Apparently we are entering a transition period in earth’s climate, going from a period of stability to a period of greater variation. We won’t really know for a few more years. It is much easier to predict the past than the future.
Polar ice is melting and oceans are rising. A rise of three feet will inundate many coastal cities and force millions to move or adapt. If all the ice in Greenland and Antarctica were to melt, the oceans might rise as much as 200 feet, completely destroying civilization as we know it.
Our civilization is a very fragile construct of many delicate systems that depend on each other to function. For example, our nation’s power grid cannot withstand high winds that topple trees on power lines. As storms become stronger and more frequent, it will become harder and more expensive to keep the power grid functioning as we have become accustomed.
For a look at what the near future may hold for all of us, I suggest an easy read in Kim Stanley Robinson‘s trilogy, Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting, about climate change. Set mostly in Washington, DC, and Southern California, the books detail the effects of colder winters and hotter summers and how the US may struggle to cope. That future will be a much harsher environment for human survival than the present.
- Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Nearing Critical ‘Tipping Point’ (climatecentral.org)
- New study suggests climate link between Arctic and Antarctica (summitcountyvoice.com)
- The melting north (environmenteng.wordpress.com)
- Apocalyptic Map Shows San Francisco After 200 Feet of Sea Level Rise (treehugger.com)