The World in Evening Light
Our world is not going to remain as it is now for very long. Sudden climate change is already in its early stages, and could accelerate dramatically at any time. Even more astounding, scientists are concerned that the earth?s magnetic poles have begun to shift.
Last week the Superstorm Quickwatch on this website went from moderate probability, where it has remained since its inception in early 2000, to high probability. This means, essentially, that sudden climate change is already under way, and we could see dramatic climate upheavals at almost any time, with the most likely times being fall and spring, when the differences between temperate zone and arctic temperatures are highest.
The increase in the probability of sudden climate change is the result of the unexpectedly high melt (a record 9%) of arctic polar ice last melt season, coupled with equally unexpected melt off Greenland, is flooding arctic seas with fresh water. British scientists are reporting a decline in the flow of the Gulf Stream, which is crucial to maintaining a stable climate in the Northeastern US, eastern Canada and Europe.
The crucial early warning signal that the current has stopped will be a sudden drop in water temperature at key buoys. We have added a buoy in the Gulf Stream near the UK to our Quickwatch. Should water temperature at either buoy on the Quickwatch list drop suddenly, it would be an indication of a major disruption in the Gulf Stream and impending weather changes.
Once the currents stop, it will take profound weather changes to restart them. We can expect them to remain stopped for hundreds of years, if not millennia. Whatever the long-term consequences, once this happens, we will have to experience them. Over the short term, the weather will get much more violent. Europe will experience the most dramatic change in climate. Western Europe will get much more like Canada, with a reduced growing season and long, fearsome winters. At the least, it will become a net importer of food at a time when food supplies will be suffering worldwide weather related disruptions. At worst, northern areas will become unable to sustain their present large populations.
Over the longer term, as world currents stop flowing, there will be a decline in atmospheric circulation, followed by ?lethal summers? in pollution prone areas. If you can imagine Los Angeles or Calcutta or Denver going for six months without significant air movement, you get the idea. This lack of air movement will cause all global warming models to be wrong, because they assume atmospheric circulation (and cooling) at present rates. But ocean currents are a prime cause of atmospheric circulation, and without them our greatest long term problem isn?t going to be violent weather, but the lack of regular weather change. Of course, it?s always possible, as many scientists think, that the dramatic short-term increases in cold and snowfall that will strike the northern hemisphere will reflect so much sunlight that the snow won?t melt over the course of the first summer, and an ice age will begin.
The magnetic poles appear to be about to shift, and this, also, is likely to be sudden. It will involve profound changes in our world, most of them unknown. It has been 750,000 years since the last time this happened, and we have little idea of what the effects will be. The reason that scientists believe that this shift is now under way is that two holes have opened up in the earth?s magnetic field, one above the arctic and the other above the Atlantic ocean. The appearance of these holes, according to the London Times on January 13, was first noticed by the Danish Orsted satellite. They mean that there are changes taking place in the earth?s core, and it is these changes that could lead to the pole shift. To read our news story about this, click here.
At the same time, migratory birds and animals are changing their patterns of migration, and animals in captivity are beginning to behave in unknown ways. To read more about this, go to our story about the way magnetism is being found to affect the mind and click on the ?penguins? link. You will find that story here. To read about the changing migration patterns of animals, click here.
It is unfortunate that ?global warming? has been caught up in a meaningless political debate over whether or not mankind pollutes too much. As a result of this, we have not prepared for the inevitable cycle of change that is now under way, just exactly as was predicted in the Coming Global Superstorm. Instead, the left has been screaming that it?s all our fault and the right screaming back that nothing is wrong.
The truth is that nature doesn?t care about our debates. Nature is mathematics, nothing more or less, and two and two are always going to equal four. When the amount of energy in a given system changes enough, the system will change, and no amount of debate is going to change that.
It is probably true that human pollution has played a role in planetary heating, but the importance of this role is debatable. The earth has been warming up for ten thousand years, and for most of that time, human pollution has been practically nonexistent. And the last period of sudden climate change took place when mankind was hardly even living in cities, much less affecting the weather.
Nature is a much larger factor in climate change than man. For example, the explosion of Mt. Pinatubo emitted 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide, about as much as the US emits in a year, and 6.5 billion tons of ash, approximately as much particulate matter as mankind has emitted since the beginning of human history?all in a week.
It affected the planet?s weather for about a year, reducing temperatures worldwide by approximately half a degree centigrade. But the planet recovered because it?s ecosystem is enormously resilient. Human pollution contributes about the same amount of pollution to the atmosphere as would a medium-sized volcano in continuous eruption.
So, why have we wasted the years debating our level of involvement, instead of recognizing that we are experiencing the consequences of an inevitable natural process and planning accordingly? We?ve been very foolish, wasting our time on this irrelevant debate about the human sideshow, when we should have been preparing for nature?s gigantic and absolutely inevitable wrath.
Now, we are going to go into this unawares. For example, this far along in the process, scientists should be able to predict exactly when the currents are going to stop. Instead, they know only that, when it happens, it happens because the conditions that are now occurring take place, and that it happens very suddenly.
It?s less true that we should have been prepared for the pole shift. After all, 750,000 years is a long time. There are those, however, who would argue that such shifts happen much more frequently, that they are accompanied by axial rotation (the planet itself flipping over), or that fluctuations in the core cause the surface continents to shift. Various prophets and channels have been warning of violent disruptions and shifts of this kind for some years.
It is an area that science knows little about. It isn?t difficult to trace shifts in the earth?s magnetic field?the evidence is left in rocks, and can be readily studied. This is why scientists know that the planet?s poles shift about every 500,000 years, and that we are therefore about 250,000 years overdue at this time. However, it?s not clear that these shifts have accompanied great extinctions, and attempts to connect magnetic pole shifts to extinction events have revealed that, whatever happens, a massive dieback is not one of the effects.
However, it?s not so clear that the mind will remain unaffected, and it could well be that a shift in the earth?s magnetic field will affect not only animals that use it as a migratory channel, but all living things. Every brain contains a small amount of magnetic material, but we don?t know why. It could be that it?s simply vestigal in nonmigratory species, but again, we don?t know.
Dr. Alvaro Pascaul-Leone has experimented extensively with the effect of magnetic fields on the human brain, and has found that, using powerful magnets applied to different parts of the head, he can profoundly affect behavior and thought. But these magnets are millions of times more powerful that the earth?s magnetic field, so I don?t think that we can expect to all go bananas as soon as the field goes into flux. But there will be effects, probably subtle ones, that will permanently change the way we think. To find out what they are, we will have to experience this change. We have no way to know beforehand.
During the period of flux, there will be significant danger from the sun. Contrary to expectations, the eleven year solar cycle that was expected to end a year ago February has continued, with the sun experiencing bouts of high activity during a time when it should be quiet. If the magnetic field goes into flux during a time when solar activity is high, significant radiation could reach the earth?s surface, enough to cause disruption of crops and possibly other damage. But if it was devastating, again, we would see a correlation in the fossil record between magnetic pole shifts and extinctions. The relationship just is not there.
Unfortunately, the threat of ?pole shift? has excited the imagination of many, so this is likely to cause a great deal of confusion and nervous anticipation?with the result that science will be doing backflips to convince us that it doesn?t mean a thing.
Once again, debate will have taken precedence over nature, with the result that we will not correctly anticipate whatever changes the pole shift will bring, and, if they should be difficult to cope with, we will be completely unprepared.
I have been thinking a great deal about the fact that these two things appear to be unfolding at the same time, and wondering if there might not be some relationship between the planetary core and the sun that we don?t understand, that is responsible for both effects. However, there is no evidence in the fossil record that sudden climate change and magnetic pole shift go together. Nor is there any evidence that a change in the orientation of the magnetic pole is accompanied by axial rotation?which would, of course, be a memorable disaster, and probably cut the human population by two thirds, if not more.
If axial rotation happened every 750,000 years, the planet would not look as it does. Delicate, ancient formations such as balanced rocks and sheer cliffs would not exist. Life itself would probably not have progressed to the complex, fragile and ecosystem-dependent forms that exist at this time. So I think we can safely ignore the doomsayers who are channeling catastrophe.
However, it is also true that nothing approaching the complexity of the human brain has ever gone through this before, at least not on earth. We can expect to change along with the planet of which we are a part, and I expect that we will find out what those bits of magnetic material in our brains might mean.
We are going to experience both sudden climate change and magnetic pole shift over the same few years. I could be talking about the next decade. I could be talking about the next couple of centuries. There is no real way to tell. But my sense of it is that this is all unfolding right now, and that by the end of another ten years or so, we will be living in a world with radically different weather and a magnetic field that is no longer organized, but in a state of flux. I don?t base this on channeling or prophecy, but on scientific evidence of what is happening now in nature. I am really not interested in the debates, only in the numbers, and this is what the numbers appear to be saying.
So then I must ask about why it would be that certain ancient calendars predict massive change at just this time, if the people who created them were really as primitive as conventional science believes? I do not think that they were primitive. As much as conventional archaeology hates to admit it, in fact the sunken cities recently found off the coasts of Cuba and India probably do indicate that there was a high level of civilization present on earth in the distant past.
We do know that it wasn?t a polluting civilization, because ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show no evidence of heavy air pollution ten to fifteen thousand years ago, when this civilization would have been thriving. Perhaps that?s because it had knowledge of technologies that did not use brute force energy, which would also explain the gigantic constructions such as the fortress at Sacsayhuaman in Peru, the massive platform at Baalbek in Lebanon, and the amazing island city constructed in the Carolines at Nan Madol. We have no way of explaining how primitives could have constructed these sites. In fact, they would offer modern engineers a tremendous challenge.
So maybe the attempts of the Egyptians to transmit the souls of their pharaohs to the stars, and the efforts of the Maya to unravel the mysteries of the future through calendrical analysis were not simple religious activities at all, but ritualized activities based on a powerful science that has been forgotten.
In any case, it should be of signal importance to us that this civilization failed. Apparently it grew up during the ice age, and was inundated during the last period of sudden climate change, taking with it a whole science and technology that we cannot now fathom, but which was extraordinarily powerful. Not powerful, enough, however, to defeat the vast energies of nature.
The evidence that the last civilization understood the cycle that we are ourselves about to experience is suggested by their long-count calendars. When I last wrote extensively on this subject, in Superstorm, the question of whether or not the calendars meant anything was open. It is not open now, barely four years later. The calendars do mean something. Nature is changing in ways too profound to ignore, ways that will make these the last years of the old world.
We will survive, simply on the statistics. Mankind has been created along the lines of the roach: quick, smart and numerous. This is a strategy that nature has used in the past to ensure long-term species survival, and it?s likely to work in our case, too. So don?t expect the extinction of mankind. Just expect change.
But what sort of change? What will we actually experience? Well, when the weather changes, there will be a sudden, massive demand for energy from all the northern lands. The planet will not be able to meet that demand entirely, but my guess is that the populations will find a way to cope, and in fifty years you will find them still very much alive, if diminished both in numbers and wealth. Aside from some very violent weather, the most important immediate effect of climate change will be disruption of food supplies. There will be terrible famines, with Russia and central Asia the most vulnerable area, followed by western Europe and north America. It is possible that these famines will not be addressable by supply transfer, because the quantities just won?t be there.
In the short term, this will cause an extraordinary tragedy. In the long term, we are likely to see genetically modified crops peeking up through the snows of May.
As I stated earlier, there will emerge an urgent need to minimize emissions into the air, because the weakening or absence of ocean currents will greatly reduce atmospheric circulation. Lethal air will kill millions, as we make the adjustments necessary to cope.
The mind of man was formed as a result of the fact that this planet?s climate has been in chaos for nearly three million years, since the uplift of Central America disrupted the equatorial passage of ocean currents that kept the climate stable. Humanity has responded to climate change by learning to migrate, to use clothing and create shelter, to organize, to resort to agriculture, to understand and surmount the forces that challenge our ability to survive.
Once again, nature is dealing us a challenge. How we will cope with it, only the future knows. We will suffer, as in the past we have suffered. In all likelihood, the great political structures that rule the world today, the immeasurably rich corporations?the whole structure of society?will change completely.
I stepped out yesterday just at sunset. The western sky was glowing as if with the light of heaven?s gate. Behind the dark, naked trees, there lay the last gold of the sun. The stars overhead seemed like living beings, crystal and perfect and alone. A car whispered down the street, a door slammed in a house, children played in the gloaming. The tang of wood smoke mixed with the scents of cooking. As I walked, I heard a music, that was in my heart, in the air, the music of our lives as we live them now, and it was so precious, the fair music of our world in the light of its evening.
The moon rose in splendor, then, as she has these past billions of years, and it seemed as if I might be able to walk off the edge of the earth, and tramp her ancient face. I thought, then, of the vastness of time and how small a thing we are in its tremendous passage. I thought, a billion years ago, before there was a single living creature here, the moon rose in just such splendor, to ride the night when the earth was naked and young. Now, she is only in early middle age, and still the moon rises, just as splendid, her passage across the sky just as perfect.
A little boy rode past on a skateboard, hurrying home in the gathering darkness. I thought that something has changed here on the earth. We have appeared, bringing with us our gods and our dreams, a new spirit in the ancient land. And I knew a secret about us: there is a reason that we are so smart, and so very numerous. In its shadows?maybe in that little magnetic place that seems to make no sense?the mind of man has already seen its vulnerability. Nature has given us a survival mechanism: large brains and large numbers.
Our world has reached its evening, but man has not. The moon passed to the height of the sky, and at midnight I went out again. Now the street was silent, the shadows heavy under the eaves. High overhead, the moon rode bright, suffusing the world with a light that seemed to me filled with mystery, that loved the shadows in ways that I could sense but never entirely know.
I did know this, though: the mind that saw the moon thus, and touched the secrets of the night and the eons, is here to stay.
NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.