Ocean Armageddon

Dr. Steve Best’s spot-on, thought-provoking blog post, “Climate Armageddon: How the World’s Weather Could Quickly Run Amok,” prompted this, my reply:

The bad part is that it doesn’t take a perfect storm and domino effects to make the planet uninhabitable for today’s earthlings.  It takes just a small fraction of that.  While some may suggest that THIS scientist is spewing doom and gloom, it’s an apt and fair assessment.

Consider the recent weather, the extremes that caused people to stop using “Global Warming” and call it Climate Change.  These seemingly capricious swings are already making this planet uninhabitable for those in flood and drought areas, in places of extreme heat or cold, and creating radical changes in places like Greenland as the ice melts.  In science-fiction worlds, we see human ingenuity compensating.  In that speculative fiction universe, mankind develops new ways to live within the harsher climate.  But that’s only for the rich.  The everyman, the villager, the lower class (even in urban areas) doesn’t possess the resources to have such housing, transportation, etc.  It’s great to say “Well, we’ll just live in air conditioning, as they do in Dubai.”  But Dubai has the money (from oil, how ironic) to pay for those comforts.  The upper mucky-muck in the UAE doesn’t even pay for electricity.  What will the everyman do?  He will suffer, and he will die, and his wife and children with him.

Perhaps this is Gaia’s way of ridding herself of an annoyingly destructive parasite, a plague of vermin that she recognizes as a threat to her well-being.  In the bigger picture, it is of no consequence to her what life form inhabits this rock as it spins and zooms through space.  Quite the contrary, our clever monkey brains have made us that very parasite in just a couple centuries — not even the blink of a god’s eye.  Gaia may not care if she is inhabited by the current creatures or the new beings which spring up able to thrive in the new climate(s).  But wouldn’t WE (and our fellow Earthlings) be better off to stave off that climate change NOW?

I think and believe it to be true that we are flying headfirst towards a precipice, a point beyond which we cannot recover.  If we and the current Earthling species are to survive, we MUST put the brakes on.  We MUST cease use of all combustion processes (as they are ALL inherently destructive and toxic) and stop spewing noxious chemicals into the air and water — and we’ve got to do so sooner, or there will be no Later for us.  This does not mean returning to living in cabins and dying of easy  cured diseases, as some reactionaries would attempt to claim.   We took a wrong turn at the combustion engine.  We just need to go back that far and replace the energy generation with PASSIVE electronic harvests of energy.  The forces of solar, wind and tide, combined with more energy-efficient devices AND a more responsible stewardship over ourselves, can easily provide us all with everything we need.

The time is now.  If we are to survive, instead of causing the end of nearly all life as we know it on this beautiful, wonderful world, we MUST recognize our place AMONGST the species of the earth, toss away the Judeo-Christian “thou shalt have Dominion over them” presumptions, and live in ways that are harmonious with the rest of the planet.  In short, it’s time we grew up… and if we do not, we will not survive this adolescence, and we’ll take every other living being, the dogs, cats, wolves, eagles, hawks, falcons, gorillas, orangutans, dolphins, whales — all the innocent creatures great and small will suffer our fate along with us.  Do we REALLY need to feel powerful that bad, to reassure ourselves that we are in control, at so horrible a price?

Selfishly Clinging to Doubts of Global Warming

Amazing though it seems, there are still many people — far too many — who choose to believe that Global Warming doesn’t exist. Firing upon the messenger, such statements are often attached to harsh comments about former Vice-President Al Gore. In a time when overwhelming evidence supports these global changes, it’s distressing to see so many people continuing to cling to their outdated perspectives.
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Coral Bleaching Events and Sea Surface Temperatures

Coral Bleaching Events and Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Hot Spots, 1997 – 1998

What you’re looking at here are deadly temperature changes as early as 1997. One direct measure of coral stress is the phenomenon of coral bleaching and mortality associated with widespread elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during the last decade (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999). This is frequently associated with warm temperatures and has been widely predicted to increase in the future. Exposure for one month at temperatures 1 or 2 degrees Celsius higher than the mean averages at the warmest time of year is sufficient to cause the corals to bleach.

This map shows the distribution of SST anomalies and coral bleaching events, during one of the largest El Niño events of this century, from late 1997 until mid-1998. Although some records of local coral bleaching date back decades, reports of widespread bleaching have been increasing in recent years. The most recent event was not only widespread, but was also more severe in many areas than earlier events.

Actual coral death reached 95 percent in some locations. In a few places massive, centuries-old corals have died; in some other places there has now been at least a partial recovery, with loss of only a few corals.

That’s only part of the story though. Along with the inability of corals to survive, comes the climb of a global equivalent of Red Tides, and an exponential jump in the number of giant jellyfish. Meanwhile, shellfish, like the reefs themselves, are unable to utilize the calcium carbonate in the ocean, unable to make shells for themselves. Lobster, Crabs, plankton… the entire ocean is affected by the pollution we’re making. The ocean makes up about 3/4 of our planet. 3/4 of our globe is sick from our toxins. How much longer do you think we can afford to ignore that illness?

The affects of Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases are already upon us. Record temperatures have killed tens of thousands in the past 2 years. Greenland is melting down, and suffered 32 level 5 earthquakes within its icefields. While those quakes had been rising steadily, these past couple of years are exponentially worse – a clear shot across the bow. The glaciers are melting, the seas are rising, thinned by the fresh water… and the ocean’s temperatures are rising, despite the fact that we’re melting country-sized ice cubes in them.

Since 1998, we’ve continued to have anomaly temperatures, often much higher than those shown here. Greenhouse Gas (CO2) continues to mount and temperatures across the globe continue to rise. 2005 set records across the globe. In 2006, those records were beat again. The rise is so predictable that calling the temperatures an anomaly may not be fair or accurate.

The temperature of the earth IS rising, and the cause is known. Our air pollution is causing levels in CO2 to rise, a trend that has been consistent since it was first monitored in 1958. In the past few years, though, that climb has gone from steady and gradual to enormous, and the temperatures have followed suit, directly along the exact same course. A sharp and immediate halt to the human contributions to Greenhouse Gas remains the ONLY solution.

Fortunately, this solution is available to us. We CAN stop Global Warming.