A new climatological study has illustrated the potential for a scenario similar to the one depicted in Whitley Strieber and Art Bell’s book ‘The Coming Global Superstorm’, where global warming will lead to a sudden drop in global average temperatures.
Researchers at Southampton University in the UK have utilized the advanced ECHAM atmospheric circulation computer model developed at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in their new study, of which found that global warming resulted in both the interruption of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), more commonly known as the North Atlantic Current, and a sharp decrease in global temperatures.
The AMOC is an important component in the global heat circulation pattern, and in particular in distributing warm temperatures from the south to northern Europe and North America, latitudes that would otherwise be much colder without that current. If that circulation pattern were to collapse, the average global temperature would drop by about 0.8ºC, during a 20-year period that would offset temperature increases caused by global warming.
However, some regions would take longer to recover, according to study lead Professor Drijfhout. “The planet earth recovers from the AMOC collapse in about 40 years when global warming continues at present-day rates, but near the eastern boundary of the North Atlantic (including the British Isles) it takes more than a century before temperature is back to normal.”
This isn’t the first study to demonstrate a climatological model where a warming period resulted in a sudden drop in global average temperature: two recent studies, posed last month on Unknown Country, have also warned of the same alarming trend. Moreover, analysis of past instances of this, which were explored in Superstorm, show that exactly the same process that caused it then is causing it now: an influx of fresh water into the northern North Atlantic caused by glacial melt.
At the inception of the Younger Dryas, a period of sudden cooling that followed the warmup after the last ice age, a massive ice dam that was blocking the St. Lawrence River collapsed, leading to huge amounts of fresh water flowing into the exact area of the ocean where Greenland melt is causing such a flow now. The result was not 30 or 40 years of reduced temperature, but a thousand years of climactic disturbance on Planet Earth.
Additionally, ice cores taken from glaciers in the Andes indicate that, 5,000 years ago, there was a cooling event so sudden and so intense that plants were quick-frozen, so fast that their cellular structure was left intact, like frozen food. It was during this event, also, that Otzi, the Tyrolean ice man, was overtaken by a blizzard in an alpine meadow. The ice left by that blizzard did not melt until 1991, when Otzi was found.
From Whitley Strieber: By playing political games and media games with climate change, we are endangering billions of lives, vast amounts of property and the integrity of human civilization. Sudden climate change could overtake us in a matter of a few weeks, just as Art Bell and I predicted. We were not making up a story. We were simply recognizing what the paleoclimate tells us about the past. In those times, these problems were caused by natural forces and natural events. Man is a part of nature, and we need to recognize that our effect on our planet is exactly the same as any other natural force, with the difference that we can mediate it, at least to some degree, and what we cannot change we can and must plan for.
Superstorm warned about this in 1999 and we were laughed at. Al Gore made a movie centered on the incorrect idea that climate change is a slow process that can be managed with proper governmental effort and was given a Nobel Prize. In fact, it is going to be sudden, chaotic and extremely dangerous, and whether or not it can be managed is an open question.