Posts Tagged ‘Global warming’

The Quirk: How Will The World End?

February 18, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I ran a competition on WordPress Forum to give me suggestions for blog topics.  The winner was Liana Merlo. Check out her blog here, http://lianamerlo.wordpress.com/. Well done liana, you’ve won some minor exposure on a science blog! Liana wanted to know the most likely ways the world will end.  I thought I’d let The Quirk answer this one.

How the world will end is actually pretty mundane.  The Sun will eventually turn much of its hydrogen and helium supply into heavier elements. Once this has happened the sun will expand into a Red Giant, eventually growing large enough to burn the earth to cinders and eventually cause it to disintegrate and fall into the sun. YAWN! I think what Liana really wants to know is how the world as we know it will end. Here are a few of the possible theories:

GLOBAL WARMING

Soon the rising sea will engulf us all, leaving us in a horrible Waterworld-esqe existence.  I haven’t seen that film, but its got Kevin Costner in it, so I can only imagine it is terrible. Global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and our only chance of survival is to stop driving/making stuff/buying stuff/thinking and hope it just goes away.

Destroy-ability: 9/10; start building your arks people

MASSIVE ASTEROID IMPACT

If its good enough to kill the dinosaurs, its good enough to kill us.  Step one a massive asteroid hits earth. Step two a huge mass of dust is sent into the atmosphere, blocking the sun. Step three the world is plunged into coldness, and we all freeze to death.  Actually, come to think of it, if this happens soon it will balance out all that pesky global warming.

Destroy-ability: 3/10; I‘ve seen that film Armageddon, everything worked out, except for Bruce Willis

THE RAPTURE

Jesus comes back to earth and saves all the good souls, while the rest of us experience Hell on Earth.

Destroy-ability: 10/10 or 0/10; depends on your faith, you pick

So the smart money is on climate change to piss on our parade, but don’t discount other possibilities. Simon Cowell could use his increasing media influence to hypnotise us all Demon Headmaster style.  Obama’s health care reform could be passed, causing chaos by saving too many american’s lives. Immigrants (see The Daily Mail). Alien Invasion. Who knows?

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Why is it so cold?

January 12, 2010

Anyone who has been in Britain in the last few weeks would have experienced the biting cold, ice and snow.  Some parts of Britain experiencing temperatures below that recommended for the refrigeration of food.  In fact it was so cold my toilet froze over.  In the midst of a world where global warming is on the lips of everybody this extend cold period could be confusing. Why is it cold?

First things first, this period of cold weather says nothing about climate change.  I’m sure scientist could be found to argue that this cold snap disproves or proves the world is warming.  The weather in the British Isles is largely affected by the atlantic ocean.  The wind and rain that are strongly associated with Britain are caused by areas of warm low pressure blowing over from the west.  Though we may usually associated wind and rain with the cold during truly cold periods the sky is often clear.  A high pressure system of cold air is sitting over Britain blocking any warm atlantic air.  The strange thing about weather is if this system of high pressure occurs in the summer, we have beautiful clear skies and scorching hot weather.

Weather is notoriously hard to predict, this cold period could abate in a few days or in a matter of weeks.  The behaviour of high pressure systems and when they dissipate are not set in stone, remember a forecast is just an estimation, not a promise

Professor Simon