Climate matters

During the month of December 2021, two warnings of impending sea level rise were issued by well-respected groups of climatologists. They are professional scientists who do not deal with hyperbole. Rather, it is conservative and serious archetypal scientists who follow the facts.

The most recent warning of December 30 concerns deteriorating conditions in the Arctic and Greenland. The second warning is the threatening collapse in Antarctica of one of the world’s largest glaciers. These events are unfortunately so close to each other, one at the top of the world, the other at the bottom, should coastal cities consider building dikes?

The scale of times, materials and costs to build dikes is almost overwhelming. In fact, it is overwhelming. The US Army Corps of Engineers is already making plans for a gigantic seawall to protect the port and tributaries of New York-New Jersey from surges and flooding. It’s a multi-year study that is slated to be completed this year, 2022. The estimated cost is US $ 119 billion built over 25 years for 6 miles of dike. Yet there are already fears that it may prove inadequate, only defending storm surges, not sea level rise. New York Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has suggested 520 miles of shoreline exposed as an alternative plan.

The Army Corps of Engineers also estimated a one-mile wall for Miami-Dade at $ 4.6 billion and an eight-mile seawall around Charleston at $ 2 billion. It’s unclear if these deals are only for storm surges or sea level rise, but they are most likely the first.

A study by the Center for Climate Integrity at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development in Washington, DC concluded: If dikes were built in every coastal community, the national cost over the next two decades would be $ 400 billion, which would be designated for storm surge protection. According to YaleEnvironment360: “That’s almost the cost of building the 47,000-mile interstate highway system, which took four decades and cost more than $ 500 billion in today’s dollars.”

Jason Box, professor of glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, created a seven-minute video on December 30 titled: Recent Developments in Observing Arctic Climate Indicators.

His latest statement in the video sums up the facts: “At these CO2 levels, the world must prepare for a sharp rise in sea level.”

This can only mean that nations / states need to start planning for continent-wide seawall construction, which will strike taxpayers straight in the eye, or prepare residents of coastal cities, like Miami, to relocate to landlocked areas. higher grounds. There is no alternative. For decades, it has become all too obvious that the governments of the world are not going to seriously tackle CO2 emissions to slow down the greenhouse gases resulting from global warming with the consequent rise in the level of CO2 emissions. the sea.

Here is Jason Box’s opening statement: “I’m part of a team of about 20 scientists / authors where we look at all kinds of arctic climate observational records. We take into account everything, like rivers, temperatures, snow cover, so I’ll quickly present our updated summary survey of those sighting records, ”as follows here:

“The Arctic is getting wetter and wetter. There is more rain falling instead of snow. This is the most important trend in the Arctic, the trend of increasing precipitation. “

It is an incredibly disturbing statement. Isn’t the Arctic meant to be “the brutal cold of the North” that freezes as endless solid ice and mostly serves as a larger reflector of solar radiation entering the planet? Answer: Yes it is, but that was before global warming. Nowadays, the planet’s Coppertone, that is, multi-year-old thick ice, has all but disappeared, exposing it to severe sunburn.

Moreover, counterintuitively, most of the warming occurs during the cold season from October to May. It is the most dynamic season in the Arctic and some of the most significant changes in permafrost occur during this cold season. Yes, but doesn’t permafrost mean “permanently frozen?” In fact, Dr. Box says permafrost changes in the middle of winter. Truly!

According to the details of the study, using new, more reliable data sets, looking at the rate of warming in the Arctic, since 1971 it is warming at a rate of 3.3 times that of the globe. But, on a seasonal basis, it warms up to 4 times the overall increase during the cold season from October to May.

Not only does it heat up faster in the winter, but studies have also found an “unsurprisingly coincidence of extreme forest fires” when temperatures are extremely high. For example, it was only recently that fires on a biblical scale, never seen before, hit Siberia. At the time, SciTechDaily’s headline read: “Meteorologists in shock as heat and fire scorch Siberia,” June 23, 2020.

The crux of the matter connects the ‘land ice records’ of Greenland and the wider Arctic, which are among the greatest sources of sea level rise, illustrated in a graph displayed in the video, demonstrating “An increase in the contribution of sea level every decade”.

Sea level rise, which has been relatively calm throughout the Holocene era for the past 10,000 years, is starting to accelerate. This is very bad news, which means that the climate system is breaking away from the wonderfully stable Holocene era of Goldilocks remarkable climate, “neither too hot nor too cold”. But now, all of a sudden, it’s not “remarkably forgiving” anymore.

As a result of so many years of the wonderful Holocene era, mankind has spoiled rotten with very stable sea levels and therefore far too complacent. But complacency has repercussions.

According to Jason Box, “the future contribution to sea level rise of land ice, and in particular ice caps, is very difficult to project into the future.” However, here’s what shivers your back, he continued, saying, “At best it can be said that at these CO2 levels the world has to prepare for a sharp rise in sea level.”

“At best… be prepared for a sharp rise in sea level” is a strong warning from scientists who do not take warnings lightly. He did not say to prepare for “sea level rise”. He said he was preparing for a “sudden rise in sea level”. There is no subtlety about abrupt. It means “sudden and unexpected”.

Extract: ‘When to build dikes’. Courtesy of: