The five scariest things about climate change

Hank Green of the SciShow1 gives his take on the scariest things happening (or that could happen) because of climate change. Hank’s most frightened by the potential for a complete shutdown of the oceanic thermohaline circulation, which would be almost unimaginably nasty2, but there’s plenty to think about in his list — even if you disagree with it.

[Special bonus: Nancy Sinatra.]

  1. An interesting take on science communication: hat tip to Emma for pointing me at it. []
  2. If you want more info, have a read of Peter Ward’s Under A Green Sky []

2 thoughts on “The five scariest things about climate change”

  1. Glad to see ocean acidification feature highly on that list. The oceanic changes of acidification, de-oxygenation (through warming) and warming of surface waters are already wreaking havoc on marine life.

    And a shut down of the thermohaline circulation is not necessary to de-oxygenate near surface waters. Stramma (2011) show that de-oxgenation has already reduced the habitat of marlin by some 15% in the Atlantic in the last 50 years.

    We should see a drastic re-emergence of mass coral bleaching in the next few years too – as the climate transitions to an El Nino-dominant period.

    1. I agree completely. I had the luck to dive on some of the better reefs of the South Pacific in 1995/96 and then saw some of the same places in after 2001 and after the 1998 El Nino peak. Some of the changes were rather catastrophic with entire reef sections being transformed from healthy looking corrals + fish life into dead rocks covered with green-brown slime and very few fish with many species entirely gone.
      It seems that the oceans are especially vulnerable to rapid deterioration when certain thresholds are beached. Pretty bleak outlook really.

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