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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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  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [kapimi]> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:46AM (#38107096) Homepage Journal

    The planet warming WILL result in regions cooling because it disrupts the heat transfer mechanisms. Central Europe cooling would likely be disruption to the trade winds and the Atlantic Conveyer. It is extremely naive to assume that global warming equates to local warming and the fact that your environment is the coldest in 50 years really should have tipped you off.

  • Re:2020 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilAlphonso (809413) <meushi.slashdot@gm a i l .com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:00AM (#38107150) Journal
    You mean like the deep solar minimum of 2008/2009?
  • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:22AM (#38107222)
    Who has a track record for being wrong? Can you point to even a single article published in a respectable scientific journal that claimed that?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:34AM (#38107262)

    You would do well to consider that flooded server rooms may have an adverse impact on the IT infrastructure.

    Same can be said for production facilities. Take the recent example of Thailand floods causing an hard drive shortage [ibtimes.com] that is steadily driving prices up.

    Adverse weather will only make things gradually more challenging, requiring more technical know-how and workarounds to deal with it.

  • Re:So (Score:2, Insightful)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:40AM (#38107292)

    I remember all the headlines about New York city would be buried under ice as part of the new ice age to be here by the year 2000.

    [citation needed]

  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormthirst (66538) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:44AM (#38107314)

    Would help if there weren't so many left wing nut jobs (read: Republicans) telling the world that abortion is murder, and religious fools (read: The Vatican) that contraception is a sin.

  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:49AM (#38107330)

    This is the same IPCC that said we wouldn't have any glaciers by 2010, or icesheets, or that the northwest passage would be open to traffic(never mind it's been open to traffic since it was first charted). Or that there would never be snow again on various mountains, and so on and so forth. Or that we'd all be dead what was it this year? Or is it next year? I can never keep it straight with all these doomsday predictions from all these environmental groups, and government backed organizations.

    Reading fail. The IPCC never said we wouldn't have glaciers or ice sheets by 2010. I'd be willing to put my whole retirement savings up to bet you can't back that statement up (and I'm 59 years old so I have some). I wouldn't call requiring a heavy duty ice breaker to get through the northwest passage in less than a couple of years "open to traffic".

    Guys like you never examine the projected time frames on IPCC (and other climate scientists) statements very carefully. You think everything's going to happen in the next 5 or 10 years and if it's longer than that you don't think it's worth worrying about.

  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [kapimi]> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:56AM (#38107370) Homepage Journal

    A destroyed climate is as bad for a hundred people as it is for 7 billion, so it would matter exactly as much.

    Limit you all? LIMIT? Necessity is the mother of invention. If you feel limited by a need to invent, you're on the wrong site. Besides, what are these "limits" of which you speak? You can reduce pollution by increasing efficiency. Increased efficiency means you get more out for the same amount in (since you can't violate the law of conservation of matter and energy and therefore what would be pollutants are now something useful instead). That sounds like a recipe for profits, not limits.

    Moving off coal and adopting nuclear fission (for now, fusion later) doesn't LIMIT you. You get much more power on the grid for less fuel and much less pollution. The miners won't be getting lung cancer or blown up in methane explosions, so saving lives and cutting medical (and rescue) expenses, all at the same time. Those freed-up people, if educated and retrained, could be a marvelous resource to tap into. The mistake made by many shifts in industry is to neglect the fact that humans are a powerful and valuable resource. Ignoring them limits your scope for imagination, exploration and development.

    And let's examine that for a moment. Here's thousands, if not tens of thousands, of opportunities to try new things, explore new ideas and grow. Who but a fool would call that a limit?

    Use the potential that change brings! Ignoring it and wasting it won't stop it, but it will limit what good can come from it.

  • Re:Warms?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:13AM (#38107422) Homepage Journal

    Climate changes. It isn't static. Weather, even more so. To cast climate change as the villain in a scare story is the ultimate gimmick. When I was a kid (in the 1950's), we had some long dry spells in NE Pennsylvania. And there was the dust bowl. Further back, there were other notable and unusual climate events. And huge swings in temperature. Also huge swings in CO2 (although they lagged warm periods, they didn't lead them... obviously the plants making lots and lots. But this doesn't provide evidence that CO2 increases warmth, it provide evidence that CO2 correlates with decreasing warmth.) Still, no one can predict climate in the best of times, much less now. Or weather. Yet, sometimes the climate does very unfriendly things. So it's the perfect bogy-man to point at if you want to scare money out of people, or distract them.

    Having said that, yes, we should reduce our CO2 emissions. And the good news is, we will -- quite naturally -- as we stop burning petroleum. And we will stop, because it's hard to get, appears to be running out, and we have to negotiate with crazy people to get enough, and alternate sources make more sense on many levels, and we'll be reducing our power consumption by increasing efficiency, a good example being by wide adoption of electric vehicles, which we'll have in great numbers very shortly -- VERY shortly if recent battery tech announcements (1 [cnet.com],2 [ieee.org]) pan out. What we don't need to to is torque the economy (even further) out of shape to deal with an emergency that isn't here and which so far, no one has shown decisively to be incoming.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:26AM (#38107474) Homepage

    Nobody makes the obvious point.

    Some areas could become 'increasingly marginal as places to live in,' the report concludes.

    Great. And how is this different from before ? My grandfather left north holland because it became too cold. Before that I'm told that a few dambreaks (presumably caused either by storms, rising sea level, or in the worst case incompetence) cause my family to leave a place between Amsterdam and Zeeland. That's just the last 200 years, maybe less (I only have generations to go on, not years. And there sure were a lot of dambreaks in the 19th century).

    This is not an exception. Just read this : http://weburbanist.com/2008/07/06/20-abandoned-cities-and-towns/ [weburbanist.com].

    That's again just the last century (and not all climate related, some are though). But going further back there's plenty of stuff. 2000 years ago, the Sahara was lush green forest, filled with civilized black people (not arabs, who since exterminated them) who at one point dared attack Rome, and there was serious concern that campaign might succeed (and it did manage to cast aside 4 Roman legions, 3 in less time than it took the senate to notice their legions were gone, never mind decide what to do about it. They didn't do anything about it). The only reason there are Europeans in Europe is climate change in Eastern Asia. This is not news.

    Where do we get the weird idea that climate was constant before today ? Where do we get the massive egocentric idea that it will start staying constant for us ? Gaia is a fickle godess that constantly slays things from houses, to cities, to entire states.

    I am not saying that "there isn't something going on", but I do remember being taught how Darwinism categorizes species : adapt ... or die.

    The whole strategy that seems to be pushed implicitly here seems to me a strategy that falls squarely in the latter category. Trying to keep things constant is not just a losing strategy, it's the way to extinction.

  • by jd (1658) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [kapimi]> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:02AM (#38107564) Homepage Journal

    James Lovelock, the grandfather of geoplanetary science, agrees with you. I'm not inclined to argue the point with him, since he has been right on every prediction so far and is the inventor of the best model we have of how planetary systems work.

    My argument is the same one as it has always been - the top 2% of the population are Mensa-level, which means we've 140,000,000 geniuses planet-wide. That is more than adequate, provided they have the education and the resources, to prepare humanity for what is inevitable and to prevent what is inevitable from being any worse. That's not even including those who are brilliant in ways IQ cannot measure, so you might need to double or triple the brainpower that can be let loose on this.

    You'd need to be willing to spend money. Over the next ten years, the US would need to double its debt just to educate its own. I did the calculation for that a while back on Slashdot for those interested in how I got that figure. However, it could be done. You just have to want to.

  • Re:and... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @08:16AM (#38107796)

    When (and sadly, not if at this point) China and Russia go to war

    How can you sit there and spew this FUD? What could possibly make you think that you're smart and knowledgeable enough to definitively predict such things?

  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoonAss56 (927862) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:18AM (#38107960)

    Aww yes, nothing is happening and we can't do anything about it if it was happening. Same old bullshit story (or non story).
    Maybe you think weather patterns are not leading indicators of climate change, but they are the canary in the coal mine as harbingers of what's to come.
    Second point-no need to do anything about emissions cause the economy is just too damn scary. Here's a newsflash that you might not have completely thought through-when is it going to become too expensive to rebuild the communities that get hit by tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme snowfall, etc? Think about it, billions to rebuild entire towns/cities in this economy. Soon we will decide whether if your home is worthwhile to rebuild or just creat a greenspace.

    P.S. I live in New Orleans and know of the expense and toil of what I speak.

  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:21AM (#38107968)

    People die. We are not immortal. But to claim that we don't have to worry about a poison gas cloud coming our way because people die anyway is ludicrous. The argument that X happens naturally, therefore we need not be concerned about X, only appeals to those who want to dismiss a topic they find uncomfortable to deal with.

  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:24AM (#38107986) Homepage Journal
    At first, your post seemed to imply that global warming is not anthropogenic. That's a pretty strong statement, and of course it would be equally bold for me to say the exact opposite. Nevertheless, I've got the impression that all of these things are connected in a complex cycle of feedback loops. I think you are technically right, in that there are more direct connections between those local causes and local effects, compared to simply global warming. But even those are IMHO part of the big picture of climate change.
  • Re:2020 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:07AM (#38108174)
    Right. The warming that isn't happening that isn't causing the Arctic ice to thin [thinkprogress.org]. I suppose you can convince yourself of anything if you refuse to look at any evidence that disagrees with your conclusion.
  • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:16AM (#38108202) Journal
    You mean the acid rain that was stopped by Reagan's cap and trade treaty on sulphur emissions?
  • Re:Warms?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xyrus (755017) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:00AM (#38108394) Journal

    Climate changes. It isn't static. Weather, even more so. To cast climate change as the villain in a scare story is the ultimate gimmick. When I was a kid (in the 1950's), we had some long dry spells in NE Pennsylvania. And there was the dust bowl.

    No climate isn't static and no scientist claims it is. However, WE have adapted to a particular climate and expect it to stay within norms to survive. Changes in the climate can have devastating effects to regions not prepared to deal with them.

    As to your examples, a dry spell isn't climate change. The dust bowl wasn't climate change either. Those were both weather events.

    Further back, there were other notable and unusual climate events. And huge swings in temperature. Also huge swings in CO2 (although they lagged warm periods, they didn't lead them... obviously the plants making lots and lots.

    Your claim of CO2 lagging warming is nonsense and has been thoroughly debunked. Also, plants do no make CO2, they consume it. Conditions millions of years ago have jack to do with our current climate. Different albedos, land mass configurations, etc. .

    But this doesn't provide evidence that CO2 increases warmth, it provide evidence that CO2 correlates with decreasing warmth.

    Really? And what is your scientific research backing up such a ridiculous claim? It seems all the peer-reviewed science says the exact opposite. Let me guess, you're a conspiracy nut, right?

    Still, no one can predict climate in the best of times, much less now.

    Of course, since you're clearly an expert on the subject. Climate is much easier to predict than weather.

     

    Yet, sometimes the climate does very unfriendly things.

    Yes it does, usually over 100's or 1000's of years which is usually enough time for adaptation. Sudden changes have had some rather nasty side effects in the past. The changes we are seeing now are happening with a lifetime or two. At best, that should raise some concern. It wouldn't take much change to render the US into a nation full of starving people for example. Shift the jet stream north and suddenly the nations breadbasket turns into a desert.

    So it's the perfect bogy-man to point at if you want to scare money out of people, or distract them.

    You're confusing terrorism and climate science. Terrorism is an ill-defined nebulous threat with about as much real threat as you being struck by a bolt of lightning on any given day. Climate science is a well researched topics that has made many verifiable predictions and has a huge amount of data and research backing it up.

    Having said that, yes, we should reduce our CO2 emissions. And the good news is, we will -- quite naturally -- as we stop burning petroleum. And we will stop, because it's hard to get, appears to be running out, and we have to negotiate with crazy people to get enough, and alternate sources make more sense on many levels, and we'll be reducing our power consumption by increasing efficiency, a good example being by wide adoption of electric vehicles, which we'll have in great numbers very shortly -- VERY shortly if recent battery tech announcements (1 [cnet.com],2 [ieee.org]) pan out. What we don't need to to is torque the economy (even further) out of shape to deal with an emergency that isn't here and which so far, no one has shown decisively to be incoming.

    The point is that if we keep burning fossil fuels until they get too expensive to use we will just make the situation worse. It's not just oil. It's also coal, natural gas, and any other carbon based fuel source that isn't carbon neutral. None of these are going away any time soon.

    But clearly, no amount of scientific research will convince you otherwise, so we'll just wait and see what happens over the next decade or so.

  • Best Job Ever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rayvd (155635) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:06PM (#38108766) Homepage Journal

    Prepare for weird weather?! Seriously?

    Say "prepare for weird weather" at the beginning of every year for all eternity and you'd be spot-on.

    Climate is always changing. Weather is always weird. We don't need a panel to tell us the obvious. Please go do something useful instead.

  • by Chonnawonga (1025364) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @02:56PM (#38109932)

    I live in Canada. As you say, all of those areas are already highly productive. What I was referring to is new productivity as a result of climate change. Areas that might become warmer--and thus suitable for agriculture--are currently boreal forest. It would take decades of natural processes for that boreal forest soil to develop into anything that could support agriculture for more than a season or two. North of this is tundra, which might have a better soil profile, but doesn't have enough daylight for agriculture regardless of temperatures or precipitation.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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