|26 DEGREES CENTIGRADE HAS
BEEN RECORDED IN GREENLAND.
Just as the World sensibly decides not to escalate the war in Syria (and not to kill thousands of Syrians with western explosives in retaliation for their government killing thousands of them with chemical weapons) and we all thought it is safe to relax and take our Summer Vacations, when along comes an up to date summer survey of the rapidly melting Arctic ice along with prophecies of doom for all who live on the coastal margins.
ICEPOD, a unit of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, is tracking changes to the Greenland ice sheet. Temperatures of around 26 degrees centigrade have been recently recorded in the Arctic (North Pole) – and similar bizarre weather events are affecting the Antarctic, although it is winter at the South Pole. The high temperatures in Greenland are melting the surface of the vast ice sheets – which are 2 kilometers deep (that’s a lot of water). The water forms fast flowing rivers that cut down through the ice and cause further rapid melting and movement. In 2008, NASA calculated that if the Greenland land based ice sheets melt, global sea level will rise by 24 feet, say 8 meters; and that if the southern ice melts, sea level will rise by 213 feet or 64 meters. My calculations made ten years earlier estimated that global sea level will rise 300 feet or 100 meters if all the land based ice melts. The sea level rise will be magnified by storm surges – perhaps adding up to 10% in height, requiring massive sea-walls.
So – these estimates define the coastal margins as all land up to 213 feet or 300 feet. 80% of the World’s population, about 5 billion people, live on these coastal margins. Many major cities are built by the sea, on the coastal margins. London, Boston and New York are below 300 feet. Los Angeles is mostly below 300 feet, and many of its hills are old sand dunes, which will melt and slide into the sea. Florida is at sea-level. Holland is below sea level. Google Earth has a sea level counter at the bottom of the screen.
In my view, it is too late to cool down the oceans and reverse the ice meltdown. What the world needs to plan for is the migration, to higher ground, of five billion souls – with all the infrastructure of our civilization. Sea ports, airports, roads, railways, farms, factories, power-stations, telecoms, hospitals, schools, homes etc etc – will have to be relocated. My two books spell out the immediate and long term changes as sea level rises – OUT OF THE DEPTHS and AD2516-AFTER GLOBAL WARMING (click the covers on the right of this page and/or search Amazon.
Some of us will be obsessed by blaming “them” and ourselves, and The President, God and the Universe. But all that will simply add to the hot-air. There is no time for recriminations; take action this day, and leave the analyses of Who Dun It to the next generations of academics. Survival is the first law. There is plenty of room on higher ground – including the Arctic and Antarctic Circles (look at Google Earth) and floating Sea-Villages are being built by the Dutch, and eventually Sea-Cities will be built. It might take our primate minds off slaughtering our neighbors, forcing them into our belief systems and stealing their possessions – for a few decades. My wife and I have just been presented with the great joy of a new grandson – 3 days old at 10 am this morning. Let’s fix the world for him and all our descendants.
by Walter Pitman and William Ryan
Simon & Schuster
Ryan and Pitman paint a vivid picture of the dawn of ancient agricultural society some 7,500 years ago. The state of the Earth’s climate was such that the oceans sat lower than today, and the Black Sea, cut off from the salty Mediterranean, had dried up and turned to a relatively shallow freshwater lake. Farming societies lived on the fertile lands around that sweet sea and fished in its waters, some 400 feet below the place where today the Bosporus strait runs past Istanbul, Turkey.