Ark Storm will be released by TOR Books. Available August 2014.
I have long been fascinated by the weather. Some years ago, I lived in Peru. Every so often I would escape the mayhem of Lima for Punta Sal, a little fishing village on the border with Ecuador. Hemingway used to fish there for Marlin. Framed photographs of him grinning beside his huge catches adorn the walls of the ramshackle bars.
I went not to fish but to swim in the sea, body surfing the huge Pacific rollers. Normally you could only stay in for ten or fifteen minutes without a wetsuit because the Humboldt Current kept the waters cold, but one Christmas, the waters were balmy! I stayed in for two hours, marveling at the difference, emerging nut brown and slaked in salt. El Nino had come, bringing with it warm waters. That’s where it is first felt, in the seas off that remote and under-populated border. Typically, the Nino phenomenon is felt around Christmas time and hence acquired its name – El Nino – the Christ Child.
The fishermen’s children, playing in the unusually warm waters, knew El Nino had come. As did I. But none of the world’s media seemed to have picked up this event, and did not do so for months.
It made me think, what if you had a superior weather prediction system to the competition? You could make out like a bandit using weather derivatives…..
One gruesome note which bears witness to the devastation weather can bring and mankind’s brutal response; two thousand years ago, the Moche civilization of Peru, master potters who lived along the northern coats of the Punta Sal area, sacrificed hundreds of their own people to assuage the weather gods in El Nino years. Massed skeletons were found at the bottom of cliffs in the surrounding areas. Archeologists studied the depictions on the pottery and dated the skeletons and analyzed the soil and rock and pieced together the story of the Nino sacrifices. For the warm waters that El Nino brings devastate the fish supplies and often produce heavy rains that wash away harvests. El Nino meant starvation for the coastal dwellers.
And human sacrifice.
Seeing the pottery of the Moche, swimming in their seas and walking their cliffs brought home to me the power of the weather and its role in shaping human history. I’ve been fascinated by weather ever since…the roots of Ark Storm went down many years ago.
It’s a leap from prediction to manipulation of the weather. When I lived in the Middle East a few years ago, I became aware of a very disturbing phenomenon taking place. It sounded like something out of a James Bond movie. Yet it was real…..
We’re familiar with cloud seeding, but the ionisation technology in this book is a much more powerful tool/weapon than seeding. Making it rain, breaking all records, in the deserts of Arabia has a doomsday Biblical slant to it. The science/technology is already here – just google rain storms in Al Ain UAE in July and August 2010 (i.e. when rain is nigh on impossible) – to see its power. And this technology has moved on some since then.
ARk Storm 1000 is a real and much feared scenario. A storm of catastrophic proportions hits California once every two hundred years on average in recent geological history (over the past two thousand years). The last big one was 1861-1862 where it rained for forty five days turning the San Joaquin and Sacremento Valleys into an inland sea and bankrupting the state of California. Storms of this magnitude are projected to become more frequent and more intense as a result of global warming. We are due another imminently……The scenario predicts walls of ten foot high water, rain falling in feet instead of inches, millions of homes flooded, a megastorm lasting more than a month, the evacuation of 1.5 million people. A total cost upwards of $725 billion. This figure is three times the projected cost of the ‘Shake-Out Earthquake’ and has roughly the same annual incidence probability.