Friday, March 20, 2015

The years ahead: brought to you by climate change


Time now again for Science Friday.

I know it's a repetitive bleat with me, but the news on climate change just keeps getting worse.

This past February was the second warmest on record, according to figures just released by NASA. Yes, yes, the Northeast U.S. was buried under snow and there were several stretches of deep freeze across the Midwest. Citing that as any kind of evidence against climate change is like saying "there is no hunger and starvation in the world because I just had a sammich. 'Murica." Additionally, crazy winter weather is indicative of a disrupted climate. The article explains how this occurs due to what has been termed the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge." That is a system of high pressure that gets locked in place over the eastern Pacific Ocean, resulting in warmer than average temperatures in the western half the U.S.

The counter-balance to that is a sharp dip in the jet stream that plunges the eastern half into Arctic cold.

Rising temperatures have been especially tough for California. Residents of that state are looking at a rapid drop in their water supply that may soon reach crisis levels. Rivers are drying as water evaporates quicker in the increased heat. So what is left to do about it? Well, we can still get good writing out of the deal.

A project called Scorched Earth, 2200 AD takes a prospective look at the world after climate change has hit amain. In this speculation, the world's population is down to about 500 million, all living in contained cities called "lifeboats." These are located in the far northern reaches of the northern hemisphere, places like Canada and Scandinavia. Sea levels have risen dramatically while the average temperature around the globe is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Basically the world continued to heat, causing "feedback loops" of unbridled climate change that ruined civilization as we know it. Sure, there are still people living outside of these "lifeboats" in what were once major cities. They arise from their watery hovels only at night when the temperature won't kill them and scavenge for survival. One ironic point would be that there would be more water than ever before but hardly any of it would be drinkable as it would be laden with toxins.

Sound far-fetched? Not to me. We're already on a trajectory towards it and have been for quite a while now due to our actions. Maybe it won't be the exact scenario illustrated in Scorched Earth, but you can bet it won't be fun.

Maybe I don't want an extended lifespan after all.
  



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2 comments:

  1. Well this post certainly stirred up a shitstorm on FB. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/jjonnichols

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  2. Gotta love those GOP ideologues.

    ReplyDelete