SI Vault
 
Going, Going Green
ALEXAN DER WOLFF
March 12, 2007
As global warming changes the planet, it is changing the sports world. To counter the looming environmental crisis, surprising and in novative ideas are already helping sports adapt
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
March 12, 2007

Going, Going Green

As global warming changes the planet, it is changing the sports world. To counter the looming environmental crisis, surprising and in novative ideas are already helping sports adapt

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Ten years. That's two-and-a-half Olympiads--enough time for our teams and athletes to take the lead, galvanize attention and influence behavior. When they do, per usual, may we cheer and may we follow. But as we watch, let us remember that this game is different. We don't have the luxury of looking on from the sidelines. We must become players too.

FULL-COURT FLOOD

Scientists project up to a one-meter increase in sea level by 2100, which will alter the shape of the land in low-lying regions of the U.S.--including San Francisco Bay and South Florida--and swamp well-known sports venues

JUST AS the planet's air is warming, so too is its water. Almost all glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets are melting. Simulations by climatologists at the University of Arizona suggest that in less than 150 years, the Earth will be warm enough to eventually melt the 650,000-square-mile Greenland ice cap (assuming no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions). That would raise sea level by four to six meters. Even if we were to stop all emissions today, the rise in sea level could be a half meter by 2100.

In the U.S., where 150 million live along the shore, the hardest hit areas would be South Florida, the Chesapeake Bay region, New Orleans and San Francisco. Says Stephen Leatherman, director of the International Hurricane Research Center, " Miami is within 10 feet of sea level, and it's the Number 1 strike zone for hurricanes; it's a disaster waiting to happen."

Leatherman speaks from experience: He coordinated the major national study of damage done by Hurricane Katrina.

WHAT IF...?

A warmer day might have robbed Willie Mays of immortality

VIC WERTZ'S BLAST would have been gone in just about any other ballpark. But the Polo Grounds' expansive centerfield gave Willie Mays room to run down the 460-foot shot in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. As it happened, the Giants went on to sweep the Series. According to newspaper accounts, it was 76� on Coogan's Bluff that late September day when Mays made his over-the-shoulder grab. By the calculations of University of Illinois physicist Alan Nathan, had it been 77� (and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Earth is on average 1.17� warmer than it was in '54) the ball would have traveled two inches farther in the less-dense air and thus might have glanced off the edge of Mays's outstretched glove.

GETTING UP TO PAR

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7