Climate Change

Published on November 26th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer

19

Arctic to be the Center of a New World by 2300

November 26th, 2011 by  

If climate change continues along the business-as-usual path, the 24th century’s new world will be in some ways more like the world of Ancient Greece – with what’s left of the world’s inhabitants trading around a single sea.

For the Ancient Greeks, it was the Mediterranean Sea. For those of our descendants that survive, it will be what is now the Arctic circle.

A view of the globe like the one above might make more sense and be in more common use by then, instead of the familar globe that we are used to now, placing Europe and Africa on the left – Asia in the middle, and the North and South Americas to the right, on an equator-centered globe.

The countries that will remain habitable after 300 years of climate change are centered on the now nearly empty lands around the Arctic Circle: clockwise this shows Siberia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Alaska.

That is the conclusion of a paper that studied how global warming will affect the northern areas of Europe as two-thirds of the world becomes uninhabitable by 2300, that finds that the effects of climate change will redraw the map of the main influence centers of civilization. Eaarth – as Bill McKibben denotes our climate altered future will center on an open sea over what is now the Arctic.

In  The North: The New European Frontier with Global WarmingProfessor Trausti Valsson of the University of Iceland Faculty of Engineering argues for the inclusion of  “Iceland, Norway and Russia (because of Siberia) in the European Union, because the importance of these areas in the future, economically, militarily and as a future living space for the European community.” None of the three nations are currently members of  the EU.

Valsson’s argument is that, combined with the uninhabitability of the rest of the planet as the world warms, that the shorter and more secure transportation routes across the Arctic Ocean between Europe and north-western Canada and the USA will make a completely different center to the world.

Russia (because of Siberia), Denmark (because of Greenland) and Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland because of their northern regions will become available for greatly increased commercial activity because of the warmer climate, lessened ice cover, and because, in due time, the Arctic sea routes, along their coasts, will become some of the most important global shipping lanes and will link them to other activity centres of the world.

Valsson includes this map below showing the region that climate scientists projected to be become uninhabitable by 2300. Because of the scarcity of continental land below this region, the world’s population will have to concentrate towards the top of this map within three centuries, because of limits to human tolerance of heat.

(Related: Humans Won’t Survive on Half the Earth by 2300)

Temperatures here are expected to range beyond what humans and most animals can comfortably make a living in by as soon as just 300 years away – about as long as US settlement by Europeans. While a thin strip at the coasts will still support life, the interiors in the shaded regions will become gradually devoid of human beings (and presumably the animals and plants suited to current temperatures).

Last year McMichael and Dear published Heat, Health and Longer Horizons at the National Academy of Sciences, sounding the alarm on long term climate change scenarios, referencing, among others, Sherwood and Huber’s Adaptability Limit to Climate Change Due to Heat Stress and determining that more than half the world we occupy today will be almost uninhabitable by 2300 due to temperature increase beyond what we can tolerate.


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • vivek sinha

    Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    Car Centre Warrington
    ….

  • Danbloom

    Susan, I have been promoting the Polar Cities Project since 2006, with major help frm Joey Stanford, who sent me this link.
    danny bloom
    Tufts 1971
    can you interview me with images from my website?

  • Danbloom

    Was glad to see this news story. I have been promoting the Polar Cities Project since 2006, with major help frm Joey Stanford, who sent me this link. Polar cities are meant for survivors of global warming in the year 2500, although we are open to earlier dates too. and as James Lovelock my teacher here told me “yes, danny, it may very well happen, polar cities for survivors of AGW, and soon!” — to learn more see google for POLAR CITIES or ‘polar cities research institute”…..in addition, a sci fi writer in Texas is writing a fiction novel at this moment about my polar cities ideas, but it is his book entirely, and is set in 2080…..in Alaska and called POLAR CITY RED……get redy, reddy, er, ReADY……if can see link go to pcillu101

    • They look very interesting. I think you should try and convince the Texas novelist to make the date more realistic though: 2250 say. Don’t you think it’s more likely that people will still be slowly stupefying in the heat in 2080, rather than building polar cities that soon?

      • Danbloom

        Susan, thanks for note and I hope you can interview me or the Texas novelist soon. Me first, on what polar cities are really all about?

        RE:
        They look very interesting. I think you should try and convince the Texas novelist to make the date more realistic though: 2250 say. Don’t you think it’s more likely that people will still be slowly stupefying in the heat in 2080, rather than building polar cities that soon?

        ANSWER: Susan, you are right, realistically, humans won’t need polar cities until around 2300 or so, but he has decided to set his story in 2080 in order to make the story more immediate for people reading it here and now. He felt that 2300 would make the story merely sci fi and people would not pay attention to real emergency we are in now, or will be soon, certainly by 2080.
        MY FEELING as director of the Polar Cities Project is that we need to start talking about them now online and in the MSM in order to get used to the idea of polar cities. We need to start siting them and even pre-building them NOW, by 2300 there will be no fuel for planes or trucks to transport building material. People still do not understand the dire straits we are almost in. my wor here is meant as a dire wake up all.

        • Earl Mardle

          I’m interested in food security. Looking at the safe climatic range around the arctic, it seems to me that the land side is mostly very poorly soiled tundra. With warmer weather, and presumably more rain, maintaining productive soils is going to be a challenge. What is the estimate of food production and therefore supportable population? The map looks startling for sure, but how many actual people do you expect to be able to feed in that land and water scape?

  • Danbloom

    Was glad to see this news story. I have been promoting the Polar Cities Project since 2006, with major help frm Joey Stanford, who sent me this link. Polar cities are meant for survivors of global warming in the year 2500, although we are open to earlier dates too. and as James Lovelock my teacher here told me “yes, danny, it may very well happen, polar cities for survivors of AGW, and soon!” — to learn more see google for POLAR CITIES or ‘polar cities research institute”…..in addition, a sci fi writer in Texas is writing a fiction novel at this moment about my polar cities ideas, but it is his book entirely, and is set in 2080…..in Alaska and called POLAR CITY RED……get redy, reddy, er, ReADY……if can see link go to pcillu101 in blogs

  • Thomerich

    This is a very interesting and gives some good food for thought. I enjoyed the links you provided to complimentary information. Hopefully this will be a concern for people in 300 years.

    • Danbloom

      Thomerich, it needs to be a concern to people NOW in 2011 and 2012. There is no time to waste. We need to prepare for what is coming down THE ROAD, shades of Cormac McCarthy novel, and we need to prepare with polar city models to test out and we need to start siting them in Canada and Russia and Alaska, and also very important, we need to start thinking about how our descendants in 2300 will deal with all this dire straits stuff in terms of their own spirituality and beliefs, because…it aint gonna be a prety picture. I working here as a kind of modern day prophet, in the biblical tradition, not that i am in any way a prophet myself, but i am doing this polar cities wake up call project as a prophecizing thing. This is no time for sci fi and happy meals. We are in the Long Emergency now and only polar cities will save our descendants 300 years from now. I am very serious. I am on this 24/7 now, this is my life’s work. The novel coming out next year will be useful. Still, i feel people just do not want to wake up, and i love bob’s car analogy, yes yes yes, the road is now going downhill so in terms of AGW we are headed for major climate chaos disasters, but not for another 300 years. Should re prepare now? Yes, I am sure the CIA is on this right now. A good reporter woudl look into this. HINT HINT.

  • Ed

    A fun mental exercise that makes way too many assumptions. First being ” If climate change continues along the business-as-usual path”. Though it may appear that B-A-U will continue, I assure you that it will not. By 2300 (if we don’t kill ourselves by then) we will live on a planet that derives all of it’s energy from renewable sources. Another point that is ignored is that if the planet warms beyond a certain point it will shut down the thermohaline conductor which would plunge the planet back into another ice age. We are presently enjoying a respite between periods of glaciation.
    Speculation like this cannot be taken too seriously and it doesn’t engender the “sense of urgency” about AGW (anthropogenic global warming) that the writers are aiming for. Using “fear” tactics that range beyond a plausible human time line are ineffective at best. Sad thing is we really do need to move beyond Business As Usual ASAP……………….:(
    Ed

    • I actually found the research interesting precisely because it does take us past the usual timeline of “by 2100” or “by 2050.”

    • Anonymous

      We have a relatively short time to quit fossil fuels. If we continue we will melt the permafrost and methyl hydrates now sequestered by cold. Apparently we’ve already started the process, if we make it accelerate we loose control.

      It’s like pushing a car along a road. While the road is level, no problem. But we’ve now reached a point at which the road begins to slope downwards. At this point gravity starts helping us move the car. If we let the car go much further then the road becomes even steeper and the car will gain enough speed so that we have no ability to stop it.

      On the way to a runaway heating climate we might see a disrupted ocean current system but it’s not likely to throw us into an ice age. There has to be less heat inside the stratosphere for an ice age to occur and we are in the process of trapping more and more heat.

      Probability of a human-induced ice age = extremely low.

      Probability of a human-induced cooked planted = very high and increasing.

      • I forget, Bob. What’s your feeble excuse for not writing for us, again?

        • Anonymous

          I write for you guys almost every day Susan.

          I just don’t get the big bucks like you, Zack, Andrew, etc. ;o)

          I don’t enjoy being a lead-off hitter. More of a cleanup guy….

      • Great writing: “It’s like pushing a car along a road. While the road is level, no problem. But we’ve now reached a point at which the road begins to slope downwards. At this point gravity starts helping us move the car. If we let the car go much further then the road becomes even steeper and the car will gain enough speed so that we have no ability to stop it”.

        • Tiji

          Great writing? it was ok to good writing. The car analogy is terrible. Sure it conveys the idea, the car implies a sense of control but the story implies no control. A roller coaster or a sled would would have been a better conveyance. Then if you take that Bob’s post was a reply to another post and that our car ride with Bob might take 300 years, well it makes one think that our grinning skeletal remains really look happy flying off that cliff at the end.
          -T

          • Anonymous

            We started pushing that car in the 1800s when we started burning large amounts of fossil fuels for power.

            There’s no one sitting in the driver’s seat steering or ready to hit the brakes.

            We thought the road was level because we weren’t paying attention to the amount of heat we were storing up in the oceans. But things started to change and we started paying attention.

            Now we’ve significantly melted Arctic sea ice, decreased albedo, and made the slope steeper.

            We’ve increased forest/vegetation fires. We’ve even seen Arctic peat dry out enough for large peat fires to occur. We’ve put more CO2 into the atmosphere along with more black carbon. (Black carbon is another climate change driver.) Again, by increasing CO2 we kicked forces into play that make the slope steeper.

            Car is speeding up a bit more.

            We could possibly hit the slope of no return in the next couple of decades. If we force large amounts of carbon and methane out of the Arctic region it is all over.

            Our skeletal remains will be that of the ‘left behind’ who perished due to
            thirst, hunger and conflict over food and water. Any people living around
            the pole will be the 1% and their private armies and servants. Not the
            other 98.5% of us.

          • Tiji

            I like that you stuck with the car that was much better writing and better use of the car. Good passion there too, it is that passion and drive that we all have in us that should help to put a driver into that car and steer us where we need to be. If not the planet will make the corrections it needs to and the Earth will still be there just with out us.
            -T

          • Anonymous

            Feel free to take my humble beginnings and turn them into a good analogy that can get the somewhat difficult topic of “forcings” into a form that people can grasp.

            I don’t think many people grasp that global heating is something that we can’t just turn off by (eventually) dropping fossil fuels. They don’t understand that we are starting something that we can’t stop.

            (BTW, I think Susan went overboard with the ‘great’ stuff. But I tend to not complain about praise received. ;o)

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