Go surfing now – before runaway sea level rise

image of rising-sea-levels

Thanks to a wonderful present from Mr Wavedreamer himself, I’ve been worrying myself to sleep for the last week by reading Final Warning: The Vanishing Face of Gaia by James Lovelock. He is an influential, independent scientist who has developed the concept that the earth is a living organism that responds and contributes to man-made climate change. There are 3 excellent 10 minute videos of him explaining his book here, here , here, here and here.

His book debunks plenty of received wisdom but in no way is he a climate sceptic such as those funded by oil and coal companies and right wing thinktanks. He bases his ideas on hard observed trends and one such observation is that sea levels are rising faster than the official projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s projections are based on incredibly complicated computer models of the earth’s climate. James Lovelock points out that the models miss out some of the factors that cause global warming and some of the earth’s natural responses to climate change which will speed it up (‘feedback loops’).

The IPCC predicts that global sea level rises are likely to be between about half and one metre by the end of the century. Observations of actual real-life sea level – using satellites and tide gauges –  around the world are showing that sea level rises are already outside the IPCC’s projections – perhaps 25% worse. On current emissions, we’re heading for an earth that is 4 degrees C warmer by the end of the century. The last time the earth was this hot, sea levels were 2-3m higher.

What does that mean for surfers? Simply, all our current breaks will disappear as the water becomes too deep over them and hard defences built to defend towns and infrastructure will result in ‘coastal squeeze’. Only where the sea is allowed to flow over the land will new breaks possibly appear or when truly massive swells get existing breaks working. So if you love surfing your favourite breaks, do it now.

 

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