March 26, 2007

The Ice Budget

The ice is melting. That’s a fact. This only matters because the earth has a surfeit of people living on it. If we weren’t here, a big melt down, followed, most probably, by an 80,000 year resurgent ice age wouldn’t matter. But, here we sit, buggering up the natural or unnatural cycle of things, desperately and delusionally hoping that we can conquer the biggest most complex and least understood natural phenomena of them all – the weather.

Did you know that 100,000 years ago the sea levels were four to six metres higher than they are today? That was back in the long forgotten days when temperatures were at the balmy levels that we might expect to be experiencing by the end of this century – in around another 90 years, in other words, for those of you with not enough fingers to count. Quite frankly, that’s a lot of planning time. It also means those acting today will be long dead, but will need to anticipate the boundaries of living for those generations not even a twinkle in anyone’s eyes.

As many as 100 million people now living near various watery locations will be affected. Sounds catastrophic, doesn’t it? But that is based on today, not 50 or 90 years time. If any one of those 100 million people (well, they’ll actually be dead by then, but I’m quibbling) have really dumb governments, they’ll be in deep water, but hey, how often in life do you get six generations worth of warning to plan for something like this?

The rise will be incremental, relocating human habits to safe areas will, or should be, equally incremental. It’s not as though this is something that can’t be managed, with relatively little pain. (To keep this in perspectives, the numbers amount to moving about 1.1 million people each year for the next 90 years, which is quite a trivial number in the scheme of annual house moves.)

By the time the sea levels rise to what we humans perceive to be catastrophic levels no one should be residing in the areas affected, because, long before then, a number of generations now living there will have died off, and new generations, with the wise guidance of their national and local governments, will not be permitted to live in the predicted newly soggy regions.

But that’s not the whole story. No, the doomsayers, while stating clearly that doomsday has not arrived, nonetheless bamboozle with their flimflamery oracles:

The rising sea levels are already, so say “top world scientists”, “leaving some human population centers already unable to cope”. Who, where, how many, and how catastrophic, you may ask, and why isn’t it on the front page of your morning newspaper?

“This was already happening in the south of England, where local councils and governments could not afford to protect all areas from sea water erosion as land continued to sink.”

We rather gather that within this solitary example they are “coping” in the south of England, if rather unhappily.

I assume the same top scientists are the ones floating the idea of sea walls all over the world, which most of us would not automatically consider to be the best 100 year planning option, but, we’re not scientists. However, the concession is given:

"There's lots of places where you can't do that and where you'll have to put up with actual flooding," he said.

Ooooh, aaaaah! Actual flooding! Because of rising sea levels! Because you actually can’t hope to bung up a whole lot of walls to keep the sea out from just about everywhere! Can you! Now! And they will have to "put up with actual flooding" because they were too stupid to move 50 years ahead of time!

Okay, I’ll stop being sarcastic. I think the guy needs to get out of his lab a bit more often, that’s all, so that the idea of “actual flooding” isn’t quite so mind-blowing to him, nor the idea of urban planning, whereby people could, if they wanted to, move, thereby, not having to "put up" with any flooding at all.

Then we get to the number of people who might be affected by rising sea levels:

About 100 million people around the world live within a meter of the present-day sea level, CSIRO Marine Research senior principal research scientist Steve Rintoul said. "Those 100 million people will need to go somewhere," he said.

Yes, yes they would, if they were still alive in 90 years time. For the most part they will be in cemetaries.

These predictions are based around many metres of extra sea sloshing about, yet, the IPCC report has projected sea level gains of 18-59 centimeters (7-23 inches) this century, which, for those of you with extra fingers and toes, is less than one metre, and, again, we are forced to point out that this is a 100 year projection.

Are you worried yet?

Are you scared yet?

Are you mind-numbingly confused yet?

This is what happens when even the scientists can’t keep a fact straight. When you deconstruct what they’re saying and when you superficially examine their data and predictions, it’s like so much effluent being flushed into the silence.


  1. I have the solution to all this...
    Okay first we need a bit ice pick
    Then we need a whole lot of glasses
    Then a whole lot of booze
    Hire a bunch of bar staff
    Then make a mass amount of drinks

    Do you see where I'm going with this... we could just make some cocktails with the ice then we wont have to worry about it melting. Only thing to worry about there is electing a designated driver.

    ARRRRRRGHHH what the hell is it with this god damn word verification! I typed it in right dammit!

  2. I want to go to chazz's house for that party ;-)

    No really, this is why I get so angry with the non-scientific loonies that have attached themselves to the man-made-global-warming cause like leeches on a recently drowned cow carcass.

    Climate change is so complex that not even science can decipher the Gordian knot problems it poses. Still, I rather listen to real scientists than C-average liberal arts majors.

  3. That's my baby girl Cube, don't know where she gets her ideas, but I guess I'll be adding a big ice pick to her birthday present list this year!

    The real problem I had with this piece Cube was that this was real scientists - "top scientists", to be exact. Even they can't see the difference between now and 100 years time, and they myriad of human adjustments and adaptations that will occur in that timeframe, and they can't seem to recognise that this will not be the FIRST time that sea levels have been, well, higher than we're accustomed to - it has happened before, long before we humans cluttered up the planet and spewed carbons into the atmosphere.


    And yes, the non-scientific loonies are even worse, far, far worse.

    But you know what's really bothering me Cube? When all the ice melts, and our drinks are getting warm, someone with a name like "Cube" will need to keep looking over their shoulder, very warily!