Abrupt About

October 30, 2012

Quiet again this morning here on California’s northern coast and the roar of the Pacific can be faintly heard in the distance — about opposite on the US eastern seaboard, where bad shit reigns (and rains).
So far, not as bad as the picture at left seems to depict (via, of course, The Hollwood Reporter): It’s a terrifying image — but it’s also a computer-generated one, plucked from The Day After Tomorrow, the 2004 blockbuster thriller from disaster maestro Roland Emmerich about the catastrophic effects of global warming on the planet.

Fantasy plucked from nasty fact.

And for the real deal, and even more dramatic-reality, follow BuzzFeed‘s tumblr show, where photos reveal a ground-level horror to what’s in store for this planet’s future.

Noted meteorologist and host of WunderBlog, Dr. Jeff Masters did a bit of a review on ‘The Day After Tomorrow‘ and concluded:

So, enjoy the special effects.
Discuss how you wished they’d spent more money showing more special effects instead of showing so much drippy melodrama.
Ponder the precautionary nature of the tale as you drive home in your fossil-fuel guzzling vehicle, and take the opportunity to learn more about the science of science of abrupt climate change — but don’t take the movie seriously.
It’s science Fiction.

How much fiction, however?
Last week, Nature published a paper entitled “Fluvial Response to Abrupt Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary,” by Brady Foreman, an University of Wyoming doctoral student, in which a major climate event 55 million years ago has earmarks for 2012.
From UW news:

“There has been a very fair amount of interest in this period as an analog for current global warming,” Foreman says.
“Many features are similar to what’s going on today.”
“You see changes in vegetation, evolution and extinction, and ocean chemistry (with this event) that are all similar to what people predict is going to happen in the future,” he continues.
“With this perspective, we can see how rivers reacted to increased CO2 levels.
We can see this without human modification of water ways.
We can see how the rivers would naturally react.
It gives you a sense of the magnitudes of baseline changes for rivers.”

According to CNN at near dawn here on the West Coast, 16 US peoples have died already, seven million without power with “…no end in sight.”


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