26 August 2008

Global Cooling Descending: Will We All Be Forced to Live in a Giant Pyramid Arcology in Dubai?

Following up on observations from the Armagh Observatory, observations at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson add weight to predictions that solar activity may be dropping to levels lower than seen in over 100 years. An increasing number of solar scientists are contemplating the possibility of a "mini ice age" resulting from reduced solar activity.
The number of sunspots visible on the Sun normally shows an 11-year periodicity, and the current sunspot cycle (cycle 23) had a maximum in 2001, and is entering a minimum phase with few sunspots currently visible. Our data show that there are additional changes occurring in sunspots, independent of the sunspot cycle, and these trends suggest that sunspots will disappear completely. Such an event would not be unprecedented, since during a famous episode from 1645-1715, known as the Maunder Minimum, the normal 11-year periodicity vanished and there were virtually no sunspots visible on the solar surface (Eddy 1976). Recent studies of the appearance rate and latitudinal drift of sunspots (Hathaway et al., 2004) and of the solar magnetic field (Svalgard etal, 2005) predict that the number of sunspots visible in future cycles will be significantly reduced......the occurrence of prolonged periods with no sunspots is important to climate studies, since the Maunder Minimum was shown to correspond with the reduced average global temperatures on the Earth (Foukal et al., 1990). _Icecap
During the "Little Ice Age", temperatures plunged, crops failed, and large areas of high latitude lands became uninhabitable. Should the same thing happen again in the first half of this century, the human toll would likely be far worse--given the much greater population of Earth currently. If climate grows much cooler, crops in the breadbasket regions of North America, Europe, Australia, Argentina, and parts of Europe will certainly either fail or be severely curtailed in yields. We had better hope the sun does not choose this time to take an extended vacation. More here.

Of course, more affluent people may choose to take refuge in huge self-contained "cities within single buildings", otherwise known as "Arcologies," located near the tropical zones. One such arcology--the Dubai Pyramid City--will stand 4000 feet high and contain a full time population of 1 million people.
The solar-powered pyramid project – dubbed Ziggurat after the ancient Mayan pyramids – was announced this week by Timelinks, an eco-design firm that plans to unveil the engineering wonder at Cityscape Dubai later this year.

If completed, it’s expected to be the largest man-made residential structure on the planet, with its foundation covering more than two square kilometres.

"The pyramid will be more than a kilometre tall and will house one million people inside," "It will be completely self-sustainable."

Using solar and wind power, the mega structure will create its internal weather. Steam generated from solar power and collected through photovoltaic cell panels on the pyramid’s exterior might well be piped from the ground level to the uppermost heights of the pyramid’s interior and then released, instantly turning into rain, which may then fall on the lush garden communities inside the pyramid.

An eco system, full of vegetation, mild temperatures and regular rainfall, may make this a highly marketable city for people living in dry desert conditions.

...Matonis said the pyramid project requires 90 per cent less land than a traditional city. "Cities can be accommodated in complexes that take up less than 10 per cent of the original land surface. Public and private landscaping will be used for leisure pursuits or irrigated as agricultural land." _NextEnergyNews
Besides generating its own energy and weather, an arcology might be largely self-sufficient in food production. Whether a pyramid is the best shape for such a structure is up for debate. Certainly the pyramids of Egypt and Central America have rather ghoulish histories, that might be better overlooked, should the energy economics of huge pyramids support arcologies.

Brian Wang has more on the Dubai building spree.

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Blogger Unknown said...

A letter to the Belfast Telegraph, published on 2008 August 13th (link) has been picked up by other sites who give the impression that it represents the views of the Armagh Observatory. We do not know of any evidence based on Armagh observations (whether solar or meteorological) that predicts an imminent drop in global temperatures of two degrees C, nor do we know the author of the letter to the Belfast Telegraph. Peer-reviewed publications referring to the Observatory's climate data can be found at climate.arm.ac.uk.

C.J. Butler, Emeritis Research Fellow
H.M. Murphy, Computer Manager

Armagh Observatory

Wednesday, 27 August, 2008  
Blogger neil craig said...

If we had a spacegoing civilisation with relatively cheap flight to orbit it would be relatively inexpensive to put up orbiting mirrors. Square miles of tinfoil don't actaully require that much metal & should last forever where there is no gravity & weather. To replace the fraction of a % the sun appears to be cooling might well require over 100,000 such but to warm up particular cities or even regions would take a lot less. This is stuff we could do in decades if the effort was put in & would be a lot cheaper than building new cities for everybody.

The Russians did a small experiment with an orbiting mirror a few years ago. www.iht.com/articles/1993/02/05/cosm.php

Wednesday, 27 August, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes. Climate control is one relatively insignificant spinoff from a permanent human infrastructure in space.

Thank you for yet another email form letter, Mr. Murphy. We would really rather not have you lose any of your funding from climate alarmist organisations--should they get the idea you may be doing real science. True science is risky, and bureaucrats hate risk.

Wednesday, 27 August, 2008  

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