Global Scrub Down

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by maria on 14.01.2010 - 01:21  

Wow, this is completely fascinating, if true: Climate Change Catastrophe took Just Months. I read this article a while ago, and I've let it brew a bit. The article explains how the most recent ice age may have come on quite suddenly, like in about 6 months, as opposed to the many years previously assumed. Researcher William Patterson and colleagues believe a large, very cold lake in North America called Lake Agassiz burst its banks, and the large volume of freezing fresh water disrupted the Gulf Stream emough to cause lots of ice to form, which then kept the air cold, preventing the flow to return to its pre-ice age currents. So, thus was a born a mini-ice age of 1,300 years.

My first thought was, if it is true that such dramatic climate change can happen so quickly and so relatively easily, we are really fucking lucky we haven't triggered something crazy, with all of our mucking about with the earth. Think of all of the things we have done in our short time on earth. We have transformed vast treks of land from forests and mixed vegetation to farmland, cities, pastures, etc.; we have dumped all kinds of chemicals (including tons of crude oil) into the ground and waterways; damned rivers; and poured smoke and chemicals into the atmosphere, including not just the usual suspects, but the occasional nuclear bomb, test, or accident. Those are just the things that poppped immediately into my head. Somehow, it seems like some of that has probably done some harm. The findings in this study mean interesting things for our future. Strangely, it can be used as an argument either for mucking about more or less. One argument goes, well then it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how to counteract global warming, all we have to do is empty a big vat of cold water in a water current to disturb the flow, and we can reverse the warming we have caused. We can create all kinds of models to figure out the precise amount and place to do this. Obviously, this sort of thinking has some flaws. Most obviously, we are quite likely to get it wrong, or find it practically too difficult to get enough water, at the right temp. to the right place at the right time. So maybe instead we should do all we can to neutralize the changes we have made in/on the earth, so we don't accidentally provoke another drastic change in temperature? Apparently the earth is good enough at doing that on its own, without our help. Maybe we can at least stop more warming, while we figure out whether we want to go into the mucking about with the climate intentionally business? And since it is likely, given all of the changes we have made to the earth, that we have changed more than just the temperature, trying to reverse the most egregious changes we have made could stop any other crazy outcomes we have not yet forseen, but in our ignorance, directed the earth toward. I'm thinking of things like acid rain. It isn't like we don't have evidence that we have drastically changed certain places/aspects of the earth already. So, in conclusion, we should clean up our messes already (air, land, and water ones), regardless of whether we have caused actual harm to the climate (yet), becuase the planet could use a good scrub down after our mucking about on it for centuries.


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