Preparing for Climate Change Reality

flood water. Photo by John McCormick.
Flood water. Photo by John McCormick.

Too late to avoid or stop, it is time to cease the blame game and begin to prepare for the inevitable.

It is now too late even for drastic political action to stop major climate changes and especially sea-level rise. It also doesn’t matter what the cause of global warming is since we can’t make any human scale change which will make any real difference over the next 75 years.

Storms will get worse, the ocean will get deeper because water expands as it warms past about 4 degrees C. or 36 degrees F. expanding with every increase. In addition, glaciers and snow cover in the Antarctic are melting and that means there is a LOT of ice turning into water, all of which eventually ends up in the ocean.

Short of a natural disaster such as a massive volcanic eruption or nuclear war (nuclear winter) either of which would shade the planet and reflect sunlight, forcing drastic cooling which would probably be worse than the global warming we now see, we are facing drastic changes in living space, food growing space, and increasing freshwater shortage.

We aren’t going to stop burning hydrocarbons – China is building a new coal-fired power plant every week and jet airplanes are polluting the upper atmosphere directly. As the ocean warms methane will be released from the frozen sea bottom and the same will happen with the melting permafrost so global warming is going to accelerate for decades if we stopped burning anything tomorrow.

Is it Really Happening?

There is an ongoing debate about climate change even among climate scientists, but what deniers fail to explain is that the only debate is about how bad it will get and how quickly it will happen.

Unfortunately for both the civilized and animal worlds, every new study and every new estimate say it will be worse than the previous study suggested.

The only scientific climate change deniers are either NOT climate scientists or they are paid by the fossil fuel industry. A famous climate change denial petition signed by more than a thousand scientists and engineers is meaningless because few if any of them are climate scientists.

Would you go to a doctor for financial advice or an engineer for a kidney transplant?

Go to an engineer to build a barrier or raise infrastructure, but not to decide if climate change is occurring.

Record Heat

This summer Western Europe had the hottest days in history which even caused rapid melting of Swiss glaciers. As glaciers melt not only do they release water, the missing ice and snow mean sunlight won’t be reflected by the dark ground. More acceleration.

Aletsch Glacier, Image by Christian B. from Pixabay
Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland. Image by Christian B. from Pixabay

New sonar studies found that the bottom of Alaskan tidewater glaciers (those already extending into the ocean) are melting not as expected, not twice as fast, not ten times as fast, but 100 times faster than predicted. Yet another example of things getting worse, not better as we get new data from more studies.

Accelerating glacier melting in Alaska

Within twenty years just in the United States coastal flooding will do billions of dollars worth of damage along the East and South coast because, contrary to common sense, all ocean levels are not the same. Because of prevailing winds, the shape of the bottom, the existence of or lack of coastal wetlands such as those which used to protect the Southern U.S. coast but which are rapidly disappearing, and even ocean currents, the East and South coasts of the U.S. mainland have some of the highest sea-level rise in the world.

Even the color of the oceans will change as different plankton types take over one area or another. The change will happen but just when and how other than it will happen within 80 years is unknown for now. Also unknown is how this will alter growth of fish and other sea life which humans use as food.

Financials – Gigantic Real Estate Fraud

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses along the coasts are still being sold at high prices with banks writing 30-year mortgages. They don’t inform buyers that those buildings will be flooded regularly (several times each month) by the end of the mortgage.

Does anyone think that will raise the value of the property? Long term real estate investments along the coast will be great if you can determine just how far inland you need to buy today so your property will be above water in 50 years.

By the end of this century, the costs to infrastructure and private property will run in the trillions with bank collapses threatening the world economy.

Learn More

I recently wrote a small book about how to prepare for climate change which focuses mostly on the United States because, unlike the cities and countries in the far East which are also threatened by global warming, most people in the U.S. are not really aware of the threat they and the entire country face.

It can also provide a guide to those in other parts of the developed world because change is coming everywhere.

“Preparing for Climate Change: Coastal flooding will cost the U.S. billions of dollars within two decades.”
paperback second edition
or ebook second edition

One version is reviewed but the contents of each are identical.

A Hungry World is Coming for YOUR Food

The United States produces a large percentage of the world’s food and in 2019 farmers in the Midwest had to delay planting corn and soybeans by two months. If the rain had continued just two more weeks many of the farmers would not have been able to produce any crop this growing year. It might be better in 2020, but it might also be worse with more rain next year.

Don’t be fooled by the idea that more carbon dioxide will mean faster plant growth. Yes, up to a point that is true, but studies a decade ago found that the faster growth came hand in hand with lower nutritional value.

We need new varieties of seed crops and they aren’t being developed fast enough and warmer climate means more insects, many of which love the same kind of food people do.

We will also need new farmland but that takes years to fully develop on a commercial basis and, besides, people already live on the only available land and they will not be willing to move.

City Plans

New York City has created the $10 billion BIG-U plan to build a wall around lower Manhattan. Unfortunately as with the Miami area which can’t build dikes or any sort of wall to protect the city because the same porous rock which causes sinkholes will also allow seawater to seep through the ground and come up behind any possible wall.

Although the part of NYC which has the original skyscrapers – the Empire State Building and The Chrysler Building, were built on bedrock, lower Manhattan is, like downtown Boston, built in part on landfill and is therefore highly vulnerable to seepage.

Miami’s plan is to raise infrastructure but will it be high enough? Parts of the city are already seeing periodic flooding just at extreme high tides.

In 30-50 years Margarita land, i.e. Key West and other Florida Keys (islands) will be isolated and mostly underwater.

New Disease Threats

Dengue Fever and West Nile Virus diseases are unusual and especially dangerous because they are moving into wider areas of the U.S. and there are no treatments for either. There aren’t any vaccines either.

Both are very serious and can be fatal.

West Nile Virus came from Uganda but killed seven people in New York during 2014 and is now reportedly the most widespread mosquito carried disease in the U.S.

Dengue Fever is spreading in the U.S. and while many people recover from the initial infection with nothing more than bed rest there isn’t any good treatment. Unfortunately, you can catch it multiple times, you don’t become immune so there is little chance of developing a vaccine.

Now for the REALLY BAD news, when someone gets Dengue Fever a second or third time they are likely to develop Dengue Hemorrhagic fever which causes internal bleeding and death.

Chikungunya, a West African disease with a lovely name meaning “bending over in pain” is another mosquito-carried disease and has infected more than a dozen people in Florida.

Deer ticks carry Lyme Disease and are expanding their living area as well as remaining active for longer times due to warmer weather. Lyme Disease is now the most widely reported insect born viral infection in the U.S. It is in every state but Hawaii.

For more about these and especially the newly recognized dangers from spreading insect habitat and the diseases they carry, especially viral tropical diseases which have no treatment and, in some instances, no possibility of producing a vaccine, see my book which has more on all these and some additional climate change threat topics.