Hurricane Sandy is a portent of increasing sea-level rises and storms, leading to floods along the coastal margins and in flood prone water courses in higher areas.
America is a large continent with more weather extremes than island Britain, but the Climate Change scientists, who have accurately predicted worsening events in the US, do not spare Europe and the UK – or any region – from the consequences of global warming; which will, by the way, feel damn cold as icebergs drift into warm oceans.
It has to be hoped that good preparations, neighbourly care and attention and vigilant, efficient emergency services will preserve life and limb and people’s homes. But in the longer term, it is beyond doubt that the ice caps are melting and sea level is rising, as predicted, and that disruption from extreme weather will, as predicted, become more prevalent.
We humans have a marvellous capacity for enjoying the calm after the storm. For most of us, we know for certain that things go back to normal; that the threatening waters recede and life resumes its habitual patterns. It will not be like that. As the massive polar ice mountains slide into the sea from the land, they will melt, the sea level will rise, and it will stay high for ages – permanently flooding the coastal margins where 80% of us live. This is what the science tells us.
Most people haven’t the time to wade through hundreds of pages of data and academic conclusions. Most scientists are reluctant to be classed as scare mongers and go up against the massed guns and mass wealth and mass media of the vested interests of climate change sceptics – who quite simply are enjoying their lives and incomes and don’t want any changes – particularly climate changes. So they find it is best to reinterpret the data and convince themselves that “It will be OK”.
So, to help most people, I have followed the scientific reports over the past fifteen years and built the consensus conclusions into two exciting, readable novels which forecast what is happening now and how it will be looking back from five-hundred years in the future. It will be tough, but well worth surviving. Here are a couple of extracts:
OUT OF THE DEPTHS:
Sociologists have reasoned that the birth and development of great artists, philosophers and inventors, such as the famous figures of the Renaissance in Europe, requires a critical-mass of population to educate, inspire and support them and to create a receptive environment in which their talents will flourish. In short – emergent genius needs to stand on the shoulders of giants of civilisation; giants who have created stability and prosperity, and who provide liberal, intelligent patronage of arts and science. Can we, without the critical-mass, from our tiny, shattered population, struggling for survival, organise society and find the wherewithal to nurture mankind’s next Renaissance?
Professor Martin Blackmoor, Dean of the University of London 2008.
80% of the World’s population lives on the coastal margin. If they suddenly retreated inland, utter chaos would ensue. Global Analyses of Populations and Physiography -1997
In America in New York State and New York City, the rising waters had disturbed the lives of twenty-million people. As in Europe, a large percentage of the population had died of Glacier ‘Flu, the indiscriminate killer pandemic. Long Island was mostly below water, the Statue of Liberty stood ankle deep in the ocean, battered by waves that on stormy days leapt up and disrespectfully doused her face. Fierce ‘Can-Do’ survivors had miraculously constructed floating wooden skirts around famously tall buildings; skirts that rose and fell on the tides providing safe landing and berthing for a myriad of small boats clustered at the feet, or rather knees, of Manhattan skyscrapers. The Hudson River made a conduit for the sea to invade inland, west of the Taconic Mountains. In the north, Lake Ontario rose as ocean waters reversed the flow of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and flooded down the Mohawk River, cutting the State in half. The Atlantic water, fed by the Labrador Current, complete with immense icebergs as large as major mountains, direct from Greenland and the Artic Circle, was bitterly cold, giving rise to innumerable grim ironic jokes on the theme of “global warming.”
Like Londoners, millions of citizens had made for higher ground – of which, unlike London, there was plenty. And like London, the New York supply infrastructure, food, medical, fuel, sewage and water failed under the strain of the mass relocation and shorted-out electrical power. Like London, all these things could be fixed. But again like London, the experts and labour to make things work were in very short supply.
At first it seemed the smart money was on those who made it into the Appalachian Mountains and the Allegheny Plateau, rising in places as high as six-thousand-feet – for how could the ocean reach up there – and there was plenty of space, all the space they needed, for mankind and all the displaced farm animals. In theory the mountain dwelling refugees would be alright. A little of the old pioneering spirit – some rapid courses on farming and food production and those who survived the ‘flu would make it. They would pull through.
But, there were two additional buggeration factors that Londoners did not have to cope with. Firstly, it was now winter and it was unbelievably cold. It was hellishly cold. And it snowed heavily. It was so cold and wintry that it was far safer to stay indoors than to venture out to take care of cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry; particularly for amateur farmers, still dreaming of centrally heated penthouse apartments. So getting food was a very tough proposition. The distances to storage centres, abandoned supermarkets and the like could be very long – and fuel was now harder to come by. So foraging for food was often unsuccessful. Some isolated and unfit people simply died of hunger, marooned in snowdrifts or iced in to their cabins and mansions.
And secondly, most people were armed.
AD-2516 – After Global Warming:
Accustomed as they had become to marvels in the few short days since they had thawed, the fast approaching scene fried the Survivors’ logic circuits and frazzled their anticipatory visions. New-New-York was as much like old New York as King Kong resembled a ripe banana.
Joe was beside himself with excitement and nostalgia. Nostalgia softened his soul, despite his still firmly held convictions that the aircraft in which they were sweeping across the New York harbour approaches, was not an aircraft but an optical illusion room, that the New-New-York now being presented to him was a fevered, albeit very, very clever and real looking, creation of a computer nerd’s imagination, projected onto the windows of the non-aircraft in which they were not flying and that the date was now the 9th of January 2000AD; and that therefore he was still the 140th Richest Man in the World, according to Fortune Magazine’s analysis, with all that that implied for his position, power and influence in society; which he intended to re-establish in the next few minutes by producing the Concorde’s cockpit pistol, fully loaded, from his capacious hip pocket and re-establishing his customary role of command.
Joe was intent on demonstrating his right to bear arms and to arrest, or at least escape from, these strangely courteous but clearly unhinged commie-bastards who had interrupted the flow of his life.
New-New-York was tall. In its shadow, in the waters at its feet and minuscule by comparison, stood the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and a dozen or so famous profiles which had once adorned the Manhattan skyline. These ancient monuments were a mile or more out to sea, their lower floors under one hundred feet of ocean and linked by high, enclosed walk-ways. The floating docks, originally conceived by a long dead business leader called Donald Trump, wrapped around each building and rose and fell with the tides. They were filled with people; New-New-Yorkers visiting the museums and artefacts dedicated to a bygone era.
Miles beyond, on dry land, stood the new city. To Sebastian, desperately struggling for metaphors and descriptions for the magazine article he might write for the folks back home, it most resembled an Australian desert termite hill; a mountain of a termite hill. A mountain honeycombed with highways, streets, tunnels and open spaces. Whatever brash excess of confidence had inspired the New Yorkers of the early 20th Century to build the Manhattan skyscrapers, the 26th Century New-New-Yorkers had literally put in the shade – they had looked at old New York and found it wanting. They had looked at old New York and saw it was not only now mostly under water but was small and uninspiring. They had decided to build big – bigger than anything anybody had ever conceived of at any time in the history of mankind. And then they had doubled it and trebled it.