The headline of a 3.31 New York article by Jonathan Chait flat-out says that Republican intransigence about climate change (a significant percentage of Republican legislators and voters are still in denial mode and/or downplaying the data as much as possible) will trigger a “worldwide catastrophe” if these monkeys continue to be put in positions of responsibility by voters. And God forbid that a Republican denialist or proscrastinator (i.e., another Dubya) gets into the White House.
Chait’s piece leans heavily on a 3.30 N.Y. Times story by Justin Gillis (“Climate Model Predicts West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Melt Rapidly“) which contains the following, as summarized by Chait:
“In reality, the Manhattan-as-underwater-theme-park scenario remains very much in play. The latest modeling projects a sea rise of five to six feet by the end of the century, with a sea-level rise of a foot per decade after that.”
Somehow this new data hadn’t quite gotten through to me. It basically means that the East River and the Hudson will have begun to seep onto Manhattan streets by the time Jett’s grandchildren (he’s getting married next year) have reached their 30s, and certainly by the time his great-grandchildren are running around.
A September 2013 article by National Geographic‘s Tim Folder (“Rising Seas”) stated that in 2006 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted a maximum of 23 inches of sea-level rise by the end of this century.
But, Folder wrote, “climate scientists now estimate that Greenland and Antarctica combined have lost on average about 50 cubic miles of ice each year since 1992 — roughly 200 billion metric tons of ice annually. Many think sea level will be at least three feet higher than today by 2100. Even that figure might be too low.”
Gillis: “Continued high emissions of heat-trapping gases could launch a disintegration of the ice sheet within decades, according to a study published Wednesday, heaving enough water into the ocean to raise the sea level as much as three feet by the end of this century.
“With ice melting in other regions, too, the total rise of the sea could reach five or six feet by 2100, the researchers found. That is roughly twice the increase reported as a plausible worst-case scenario by a United Nations panel just three years ago, and so high it would likely provoke a profound crisis within the lifetimes of children being born today.”
More from Gillis: “For half a century, climate scientists have seen the West Antarctic ice sheet, a remnant of the last ice age, as a sword of Damocles hanging over human civilization.
“The great ice sheet, larger than Mexico, is thought to be potentially vulnerable to disintegration from a relatively small amount of global warming, and capable of raising the sea level by 12 feet or more should it break up. But researchers long assumed the worst effects would take hundreds — if not thousands — of years to occur.
“Now, new research suggests the disaster scenario could play out much sooner.
“New York City is nearly 400 years old; in the worst-case scenario conjured by the research, its chances of surviving another 400 years in anything like its present form would appear to be remote. Miami, New Orleans, London, Venice, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney are all just as vulnerable as New York, or more so.”
The new report, published in Nature, was co-authored by two Pennsylvania State University researchers, David Pollard and Richard B. Alley.