Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Atmospheric Warming ≠ Tsunami & Earthquake

People never fail to amaze me. Apparently, Reuters published an article (27 DEC) that was written by one of their "Environment Correspondents" named Alister Doyle. In this article of twisted truth and outright lies, Doyle not-so-subtly tries to make a connection between the recent tsunami, which struck Asian countries (foremost being Sri Lanka), and the so-called global warming. Having taken a geological survey course last semester, this is right up my alley.

Theoretically, earthquakes are caused by plate movements (known as plate tectonics).

The following is known as Reid's Elastic Rebound Theory:

1) Blocks moving in opposite directions
2) Plates locked together due to friction. This results in elastic energy stored up. Once the "stored" energy becomes too great, the energy breaks the frictional bond.
3) Quake initiation
4) Slip (the distance on the surface of lane displacement IE: --- becomes -_- due to shifting earth)

Once Step 4 is complete, you basically are at the end of the main earthquake. There will, however, be aftershocks which in the case of a Magnitude 6-8 (Richter), aftershocks can be felt months to years. While I'm talking about magnitude, an 8.0 (Richter) earthquake is considered catastrophic (if over inhabited land) and they occur about 0.4 times/year.

As with just about any earthquake where the epicenter is in an ocean, a tsunami will ensue. Here is the truth about tsunamis:
Saying the water is ~5000m deep, the wave height will be less than 1m and it will be moving at about 500 MPH. As the wave continues to move toward land and the depth decreases to ~1000m, the wave will be ~5m and moving at ~200 MPH. Just before landfall at a depth of ~20m, the tsunami will be ~30-40m high and moving at ~20 MPH.

An international report early this month showed that about 70 percent of the world's coral reefs had been ruined or were under threat from human activities, ranging from over-fishing to coastal pollution and global warming. Make note of the mention of global warming as a cause of coral reefs disappearing.
Does anyone else see the lack of logic in this or is it just me? On with the discussion...

Since man has only been around for a little while, we can't ask Grandpa and Grandma about the stories they were told about what past climates were like on the earth. There is a way which involves testing glacial pack that we can determine what these former climates were like, compared to today. I'm not going to discuss the testing method, but it does seem to make sense.

The following image shows what is believed to be the temperature patterns over the last 25,000 years.

As for sea level changes, for a 1 meter rise to occur in our oceans, it would require about 400,000 cubic kilometers of ice to melt.

During the ice ages (Wisconsinen Prd, among others) => ice volume = 70,000,000 cubic km
Today => ice volume = 25,000,000 cubic km

Point being, there is no need to worry about fluctuations in glacial ice levels & global temperatures. By looking at the above image, it is easily seen that temperature fluctuations are completely normal. I disagree with those that say the earth is getting warmer. I am of the belief that our temperature is simply leveling out. Notice that the graph doesn't start in the cold, it begins in the middles & moves toward the cold. That, alone, negates any complaints that the earth is getting warmer. It is simply coming back to center in a decreasing pendulum fashion.

In conclusion, we can easily see that Doyle's article (if you bother to go and read it) is a combination of separate and unrelated events.