Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is it Time to Dam Off "The Bay"?

Yeah I do mean Hudson Bay. And, yes, I am aware that it may sound far-fetched, well, off-the-wall, ok, crazy.

What type of seizure has caused these sudden wild mental contortions?

Apparently there seems to be a large Gulf between "reality" and what my mind tells me should be reality.

The reality I have normally perceived is one where reasonable safeguards have been in place to save our environment from apocalyptic nightmare scenarios.

Now, we need only look to the Gulf of Mexico to see that these nightmare scenarios are very possible and we are very capable of allowing them to occur, despite any regulations or safeguards.

As it stands, there is a reasonable chance that the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may not be possible to cap or otherwise alleviate in a satisfactory way. If their efforts to control the situation are not successful, BP will be left running an increasingly humongous collection and clean-up operation, which they may not ever get on top of either. If they do somehow get the gusher capped off, the clean-up even as it stands today is already the largest in history.

And the question everyone has been been asking: what happens under either scenario when the hurricanes and tropical storms start roiling up the Gulf?

It is pretty scary stuff. I dunno how many gazillion barrels are gushing into the ocean per day now. Neither I nor anyone else knows how big the gusher will continue to be in two months time, six months, a year or five years.

The next question is: How much of this will the oceans take?

That brings up a barrage of other questions: how fast does this pollution travel? what if the Gulf of Mexico goes dead? What concentrations of oil in the oceans worldwide could result from a disaster of this kind if it were to continue for months or years? Etc. Etc.

Somewhere about this point, one begins to think that cutting Hudson Bay off from the rest of the world's oceans could be a pretty smart move.

With increasing populations, extreme economic pressures and skyrocketing energy demand in the third world, all coming to bear, it becomes easy to imagine that even more serious disasters lay ahead.

And god forbid, what about  nuclear contamination? I think it is time to start looking at more safety precautions. And, the way the world's oceans and seas are interconnected, the largest body of ocean that could be practically sealed off would be Hudson Bay. Of course the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and quite possibly the Baltic Sea, could also be sealed in theory, and more easily in the sense that the outlets are much smaller. But, these seas accommodate very heavy ship traffic so sealing them off effectively would be problematic in that sense.

In this case the environmental impact study would no doubt be a monstrosity. Perhaps it would be shown that sealing Hudson Bay would be so detrimental to migration patterns and existing native species, or even to water quality, that the potential benefits would not justify the plan at all. Or, perhaps on the contrary, the benefit of having a reservoir of  uncontaminated water in the event of a worldwide oceanic disaster would outweigh any possible negatives.

To be honest, I think they really might want to look at sealing those other seas too. 

(The map above is from the NSIDC and shows Hudson Bay on June 13, getting close to 50% ice-free, whereas the normal for this date, as shown by the orange line, is that only the southern part of James Bay is usually clear.)  

1 comment:

Bob said...

We should dam it; With a very large hydroelectric project of the 'run of the river' type that does not require a tall head of water, perhaps underwater turbines. The power generated would lessen the demand and need for fossil fuel generating stations.