The complete melting of Greenland would raise sea levels by 7 meters (23 feet). But even a partial melting would cause a one-meter (three-foot) rise. Such a rise would have a devastating impact on low-lying island countries, such as the Indian Ocean's Maldives, which would be entirely submerged.
Densely populated areas like the Nile Delta and parts of Bangladesh would become uninhabitable, potentially driving hundreds of millions of people from their land.
A one-meter sea level rise would wreak particular havoc on the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard of the United States.
"No one will be free from this," said Overpeck, whose maps show that every U.S. East Coast city from Boston to Miami would be swamped.
A one-meter sea rise in New Orleans, Overpeck said, would mean "no more Mardi Gras."
A New Mexico biologist named Carl Cantrell has what I consider to be a wonderful theory on how climate change could be effectively combatted. He advises that we should invest heavily in turning the Sahara Desert green.
I love this idea!
Dr. James Hansen has cautioned us that as we tackle climate change we have to be careful that we could cause global warming to spiral out of control if we negate the global dimming effect. Global dimming has up to this point masked global warming.
Between the 1950s and the early 1990s, the level of solar energy reaching the
Earth's surface had dropped: nine percent in Antarctica, 10 percent in areas of
the U.S.A., by almost 30 percent in one region of Russia, and by 16 percent in
parts of the British Isles. This seemed to be a global phenomenon, so Gerry gave
it a suitable name: "global dimming."
DAVID TRAVIS: The 9/11 study showed that if you remove a contributor to global
dimming, jet contrails, just for a three-day period, we see an immediate
response of the surface temperature. Do the same thing globally, we might see a
large-scale increase in global warming.
NARRATOR: This is the crux of the
problem. While the greenhouse effect has been warming the planet, it now seems
global dimming has been cooling it down.This new understanding is something that
climate modelers like Peter Cox have to contend with.PETER COX: We're going to be in a situation, unless we act, where the coolingIt seems to me that turning the world's one billion hungry people into a market for food produced in our deserts through both aquaculture and agriculture could be the way to reduce the amount of heat going into the atmosphere at the same time that we add fresh water to the water table of North Africa and the Middle East. Every cubic meter added to North Africa will NOT be on top of Florida, New Orleans, Holland or the Maldive Islands!
pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up. CO2 will be
going up and particles will be dropping off, and that means that we'll get an
accelerated warming. We'll get a double whammy. We'll get reducing cooling and
increased heating at the same time, and that's, that's a problem for us.
JAMES HANSEN: If the particle forcing is what we estimate, about minus-1.5
watts, that would imply that removing that forcing would cause a global warming
of more than one degree Celsius. That's more than the warming that we've seen
already, so this is a huge factor.
NARRATOR: If we continue as we are, combining reduced air pollution with an
increase in greenhouse gases, temperatures could rise by a further two or even
three degrees Celsius. That's as much as five degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century,
much sooner than current models predict.
JAMES HANSEN: But, in my opinion, three degrees Celsius is not the level of
dangerous interference; that's the level which guarantees disaster.
James Hansen is particularly worried about what this rise in temperature would
do to the Greenland ice sheet. Even at today's temperature, there are signs that
substantial melting is already underway.
JAMES HANSEN: It has been overlooked how sensitive ice sheets are to global
temperature. We can see that in the last year, the mass of Greenland decreased
by 200 cubic kilometers of ice. That's a lot of ice. I cannot imagine that the
ice sheets could survive more than a few centuries with a three-degree Celsius
warming. So that would mean a sea level rise of several meters per century, and
it would just continue. And once that starts, it's out of our control.
Mr. Cantrell and I submitted a proposal to the Virgin Earth Challenge elaborating on this theory. We didn't win, but we both feel better that we did our best to draw more attention to this seemingly logical method of combatting climate change:
February 22, 2008
Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Earth Challenge
Dear Mr. Branson:
Dear Mr. Gore:
Dear Mr. Tickell:
Dear Mr. Lovelock:
Dear Mr. Hansen:
Dear Mr. Flannery:
I am extremely glad that you are all doing your best to attempt to find a method to save the earth from the many perils associated with global warming. I believe you will be tremendously encouraged by the theory presented by biologist Carl Cantrell who makes a convincing case that global cooling can be initiated simply by pumping vast quantities of fresh water into the world’s largest deserts.
Global Warming II by Carl Cantrell
“So how is our problem of continental drying causing global warming? It all has to do with vegetation and sunlight. When sun light hits a plant, it causes a process which we call photosynthesis where the energy from the sun light creates oxygen for us to breath, water for us to drink, and is stored as sugar for plants and animals to use. When the same sun light hits the soil, all of its energy turns into heat and is radiated back into the atmosphere, carried away by running surface water such as rain fall, is carried away to other areas by our winds, and diffuses down into the soil towards the earth's crust. All of this warms our planet increasing its average temperature.”
“Therefore, the less vegetation you have on the planet, the more sunlight is being turned into heat and the warmer the planet becomes. This is very critical because warmer and dryer winds dry out other land areas faster decreasing the vegetation on those land areas. Less humidity in the air also reflects less sun light back out into space so that more sun light strikes the earth and more heat is generated….”
“The truth is that you can do more to decrease global warming by just reducing the average temperature for the Sahara Desert by one or two degrees than if we humans completely quit using fossil fuels and returned to the cave….”
“So, how would you start working to resolve this problem? Easy, cool the deserts and get some vegetation growing on them as soon as possible. But the method is much more complex than that. You have to use the prevailing trade winds in relation to the deserts to get the best results as quickly as possible and it will be extremely expensive….”
“Then we build desalination plants along the coast near these water sheds and pipe water to the tops or ridges of the water sheds…”
“This will do a number of things. First, it will increase the moisture in the desert soil so that it will develop water tables and water will begin to run in the streams. This water will increase the amount of vegetation in the area and decrease the amount of heat being generated by sun light cooling the watered area and all areas down wind of the watered area. As more available water evaporates, it will cool the air and reflect more sun light back out into space cooling the area even more. Cooler and more humid air will have less of a heating effect on areas down wind and will reflect more sun light back into space in those areas cooling areas we won't be watering yet. Cooler and more humid air will also have less of a warming effect on our seas and oceans.”
“Rain water running off of cooler soil will decrease the heating effect on our oceans and our planet crusts which will decrease catastrophic storm activities for other areas and seismic activity for the entire planet. Also, returning more ocean water to the surface and aquifers of our continents will lower the sea levels providing more usable land for us to farm and build on.”
“With cooler desert areas and increasing vegetation, less water will evaporate from our deserts increasing the amount of surface water even more and increasing the amount of vegetation and animal life by huge amounts because deserts currently take up more than 20% of our land surface. Populations will be able to spread out and there will be less competition for existing land areas.”
“This strategy has to be done in steps with the first step being to begin slowing the rate at which our global warming is increasing. We need to focus on that until we have brought it to a point to where the temperature is not increasing any more and is reasonably stable. While we are doing this, we need to come to a global consensus of just how cool we want to cool our planet down to. If we cool it down too much, we will begin to have devastatingly harsh winters in large populated areas and even cause an ice age to set in.”
“Then we begin cooling the planet down to a point which will be most beneficial for all countries or the planet as a whole. We need to gradually bring the temperature down because there may be a lag effect in which the planet will continue cooling after we stop increasing our efforts to cool it off more. We may even want to stop cooling the planet once or twice before we reach our targeted temperatures to see if there is a lag effect…”
“We need to start working on this as soon as possible because, if the planet reaches a point to where it is warming faster than our technology can possibly stop or reverse this warming trend, then our planet is lost and all life will cease to exist on this planet within a relatively short period of time. We will need to start with the largest and hottest deserts because cooling them will have the greatest benefit in the least time (Global Warming II by biologist Carl Cantrell).”
Mr. Cantrell has agreed to become an official co-applicant along with me in my submissions for your Virgin Earth award. My primary contribution will be to figure out a method to PAY for this project which as Mr. Cantrell has stated, “will be extremely expensive.”
In “Anti-Armageddon Paradigm Shift Monetary Policy Theory – The Introduction” I stated that you Sir Richard, or perhaps the Roman Catholic Pontiff were two of the most logical choices to FINANCE this possible remedy for global warming. I shall attempt in a later writing to elaborate on a method whereby perhaps I may be able to finance this project myself through an organized barter and film production company that works in cooperation with several other film production cooperatives and/or companies. Here is a brief outline of how this could be done.
I work night shifts stocking the shelves at the ........ grocery store in Antigonish.
I plan to invite ...... to also become official co-applicants along with myself and Mr. Cantrell in our submissions. Their role that I will be proposing to them will be to sell me higher and higher amounts of damaged goods from their stores beginning of course with Antigonish. I plan to print up a barter currency unit similar to how a group of concerned citizens have printed the Calgary dollar:
Next I plan to encourage various local church and other non-profit organizations to become involved in a reality and/or semi reality film series where organized barter is used as a tool to raise funds for worthy projects that they desire to accomplish.
"The peril of Mother Earth and our children will not be alleviated without enlisting our spiritual heritage in the struggle. "Fight the worst with the best," advises farmer/poet/prophet WendellBerry. At a National Academy of Sciences conference
in 1986 exploring the mass extinction of plants and animals on our planet, Paul R. Ehrlich of Stanford University declared, "Scientific analysis points curiously, toward the need for a
quasi-religious transformation of contemporary cultures."
(Coming of The Cosmic Christ by Dr. Matthew Fox).
I completely agree with these comments quoted by Dr. Fox. It will be necessary to generate interest among and enlist the assistance of many of the deeply religious salt of the earth type of people in each nation if we are to succeed in preventing the destruction of Mother Earth.
I plan to get back to you soon with results from various groups as I submit this proposal to them. I also plan to make you an offer to purchase a significant share of a barter and film production company that I have had on my mind for several years now.
Thank you for considering our submission.
p.s. It is now 2012 and I summarized the more important conclusion so far in:
Proposal for the creation of a Quebec provincial currency unit to save coastal communities from threat of rising ocean levels.