Change Agents (MCISUR 2012)


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Change Agents (MCISUR 2012)

  1. 1. Future Change Agents - an oceanographic perspectiveLOOKING BACK-MOVING FORWARD Bob Fournier Atlantic Geomatics Association 13 June 2012
  2. 2. Road Map Introduction Ocean Warming Sea level Rise Ocean Acidification Human Element Tipping Point Geo-engineering
  3. 3. Competing Explanations •Orbital variation •Plate tectonics •Volcanism •Ocean variability •Tilt of earth’s axis •Atmos. chemistry •Solar output Based on IPCC Report 2007
  4. 4. Letter to Editor, Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2012 Wall Street Journal, 26 January 2012
  6. 6. NASA
  7. 7. Cape Verde IslandsBirthplace of Hurricanes (affects North and South Atlantic)
  8. 8. Science 309: 1844 (2005)
  9. 9. Category Five: 268 kph (2 days earlier = 287 ) o Category NASA
  10. 10. Recent Observations Past 20 years extreme winds increased ~10% and extreme wave height increased average of 7% Longer lasting storms with higher wind velocities inflict greater damage - function of (wind speed)3 Surface warming of 20C would intensify hurricane wind speeds by 3-7 m/s or 5-13 %. Global Water Cycle – recently doubled re models
  11. 11. SEA LEVEL RISE
  12. 12. • Average increase of 2mm per year until 1993 – now 3 mm per year•Coastal areas less than 10 m above sea level account for 2% of all landand 10% of world population (about 700 million people)
  13. 13. NASA Image, Cindy Starr Illulisat (Western Greenland) – largest single glacier in the North Atlantic
  14. 14. 1.5 m SL rise Dhaka People affected 17 million (15%) Land affected: Calcutta 22,000 km2 (16%)Bangladesh, Bay of Bengal - 1970 Bhola cyclone claimed 500,000 lives
  15. 15. Dhaka slum of Korail (National Geographic May 2011)
  16. 16. Maldives•1200 coral atolls•2.5 m above S. L.•300,000 people•Seriously threatened, few options•Plan: turn off lights lock up and leave
  17. 17. Male, Capital of Maldives Population: 80,000 Protective wall: 10% of GDP
  18. 18. Shaw, J. et al. 1998. Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 505. Natural Resources CanadaMaritime Provinces - highly vulnerable with potentially greatest social disruption
  19. 19. The number of people at risk from flooding by coastalstorm surges is projected to increase from the current 75million to 200 which a rise in sea level of 40 cmis envisaged by the 2080s (from Patz et al 2006 after McCarthy et al 2001)
  20. 20. Global Warming’s Evil TwinOCEAN ACIDIFICATION
  21. 21. pH is measure of acidity (1-7) and alkalinity (7-14)Logarithmic scale: change in pH of 0.1 = 30% more acidity
  22. 22. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  23. 23. What is the Impact of Acidification?•Ocean food chain threatened by loss of small plankton organisms• Corals (surface and deep), upon which many people depend, for: -food -raw materials -recreation -water purification -tourism -storm impact reduction• Economic hit to the global economy will fall between $30-170 billion per yr• Displacement of millions of people
  24. 24. Common to Three Examples (ocean warming, sea level rise, acidification) World ocean issues Linked to CO2 increase Accelerating ? Profound socio-economic implications Canada will be impacted Approaching tipping point?
  26. 26. Environmental Refugees Hundreds of millions of people on the move over next few decades 10 million refugees last year & UN claims 50 million by end of next decade Red Cross: “environmental disasters already displace more than war” In addition to 3 examples: drought Expected to become one of the soil moisture foremost crises of our time intense precipitation desertification
  27. 27. Population and Environment cannot be separated
  28. 28. Two-thirds of 22 megacities are coastal – presently 310 million people
  29. 29. Potential Impacts on Human Health Coastal flooding/erosion  Extreme weather SW intrusion into  Harmful algal blooms aquifers  Focus on poorest regions Altered coral reefs  Famine and malnutrition Altered Coastal fisheries  Microbial diseases Human displacement  War Economic disruption
  30. 30. After Malcolm Gladwell (2002)TIPPING POINT
  31. 31. • Stable on top• Stable at bottom• Chaotic transition begins with “Tipping Point”
  32. 32. stable chaoticstable
  33. 33. • 25X more effective as GHG than CO2• Vast untapped deposits in cold seas• Exit into atmosphere accelerates warming which accelerates methane release which accelerates.... Frozen Sea-Bed Methane (Hydrates)
  34. 34. A Possible Remedy?GEO-ENGINEERING
  35. 35. Large scale, deliberate intervention in earth’s climateChoices: solar radiation management or removal of CO2
  36. 36. “When you start to reflect lightaway from the planet, you caneasily imagine a chain of eventsthat would extinguish life onearth” Dr. David Keith Prof. of Engineering and Public Policy Harvard University