(Argumentative Research Essay – LUMS)
The year 2012 has, for quite some time now, signified the end of the world as we know it. The term ‘world’ here is not used in a broader sense to describe an age, an era, a cycle or a certain time period, but is instead simply used to refer to the planet Earth. This implies a certain catastrophic event or several such events that will end up destroying the Earth itself and subsequently killing all of humanity on it. While there are some claims of the entire 2012 myth as being a hoax, the fact remains that the evidence is out there. So the question inevitably arises: how true is this claim about the world ending in 2012 anyway? Science, in answering this question, has come up with several evidences and theories which prove that 2012 is not just a preposterous idea that man himself has come up with but rather, is something that can actually happen.
One idea is that the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening, which indicates a reversal of the magnetic poles of the Earth leading to a massive solar flare with energy equal to a hundred billion atomic bombs. Solar flare refers to a bursting of the Sun’s atmosphere, mainly its magnetic field, resulting in the release of a very large amount of energy. This solar flare occurs approximately every 1200 years, and is said to be the reason for the reversal of the poles of the Earth. The reversal of the poles indicates that the Earth will start rotating in the opposite direction, causing deterioration in its magnetic field (Geryl). Since the job of the magnetic field is to protect the Earth from harmful cosmic and solar radiations, a destruction of this field will cause these radiations to destroy the electric power grid and satellites all over Earth, including radio communication and navigation by a magnetic compass, technologies on which civilization today greatly relies, and thus will pave the way for complete destruction of the entire human race. Moreover, a reversal of the poles will affect migratory animals that use this geomagnetic field to orient themselves. A change in the polarity of the magnetic fields deteriorates the orientation of animals such as migratory birds, bats and butterflies as well as that of ocean creatures such as spiny lobsters, dolphins and whales, all of which use the magnetic field for directions. Thus, a reversal of the magnetic poles will leave the human race stranded with no means of communication and will disturb the working of animals, thus disturbing the entire ecological niche on which the interactions of humans and animals are based, ultimately destroying all of the flora and fauna on Earth (Geomagnetism Frequently Asked…).
The Earth’s magnetic field is also now said to originate due to ocean currents and the movement of these waters may cause the poles to shift. The magnetic field of the Earth has long thought to have been generated due to the swirling of molten metals around the Earth’s core. However, new research conducted recently by Gregory Ryskin, a scientist and professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, and later published by Britain’s Institute of Physics’ New Journal of Physics, states that the salt in seawater allows the Earth to conduct electricity and thus generate electrical and magnetic fields as it moves (Laden). Changes in the strength of currents correlated to changes in the magnetic field, as was measured in the north Atlantic. It is still not known whether the magnetic field changes due to varying ocean currents or vice versa; however, these sharp changes in the magnetic fields are causing a reversal of the north and south poles, and due to the ocean currents increasing, the possibilities of catastrophic floods and tsunamis have arisen; natural disasters at such extremes that they may possibly kill off the entire face of the Earth (Leake).
Another theory indicates that the conveyor belt of the sun, which is a current of electrically-conducting gas that flows in a loop from the sun’s equator to the poles, will start moving at a rate faster than the average rate, thus leading to a new sunspot cycle. Sunspots are relatively cool dark spots appearing on the Sun that are associated with strong magnetic fields. Each cycle is twenty two years long, in which the magnetic polarities of the Sun are reversed every eleven years (sunspot – definition of…). The magnetic fields of the Sun undergo a movement similar to that of a conveyer belt, causing the sunspots to move across the Sun. A large number of sunspots or a high frequency of movement of the conveyer belt indicates a very powerful magnetic field. A powerful magnetic field can cause the ocean currents to shift drastically, which could cause earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding on Earth (Battros). The National Centre for Atmospheric Research claims that the current sunspot cycle will be thirty to fifty percent stronger than the ones before, hence signaling that the natural disasters it points towards will also be greater than those seen ever before (Sky).
According to NASA, however, the 2012 panic is similar to the Y2K panic that occurred in the year 2000, stating that the year 2012 will just be another winter solstice. NASA bases its claim that 2012 will not be the end of the world to be similar to another hype created in the past which amounted to nothing (Reisinger). This claim is incorrect because it lacks any empirical evidence. All claims made regarding why the world will end in 2012 are based on careful scientific research and are not just mere generalizations. Moreover, NASA contradicts itself when later on it gives confirmatory evidences of solar storms that can potentially be severely hazardous to the Earth, resulting in mass destruction all over the world (NASA’s confirmed 2012…). Added to this, just the fact that something did not come true in the past is not reason enough to believe that the future will hold the same.
The predictions about the world ending in 2012 are also based on the Mayan Long Count Calendar, which ends on December 21st 2012. However, the opposition may argue that the Mayan Calendar just describes this date as the passing of one age to another, and not the passing of the Earth altogether. While this may hold true, the fact remains that the Mayan Calendar does not state whether the date mentioned signifies the passing of one age to another or the complete destruction of an entire age. Hence, the probability of either of these happening is equal and so no claims can be made regarding what will happen based on the Mayan Calendar. Moreover, the prophecies made by the Mayas are mere predictions lacking scientific evidence; evidence that science today is coming up with to prove wrong those who believe that the Mayas simply meant the passing of an age and not the end of the world (Predictions for 2012…).
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, a subsidy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has described the drastically changing world temperature to be a ‘grave threat’ to the world’s oceans, thus proving to be a threat for entire civilizations. Climate changes have effects such as ocean acidification, warming of seawater, sea level rise and changes in currents, which can damage the marine and coastal ecosystems, ultimately causing damage to the human race dependant on it. Oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but an increase in the amount absorbed is causing the pH of the seawater to decrease, thus causing harm to the corals, plankton, shellfish and other marine creatures present in the sea. This can cause a loss of biodiversity in ocean communities, thus interfering with the entire ecosystem as far as every species’ interdependence on the other one is concerned. Not only acidification, but a rise in seawater temperature also cause damage to the marine life, as the inability to find cooler regions to live in may lead to their possible extinction. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that a rise in sea levels will cause the marine life, particularly that in the intertidal zone, to experience massive loss of habitat and a decline in population size. Added to this, the chances of flooding are also greater with this continued rise in sea levels. The changes of sea currents will stop the influx of nutrients from deep water, thus killing tiny organisms such as plankton and krill and inevitably disrupting the entire food web (Changing Climate and…). Such changes in the marine ecosystem can cause disaster for mankind because of the interdependence of all ecological niches on one another. A slight disruption in the food chain due to the unavailability of smaller organisms can affect the entire food web, causing organisms higher up in the food web, mainly humans, to die due to starvation. Even the ones that do survive these changes will not be able to carry on for long without a proper ecological balance and will eventually die out, thus proving how the effect of climate changes on the oceans today can lead to the death of an entire human race. Drastic changes in the ecosystem can lead to entire human cycles being disrupted, and hence the year 2012 could be seen as the year when, due to reversal of the Earth’s polarities, severe climatic changes would occur leading to a disruption of the marine ecosystem and thus potential damage to human life.
Geologists say that the year 2012 completes a 74,000 year cycle of super volcano, and describe how underwater volcanoes are rising exponentially. This is a sign for massive underwater eruptions that could potentially damage the entire Earth by causing devastation to all farming and vegetation, which would eventually lead to people dying of hunger and starvation. It is believed that tremors are on the rise, the tectonic plates of the Earth are shifting leading to formation of volcanic activity and the epicenter of the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004 points towards the site for a possible super volcano to explode. 74,000 years ago from the year 2012, a massive volcanic eruption in Sumatra caused the world temperature to drop by eight to ten degrees Celsius, killing around eighty percent of the human population. Based on the 74,000 year cycle, 2012 is said to have something similar in store for humanity, especially with all the evidence pointing towards it. Geologists and scientists have identified the Yellow Stone National Park in America as a possible site for this eruption because the Earth’s crust is extremely thin there and have proven this by recording a rise in temperature and an increase in the frequency of eruptions in that area. Moreover, Mount Saint Helen, present in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, has started erupting, and there are reports from most countries about odd weather patterns, minor tremors and earthquakes destroying the tectonic plates and lakes losing their water. All of these point towards the catastrophic destruction of the Earth (2012 completes 74,000 year…).
The year 2012 holds a particular significance for entire humanity because of it being labeled as the year when the Earth will be completely destroyed. While there have been some assertions that this claim is preposterous, scientists today have put forth the evidence indicating that the converse is true. The date 2012 comes from the ancient Mayan prophecy, and the modern world today is giving reasons as to how the prophecy can come true. While solar flares, sunspot cycles and the eruption of super volcanoes seem like terms far too technical for a layman to understand, the fact remains that these are what may cause the Earth to be destroyed completely, as their link to the year 2012 have been explained. The question of whether this will happen or not is open to debate, but only because no one can say for sure when the world will end. However, the facts and claims that science has put forward state the probability of this end being as very high, and thus are a very good indication of the ending of the world in 2012.
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