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REAPING THE WHIRLWIND
by Bruce Torrie - January 6, 2003
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As 2003 begins with the world about to be plunged into yet another Middle Eastern War – weather news pushes the war news to item three .For the sixth year in a row, record floods and winds continue to plague and destroy Europe causing multiple billions of dollars in damage and the Pacific paradise Solomon Islands are almost blown off the map with waves breaking 30 feet over the houses totally destroying a number of villages. In Eastern North America, Colorado Lows and North Easters produce record cold and snows month after month and the Carolinas are plunged into darkness by ice storms. We celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Canadian ice storms which were the most costly weather disaster in Canadian history. The Prairies, which had been freeze dried in the fall with temperatures consistently 10 – 15 o Celsius below normal greet the first week of 2003 with temperatures 10 – 15 o Celsius above normal. On January 6, 2003 the temperature in Dawson Creek was a record 27 o Celsius above normal. We may have entered “ the madhouse years” with weather continuing to become more extreme and intense and less predictable.

The new forecasts predict an intensifying El Nino in the Pacific in 2003 – the fifth El Nino event since 1990. The El Nino’s causes are poorly understood but the effects are clear – a huge pool of warm water forms in the tropical Southern Pacific Ocean off South America and disrupts the normal wind and ocean circulation, causing devastating storms, floods and droughts. The El Nino events have also been rapidly building in intensity and length, with two of the El Ninos over the last fifteen years being the most intense in 500 years. Scientists speculate that these events may indicate dramatic changes in ocean circulation and climate, perhaps caused by global warming and perhaps contributed to by increased volcanoes and lava flows on the Pacific Ocean seabed.

In the Atlantic, 2002 produced a normal hurricane season but the North Atlantic saw the most intense Arctic melting in recent history. In September 2002 Discover Magazine’s cover story “ Global Warming Surprise – A NEW ICE AGE – Oceanographers have discovered a huge river of freshwater in the Atlantic formed by melting polar ice. They warn it could soon bury the Gulf Stream, plunging North America and Europe into frigid winters.” broke the story that the Gulf Stream has STOPPED! Top American scientists are echoing their European colleagues warning of SNAP CLIMATE CHANGE where the world’s climate swings from interglacial (now) to ICE AGE. They predict the evacuation of Northern Europe and North Eastern North America within a few years. They point out that we know of two times recently when the main driver OF THE ENTIRE WORLD’S OCEAN CIRCULATION – the Trans Oceanic Conveyor - shut down abruptly. The Little Ice Age from 1300–1850 was certainly caused by melt water pooling as fresh water on top of the salty currents flowing north from the Tropics.

When a big pool of fresh water forms in the North Atlantic – it stops the main driver OF THE ENTIRE WORLD’S OCEAN CURRENTS – totally changing the weather almost all over the world. Dr. Ruth Curry, echoing her colleagues, discusses the big discharge of ice in the Atlantic in 1967 known as “ The Great Salinity Anomaly “ – “ I believe it shut the system down for just a few years {1970 – 1972}. The result was very cold winters, particularly in Europe.” The Chair of Oceanography at Woods Hole, Dr. Joyce, says that the pool of fresh water in the North Atlantic now is “ just too big “ to mix and disappear.

The last ten years have seen the most melting in recent history in the Arctic. Scientists now predict the certain melting of Greenland - a global seven meter sea level rise and a huge flux of fresh water into the North Atlantic ensuring that the thermohaline circulation remains stopped. Welcome to the Future. Unfortunately, it appears that the world’s ocean currents have dramatically altered their patterns of circulation and we are now seeing the results with mostly negative effects. Most fishing and ocean productivity will suffer as nutrient upwelling is diminished. Some species like Pacific salmon may benefit from increased rainfall | snowfall with the Ice Age onset weather.

An Ice Age may be the only thing to prevent the Antarctic Ice Continent from melting – a certainty over time conclude top researchers profiled in the Scientific American December 2002 issue. The big issue with Antarctic melting is how quickly the melting will occur and how much will the oceans rise.

Lots of fascinating research is available on the NASA web site – go to the Press Room ( like you are a journalist ) and you will see all of the information indexed by topic. The area of most concern is the Pine Island Glacier – the largest remaining glacier in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet – and the fastest melting part of the continent. Scientists call this the “ soft underbelly of Antarctica” and predict that the collapse of Pine Island glacier will cause the remainder of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to sluff off into the ocean raising global sea levels about six meters. This prospect is discussed in numerous papers by ERIC RIGNOT and TERRENCE J. HUGHES which can be read on the NASA web site.

It is also interesting to read the materials on Abrupt Climate Change – now the buzz phrase in climate science. Some scientists are predicting that winter in Canada could go from four months a year to eleven to twelve months a year in a single generation – and that we may already be half way through the transition. Others are predicting that a slight warming of the ocean on the edge of the Continental Shelf will destabalize 10,000 billion tons of methane hydrates – the worlds largest fossil fuel reservoirs. This methane would vent from the ocean and potentially ignite a Dante’s Inferno global warming meltdown. The effect is contributed to by melting permafrost which will release more billions of tons of methane, further driving the meltdown. So it may get hotter quickly and it may get colder quickly and the whole system has changed and become more intense.

American Scientist featured a cover story on Ice Sheets and Global Change in the January February 2002 issue. It reminds us that sea levels have risen 400 feet over the last 14,000 years since the maximum extent of the last Ice Age, flooding 10,000,000 square miles, the size of Canada, the US and Australia. Apparently the oceans rose abruptly about 100 feet 14,000 years ago and another 100 feet 12,500 years ago. Some researchers say that the 100 foot sea level rise that happened 12, 500 years ago produced a 2,000 foot high wave that moved at 100 miles per hour and destroyed Atlantis. The big question is will the sea level rise or go down and if so how soon and how quickly? The future will tell the story, sooner or later.Page 3 – Reaping the WhirlwindInventing the future - SURVIVING AND PROSPERING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

It appears that all humanity now living descended from the same groups of common ancestors, totaling a few thousand people, who had survived some great global disaster about 68,000 years ago. These people became the future we now have. Asteroids narrowly missed the earth in 2002 – several record near misses, and probably more in the Southern Hemisphere where there is very little observation.

About three years ago I installed Laminated Storm Glass in all of the windows in my house. Three layers of glass laminated with layers of plastic and argon gas are the most energy efficient solution – the inside window is the same temperature as the room, no more cold and condensation. In addition to remarkable comfort, these windows also provide security, being hurricane and bulletproof glass. The windows are also the best soundproofing – almost eliminating the sound of the windstorms and thunder sweeping Victoria last week. The windows are so efficient my heating costs have gone down dramatically. And if the winds of change blow I will know I am both safe and doing my best to reduce my contribution to CO2 emissions. If our useless corrupt federal government knew how to spend money to protect the climate you would see federal government grants for installing these windows – instead of spending dozens of millions of dollars on a fraudulent advertising campaign pretending to be dealing with the Kyoto promises to reduce emissions. In 2003, seven years after Kyoto was signed by Canada, there are NO EFFECTIVE FEDERAL INCENTIVES! Almost all of the climate budget has gone into meaningless doublespeak ads to media giant friends or to support tame pet scientists – who seem unable to proclaim the truth that we are in a lot of trouble and doing absolutely nothing to make the future a safe and prosperous place.

The Pentagon recently installed two inch thick laminated glass on the windows – which probably saved the building from much more serious damage in the terrorist attack from the Middle East. They are however located at sea level on the flood plain of the Potomac River, as it runs into Chesapeake Bay. Not far from where George Washington pushed the ice out of his boat’s path as he crossed the Delaware River in 1776 to surprise the Hessian mercenaries and establish THE GREAT REPUBLIC. I wonder if we may not see icebergs in Chesapeake Bay again, or perhaps the Pentagon converted to a fish farm with the eastern seaboard flooded or destroyed by a Tidal Wave caused by an asteroid impact or collapsing Atlantic Island. Middle Eastern Oil, the grail of American and British foreign policy, may have the ultimate revenge plunging Europe and North America into an ice age and bringing the rains back to the deserts. Three cheers for laminated glass! “And the Tide rushes in … and carries our Castles away …”


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