Tuesday Tinfoil: Atlantropa
The Atlantropa Project, or it’s earlier name Pantropa was the brain-child of German engineer Herman Sorgel (1885-1952). The main thrust of the project was to build a dam across the Straits of Gibraltar, generate electrical power for the citizens of Europe, lower the level of the Mediterranean Sea creating new new land area to be used for farming and city building and link Europe with Africa. Also the creation of two inland seas similar to the Great Lakes in North America, Lake Congo and Lake Chad would happen because of flooding of the Congo River. Various other projects on the African Continent would take place, a new Suez Canal Project, a newer “Second Nile River” and other dam projects could solve the ever growing demands for fossil fuels. Another added benefit would be the de-desertification of the Sahara Plains, reverting it to it’s Ice Age temporate climate. Also the more fruit bearing portions of Europe would come back:
“The Canal des Deux Mers (Two Oceans Canal) comes to mind, 2 connecting Marseille and Bordeaux, the Mediterranean and the English Channel, the Panropa-Project, which wants to recover Europe’s actual fruit country, the Mediterranean Basin, by uncovering the once flooded areas with the help of the Gibraltar dam.”
That may be so, but the Mediterranean had immense salt plains during the last Ice Age:
“At the Strait of Gibraltar, deep, salty Mediterranean water flows into the Atlantic and northward as it mixes up into the salty Gulf Stream surface water. Today some of that mixture flows westward into the Labrador Sea Southwest of Greenland, and much of it also flows beyond the Faeroe Islands off Scotland and eventually into the Arctic Ocean. About 160,000 years ago, an ice age was already under way, and the seas east and west of Greenland were very cold. But the salinity of the mixture reaching Labrador made the water dense enough to sink easily when cooled in winter, and the warmer salty replacement mixture kept the seas south of Greenland relatively warm.
“Storms usually track over areas where warm and cold conditions exist side by side,” said Johnson. This temperature contrast with the Greenland ice sheet and other cold areas kept eastward-moving storms to the north. This channelled large amounts of moisture over both European and Siberian areas, causing enormous growth of the ice sheets there.”
So there’s the rub, build the dam and you may gain in surface area, but you’ll cause and Ice Age because of increasing cloud cover and salinity of the Mediterranean. According to some advocates though, this is to be expected and not a big deal:
Late in the Late in the 20th century, Robert Glenn Johnson, suspecting that the increasing salinity of the seawater exiting the Mediterranean Sea at the Strait of Gibraltar might be the near-term future cause of a new Earth ice age – the beginning of its onset predicted 30 years hence – proffered a controversial proposal to study the Macro-engineering concept of a porous barrier, a permeable rubble-mound dam, emplaced in the fluid connection between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea (Johnson, 1997). Johnson’s artificial reef-like rubble pile seawater flow throttle was only intended to slow the outflow of highly saline water, which eventually affects the essential physical characteristics of seawater in the North Atlantic Ocean, in order to prevent ice sheet formation in northeastern Canada. His anti-ice age macroproject rests entirely on the proposition that Egypt’s Aswan High Dam (closed in 1965) has caused the measured increased salinification of exiting Mediterranean Sea water; Johnson’s rubble mound dam – really a proposal for an anthropogenic submarine ridge – becomes an expensive and worthless techno-fix if the Aswan High Dam were simply breached! If the Aswan High Dam were suddenly demolished naturally – as in Michael Heim’s terrifying novel Aswan! (1972) – or simply breached by macroengineers, release of the reservoir’s entire contents would raise temporarily the Mediterranean Sea’s level by about 6.6 cm. (A new Ice Age could cause global sea level to lower! Both the elevating and the declining global sea level will form new base level’s of continental and islandic erosion and also affect national legal systems of real property ownership.) Johnson’s neo-ice age concept of past and future climate changes is fully and carefully described in Secrets of the Ice Ages: The Role of the Mediterranean Sea in Climate Change (2002). By 2006, the scientific controversy over R.G. Johnson’s theory remained scientifically unresolved (Bryden and Webb, 1998; Skliris and Lascaratos, 2004). Both Johnson’s and Sorgel’s barriers would alter (de-tune) the Mediterranean Sea’s tides, in some instances (such as in the case of the Aegean Sea) possibly doubling the amplitudes of its semidiurnal tides. Furthermore, changes of the Mediterranean Sea’s wave climate will also occur (Lionello and Sanna, 2005), forcing prudent revision of existing ship weather-routing procedures. In addition, both barriers would probably terminate the anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide gas drawdown currently performed by the Mediterranean Sea (Alvarez, 2005). It is doubtful that the Gibraltar Strait Dam could imitate China’s Great Wall as a notable impediment to gene flow (Su, 2003).
When Sorgel first proposed the Atlantropa idea, not once did he consider the Africans in the equation. He was a product of his racist times, which considered the white male the pinnacle of God’s Creation. Thus Africa was; ” turned into a territory actually useful to Europe“. I wonder what present day Africans would say about that?
In fact, present day Africans might actually have a lot of say if an Atlantropa ever gets off the grawing board. According to Richard B. Cathcart, founder of GEOGRAPHOS Consultancy and a geographer who specializes in macroengineering projects, the changing demographics of Europe might launch Atlantropa:
Currently, a demographic shift in Europe seems to presage an epoch – occurring, perhaps, sometime around 2010-2050 – that will forever alter Europe’s still distinctive culture: post-World War II Europe has been colonized by Muslims mainly from North Africa. By 2010-2050, Muslims in southern Europe (Spain, France, and Italy) may form ~25% of the total population and working Muslim adults may total ~40% of the available labor force. This means that an almost forgotten macroproject such as the Gibraltar Strait Dam and its associated infrastructure developments may find future acceptance amongst voting citizens of southern Europe and northern Africa. Forecast future climate regimes in the Mediterranean Sea Basin are likely to be the initial stimulation for a re-thinking of the old macroproject proposal (Kepner, 2005). “By……North Africa’s population should exceed Southern Europe’s by close to 100 million people” (Sandell (2004). The Netherlands owns infrastructure worth approximately $2.5 trillion – put into perspective, that is equivalent to the annual USA-European Union commercial relationship – that has been emplaced to protect the people of that country from unwanted seawater incursions. There appears to be a 1% chance that a 1 m rise in global sea level will come to pass during the 21st century. [A 2 m rise is the current threshold defining “dangerous anthropogenic” alteration of the world’s ocean level (Hansen, 2005).] Assuming a cost of $1 million/linear kilometer, a total safeguard for the Mediterranean Sea Basin’s coast from incursive future sea level rise might cost almost $13 trillion! Of course, that is an excessive cost, quite unlikely to ever be considered anything other than ultimate limitation (Valiela, 2006). Such a completed macroproject would resemble David Ely’s imagined East Coast USA “dyke-wall” of AD 2064 postulated in his science-fiction novel A Journal of the Flood Year (1992)! Since “miscalculation or sheer ignorance of cost and difficulties was the key to launching a number of great and successful enterprises, from canals and railroads to mining and manufacturing” (Sawyer, 1952), it might seem best, even wise, to glibly gloss over the Gibraltar Strait Dam’s dangers and difficulties in public media so that modern-day macroengineers can be inspiring and calm, reassured by displayable positive cost/benefit analyses, attractive detailed construction blueprints and privately adjustable building timetables! As the 37th CIESM – The Mediterranean Science Commission Congress (7-11 June 2004) collectively generalized, the activities of humans tends to “globalize” the Mediterranean Sea, both biologically and otherwise. Nevertheless, some of the details of this possible macroproject proposal are revealed below. The optimal style of dam building is specific to the particular macroproject, the nature of the geophysical worksite (Anon., 2005) as well as social uncertainty, the undertaking management organization’s experience, the operational complexities of many kinds of construction machinery and worker nationalities, the macroproject’s situational geography and the logistics of its required compositional materials.
The Atlantropa Project is compared quite a bit with the Netherlands North Sea Reclaimation Project with its dam, dike and canal construction. While the engineering end of it isn’t as large in scope as Atlantropa, the tools and know-how utilized are similar because changing coastlines, fresh-water and land reclaimation play a vital role on evironmental impact studies. So the Netherland Project is closely monitored.
Professor Michio Kaku of the City University of New York stated that our present civilization is only a “Type Zero” on the Kardashev Scale of Technical Civilizations (I, II, III and even a IV). Type I indicates the planetary culture has full command of all planetary resources, i.e., can control the weather, use all energy resources (hydro, geothermal, nuclear, wind, solar, etc.) and live under under peaceful, or as close to peaceful conditions as possible. The Atlantropa Project is a terraforming endeavor that could determine whether mankind has what it takes to bring itself to the Type I level without destroying ourselves and the planet.
Is this tinfoil or not? You decide gentle readers.
Gibraltar Strait Dam Macroprojects