ANOTHER ‘Once in a Lifetime Event’
Vol: 47 Issue: 29 Monday, August 29, 2005
At the moment, there isn’t much else more deserving of comment than the monster Hurricane Katrina as it continues to slam ashore as one of the four most powerful hurricanes in recorded history.
Some computer simulations predicted New Orleans’s near-total inundation and the destruction of up to 90 percent of its homes. Some scientists warned that by tomorrow up to 1 million people in the metropolitan area will have nowhere to return and the area will be uninhabitable for weeks.
“We’re talking about in essence having — in the continental United States — having a refugee camp of a million people,” Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, said yesterday afternoon.
Should the storm surge be higher than the levees or, in the worst case, the levees break, the water would spill over into the city’s bowl and potentially turn New Orleans into a 30-foot-deep toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, and waste from ruined septic systems.
Worst-case scenarios have estimates of tens of thousands of deaths from flooding. “We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared,” Mayor C. Ray Nagin said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield, noting that Katrina might prove more powerful than 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, commented, “The conditions have to be absolutely perfect to have a hurricane become this strong.”
There are as many as 100,000 people who either could not or would not evacuate the city. Between twenty and thirty thousand people took shelter in the New Orleans’ famed Superdome, and a news update just announced the Superdome’s roof sustained storm damage.
Katrina’s impact will reach far beyond the Gulf Coast. As she roared in, she shut down about 25% of the nation’s oil refineries and economists are predicting a huge jump in fuel prices as a result.
This is the fourth hottest summer on record. The three previous records were set since 2000.
In 2003, solar flares erupted more than nine times in two weeks. Scientists have been monitoring the solar cycles since 1755.
An 11-year cycle of sunspot activity emerges from the detailed records of the 21 sunspot cycles observed since 1755. The solar flares caught scientists by surprise, because they occurred in the middle of the 11 year solar minimum cycle.
In 2003, Dr Richard Willson of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University’s Earth Institute, New York, published a study on global warming that says global warming is real. But it isn’t the result of man-made greenhouse gases. The sun is getting hotter and brighter.
“Historical records of solar activity indicate that solar radiation has been increasing since the late 19th century. If a trend, comparable to the one found in this study, persisted throughout the 20th century, it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years,” according to Willson.
According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s. The current pace of sea-level rise is three times the historical rate and appears to be accelerating.
Global sea level has already risen by four to eight inches in the past century. Scientists’ best estimate is that sea level will rise by an additional 19 inches by 2100, and perhaps by as much as 37 inches.
And according to a report in the ‘Science’ section of the New York Times, the Earth is perhaps 150 years into the collapse of the Earth’s magnetic field.
“The field’s strength has waned 10 to 15 percent, and the deterioration has accelerated of late, increasing debate over whether it portends a reversal of the lines of magnetic force that normally envelop the Earth. “
During a reversal, the main field weakens, almost vanishes, and then reappears with opposite polarity. The report says rapid decline in the magnetic field is already damaging satellites.
The fact that it’s dropping so rapidly gives you pause,” said Dr. John A. Tarduno, a professor of geophysics at the University of Rochester. “It looks like things we see in computer models of a reversal.”
The Earth’s magnetic field helps shield the Earth from solar winds and storms of deadly particles. The magnetosphere extends out 37,000 miles from Earth’s sunlit side and much farther behind the planet, forming a comet like tail.
A weak field could let solar storms pummel the atmosphere with enough radiation to destroy significant amounts of the ozone that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet light.
Ultraviolet radiation, the short, invisible rays from the sun, can harm some life forms, depress crop yields and raise cancer rates, causing skin cancer and cataracts in humans.
The current collapse drew wide scientific attention on April 11, 2002, when Nature, the British journal, published a major paper that detailed its growing weakness. Dr. Hulot and colleagues at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, where he works, as well as the Danish Space Research Institute, called the large drop ‘remarkable’.
That brings us full circle to Katrina, one of the most powerful storms on record, making landfall during one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. NOAA’s Atlantic hurricane outlook reflects an expected continuation of above-average activity that began in 1995.
Since that time all but two Atlantic hurricane seasons have been above-normal.
When climatologists are not warning of impending ecological disaster, astronomers take the podium to warn of the threat of a catastrophic asteroid strike upon the earth.
A major asteroid strike somewhere in the earth’s oceans, they warn, would cause a tsunami that would make last’s year’s Asian tsunami look like a minor ocean ripple in comparison.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. ” (Luke 21:25-26)
The process has already begun. Whether one ascribes it to global warming, natural climatic cycles, the unprecedented sunspot activity, or just bad luck, one can’t get around the fact that it is taking place exactly as foretold by Scripture, in pretty much the exact order, and at pretty much the exact period the Bible said it would.
“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)