Last evening I attended an enjoyable presentation on ocean dynamics at the Royal Society of Edinburgh by Professor Peter Davies, Professor of Fluid Dynamics, University of Dundee.
He spoke about “internal gravity waves” which propagate due to water density stratifications. While I was aware of such waves from my days a grad school studying ocean waves, I was not aware of their power as discussed by Professor Davies. He also told us about “dead water”, caused by internal waves, in which a boat may experience strong resistance to forward motion in apparently calm conditions. I was unaware of such a phenomenon.
I was pleased that not once during his presentation he mentioned those two words “global warming”. That is unusual for a presentation at the RSE. It took until the third question during Q&A for someone in the audience to ask if global warming had any affect. Using many words, Professor Davies basically said “no”. That didn’t stop a second follow-up question by someone else who prefixed that question with something about “global warming, which has melted the polar ice caps …”.
At that point I decided to leave. Perhaps I missed the next big risk to civilisation–huge and larger anthropogenic internal ocean waves.