Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Monday, November 23, 2009

giant jellyfish and global warming

It sounds like a scene from a low-budget sci fi/horror film:

A blood-orange blob the size of a small refrigerator emerged from the dark waters, its venomous tentacles trapped in a fishing net. Within minutes, hundreds more were being hauled up, a pulsating mass crowding out the catch of mackerel and sea bass.

But for Japanese fisherman, it's all too real:

This year's jellyfish swarm is one of the worst he has seen, Hamano said. Once considered a rarity occurring every 40 years, they are now an almost annual occurrence along several thousand kilometers (miles) of Japanese coast, and far beyond Japan.

The migration of giant jellyfish into Japanese fishing waters is just one of the many effects of the climate change. Around the world, entire societies are threatened as the land that has sustained them through centuries is rapidly becoming inhospitable.

East Africa suffers through severe drought while Southeast Asia endures record floods. Though it seems paradoxical, both of these can be attributed to global warming.

As the air temperature increases even slightly above its historical average, it is able to hold more water vapor; as a result, clouds grow larger before dumping rain. Some areas are bypassed altogether while others get hit harder. Droughts and floods, courtesy of our appetite for energy.

The painful irony is that many of the places hit the hardest are already the poorest nations on earth. They are simultaneously not responsible for their changing climate, and not able to do anything about it.

Meanwhile the industrial world continues to pump carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at levels unprecedented in the history of the earth. And many developing nations, China and India foremost among them, are gearing up to join the club.

This cannot continue forever. But what are we going to do about it?

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At 11/30/2009 7:38 AM, Blogger John said...

Given the CRU revelations, it's now a bit less certain that this will happen.

At 12/01/2009 9:32 PM, Blogger BruceA said...

On the contrary, these things are already happening.


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