Timeline of recent environmental concerns
2016-FEB to AUG:
Climate change concerns: Ocean level.
Displacement of animal species.
Greenland glacier melting.
"Third Pole" glaciers melting.
A flooded highway sign.
2016-FEB-22: Articles published on costal flooding:
Two articles were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- One article was by Benjamin H. Strauss, the Vice President for Sea Level and Climate Impacts at Climate Central. He blamed the rise in ocean level on the increase in greenhouse gasses that are a byproduct of human activity. It is expected to rapidly grow far worse in the near future. He wrote:
"I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding. It’s not [caused by] the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”
- A second article was by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He wrote:
"I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be."
His article states that the oceans of the world are rising at their fastest rate in 2,800 years, and that the rate has increased sharply over the past century. At the present rate he estimates that the sea level could rise up to three or four additional feet by the year 2100. This value is similar to the 1.7 to 3.2 feet rise estimated by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013. 1
2016-AUG: Future displacement of animal species throughout the Americas:
Researchers at the University of Washington and the Nature Conservancy have computed the future effects of global warming and the resultant rise in sea levels on existing species of mammals, birds and amphibian species. They estimate that almost 3,000 species will find the climate in areas where they are currently located to be too hot and inhospitable. Animals will "have to head for the poles."
The researchers have prepared a dynamic map of North and South America showing the migration paths that animals will are expected to take as they seek more hospitable climates:
Migrating species will be faced with many problems. Dan Majka, the ecologist at The Nature Conservancy who created the map, said that most species are unable to swim:
"... Around the Great Lakes ... you’ll see that species steer around them, since most can’t go through water, or through New York City. ... I don’t know if, in our lifetimes, we’ll see these migrations that are extreme and obvious. It’s a little more subtle than that." 3
Margaret Rhodes, writing for Wired.com. said:
"A study from earlier this year found that only 41 percent of the United States is available to animals migrating towards fairer climates; the remaining 59 percent has been blocked off by development. Less fencing and smarter infrastructure -- like wildlife overpasses that stretch over highways -- could improve things for animals. With new passageways open, they could seek manifest destiny and, hopefully, adapt to new climates." 3
2016-AUG: The ice sheet covering Greenland is melting quickly:
Scientists have measured the loss in ice due to melting of the world's ice sheets, and find that the loss is accelerated over the past few years. The data confirms predictions that they have made in the past. Using high resolution satellite data from the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 mission, they estimate that over the three year interval from 2011 to 2014, Greenland has been losing about 270 gigatons of ice per year. That is enough to fill 110 million Oympic size swimming pools with water annually. 4,5
In recent years, the Internet has been inundated by articles and videos by individuals promoting the concept of a flat earth. In the VERY unlikely event that their beliefs are accurate, then if the ice there were to melt, it could mean a disaster for the Earth. That is because most of the flat earth enthusiasts claim that the Antarctic is not a continent that has roughly the area of the U.S. and Mexico combined. Rather it is a ring of ice of unknown width around the edge of a flat, circular Earth, as shown below.
A common concept of a "flat earth"
If the Antarctic should should follow Greenland's trend and melt -- at even one location -- then the water from all the oceans of the Earth would drain off the edge of the world and be lost. The impact of this event is difficult to comprehend, but would be massive.
It is a pity that the Earth is not structured as the Flat Earther's belief. If it were, then we might be able to excavate a channel through the ice wall at its narrowest spot and use it to drain off excessive water in a controlled manner. That could restore ocean levels to their earlier value, and reduce costal flooding around the world.
2016-AUG: Glaciers at the Earth's "Third Pole" are melting quickly: 6
The term "Third Pole" refers to a region that is south of China and north of India. It contains the third largest area of frozen water on the planet and covers about 100,000 square kilometers. Ten of the largest rivers in Asia start there.
Alex Gray, writing for the World Economic Forum said:
"It is estimated that the water that flows from the Third Pole supports 120 million people directly through irrigation systems, and a total of 1.3 billion indirectly through river basins in China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That’s nearly one fifth of the world’s population.
The temperatures at the "Third Pole" have risen by about 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) over the past five decades. This has caused the melting rate of the glaciers at the "Pole" to double since 2005. More than 500 small glaciers have dissapeared. The rest are shrinking rapidly. 6
More information from later in 2016 is in the next essay.
Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2016-AUG-27
Latest update: 2016-SEP-27
Author: B.A. Robinson