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Droughts Linked To Global Warming 535

Posted by Soulskill
from the hot-off-the-presses dept.
Layzej writes "Two new papers indicate that we are likely already seeing some of the predicted impacts of global warming. The first used Monte Carlo simulations to analyze how many new record events you expect to see in a time series with a trend. They applied the technique to the unprecedented Russian heat wave of July 2010, which killed 700 people and contributed to soaring wheat prices. According to the analysis, there's an 80 percent chance that climate change was responsible. The authors have described their methods and how they improved on previous studies. The second group studied wintertime droughts in the Mediterranean region. They found that 'the magnitude and frequency of the drying that has occurred is too great to be explained by natural variability alone. This is not encouraging news for a region that already experiences water stress, because it implies natural variability alone is unlikely to return the region's climate to normal.'"
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Droughts Linked To Global Warming

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  • Doughnuts? (Score:4, Funny)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Saturday October 29, 2011 @06:39PM (#37882218) Journal

    I first read that as "Doughnuts Linked to Global Warming".

    Stands to reason I suppose.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      Yes... there's a hole in the confection zone.

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @06:51PM (#37882292)
    The unusual weather events we've been seeing around the world the last year aren't proof that global climate change is real... at least not yet. Weather != Climate and all that, not over the period of a single year anyways. But eventually if the trend continues and we continue to see more and bigger weather related disasters over the coming years then eventually even the non-scientist deniers will have to admit there is a problem. When that does happen, i wonder if any of the deniers will actually step forward and admit they were wrong? Every time i see a denier post on Slashdot that seems to come from someone who sincerely believes what they're saying i'm tempted to write their name down and ask them about it when that time comes, but i'm far too lazy to actually follow through on that.

    (And turnabout is fair play. If ten or twenty years from now the temperature hasn't gone up any more and the weird weather events go away without us taking any action about it i'll be willing to stand up and say i was wrong. In fact i'd be quite happy to have that event come about.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by next_ghost (1868792)
      You're hoping for too much from deniers. Their selective memory will take care of the issue and they won't admit to being wrong anyway.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/10/climate-skeptics-perform-independent-analysis-finally-convinced-earth-is-getting-warmer.ars

      • by Daetrin (576516)
        We've definitely reached the point where the reasonably skeptical scientists are becoming convinced. I'm more concerned about the point where reasonably skeptical non-scientists will become convinced. Not everyone who denies it's a problem is a liar. Quite possibly not even most of them. Some people are just fooling themselves, or letting themselves be fooled by the people who are lying.
    • by Layzej (1976930) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:22PM (#37882494)

      The unusual weather events we've been seeing around the world the last year aren't proof that global climate change is real... at least not yet. Weather != Climate

      That is the opposite of the conclusion reached by these two papers. The papers found that the events in these regions are more likely with the current warming, and would not likely have occurred if it were not for the recent warming.

      If ten or twenty years from now the temperature hasn't gone up any more and the weird weather events go away without us taking any action about it i'll be willing to stand up and say i was wrong.

      You should expect to see another record year in two or three years (barring a super volcano). Waiting for 10 or 20 years before you reconsider your position is extreme in my opinion. On a somewhat related note, one of the interesting findings of the first paper is that we should expect fewer record years from temperature series that show greater natural variability. For instance, the UAH series exaggerates El Nino/La Nina events relative to other series, so we should expect fewer record years from that series, even though the trend is the same.

      • by Daetrin (576516)
        I think it's pretty clear that there's a consensus amongst those scientists who've studied the issue properly that climate change is going to be a problem. This is just one study by one group of scientists saying they're about 80% sure that this particular problem was due to climate change. I've seen other scientists saying that it's too early to judge individual weather events in relation to climate change yet, though they probably haven't finished doing specific studies of those individual events.

        So in
        • by Layzej (1976930)

          So in short there's pretty overwhelming evidence in favor of climate change causing problems in the future, there's only some evidence from some people so far that it's a problem right now.

          Good point. Don't hang your hat on one study or another. Waiting for a consensus before jumping to conclusions is prudent. I agree wholeheartedly.

        • I've seen other scientists saying that it's too early to judge individual weather events in relation to climate change yet

          The problem is you can't pin a particular weather event to a global climate trend with 100% certainty, it's the same problem as pinning a tumour to a particular cigarette, it's a statistical increase/decrease in the chance of weather event X happening, say a one in 500yr flood changing to once a decade. What's more concrete is that your insurance company have been factoring risks from AGW into your premiums for the past decade or so.

    • When that does happen, i wonder if any of the deniers will actually step forward and admit they were wrong? Every time i see a denier post on Slashdot that seems to come from someone who sincerely believes what they're saying i'm tempted to write their name down and ask them about it when that time comes, but i'm far too lazy to actually follow through on that.

      I like to be helpful, so I'll sum up the answer you'll receive when that happens:

      "Well, excuse me. How could I possibly have heard all of the evidence when I just happened to be sticking my fingers in my ears and going, 'LA LA LA LA,' the whole time, Mr. Know-it-all?"

    • by bunratty (545641) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:37PM (#37882572)
      If someone is denying climate change today, I see no reason why they would not keep denying for the next twenty years. Even after dramatic climate changes in 50-100 years, I have no doubt that they will still say there's no proof that the changes were the result of doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. After all, there's no other Earth to run a controlled experiment on, so by definition there can never be any iron-clad proof. There's also no proof the universe wasn't created last Thursday.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iceperson (582205)
      I'm what many people might call a "denier" even though I believe the earth is getting warmer. I'm just not convinced that 1) humans are making a measurable effect on the climate, 2) we can do anything about it if we are, and 3) it's something to really worry about (who says the current temperature is the perfect temperature for the planet?)

      However, that doesn't mean that I don't recycle and do everything I can to reduce my environmental impact. Personally I think if less time and energy were spent trying
      • by Daetrin (576516) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @08:17PM (#37882836)
        Well i agree with your last point. There are plenty of good reasons to improve our current systems even without considering climate change.

        As for the first part, at which point do you feel the argument that the change is related to our activities breaks down? It's easy to find numbers on exactly how much oil, coal and natural gas is burned every year and calculate the resultant change in carbon dioxide concentrations in the air. I've done the math myself, and it's surprising how big an impact we have. It's been a while since i did that but at the current rate presuming no other changes it's a surprisingly short period of time before we'd make the atmosphere actually lethal. (Some thousands of years i think? Though it could be tens of thousands or just centuries, i'd have to look up the math. In any event surprisingly quick on geologic scales.)

        Of course according to current models we'd see severe changes to the climate long before that point. So where do you disagree? Do you feel that the carbon dioxide is being pulled out of the atmosphere at a _much_ greater rate than it was before we started pumping it into the atmosphere? If so, where do you think it's all going? Or do you feel that the models claiming that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas are wrong? Or do you feel that some other factor is balancing the effect of the increased carbon dioxide? Or is there something else i'm not considering that you think is important?

        I would argue that given we have a mathematically proven effect on the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere it's kind of silly to argue that we can't do anything about the climate. And i would _not_ argue that the current temperature is perfect for the planet, but i think that it's pretty likely the current temperature, or at least the current climate, is close to perfect for us right now. After all, we've spent a long time adapting ourselves to the current situation. It's possible that another situation might be better for us overall, but adapting to that new situation over the period of a couple decades would probably be very painful. Maybe if northern Canada and Russia turn into ideal farmland while the Europe and the Midwest in the US turn into dustbowls the total _potential_ food harvest will increase, but how many people will starve (and how many wars will be fought?) before that new potential is realized?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Baloroth (2370816)

        Oh how I wish I had mod points. This is exactly how I feel. I recognize the Earth is getting warmer, and I know CO2 concentrations can cause warming effects, but I am by no means convinced that there is a causation link between the two, or that most (obviously not all) of the people preaching AGW aren't doing it because they benefit from "green" research and development, which is more often than not (and unfortunately) a rip-off.

        Of course we should move away from oil as fast as possible: but there are a do

        • by the gnat (153162) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @09:31PM (#37883260)

          I am by no means convinced that there is a causation link between the two, or that most (obviously not all) of the people preaching AGW aren't doing it because they benefit from "green" research and development, which is more often than not (and unfortunately) a rip-off.

          I think it bears reminding everyone, again, that the 6 of the top 10 companies in the world by revenue are oil and gas producers [wikipedia.org], and the total revenue of the fossil fuel-based energy companies is in the multiple trillions of dollars, a scale comparable to the US federal budget. This is at least two orders of magnitude more money than the DOE's annual budget (more than a third of which is spent on nuclear security, not "green" research), and more than three orders of magnitude more than the federal government wasted on Solyndra. So even if most of the people claiming that AGW is real are doing it for the money (which is bullshit - academic scientists don't make very much, at least not compared to oil and gas company scientists), it's not exactly a level playing field.

      • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @08:56PM (#37883094)

        The current temperatures are not the perfect ones for the planet. The planet doesn't care. The current temperatures are perfect for us and the food crops and animals we have based our civilization around.

      • Good old self-serving greed is one. That is no small part of why I work to conserve. Use less, have more, more usually being money. I'm a big fan of LED bulbs for that reason. Ya they cost more up front but they use way less energy and you have to replace them literally like once every decade or two. In the long run, I spend less money which means I have more money.

        Same even with small things like turning off lights in rooms I'm not in, having a remote controlled power strip on my home theater setup (Home D

      • by chrb (1083577) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @09:53PM (#37883370)

        I'm just not convinced that 1) humans are making a measurable effect on the climate

        You can believe whatever you want, but at least admit that your approach is completely unscientific. Here's how science works:

        • 1. Observe some data.
        • 2. Note error between existing accepted model and observed data.
        • 3. Propose new model that explains the observed data with lower error.
        • 4. New model becomes accepted.
        • 5. Goto step 1.

          We have a model (increase of CO2) that explains the observed temperature increase and is accepted by the vast majority of climatologists and scientists in general. If you want to propose a new model that discounts CO2 levels as driving the observed temperature increase, then you have to explain not only where the temperature increase is coming from, but also your model needs to fit the observed data better than the existing one. You also have to explain why the observed increase in CO2 - a known greenhouse gas - isn't causing the expected increase in temperature that it should be causing. Waving your hands in the air and saying "I just don't believe it" is not an option.

          As for your other points, they have been refuted many times over:

    • Write my name down.

      1. The primary reason for global warming is historical - the earth cycles between glacial and interglacial periods.

      2. I don't believe that mankind has accelerated that warming much, if any.

      3. I am 100% convinced that all the current efforts to combat global warming are merely schemes to line people's pockets, ie, Al Gore and his "carbon credits".

      You're right - turnabout is fair play. Ten or twenty years from now, the temperature WILL have gone up. The weird weather events WILL NOT go aw

  • by Layzej (1976930) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @06:52PM (#37882304)
    Critics of the first paper have questioned why a 100 year period was used and implied that this is cherry picking. These critics are ignoring the fact that the paper examined 100 years, 100 years excluding the last (very hot) year, and also the entire record since 1880 - each time coming to the same result http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/roger-pielke-jr-just-cant-help-himself/ [wordpress.com]
  • Don't matter. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever.nerdshack@com> on Saturday October 29, 2011 @06:55PM (#37882320)
    It doesn't matter a bit. Until the consequences reach such catastrophic, region-depopulating proportions that the changes occurring can't possibly be ignored the denalism will continue to be sponsored (because that's convenient for certain big businesses in the short term, and they're too stupid to see they're shooting themselves in the face in the medium and long term).

    By then it'll almost certainly be too late to do anything, either to prepare or attempt to moderate the changes. But I have no doubt that when that time comes, the denalists will pretend they are innocent and will continue to defend the handful of corporate interests that manipulated them. Remember how long the tobacco-sponsored lies about how smoking doesn't cause cancer kept up?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Until free trade orthodoxy is derailed, doing anything about global warming will merely mean a transfer of wealth from the West to the East with little to show for it. Jack up the price of carbon in the US and Europe and more economic activity will flee to India and the Middle Kingdom wreathed in smog. It'll be no use appealing to them. If the Indian farmer has to choose between catastrophic flooding maybe drowning him in twenty years or having to certainly drink weed killer tomorrow because the engine of g

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:06PM (#37882402)

    is how the Earth's temperature has remained essentially static (with a slight downward trend) for the last 12 years. That's from figures that everyone agrees.

    If the temperature is static/slightly decreasing while the CO2 levels keep rising, then the CO2 hypothesis CAN'T be right. You can do clever stats as much as you like - the fact remains that the theory and model predictions say that the temperature should be increasing rapidly - and it just isn't. That really is the elephant in the room...

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:18PM (#37882460) Journal
    Seriously, cap-n-trade works IFF all nations participate. Well, Not only is USA not participating, but the worst polluter, china, will not either. In fact, if USA does, then it is CERTAIN that China and 3rd world nations will actually make a grab for American businesses by quickly building up electricity (probably following the chinese model of illegally subsidizing it and then dumping the goods on international market). And what is the fastest way to build up CHEAP electricity? Coal plants without ANY pollution control (in fact, china has nearly all, if not all, of their pollution controls turned off).

    So, what is the best solution? Have nations tax ALL goods (local and imported) based on the CO2 that comes from the nation where the final assembly and the primary sub-components (depending on size of item, much even want several of the largest sub-components). Ideally, we would tax based on CO2 emissions from a nation on a per sq km basis. With that approach, it forces ALL major nations to lower their emissions, while nearly all 3rd world nations are all ready at low levels. However, with this approach, it will reward those nations that actually take the initiative to drop their emissions, while punishing those that choose to ignore it. That includes the nation that invokes the tax itself.

    America is to launch OCO2 in 2012. It measures CO2 emissions. Rather than playing guessing games, this would simply measure CO2 into a nation's border, as well as CO2 OUT of the nation. That approach would allow us to find exactly how much CO2 a nation generates and not worry about the source. That is up to the nation to solve. They may wish to kill coal plants. Or they may elect to kill cars. etc. However, this approach combined with per sq km basis, allows a nation to decide if the issue is a business issue or a ppl issue and then adjust accordingly. However cap-n-trade and combined with per capita is about the worst idea going. It is already failing in EU. They are losing businesses to China who will continue to cheat all the way through this.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They need money for levies to hold water back, not money for Carbon Tax to be paid to the UN's banksters

  • As the unlimited power is at our disposal (CO2 free), the Cold Fusion test wildly discussed yesterday is declared "success" (by Rossi), it has made Wired frontpage in the UK already. Scam artist or a messiah?

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-10/29/rossi-success [wired.co.uk]

    interesting video about the subject by CBS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OabYImeDSc [youtube.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, 2011 @07:48PM (#37882652)

    If it were true, then I'd have to change my lifestyle and I don't want to, therefore global warming is a scam.

  • (!A)GW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blackfrancis75 (911664) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @08:05PM (#37882770)
    Why are people commenting on this story as though it made a case for Anthropogenic (human-caused) Global Warming?
    It doesn't.
    • by bunratty (545641)
      Global warming was predicted to be caused by humans burning fossil fuels over 100 years ago. Every confirmation that the Earth is warming without providing any other plausible explanation for the warming is more evidence to confirm this hypothesis.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cabriel (803429)

        It was predicted years ago that my anti-ninja rock will keep ninjas from killing me. Every confirmation that ninjas haven't killed me without providing any other plausible explanation for the lack of me dying is more evidence to confirm this hypothesis.

        What this says is that lack of explanation is not confirmation of hypothesis.

    • by microbox (704317)
      The many defences of laissez-faire capitolism
      • Global warming just isn't happening. In fact we are about to start cooling.
      • Okay, global warming /is/ happening, but it is absolutely a natural phenomenon.
      • Okay, global warming /is/ man-made, but we can adapt, nothing to worry about.
      • Okay, the planet is a bit fucked up, but that's because it is the end times.

      Most people insure their house against very rare occurrences.

      It is called risk management.

      The truth is that the political right will embrace energy ind

  • "natural variability alone is unlikely to return the region's climate to normal"

    Where "normal" is defined as "what it was 10 years ago". I wonder if the descendants of Ice Age megafauna are wondering when the climate will return to their normal.

    • by Layzej (1976930)

      Where "normal" is defined as "what it was 10 years ago". I wonder if the descendants of Ice Age megafauna are wondering when the climate will return to their normal.

      Nope. They're dead. Guess why?

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