Archive for September, 2007
Never mind higher temperatures (or colder temperatures), Now any event can be a cause of Global Warming. Hurricane? You Bet! Tsunamis? Of course. Droughts and/or Flooding? Yes both! Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Landslides? Why not?
As Guardian.co.uk reciently pointed out this article by Bill McGuire, Even Earthquakes can be linked to Global Warming.
Unlike most apparently intractable problems, which have a tendency to go away when examined closely and analytically, the climate change predicament just seems to get bigger and scarier the more we learn about it.
Thats right, because the closer you examine Climate Change, the more you realize that just because humans didn’t cause the mid-evil warm peroid (or any of the other moments in Earth’s history that it was as warm or warmer then it is now) doesn’t mean this time it isn’t our fault. I mean, look at all the… Big Oil somethingotother….
Now we discover that not only are the oceans and the atmosphere conspiring against us, bringing baking temperatures, more powerful storms, floods and ever-climbing sea levels, but the crust beneath our feet seems likely to join in too.
Amen Brotha, Preach on!
Looking back to other periods in our planet’s history when the climate was swinging about wildly, most notably during the last ice age, it appears that far more than the weather was affected. The solid earth also became restless, with an increase in volcanic activity, earthquakes, giant submarine landslides and tsunamis. At the rate climate change is accelerating, there is every prospect that we will see a similar response from the planet, heralding not just a warmer future but also a fiery one.
Several times in the past couple of million years the ice left its polar fastnesses and headed towards the equator, covering much of the world’s continents in ice sheets over a kilometre thick, and sucking water from the oceans in order to do so. As a consequence, at times when the ice was most dominant, global sea levels were as much as 130m lower than they are today; sufficient to expose land bridges between the UK and the continent and Alaska and Russia.
Now, we here at the Church of Global Warming feel it is important to point out here how even though McGuire points out how the climate was “swinging about wildly” or how ice left polar areas before, its still Man’s fault this time.
Each time the ice retreated, sea levels shot up again, sometimes at rates as high as several metres a century. In the mid 1990s, as part of a study funded by the European Union, we discovered that in the Mediterranean region there was a close correlation between how quickly sea levels went up and down during the last ice age and the level of explosive activity at volcanoes in Italy and Greece.
Ok, so the sea levels move around and volcanos and earthquakes happen. Lets look at why this is important when it comes to preaching the word of Gore to the public. For this all we need to do is simply look at one of the areas in the United States for geologic activity. (You can look at any realy, but to keep from boring you to death, we’ll just pick one. Feel free to Google others.) New Madrid Fault System is a area in the middle of the North American tectonic plate that has a history of shooting off 6.0-8.0 quakes every so-many years. Most areas that experiance earthquakes are no diffrent, in that the plate(s) under the ground tend to ‘pop’ on a regular basis. According to Southwest Missouri State University:
A damaging earthquake in this area (6.0 or greater) occurs about every 80 years (the last one in 1895). There is a 50% chance of such a quake by the year 2000. The results would be serious damage to schools and masonry buildings from Memphis to St. Louis.
A major earthquake in this area (7.5 or greater) happens every 200-300 years (the last one in 1812). There is a 10% chance of such a disaster by the year 2000 and a 25% chance by 2040. A New Madrid Fault rupture this size would be felt throughout half the United States and damage expected in 20 states or more. Missouri alone could anticipate losses of at least $6 billion from such an event.
The Great New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-12 was actually a series of over 2000 shocks in five months, five of which were 8.0 or more in magnitude. Eighteen of these rang church bells on the Eastern seaboard. The very land itself was destroyed in the Missouri Bootheel, making it unfit for farming for many years. It was the largest burst of seismic energy east of the Rocky Mountains in the history of the U.S. and was several times larger than the San Francisco quake of 1905.
When will another great earthquake happen the size of those in 1811-12? Several lines of research suggest that the catastrophic upheavals like those in 1811-1 2 visit the New Madrid region every 500-600 years. Hence, emergency planners, engineers, and seismologists do not expect a repeat of the intensity of the 1811-12 series for at least 100 years or more. However, though the chance is remote, experts assign a 1% probability of an 8.0 or greater seismic event by the year 2000 and a 3% probability by the year 2040. Earthquake probabilities for known active faults always increase with time, because stresses within the earth slowly and inexorably mount year by year until the rocks reach there limits, and sudden rupture becomes inevitable.
Our greatest concerns are the 6.0-7.6 events, which do have significant probabilities in the near future. A 6.0 shock has a 90% chance by the year 2040. Damaging earthquakes of this magnitude are a virtual certainty within the lifetimes of our children.
Now, you see, in less links then it takes to link John Travolta to Kevin Bacon, you have Global Warming – Sea Levels – Earthquakes/Volcanos. And because of this link, when a plate pops, all the media needs to do is point to the event as another sign of Global Warming. I wonder now how they will explain off the sea level rise in the last 22k years that wasn’t our fault.