Friday, 31 May 2019

How Soon Is Now? A new novel by Gary Walton

Photo NOAA.

I have written a novel which I will be serialising on The Big Wobble, one chapter every day. The book is an experiment as I have never embarked on anything quite like this before, I have had positive feedback from family and friends who have read part of the book so I have decided to post it free on the blog. All the events in the book have been taken from The Big Wobble, please feel free to comment constructively, any nasty or threatening comments will be deleted, below is the Introduction!

How Soon Is Now?

Scientists have for a long time now warned mankind of a "tipping point," for our precious planet, the crisis stage in a process, when a significant change takes place, the crisis, in this case, being a string of geological and social events coming together and causing a knock-on effect which would turn out to be the most significant change in the history of mankind. Planet Earth's tipping point happened in 2025. It began in the summer when a string of heatwaves smashed heat records from the west coast of Canada and the United States all the way across the northern hemisphere to Japan and the Korean Peninsula. A relentless heatwave which killed thousands, overwhelming hospitals with old and sick people suffering heat-related problems, the heatwave felt like it would go on forever. Temperatures nudging 50 deg C, 122 deg F hit parts of North America, southern Europe, parts of Russia, Japan, southern China and the Koreas. It started in late May and went on through to the end of August with some places not seeing rain for three months. Crops in many parts of the northern hemisphere failed due to drought and wildfires which wreaked havoc across the globe from the Tropic of Cancer to the Arctic Circle.
We had been warned for many many years but finally, greed and neglect had pushed us our precious planet over the edge leaving Earth, mankind's own home and it's diverse species and vegetation too damaged to ever recover.

After the heatwaves came the Atlantic hurricanes and the Pacific Typhoons, it was the hurricane season that wouldn’t quit, NOAA claimed it was in the top 5 most active seasons in the historical record dating back to 1851 and was the most active season since the crazy year of 2005, with September being even worse than the deadly September of 2018. The warm water of the Atlantic, because of the excessive heat was like rocket fuel feeding the hurricanes. The season produced 17 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes including seven major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) – including the first three major hurricanes to hit the continental U.S. since 2017. Two super typhoons hit southern Japan, the Philippines Taiwan and China. A super El Niño event exasperated the problem providing more warm water to feed the hurricanes, enormous algae blooms fuelled by the warm oceans killed fish and marine life by the billion, seabirds were also dying due to a lack of food.
Weather patterns influenced by the warm oceans, the super El Niño event and global carbon emissions from fossil fuel meant the planet was becoming unlivable.

My name is Cooper Watson and at the time I was a writer and a researcher, I had my own website tracking geophysical events, earthquakes, volcanoes and extreme weather, to get by I was writing a couple of columns for two local newspapers, appearing on the occasional TV or radio station broadcasting my thoughts and worries on extreme weather patterns, geophysics and climate change, my website generated a small income from adds and donations which meant money was tight but I got by. The record heatwaves and hurricanes had thrown me somewhat into the spotlight and my mail-box was brimming with people who wanted to help or interview me.

In 2025 I was living in a small coastal town just north of Amsterdam in Holland, I had left the UK, where I was born after my marriage of six years had broken down and now, at the age of thirty-nine decided I wanted to see more of Europe, however, I hadn't managed to travel further than the Dutch west coast, which I had fallen instantly in love with.
In the summer of 2024, I had bought a small apartment along the sea-front looking toward the beach with a balcony facing southwest overlooking the North Sea. It was a perfect retreat for me to write through the day and during the warm summer evenings enjoy the sea air on my balcony with a glass of wine while watching the sunset on those long Dutch evenings. Underneath my apartment was the town's Boulevard which was packed with restaurants and bars.

May 2025 had been just like any other May in Holland when spring transforms to summer, my favourite time of the year, when bird-song is at its liveliest, trees are at their greenest and flowers are blooming and everything is fresh and renewed, however, in the first week of May I was to catch a glimpse of things to come when, I noticed a small report belatedly posted on a prominent weather website claiming India had experienced the world's hottest April day on record, when temperatures peaked at 124 deg F (51.1 deg C). The Indian Meteorological Department had confirmed that the extreme temperature which was recorded in the city of Ahmadabad, on April 30th, potentially making it the hottest April temperature ever witnessed on Earth.

By the end of May, more stories of the crippling heat in India and Pakistan were beginning to surface around the world with hundreds of deaths due to heat-related problems as the mercury climbed to 50 deg C (122 deg F) in parts of India and Pakistan. To make matters worse a deadly virus carried by fruit bats had killed at least 1,000 people in southern India and more than 1,900 people were quarantined. Other deaths were suspected to have been caused by the Nipah virus and authorities ordered emergency measures to control the outbreak.
Here in Holland by the end of May, we were already two weeks into a heatwave which would prove to be the longest, driest and hottest ever known, it would be the same story for most of Europe, Scandinavia, Great Britain and Ireland, Russia, North America Japan and the Koreas.

To make matters worse America and Israel were caught up in a political war of words with Iran, terrorism in the UK and Europe was rife, here in Holland the Dutch and Muslim communities were constantly at each other's throats with street violence creating no-go areas where even the Police feared to tread.

No comments: