Tag Archives: science

Going On The Account: Not Letting Go

So as I try to get myself jazzed for what comes now, as the last project has seen its official end*, I found something that relates to the old work:  an assessment of different cities’ plans for the inevitable inundation to come.  In a nutshell:

Rotterdam:  Imagine Venice with pot cafes…

Venice:  Hey, the whole ruins motif worked for Rome, so why not…?

London:  And if these barriers don’t work, there’s always Oxford upstream…

Miami:  Oh yeah, we’re screwed, but hey, we’re Miami, we can make this work for us…

New York:  Yeah, we got a plan, youse got a problem with that?  Huh?

Bangladesh:  We had problems before we had this sheit to deal with…

Maldives:  What, you didn’t know we had a problem looming?  What kind of colonial bastard are you?

Bangkok:  Yeah, like you really care about us…

Cuba:  As if you ever thought about us…

Mbeere:  As if you ever heard about us…

Proof that yes, the novel may end, but the issues may go on well after the “-30-” date…

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* Mind you, as I say “end,” there’s a few things that nag at the back of my mind, among them:

– Where mothers who abandon their daughters can go in a post-climate-changed America

– How readily a big enough launch can navigate the waters among the islands of Nunavut

– How much global cooling we can see from potential nuclear strikes that hit the Russian and the Chinese industrial centers

– What a post climate-challenged Caribbean might look like when the word gets too hot, and then suddenly too cold

– How much hate mail I’m going to get from teasing you all this badly and blatantly…

(Here’s where we see who really reads this and who just casually checks in…)

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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: 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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Going On The Account: Say… What?!?

I got word just now that North Carolina is going to make it illegal to accurately predict sea level changes.

Yes, the same people that have a very narrow definition of marriage are going to out-crazy themselves with an act covering how the state will predict the rise in sea levels.  House Bill 819 goes on to state in Section 2.(e) the following:

The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900.  Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise. Rates of sea-level rise shall not be one rate for the entire coast but, rather, the Division shall consider separately oceanfront and estuarine shorelines.

What are they, HIGH?  Not that I’d suggest the North Carolina legislature is enmeshed in the thrall of addictive plant products that get users hooked  to the point of causing a major health crisis.

Then again…

But seriously, really?  That a state would legislate a scientific process by discarding logic and game the system so as to be able to make it illegal to do anything other than putting their fingers in their ears and going Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah  ad infinitum until the bad smart person just gives up?

What do they think this is, 1633?

I went back to some of the notes and files I put together for doing…   well, you know…  and saw how the Tarheels fared in the scenario I had.  On average between calm periods and the extended inundations during a now-extended hurricane season, Wilmington International Airport is under an inlet to the sea that rolled over Southport and Carolina Beach, Beaufort and Cape Hatteras are great places to scuba dive, and Camp Lejune is in an even better defensive position now that it’s on a peninsula.

But after reading this, I might want to see if there’s more to be done onto them to be mentioned in the back end of the book.  I’ve seen climate change deniers of all stripes, many of whom are starting to realize lately that yes, there is something going on here and it may be time to rethink the denial, but this just makes me want to get all Books of Samuel on their asses.

 

There’s denial that’s just plain stupid, and then there’s this, something criminal that will hurt thousands of people.  If this does not kill them, then it will certainly ruin them through economic disincentive, their properties either uninsured or under-insured thanks to poor risk assessment legislated into existence by narrow minded folks who probably live inland away from the impending disaster.  And again, those without the means will pay the most when the time comes, bearing the cost of another’s foolishness.

Part of me hopes that this becomes for the climate denial movement the high-water mark.  (Pun not intended; oh hell, maybe it was…)   Once word gets out that people need to change the law to keep their fantasies alive and spit on facts and observation,  that maybe this would wake people up and get them to see that much of the “doubt” is really a psy-op campaign by special interests to allow them to keep a very enriching status quo in place.

Mind you, I never thought a statehouse would actually go this far to deny climate change, so it might get a little wetter before it dries out…

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