Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Worst Case of Global Warming

Yes, Global Warming is big in the news right now. A skeptic, Wm. Robert Johnson, put together a hypothetical simulation of the worst possible case, despite his belief that it is not in any way happening. I think it's interesting how dismal the hypothetical case is, and how much less bad it is than the absolute most hysterical case given. I consider it the worst possible result of global warming.

In the worst possible case, all the ice on earth melts and the ocean rises 66 meters. This sounds like a lot, but the map that he threw together shows that the earth looks mostly the same. Mostly.
But some things are missing....

You'll note that some regions have sunk beneath the rising ocean, but most familiar features are still there. He was kind enough to also generate maps of big famous countries, one of them being the United States, where I live.

It's just slightly different

My house would sink beneath the waves towards the end of this but I would have ample warning to evacuate. Florida and all its oranges is gone, its residents forced to move to either Georgia or Texas. Louisiana's swamps are a thing of the past. New York has had to move to Yonkers. And that nice farming region in central California is now a bay.

Presumably, the sea would rise slowly enough for the people of Florida, Manhattan, Louisiana, Galveston, and central California to move to some place that isn't flooded, but most of those places are rather nice, and I'm sure the residents aren't going to be happy about losing them. New york will be especially annoying, as it has 8 million people and quite a bit of infrastructure that it will need to build elsewhere as the sea slowly inhales Manhattan.

The Caribbean is utterly devastated. Puerto Ricans will presumably move to the United States. Haitians will be streaming into whatever country will accept them. Cuba will be straining. Only Cuba will actually exist anymore.

The real nightmare, however, will be in China. The majors cities of Tianjin, Shijazhuang, Jinan, and Heibi will now all be beneath the waves. As far as I understand the population distribution of China, the residents of this region are about as numerous as a court district in the United States. They will all have to move west in enormous streams. Beijing will now be a coastal city, if it stays above the waves at all.

Things are very bad in eastern Asia...

Also in the region, the tiny country of Bangladesh will be gone. According to Wikipedia, it has 150,448,340 people. They will have to beg either India or Pakistan for rescue, and I don't think relations are great with either country. (Bangladesh was originally a Pakistani province, until it, broke away, just as Pakistan broke away from India in the first place.)

There is a tiny plus side to all of this, though. With the ice that was pushing it down gone, Antarctica will rise from beneath the waves, and Greenland will also gain additional territory, and between these two, there will actually be more land now than back when there was still ice on the earth.

But be honest with me. Given the choice, would you rather live in Florida, or Greenland?

Lastly, Mr. Johnson admits that the change in ocean would change the weather in ways that neither he nor I could predict. The bay in California, for instance, would increase rain production to the east of it, and the deserts in Nevada might actually bloom into a grassland. On the other hand, if the wind and climate change, the wheat belt, currently in central United States, might move north into Canada. It's not entirely clear if Kansas and Nebraska, currently growing wheat and corn, could change to growing grapefruit instead. Nor is it clear that the Dakota/Manitoba area could start growing wheat instead of whatever it is that they're doing now. I'd also like to remind skeptics that the theory of global warming does not indicate an even increase in all zones, but an average increase worldwide, and some zones could actually become colder. The wheat belt moving south into Oklahoma could be just as devastating to national agriculture as it moving north into Canada.

So, there you have it. Global warming isn't an utter disaster that will kill us all, but it could cause a massive inconvenience and annoyance. Also, did I mention expensive and painful? Thanks again to Mr. Johnson for his maps and research.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...