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Earth Science Politics

Climate Panel Says To Prepare For Weird Weather 469

Posted by timothy
from the so-the-ostrich-mukluks-then dept.
Layzej writes "Extreme weather, such as the 2010 Russian heat wave or the drought in the horn of Africa, will become more frequent and severe as the planet warms, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns in a report released today. Some areas could become 'increasingly marginal as places to live in,' the report concludes. Critics of the report note that 'Governments have in the past considerably weakened the language of IPCC summaries for policymakers,' and that the IPCC process tends to water down even the most obvious conclusions."
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Climate Panel Says To Prepare For Weird Weather

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  • by siddesu (698447) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:41AM (#38107300)
    Give credit where it is due, Chicken Little, Thailand floods are purely anthropogenic in nature -- a result of deforestation, bad farming practices and non-existing city planning, not global warming.
  • by ndogg (158021) <the.rhorn@gmailWELTY.com minus author> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:49AM (#38107336) Homepage Journal

    I think we've past the tipping point already. At the least, I don't think we can change our habits enough to prevent climate change at this point, so...

    I think we need to start planning for the aftermath of all of this, and do as much as we can in preparation for those changes. Unfortunately I don't think we will, and all I can see is a lot of people needlessly suffering for it all.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:53AM (#38107352)

    And 10 years has what to do with climate trends? Not much. A recent paper by Santer et. al. calculated the signal (climate) to noise (weather/natural variation) ratio for climate trends. For 10 years the S/N ratio is less than 1. They found it takes 17 years to be sure the signal is greater than the noise.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:58AM (#38107372)

    All of those things are true but it's true that there was a record amount of rainfall as well.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:37AM (#38107488)

    2000 years ago, the Sahara was lush green forest ...

    Not even close. From the Wikipedia article on the Sahara [wikipedia.org]:

    The modern Sahara, though, is not lush in vegetation, except in the Nile Valley, at a few oases, and in the northern highlands, where Mediterranean plants such as the olive tree are found to grow. The region has been this way since about 4200 years ago.

    Before that it was mostly savannah, not forest.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:39AM (#38107492) Homepage Journal

    I'm in New York north of NYC, and Hurricane Irene passed through in August this year with rain the likes of which I have never seen outside of Florida.

    Your memory is too short, grasshopper: In August of 1955, hurricane Dianne [blish.org] dumped almost double the peak amount of rain (24 inches) on your region as compared to hurricane Irene [lmgtfy.com], and the consequences were likewise notable. And no-one, not even the truest climate change believers, are blaming Hurricane Dianne on CO2. Every once in a while, it is normal for a hurricane to do exactly that -- drop a bunch of water on the NY/PA region. It doesn't mean that we're experiencing climate change. It just means a hurricane followed an inconvenient track, while doing exactly what hurricanes always do. Again.

  • Re:So (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:46AM (#38107520)

    We don't have a big problem with acid rain any more because of these warnings and following drastic tightening of emission regulations for power plants and other large scale emitters.
    The hope is that these worst-case predictions and scenarios for the climate change lead to the required actions to limit further C02 emissions best case or at least prepare to mitigate the effects on things like food and water supply, flooding and storms.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:56AM (#38107552)

    Changes in precipitation with climate change [ucar.edu] [PDF] by Kevin Trenberth.

  • Re:Ah yeah (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eunuchswear (210685) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:18AM (#38107622) Journal

    First it was "Global Warming", then when it became obvious that wasn't happening it was "Climate Change".

    No.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=global+warming%2Cclimate+change&year_start=1970&year_end=2008&corpus=5&smoothing=3 [googlelabs.com]

    Click the little linky thing.

  • Re:So (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcupitt65 (68879) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @08:34AM (#38107848)

    Not really the same thing. The global cooling hypothesis was only in a couple of papers and, unlike global warming, never received wide scientific support. It was however widely (and inaccurately) reported in the popular media.

    You can read about it on (where else) wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:So (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:32AM (#38108264) Journal
    The whole "1970's ice age" thing is based on a half truth and misdirection. Before Nixon's clean air act it was a bit of a toss up between warming from GHG's and cooling from aerosols (mainly sulphur that was also causing acid rain). Regan permanently fixed the sulphur problem with a cap and trade system in the early 90's, so now it's mostly warming from GHG's but still a bit of short term cooling from smog. This graph shows the best guesstimates of various forgings [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:38AM (#38108290) Journal

    Battery powered electric cars will increase CO2 emissions drastically.

    Last time I ran the numbers on the Tesla roadster, a Tesla powered by 100% coal-derived electricity would be responsible for half the CO2 of a gasoline-powered car getting 30mpg. So, no, battery powered electric cars won't increase CO2 emissions drastically.

  • Re:So (Score:4, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:55AM (#38108370) Journal
    It was a member of the IPCC who picked up the error, a bit late maybe, but still the process caught it. The IPCC is nothing more than a giant peer-review process, the reports they write are their evidence and summaries and are generally conservative in their statements due to the difficulty of getting a large number of experts to agree.Their budget is ~$5M/yr soureced from hundreds of nations of all political colours, the money is spent mainly on conference rooms and planes, no scientist is paid a dime by the IPCC for their work on the reports. I cannot think of another scientific question that has been put to such a rigorous bullshit filter. The remarkably small number of real errors that have found their way into the final reports over the last 20yrs is a testament to their accuracy. The 90,000 review comments and answers for their last set of reports are also available somewhere on the site..
  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by swalve (1980968) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:06AM (#38108436)
    I think "miles per gallon" is a clue that it is measured in fuel input per miles, not some magical fuel over time to empty calculation.

    And even if it does break even, it is easier to capture the CO2 at the coal plant than it is at the tailpipe.
  • Re:2020 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Troed (102527) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:57AM (#38108716) Homepage Journal

    Data from 1979 ..

    Eye witness reports from the 40s and 19th century contradicts that the Arctic is thinning in any way different now compared to then. We even sent scientific expeditions to the arctic to investigate the unusual warming, more than a hundred years ago.

    Then it froze right back.

    “It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

    President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London. 20th November, 1817

    “From an examination of the Greenland captains, it has been found that owing to some convulsions of nature , the sea was more open and more free from compact ice than in any former voyage they ever made: that several ships actually reached the eighty-fourth degree of latitude, in which no ice whatever was found; that for the first time for 400 years, vessels penetrated to the west coast of Greenland, and that they apprehended no obstacle to their even reaching the pole, if it had consisted with their duty to their employers to make the attempt.”

    Greenland, the adjacent seas, and the North-west Passage to the Pacific Ocean: illustrated in a voyage to Davis's strait, during the summer of 1817 (Google eBook)

    Does this evidence disagree with your conclusion?

  • Re:2020 (Score:2, Informative)

    by bunratty (545641) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:10PM (#38108780)
    I don't see anything in your post about the thickness of the ice. The anecdotes in your post relate to the surface area of the ice. Read the article again if you do not understand the difference between area and thickness. If you still don't understand, how about a simple analogy: a 1" by 1" piece of cardboard is thicker than a sheet of 8 1/2" by 11" paper, although the paper has more surface area.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @02:44PM (#38109834)

    Canada grows a ton of wheat. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba all have major wheat growing operations (other things too). Some of my cousins are indeed farmers up in Canada. Wheat isn't all that Canada grows, but it is a big crop there.

  • Re:2020 (Score:2, Informative)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:47PM (#38110608) Homepage

    You're cherry-picking the data: http://www.skepticalscience.com/hiding-the-incline-in-sea-level.html [skepticalscience.com]
    So, intentional deception, or uncritical parroting of the party line?

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