Time is running out to control runaway global warming. Most humans will die when the temperature reaches a very humid 140 F. It takes only one day of peak temperature above the line of survivability to kill almost all life in an affected area.
There are solutions, but we need to begin applying them now.
Scary NOAA data reveals that while New York State’s average max temperature increased just 1-2 degrees during the 20th century, its average temperature from 2011 to 2014 was 2-4 degrees above the 20th century average.
Flee to Alaska? Not a wise choice
Alaska’s temperature increase is double that of the rest of the United States. Average annual temperatures in Alaska are likely to increase by 2°F to 4°F in the next 34 years. If global emissions continue increasing as they have been, temperature increases of 10°F to 12°F are anticipated by 2100. Heat kills directly by hyperthermia when it becomes too hot for a living organism to function. It kills indirectly by ocean floods resulting from polar melting, and the spread of disease from heat-driven pest population increases.
Hyperthermia – In 2003 14,802 residents of France died from temperatures of 104 degrees. Most were elderly. France is an economically secure and technologically advanced country, yet people were taken by surprise. People were just unprepared for the sudden extreme temperature highs.
Rising Oceans – In 2012 a mother, father and teenage daughter were swept out of the second floor of their Staten Island, New York home by rising ocean waters. Only the mother survived. Tropical Storm Sandy brought devastating coastal flooding to the east coast. Most of Sandy’s deaths were from drowning.
Pest population increases – The current Zika epidemic may be related to global warming. A number of devastating diseases are spread by mosquitos. Mosquito populations soar when it’s very hot. Malaria and Lyme disease are also spread by insects.
Geoengineering to the rescue?
Temperature rate of increase means time for emergency measures
Geoengineering offers emergency measures to stop global warming cold. There are two basic approaches. The first is to remove greenhouse gases from the environment – possibly using systems of atmospheric filters. The second is to prevent solar radiation from heating up Earth’s atmosphere, possibly using solar space shades. NASA describes these geoengineering techniques as risky, but even riskier is leaving temperatures to soar out of control and kill us all.
NASA recommends geoengineering as a near-term strategy for slowing global warming of our atmosphere and oceans and helping ensure humanity’s survival. Immediate implementation of such emergency measures may well save billions of plant, animal and human lives. But we have to act now!