Disappearing Clouds and CO2 poisoning

David Trammel's picture

I'm putting this in Story Ideas, but it could well be in Livability Issues.

I came across this video from Curiosity Stream (great channel btw) about the "Top 5 Sci-Fi Futures We Actually Have To Worry About". They surveyed scientists in the fields to come up with real world situations that may impact the World over the next century. While climate change, AI emergence, an water resource depletion were known to me and there, two situations were not. Those were the loss of low altitude clouds, and the health affects of higher CO2 levels.

While climate change predicts increased water concentrations is the atmosphere a side affect of increased temperatures could be the decrease or even elimination of low level cloud cover. (Situation #4, video time 10:00). Apparently low altitude stratocumulus clouds, the low happy lumpy clouds which reflect a large amount of sunlight and help keep the ground cool. Research suggests that these clouds are sensitive to increased CO2 levels and that at a concentration of about 1200 ppm we could lose them entirely. This could add an estimated 53F degrees (12F) the estimated warming of the planet over the next century or two.

The second situation is health affects at higher CO2 levels. (Situation #5, video time 11:30) Aside to the affects increased atmosphere CO2 has on climate, are the health affects CO2 has on human, animal and even plant biologizes. CO2 is a poison at higher levels and can cause death. At lower levels it can cause headaches, dizziness, cognitive declines and even respiratory and cardiac damage. Not much is know what the health affects are from long term exposure at levels expected with climate change.

Something to consider in your Peak Oil stories.

"Top 5 Sci-Fi Futures We Actually Have To Worry About"

lathechuck's picture

You say "...could add an estimated 53F degrees (12F)..." I suspect that you meant "53F (12C)", but that's not really right, either. On the thermometer, 53F is 12C, but an increase of 9F is an increase of 5C (because their zero points do not coincide). Whether the temperature change is 12C or 53F, that's vastly greater than anything I've seen elsewhere, and far more than needed to (for example) flood all coastal cities and totally re-arrange agricultural production.

David Trammel's picture

That quote was copied from the original article, and is a good catch. I suspect its a typo but I'll check it out.