A new study has been released by renowned climatologist and climate activist Dr. James Hansen, that warns of dire consequences if humanity fails to curb it’s addiction to fossil fuel use. These consequences include sea level increases and an ice sheet melt that may far exceed previous predictions, and he predicts the inevitability of the formation of massive superstorms, as illustrated by Whitley Strieber and Art Bell in their 1999 book, ‘The Coming Global Superstorm’.
Along with a cadre of eighteen fellow climatologists, Dr. Hansen, director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, has published a study titled ‘Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms’. The study outlines a systemic runaway effect in the heat cycle that exists between Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and ice sheets, resulting in sea level rises that are well beyond what previous studies have predicted, and predicts the formation of superstorms that might ravage the planet in the near future.
One of the study’s findings is a new understanding of feedback mechanisms that are present in the climate system, specifically in how the Earth’s oceans and ice sheets interact. It predicts that glacial ice in Antarctica and Greenland will see an accelerated melting rate, as opposed to a linear progression to their melt, as most climate models assume. Hansen’s team also theorizes that this new influx of fresh water will remain at the surface of the ocean and cause a lensing effect that will trap even more solar radiation in the ocean’s depths. This, in turn, will cause further melting of ice shelves that flow out over the ocean from below, further compounding the influx of fresh water.
This feedback-loop of accelerated melting will result in a sea level increase that is far more dramatic than the expected 1-meter (3-foot) rise by the end of the century, where we could instead be facing an increase of many meters in that same time period, inundating humanity’s coastal cities. This fresh water is also in the process of shutting down key ocean currents, specifically those found in the North Atlantic and in the waters off of Antarctica. Dr. Hansen warns that if these currents fail completely, the transference of temperature between the tropics and the poles will cease, causing a major temperature difference between these latitudes. The energy exchange will then start to take place in the atmosphere instead, resulting in massive superstorms.
Following a line of research similar to that of Bell and Strieber, Hansen and his colleagues combined data from what is happening now with data from the paleontological record on sudden climate shifts in the deep past. In particular, he cites evidence of multiple rapid sea level rises that have occurred over Earth’s history. He also describes an event that occurred 118,000 years ago when the Earth’s climate saw similar conditions to what we’re experiencing today, resulting in massive storms that could hurl 1,000-ton rocks inland, as evidenced by seabed boulders found inland in the Bahamas.
"I think the conclusion is clear. We are in a position of potentially causing irreparable harm to our children, grandchildren and future generations," warns Dr. Hansen, in a video accompanying the release of his team’s study.
"This is a tragic situation — because it is unnecessary. We could already be phasing out fossil fuel emissions if only we stopped allowing the fossil fuel industry to use the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for their waste."