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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

WARNING: Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

One of my favourite blog subjects has suddenly returned: "Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries" (NYT, 22 March 2016). The NYT article is about new research by James E. Hansen, the retired NASA climate scientist, and recently published in the European science journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and titled: "Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 ◦C global warming could be dangerous". Note: bold markings are mine.

A lot of things could be dangerous in life and no doubt global warming is one of them. Nevertheless, if I must choose between a new glacial period (a.k.a. Ice Age) or an interglacial period (a.k.a. global warming) then I have no shadow of a doubt. Human beings can quite easily survive global warming but can only survive a new Ice Age when living near the Equator. 

The hype about sea level rise is quite misleading. The sea level has already risen by some 140 meters since its lowest point of some 22,000 years ago. Given its rather minimal rise for the past 6,000 years, we should not panic and also because sea level changes happen all of the time.

It is indeed quite likely that the sea level will continue to rise following the impact of global warming. However, global warming is the essence of an interglacial (or post-glacial) period. 

The warnings of climate scientists suggest that our planet is a status quo and that any changes to the status quo are dangerous to human beings. However, this suggestion is entirely misplaced and even like typical human reverse psychology: human beings have been the main change - and threat - to planet Earth for the last 250 years. Before the Industrial Revolution, humans were rather harmless to Earth's environment. In those days, global warming and cooling was largely caused by volcanic eruptions.

Until some years ago, climate scientists expected a new glacial period in some 80,000 years (NYT, 2003) but recently climate scientists have become convinced that global warming has probably delayed the next Ice Age by some 100,000 or more years (Bloomberg, 2016). This is actually very good news as most human beings would not survive an Ice Age of some 100,000 years

A new Ice Age would also result in an immense decrease of global sea levels which would probably allow humans to walk from the UK to Continental Europe. And then to walk from Spain/Portugal to Africa and then onwards to the Equator. I suppose that is how human beings survived the 5th Ice Age which started about 2.58 million years ago and happened during the past 7 million years of human existence.

The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian (1986) - artists, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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