Monday, January 14, 2008

Climate change: scary news and hope for solutions

Remember when New York froze in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow?" That unlikely drama is a tiny bit closer to reality according to some new studies of ocean currents.

The scary news today from oceanography is that the Gulf Stream is slowing down. New research published today in Nature says the Gulf Stream has slowed by 30% in the last 12 years. Disruption of ocean currents could cause rapid climate changes, such as a new ice age in Northern Europe. Rachel Carson was one of the first to talk about this in her OTHER great book "The Sea Around Us."

And this is not just some Chicken Little scare story. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute website has an extensive report on the possible dramatic effecgts of slowing ocean currents, and the Gulf Stream is expected to be an indicator of whether this is happening.

Meanwhile, Antarctic ice is melting according to new studies from the southern hemisphere. This undermines the argument of some climate change deniers who insist that ice isn't really melting. Loss of ice from Antarctica is a big deal, and this is the most comprehensive study yet done.

Finally some hope, global gardening is proposed as a solution, with CO2 trapped in biomass. It's controversial, but there is some strong science behind the idea so it deserves further study. It's not just the old "plant a few trees" argument.

It's time to get moving and test this and any other credible proposal, before we find out if The Day After Tomorrow has a grain of truth in it.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This would seem to be a grand civilization changing event/ here's a grand (if not naive)solution...restrict the loss of fresh water from the poles and Greenland and ship it to areas experiencing drought (there's plenty of those). Do we have the technology for this? Would there be the requisite global co-operation? Do we have a choice?
walt Q