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Climate Change in Future Worlds

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To control climate: measure, model, and change- then do it all again etc. etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brain Computer Culture

Brain: Iain Banks: Culture Series

 

The world needs arable land. However, all of the world’s arable land is currently in use. There are currently no spare regions with good fertile soil and good rainfall that are not already exploited by humanity. So climate control becomes an answer to the question of “How do we find more arable land?”

We are currently very concerned with global climate change, melting of the ice caps and a phenomenon previously known as global warming. It humbles one to look back through history to the 70s. In this era scientists and much of the community were concerned with the catastrophic end to the human race posed by Global Cooling. It was suggested that increased growth of the ice caps at the poles would imbalance the planet in its rotation and result in the catastrophic movement of bodies of ocean water across the continents.

Hmmm!

Global Cooling
Global Cooling

 

 

However the essence of climate control, is “control”. But to have control you must understand how the things that you are doing cause changes in the climate. Cities are global climactic phenomena. We rarely think of the impact that the city has on the local or even regional climate.

To understand climate control, the first step is measurement. Sprites may be able to measure environmental variables such as temperature, pH, wind speed, and  humidity across the oceans, the landscape and in the atmosphere. Satellite monitoring may also assist this process.

Once we have collected an adequate data set, we can begin the task of “modelling”. Currently the weather bureau uses a prediction model  based on past similar weather events, but I feel it is too coarse to allow us a proper understanding of our climate and the factors controlling it.

Once we have measured, modelled, and understood; we can make changes. Then we can measure how the changes we have made impact on our observations, improving our understanding.

Critical to our understanding is a measurement of an appropriate dataset. Solar activity such as sunspots, incident solar radiation, cloud height and type are likely to be relevant. But to what extent does the impact of a metallic or carbonaceous asteroid into the sun change the radiation output of its photosphere. Metal ions in the sun’s photosphere may well increase luminance through altered energy flows, perhaps somewhat akin to a fluorescent light bulb. Some of the data we need, may well exist beyond our knowledge at this time.

Are human activities hurting our planet? Are human activities hurting our planet?

One politician in Australia recently faced a media storm due to his cynicism of the catechism of the rise of the levels of the world oceans. Everyone knows that the world ocean levels are rising and will change the planet in the future. He had however spent the last 40 years on the beaches in Sydney - surf life saving. The water levels of the oceans had not changed as far as he had witnessed over this time.

Science and objective measurement is the way forward. Deal with reality not the results of climate modelling which can give any answer you want, dependent on the accuracy of the underlying assumptions.

 

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To create regionwide changes in environmental variables may also well be beyond our capacity. For example , to create a solar mirror or a solar lens, we need to be able to access orbit easily and cheaply. Currently while achievable this is certainly not cheap or easy. Many things are possible but are beyond our “realistic”  knowledge and capabilities at this time.

A concept arises from many science fiction books known as tipping point. (For example - Charles Strauss: Saturn’s Children. For example - Frank Herbert: Dune). (For Example - The Day After Tomorrow: movie). . ( For example - Mona Clee : Overshoot)

In the book Saturn’s Children; the author gives the example of a runaway greenhouse effect essentially cooking all life upon the earth. It develops so quickly that human life is extinguished in all except a few tiny refuges that are unable to sustain human life long term- inside a boiling atmosphere so to speak. Humanity becomes extinct as with almost all life on the planet above microbe size.



In the example of the book Dune, human activity is aimed to change the water recycling system of the planet. By capturing a greater land area into carbon-water cycling, the ecology of the world is changed to a “system” that is better able to sustain human life. Humanity is a positive force for change.



In the movie The Day After Tomorrow human activity creates heating effects which trigger catastrophic storms. By covering large portions of the planet in the northern hemisphere with ice and snow they change the energy characteristics of the planet. This triggers in an ice age event changing human life on the planet. Whole nations become displaced as their homes become unable to sustain life in the grip of an ice  age.

Ice 9 Ice 9

I think the key point here is that humanity can act as a force for climate change: both good and bad. But climate spans nations and continents. To achieve change requires cooperation between people and nations. And achieving  this tends to be very hard.  Again the social engineering aspect of supporting or creating change becomes a more paramount factor in change than the actual technology.


What sites in Brisbane can make you think about climate and climate change?

I think Southbank is awesome. You really can’t go past it. It’s free. It’s almost in the centre of the city. It’s safe and picturesque. The artificial beach pools are free. Walking throughout the manicured gardens is free. A plethora of restaurants and cafes is available nearby and within the grounds.

If you are a bit more intrepid visit some of the Bay Islands. South Stradbroke is on everyone’s lips.. However McLeay Island and Russell Island are also quite picturesque and have some excellent beaches, quiet spots and lookouts where you can get in tune with nature and the rest of the world. It’s probably not everyone’s holiday. Shopping in the Bay Islands is obviously very day-to-day. But the closeness to nature and the feeling of peace is something I think you can never forget.


Southbank Parklands Southbank Parklands

Reference this technology in Brisbane:   

 Visit the Google maps site and search for Brisbane. Display the terrain map. You can see how Brisbane as a city sprawls across an entire region of the country. Cities such as Brisbane are regional climatic phenomena in themselves. Yet we really think of the heat and energy characteristics that the city and parts to its environment and how it changes the very climate of a region.



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Examples of science fiction books referring to
this technology or variants of this technology:   


Robert Adams: the Horseclans series.
The reality of these books is based on a post-apocalyptic world with a landscape has been substantially changed by nuclear war and by phenomena such as earthquakes initiated by the nuclear exchange. War effects weather and climate and is as much a force to be reckoned with as any deliberately initiated climate directed human activity. In Brisbane, the channel between North and South Stradbroke was created by an explosive charge being detonated in WW2, thereby creating a channel which man and nature have maintained.
God Milo Immortal SigmaPsiMilo Morai

Richard Adams : Watership Down.
In these novels we see the effect of human activity and human population growth in displacing natural fauna. We are invited to see these changes from an animal’s point of view.

Isaac Asimov: the Foundation series / Cities of Steel.
The burgeoning human population retreats into optimised environments – the cities. These demonstrate climate control turned inward. Within the bounds of cities, the external environment is excluded and the internal environment is controlled and optimised for human comfort and activity. The extreme example of this is the planet Trantor capital of the human galactic empire in the Foundation series of books. Trantor is a planet spanning city. Again it is an example of the inward turning of climate control, excluding the external environment to outside the boundaries of our constructions. In the later series of novels, mention is made of the widescale terraforming of planets throughout the galaxy to enable them to sustain human life. The urgency with which this process was taken, addresses the growing tendency of humanity to turn inwards rather than outwards. By providing planets to colonise the human race is forced to look outwards into the galaxy for its solutions.

Hober Mallow Mayor Trader SigmaPsiHober Mallow

 



Iain M Banks: the Culture series of novels.
The bulk of the human and humanlike population of the galaxy is contained within large spaceships – effectively cities capable of travelling throughout the galaxy. Within the bounds of the spaceships – called General-Purpose Vehicles (GPVs) in the novels – human beings are provided with comforts, entertainments, distractions and work optimised for their existence within these travelling city spaceships. Planet based civilisations do exist but they are in the minority.
Brain Computer Culture
Brain: Iain Banks: Culture Series

James Blish: Cities In Flight series: Earthman Come Home.
Cities travel throughout the galaxy protected and propelled by spindizzy drives and spindizzy shields. The shields form a protection from the environment, can retain atmosphere and can even protect the people from attack by weapons. Climate control is almost a forgotten factor – the city is being portrayed as too small to sustain weather or climate characteristics.
City Fathers Computers SigmaPsiCity Fathers


Brisbane in Flight Brisbane in Flight

Mona Clee: Overshoot.
The greenhouse effect overshoots causing catastrophic the rapid melting of the ice caps, displacement of the human population from continental shorelines and stressing the capacity of humanity to support itself. The novel addresses the problem of survival in such a world and radical solutions to the problem of human population. It identifies human population as the major factor responsible for climatic change. If there were less people we would have a chance to cope with the environmental disasters we have caused. But then if there were less people, we would probably never have caused environmental disasters.

Gordon R Dickson : the Dorsai series.
As humanity spreads throughout the galaxy, it develops terraforming with biological agents such as plants as a tool to modify planets to help sustain human life. But engineering lifeforms able to cope with the different environments is a powerful but slow and expensive tool to create change.
Cletus Genius Military Commander SigmaPsiCletus Graham

Thomas Harlan: Wasteland of Flint.
What does a planet size nano- tech machine have in the way of weather? How does technology on this scale change the energy profile of the world and how a world functions? Climate control is not the focus of this novel, but it does raise questions of whether weather or climate is possible within large scale human constructs.
Captain Chu-sa Hadeishi SigmaPsiCaptain Chu-sa Hadeishi

Donald Kingsbury : Geta.
Humanity is trapped on a hostile and dangerous world and forced to adapt. Nothing must stand in the way of survival. No resource can be wasted. Our colonists are emerging from survival mode, discovering technology and becoming able to modify their world. Social government- power through constituencies and responsibility, is the key to mobilising the social power of the human organism.
HomeiPredictorKaiel SigmaPsiHomei

Lloyd Biggle Jr. : Monument.
The novel focuses on a paradise world and its siren call to humanity. I can only sum up the direction of the novel in terms of a song I heard: “You pave paradise and put up a parking lot”. Humanity has achieved this on other worlds it occupies throughout the galaxy. This world is next.
Fornri SigmaPsiFornri
Spaceship Wreck Monument Spaceship Wreck - Monument

 



Lee Hogan: Belarus.
Sprites are showcased in this novel in enhancing humanity’s ability to monitor and to engage with the environment. As we’ve stated before, before you can change climate or weather, you must understand the forces and flows that create climate.
Sprite SigmaPsiSprite

Frank Herbert: Dune.
Humanity here is a force for positive change making a hostile world into one kind to human life. But there is a cost. An unexpected cost. Changing the climate , changes the nature of the people themselves.
Duncan Dune Warrior SigmaPsiDuncan Idaho

Desert Sands Arrakis
Desert Sands Arrakis Change is the only true constant.

 


Anne McCaffrey: Dragon Rider series.
When two planets come into close apposition, hostile mycorhizoid  organisms called  ”thread “ can cross from one planet to the other. The new life form destroys whenever it touches. Humanity gene- engineers a new creature- the dragon  in a last cast of technology to enable its descendants to cope with these new lifeforms.
RuthDragonJaxom SigmaPsiRuth


Brian Stableford: Paradise Game.
Pharos is a planet that was the incarnation of all that people were conditioned to believe beautiful. It’s environment was unpolluted and perfect. Its inhabitants human avoid, gullible and female. But Pharos is a planet that appears to have been engineered as a trap to destroy expansionistic species seeking to colonise the galaxy.
Grainger and The Wind Starship PilotsSigmaPsiWind”

The Star Trek series.
Climatic engineering and terraforming are often mentioned as tools to enable humanity to spread throughout the galaxy.

Photon Plasma Bubble Photon Plasma Bubble launched from spaceship

 

Clever new applications:

  • Save The Planet
  • Climate Control

  • Enhancing farming and farm yields
  • Modifying weather and its impact on people: namely ameliorating the effect of weather phenomena such as cyclones (Hurricanes) when human habitation.

  • Using the climatic energy cycle to move water, to areas such as the interior of Australia.
  • Enhancing polar ice cap. Antarctica form was one of the largest deserts on the planet – as defined by its overall precipitation rate. It is almost certain that no matter what we do to the rest of the planet the central icecap within Antarctica will always remain frozen. If we can change the amount of rain falling within the interior of the Antarctic continent, we can ameliorate the effects of the ice caps melting. Yes the ice sheet in the central part of Antarctica will be deeper. But it will take a long time for the ice to migrate to peripheries of the continent where it can melt.