Friday, June 1, 2018

Why Sea Level Rise May Be The Greatest Threat To Civilization - 6

"The Doomsday Glacier"
Some regular and even some un-regular readers must wonder why Dredd Blog focuses on Antarctica so much.

They may wonder that because the ocean is vast.

But, the Southern Ocean which surrounds Antarctica is a small portion of the global ocean.

Don't feel left out, because it was not too very long ago that I found out too ... I found out why I had to change my focus too ... so ... you are not alone.

When I found out "the reason" it surprised me too:
This is why we need this focus:
"The vast Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica, plays a starring role in the future of climate change. The global oceans together absorb over 90 percent of the excess heat in the climate system and roughly three-quarters of that heat uptake occurs in the Southern Ocean. In addition, the global oceans absorb around 25 percent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and the Southern Ocean alone accounts for about half of the uptake of CO2.

Despite its critical role in our climate system, the Southern Ocean has gone almost completely unobserved. Scientists have struggled to gather precise measurements because of the harsh environment and extreme remoteness. The changing dynamics of the Southern Ocean will in turn drive key aspects of our future climate, including how sensitive the Earth will be to further warming and increases in carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, improved observations are crucial to helping scientists understand and predict how our climate will change."
(Antarctica 2.0 - 3, quoting Climate Central). When the sea level is rising and the net result of thermal expansion / contraction totals is a minor player, [a small number], then melting tidewater glaciers and other melting ice in the Cryosphere quite obviously must be the major player.
(On Thermal Expansion & Thermal Contraction - 36, emphasis added). Another reason for such coverage can also be scary:
"Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is so remote that only 28 human beings have ever set foot on it.

Knut Christianson, a 33-year-old glaciologist at the University of Washington, has been there twice.

A few years ago, Christianson and a team of seven scientists traveled more than 1,000 miles from McMurdo Station, the main research base in Antarctica, to spend six weeks on Thwaites ...

They were mapping a future global disaster. As the world warms, determining exactly how quickly ice melts and seas rise may be one of the most important questions of our time ... If there is going to be a climate catastrophe ... it's probably going to start at Thwaites. The trouble with Thwaites, which is one of the largest glaciers on the planet, is that ...  instead of melting slowly like an ice cube on a summer day, it is more like a house of cards: It's stable until it is pushed too far, then it collapses... Seas will rise about 10 feet in many parts of the world; in New York and Boston, because of the way gravity pushes water around the planet, the waters will rise even higher, as much as 13 feet ... West Antarctica could do to the coastlines of the world what Hurricane Sandy did in a few hours to New York City," explains Richard Alley ... Except when the water comes in, it doesn't go away in a few hours – it stays."
(The Doomsday Glacier, emphasis added). So, what does that have to do with sea ports and flat landers?

Flat landers like to eat, drink, be merry, and pass it on to their progeny, but these habits have now become entwined with world sea ports:
"By volume, more than 95 percent of U.S. international trade moves through the nation's ports and harbors, with about 50 percent of these goods being hazardous materials."
(NOAA PORTS, emphasis added; cf. Ports & Harbors). Dredd Blog has been pointing that out for a while (Will This Float Your Boat?, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14) because McTell News and the U.S. government is reluctant to do so (Blind Willie McTell News, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

As Dredd Blog has pointed out, you flat landers (who think you will cheer when those "it can't happen here" elitists who live on the coast get their comeuppance) have no idea what will happen when civilization's sea ports go down (Why Sea Level Rise May Be The Greatest Threat To Civilization, 2, 3, 4, 5).

I will continue to watch the Southern Ocean (Antarctica 2.0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 [& supplements A, B, C, D, E, F]) because You Are Here with me.

The previous post in this series is here.


  1. Humans are poorly suited for adaption or even awareness of long-term problems. There have been a number of studies on this specific topic and as I recall, they have all concluded the same thing. We can identify the threat, but it isn't immediate enough to concern us. Even when it actually happens, which it will, one day. But it is that indefinite "unknown" that permits us to remain less concerned, and therefore, less interested in doing anything now about it.

    I've personally been involved for quite some time in attempting to raise the overall awareness of climate chaos, including ice melt and sea level rise, as a tipping point or trigger for civilization's collapse. Very few people actually care enough to take sufficient interest. I've heard and or read all of the reasons, but the summary of this is exactly what I wrote above. We are poorly suited as a species to be concerned about what we cannot see or comprehend on a long time scale.

    This told me (eventually) that it was somewhat pointless to keep harping on this topic, despite my own levels of interest. Nothing was going to change. No amount of warnings or evidence was going to change the likelihood that catastrophic collapse could or even will happen due to ice melting. It's the same with excessive amounts of C02 (uninhabitable regions due to heat stress), or catastrophic methane releasing or any number of climate related events.

    I see this all now as being immutable and unchangeable because the human species can't change, doesn't recognize the seriousness of the problem(s) and the current trajectory pretty much guarantees it will all happen anyway. That sounds defeatist, but it takes into account what we are as a species (destructive), what we are willing to do (next to nothing) and our overall species-centric apathy and disinterest, even in areas that may spell human extinction.

    Related - if you take into account the scientific reticence, watered down reporting, inaccurate and misleading statements and outright "hopium" most often found embedded within scientific news, reports, analysis and assessments (regarding future predictions for the Earth's climate and species habitability) you will find a clear pattern of overall denial, ie., the problems aren't unsolvable or catastrophe can be relatively easily avoided and so on. To me, it's all lies and dishonesty, an unwillingness to tell the truth.

    And yet, with any clear understanding of the major issues involved and the current and past trajectory, it's very clear that it is extremely likely to happen (worse then expected) and very probably totally unstoppable and will be very catastrophic, even at extinction levels, but science refuses to admit to this point except with a very tiny few.


  2. We just don't do doom very well. Even if it is all true and we intuitively know it. At best, we deny, defuse and deflect, pretending that it will all just magically go away somehow.

    I devised a Life Project outline for future human and species survival, in the hope of attracting interest in offsetting the likelihood of extinction events (not just ours), after gathering enormous amounts of information on what was actually happening throughout the world. There was little to no interest in this concept, which supports exactly the conclusions others have also reached. We're poorly suited to cope with our own likely extinction. We can't even save a single species now, let alone our own.

    So forestalling the collapse of civilization is also extremely unlikely. Something I am fond of saying - "you cannot replace the missing ice". Once it's gone, and we experience all these effects this will cause - so are we. Most likely.

    At best, we can sit around and talk about it and write scary articles about it, but we seem entirely incapable of doing anything more on any kind of meaningful scale.

    Even so, I do hope you keep publishing. I stopped (for now), finding it too hard to continue after about twenty years of writing. There's just too much stupidity being promoted and accepted in today's world to keep trying to tread water in a sea of idiots. ~Survival Acres~

  3. Anon. Twenty years? You seem to be where I was in 1975 and it only took me 5 years or so, not twenty. All anyone needs is a little objective detachment to clearly see just where this whole thing is heading.

    You mention an unwillingness to tell the truth. Please do yourself a favour and ask yourself just where your version of the "truth" comes from because I suspect to you it is self-evident. I can assure you that you would start a most amazing journey much more interesting than all this end of the world nonsense.

    1. Deniers leave out one important thing: the evidence.

    2. The meaning of words matters. For example, the word "civilization." It helps to read the text so as to develop an understanding of the meaning of "civilization".

      In this Dredd Blog series, "civilization" means what the Encyclopedia Britannica described:
      "In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority." (Encyclopedia Britannica)

      Toynbee had described what he discovered in his research as follows:

      "In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown." (A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee).

      Those 26 civilizations did it without having enough nuclear weaponry to destroy all life on the planet 50 times over. Current civilization has that power.

      To say "it can't happen here" without evidence is ludicrous.

  4. It really only took me a week-end, a very wet one, in the autumn of 1970, to work out for my self that the Laws of Thermodynamics pointed to the collapse of the world economy within 40 years.

    I had trained as a Structural Engineer but was encouraged by one of my lecturers to see the world as a series of structures- economic,social,political,etc. To someone training in steel and RC design it went way over my head at the time but like most stuff people tell me, and I can't make sense of, it stayed in my mind and now 50 years later stands out as the most usful advice I've ever had.

    So my point is a simple one. If a 23 year old with a slide rule, a few books and a bit of interest can call the end of this current civilization using a pencil and a few sheets of foolscap it really can't be that hard can it?

    What is hard for the vast majority of people to understand is the fact that the people who they have given their power to (via the ballot box)simply have no idea of the fundamental physical laws underpinning the last 270 years of this tiny little energy blip.

  5. Why chronic floods are coming to New Jersey (link)