There are folks who never seem to get it. As I said in my introduction I like to read science blogs, and in general like to read science. Doesn’t matter what, biology, ecology, geology, physics, astronomy, climatology, you name it and I find it interesting.  Sometimes the mathematical models get a bit beyond me, but most of the time I can follow the arguments.  The most interesting aspect of many science blogs is the comments. Most comments are by other scientists discussing and arguing about some aspect of the data or research findings, often offering other references to scientific material. What always amuses me are the non-scientists who occasionally blunder in with some really simplistic question (they should do some basic research first) or who have some harebrained idea that is more science fiction than science, and some how expect the scientists to take them seriously.

Ran across one of these this week on a climate science blog, where a non-scientist was complaining that no one there was paying attention to his idea for polar cities as a solution to global warming.

There might be a time, in the not too distant future when humans find themselves moving further north, and there just might end up being permanent settlements along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. But this fellow is advocating the construction of these cities in the polar regions now — “when we have time and resources and air transport and fuel available, and get them ready for the future when the world MIGHT need them” before, as he says it’s too late — and deciding what fraction of humanity will get to take refuge in them when the world comes undone.

Let’s see, this guy wants some one to ante up enough money now to build cities to hold 100,000 to 1 million residents on the shores of the Arctic ocean, as a hedge against a possible future in which the mid-latitudes are uninhabitable.  There are so many reasons why economically and politically this is not feasible, but how about simple practicality.

Chersky, Russia

Chersky, Russia

Currently most of the land at the Arctic circle is still in permafrost.  So one begins building one of these cities now, on the currently stable permafrost land. Then if the warming he’s predicting occurs, all that permafrost melts (releasing its store of methane) and totally rips to shreds everything that was built on it. Like the building pictured to the right in Chersky, Russia cracked like an eggshell by the melting of permafrost.

Add to this the enormous amounts of fossil fuel energy that would have to be expended to air lift materials, food, supplies and workers, and provide power for the project. Because there are no roads from here to there, and no reliable ocean passages (yet).  How does one combat global warming (since that does seem to be what this person is about) by cooking up a scheme that will use dramatically more fossil fuel resources?

No wonder the guy can’t get any feedback from the scientists who frequent the site!