PORTLAND, Ore. Supercomputers can do more to reverse the global warming trend, according to former vice president Al Gore who gave a keynote at the Supercomputer 2009 conference held here this week.
Supercomputer simulations showed how a hole in our ozone layer had created a worldwide planetary emergency and forced us to switch from chlorofluorocarbons to other gases that do not damage the ozone layer.
Visualization tools, according to Gore, clinched the case by showing people just how big the hole was already and how it could be shrunk by switching away from chlorofluorocarbons.
Supercomputers with visualization programs can also make the case for the increase in global warming and provide simulations as evidence to reverse that trend.
"Regarding climate change, the most that is politically imaginable today falls well short of the minimum required to solve the global warming crisis," said Gore.
"We have everything we need to solve this crisis, with the possible exception of political will,"said Gore. "But ladies and gentlemen, political will is a renewable resource too. The real challenge, here, is to make the climate crisis tangible to everyone, which can be accomplished with supercomputing modeling and simulations."
The main problem, according to Gore, is psychological.
On the evolutionary scale, humans are nearly identical physically to their 10,000-year old ancestors, who were hardwired to respond to physical threats, like spears and clubs.
But the climate crisis is a threat so large that it does not trigger those visceral responses, but can only be perceived by reasoning from current conditions to a hypothetical future.
That's where supercomputers come in they can illicit that visceral response by showing what the future will be like if we don't change our ways, according to Gore.