Friday, October 04, 2019

60 °C of global warming: tens of millions would survive just fine

The scientifically illiterate pundits often tell us that with a few more tenths of a Celsius degree of warming, the human race will face extinction. To show how open-minded and deep thinkers they are, they sometimes discuss whether you need 1.5 °C or 2.0 °C of warming relatively to the 18th century to make the human race extinct. Maybe the global mean temperature at 15.5 °C won't kill all of us yet but 16.0 °C surely will! ;-)

I have previously mentioned that my best estimate for the global warming at which the probability of human extinction were around 50% is about 200 °C of warming. (A Gr@tin claiming to be a skeptic has quickly cursed me for my blasphemy.) With this dramatic figure, mankind would have to be extremely original, disciplined, technologically advanced to invent tricks to deal with the situation and it would start to be unclear whether it's possible at all.

So I wanted to write a blog post about "millions that would surely survive 100 °C of global warming". One hundred is such a nice rounded number. That was a result of my quick thought. When thinking about the details, I ran into the problem caused by those boiling seas - you know, 30+100 = 130 °C is above the boiling point of water.

After some refinements, I decided that the validity of the statement in the planned title would depend on the details – the devil is often in the details. Whether the warming would be really uniform across the globe, whether the temperature would be measured right above the ocean or elsewhere, and many dynamical questions about the co-existence of the evaporated oceans near the tropics and the surviving liquid oceans near the poles.

I actually think it is a very complex homework exercise for students of atmospheric and oceanic physics. Good luck with that. Where would be the precipitation in such a half-evaporated, half-liquid ocean world? And so on. To make the problem really well-defined, try to describe the climate zones of the current Earth that is simply moved to Venus' or another warmer orbit, for example.

Because that was too hard, I reduced 100 °C to 70 °C and then to 60 °C of warming to be almost certain that the oceans wouldn't really be boiling almost anywhere. Greta wants you to panic and to curse because of each 0.1 °C of warming – I feel more or less comfortable about the idea of a world that is warmer by 60 °C than the present world. She wants you to panic because of an infinitesimal temperature change, I want you to think rationally about any temperature change up to the Planck temperature, the highest temperature that seems physically meaningful.

But as the alarmists will point out, she must be smarter than me because she was invited to speak in the U.N. while I wasn't! ;-)

What would it look like? Don't get me wrong, the survival would become hard for many and people would seriously have to think about it much of their time. It wouldn't be a matter of virtue signaling to fellow brain-dead leftists, it would be real. Many people would still find time for entertainment, music etc. – but we would generally be wasting much less time. Let us assume that those 60 °C of warming would be achieved within a decade – 6 °C of warming each year. It's vastly (many hundred times) faster than anything that may be happening in the real world but I was impatient and I believe that mankind doesn't need more than 10 years to deal with these changes if it only wants to guarantee the survival.

The basic reason why 60 °C of warming almost certainly couldn't lead to the extinction of the human race is simply the fact that there would be lots of places where the climate would be just fine and that's where the people would move and many of them would surely survive there. Fine, look at the map of the annual mean temperature above. The coldest places on the map are white and they have below –50 °C; the central parts of Antarctica really have –60 °C as their annual mean temperature.

As you can see, these places in central Antarctica would actually still be cold – their annual mean temperature 0 °C would match of Sněžka, Czechia's highest peak on the Polish border, which is pretty cold! So people would quickly learn that the vicinity of the South Pole actually isn't the best place to go, it would still be too cold! Aside from Antarctica, central Greenland would see nice annual mean temperatures around 10 °C. One could build new cities in central Greenland whose climate would match the contemporary Pilsen. There would also be many nice and pleasant natural cities in the tall mountains – where the temperature would stay low due to the high altitude.

Girls supporting AOC have had a wonderful idea to solve the climate crisis. Within the few months we have, we need to eat all the babies because the New Bolshevik Deal and nuking Russia is great but not enough. AOC agrees we need to solve the crisis urgently, perhaps in more than a few months, but she remained somewhat unclear about her commitment to eat all the babies. ;-)

60 °C would the the right temperature increase that would be marginally sufficient to melt all the ice on Earth, especially the Antarctic ice sheet. It would take some time for it to melt, however. People would bring lots of boats and build some floating platforms on the sea around Antarctica, getting ready to settle in Antarctica once the ice melts. If they knew that the 60 °C of warming is what they get within the decade, they would probably start to build some simple buildings inside the Antarctic ice before it melts.

The melted ice would raise the sea level by 25 meters. It would be a lot in the present world – assuming all other things are equal – but it wouldn't be a top problem in the warmer world by 60 °C. Much of Florida would be under water but Florida would be too hot for life, anyway. Concerning the coastal regions that would be lost – you could simply say Good riddance. Nothing would change about the terrain qualitatively. Most of the landmass has elevation much greater than 25 meters which means that the continents would have roughly the same shape as today. In particular, that's true for Antarctica, Greenland, Siberia, and Northern Canada, the new greatest places to live, aside from the Alps, the Himalayas, and other mountains.

People would be nervous, fight for many things, I don't want to discuss the anxious politics of the warmer world. We don't care about details – we care about the survival.

Fine, so every year, some fraction of the people would simply migrate to the currently cooler places of the globe that would have the future. 6 °C a year is about 1/13 of the equator-to-pole temperature difference so the required migration is just some 1,000 km a year. Of course it's not a problem to migrate in this way. Lots of buildings would be built in places that are suddenly better places to live – in many cases, just temporarily – and lots of the buildings would indeed be designed as temporary shelters only. A new industry of temporary and mobile houses (and floating mobile houses with an anti-vibration compensating system, I just gave you my patent for free) would explode and it would see very speedy improvements.

Antarctica would lack many natural resources and probably even soil that is good enough for agriculture. Many of these things would be simply imported from the places that have this stuff (clean melting Antarctic water would be local and almost for free!), before it's hard to travel there. But there are just way too many things outside Antarctica that mankind couldn't afford to completely sacrifice. I find it obvious that lots of bases would be built at many places – most of which would experience surface temperatures around 60-90 °C much of the time (the bases in the mountains would be pleasant, however). Employees of these bases would be given a sufficient amount of food and water and deep enough holes would be drilled for them. It takes years for the heat to get one hundred meters beneath the ground. So lots of these people would be safe for quite some time, and eagerly waiting that they may move to the new Antarctic paradise, hopefully with some huge compensation.

The food prices would be going up, much like other things. The most responsible banks in the world would try to keep their inflation targeting – which means that the interest rates would grow tremendously, perhaps to tens of percent.

Outside the new pleasant lukewarm places such as Antarctica, people couldn't just walk naked, as you can imagine. They would need special suits. Because the people in the warmer world would consider The Reference Frame as their mandatory reading, all of them would know that one of the first things that technological companies have to develop and mass-produce are all the robots that can simply walk everywhere. Maybe up to millions of such robots would be produced rather soon.

Even in this much hotter world, I believe that mankind would decide to preserve most of the electric grid and even power plants – even in the newly depopulated hot regions – because it would be very useful, to charge the robots etc. These robots would be capable of bringing the natural resources, soil, and other things to the new centers of civilization. Most of the new power plants build in Antarctica itself would be nuclear power plants but the existing power plants burning fossil fuels would be mostly kept.

All the new and old bases would also have room for flora and fauna. Millions of people would take their pets with them.

In special cases, solar panels or wind turbines or hydro could have some room in the new world. But in situations where they're vastly less efficient or reliable, they would be banned and their promoters – and everyone who proposes anything similar to what the climate alarmists promote today – would be instantly executed according to a new law. It would be a law of "five witnesses". If five witnesses who obeyed some integrity-check conditions gave a testimony that XY was promoting some Al Gore-like stuff, the culprit would be instantly executed. Most people would agree that such a law is needed.

Well, most people would agree with it in our part of the world. In another part of the world, irrational loons could still be in charge of politics. Our side (which would arguably and hopefully include Russia, a top nuclear superpower) would have to nuke the irrational part of the world and eradicate most of this mentally infected part of mankind – and I think that we would simply act faster than them because at that time, we would simply know that such difficult decisions may be needed for our survival. Sorry, we just can't afford to keep obnoxious whining PC snowflakes in a genuinely warming world. A touching Museum of California and New York would be built on the slopes of Mount Everest, showing how wonderful those people were before they got sick.

The life in Antarctica, Greenland etc. would look much like what our present life looks like at normal places. Much of the stuff these people would use there would be imported, often by the robots that withstand the heat. The employees of the bases – often current soldiers – would wait for a liberation, to be transferred to Antarctica or another great place. Not all of them would do it. In fact, some 20 years later, the plans would be ready to resettle most of the hot landmass.

Instead of living in those silly holes 100 meters beneath the ground that are getting warmer, the soldiers would be gradually given nice air-conditioned domes built on the surface, much like what some of the rich Arabs want to build around their cities in the real world, anyway. The bases would include some drills inside important cities such as Prague. There would soon be a huge dome covering all of Prague where some life would gradually return. All buildings built from plastic materials would resemble Kaplicky's "Extraterrestrial Octopus" National Library.

The economy would shift to new sectors of the economy – including routine productions such as the roofs for the domes, air-conditioning, robots that withstand 90 °C, and more. After some minor wars in Antarctica, some nation states would be created on that continent, along with multi-ethnic empires.

Lots of details would have to be made, invented etc. but they wouldn't collide with any limitations coming from the laws of physics. In most cases, they wouldn't even include very new technologies. All these technological solutions would be almost unavoidable to materialize simply because most people have the survival instinct. Such a genuinely threatened mankind would quickly realize that it can't afford to support too many people in truly parasitic occupations. They would be sent to factories that produce the aforementioned products. Too abstract occupations – including pure science – would obviously diminish; very practical ones would skyrocket, much like during the Second World War.

The evolution of the job market in my challenging hot world would ironically be almost opposite to how the climate alarmists are reshaping our real, allegedly warming, world. In this real world, the climate alarmists want an increasing number of climate worshipers, propagandists, decreasing number of people who look in the industry, who work with fossil fuels etc. It is pretty clear that the evolution in the actually threatened world would go largely in the opposite direction: the service or tertiary sector would shrink, lots of people would be working in factories, new power plants, and the newly challenging agriculture

Lots of coal, energy, steel, cement, and other things would be needed once again – because many structures and facilities, including railroads etc., would have to be built once again. Add all the companies that just transfer huge amounts of soil and other things to restore the regular life at new places. But none of these things would be impossible and the desire of most people to survive – and to be among those who survive – would make it almost unavoidable that most of these surmountable hurdles would be surmounted, indeed.

In fact, millions of people would live happily in Antarctica etc. including their pets. The DNA of known plant and animal species would be stored – lots of the animals would be created artificially within 20 years. Genetic engineering would be omnipresent.

The whole Antarctica would be totally inhabitable once the ice melts – people would drill holes in the ice and colonize much of Antarctica even before it melts. Note that the area of Antarctica is 14 million squared kilometers which is 140% of the U.S. or 140% of Canada. Most of the existing people would try to gradually move there. Many of them would be surprised that the day-night cycle seems to be absent and they have to regulate their sleep cycles themselves. Hypothetically, all of the living people would want to go to such places. Some of them couldn't afford the food – or wouldn't win the physical fights for food, however.

There are some 330 million Americans. With the same population density on the larger territory, just Antarctica could host 500 million people. In principle, the density may be much higher. At the Czech population density, 134 people per squared kilometer, Antarctica could host almost two billion people. That's the level that could be achieved within a century. But due to the difficult transition, I think that fewer people would actually survive up to the moment of the local minimum of the world population. Lots of people would be – sometimes almost randomly – killed in routine situations that would be very far from the ultimate villa in Antarctica, e.g. in fights for a train ticket to the South.

But I am almost certain that the prediction of the extinction of human race is almost completely implausible even for 60 °C of warming. Try to imagine how I feel when people scream that mankind faces extinction with another 1 °C or 2 °C of warming (and maybe only 0.2 °C is left etc.). Similar claims are just utterly idiotic. It's terrible that people spreading similar nonsense aren't locked in jails or in padded cells.

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