Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Extinction of Robust Sea Ports - 3

Fig. 1 Coming To A Port Near Us?
I. Background

Yesterday's post was about the doubling of heat content in the oceans.

It took 132 years to double the last time and this time it doubled in only 18 years.

Today's post comes on the day that NOAA officially released its State of the Climate report, which was not expected to be a surprise, rather, it was expected to be a report that would indicate the year 2015 was a record year for global warming.

That is exactly what they reported:
"2015 is Earth's warmest year by widest margin on record;
December 2015 temperature record warm

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2015 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. During the final month, the December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the highest on record for any month in the 136-year record."
(NOAA, emphasis added). Another report indicated that by 2050 the oceans would have more plastic in them than fish (World Economic Forum).

II. The International Sea-trade-Civilization's Seaports

Of all the ancient civilizations, perhaps ours is more like the Phoenicians than some of the others:
The Phoenicians were a great maritime people, known for their mighty ships ... The island city of Tyre and the city of Sidon were the most powerful states in Phoenicia ... Phoenicia thrived as a maritime trader and manufacturing center from c.1500-332 BCE and was highly regarded for their skill in ship-building, glass-making, the production of dyes, and an impressive level of skill in the manufacture of luxury and common goods.
(Phoenicia, cf. Carthage). The current version of "International Trade Civilization" is truly global, not regional like Phoenicia was:
Liner shipping could lay claim to being the world's first truly global industry. Likewise it could claim to be the industry which, more than any other makes it possible for a truly global economy to work. It connects countries, markets, businesses and people, allowing them to buy and sell goods on a scale not previously possible.
(World Shipping, emphasis added; cf. Global Container Fleet, Shipping Ports). As go the shipping ports, so goes "International Trade Civilization" (Confusing "Civilization" With "Species").

I am not saying that the human, or any other species, is not threatened, they certainly are, I am saying that in the sequence of events current civilization goes first.

III. Sea Level Change (SLC) Is An Unassailable Threat

It ought not be a mystery why this is so (Why Sea Level Rise May Be The Greatest Threat To Civilization, 2, 3, 4, 5; Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 44).

Fig. 2 The Sea has always risen along with CO2
I have posted, probably ad nauseum to some readers, about the unrealized danger invading every nation within current International Trade Civilization (see the Dredd Blog Series Posts Tab/Page under the heading "SEA LEVEL CHANGE").

It is difficult to fathom why there is not more discussion about this predicament and danger to the international trade connecting, defining, and holding together current civilization.

There is a link in a comment made yesterday by Mark Hanson that brings it up:
If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapses, sea level would rise by about 11 feet
Fig. 3  A civilization way out of tune
on average across the earth. “There’s no question at all that the number of people and the amount of stuff that we have close to sea level is huge,” glaciologist Richard Alley said. “What happens to the beach, what happens to our shipping, what happens to our naval base?”
(Climate Change, emphasis added). The danger is operational, and well under way, but it is not fully discussed as it should be.

IV. Conclusion

As Fig. 2 shows, sea level today is "behind schedule," because in previous instances it went up along with CO2  in every case.

Note that:  1) the historical mark where it ought to be is way above what it is now, 2) the oceans are heating with a doubling acceleration, and 3) global warming is going stronger than ever before.

It seems like we should keep our eyes on what SLC can do (compare Fig. 2 with Fig. 3).

And be mindful that it can happen much more quickly than we are contemplating ("a rise of 10 feet by 2050" - Hansen 2015).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

A metaphor or not (Plato's Atlantis):


  1. It sure is lookin' like a global economic collapse will precede everything. As climate-change effects (like SLC) continue unabated, humanity will probably never recover from the combined calamities and all the piling on of the interactive knock-on effects from them: war, mass migrations, poverty, governmental collapse, devastated infrastructure, nuclear meltdown of the worlds' nuke plants, disease, weather related disasters, natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, sinkholes, flooding, heat spikes, tornadoes, etc), SLC, large scale crop failures, panic, violence, madness, and on and on into the abyss.

    Thanks for another great post, Dredd.


    1. "It sure is lookin' like a global economic collapse ..."

      Could be Tom, could be ...

  2. Not to mention... What happens to Kennedy Space Centre? When that goes, so does a whole lot of satellite launch capacity, and thus the means to monitor what happens. (For that matter the ESA's launch site in Guiana looks pretty damn close to the sea, too. Couldn't find the altitude, though.)

    Then, too, what about all those nuclear power plants (planned and existing) along coastlines everywhere?