Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Carbon Data May Spell Doom For USA East Coast

What nobody wants to talk about, for fear of being labeled an "alarmist" or chicken-little-of-the-sea ("The water's rising, the water's rising!") is that where we might be headed, and sooner rather than later, is something so amazingly awful, it's just better not to think about it at all. Yep, it's going to get to be a little hard to do business or government in the USA, what with New York City and Washington DC (and bunches of other places on the East Coast) at the bottom of ancient seas.
Yesterday was a typical day in the slow boiling of the incredibly stupid human frog.

I say a typical day because it was a remarkable day, or should have been, yet it was barely noticed.

At NOAA's carbon dioxide monitoring station in Mona Loa, Hawaii, the following happened:

"On May 9, the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958. Independent measurements made by both NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been approaching this level during the past week. It marks an important milestone because Mauna Loa, as the oldest continuous carbon dioxide (CO2.) measurement station in the world, is the primary global benchmark site for monitoring the increase of this potent heat-­trapping gas."

Why should this matter?

Well, for one thing, we have now effectively gone back in atmospheric time, in terms of carbon dioxide levels, and other greenhouse gas levels, to something called the "Piacenzian Stage of the Pliocene Epoch", or a period of time about 3 million years ago.

How long ago was that? Not so long ago, compared to the time, 60 million years ago, when dinosaurs last walked the Earth. But the earliest humans had not yet appeared in the Piacenzian.

More to our current concern should be the following:

"The middle part of the Piacenzian Stage of the Pliocene Epoch, about 3.3 to 3.0  million years ago, is the most recent period in Earth’s history in which global warmth reached and remained at tem­peratures similar to those projected for the end of this century, about 2°C to 3°C warmer on average than today over the entire globe. This past warmer time inter­val preceded the ice ages but was recent enough, geologically, to be very similar to today in terms of ocean circulation and the position of the continents. Also, the populations of plants and animals were much like those of today, and so geologists can use their fossils (ig. 1) to estimate past environmental conditions such as temperature and SEA LEVEL."

And that sea level in the Piacenzian was as much as 30 meters (100 feet!) higher than it is now. While nobody is yet predicting an increase in sea level that extreme (oh wait, YES they are), there is no reason to think the carbon levels are not going to continue to rise dramatically, since nobody except climate scientists, and Al Gore, seems much interested in doing anything to stop spewing more and more carbon into the Earth's atmosphere. At current rates of carbon-level increase, we will pass the supposedly catastrophic 450 ppm level in about 20 years. Probably sooner the way we're going.

And nobody can say with certainly, or even a confident guess, exactly how long it is going to take for temperatures to start dramatically spiking more than they already have, and for the seas to warm up to the point where millions of Americans will either have to move, or grow some gills really fast.

But one thing we have learned over the decades that we have been counting carbon at Mona Loa: Climate scientists have generally underestimated the speed at which major changes in the environment would occur in reaction to climate change.

Out of concern to be prudent, instead of rash counsels, and also in reaction to the often hysterical cultural and political landscape in which they must operate, climate scientists have used extreme caution in predicting doom.

Soon, we may not need their counsels to consider the evidence of the suicidal nature of the human death-dance with carbon. Soon, the evidence, which many think has already been physically manifesting in abundance, will be pouring over our cities, and drowning our states—and no doubt many of our people as well.

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