The day after yesterday I saw a pretty good movie called The Day After Tomorrow. In it there is a lot of heroism and stuff , but what I really grokked was the science.
The basic story was that the climate shifts suddenly, and a lot of scientists say ‘I told you so!’
Now, I do not think that these things could happen over 3 days like in the movie , but there is mounting evidence that such things could happen over several years. You seem it all comes down to something called ‘the Atlantic Conveyor‘ which is a current that pumps warm water up north, and takes cold water down south.
There is historical evidence that the last ice age (between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago) was sudden in onset. Sudden, meaning with in a decade. Could you imagine the northern reaches of the United States and all of Canada being pushed under a sheet of ice in the next six years?
All of this is being caused by global warming , funnily enough. As the worldwide mean temperature rises, more ice melts off of the ice caps. This lowers the salt content of the Oceans, which causes the conveyors to stop functioning, which causes the temperatures to drop dramatically closer to the poles and raise closer to the equator.
This is such a serious thing, that the Pentagon has funded studies into it, fearing what such climatological shifts could do to world stability. As much of the food production changes from the locations that we are used to to new places (as the current breadbaskets will be under sheets of ice or deserts) the geopolitical landscape could radically change.
Wars fought over rapidly vanishing farmlands, massive migrations of people away from the desert that they used to call home, it all sounds like a science fiction story.
What can we do today to help? I have heard the climate called ‘a big ship’ in that, once it starts to move in a direction, it can be hard to change it’s course. However, everyone of us can help. Stop using wasteful vehicles , switch to cleaner hybrids or bio diesel driven cars and trucks. Lower that thermostat in your house , even if you use electricity, it might be coming from coal fired plants. Walk, or ride a bike instead of driving. Recycle. The mantra of the Greens. It’s not hard, it is just sad that the current marketplace makes it so expensive to do these things.
The one thing that we can do is stop eating hamburgers. You think I am kidding? Cows produce a lot of green house gases!