Sunday, September 24, 2017

Climate Change Choices: Mega-disaster, Micro-disasters OR Proactive Change

The longer mankind delays in taking united overall action to curb fossil fuel emissions, the more dramatic and drastic will be the proactive actions required later on in order to achieve the same effect. Note however, at this point in time, it's already no longer feasible to limit future temperature increases to 2 degrees Centigrade (almost 4 degrees Fahrenheit). Why? Because the current inertia and momentum of industrial expansion to provide for of a burgeoning world population's improving life style needs will carry us well past that. Thus, this level of temperature increase WILL occur, UNLESS a 'reactive' world disaster(s) soon occurs that disrupts the entire world wide industrial economy.

The result of increasing atmospheric and oceanic temperatures will eventually result in a wide variety of induced multiple micro-disasters that will overburden the international economies ANYWAY -- just simply at a later date, when higher temperatures will guarantee an eventual cumulative overall climate change 'mega-disaster'. So, without proactive measures, a normal sized world disaster(s) would be better now, when it could curb our fossil fuel consumption and CO2 release, rather than later, when it would be too late (since the additional CO2 would already be 'un'sequestered).

Do I need to be anymore specific than this? I think not. We all, in our heart of hearts, know what we're facing. Now, what we need is the courage to take 'proactive' controlled action in order to avoid 'reactive' uncontrolled solutions.


Global Warming: Welcome To "Earth In The Future"

Pennsylvania State University offers some online course work that is very informative (and for me, strangely reassuring) on the subject of global warming in the past, present and future.

They begin:
"Our planet is warming. Data shows that the average temperature of Earth has increased by 0.6 degrees C since 1950. The Northern Hemisphere just recorded its 333rd month with temperatures above the 20th century average. In fact, Earth is warming at a rate not experienced for many millions of years, if ever before. This warming and a myriad of associated environmental changes will challenge modern society throughout the 21st century. Scientists are striving to improve predictions of how the environment will change as well as understand the impacts on humans. This course, Earth in the Future: Predicting Climate Change and Its Impacts Over the Next Century is designed to provide the state of the art of climate science, the impacts on humans and natural ecosystems, as well as ways humans can mitigate and adapt to climate change."

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the above link to the section entitled MODULES. One example of what you'll find is:
Module 1: Past Episodes of Climate Change
This gives you a selection of more detailed titles that leads you onward.

For example:
"The PETM was associated with the largest deep-sea mass extinction event in the last 93 million years and remarkable diversification of life in the surface ocean and on land."
Ancient Climate Events: Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum

An interesting excerpt from the above:
"... as warmer waters hold less oxygen than cold waters, PETM deep waters in many locations likely were possibly close to a condition that is known as hypoxia. Finally, the input of so much CO2 into the ocean caused ocean waters to become more acidic and led to a condition known as ocean acidification. Acidification of the deep ocean during the PETM is well accepted and is observed by complete dissolution of all CaCO3 shells that rained down on the sea floor...."


Global Warming: C02 and Methane Hydrates

One climate change variable that is not receiving serious enough popular consideration is the subject of:
"Methane Hydrate Degasification + Paleoclimatology". 

Read up on this, and then consider:
since temperatures in the current interglacial period may possibly be forced to go higher than in any previous interglacial period due to the artificially higher levels of CO2's amplifying the natural Milankovitch temperatures, ocean temperatures will be warmer at greater depths than they have been in over 56 million years (in the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum). 

That means that the oceanic methane hydrate that has been building up without interglacial releases at these greater depths over the eons will begin to be released once we pass the temperature level threshold that exceed those of the Pliocene (3-5 mya).

Thus, greater amounts of oceanic methane than ever before in any interglacial period would come into play (past that point of oceanic temperatures).

Will this occur overnight? Certainly not. But those greenhouse gases being released now (and will be released in the future) will play a role in ever increasing global temperatures for many centuries. Certainly long enough to be a factor in eventual long term 'methane hydrate degasification'. "IF" this then were to lead to a self sustaining cycle, then in the worst case scenario, eventually there'd be very few higher order life forms left anywhere.

Note: We are very fortunate to have detailed ice core information from Antartica and Greenland that tell about global temperatures, etcetera. After studying the graphs from these, it's very obvious that the temperatures during the past ten thousand years take on an atypical pattern when compared to previous interglacials. The single outstanding variable is mankind's activities.

Want more? Use search parameter:
"interglacials Milankovitch cycles carbon dioxide methane hydrate degasification paleoclimatology"

Note: What is especially disconcerting is our desire to tap into methane hydrate as a fuel source. Because, this would only spike the surge levels of CO2.