Posts Tagged ‘Global warming’

Weather, and Climate: Can We Do Something About Them

June 12, 2013

European floods…
Nothing to ‘like’ about this natural disaster…so I won’t.
I suspect there’s some place in Europe that could really use that water, right? Maybe one of the Mediterranean countries?
I mention that because all of us stand by helplessly and watch the water rise. And try to save lives, and then rebuild after the water level drops.
Not too smart of us as a species, is it?
But let’s consider Holland. The Netherlands.
What happens there when too much water falls? Or in New Orleans?
Large pumps happen, that’s what. The pumps collect the water and pump it into the sea.
But could we not connect those pumps to a distribution system that could store excess water until needed (in reservoirs or lakes), then send it to where it’s needed when it’s needed? Would this not be cheaper in the long run than constant cycles of drought and flood and crop failures and rebuilding? And cheaper than desalination?
It’s a failure of imagination, I think. We already collect mountain water and send it to desert communities and farms that need it. Currently, we Americans are running low on that water. And at the same time, in our northern or eastern or sometimes southeastern states, floodwater is being wasted.
Surplus here, shortage there. How much imagination is really needed to understand the concept?
Famously, we all talk about the weather but no one does anything about it. But we CAN, and should, do something about the weather effects.
I think it’s also within our capabilities now to begin doing something positive about climate as well. If we can lay down surfaces that absorb heat, we should be able to do the same thing in reverse, design surfaces that reflect heat back into space without being absorbed. Of sunlight, some is absorbed, some is reflected. We’ve been increasing absorption. Now we need to increase reflection.
We’ve been affecting climate for years. We build cities, which have been identified as ‘heat islands’ because they absorb unusual amounts of solar energy. We lay thousands, even millions of km of asphalt around the world, recognize that this increases heat absorption from sunlight, and blithely assume that all the increased weather variation we’re experiencing is possibly due to an increase in CO2 concentration.
I think that greenhouse gases are only a small part of climate modification due to human activity. We’ve also cut rainforests (and temperate forests, too), reducing shading on ground level. And many more things, too; farm more land, reduce plant cover from weeds. Glider pilots and birds know about this; they ride thermals, rising air currents, to gain height when flying or migrating, thermals rising from plowed fields. More heat for the greenhouse effect, and eventually for global warming. A few notice; no one integrates all the different effects into one big change.
OK; I do. Not that anyone is listening. Except you.
We are transforming the planet in multiple ways. And not usually for the better.
And because we lack understanding of this process, we’re not ‘Terraforming’ our planet (as the science fiction term is used, to change a new world into a copy of our old one that could support humans), we’re kind of ‘anti-Terraforming’ it. We are transforming it, but not for the better.
The significance of that multiple-cause effect is not considered when global warming is discussed, I think.
And no effort is being put forward to counter any of the effects.
Imagination, some of us have that. Understanding, we can all understand at least some of what’s happening.
But political will to actually DO something? Leaders who will begin the process?
Sadly, those are missing.