Tag Archives: nature

Going On The Account: A Shore Thing…

My thanks to Robert Gonzalez at io9.com who found two sites, one with stills and one with GIFs (from which the above comes), with renderings by Nickolay Lamm of what some sections of the East Coast would look like after inundation from a 25-foot rise in sea levels.

For those keeping track at home, the (soon-to-be-finished) novel assumes sea level rises like that occur during surges, with the normal now being about fourteen feet. Of course, with the frequency of such storms likely to rise in the future, the number of days you can visit these places and see water levels like these is probably going to increase every year…

Also of note, and it’s a minor quibble, but if the ocean’s coming in and covering your structures, they are not going to keep their picture postcard good looks after a while; a few months into a changed coastline, and the extra water and currents working your base is going to leave your monuments looking less like this and more like…

 

(All right, not so accurate either, but hey, demonstrative needs and all…)

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Going On The Account: Such A Blooming Idiot

No, this isn’t about my last post

In the course of putting together the novel, I thought I had considered everything in terms of climate change, and what that would mean for a city on Lake Erie.  Breakdown of most non-essential government, check; geopolitical realignment leading to resource war, uh-huh; looks like we got most of it here…

 

And then I read about the return of algae blooms to Lake Erie, due in part to climate change leading to more agricultural runoff into the lake from increased rains.

 

Maybe part of me is such an optimist, that I didn’t want to believe that the lake could be dying again the way it had back in the 1970s.  Those were bad times for the lake, which seemed all the worse when you consider that Lake Erie is Buffalo’s main source for drinking water; a return of the possibility of lake death would have changed the tenor of the piece.  I make reference in passing to acid rain and zebra mussels, but a serious algae problem just wasn’t coming up in the crystal ball.

 

A scene involving a pirate raid on a smuggler where glops of algae are churned in the wake of the boats would have been an interesting set piece to build on, the characters too busy pursuing a few dollars’ worth of booty to pay attention to the damage around them, or even willfully ignoring the greater damage around them.  That could have really punctuated the work, and made a sly point with some dramatic imagery.

No point in bemoaning the lost opportunities.  There’s always the next work to try and get it all in…

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Going On The Account: Blogtober – Seeds of Doom

This is the twenty first entry in the Blogtober self-flagellation exercise; maybe I should be glad I never got that journalism career, the way the carping’s coming hard and fast here…

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Speaking of distressing things, there was an article at io9 that directed me to this older piece from Nature that makes an interesting claim:  That for every rise of the mean temperature by one degree Fahrenheit, we can expect a species’ geographic range to extend northward by fifty miles.   Thus, if the average temp goes up ten degrees, we should expect species that are at home five hundred miles to the south of us to be quite comfortable in the New York area.

Of course, if the temperatures go up over that ten degree mark, we could be seeing so radical a die-off from the extreme conditions that the rest of this discussion is rendered meaningless, so let’s stick to this as our upper limit, shall we…?

Now, for the sake of visualization, as you can see on the map provided here, 500 miles to the south of New York would put you in the center of Wilmington, NC, a place we considered a little while ago.  Which means that should we see radical climate shift, that the great outdoors here would look much like they do down there now.

And of all the species that would be getting some southern hospitality here, the one we have to fear most has no fangs or claws…

The kudzu plant, a decorative vine imported from Japan that became an invasive species in the US, would feel quite at home here.  Compare the 500-mile radus map linked above with this map of kudzu’s infestation area, and you can see that the New York area could soon disappear under a sheet of green the same way areas near Atlanta and Mobile have.  And this assumes that the plant hasn’t adapted for here yet; one sighting in Albany was noted in 2006, and some areas north of the city have been observed to be overgrown during the warmer months.

In addition to the issues with overgrowth taking out the native plants, there’s the problem of kudzu being a major source of surface ozone pollution, which can increase the rate of global warming as well as being a direct health threat itself.  Which means it will not only bake you and choke your garden, it’ll destroy your lungs; lovely stuff, kudzu…

Sometimes, the threats you need to pay the most attention to are the ones you don’t hear…

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Speaking of threats, if you’re looking for further detailed examination of the world our children will know better, you’re in luck.  The World Bank just released their climate change report, detailing the changes they envisaged for a world that is four degrees Celsius warmer on average, the same scenario I run with.  Theirs is a bit more  precise and covers a wide number of factors affecting areas beyond Western New York; in all fairness, they have a bigger staff…

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Going On The Account: Strange Days Indeed

First off, happy birthdays for those with their big events to celebrate on the 4th (236 years) and the 1st (30 years in this form).  Apologies for the lack of word before now, but some of what’s been going on around me, believe me, the less you’re drawn in the better…

So what better time than bringing up the past to look at a few pieces that discuss the future?  Recently there were two pieces from the Associated Press about faster sea level raises on the US East Coast and claims that this last June is going to be “what global warming might look like.”  Both of which came out just as someone indirectly brought to my attention this piece from SLATE in 2009 about a weather disaster doomsday, which ties it all together pretty neatly…

All we need now is a pertinent story about pirates, though it seems the biggest news about pirates is Canada’s passage of Bill C-11, which is kinda-sorta-maybe tied in, a little…?

 

Speaking of things to come, I may be looking at at least one week off in terms of sharing the book.  There’s going to be a week were I’m going inland with an oar on one shoulder and a WiFi device under the other arm; when I get somewhere where I can’t justify having either with me, I’ll take a few days away from the water and the grid.  There may also be a week before that when I may need to concentrate on a few other things and need to push stuff aside for a small bit.  I’ll give plenty of warning before any of that happens.

 

Whichever side of the 49th you’re on, hope it’s a good week (whatever part of it you get for yourself)!

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