Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Disruption and Distraction

As I go about my days, I marvel at how the art of distraction has basically mesmorized the general population away from dealing with the issues that actually threaten our continued existence as a species on this earth.

Certainly, given that I have been watching the Climate Change issue develop for almost 25 years, and given that I have been actively trying to communicate the seriousness of the issue for an equal time, it is no surprise to me that I live in a world full of dire scientific warnings from the most respectable of places.

It's a little like buying a car.

You buy it, and suddenly you see it on the highway everywhere.

The other night, while eating dinner with a friend though, I said something that even suprised me. Perhaps it was based on some of the other warnings I have been reading about, but it was my own prediction.

I told my dinner guest that "I believe that we have about five years before climate change begins to substantially change the way we live our lives."

Here is another reason why.

Global Warming Can Trigger Extreme Ocean, Climate Changes
Source: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
January 5, 2006

SYNOPSIS: New research produced by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography helps illustrate how global warming caused by greenhouse gases can quickly disrupt ocean processes and lead to drastic climatological, biological and other important changes around the world.

New research produced by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, helps illustrate how global warming caused by greenhouse gases can quickly disrupt ocean processes and lead to drastic climatological, biological and other important changes around the world.

Although the events described in the research unfolded millions of years ago and spanned thousands of years, the researchers say the findings provide clues to help better understand the long-term impacts of today’s human-influenced climate warming.

The unique data set they constructed uncovered for the first time a monumental reversal in the circulation of deep-ocean patterns around the world and helped the researchers conclude that it was triggered by the global warming the world experienced at the time.

The research, published in the January 5 edition of the journal Nature, is one of the few historical analogs for large-scale sea circulation changes tied to global warming.

“The earth is a system that can change very rapidly. Fifty-five million years ago, when the earth was in a period of global warmth, ocean currents rapidly changed direction and this change did not reverse to original conditions for about 20,000 years,” said Nunes. “What this tells us is that the changes that we make to the earth today (such as anthropogenically induced global warming) could lead to dramatic changes to our planet.”

The results revealed that deep-ocean circulation abruptly switched from “overturning”—a conveyor belt-like process in which cold and salty water exchanges with warm surface water—in the Southern Hemisphere, where it virtually shut down, and became active in the Northern Hemisphere.

The researchers believe this shift drove unusually warm water to the deep sea, likely releasing stores of methane gas that led to further global warming and a massive die off in deep sea marine life.

Overturning is a fundamental component of the global climate conditions that we know today. For example, overturning in the modern North Atlantic Ocean is a primary means of drawing heat into the far north Atlantic and keeping temperatures in Europe relatively warmer than conditions in Canada, for example.

Today, “new” deep-water generation does not occur in the Pacific Ocean because of the large amount of freshwater input from the polar regions that prevents North Pacific waters from becoming dense enough to sink to more than intermediate depths.

In the case of the Paleocene/Eocene period, however, deep-water formation was possible in the Pacific Ocean because of the global warming-induced changes. The Atlantic Ocean also could have been a significant generator of deep waters during this period.

In the paper, the authors note that modern carbon dioxide input from fossil fuel sources to the earth’s surface is approaching the same levels estimated for the PETM period, which raises concerns about future climate and changes in ocean circulation.

Thus they say the Paleocene/Eocene example suggests that human-produced changes may have lasting effects not only in global climate, but in deep ocean circulation as well.

“Overturning is very sensitive to surface ocean temperatures and surface ocean salinity,” said Norris, a professor in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps.

“The case described in this paper may be one of our best examples of global warming triggered by the massive release of greenhouse gases and therefore it gives us a perspective on what the long-term impact is likely to be of today’s greenhouse warming that humans are causing.

All of the football games,

All of the confirmation hearings,

All of the worries about Starie Decisis,

All of the new retro cool car designs,

All of the worries about timid democrats,

Who can't even effectively parry with the most

incompetent government in American History.

All of these shaking branches won't distract us anymore.

We will know what our real problem is.

It will focus our minds,

and forge our purpose.


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*art courtesy of mocoloco


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up your great work as a prophet, but work with me on developing specific technology to cure the climate change – resource allocation problems. CHF

9:34 AM  

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