Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Global Vulnerability

The media has allowed just about everyone who has a message to tie it blindly to the global warming mantra with it seems little critical editing. We could say that the story line is now very mature. In the meantime we are coming out of a very normal long cold winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. Also Australia has had an early cold snap setting the stage for one of their own.

Unless I have missed something, we are going to have a well watered growing season and universally bumper crops this fall. Since every farmer has gone all out this year, it is safe to assume that we are about to make up fully for the past two years of poor crops. Sell your crops forward guys!

In the meantime, the arctic sea ice will bear watching. Spring will not be early this year and the winds will likely stay home. I expect the thin one year ice to breakup and melt at least. It seems unlikely that more will happen.

I wish that our Arctic data was better than it is, but serious work has only gotten under way in the past two decades with the establishment of ample data collection systems and satellite coverage. That is the one compelling reason to wait patiently another twenty years to see the real story unfold. The constant hand wringing misses another critical point. Humanity simply does not have the resources to proactively change a thing.

We have chosen to blame a wobble in the heat content of the Northern Hemisphere on the excess production of CO2.

We could just as easily and with as much rigor have blamed the huge increase in human population over the past century and the related hot air.

We likely could make an equally good argument that a fifty percent drop in CO2 production will lead directly to a fifty percent drop in the population. This certainly would happen if we were in a hurry.

The point is that we are vulnerable to that sort of population collapse, because most of the global population is no longer growing their own food and has no such security. A mega volcano blast or a large comet bombardment would collapse the food supply system quickly with no room for recovery. We even have evidence that this has happened once in the lifespan of humanity.

The survivors would inevitably be those able to protect crop lands from marauders as civilization disintegrated. It takes about two years for the worst of the dust created effects to dissipate and the food reserves simply do not exist to carry over a population. The events described are also highly survivable by all the population. And with our space gear we could even predict the impact targets and evacuate successfully.

In those horrific conditions, the world would experience an orgy of cannibalism and general barbarism. These are unpleasant thoughts but I cannot imagine a concerted remedy to such a risk. Right now we still have not really mapped the contents of the solar system, nor are we likely to for a long time. The Kuiper belt can throw something our way anytime. Hopefully we can protect ourselves long before we ever need to.

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