Global warming perspective

                                        

 

What will be the consequences,

if we fail to reduce worldwide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions

drastically?                     

 

 

a)    During the past 50 years the CO2 content of our atmosphere has doubled.        

            

b)    If we continue to construct thermal power stations to satisfy the global energy demand, and if we continue to use petrol as the main energy source for transport, we will double once more the CO2 content of our atmosphere within the next 40 years. Right now in China, everyweek one new thermal power station is being commissioned.                     

   

c)     Due to the high CO2 content in the atmosphere, the global average temperature is increasing. It has increased during the past 50 years on average by 1°C. But it isn’t increasing at the same rate in all regions. At the poles it has increased by 4°C.                


d)    The most devastating result of this climate change is the melting of the ice-caps at the North and South Poles.        

            

e)     As the ice-caps at the poles melt, the area covered with snow and ice gets smaller and the area of open sea gets bigger. 

 Icecaps picture 1980Icecaps picture 2012

        These two pictures illustrate how perennial sea ice has declined from 1980 to 2012. The bright white central mass shows the perennial sea ice while the larger light blue area shows the full extent of the winter sea ice including the average annual sea ice during the months of November, December and January. The data shown here were compiled by NASA senior research scientist Josefino Comiso from NASA's Nimbus-7 satellite and the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.

   

Light reflects off snow

f)      The ice-caps at the poles reflect most of the sunlight falling on them back into space. If the sunlight falls into the open ocean, then it is not reflected back into space, but absorbed in the sea. The consequence of this is that the energy which the infrared wave-length of light carries is converted into heat, and heats up the oceans. That is why the average temperature at the pole-caps has increased 4 times as much as the average temperature of the earth as a whole. 

 

g)     As a consequence, we have now entered into a self-propelling mechanism, by which the ice-caps of the poles get smaller and smaller every year. Due to smaller ice-caps more light falls into the sea. Due to that the sea-water heats up more than the year before. Due to that the ice-caps melt more than the year before. And next year the process continues, and so on.             

                      

h)    The ice-caps at the poles are the engine of the Gulf-stream, the Labrador-stream and all other globally relevant ocean-streams. The mechanism is as follows:  Surface-water which gets in touch with ice cools down. Once water gets colder it reduces its volume and therefore increases its specific weight. Once it gets heavier, it sinks down to the bottom of the ocean. As more water replaces it at the surface, the heavier water that has sunk to the ocean depths gets pushed towards the equator. By the time it reaches the equator it has been warmed up from its polar temperatures, and now rises to the surface. At this point it can no longer continue moving in the same direction, because it comes up against an equal current from the other pole, so begins to flow back at surface level to the original polar region from where it started. The same cycle is then repeated, normally in an unending sequence.  

 

Click to enlarge

 

i)       Due to the fact that the pole-caps get smaller and smaller, thereby reducing the cooling effect that previously drove the water down to the depths, it is evident that sooner or later the Gulf-stream will stop flowing. In fact, two years ago there was already at one point a total halt to the Gulf-stream for two weeks. Please show here a schematic view of the global ocean-streams.

j)       The Gulf-stream and its equivalent in the southern hemisphere are the main sources of oxygen for the deep sea levels. Once the Gulf-stream stops flowing, all animal and plant life in the deep seas will die out. 

k)     Once all living organisms in the deep seas die, the deep seas will become death zones filled with foul water with a high sulfur content.  This foul water will slowly rise, and then also kill all life in the medium levels of the ocean.

  

l)       Once the medium levels of the ocean are also filled with foul sulfuric waters, even the remaining life in the surface levels of the ocean will die out too, and the oceans will be filled with oxygen-poor sulfuric waters where not even algae or plankton can any longer live.

 

m)  The algae and other organisms in the oceans are producing 75% of the oxygen in our planet’s atmosphere. Once the oceans die, the oxygen content of our atmosphere will collapse. The consequences will be that 95% of the land-based animal life on our planet (including humans) will also die out.

 

n)    Such a scenario has happened already 3 times in the history of our planet, between 250 and 200 million years ago. At that time huge volcanic activities in Siberia had lead to a very high CO2 content of the atmosphere. As a consequence, the global temperature rose so much that the pole-caps were melted completely. As a consequence, there were no more global ocean-streams feeding the deep seas with oxygen, which lead to collapse of life in the oceans. At those times (250-200 million years ago) 95% of all species of animal and plant-life in the oceans and on land died out.

 

o)    After the collapse of life on this planet, a certain bacteria and a certain algae began to bind the CO2 in the form of oil, which then got deposited at the bottom of the oceans. This lead, over a period of several million years, to gradual recovery of the atmosphere. At the same time it created the fossil fuels which we are now exploiting.

 

p)    If we revert back the process of binding CO2 in underground deposits and blow out the fossil fuels back into the atmosphere, from where the carbon had come 200 million years ago, then we not only revert back the ratio of CO2 in our atmosphere, but we will also return to a world where only 5% of today’s animal and plant life will continue to exist. We will have not enough oxygen in the air, we will have sulfuric acidic oceans, and there will be sulfuric acidic rains, resulting from the evaporation of sulfuric sea-water. The sulfuric acidic rains, which are part of this particular ecosystem which reigned 200 million years ago, were responsible for killing most of the plant life on land, while the low oxygen content was killing the animals.

 

q)    Some scientists say that we have already crossed the point of no-return to such an apocalyptic scenario. The progressive melting of the pole-caps cannot be reversed anymore, because the heating up of the oceans at the poles has entered a self-perpetuating momentum. Some scientists, however, say that the march into an eco-collapse can still be stopped if we can reduce the global CO2 emissions. One thing seems to be clear, however, which nearly all scientists agree upon: if we continue to add thermal power stations to the existing ones, major climate change and eco-collapse cannot be prevented.

 

r)  On 25th of July 2012  a news release shows how dramatic the situation actually has become:

The Greenland ice sheet melted at a faster rate this month than at any other time in recorded history, with virtually the entire ice sheet showing signs of thaw.

The rapid melting over just four days was captured by three satellites. It has stunned and alarmed scientists, and deepened fears about the pace and future consequences of climate change.

In a statement posted on Nasa’s website on Tuesday, scientists admitted the satellite data was so striking they thought at first there had to be a mistake.

The set of images released by Nasa on Tuesday show a rapid thaw between 8 July and 12 July. Within that four-day period, measurements from three satellites showed a swift expansion of the area of melting ice, from about 40% of the ice sheet surface to 97%. 

 

s)      For Auroville, wanting to be a luminous example in many aspects of a modern society, it is mandatory to completely refrain from using conventional energy and conventional traffic.