Over the last couple of years we have seen a number of unusual climatic events – an excessive number of floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes… all harbingers of change, that everyone knows is approaching and is yet loath to admit (fear that admitting it will make it worse?)
The latest salvo in this build up to armageddon (contrary to popular belief, armageddon means sudden, intense change…a new beginning) is the lowest ever recorded levels of Arctic Ice. To many this seems trivial since “the oceans havent flooded yet have they? … our cities are still standing!“
But the truth is, this could lead to far reaching consequences, of which no one actually has a clear idea. I am not a scientist or an expert on climatology, and so I do not profess to know all the answers but I am determined to find out more…if nothing else, then for the future of my daughter.
So, what does this melting of Arctic ice herald? For starters, the ice would reflect large amounts of sunrays back into the atmosphere, keeping the region cold and the ice solid throughout the year. With very little ice to reflect the rays back, it would mean warming of the North Sea. Currently, the world is encircled by constantly moving ocean currents that dictate mostly the climate of the land masses they pass by (for example, the hot Gulf Stream flows past the United Kingdom and keeps it free from freezing, even though its pretty close to the North Pole!)
Why does the Gulf Stream move all the way up to the poles from the equator? In simple terms this is due to a huge body of cold water at the North Pole sinking down with its weight (cold tends to sink while hot tends to float) and to fill up the “gap”, the warm current from the equator which is much lighter, flows upwards (helped by the motion of the earth – the Coriolis effect) thus forming a giant water “pump” of sorts, that maintains the climatic status quo along the coast of the United States and Britain. As the North Sea starts becoming warmer, the cycle of this warm current will weaken and dissipate, and quite likely cause frequent storms and typhoons along the coastal areas on both sides of the Atlantic. This is alos likely to affect the wind currents, which would mean that certain interior parts of Europe and Asia will also see very unusual weather patterns… the rainy season could alter, droughts could increase…the Sahara could become green again (okayy that was a bit too much) 😀
The Swarm is a spectacular book that explains all the possible disasters we are bringing down upon ourselves…and does it while keeping up a completely believable and incredibly entertaining plot. Read all about the plot here and trust me, get yourself a copy. Its simply brilliant…un-putdownable even! (the first 2-3 pages may be a bit dull but the rest is superb)