Many climate scientists now agree that global warming, primarily cyclical in nature due to fluctuations in solar activity, could trigger a new ice age in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of them believe this potential catastrophic event has already been set in motion.
In March of 2004, NASA reported that views from orbit "clearly show a long-term decline in the perennial Arctic Sea ice." Scientists at NASA and elsewhere worry that melting ice will dump enough freshwater into the North Atlantic to interfere with ocean currents.
Receding ice cover in the Arctic exposes more of the ocean surface, causing more moisture to evaporate, leading to more rainfall and snowfall in the northern latitudes.
The oceans circulate water in a pattern called the "Great Ocean Conveyer."
Saltwater is denser (heavier) than freshwater. The surface water needs to sink to drive the Conveyer. Sunken water flows south along the ocean floor toward the equator, while warm surface water from the Tropics flows north to replace the water that sank. An increase of freshwater could prevent the sinking of North Atlantic surface waters, stopping the circulation.
Evidence developed from tree rings and ice cores indicates that the Earth's climate has shifted abruptly in the past. As the world warmed at the end of the last ice age, melting ice sheets appear to have caused a sudden halt to the Conveyer, creating ice-age-like conditions for the next 1,300 years called the "Younger Dryas."
Without the warmth the ocean currents deliver, Europe's average temperature would drop 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Portions of eastern North America would also drop in temperature but not quite as much.
These types of abrupt climate changes could result in massive crop failures, leading to global food shortages.
A secret report commissioned by the Pentagon in 2004, leaked to the press four months later, warns that climate change over the next 20 years (or less) could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.
In what is described as a contingency scenario, the report warns that major European cities will sink beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a frigid climate by 2020. Dwindling food, water and energy supplies throughout the planet will generate global anarchy. The report concludes, "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life. Once again, warfare would define human life."
Whether a catastrophic global climate change will occur in the near future is uncertain. If it does happen, it will take two to three years (perhaps as long as a decade) to unfold, a very short period of time in geological history but plenty of time in human existence to prepare for the consequences.
If this scenario occurs, there will be food shortages, followed by a Mad Max reality of civil mayhem.
Be prepared (Boy Scout motto) -- avoid living near the ocean, avoid living in or near a big city, have a reliable source of fresh water and keep plenty of non-perishable food in store. Plus, lots of ammo. In self-survival, anything goes.
We live in precarious times. Man's inhumanity to man continues to haunt the world and the whims of the universe are mostly beyond our control.
Mother Nature is indifferent to the survival of mankind -- we can only hang on and go along for the ride.
Keep your powder dry and your nose to the wind.
Quote for the Day -- "Instead of working for the survival of the fittest, we should be working for the survival of the wittiest -- then we can all die laughing." Lily Tomlin
Bret Burquest is the author of 7 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and an imaginary girlfriend named Lois Lane.