A recent paper about an upcoming climate shift makes ripples in science circles, as the authors warn the effects of global warming will hit much sooner than we’ve previously estimated.
Unlike the concept of climate change – which has gradually won people over – the idea of an abrupt climate shift is still surrounded by controversy. If the research proves to be correct, we should expect the sea level to rise by seven feet in just 50 years.
Study author Dr. James E. Hansen explained that a simulation of such abrupt changes in conditions would mean “loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s large cities and all their history.”
So what exactly is a climate shift? The concept describes an initial warming that will cause a lot of fresh water to flood into the oceans. The additional water will significantly slow down the ocean currents that help with the distribution of heat and keep the seas relatively cool.
Consequently, the heat will start to collect in the depths of the oceans, causing a much quicker melting of the ice caps. Even more worrying is another result of losing of heat-regulating currents: superstorms, something we’re not familiar with in modern times.
According to a report in the New York Times, Dr. Hansen “fits the profile of a typical disaster movie scientist.” However, the doctor has been through this once before, in 1988.
Back then, when he was director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies, he was far ahead of the common thinking on climate science when he warned Congress that immediate action was needed to stop the greenhouse effect.
Dr. Hansen was ignored for a long time, but time and more research proved he was ultimately correct. Now, in 2017, he exposes a new theory, and he seems on the fringe of climate science once again.
According to climate scientists like Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University, some of Dr. Hansen’s claims “are indeed extraordinary.” While his theories do conflict with the mainstream understanding of climate change, should we repeat history and ignore him?
The doctor’s idea of a climate shift was featured the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, but it’s not entirely innovative, as scientists researched it over a decade ago.
Back then, the conclusion was that the currents would not be weakened to such a degree that they could precipitate the apocalyptic scenario described by Hansen. However, his new paper could spark more research using much more sophisticated climate models.
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