June 7, 2019

Global warming: a ceiling analysis

So no, I am not going to argue that global warming isn't real. Because it is very real and very much happening. I am also not going to argue about the impact of human activity on the phenomenon. Because I know while human activity is not the cause of global warming, unlike popular belief,  it is certainly exacerbating it.

Ice age and global warming periods have been happening long before human activities started on this Earth as shown by graph below (I am being lazy and used Wikipedia image). The bottom most curve (red) shows the volume of ice in the world. Note that scale is flipped so that low ice volume is on top. While top two graphs show change in temperatures as extimated by different researchers.

Figure: Ice Age temperature change and ice volume (Source: Wikipedia)

So according to this graph, and a lot of other researches, we are currently in a warming period. So as I said before while human activity have exacerbated this effect, it has most certainly not caused it. 

Given this fact, I wonder even if manage to stop all greenhouse gas emission (a near impossible task but let's say we can) to the environment, we are not going to stop the Arctic and Antartica ice cap from melting. We may manage to slow it down some what but certainly not stop it. We are not that powerful yet. We will eventually have a rise in sea level, we will eventually see our land submerged. And given increasing human activity, it will be some time before we have another ice age (not sure if there is research on how long before next ice age given the human activity- as I said I am feeling too lazy to search).

So while we are spending nearly all our effort on debating and thinking and trying to lower GHG emissions, is anyone looking into ways to survive when eventually sea level do rise? Are we simply planning to move to higher grounds? We already have limited land for the population we have. 

Another option might be somehow protect the cities closer to the coast line. New Orleans example comes to mind where they have built an entire city below water level. But can we stop the Ocean? Can we build a wall (say) that can stop the Ocean's incursion to the land. If so, how inland this wall should be, how high, and of what material? What are other ways we can survive a rising sea level? What are the other impact of climate changes that we should be ready for and possibly counter? Because no matter how much we try, we cannot stop it. So instead of putting all our time and effort into trying to stop it, we might as well prepare for it.

1. I still strongly believe that we should do our best to decrease our carbon footprint on the planet. We are not the only species living on this planet. We must learn to share.
2. Someday when I have enough time and am not feeling as lazy, I will work on proper citations and graphs (may be even proper ceiling analysis) to put this on LinkedIn. But for time being this will do.