Posts Tagged ‘Civilization collapse’

Sea Level Rise Accelerating: A Nonlinear Consequence Of CO2 Rise

October 8, 2019

The CO2 catastrophe will entail all sorts of nonlinear reactions from nature. An example is Sea Level Rise, which is accelerating faster than so-called “experts” expected. So forests are dying: 

The New York Times describes the “Ghosts Forests” of the East Coast of the US, as sea level goes up there at the alarming clip of 5 millimeter per year. The reason for that accelerated rise was long predicated by those who understand climate nonlinearity better: as Greenland melts, its cold, sweet, lighter waters act as a lid on top of the Gulf Stream, and tend to make it back up. (Sweet Swede Greta Thunberg mentioned several nonlinear effects at the UN. That makes that 16 year old child more significantly cognizant than the top climate panel, the IPCC… of a couple of years ago; IPCC took linearity more seriously only this year. They should have read yours truly, a decade ago….)

It is nearly amusing how the soporific forecasts of the scientific community clash with reality: Greenland’s ice sheet lost 55 billion tons of water over five days in July and August — enough to cover the state of Florida in almost 5 inches of water. Nearly all of Greenland was melting over those days, as the heat wave which made Paris reach 43.6 Centigrades (108F) hit the world’s largest island. That water is not coming back as ice ever again. 

Such a rate of melting was not expected by (government fed) specialists, at least officially, for another 50 years… Overall, Greenland ice sheet lost last summer the equivalent of a cube of ice five kilometers on its side (contributing directly one millimeter of sea level rise). But these are early days (Antarctica is not yet melting.) 


NYT: “As Sea Levels Rise, So Do Ghost Forests:

Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, sea levels are rising rapidly, creating stands of dead trees — often bleached, sometimes blackened — known as ghost forests… Rising seas often conjure the threat to faraway, low-lying nations or island-states. But to understand the immediate consequences of some of the most rapid sea-level rise anywhere in the world, stand among the scraggly, dying pines of Dorchester County along the Maryland coast… People living on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, the country’s largest estuary system, have a front-row view of the sea’s rapid advance, said Keryn Gedan, a wetland ecologist at George Washington University. Part of the reason for the quickly rising waters may be that the Gulf Stream, which flows northward up the coast, is slowing down as meltwater from Greenland inhibits its flow. That is causing what some scientists describe as a pileup of water along the East Coast, elevating sea levels locally…. The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where Dr. Gedan does research, lost 3,000 acres of forest and agricultural land between 1938 and 2006. More than 5,000 acres of marsh became open water.

The New York Times noted that the cities along the East Coast, some of them historically African-American, are too poor to do as the Dutch do, and build dikes. Well, OK, they have dikes, but we have plutocrats: can’t have everything… They can admire their dikes,  we can admire our plutocrats, and those wonderful millionaire athletes with thighs in tights.

“The Atlantic white cedar, abundant around the Mullica River Estuary in stands such as this one, is an unusually durable parchment on which to capture that history. Long prized for lumber, its wood is highly resistant to rot. But the tree is also very sensitive to salt. It can tolerate maybe three salty high tides before succumbing. So when the trees begin dying, it’s a trustworthy indicator that conditions are becoming more saline. It is an age-old phenomenon, now happening faster. Erosion of marshes and riverbanks has also accelerated, revealing buried cedar stumps from prehistoric ghost forests. Jennifer Walker, a frequent collaborator with Dr. Able who recently earned her Ph.D. in oceanography at Rutgers, dated one stump here to the fifth century. “Cedar cemeteries,” she calls these places.”

Many of those paid by the dominant fossil fuel industry produce doctored temperature graphs, and they actually dominate the Internet (hey, as they steal the planet, they have all the money in the world to buy themselves mouthpieces of all sorts, including scientists). The graph above is the truth. The drought around 33 centuries ago caused the collapse of all ancient Mediterranean-Near East civilizations… except for Egypt, which barely survived what Pharaoh Ramses III called the “People of the Sea Conspiracy”. So a tremendous drought, quakes, etc. caused a chain of events bringing the Bronze Age collapse (we know this from archaeology, Hittites-Egyptian correspondence, etc…). BTW, we are already at 1,1 degree Centigrade of temperature rise, higher by 30% than in the red line above…

Cedars died from salt water intrusions after centuries of a warm spell, centered around 2,000 years ago, and which ended abruptly, stressing hard Greco-Roman civilization: that Roman climate optimum occurred naturally, from Earth’s orbital mechanics. Although its end was brutal, temperature-wise, its onset was gradual, and consequences enfolded even after it passed away: so these “Cedar cemeteries’ happened, close to the end of the warm climate, showing how much inertia the climate has. After many centuries, the ongoing warming made glaciers melt, and recess, including in Greenland. So the same phenomenon was at work in Chesapeake Bay as now. However, right now the warming is from a tremendous rise in CO2, not seen in millions of years. 

Similarly, although the present warming is extremely rapid, its most dreadful consequences are slow to appear: a lot of inertia is found in the climate system. Even if we stopped right away the CO2 emissions, the consequences of the present rise of CO2 would be increasingly felt for centuries (absent science fiction terra forming technologies which we do not have… yet) In other words, the nonlinear effects are starting, and we will not be capable of stopping them. And they will accelerate. 

The collapse of the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica is, for example, guaranteed: it happened around 400,000 years ago, in colder conditions than the ones we are going to reach within decades, at most (its disappearance was discovered in 2019). That particular collapse will rise sea levels 3.3 meters. But other ice formations are even more worrisome. The humongously giant ice basins in East Antarctica, such as the Aurora and Wilkes basins, are threatened too: their delicate margins are at low latitudes, close to the Antarctic circle, their bottom more than a mile below sea level. They could melt in a matter of decades (as happened to Hudson Bay at the end of the last glaciation). reading this, well paid professional specialists will feel forced to publicly chuckle, and pontificate it would take centuries of warm water. They are paid to sustain the life of their pay master, the fossil fuel economy. Only this way are they to be taken seriously, and puff their lustrous feathers, like well fed pigeons.

Conventional climate science is in denial about the imminent collapse into the sea of much of Antarctica, as professionals don’t want to sound too alarmist, lest they lose their jobs.

That’s why there are philosophers, and they live in barrels: to tell the truth.

Patrice Ayme

Superior Civilization Needs Superior Weapons (Collapse Series 1)

March 16, 2018


Military Non-Superiority Is The Civilized way To Collapse:

Si vis pacem, para bellum!” (If you want peace, prepare war) the Romans used to say. Indeed, implementation of civilization, like sausage making, is no pretty sight to behold. It requires a stern consideration of the human condition, mind fully open… to the most awful possibilities, those which, precisely, can undo civilization. In recent years, the two oldest Republics, the USA and France have coldly executed some of the worst Jihadists… using legislative powers going back 25 centuries, to the beginning of the Roman Republic (the Consuls had the right to execute whoever they decided to execute when it had to do with military operations; thus US and French presidents have right of life and death against enemies of the Republic).  

If an advanced civilization has no crushing military superiority, contact with a vicious society can cause collapse. This happened many times. This happened to Egypt, more than once. Egypt recovered fully, more than once, until it didn’t, each time more diminished. First with the Achaemenid Persians, then the Romans, Christians, and most irretrievably, with the Muslims.

Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) warheads streaking to the ground at 16,000 kilometers per hour. They all come from one rocket. Against those only some weapons not yet in existence could be effective. Impacts of warheads from just one missile can be hundreds of kilometers apart. Each warhead can be 300 kilotons of TNT, 20 times the Hiroshima bomb. Precision is less than 100 meters.

An obvious example of collapse caused by the failure of military superiority is Rome. The Western Roman empire of 40 million people was ravaged, most of the population eradicated, by at most 150,000 barbarian savages ferociously invading, fighting and destroying as if their lives depended upon it, because it did.

Constantinople, the Eastern Roman empire, would know a similar fate, in slower motion. The Romans lost most of their territory to savage Islamized Arabs, and, four centuries later to the recently Islamized Turks, before being terminated by the later, another four centuries down the line. No wonder the flag of Saudi Arabia has a curved sword on it.

Roman Egypt surrendered to the Third Caliph, Omar, hoping for a promised lenient treatment. Three years later, Egypt realized that the Muslim conquerors had lied, and were most abusive. Egypt revolted. Too late: the library was burned by Omar and his ilk, and ever since Islamist terror has reigned therein, diminishing the minds so much, as Napoleon discovered to his dismay, that the very notion of progress had vanished in a superstitious, theocratic haze. 

Sophisticated, enormously populated (40 million?) Northern Song China fell to Genghis Khan’s Mongols, who were no more than 150,000 cavaliers. It had been invaded and occupied before. However, Mongol generals proposed to kill it all, and even change Chinese climate and ecology, but the conqueror in chief wisely rejected the suggestion. Two decades later all of China, and even Vietnam, ended down under the Mongol boot for a century.  


Superior Minds Need Superior Defenses:

A contributor to this site, SDM cogently asked: “Why make rearmament a priority when it would appear there are more than enough weapons already to destroy mankind? Are you implicitly promoting a revamping of military weaponry rather than just more of the same old stuff?

Answer: Yes, precisely. Precisely because we have all those terrible weapons to destroy mankind, we need smarter weapons to prevent the use of the most terrible ones. I am talking about superiority of weapons as factor of security.

Destruction of mankind is not a new thing. When the barbarians invaded the Western Roman empire they caused up to 90% eradication of the population. When the Mongols of Genghis Khan finally defeated the Western Xia empire, they killed 100% of the population, leaving only sands behind. When the Muslims invaded Spain, they eradicated 100% of the Goths, and 25% of the Catholics (except for a tiny corner of the Cantabrian mountains where they got blocked by heroic defenders). Ancient warfare could bring 100% exterminations, go ask the Assyrians (Babylon and its allies, unable to defeat the Assyrian field army, decided to destroy the Assyrian population first, to starve its army ).  

More precise weapons are needed. Take nukes. In the 1960s, the USA and the USSR made gigantic thermonuclear bombs, up to 25 megatons of TNT: if they wanted to destroy an objective, they were not sure of the precision of detonation, so they made giant bombs. Not only that, but they made more than 50,000 of them. Using a fraction of that arsenal would have killed billions.

For example the USA had planned, in case of war with the USSR, to explode giant bombs on the Soviet submarine pens found next to Leningrad. Their detonations were expected to destroy the populated part of Finland, as well. President JFK was informed of this collateral damage, for his eyes only. Later, precision of ballistics came down to one meter. At that point, a smaller nuke could take out the same sub pens, without taking out Finland. Standard French, British and US thermonuclear warheads are now around 200 kilotons.

China and Russia have developed very small nukes, which could destroy crucial military objectives, without too much collateral damage. Thus tempting to use: once one’s headquarters, or storage of weapons have been taken out, one may not feel inclined to escalate…   

Right now if some “leader” in a nuclear weapon state decides to do away with a large city, he has a good probability to succeed: only US cities, to some extent, and Moscow, have Anti Ballistic Missiles. Destroying missiles with missiles is a very expensive, even ruinous, and certainly chancy business.

However, powerful laser batteries would destroy ballistic missiles cheaply, and at will. Thus lasers would annihilate MAD, the Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine… which is a crime against humanity.

More practically, precision ammunition have proven to be a real progress. Recent battles against ISIL killed not even a tenth of what would have been before. In Mosul, it is said 12,000 civilians died. A conventional extirpation of the Islamist State would have killed many times that. Mosul has more than one million inhabitants. Instead, with advanced weapons, strikes could be directed exactly where the snipers were inside buildings.

Developing superior weapons means to invent new technology, in a way no other civilian demand will do. The car got invented because the French army of the Ancient Regime liked the idea of what we now call tanks. Black powder and rockets were perfected by the Mongols and Europeans, because they wanted superior weapons (China had a more festive approach to explosives than the Mongols and French). When they invaded Eastern Europe, the Mongols used field batteries of rockets. Soon Europeans found ways, thanks to saltpeter, to augment the explosive power of black powder. Around 1430 CE, two French brothers invented field guns, small enough to be rolled to a battlefield and beat English foot and archers into submission (that was the final phase of the “100 years war”). Some rabid pacifists will smirk. However, all this explosive tech not only built roads, but now it enable us to send robots around the solar system.  


Falling Behind What’s Needed, Or How Xi Became Crazy:

SDM asked: “Is it your position that the “West” is somehow behind the weapons technology curve in comparison to …..China? Russia? Anyone?

No doubt that the west is under the sway of corporate neoliberals to the detriment of the vast majority of the people because of climate change denial, austerity, tax giveaways, wage stagnation, lax financial regulation, etc. etc. Are there data that shows the US/EU weapons are inadequate?”

There are plenty of indications that the West is in military peril. Some of the West’s main weapon systems may be obsolete, vulnerable, or ill-conceived. Vulnerable and obsolete: the giant aircraft carriers of the USA may be vulnerable to ballistic missiles: the Chinese developed a specific carrier killer. Obsolete: the US Navy is supposed to use the F35, a “stealth” flying bathtub. The F35 may be fully visible to some radars.

Western Quantum radar goes up to 20 kms, the Chinese one 100 kms (from better detection of single photons, they said, so progress in fundamental physics)… A good quantum radar going 1,000 kms would make the F35 fighter completely inoperative. They are supposed to construct more than 3,500 of these turkeys, and defend the entire West with it (but for France).

Knowing that he will be able to deny the West air supremacy has got to have a bad effect on Xi’s psychology… Now he may think he can takeover the world, or at least the South China sea, Taiwan, hey, maybe Vietnam, which, after all was long Chinese…

China and Russia have stealth fighters. The Russian one is faster than the Western one. Russia has shown pictures of test firing of a HYPERsonic missile. Hypersonic missiles go too fast to be intercepted by any existing defenses (one can imagine more advanced lasers could do it). The point here is that the hypersonic missile could turn into the nightmare the Romans knew all too much: arrows from recurve bows, which the Parthians, Sassanids, Sarmatians, Alans and Huns had. They could penetrate Roman armor.


A civilization can get destroyed in a few hours:

Rome never recovered  of the battle of Hadrianopolis in 379 CE. The crucial part of the battle lasted minutes, not much longer than it took for the US Navy to set on fire the four finest fleet aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese navy at the Midway battle in 1942 (ending any hope of the Japs to avoid defeat in WWII).

At Hadrianopolis, Roman emperor Valens got killed, the Eastern Roman field army was annihilated, the victorious Goths were on the loose, the empire shaken in its deepest psychological foundations, the barbarians elated, and meanwhile enormous concessions had to be made to the Sassanids. The battle happened in a few hours, and by accident. The left Roman wing was in the process of destroying the Gothic foot and Gothic camp, when, suddenly, disaster struck: the rested Gothic cavalry, 15,000 strong, charged in the flank of the left Roman wing, which then fell on the Roman center compressing it to the point soldiers couldn’t use their weapons, let alone maneuver, like at Cannae, sic centuries earlier.

Skeptics may bleat that the Goths surrendered to the Romans in 382 CE, after sacrificing king Fritiggen and others culprit of the victory of Adrianopolis. Thus, those historians may insist, no untowards consequence from the crushing defeat. But the peace treaty is revealing: the Goths could settle, but as Goths, under Gothic law, not as Romans. It’s a bit as if Muslim Fundamentalists destroyed half of the US Army and then were allowed to settle in Ohio under Sharia. Sure enough, a generation later, the unassimilated Goths took great umbrage, and were on the march again. This time, in 410 CE, they sacked the city of Rome, and settled in Gaul and Spain.(The Goths got ejected from Gaul by Frankish king Clovis in 507 CE, after being crushed at the battle of Vouillé. To thank him, for having annihilated, at long last the Goths who had tortured Rome since the catastrophe of 379 CE, the emperor made Clovis into a Roman Consul for life!)


What was the world’s strongest army on May 10 1940?

The French army. Although the Nazi army had doubled its tank force with Czech tanks, the French army had 50% more tanks, and the French tanks were better: many were impervious to German artillery. The best French planes were equal in quality to the Nazi planes, and there were hundreds of them.  

However, by May 15, 1940, although the French army had lost just one division out of one hundred, it had lost the Battle of France: the “torrent of German tanks” (as the head of the French army said) was flowing towards the sea, unimpeded, and the main French armies, plus the British Expeditionary Force, had been cut from behind.

What happened?

The Allies didn’t see that the entire Nazi army had advanced on three small roads in the Ardennes forest, under a thick canopy of springtime leaves. One Spitfire pilot saw it, but he wasn’t believed.


Accidents happen.

France was ultimately saved by her ungrateful brat of a child, the USA. The other brat, Britain, although helpful in 1940, had been derelict in 1933-1938, when it was more or less aligned with Hitler. The fact is, the British Second Armor division was supposed to be in the way of the Panzer thrust on May 10, 1940, just behind the French infantry B division, which was attacked by three Panzers… but the Brit 2nd Armor had not arrived! If it had, the battle would have been just the opposite, as the French would have had time to reconfigure their armor.

The French and British air crews couldn’t get their act together in the week after May 10, 1940. They  got it after that, but it was too late. The Nazis had been training in Spain where they had intervened in 1936, they knew how to operate with ground crews.

Another factor in May 1940 was that the US and Britain had 200,000 soldiers. France had six millions, and Nazi Germany ten millions. In other words, USA and UK were disarmed, the French Republic was supposed to do all the work. If Britain had in May 1940 as many soldiers as it had in 1944, the defeat of May-June 1940 wouldn’t have happened. That would have been a disaster for the USA, agreed…


Conclusion: Democracy has to be defended. Plutocracy is always around, conniving, eager to rise further. If plutocracy sees weakness, plutocracy will pounce. Just watch Putin and Xi. The latter may be much encouraged by what experts in the Chinese military perceive, correctly as weakness in the Western military, which is pretty much reduced to the USA, Britain and France… As in 1940. Weakness in democracies encourages fascist dictatorships, as Hitler himself said many times. When hell itself speaks, wisdom should listen.

Patrice Aymé