Smoked Out

Writing about climate change by Meehan Crist, McKenzie Funk, Malcolm Gaskill and Francis Gooding.

Besides, I’ll be dead: When the Ice Melts

Meehan Crist, 22 February 2018

In a high-emissions scenario, average high tides in New York could be higher than the levels seen during Sandy. A rise in global sea levels of 11 feet would fully submerge cities like Mumbai and a large part of Bangladesh. The question is no longer if – but how high, and how fast.

Smoked Out: Travels in the Apocalypse

McKenzie Funk, 7 February 2019

Disasters like the conflagration that consumed Paradise, California, in November, killing 81 people – the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history – do happen. But the climate disaster facing millions of other residents of the American West is more insidious.

The winter of 1607-08 was extraordinarily bad, even by the standards of the age. Captain John Smith, Jamestown’s leader in waiting, wrote of ‘extreame sharpe’ weather, which caused the James River, as broad as it was brackish, to freeze almost completely; many European rivers, as far south as Greece, did the same. The Thames became a ‘frost fair’ for ‘those who delighted in the novelties of the times’, as a contemporary put it.

No doubt some hardy creatures will ride out the current planetary catastrophe, and birds are as good a contender as any; after all, 66 million years ago they had what it took to evade the effects of a billion atom bombs. So maybe the dinosaurs will survive the sixth mass extinction too.

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