GR: The author of this natural-hazard warning (actually, it’s not natural, it’s a human-made hazard), says the hazard is something that should keep us up at night. What worries keep us up at night? Money is a biggie, and so are our interpersonal relationships and our jobs. In some regions, shortages of food and water, and excesses of bombs also keep us up at night. When we get hazard warnings from reliable sources, we can usually flee or fortify our position. The hazard discussed in the warning below can’t be handled like that. It’s global and can’t be fled, and it’s penetrating and can’t be kept out of our homes.
Not all hazard warnings are followed by the occurrence of the hazard, but we have learned to take warnings from credible sources seriously. The warning below is from a credible source. (The graph units are zettajoules (ZJ). One ZJ is about the amount of energy released by 200 million Hiroshima bombs.)
“The scale of ocean warming is truly staggering with the numbers so large that it is difficult for most people to comprehend.” — from the IUCN report Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences.
Now read about the hazard:
“If there’s one simple fact about past Earth climates that should keep you awake at night, it’s this — warming the world ocean eventually produces a killing mechanism that is unrivaled by any other in Earth’s deep past. Great asteroids, gamma-ray bursters, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanism — none of these can rival the vast damage to life on planet Earth that is resulting from ocean warming.
“There’s a starker message to convey here, one that focuses on this simple yet dire question — how do warming oceans kill? In basic terms, they become toxic and anoxic. Warming oceans melt ocean-contacting glaciers. The glacial melt forces seas to rise and forms a freshwater lid on the global ocean, breaking down ocean conveyor belts and preventing mixing. This freshwater lid also deflects heat toward the ocean bottom. This process in turn helps to thaw methane hydrates. Warm waters that don’t mix and that are filled with bubbling hydrates become very oxygen-poor.
“As the land glaciers bleed out into the oceans, the stratified, oxygen-deprived waters become less and less able to support advanced life. The kinds of life warm, oxygen-deprived waters do support are poison-producing microbes. These microbes thrive in the warm, oxygen-poor waters. If ocean heating continues to progress, the warming seas will eventually fill up with their deadly byproducts. Among the most nasty of these is hydrogen sulfide. If enough of it is produced, it will spill out from the ocean into the nearby air, resulting in land animal mortality as well.
“In microcosm, we saw a mild taste of some of these effects this past year in Florida as toxic algae blooms filled the warming state’s waterways and coastlines, even forcing some riverside marinas to close due to toxic gasses wafting up from the purple-green, oxygen-starved waters. These effects are a snapshot of a possible future for Earth’s oceans if we don’t get our act together yesterday.” –Robert Scribbler.
Read the rest of the hazard warning here: New Report: ‘Blowtorch’-Like Ocean Warming Advances Killer Seas, Shifts El Nino, Heats Hydrates | robertscribbler
What a terrifying prospect, and we seem to be marching straight into it.
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