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Climate Change Survivalists Prepare To Meet The Western Interior Seaway

How climate could radically change the continental USA!

Not all regions in the U.S. are going to experience climate change in the same way. Your backyard might suffer different climate consequences than my backyard. Let’s be honest, we need to know what’s happening in our respective spaces so we can be prepared. One of the hardest hit places on the continental US map outside of the Florida coastline will be the states of the midwest and the Great American redoubt! Let us go back to the time just after the ice age when much of the country was what is called the Western Interior Seaway. The Seaway was a large inland sea that split the continent of North America into two landmasses.

The ancient sea, which existed from the early Late Cretaceous (100 million years ago) to the earliest Cenozoic era, connected the Gulf of Mexico, through the United States and Canada, to the Arctic Ocean. The two land masses it created were Laramidia to the west and Appalachia to the east. At its largest extent, it was 2,500 feet (760 m) deep, 600 miles (970 km) wide and over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) long. The Cenozoic is Earth's current geological era, representing the last 66 million years of Earth's history. It is characterized by the dominance of mammals, birds and flowering plants, a cooling and drying climate, and the current configuration of continents.

The Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin) are often called the “Corn Belt” In 2019 record-breaking flooding in five of these states led to emergency declarations. Dozens of communities were cut off from outside help and these extreme weather events have continued to spread in this region. In 2020 the Missouri River reached record high levels in several locations, including in Iowa and Nebraska, which were hit hardest by the flooding. Residents in the towns of Bartlett and Thurman were ordered to evacuate as levees were breached.

The US Army Corps of Engineers told the Associated Press more than a dozen levees had been breached across Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. But an estimate from the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimated that for Nebraska alone the total cost of farm and ranch losses at from 2019 to 2023 to be around $2 billion. Beginning on July 24, 2022, and lasting for over a week, flash flooding events hit parts of Missouri and Illinois, especially Greater St. Louis, Eastern Kentucky, and the Las Vegas Valley. Between July 25th and July 30th, 2022, several complexes of training thunderstorms developed south of I-64 and brought heavy rain, deadly flash flooding, and devastating river flooding to eastern Kentucky and central Appalachia. In 2023 parts of the Midwest and Great Plains were hit, according to CNN by what is called an "atmospheric river," or long clouds holding massive amounts of water vapor "equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Way up in the Northern Rockies there’s a sort of mythical 51st state. It’s called the American Redoubt and it encompasses Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Oregon and Washington. Adherents to its philosophy believe in a kind of theocratic limited government utopia, one with lots of guns. Only problem is shooting into a storm doesn't make you any less wet! In the late 20th Century science had mapped much of the ancient inland North American seabed. The phrase “Western Interior Seaway” was in use by 1994, and mapping showing the old seabed nearly intact was done by 1972. Preppers are building in closed communities built to survive the collapse of society, order, and even the environment itself, refracting the seemingly irresolvable problems we are failing to address as a species. In the prepper ideology, faith in adaptation has supplanted hope of mitigation, making contemporary bunkers more speculative than reactionary and more temporary than spatial. As much as 35% of redoubters are Doomsday preppers—people who aim to equip themselves for what could happen if the ice caps and permafrost melt and we get another Western Interior Seaway?

Erosion from western mountains resulted in deposition of thick layers of sediment throughout the seaway this is what caused its loss. As well as the change in climate. During the very latest stages of the Cretaceous period, around 70 million years ago, the Western Interior Seaway was displaced by slow uplift of the continent and it eventually disappeared. It's not a matter of the Western Interior Seaway “resurfacing,” since the seaway disappeared due to the land rising underneath it. What we have to worry about is the aquifers filling and it becoming one giant marsh rather than an ocean of water. All that remains of the Western Interior Seaway today is Hudson Bay up in Canada. Ocean levels would have to rise enormously to restore it to what it once was, and the impact would be global, not restricted to the North American continent.

"Currently, we know Greenland's ice caps are melting due to warming, further contributing to sea level rise. But, we have yet to explore how these ice caps have changed in the past due to changes in climate," said Matthew Osman, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arizona and a 2019 graduate of the MIT-WHOI Joint program. "The findings of this study were a surprise because we see that there is an ongoing shift in the fundamental response of these ice caps to climate: today, they're disappearing, but in the past, within small degrees of warming, they actually tended to grow."

According to Das and Osman, this phenomenon happens because of a "tug-of-war" between what causes an ice cap to grow (increased precipitation) or recede (increased melting) during periods of warming. Today, scientists observe melting rates that are outpacing the rate of annual snowfall atop ice caps. However, in past centuries these ice caps would expand due to increased levels of precipitation brought about by warmer temperatures. The difference between the past and present is the severity of modern anthropogenic warming.


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