Two Letters Re: Pondering Some Personal Consequences of Global Climate Change

With regards to the recent flurry of postings on Global Warming (I prefer this term to the Frank Luntz, focus group tested “climate change”, which is designed to remove anxiety about the issue and thereby stifle any action on it), I wanted to clear up some common misunderstandings that have been intentionally spread around to confuse folks.
I live very close to the laboratory on the slopes of Mauna Loa that first discovered the Global Warming trend over 30 years ago. After a long search for truth on the subject, I’ve come to understand that climate scientists are dealing with problems of almost unimaginable complexity and as a group, are exceedingly conservative with regards to predictive claims. I doubt that many of us who are non-scientists can really appreciate what must go through a climate scientist’s mind when he/she encounters ill-informed individuals spouting off commonly repeated misnomers about the CO2 levels of volcanoes (for example), as though the scientists had somehow forgotten to factor major natural data in! The little reported fact of the matter is that volcanoes produce about 110 million tons of CO2 per year, an amount that is naturally absorbable by earth and ocean. Man-made CO2, which has been rising steadily since the dawn of the industrial revolution, is contributed to the atmosphere at a rate of 10 billion tons per year (and is identifiable by it’s distinct isotopic signature). In another widely held misconception, the rise in sea levels is not pegged to the weight of ice in the sea, but rather the melting of land ice and thermal expansion of the ocean (anyone who has ever tried to top off a warm gas tank with cool gas from an underground tank on a hot Summer’s day will see how the latter works). The so called “Viking era” (also incorrectly called “the Medieval Warm Period”) is a myth that continues to be perpetuated, based on misreadings of historical regional temperatures when applied global-scale (freakish warmth in Greenland at some point is not a basis for concluding that a world-wide trend was evident, as it wasn’t) . As to the claim that glaciers are increasing in size rather than retreating, I’m afraid that this misinformation is based on the poor typing of a single scientist (botanist David Bellamy) who, when trying to type “55%”, slipped on the shift key and put the number “555” into his calculations (such is the rigor of the Global Warming deniers)! According to the definitive source on the subject (World Glacier Monitoring Service), most of the world’s glaciers are in retreat.
You and I, as survivalists, can opt to try to ignore what’s happening to this planet and hope that the effects of it don’t end up having a lethal effect on us or someone in our family. On the other hand, we might want to become proactive in some way, just in case. Many people would reflect on their geographic area and how it might cause them problems, for example, shore areas that could suffer destruction from rising ocean levels, coastal areas from increased hurricane activity, tornado prone areas becoming dangerous year round (as we’re seeing this year). It just seems like common sense to me to consider a couple of aspects of your home’s architecture, it’s overall strength and it’s ability to deflect heat. Given the weather trends we’re beginning to see, I would think that there would be a sudden renewed interest in earth sheltered and underground homes. Vast areas of the American south and midwest could well become a landscape filled with splintered plywood and and empty cement pads if current trends continue. We’re also likely to see massive crop failures (this might cause some of us to dig out our calculators to figure out the weight and cost of lifetime supplies of wheat) and civil unrest on a nation-wide scale.
We, as survivalists, should all be very careful about being too reactionary to claims concerning Global Warming, simply because they don’t fit neatly into our political philosophy. The climate scientists I’ve come to know are deadly serious people disinclined to represent their subject in any but the truest way possible. Personally, based on what they’ve told me, I’m going to completely reevaluate the way that my house is currently constructed with an eye to making it significantly stouter. By way of example, I’m considering the utilization of the Line-X blast-proof coating (mentioned downthread) as a way of attempting to make my home more hurricane resistant. It’s also possible, with proper water-proofing and termite prevention, that conventional homes could be retrofitted with earth berms. I’ve even heard of roof-sized nets designed to attached to earth anchors, to hold the roof on a home in hurricane conditions (which might be workable with enough advanced notice). Obviously, windows and lightweight doors will require superlative coverings, complete with heavy hardware that is solidly anchored. As to the potential rise in temperature, one might use a system of earth covered “cool tubes” to bring cool air though vents in one’s floor, which could rise to a “solar chimney” placed high in the house for an effective passive ventilation (approaching natural air conditioning). There are fantastic ceramic roofing paints available that utilize Space Shuttle tile technology to keep a normally hot roof as cool as the surrounding air, resulting in dramatically cooler interior temperatures! Water could become a rarer resource, so a strongly-built catchment tank might end up being worth it’s weight in gold.
I’m sure that the creative minds of the survivalblog community are capable of expanding on this theme with solutions that are designed for their particular circumstance. Hopefully, they’ll share them with us so that a bank of solutions might be available that will help us all learn from their individual experiences. Best Regards, – Hawaiian K.

I’ve been a regular reader of your blog for a couple of months now and I’d like to point out something regarding one of the global warming letters you published on Sunday, February 4th. The letter says, “Nor is a sea level rise likely–fill a glass with ice water, let it melt, and the level will drop, because ice is less dense than water”. There are two potential sources for sea level rise, melting ice is one of them. The problem isn’t ice that’s already in (or floating on) the water, like the Arctic ice pack, it’s ice that’s sitting above sea level, such as various glaciers, and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The other source of sea level rise is the expansion of the seawater already in the oceans. Like most other materials, water expands as it gets warmer. If the average ocean temperature rose by a few degrees, sea levels would rise even if the amount of water in the oceans remained the same. Thermal expansion is actually a bigger potential contributor to sea level rise than all of the world’s the ice sheets and glaciers combined. – Chris