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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The global warming ice-age

5 October 2017

A regular reader sent me a link to an interesting piece on climate change, aka global warming, aka climate disruption.

this piece discusses the possibility of a sudden change in the ocean currents producing a very rapid and very severe change to the climate in some parts of the world.

This was of course the premise for one of those awful disaster movies back near the turn of the century but it seems that it has a sound basis in science.

The most reassuring part of the video included in this report was the presenter's insistence that we don't really know what's going to happen. Refreshingly honest and much more credible than simply predictions of gloom and doom.

I find it very interesting however, that we're now being fed a somewhat different line by the "experts".

Previously, whenever an event didn't match the predicted global warming pattern, the "experts" dismissed it as "just weather" and said that such anomalies were to be expected.

Now however, it seems that we're being told these extreme variations in temperature over very short periods are quite normal and are indeed a part of the climatic variations that we should expect.

Is it climate or is it weather?

I guess it depends on how you're trying to arrange the data to suit your beliefs.

It strikes me as kind of odd that while the world is worried that some little North Korean despot might drop a nuke with just a few kilotons of destructive force somewhere in the world -- we have a ticking time bomb of gargantuan proportion sitting on our back doorstep just waiting to unleash a disaster which would be more devastating by many orders of magnitude.

At most, one of Kimmie's nukes would kill perhaps a few hundred thousand people -- but if the critical ocean currents which keep North America and much of Northern Europe habitable were to stop -- well hundreds of millions of lives would be be lost.

An overnight ice-age, and apparently it really would be almost that fast, would kill many within days by way of exposure and many, many more over a longer period due to the disruptive effects it would have on food production. The loss of the US Midwestern food belt to ice and snow would devastate that nation and it's unlikely the rest of the world could provide sufficient food to compensate.

Fish stocks in the oceans would also be devastated leaving many coastal regions in a state of famine as well.

So what are we doing to try and prevent this?

Um... perhaps not enough?

To be honest, I'm not wholly sold on the concept of AGW so I don't know that there's a hell of a lot we can do -- but at least giving it a go has to be better than simply sitting there watching the fuse burn ever shorter on cataclysmic climate change.

Or I guess you can be a fatalist and say that we're just passengers on this blue orb floating through space and we just have to take whatever hand we're dealt. The planet has already seen a number of extinction-level events and there is no doubt that it will see a lot more before it is finally engulfed by the sun in its death throes.

What do readers think?

Are we doing what humans tend to do -- ignore the things we can't change because it would be wasted effort to fret and worry about them? Or are we prioritising things so badly that we're missing the opportunity to avoid this cataclysmic melt-down?

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