An Unforeseen Tipping Point of Global Warming
By Richard Hornabrook | 13 July 2012
Even today the world seems largely an unknown as far as mankind is concerned. Religion claims the world was made in a few days, science states it was formed over millennia. No matter what the belief, the reality for us all is our home is an unstable rock hurtling through the freezing vacuum of outer space. The truth is we live on a platform atop hot molten liquid, a ball of unknown energy around which a red hot mantle has formed, overlaid by a comparatively thin, slowly cooling crust. This crust then cracked like custard and formed separate pieces or plates floating on the liquid magma below. Movement of these hard tectonic plates up against each other drove up vast mountain ranges and where the plates tore themselves apart giant rifts formed. Still despite these enormous geological cataclysms, over time gases and liquids and myriad animated forms were created and or evolved to form another surface on the thin, cooled, crust; organic life. This organic life flourished and reproduced itself but also expired and the resultant detritus from this vast bioactivity became liquid and gaseous and sedimentary fossil deposits which then leached in to fill every crack and crevice in the crust. In the vastness of time even becoming an integral part of the crust itself. But the planet was ever changing and the now deserts of the world were once limitless teeming oceans or enormous verdant forests where life was lavishly abundant and the vast fossil fuel deposits below the now barren Middle East and the Poles attest to this precession of plenitude. But something has happened to threaten this whole evolution of natural perfection, bountiful life, munificent opportunity and generous time.
Although it may appear perfect the dangerous reality of existence on a thin, cracked crust above a molten ball of fire revealed itself periodically and sporadically with volcanic eruptions and ruptures in the ocean and land based tectonic plates. These comparatively tiny fluctuations of the substrata could be devastating to the organic life forms prevailing on the exterior of the crust. However one mitigating factor that aided life forms on the surface of the crust who were surviving above the phenomenal heat below was cold. Over time the product of this freezing cold, vast ice sheets formed on the surface of the globe, helping to diversify and aid the formation of life. But these ‘ice ages’ came and went over eons or thousands or hundreds of years and life had to adapt to these fluctuating changes. So in the interims, periodically things settled down and life forms adapted and flourished in a new routine of the seasons. But it was not just life forms that were affected by these ice sheets, for as they formed, the increasing gravitational pressures on the Earth’s thin crust produced downward motion on the tectonic plates and earthquakes ensued with sporadic seismic chaos. This was also the case as the ice sheets melted and retreated, relieving downward pressure, and allowing upward motion. Earth shattering events occurred.
In time plates separated, continents were formed, oceans were enhanced or diminished, landmasses were raised or subsided and these zones, where the tectonic plates of the ocean floor went under continental land masses became areas of great friction and destruction. Temperature fluctuations followed and droughts and floods forced the migration of life again. However once more as things settled down, seasons formed a pattern and life forms settled into routines and flourished. These configurations of sporadic cataclysmic events would be perceived as part of another, even greater pattern in a tapestry of violent fluctuations spread over a vast geological timescale. All the while the detritus created from these evolutionary arrangements spawning abundant, ever reproducing and expiring life forms, the deposits of fossil fuels, were laid down over this vastness of ages.
However we as humans, a dominant organic life form have taken over and are upsetting this whole delicate pattern. We seem to live a long time but it is only relatively very short. Our Industrial Revolution too seems lengthy but it can be eclipsed in one human lifetime. Indeed it is only in the last 50 years it has even gathered steam; that is half a human lifetime. A bee’s wing flicker in the process of creation and evolution. However everyday millions and millions of tons and barrels of fossil fuels are extracted, incinerated and sent up into the gaseous membrane, the atmosphere. The work and organic laying down of eons reversed in hours! Every day!! One of the first iron clad, scientific precepts of those advanced cultures which pursue this wasteful policy is simply put as ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. The bulk of the world’s concerned, scientific specialists warn global warming is that reaction. It is also the reaction that those in the third world who don’t exist in air conditioned houses, offices and transport know only too well, as the monstrous unseasonal temperatures, storms, fires, droughts, floods and rising seas that now threaten or plague them. And the last of the above mentioned cataclysms is a clue to the unforseen tipping point that may already be here.
The Mariana Trench just off Japan is the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean and forms what are thought to be the edges of two massive Pacific tectonic plates. It is also, where these plates meet, one of the weakest and most unstable points on the Earth’s crust considering the water pressure concentrated and exercised there. Of course the ocean floor of the Pacific is in parts largely an unknown, a deadly uncharted region where convolutions of seismic forces have impacted on island and mainland populations since time immemorial. The people on the low lying islands in the Pacific Ocean are used to tsunamis but recently they have become of greater intensity and danger, Indonesia and Japan being the latest examples. To compound this danger the Pacific islanders cry out to the mainlanders on the Pacific Rim, that their land is going under from the effects of rising seas levels, produced by global warming. But besides this disaster, what about the increasing water pressure on the ocean floor because of the gravitational forces of the rising water levels, as land based ice sheets melt into the ocean subject to global warming?! Forgetting what has gone on before in the Pacific and just citing 2010 in the Pacific Rim, Chile had a magnitude 8.8 earthquake. The Solomon Islands had a 7.1, Okinawa had a 7.0, Baja California a 7.2, Sumatra a 7.7, Christchurch a 7.7. The year 2011 as we know was an unmitigated disaster for Japan and Christchurch but there were earthquakes again all around the Pacific Rim. Here is a list of Pacific nations whose territory borders or lies within the Pacific Rim, which had above magnitude 6 earthquakes up to November 2011. Australia, Chile, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, United States, Vanuatu. If we listed all the states, island states and undersea territory of these nations where quakes occurred, the list would be far greater still. Japan is in big trouble after Fukushima, but what about the huge population centres and giant nuclear power stations on the Pacific Western seaboard of the United States? The existing and planned future nuclear power stations to come on line in the Asia Pacific region?
Conservative estimates predict global fossil fuel emissions may double within a generation. That is 25 years or less! This will then occur again within 10 years, then 5 years… In time, a matter of decades there may be no ice left. Besides the radically heat driven temperature increases worldwide for delicate mammals-us!- the pressure on the ocean floor will be unbearable. Some may say stuff the polar bears and walruses who are already shown facing extinction and forget this and all the other documented threats from global warming, but what of the silent deadly tsunamis we might be unleashing upon our coastal cities, ourselves, our children and grandchildren?! The bulk of our scientific experts are warning us we are in trouble. When our car is running rough we take it to the expert, a mechanic to tune and fix it. We don’t hold our foot to the floor and go even harder. Unless we are idiots and don’t care about the cost. There is a small coterie of experts who tell us not to worry and global warming is natural and everything is okay. There is a small coterie of experts who claim the same for tobacco.
As the reader peruses this, besides current Western development and growth, there is a new Industrial Revolution occurring in Asia. At home in Australia all the talk is about a carbon tax on Australians which may seem commendable, but a new nuclear or coal fired power station comes on line in China or India every other week and we supply the fuel to fire them all up with no carbon agreements for these huge polluters in place. The scary part is our Industrial Revolution was undertaken by millions of people in the West. Asia, the East is Billions! Besides the powerhouses they are laying down M1’s as fast as they can. As they become fully fledged first world citizens, billions will soon be riding in automobiles to their air conditioned houses and work places. Can we visualise the pollution pouring into the skies when these Asian nations become fully developed? Is it ironic or moronic that as the atmosphere heats up and the seas rise and earthquakes rock our world and the future seems doomed for coming generations, that we, acknowledging there is a problem, still pat ourselves on the back believing we are doing something positive at home for the future? We must be demented, even the dinosaurs weren’t so stupid as to deliberately foul their own nest. This is a bigger problem than the Cold War, Nippon/Nazism and the War on Terror combined, for we are playing with the unknown terrible forces of Mother Nature and the whole Pacific Rim is shaking as a warning. When Krakatoa erupted with a power estimated at 13000 times the yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the resulting explosion was heard around a large portion of the globe and unknown thousands disappeared in the shockwave. That is the power we are playing with like ignorant children. Ice ages can stretch over thousands of years; we are doing this in less than a century! And how long is it in the history of the globe since the poles themselves were threatened?! Certainly never in the history of mankind.
How long Between Earthquakes Before An Aftershock Is Not An Aftershock?
What we are all dealing with is the fact that right now the land based icy regions at the top and bottom of the world are receding rapidly. It does not even matter if we believe it is caused by global warming over a few decades or a new ice age or melting thereof, the fact is, it is happening rapidly and can we visualise the repercussions? The reality is the thawed land based water has to/ will go somewhere and can one also visualise in one’s awareness where this liquid is going? Like all matter it is bound by gravity and because of its supremely pliable state it is self- levelling and must move over the surface of the globe evenly. It will settle slowly, smoothly, silently, a monstrous surreptitious killer of unthinkable girth and weight on the darkness of the oceans floor. Under its immense and growing potential for destruction and power to wreak havoc, Islands and coastline will seem to recede from each other and disappear, but they are just going under. The fossil fuel companies are intent on mining the last of the jungles for fossil fuels and are already drawing up plans to carve up the pristine poles for oil. In the future the only thing left at the poles will be the oil rigs and the warships, jet fighter planes and armed forces that will fight over the disputed territory for oil just as they did in the Middle East. But while/if there is still time, can we as intelligent beings transport our awareness kilometres down to the depths of the Mariana Trench off Japan? Can we conceive the tremendous, increasing, building water pressure that comprises trillions of tons that is now mounting, centring and compacting again above all this from the new melting ice?! Can we envision the movement, the seismic groaning of the plates that meet here at the bottom of the Mariana Trench under the relentless quantum forces of the newly disappearing land based ice sheets? Foresee the massive coastal destruction and carnage on human civilisation right across the Pacific Rim and beyond when, not if the plates react? The nuclear power plants on the West Coast of America adjacent to known and unknown fault lines dwarf those of Fukushima. The Mariana Trench is over 2500 kilometres long, beginning near Japan and ending above New Guinea, a geological stone’s throw from Australia and New Zealand. New earthquakes are now being felt in Australia and unprecedented, unknown fault lines are being discovered here for the first time. Japan and New Zealand at opposing ends of the trench won’t stop shaking, violently, almost simultaneously. How long before a huge aftershock is no longer classified as an aftershock but is recognised as a totally new earthquake?! A precursor of more and worse to come!! The populace of Australia and many island nations largely reside on the coast. For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction!
The destruction at Fukushima was reportedly caused by a magnitude 9 quake off Japan, the biggest yet and it triggered two tsunamis that converged on Japan as one giant tidal wave. What happens when we get the magnitude 10 or worse? For Australia the airborne radiation from Fukushima has reached Darwin and the radioactive water will reach Hawaii and then the Western United States seaboard in time. People breathe and swim in it. Who can stop it? Who can stop the building of new reactors and powerhouses that run on lethal filth? You can’t.
The consensus is the world is heating up, but for humans it seems there are three separate worlds. These are the First, Second and Third worlds. The divide between these worlds is money. In the First and Second worlds we create and turn on air conditioners to cool our houses, transport and workplaces. But we have to build more powerhouses because the grid can’t cope with the extra work load of all the air conditioners and thus the three worlds outside heat up even quicker while we cower inside turning the thermostat up and up. The people in the Third world with no money-let alone running water- largely suffer the heat and the plagues that come with it and die. But the reality is there is only one world! Money as a divide is merely an illusion that creates these non- existent worlds. It is also the most addictive substance that exists. What do drug dealers want? Not the drugs but the money. What do the dictators, generals and the arms dealers who start and promote wars want? Money. What are the fossil fuels that drive global warming? Money. The addicts want it and the addicts push it. We are all users and we all get our money high and withdrawals, but having plenty means we can be insulated from the real world. Yet that is really only a hallucination, a narcotic effect. Ask the officials who tried to cover up Fukushima. They are sick and Japan is in big trouble. That is the real world outside the power and delusion of money.
Located just off Japan and Indonesia which have had huge devastating tsunamis recently from undersea earthquakes, the Mariana Trench is reputedly 2500 kilometres long and is one of the oldest tectonic areas on Earth. It is claimed if Mount Everest were placed in the trench there would be over 2000 metres (6000 feet) of sea water above the Everest peak! Can we visualise such a vast galaxy of ocean water, comprehend staring up from the pinnacle of that underwater Everest at the 6000 feet of blackness above us? That is over a mile or 2 kilometres! Imagine the eardrum popping, brain scrambling tonnage of ocean pressure exerted on the pinnacle of the Everest where we stand!! But what about every square inch of the trench floor at the bottom of the Everest mountain so far below?!!! How much ocean water is there in that liquid universe?!
But money rules and perhaps the only way to stop global warming is the same way you stop a monstrous, relentless, two or three pronged magnitude 10 or worse conceived tsunami bearing down on the shores and population centres of the Pacific once the tectonic plates of the ocean floor, for eons tentatively balanced on the natural weight transference, the ancient viscosity between the oceans weight and the molten magma, under the horrific, inconceivable pressure of the flash melted glaciers and land based ice sheets and poles, COLLAPSE! The way humans always seem to learn things. The hard way!
Right now there are big problems for nations in the Pacific Ocean which can’t stop shaking and are vulnerable to tidal waves. Indonesia has been ravaged by a tsunami as has Japan and New Zealand and these nations which are at opposing ends of the Pacific Rim and the Mariana trench suffer ceaseless earthquakes. The Mariana Trench is reputedly 2500 kilometres long and is one of the oldest and deepest tectonic areas on Earth and it is claimed if Mount Everest were placed in the trench there would be over 2000 metres (6000 feet) of sea water above the Everest peak! Can we visualise such a vast galaxy of ocean water, comprehend staring up from the pinnacle of that underwater Everest at the 6000 feet of blackness above us? That is over a mile or 2 kilometres! Imagine the eardrum popping, brain scrambling tonnage of ocean pressure exerted on the pinnacle of the Everest where we stand! But what about every square inch of the trench floor at the bottom of the Everest mountain so far below?!! How much ocean water is there in that liquid universe?!!!
– Copyright Richard Hornabrook
"Climate Change is Simple" VIDEO: David Roberts is staff writer at Grist.org. In "Climate Change is Simple" he describes the causes and effects of climate change in blunt, plain terms.