Friday, May 05, 2006

Not Just Floods Folks

While Global Climate Change is not part of Bush's reality it is rapidly becoming a larger and larger part of ours. This article from the Washington Post discusses just one of the ancillary "benefits" of the gradual warming of the climate. These "benefits" are not widely discussed but they are probably going to be as devastating to the life inhabiting our little spaceship as the rising floodwaters. This article only discusses disease but there are other side effects of global warming that haven't been popularized as well.

There are going to be major shifts in global climate since some of the engines that drive it are changing like the Gulf Stream ocean current. Giant swaths of what is now arable, productive, food producing land will be transformed into dry desert. Think about what this will mean to the world's food supply.

As ocean temperatures rise the major source of the world's oxygen is going to be negatively impacted as well. The billions of tons of plankton that float in the world's oceans and seas convert millions of tons of carbon dioxide into oxygen daily via photosynthesis. Not only will the warming seas kill off many of these creatures but global warming will increase cloud cover over the earth and with decreased sunlight to fuel the photosynthetic conversion the balances of CO2 and O2 in the atmosphere will change. This will have an unknown but surely a negative impact on the rest of the globe's life. It does not look at all positive for much of life on earth.
From the Post:

Global warming -- with an accompanying rise in floods and droughts -- is fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases, say many health experts worldwide. Mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range, bringing health threats with them.
Malaria is climbing the mountains to reach populations in higher elevations in Africa and Latin America. Cholera is growing in warmer seas. Dengue fever and Lyme disease are moving north. West Nile virus, never seen on this continent until seven years ago, has infected more than 21,000 people in the United States and Canada and killed more than 800.


But Paul Epstein, a physician who worked in Africa and is now on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, said that, if anything, scientists weren't worried enough about the problem.

"Things we projected to occur in 2080 are happening in 2006. What we didn't get is how fast and how big it is, and the degree to which the biological systems would respond," Epstein said in an interview in Boston. "Our mistake was in underestimation."

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