Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Planet, Earthquakes and Climate.

Could the picture above be London in 2020? The web site Armageddononline Dot Org featured an item a few days ago setting out the areas where a major earthquake might be due which would have serious effects. This follows the tragedy of the Haiti event to say that they happen and more often than we think in our day to day short term world. Within the week of that item the Chile ‘quake struck.

Ever since I went on broadband I have been following the USGS site and others. The experts know where many of the most vulnerable areas are but not all. They know that something will happen, but not exactly where or when. However, politicians and the media want certainty and this is not on the agenda of the geophysicists.

The USGS shows the big ‘quakes, 6+ in red and there are more than people think. The great majority are at sea and deep down, resulting only in faint tremors on any land and a few small waves at sea. Some are closer to land causing problems and then some happen within land masses. As humanity has taken more and more of the land masses to live on with much of this close to the coast and waterways then more and more of us are affected.

What I have learned is that when there are a longer run of days when a 6+ ‘quake does not appear then it is just a question of where and how big. This time it was Chile which was followed quickly by another in Japanese waters. The experts are still unsure as to how far a big one in one vulnerable area can lead to another far away so who can say what comes next. There are plenty of choices.

The physics of planetary uncertainty apply also to climate and some argue to any complex and essentially uncertain activity, for example international finance. There is now a bitter and muddling debate over which way the inevitable climate change will go which has spilled over into politics and international rivalry. Warmer is very possible and figures point that way but for contrarians the Armageddon site had an article "Ice age is overdue - could start in five years, suggests a Croat scientist” on 26 February 2010.


A leading scientist has revealed that Europe could be just five years away from the start of a new Ice Age. While climate change campaigners say global warming is the planet's biggest danger, renowned physicist Vladimir Paar says most of central Europe will soon be covered in ice.
The freeze will be so complete that people will be able to walk from England to Ireland or across the North Sea from Scotland to northern Europe. Professor Paar, from Croatia's Zagreb University, has spent decades analysing previous ice ages in Europe and what caused them.

"Most of Europe will be under ice, including Germany, Poland, France, Austria, Slovakia and a part of Slovenia," said the professor in an interview with the

Is an ice age overdue?

"Previous ice ages lasted about 70,000 years. That's a fact and the new ice age can't be avoided. "The big question is what will happen to the people of the Central European countries which will be under ice?
"They might migrate to the south, or might stay, but with a huge increase in energy use," he warned. "This could happen in five, 10, 50 or 100 years, or even later. We can't predict it precisely, but it will come," he added.
And the professor said that scientists think global warming is simply a natural part of the planet. "What I mean is that global warming is natural. Some 130,000 years ago the earth's temperature was the same as now, the level of CO2 was almost the same and the level of the sea was four metres higher.
"They keep warning people about global warming, but half of America no longer believes it as they keep freezing," he said.


Just as well we kept all our winter woollies, now to check out our savings.


  1. Plate tectonics and ice ages - two of my favourite subjects in one post; thank you!

    I wonder what the exact criteria are to make a 'quake newsworthy - given the number that occur every day. And while we're about it, has anyone explained to the BBC that on the exponential Richter scale, an 8.8 cannot be described as 'nearly 9'?

    Of course, it's not that long since an imminent ice age filled the niche now occupied by global warming - Vladimir Paar's hypothesis has an almost nostalgic tinge for some.

    If you haven't already read it, may I recommend Bill McGuire's book A Short Introduction to Global Catastrophe?

  2. Have seen Bill on many a documentary. Also attended a lecture he gave on his book in London a little while back. He is very good and does have access to a great deal of key material.