Finally, the general media is beginning to acknowledge the existence of a problem with the Gulf Stream. But they and the scientists who communicate with them are still bending over backward to minimize public alarm.
Here is a typical approach, this one from CNN, based on comments by a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution:
“For a dramatic climate change to take place, “A whole bunch of pieces have to fit together. Certainly this is one of them. We need to keep paying attention, and people are doing that,” he said.
“Woods Hole is conducting research that measures the path and temperature of some parts of the Gulf Stream.
“Such a dramatic climate change would not take place in five days, but rather several years, said Joyce.”
This gives the impression that watching the catastrophe unfold will somehow help. “We need to keep paying attention, and people are doing that.”
It is also true that pilots pay a lot of attention while their planes are crashing, but they still crash. Paying attention does not change the outcome, and it also does not change nature.
In fact, whatever is going to happen to the Gulf Stream is now inevitable. Paying attention really doesn’t matter. The die is already cast.
What is important now is not measuring its status, except insofar as this might give us some early warning of oncoming climate changes. What is important is not oceanography but social science and social policy. We need to accept the inevitable, address the situation with sufficient science to understand it, and start planning for changes that are now inevitable.
Quite frankly, there are so many fundamental areas of the natural world failing at this time that I think that we are in for something far more vast than we have even begun to imagine.
As I write this, a gigantic dead zone has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, one of 146 recorded worldwide so far this year. They are caused primarily by nitrogen pollution from runoff. For example, the amount of nitrogen from corn belt fertilizer that runs off in the Mississippi has been doubling every few years for decades, until, at present, the anoxic area of the Gulf covers almost a third of its area.
Meanwhile, honeybees are dying all over the world, in their billions upon billions, killed by mites that are taking advantage of their environmentally stressed immune systems, and by two pesticides, Aventis’ Regent and Bayer’s Gaucho.
We cannot live without living oceans, and we most certainly will go extinct along with the honeybee.
However, there is much more. At the moment, a completely unprecedented hurricane is striking El Salvador, the first Pacific hurricane ever to do so, and temperatures are reaching 124F in parts of India in May, in a heat wave beyond anything known so early in the summer. In Australia, the drought is becoming a matter of desperation, as many communities see the end of their water coming, but the end of the drought is nowhere in sight.
Over all of Asia, a gigantic cloud of pollution hangs just below the stratosphere, and at times reaches all the way across the Indian Ocean to Africa and far out over the Pacific. This cloud is the largest single feature in the atmosphere.
The arctic is melting far faster than anyone ever anticipated, and the danger that methane will soon begin outgassing from melting permafrost is not simply a concern, it is an inevitable fact of nature.
A vast worldwide cataclysm is unfolding, in other words, and it will inevitably bring a decline in human population. Whether or not it will be accompanied by events such as those depicted in Superstorm and the Day After Tomorrow remains to be seen, but the scientists involved in researching the state of the Gulf Stream apparently do not realize the power of what they are dealing with, or are afraid to call unwanted attention to themselves by admitting the truth.
And the truth is quite clear: such storms have taken place in the past, and nobody understands why.
(This journal entry remains unfinished as of July, 2005. The deterioration of the climate is proceeding in precisely the way I have feared and predicted, and I will complete it in the near future.)
NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.