Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Cretaceous era revisited - a Global Warming timetable

The Cretaceous period on Earth was an extremely hot and volatile era with a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere, eventually buried and transformed into the fossil fuels we are using today. All the CO2 of the Cretaceous period is now being returned to the atmosphere.

Knowledge of what will happen, what will be the inevitable, ultimate results of the human created Global Warming has come to us in pieces. We still don’t know exactly what will happen, but we can make ever better informed educated guesses and predictions.

The first signs have already asserted themselves, bad enough, but nothing compared to what will follow. The first reports ten years ago dealt solely with the warming, a few, direct results of that, making some idiots state something like this: «so, it will get a little warmer, so what? I would love a little hotter climate and few more trees». Or similar. Our knowledge has long since drawn a far more drastic, volatile and lethal scenario.

Today we see the deserts spread. In southern Europe, in the United States and Australia, in China people have felt the horrors of expanded drought. In California, Australia and Greece forest and bushfires have become the norm, not the exception. Elsewhere, where there isn’t drought, there’s usually flooding. The storms and hurricanes have increased in frequency and strength. The oceans get warmer, and with that the changes of hurricanes occurring and turning more powerful have increased significantly. Temperatures have spiked, creating close to unbearable summers, with death and suffering as a result. The polar icecaps are melting, and much faster than anticipated. The arctic will be ice free in the summers by 2013, fifty years ahead of «schedule». The ice on Greenland has begun melting at an unprecedented rate. What was once just a theory, a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere in China has now become an absolute, undeniable certainty.

This is today, what I call the first phase.

The immediate tomorrow, the next ten, twenty and thirty years, a far more volatile scenario will quickly reveal itself. The bread baskets of the United States’ Midwest and in the Ukraine will literally turn to dust. So will the Amazon jungle and other tropic rainforests around the world. The land ice in Antarctica will begin melting in earnest. That, too, has already begun. The melting of the Greenland ice will cause the world’s ocean to rise about seven meters. The West Ice in Antarctica will make that seven more, and the West Ice has also protected the inland from the warmer winds, a protection it will soon no longer have. The ice and snow of the Himalayas will melt and initially cause floods. Then, when there is no more left it will cause starvation on a massive scale in India and China. When all the ice on Earth have melted the sea level will be approximately 70 meter higher than today. Long before that all the current coastland will be below the surface. 84 percent of the world’s humans live by the coast or close to the coastline. Hurricanes, drought and floods will assert themselves with ever greater strength and numbers, making the coastlines and vast parts of the inland practically uninhabitable, setting off the greatest human migrations in history.

Official reports still cling to a thousand year timetable on most of these scenarios, but that fallacy has long since lost all credibility. I see it as the governments and established society’s attempt at panic management. Lies and deceit have brought us where we are today, on our collective, suicidal path, and that path should of course be abandoned yesterday.

The ocean will grow increasingly warmer, and as it does the process of acidification will explode, killing at least 80 percent of all life in the sea, ruining its ecosystem completely, and certainly also ruining whatever is left of the ecosystem on land. Even officially sanctioned scientists speak of this process within a thirty-year period.

This is the immediate future, the second phase. It’s bad enough, and may cause billions of human deaths, but there is still a chance of us surviving as a species, beyond the inevitable destruction of civilization, of a way of organizing ourselves that has always, right from its modest beginnings destroyed everything making life worth living.

What will follow after the above described doomsday scenario is uncertain, is speculative, but one thing is certain: the new Cretaceous era has still not fully asserted itself. The Cretaceous era, as stated was volatile and lethal, and very different from today. It was hot, humid and its atmosphere and ocean were very close to what we would consider toxic.

Once, not too long into the future the final stages of the human created Global Warming will assert themselves. The acid seas will release clouds of Hydrogen Sulfide, a highly toxic gas, potentially killing the last few oxygen-breathers on the planet.

The development towards the first hot Cretaceous era took a very long time, thousands and even millions of years. We have done the same in little more than a hundred. That’s the only difference. Everything else is chillingly similar.

Other articles about the same and similar subjects on Midnight Fire:

Summer trip in the high north

Feverish Earth - on the edge

Know

It's happening

Alternative news - feverish Earth

Feverish Earth - Additions

Feverish Earth - more additions

Feverish Earth - Late August update

Burning waters - the Katrina aftermath

Feverish Earth - Stan the man and other stories


Feverish Earth - The North Atlantic

Quiet before the storm

External links:

On Ocean Acidification

Warming Arctic should be cooling

2 comments:

graywave said...

Amos, here's another scenario. Sea level changes, storm activity and harvest-destroying "freak" weather, along with us passing "peak oil" during the next thirty years, create widespread economic chaos. Tens of millions die in the third world, millions die in the West, and the world goes into a severe and prolonged recession. Revolution, right wing repression and a surge in religiousity do absolutely nothing to help. They just make things worse. World population begins to fall dramatically as life-spans are reduced,

Yet the good news is that global productivity is then so low that tha worst ravages of global warming do not occur. We get increasing warming for another hundred years or so. Eventually, both greenhouse gasses and world population start to return, over the following few hundred years, to pre-industrial levels.

Amos Keppler said...

I've covered alternative scenarios extensively in other posts on the site.

What I believe and hope will happen is a total collapse of civilization and a return to a nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyle.