Holocene Era (that's us!)- In The Soup?

Reactionist Significance?

The drama of climate change is not that opposing parties on carbon issues are in ceaseless debate, more that the focus on these carbon issues may, while being of ancillary significance, be missing a core relevance to the pressing problem as it currently presents.

Nature's Beartrap

The significance of containing emissions pertains to ensuring that the bolting horse is jkinitialsbluegifnot being whipped to death as it careers along.To suggest that this closes the stable door or in any way achieves anything beyond mere placebo is folly indeed. Yet it remains the singular focus of efforts in this area. But a simple fact remains- nothing we do will persuade those melting caps and glaciers to refreeze-only natural cycle has the mechanism to achieve this-and herein lies the real human dilemma. For regardless of the source of this warming trend, independant of its mechanics, one thing appears certain- the natural correction of this trend, once triggered, is both swift and severe-another ice-age, in short...it would appear to be less than unthinkable to surmise that it could be of the order of the major ice cycle....that would be the Pleistocene Epoch, which began 1.8 million years ago, and held cool temperate latitudes under icecap for its duration,ending a mere 10,000 years ago.

Nuts and Bolts

jkinitialswhitegifThe mechanism by which such a formidable event occurs is quite pristine in its construction. The oceans hold heat and temperature characteristics due to the saline concentration. As greenhouse heating decimates ice-sheet and ground ice in polar regions, fresh water flows into the sea at an astounding and unsettling rate. This effects the saline density and consequently the insulating capacity of the ocean water. The crucial point of collapse occurs when the capacity of the seawater to hold heat is compromised due to the dilution of its salinity. This results in the collapse of the conveyance current system which normally ensures an interchange flow between warm and cold ocean water. Specifically, the relatively small area of polar seawater south of Greenland constitutes the vital 'top' of the conveyor system. This water is currently in danger of losing saline balance due to the vast amount of fresh meltwater influx from the disintegrating Greenland cap. So every Summer, as temperatures rise, more freshwater enters the saline insulation /conveyance system. Every Winter a weakening refreeze restores a meagre and decreasing ice layer. Eventually this weak refreeze will find the seawater to be stripped sufficiently of its saline insulation, and it will make up for lost seasons with a hungry and savage vengeance. Once this system shuts down, climate temperature plummets violently, all the way down to a (very rapid) new ice-age which could extend ice cover to all cool temperate latitudes, at all points of longtitude. Calculating E.T.A. on this cataclysm is a different climate change headache entirely. Either way, the result appears to be that we are currently observing an ice tsunami in the making, capable of covering North latitudes in permanent icesheet to about 45 degrees latitude if the precedent set by the last one -two million years ago- is anything to go by.

Worth its Salt?

So, rather than wrangle with the bolting carbon horse, I feel that a policy which monitors and possibly attempts to replenish the saline density of polar jkinitialscolouredgifwaters back in the forlorn stable might be a wise means of buying time. Sea-levels will only rise until they freeze...........The fire-fight on cause is not, in short, the firefight on effect. Either way, I do not suggest that firefighting is the way to solve this mess. It buys valuable time. This time should hardly be allocated for idle procrastination or ill-advised adventures in this field. We are aware of the problem, aware that current efforts might not be sufficient, aware that some hitherto unrecognised solution might be required....possibly urgently.

Pressure? What pressure?

The real solutions to this, I feel, are to be found in areas more associated with relativity and string theory (c.f. core relevance), but that is another matter altogether. The mutating problem meanwhile, of course, remains. Let us hope that our concept and definition of solution can stay ahead. If humanity is currently in an exam hall, we should certainly hope to pass......not necessarily on merit! Always remember that there is one big difference between this global meltdown/refreeze cycle and the previous one- back then we hadn't even fully evolved our apposable thumbs, and as Gary Larsen once observed, our brains were "the size of walnuts ". Somehow, that is supposed to imply all the difference in the world......with nothing less at stake.


An ideal solution would be found in the relativity area as already mentioned, but of course, as with all things in this area, some aspects remain befuddling and (as yet) unproven. I'll add a link to the relevant site when I'm finished building it. Until then, here's a very interesting time-waster on the subject. I simply cannot conclude without the obligatory pithy quote:

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now! "
[William Shakespeare (Hamlet {Act 3 Sc. 1})]

©John Kavanagh 2009-Holocene Era In The Soup -   Back to the top

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