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Science

A New Ice Age? 449

Posted by michael
from the it's-all-fun-and-game-until-it's-too-late dept.
barakn writes "Scientists have savaged the new movie The Day After Tomorrow, which depicts global warming causing a new ice age and freezing New York solid. The movie follows on the heels of a report to the Department of Defense in February, written by two guys who are not climatologists, about the implications of global warming triggering the growth of ice sheets in the northern hemisphere. There is a plausible theory which suggests that melting ice may release enough fresh water to halt circulation of warm water from the Gulf Stream, thus significantly cooling Europe and the east coast of North America. Note that this theory depends on melting ice, not growing ice, which may be one reason scientists find the ice age scenario so hard to swallow. New satellite evidence suggests a part of this circulation may already be slowing down. Those on the North American west coast will not have to worry about ice sheets, but changes in Arctic ice could mean the western drought will be permanent. For those of you who would rather do something before it's too late, iron seems to work, but the long-term ecological implications are still unknown."
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A New Ice Age?

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  • by mabinogi (74033) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:07AM (#8890960) Homepage
    Actually, that makes me wonder if he was actually too close to the mark for the scientists to handle...

    You don't see scientists getting up in arms about movies like The Core, or Armageddon so why are they all defensive about this one?
  • by Ralconte (599174) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:09AM (#8890969)
    Ah, movie science, so you haven't been here, have you? http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/
  • It occurs to me... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by clifgriffin (676199) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:10AM (#8890971) Homepage
    That every global warming prediction scientists have made in the last 30 years has fallen flat on its face.

    According to them, we should be all dead by now.

    Personally, I'm not sweating anything. There is plenty of evidence that our toxic output is not the largets or the deadliest on this planet, and thankfully things pretty much clean themselves.

    I refuse to forget how many times popular science has been wrong.
  • ice age (Score:4, Interesting)

    by marine_recon (652565) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:12AM (#8890982) Journal
    i might be wrong, but arnt people saying were in the middle of an ice age right now and the only thing keeping it check is the amount of CO2 being produced. anyone?
  • a comment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:13AM (#8890988) Journal
    A major part of climate change is the amount of CO2 in the air (CO2, carbon dioxide, is the major greenhouse gas) In figuring out how CO2 levels will change, a major term is the exchange between gas and water over the oceans; this is a key parameter in all the super complicated computer models from places like NOAA a few years ago, in SCIENCE magazine, turns out this term was wrong by an order of magnitude CONCLUSION: the models are crap why ? u r an administrator, testifying before congress on why u need 200 large. YOu could say, well we made major progress in FFT algorythmns usefull in modeling, and our understanding of image recognition to model cloud patterns...(congress falling asleep) OR u cd say GLOBAL WARMING !!! NYC underwater !!!! it is not that it is bad science, it is just that the quality of the models is not that high - noone has the lsightest idea of how our climate will change in response to any significant perturbation - sort a like MS stuff, no ?
  • Re:I'm not convinced (Score:1, Interesting)

    by clifgriffin (676199) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:15AM (#8890997) Homepage
    If we ever come up with a way to equal the fluorocarbon output of just one volcanic explosion or forest fire, I'll be the first one to start taking these articles seriously.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:22AM (#8891015)
    Yeah, we may be overestimating ourselves on the effect we have on climate. That "global warming" due to our excessive release of CO2 may be a lead cause is rather sketchy (but we do introduce them).

    In any case, nontheless, two observational facts do worry me: (1) slow-down of Great Atlantic Conveyer
    and (2) accelerating melt-down of polar ice and desalination of sea water. If these two trends progress, literatures suggest that ice age is coming soon (in a geological time scale, ie., ~10 -- 1000 years).

    Are we ready for it? Sure as hell Dubya ain't.
  • by beaverfever (584714) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:25AM (#8891019) Homepage
    There is a plausible theory which suggests that melting ice may release enough fresh water to halt circulation of warm water from the Gulf Stream, thus significantly cooling Europe and the east coast of North America.

    okay, I couldn't begin to tell you where I heard this (let alone provide a URL) but I recall hearing/reading the "global warming=new ice age" theory kinda like this:

    So the earth's temperatures rise a certain level, really only a few degrees, maybe half a dozen. This means the atmosphere can hold more moisture and precipitation increases.

    But - with the earth's overall temps slightly higher the temperatures over the poles would still be hella cold (just not as hella cold as before) and the moisture-laden air passing over the cold regions would dump a lot of snow, sleet and ice, which would mean expanding polar ice caps, glaciers, etc., etc., albeit this would be a cumulative effect taking place over many thousands of years.

    So, like, I ain't no climatol... clima... uh, scientist or nuthin' - that's just what I read in some fancy magazine somewhere.
  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@ ... o.ca minus punct> on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:27AM (#8891030)
    Sure global warming may be happening... BUT and this is probably why the slashdot people are laisse faire, maybe it is part of the overall scheme of things by none other than mother nature.

    When that little warming period and ice age hit, which was not caused by humanity, would the arguments not be the same? EG would the green people would be saying to stop burning all of those fires to heat homes?

    Frankly I think the only real way of stopping global warming is to kill off about 2/3 of our planet. There are just too many of us.

    Let me give you an example. Germany, which is trying to be green installed a huge number of wind powered generators in the North Sea. They have just found out that because of all those generators the coast is getting 10% more sunshine and 10% less rain. I then ask the question, are we not dammed if we do and dammed if we do not?

    So unless you are ready to volenteer your life in the name of "humanity" nothing much is going to change.

    BTW I do not agree with your quote as planet Earth has withstood worse things than humans and continued. What might not survive are the humans!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:27AM (#8891032)
    It can't be "accurate science" or "proper science" or "real science" because there is no control, nor is there any way to run any experiments to actually measure any cause-and-effect relationships.

    Could the warnings of global warming armageddon be true? Yeah, but so could the warnings of global cooling armageddon from the 1970s.

    And even if either guess is true, there's no way to be sure that the problem was caused by man.

    Now, all that doesn't mean we shouldn't be reasonable about reducing pollution and greenhouse gas generation. (Well, except if the older "global cooling" predictions were really true, then we should be cranking out the greenhouse gases, right?)

  • Bad Science (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Prototerm (762512) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:30AM (#8891040)
    A few months ago ( I can't find the link right now), scientists were claiming that "Global Warming" is not the problem the media, and some politicians say it is. According to the original Global Warning theory, the Earth's temperature is higher than it's ever been due to the influence of technology (greenhouse gasses). The scientists in this new study pointed out that the original Global Warming research ignored historical data documenting temperatures in Europe, in the Middle Ages, that were higher than today. It would appear that the original scientists chose a date range for their research that supported their already-made conclusion of Global Warming.

    It would seem that the Earth's climate is normal, and we're not going to suffer a slow broil (so put away the onions, and get that apple out of your mouth).

    As for the ice age theory, one of the last ice ages was caused by a lot of fresh water pouring into the North Atlantic. The difference in salinity caused the warm Gulf Stream waters to submerge, reducing the overall temperature in Europe and North America enough to cause an Ice Age. The effect took only 70 years.

    It would indeed be ironic, though, if the only way to save civilization as we know is would be to increase greenhouse gasses, not reduce them.

  • Re:I'm not convinced (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:31AM (#8891044) Journal
    more than that, All human activity since the industrial revolution is less than one small to moderate eruption
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:45AM (#8891084)
    It's become customary for new sci-fi movie releases that pretend to have a grain of truth to hire a few "scientists" to make media rounds on how GASP THIS COULD REALLY HAPPEN without making it too obvious that they're just shilling for the movie. This film is no exception.

    The last big disaster flop, "THE CORE" was promoted the same way.

    The very fact that this movie was made by the same fools who made Independence Day and the Matthew Broderick is Godzilla travesty should clue people in that the movie has no credible science.

  • Re:Bad Science (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Saturday April 17, 2004 @08:57AM (#8891122) Journal
    ...one of the last ice ages was caused...

    I just wanted to remind you and everyone else, that we are living in the last Ice Age, it didn't end yet.

    The climat we are experiencing for the last 12000 years or so is a moderate warming during an Ice Age, nothing special. And yet all our civilisation was built in and depends on these rather uncommon (for this planet) conditions.
  • Re:Bad Science (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MtViewGuy (197597) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @09:02AM (#8891148)
    I think the global warming crowd is forgetting one thing: the biggest determinant of the climate on Earth is caused by this thermonuclear fireball about 93,000,000 miles away called the Sun.

    Since the 1600's when telescopes became widely available, scientists have actually plotted the level of sunspot activity. They noted that between the 17th and 18th Centuries there was a long period of NO sunspot activity, and that corresponded in a mini Ice Age period where temperatures in Europe were quite a bit lower than normal and the Thames River going through London regularly froze over during the winter.

    Indeed, I think Earth is returning to a period of warmer weather akin to what it was like before the dinosaurs died out about 65,000,000 years ago.
  • by gL4cier (678091) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @10:00AM (#8891414)
    I think this is similar with this stuff some scientist have been saying. The theory is something like when the earth starts to reflect less sunlight. (lesser global warming effect) it will make things colder. thereby increase the amount of icy regions. In effect, increasing the amount of light reflected. You can read the details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earth very interesting :)
  • by adamontherun (660770) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @10:02AM (#8891425) Homepage
    Regardless of whether the film is completely accurate regarding the growth of ice sheets, it will be the first time that its possible that melting ice will shot down the thermo-haline circulation belt. Most of Europe would be a frozen wasteland without it operating.

    There's ice-core evidence showing that the circulation belt does shut down periodically - and that it correlates with cold temperatures in Europe.

    What I'm wondering is whether or not this film will freak the public out, and make them demand action on climate change. I've seen reports that after Deep Impact and Armageddon public perception of the risk of an asteroid strike went through the roof.

    We all know that its hard to convey uncertain and complex scientific issues to the general public. Maybe it will take a Hollywood blockbuster to do what 1000 UN reports never could.
  • by PingPongBoy (303994) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @10:31AM (#8891581)
    We could reduce our population by undertaking a massive space program and colonizing the galaxy. It's about time people started to go to other stars.

    A good start would be building space stations and bases on the moon and on Mars. Even a program of robot explorers would start the momentum.

    One great bottleneck of robots is control - we still have very primitive self-driving cars. In outer space we would need a large array of robots to be able to operate for a long time. The Mars rovers work by themselves, but this limits their lifespan. However if they worked in groups they could maintain each other for a longer time. Periodically we can send supplies and more robots to boost the abilities of the robot farm.
  • by provolt (54870) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @10:36AM (#8891611)
    Yeah, your right. Everyone who doubts the human impact on global warming must be ignorant. How can they believe a Shell study when there is so much other literature from Greenpeace out there. The results are so obvious that Greenpeace doesn't even need to do research!

    We should force all these ignorant people to submit to our will. From this point forward no one is allowed to drive cars or use electricity. We will go back to a "natural" state.

    As you die of starvation, disease and animal attacks, remember that your life and the hundreds of millions of other lives are serving a great purpose of making the climate "right".

    Don't be bothered by the fact we don't have a model that has ever accurately predicted climate change.

    Don't worry that there were periods of warming and cooling in the past that had nothing to do with humans. The people who think that this might be related to our observations of climate change today are completely ignorant. Your suffering is worth the price.

  • This topic is amazingly timely for me as I'll be giving a presentation to a group of geophysicists on Tuesday about abrupt climate change in the last 100,000 years and the upcoming 10,000.

    When I first got into this business in the early 90s I spent a lot of time discussing these topics on sci.environment.

    It may be worth pointing out that climate change over the past decade has panned out pretty much as was expected ten years ago. It's interesting that this hasn't affected the cerdibility of the field very much.

    I've dabbled a bit in sci.environment again in the last few months, but it's been a lot less satisfying. Ten years ago I had the privilege of getting into flame wars with no less than John McCarthy, as well as many other less famous but comparably intelligent, very well-informed conservatively inclined people.

    To be sure, there were also many throughly propagandized folks, mostly aligned in two opposing camps, but it was possible to have a serious debate and even, once in a while, score a point.

    The conversation on Slashdot is only marginally better than the decaying thrashings on sci.environment. It's better because most people here are grinding different axes, and so their ill-informed commentary is less shrill and confrontational.

    There's a hell of a lot of misinformation going around here, though. It's pretty discouraging to see what gets moderated to 5, insightful or informative.

    Even the hacker community, chastened though it should be by the ways in which writing code makes you face your mistakes, is sadly overconfident about its opinions. People make broad and confident statements on matters where, (obviously to those few of us here who are serious students of the matter) they know very little. Moderators sharing the politics of the poster mod these up to "insightful" ore even worse "informative".

    Let me review the settled science. There's a lot that's unsettled, but when I see these points debated I despair for democracy:

    • Climate, defined as the long-term average behavior of the atmsophere, ocean and ice, shows a lot of natural variability in response to perturbations in forcing.
    • While the underlying principles of climate physics are not exotic, the number of degrees of freedom of the system makes the system behavior difficult to predict in detail
    • While details are difficult to predict, certain global constraints (mass, energy and angular momentum conservation) allows more confident predictions about the big picture than about the details.
    • Complex computer models are the only way to get any idea about the details, but the global picture can be discussed using old-fashioned paper-and-pencil models
    • Human behavior is altering the energetic balance of the atmosphere at a larger rate than is normal in nature, with very rare exceptions such as asteroid impacts.
    • The simple calculations indicate the short term response of the system to this perturbation will be warming at the surface, concentrated at high latitudes, and cooling in the stratosphere.
    • Observations and complex computer models agree with the first order predictions
    • Chaos doesn't enter into it in the way that many people suggest. Climate prediction is different than weather prediction. Weather prediction out beyond a month is probably impossible, and even if it turns out to be possible, two months isn't. Climate is the average properties of weather. When I say that Christmas in Chicago is going to be colder than the fourth of July in 2304, I am making a 300 year climate prediction, and a perfectly reasonable one.
    • The longer and more intense the perturbation, the larger the likelhood that our models (both computer models and simple conceptual models) will fail, due to lack of inclusion of normally slowly-changing phenomena taht are more likely to be in play with larger perturbations. In this case, the models will fail in the direction of understating, rather than overstating the consequences.
  • by m_maximus (750318) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @11:15AM (#8891796)
    Really the concern is why is America using 25% of the worlds energy, when Europe, with a similar number of people and similar standard of living are not?
  • by SideshowBob (82333) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @11:53AM (#8892033)
    The problem is that the energy produced in the U.S. is largely from burning greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels. Therefore

    a) we're a big part of the current problem (rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere)

    b) we're setting a bad example for the developing nations, who want the same standard of living as us

    c) we're passing up an opportunity, something uncharacteristic of Americans. If we are smart we will start investing heavily in R&D into alternative energy so that we can then sell what we discover to everyone else. The american auto makers would be a good place to start, they are going to get their asses handed to them (for the umpteenth time) by the Japanese and Germans, who are both taking fuel cell research seriously.

    Instead we're sticking our heads in the sand and listening to corporate bought "scientific" studies that question man made global warming when there really isn't much question among honest scientists. And then the conservative media (radio etc.) pick up on this and brainwash millions into believing there is no problem. (Sorry to bring politics into this but it is strange to me that the party of Teddy Roosevelt - who practically invented conservation politics - is being so thick headed about this problem)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @12:05PM (#8892104)
    Remember that 30 years ago, we were all concerned about the next ice age. Global cooling was the fear. Then the conditions in the Pacific Ocean flipflopped in 1977 and we started warming. These flip flops occur roughly every 30 years or so (the previous ones were 1947 and 1923). The 1923 started warming, the 1947 one started cooling. The problem is that these circumstances occur over spans on the order of human lifetimes...
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @12:10PM (#8892133) Homepage
    It doesn't really matter....

    What matters is the comment "THERE IS NO NORMAL TEMPERATURE" (caps mine). Whether or not the climate gets a bit warmer or a bit colder, all hell is going to break loose because mankind is pushing the envelope of sustainability on the planet. With the population set to pushing ten billion in this century, it's not hard to find populations living very close to survival margins (a small shift in any major variable -food, water, temperature)will cause major stressors on the populations).

    If it gets significantly warmer, the sea levels rise and New York, Los Angeles, Bangledesh and lots of other places have to either move thier populations or somehow cope with enormous structural changes. (Read lots of dollars, dinars, pounds, whatever). Same problem, different cities / populations if it gets colder and drier.

    And all it takes to tank the US economy is the price of oil changing a couple of dollars.

    As the old Chineese curse goes "May you live in interesting times">
  • by adamontherun (660770) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @12:10PM (#8892134) Homepage
    thats interesting. have you got a reference on that I could check out?
  • by andrel (85594) <andrel@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 17, 2004 @12:40PM (#8892302) Journal
    I agree with you that the public discourse about science (and medicine) is dominated by pepole who are appalingly naive and misinformed. Alas, mathematics educators are busy fighting about calculus reform instead of figuring out how to teach probability/statistics in high school.

    I have a question about the nature of climate. You say:

    Climate, defined as the long-term average behavior of the atmsophere, ocean and ice, shows a lot of natural variability in response to perturbations in forcing.

    What about 1/f noise? Are we studying a stationary random process? Is it even legitimate from a mathematical-modeling viewpoint to talk about long-term average behavior? The prediction you make about 2304 is reasonable, but hardly long-term by geological standards.
  • Nuclear (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ttfkam (37064) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @12:54PM (#8892386) Homepage Journal
    No CO2 emissions. No 10% more sunshine/10% less rain.

    Solar?

    Americans used 3,720 billion kWh (kilowatt hours) in 2001 according to the Energy Information Administration [doe.gov], a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy [doe.gov]. Yes, that's billion with a 'b'.

    From the Wikipedia: "Sunlight provides about 1.36 kilowatts per square meter, and most solar cells are between 8 and 12 percent efficient." There are 9,158,918 square kilometers in the U.S. Each square kilometer is equal to one million square meters (remember 1km = 1,000m; so a square of 1km by 1km is 1,000m by 1,000m).

    A kilowatt hour (kWh) is 1 kilowatt of output sustained over one hour.

    So, 9,158,918 (number of square kilometers in the U.S.) times 1,000,000 (square meters in a square kilometer) times 0.68 (number of kilowatts with 50% efficiency) to get kilowatt hours. Multiply that by 8 (average number of hours in the day with usable sunlight) times 365 (days in a year).

    18,185,947,580,800 kWh. That's more than 3,720,000,000,000 kWh by a factor of five, right? Solved!

    Oh...ummm... This assumes that all of the cells are at that 50% laboratory record-setting level as opposed to the ones in use today. If we go off the 8%-12& mark, we're already at the bare minimum for energy requirements with no margin for error.

    And this assumes that all of the panels are kept clean; Remember, less power if there's dust and grime on the solar cells.

    And this assumes that it's never cloudy/rainy/snowy.

    And this assumes that U.S. never increases their power usage from 2001 levels. (Note, I'm not getting into a discussion of the value of energy conservation. It's immaterial here. If you can get all ~300 million Americans to halt the growth of their usage let alone lower it, I will kiss the ground you walk upon.)

    And this assumes that materials are sufficiently abundant and practical to build all of those panels.

    And leaving things out in the sun for extended periods of time tends to do bad things to most items: sun-bleached hair, ruined paintings, less efficient solar cells, etc. Solar cells drop in efficiency by 2%-5% every year of their operating life; Best case scenario, your solar cell is working at 90% after five years; 80% after twelve years. (Remember, that's 90% of 12%.)

    And, most important, this assumes that all the land area in the continental U.S. including Alaska is covered in solar panels! This means no food grown, no basking in the sunlight, an epidemic of Rickets Disease, etc.

    Solar is only good for supplementary power generation: lowering the drain on the grid.

    It's not about nuclear being warm and fuzzy. It's not about going with the solution with no risks. No technology available to us today can provide even close to all of the power used with 100% safety. Large scale energy is not and will never be 100% safe. However the use of fossil fuels is worse. Fossil fuels emit too many pollutants that get into our air and water.

    It's time to bite the bullet and go for the IFR [anl.gov]s. Why it is called an "Integral" Fast Reactor? Once the initial fuel is loaded no fuel goes in and no waste comes out for the entire 70 year life cycle. This will greatly reduce the current 90,000 nuclear shipments a year on trains and trucks. At the end of the 70 years, the nuclear "ash" of the IFR needs to be stored for only 300 years as opposed to 30,000. The actinides are used and recycled over and over until they are depleted. Current nuclear waste and the material for nuclear warheads can be reused as fuel for an IFR instead of being dumped in Yucca Mountain. The purity of that fuel once used in an IFR cannot again be easily transformed into weapons-grade material. It is as hard as converting the original uranium ore. If IFRs are implemented, uranium need not be mined for 500 years; Existing stock piles of uranium ore, nuclear waste, and obsolete weapons will be more than adequ
  • by SEWilco (27983) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @01:16PM (#8892508) Journal
    Too bad your junior high school science teacher was wrong [columbia.edu]: the Gulf Stream is not what keeps Europe warm. [millennium-debate.org]

    These researchers say the Rockies encourage cold polar air to come down across North America. This flow encourages warm air to flow up the eastern edge of the continent and off toward Europe.

    Look up a map of average atmospheric pressure and you'll see high pressure over NW American continent, low in SE America, low over Iceland, and high over Azores. NW Am is due to cold polar air, SE Am is warm air including from Gulf of Mexico. The flow between Iceland and Azores is, of course, to the east, bringing the warm air from south and west. Southern cold flow over Labrador is weaker than the NW Am and its corresponding SE Am warm flow.

    The Rocky Mountains reduce the flow of warm air from the Pacific, so the cold polar flow dominates. As weather flows toward the east, the cold high pressure is dominant over the American continent. This is balanced by the SE Am warm flow. A similar cold zone is over northern Asia.

    The Gulf Stream theory seems to have come from an old British ocean publication.

  • by lommer (566164) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @01:19PM (#8892523)
    Actually, an interesting thing I found out the other day - several hundred years ago, in post-medieval europe, one of the causes of death was "planet". This is what happened when a person died mysteriously when the planets were aligned in a particular way. It was interpreted as the planets having struck them down. So what did they really die of?
  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @03:05PM (#8893273)
    Best available estimates state that global human population will peak at 8 billion in 2050 and decline thereafter.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 17, 2004 @03:49PM (#8893535)
    If you'd like to seek out information for yourself, perhaps starting out "I refuse to listen to you" isn't such a good idea.

    If you'd like to convince people of your point of view, perhaps starting out defensively with "Maybe the fact I am not as big a linux nerd as you" is not such a good idea either.

    After you've had a couple of years of college, which I venture is still in your future, you may want to check out the IPCC reports here [grida.no].

    In the meantime, you will be happier if you stop demeaning yourself and aggrandizing your opinons. Here's a suggested alternative:

    I've heard a lot about climate variations. What makes people think today's changes are anything special? Is it true that 15,000 scientists signed a petition against the Kyoto accord? Doesn't that show that all of this is nonsense?

    I suspect this is all overblown fearmongering, just like Cold War rhetoric.

    If you had said something like that I'd respond:

    Well, both the cold war and climate change are longer stories than I care to go over right now. To be sure, there was overblown rhetoric in both cases, but notice that in the cold war, a nuclear exchange was in fact very narrowly averted on at least one occasion we know about.

    The infamous 15,000 signatories, though, is a story that needs retelling. See here [brown.edu] and here [vanderbilt.edu]for the whole story. Essentially if you send out a big enough bulk mailing, you'll get a few signatures, especially if you pretend to have more authoritative evidence than you have. In fact very few actual scientists are known to have signed the petition.

    In fact, though, while this is a big problem for the world, it's not your problem as I see it. If your lack of self-respect even shows up in your Slashdot postings, real life must be awfully hard for you, especially if my suspicion that you're still in high school is true.

    Please stop it with the "kick me" signs and try lightening up a bit on your opinions. Try to remember that life is, if not a miracle, at least a highly improbable stroke of good luck, and cheer up, okay?

  • is this possible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by steak (145650) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @04:03PM (#8893628) Homepage Journal
    say the polar ice melts and now there is more water to evaporate so there are more clouds in the sky, more rain, less sunshine hits the surface thus cooling the earth, rain turns into snow, ice age, ..., profit? i don't know about these things but it seems like a it could happen.
  • nature vs. man (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fadethepolice (689344) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @04:29PM (#8893787) Journal

    We should be trying to maintain global warming.

    temps for last 150,000 yrs [classzone.com] (you need flash and ie)

    This temperature record for the last 160,000 years is very informative. What most "environmentalists" do not realize is that the earth is normally cold as hell. It is only throught "unnatural" affects caused by life (a.k.a man etc.) that the earth is not a frozen hell. It is true that it is possible that through industrialization we could throw the world back into an "ice age", but it is equally possible that we could delay the inevitable descent into the next ice age through these processes. I believe the latter is more likely. I work for an environmental company. If man-made things are not natural, exacly what are they? Supernatural? ughhh!! you guys hit my pet peeve today...
  • by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Saturday April 17, 2004 @04:49PM (#8893897)
    Four facts for you:

    The global mean temperature did increase over the last 100 years, most prominently over the last 30 years or so. The reasons are not totally clear.

    Watching local weather reports regularly for less than two decades or so may not indicate this, since there is indeed a superimposed cyclic temperature change (related to solar activity). Moreover, there are regions where a systematic *decrease* of mean temperatures was observed over the last decades.

    CO2 does not cause holes in the ozone layer

    Antarctica is not a volcano

  • Re:Nature's reset? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Xerp (768138) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @05:09PM (#8894010) Journal
    A superlative suggestion, sir, with just two minor flaws. One, God doesn't exist, and two, God doesn't exist. Now I realise that, technically speaking, that's only one flaw but I thought it was such a big one it was worth mentioning twice.

    (Thanks to Red Dwarf, Holoship episode)

    Gaia Hypothesis rules!

  • I think it will be many years before anything worthwhile comes from the IPCC and their models. I you check out chapter 7 you will find they advise why they have not included water vapour in the atmosphere in their modeles.

    The issue is that water vapour is by FAR the most important greenhouse gas. CO2 is about 365 ppm these days - or 0.0356% while water vapour is in the range of 2-4% and this makes water vapour 100 TIMES more important.

    Next, we need to consider irrigation. The CIA factbook does have land under irrigation on a country by country basis. It is clear these irrigation projects collectively are very significant and they have the effect of turning vast areas of arid land into moist land. All that water ends up transpired or evaporated into the atmosphere.

    If we consider fossil fuels we find another large source of water vapour.

    If we add it all together, which the IPCC has not done, what we find is that there has been a change in the amount of water vaopur released into the atmosphere from mankind's activites and then we must note that the UNCERTANTY in the measuremens of the water vapour are much greater than the total amount of trace gases.

    Water vapour is 2 orders of magnitude more significant in concentration and it is a stronger absorber of Ultraviolet light in ALL wavelengths.

    ---------------

    That being said, our climatologist look at an extremely short time frame. The earth has been around for about 4.5 billion years. By 570 million years ago, it had warmed and then it stayed warm for close to 90% of the time since then. There really only were 4 cold snaps and we have been in one for the last two million years. And during this last 2 million years it appears we have enjoyed about 20 ice ages, the last of which ended only 18,000 years ago.

    To contrast the duration of time, suppose we were to stack up the volumes of the encyclopeadia Brittanica. If we count the number of pages we might find the thickness of each page would correspond to say about 100,000 years of the earths history.

    This means that our climate modelers basically collect there data from usually less than 1/1000th of the thickness of the last page and meanwhile they ignore everything else.

    IMHO this does not bode very well for their ability to make valid predictions.
  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @05:27PM (#8894093)
    > Ah yes, the intuitor guy. An engineer* who seems to wish he's a scientist.

    The thing I find ironic with people who complain about how movies are unrealistic, is that they never seem to stop to think "This *movie* is unrealistic." It's SurReal to begin with! The Movie isn't real - so why aren't they complaining about that?!

    Oh wait, what they *really* mean, is that their suspension of disbeleif wasn't maintained. For Christ's sake already -- Movies were made to be enjoyed -- Do you *really* need to analyse something to death, before you can enjoy it?! Apparently dramatic effect isn't a valid reason for breaking the Rules of Physics?!

    Sure, it would be nice, if everything in the movie was logical, (or would it?!), but perfect movies don't exist. Just enjoy the darn thing already!
  • by eclectro (227083) on Sunday April 18, 2004 @03:16AM (#8896046)
    I call bullshirt on this. Link a document that proves this outrageous statement.

    Bullshirt right back at you.

    From this link: [geocities.com]

    Here you may see the close correlation between CO2 and Temperature variation in planet history. You may find that recent CO2 concentration level of 375 ppm is much higher than any value in the previous 450,000 years, and that the rate of increase of CO2 with time is about 100 times higher than any other rate of increase in the recorded history.

    They can drill ice cores from the Antartic to precisely detail changes in the earths climate and CO2 levels in the atmosphere for the past 500,000 years.

    I'm sure there are more many other articles around. NOVA [pbs.org] did an excellent show on this as well. I'm stating something that is generally accepted in the scientific community (outside of those scientists counsulting to Bush - they are the minority).

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

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