible and scalable, start using it in the real world, and start collecting data about the effects so that we can refine it into a practice that might make a real difference?

        Maybe the current big spike El Niño will be a wake up call to the necessity of entertaining reckless strategies. Not holding my breath. But I feel like Stephenson got two things right in Termination Shock. 1) If anyone does anything, It will be right wing rich folks protecting property and ignoring everything else. 2) The affordable tech is not airplanes but chemical propulsion — a big dust-cannon.

        *Anyone who understands this stuff better than me please, by all means, talk me down or enlighten me further.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          If the governments of India and/or China agree with this view, they will start filling the upper atmosphere with sulfate particles to reflect away sunlight no matter what non-India/China may think.

    2. playon

      US leaders’ response to warming climate will be doubling down on social unrest, bigger police and military budgets, more spying etc. They are all about managing the outcome while doing little or nothing to ameliorate rising temperatures. We’ll just have to pass the popcorn and watch things get more crazy as there is little else to be done.

      I think often of the book “Ministry For The Future” and the radical response to climate change. Such actions make more and more sense as time passes and temperatures rise.

    3. Janice

      The latest IEA report strongly indicates that oil and gas use has peaked and coal is in strong decline while renewables are growing far faster than expectations.

      I don’t think IEA reports should be relied upon. They are political first and foremost.

      Scaling renewables won’t lead to less emissions unless it is accompanied by a total change in the social zeitgeist.

      In fact, fossil fuel use has increased worldwide as “renewables”* have increased:

      *Nate Hagens refers to renewables as rebuildables, thus providing a more honest description of their nature in the reader/listener’s mind.

  3. cnchal

    > . . . JRA-55 reanalysis product . . .

    My bullshit detector has pinned the needle. Magically, feed all the old data into this black box and voila, whatever number pops out is the truth.

    Key Limitations

    As with most reanalyses, diagnostic variables including precipitation and evaporation should be used with extreme caution

    Dry bias in upper and middle troposphere and in regions of deep convection

    Time-varying warm bias in the upper troposphere

    What is my responsibility? Convince my neighbors to not buy that 8000 lb grocery getter while the froggy voice on TV implores you to buy that gleaming pile of crap as it will make your dick bigger?

      1. Bsn

        You can say “Trump” but who’s the prez that recently increased oil extraction from the Gulf and elsewhere? Hint, it wasn’t Trump. Trump is an idiot but Biden is sly. I’d go with the idiot. Don’t be fooled because actions speak louder than words, if one listens.

  4. thoughtful person

    Emissions dropping is good news. Still we need CO2 CH4 e.t.c levels to not only stop going up (unfortunately they’ve not stopped, in fact are accelerating up) but to start going down. Some worry that tipping points beyond human control, such as the frozen methane hydrates under the arctic ocean are starting to melt, or the forest fires across Canada this year, are starting to contribute significantly to the mix.

    The last 5 months the temps globally are well above any previous jump we’ve seen since we started tracking temperatures as a species. It seems to be climate change with an el nino on top got us to this level. El nino will disapate eventually but not climate change driven by greenhouse gases.

    Those at the the top (the deciders) have shown no indication that any other path than business as usual is likely to happen any time soon. The canaries in the coal mine are dying, see insect, amphibian, even vertebrate population declines. We humans are next.

    Climate change is not only temperature rise. Note the epic weather related disasters that are now occurring more and more frequently. Our human population will be in decline sooner than many expect. Maybe even in a decade?

    What to do? Try not to contribute to accelerating warming. Start preparing for things to fall apart. War, famine, and the rest. I expect your friends will be more valuable than material assets. Maybe various community level projects of resilience in food, energy, housing, trsnsportation, everything.

    1. skippy

      AGW has nothing too do with temp rises, its about energy on offer in a dynamic system called climate, its transfer from heat sinks and how that rolls …

        1. bdy

          Temperature rises. Ice melts. Huge reflective pools on glaciers evaporate cool vapors into a heating atmosphere. Energy in a dynamic system rises. Cool, melted ice pours into a heating ocean. Energy in a dynamic system rises (and that energy feeds the atmospheric churn, as changing ocean conditions breed bigger and bigger storms).

          AGW has nothing everything to do with temp rises, its about energy on offer in a dynamic system called climate. It’s cold cream poured into hot coffee making pretty swirls, at planetary scale.

        2. skippy

          I’m only trying to put it in the correct framework and not the dumbed down version MSM and others have used for so long. Temp in C/F really does not indicate the actual scale of what has and is happening or represent the energy it measures or the interaction/exchange between thermal sinks.

          When you start to comprehend that aspect you might want a bucket next too you.

          Then layer on all the living stuff trying to contend with it all … yet human brains and time …

    2. i just dont like the gravy

      What to do? Stockpile canned foods, nonperishable candies, and ammo.

      You’re gonna need something to trade with the stupefied Empire Babies once this all falls over!

        1. Bsn

          Naw, ya can’t eat bullets. Grow food and share it with your neighbors. More power in numbers and less power in bullets.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Learn to grow things. Potatoes might be a good goal for “calorie crops”.

        If you want to stockpile calories, cooking oil might be a useful item. It’s relatively cheap on a per calorie basis and I think it lasts a long time in unopened containers.

        This may sound a bit loony, but I think that “growing things” is good therapy even if you don’t get good enough at it to make a meaningful contribution to your nutrition. It’s possible to pursue this even in the cold seasons. You can grow herbs and maybe even salad in small containers in a Sunny window. At the moment, I have a tray of Basil starts, under lights, that are getting big enough to harvest leaves for pasta sauce, and I get a happy feeling every time I look at it. The world doesn’t have to be a paved-over wasteland, but even if it is tending toward that at present, one can still create green spaces here and there in the bits that are within one’s reach.

  5. Peter Nightingale

    For about a decade, I’ve been curve fitting global warming and emission data. Climate scientists don’t do that. Smoothing is all they apparently can think of. It has virtually no predictive value and it’s not what is recommended in what once was, and maybe still is, the bible of time series analysis: Time Series Analysis, Forecasting and Control, by Box and Jenkins.

    During that decade, I have been reading reports that mention that the only climate surprise is that developments outpace projections. Surprise, surprise, if all you do is linear fits! As to the absurdity of that approach, my all time favorite is a graph that appeared in the technical information of the EPA Endangerment finding of around 2007/2008. It’s here: How difficult is it to see the increase of the slope of those linear fits, aka acceleration?

    Here is a more recent fit I have a whole slew of additional fits. The conclusion is that all these curves when fitted to an exponential show a doubling time of the anomaly caused by the Industrial Revolution of about three to four decades.

    Let me also share this somewhat exceptional data of the Japan Meteorological Agency. It shows the ocean heat content of two top layers of the ocean: Notice the trend mentioned in the upper left corner, a trend obtained from a linear fit to a curve that manifestly has upward curvature.

    The following are my exponential fits to the same data set: I have three curves: one for the top layer, one for the lower layer, and one for the two together. The doubling time for these curves is exceptionally short compared to other fits.

    Do I know that a exponential fits are justified? No, of course not, but to ignore the possibility, as I see it, is a violation of the precautionary principle.

    In 2011, a collective of historians of science wrote a paper Climate change prediction: Erring on the side of least drama? In section 8, they mention the precautionary principle, which leads to my final question: at what point should one call it scientific malpractice to err systematically on the side of least drama and perform shoddy time series analysis that ignores decades old trends?

  6. JadeBones

    While no Climate Change denier; I find the absence of referral to the ‘22 Hunga Tonga volcano suspect.
    In an August 22, 2022 report NASA, (yeah I know, NASA, probably fake science) stated that the amount of water vapor injected into the atmosphere was a 10% increase to the existing. Water vapor is a most effective green house gas and this increase, it is stated, could affect weather patterns for as much as 5 years. I presume the greatest effect would be 2023 yet in none of the “hottest” reports, none of the few that I’ve seen, have mentioned this.
    Oh, right, the narrative and associated agendas trump science once again. Sad.

    1. mrsyk

      IIRC, the warming effect from the water vapor produced by the HT volcano was estimated to be around .10 to .15 degrees C. The effect is short term, expected to last for about five years. There is an unexpected variable. From Links yesterday, we read “New study shows Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai eruption depleted ozone layer” from

      1. Wukchumni

        Volcanoes of size are always game changers for quite awhile-especially messing with regular growing seasons, and this is a wild card, one of 119 known submarine volcanoes to ever happen in the past 11,700+ years.

        Its a known unknown.

  7. Cian

    While the collapse of the antarctic ice sheets is indeed very worrying, the timescales are on the order of centuries. Global warming is indeed a huge problem, but Tom Neuburger isn’t super careful when he looks at the scientific evidence. Sea level rise, in contrast to a myriad of other problems, is going to be relatively slow.

    1. juno mas

      A one (1) foot sea level rise will impact the one and only coastal sewage treatment plant in my city on the Pacific. Saltwater intrusion is already causing a problem with underground utilities. El Nino events currently create simultaneous high tides and high stream flows into the ocean, creating inland flooding. One foot rise is a tenth of the anticipated long term rise of ten feet. A tenth of a century is ten years from now.

      I’m not sanguine.

  8. Wukchumni

    Giant Sequoias have no tap root and roots extend outwards often just a foot below the dirt, sometimes exposed above ground, they aren’t like any other trees, you see.

    Friends and I noticed that a good number of them had fallen in the past couple of years, and I hit up the expert and he said in a normal year 1 or 2 aged Sequoias out of 1,000 will fall, and its hard to really figure unless you had completely surveyed the forest for the trees, which we certainly haven’t,

    The most amazing one this year was what looked to be a completely healthy Sequoia of size, maybe 15 to 17 feet across @ eye level, that had been ripped out by the rootwad, the existent roots in the ground reminiscent of the hydraulic clamps on a rocket that held it in place until the last second before liftoff.

    The 200+ foot tree was unusual in that they typically break into 2 or 3 sections, but not this one. It was intact as if a Saturn V had fell off the gantry, full bark and green branches on the exposed side of the tree.

    The other 2 that fell in the Giant Forest broke into sections.

    The soil is losing moisture and the Brobdingnagians might be the canary in the shallow coal mine, we’ll see if they start dropping even more.

    1. thousand points of green

      One wonders whether the “downslope” side of the whole sequoia root system should have a shallow crescent or half-circle or whatever berm built around it to trap and hold any sudden large skywater downfall-inputs so that the water doesn’t just run merrily away downslope away from the sequoia rootwad.

      If it would work, maybe it should be tried. In a world subjected to unnatural man-made global warming, perhaps sentimental worries about building earthberms around the sequoia rootwads are obsolete and obstructive . . . if one has a goal of enhancing water-storage in the sequoia-relevant soilzone-rootzone.

      1. Wukchumni

        The big ones have been doing it their way for thousands of years, i’d be hesitant to change things- but if they started dropping like flies, maybe.

        We’re nowhere near that, but the poor little things have been fairly decimated by fire with 1/5th of Monarch Sequoias (5 feet wide & bigger) killed in 2020-21.

  9. James T.

    Natural inclination for humans is to deny anything that would lead to catastrophe. Most deniers just say the science is flawed and there is no possible way we could have anything to do with the changes in our climate. I would lean to the idea that it seems obvious just using some basic scientific principles we all learned in high school that we are changing our environment. Also, I would say that part of it has to do with the natural cycles of the weather on our planet. From what I can tell there are not many deniers in the poorer countries because they can see the changes through there diminishing ability to survive. Wealthy countries will have little impact for now but will pay a price down the road. I just hope our children are more reasonable, responsible, have more empathy, and make better decisions than we did. Thank you for the updates as always.

    1. Kouros

      On the other hand, those that survived were those that prepared for the catastrophe: i.e. grain silos for the years of famine, big boat for the flood, etc…

    1. Phil R

      Excellent question.I also think reversing the question can be quite illuminating.

      Can climate change be a good framework from which to tackle Democracy?

    2. Lovell

      Can neoliberal capitalism be a good framework from which to tackle climate change?

      Whatever happened to WEF’s the Great Reset?

      How about advocating for de-growth?

      Detonate a dozen nukes to depopulate and bring world population to at least half of what it is now?

      Create a flashpoint in Taiwan and South China Sea so we will have, essentially, a Third World War?

      Crazy horrific scenarios and choices we have there.

      But, breaking news from New York Times, “US economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter”.

      So everything will be alright and we will have elections next year.

      Hooray for democracy.

      1. Kouros

        The contemporary US is a plutocracy – the term is not intended polemically, but as a statement substantiated by the facts and accepted by most informed commentators. It simply describes a country in which networks of corporate interests set the policy agenda via lobbying and political donation, and where hard data show that, over decades, in literally every translation of advocacy into legislative acts, the interests of the wealthy prevail. Plutocracy in fact is the form that rule typically takes in the US; most states, says Turchin, have a form of rule to which they revert over centuries after crisis periods, and ‘culture is persistent’ here. The US is reverting to type after the crisis of the Great Depression spurred elites, in their own self-interest, to turn off the wealth pump; this new co-operative instinct was consolidated by the experience of World War II, so that the decades from the early 1930s saw ‘the Great Compression’, with the gap between the wealthiest in society and ordinary citizens narrowing. Reversal of this trend is a reversion to type.

    3. Kouros

      Only if it is well informed and done in an educated population. One would need to hang demagogues and use sortition for maximual results.

      1. Bryan

        In our situation the demagogues are just a symptom. It seems necessary to also hang those who fund the demagogues, which includes anyone trafficking in any form of political influence. Better yet, make those convicted of political influence serve out the rest of their life earning and living on a minimum wage with no opportunity for retirement.

    4. thousand points of green

      Maybe at the level of some States and regional localities. Not at the federal level where no actual democracy exists anymore.

      People in areas where the population is majority or overwhelmingly composed of reality-based global-warming accepters should see if they can take over government in their geographic regions and develop their regions’ own Separate Survival Capacity for the Globa Super Heatering to come. They could also work on making their own Separate Survival Economies and Societies as low-emissions as possible and foster the highest possible skycarbon-suckdown within their own geographic areas. If other area-loads of people decide to recruit themselves to the reality-based global-warming-realist community, then the Separate Survival areas can offer their Separate Survival knowledge and practices to any new areas which also hope to practice Separate Survival.

      And whithhold that knowledge from the fantasy-based global-warming denialist majority areas which try to destroy the hope of survival for everyone everywhere on earth as well as for their own regions. Let those regions convert to reality-based global-warming-acceptance in order to recieve the knowledge about how to live in a global warming world.

    5. turtle

      That’s a key question. I don’t think democracy will be a good framework. The main problem here is a collective action problem. Democracy is not likely to resolve it within the time needed because the majority of humans around the world won’t make a decision until they are feeling the problem first-hand and agreeing on what needs to be done. And I include all elites and world leaders in the “people” I mentioned.

  10. NYMutza

    Humans can adapt to climate change. What humans may not be able to adapt to in large numbers is the loss of arable land, the loss of bio-diversity, the loss of clean water, the rise of exotic diseases, and the increasing social unrest that will tear societies completely apart. Fixating on a warming atmosphere is a mistake in my view. This planet is dying. Applying bandaids here and there isn’t going to accomplish much.

  11. danf51

    Climate alarmism must be a kind of coping strategy in the face of the stresses of our nihilist age. The climate may indeed be growing warmer or cooler or warmer in advance of cooling. But, as ever, the answer will be to adapt, not change the weather. Even rodents can figure that out.

    Somehow every solution the alarmists come up with is to slow everything down. Slow the economy down, slow human activity down, slows down the movement of people from poverty to more wealth. The only thing they want to accelerate is to hurry the coming population collapse.

    Every “solution” is poorly thought out, always top down, always demands vast new streams of funds flowing to small groups is possession of gnostic like knowledge. And every solution proves to be unworkable in any time frame the Alarmists insist must be met.

    The consequence is massive misallocation of already scarce capital. Take EV’s for example. Great idea. electric motors are efficient, and simple. Tesla’s are in many ways great cars and Tesla is a great enterprise. But they are not yet ready to be general purpose transportation devices. Battery development needs another 10 years of incremental improvements. The government is mismanaging the development of charging infrastructure. Nobody is building the power plants needed.

    Of course the Alarmist solution is to impose mandates. Force and compulsion seems to be another shared attribute of Climate Alarmists. But what will mandates do ? They will likely reduce incentives for EV builders to continue pushing their products forward. Why improve them, when your competitor is going to be forced out of the market. We already see EV range growth leveling off. As far as we can tell, the new Cybertruck is going to ship with 25% less range than was promised 3 years ago. Batteries are hard, what a relief for Tesla that they don’t have to keep investing so much because mandates will produce demand even for inferior products.

  12. Steppenwolf

    So, he reflected, the title should really have been “The Steppenwolf” rather than just Steppenwolf but what a horrible translation by Basil Creighton.

  13. rjs

    you all notice two Cat 5 hurricanes appeared out of nowhere in the Pacific? Otis went from tropical storm to Cat 4 in 12 hours before hitting Acapulco as a Cat 5….Lola did the same in the southern Pacific, hit Vanuatu, earliest southern hemisphere Cat 5 on record by weeks..

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