Thursday, March 22, 2007

And so it begins...

Global warming is a huge topic these days, and I've been reading up on it for more than a decade now. In truth, the term global warming is a bit of a misnomer. Global Climate Change would probably be a better phrase.

My reason for wanting to post this is because yesterday I was reading an article about the fact that the outlying regions of the Marshall Islands are running out of water. There's no doubt that drought is common. It happens everywhere, but there's also no denying that we're seeing more and more drought every year. Some countries use desalinization of the oceans to produce drinkable water, but this is prohibitively expensive, and only available to major countries or the countries that have been made rich by the major countries wanting their oil. Eventually, this will lead to something that climatologists and SF writers have been predicting for a while, which is water wars. We're probably decades away from this, but maybe not.

When the wars do come, most of them won't be civil wars; instead, they'll be wars between the "haves" and the "have nots." It will be a battle of North vs. South. It will almost certainly be Africa that feels the effects of this first, and probably South America won't be far behind. This could easily lead to wars against the wealthier nations in the northern hemisphere. This has been covered in a lot of fiction, but even some non-fiction is starting to take note of this possibility.

A lot of people argue that we're in a warming trend, which is true, but the warming has spread up dramatically over the last couple of decades. Research on ice cores taken in the Arctic, Antarctica, and Greenland clearly show that this is unique in history. It's quite possible that we are now in a warming cycle that will see us reach average temperatures that are the highest in millennia.

Another bad sign is that the ocean currents are slowing down. We have to have these currents running properly in order to regulate global temperature. Slowing currents will also cause species extinction.

I've heard a lot of people say that there isn't any actual proof that this is caused by man, and science has to show that proof until we need to really worry. I hate to tell people, but the purpose of science is to explain with theories. There can never be an absolute answer given by science.

No matter whether man is causing it or not, if there's a possibility that this is all our fault, shouldn't we at least try to do something about it? A lot of Native American tribes followed what they called the Seventh Generation philosophy. The idea was that every decision should be made with the next seven generations in mind. The way things are going, there may not be a seventh generation.

And since this was such a serious topic, I would like to close with something a little lighter. I remember about a month ago I was reading an article where someone was trying to argue that the increase in volcanism was related to global in global warming was causing more volcanic eruptions. First off, there hasn't been an increase in volcanic eruptions, and secondly, how could global warming cause volcanos to erupt???

1 comment:

Marva said...

The Northwest has been under drought conditions for several years. Of course, I'm sitting at home watching the rain fall most of the time, so I have to rely on the weather services to tell me we're not quite as wet as we should be.

One thing folks don't realize that one of the symptoms of global warming is colder temps. Why? Melting ice floes drop ice into the prevailing currents which cool the currents thereby causing the nasty ice and snow conditions back east. On the west coast, we are affected by the El Nino/La Nina cycles.

Volcanoes? Sure, why not? I don't think it too far-fetched that the deep trench waters cooling couldn't cause fractured plates. Sitting in the Ring of Fire, I do look askance at those volcanic peaks hovering nearby. Hood, Shasta, Rainier? Who will be the next to blow?