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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 harvey the nerd (582806) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @03:45AM (#38107094)
    Never mind about what we said about the hot weather, just get your mittens and coats ready when solar magnetic decline and solar minimum freeze (y)our rears off in 2020...
    • Re:2020 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EvilAlphonso (809413) <meushi...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:00AM (#38107150) Journal
      You mean like the deep solar minimum of 2008/2009?
  • and... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benthurston27 (1220268) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:20AM (#38107212)
    Will it also make some places more habitable?
    • Re:and... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Surt (22457) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:48AM (#38107712) Homepage Journal

      Yes, but it won't balance out.
      Canada, roughly the same land area as the US, becomes slightly more habitable as the US becomes less so. But they don't get any more light, so their food-growing seasons never get to be as good as in the US. Same situation applies to China and Russia.
      Plus, you really don't want to find out what happens if that kind of volume of people needs to migrate, particularly when the lands in question belong to different countries. The China/Russia one is particularly exciting to think about. When (and sadly, not if at this point) China and Russia go to war, it is going to affect the whole world.

      • Re:and... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:16AM (#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?

    • No. The point is that weather will get weird. As the global climate warms, weather patterns will break out of their normal negative-feedback-enforced cycles. Freakish temperature streaks, extreme precipitation, drought, and irregular winds will make agriculture much more difficult and unreliable everywhere. For a fun preview of what we're in for, check out the events of 1315-22 in Europe (hint: it's commonly called "The Great Famine").

      The best part is that even if other regions (for example, Canada) have wa

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @01:44PM (#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.

        • by Chonnawonga (1025364) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @01:56PM (#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.

  • by Statecraftsman (718862) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:28AM (#38107236) Homepage
    Would becoming 'increasingly marginal as a place to live' include the Gulf of Mexico being taken over by a large, year-round, standing hurricane?
    • There's no way to know. What we consider "normal" weather is the product of negative-reinforcement systems. Once climate change breaks us out of those cycles, anything goes. Our ability to model weather isn't nearly sophisticated enough to predict it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:34AM (#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.

  • by ndogg (158021) <the...rhorn@@@gmail...com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:49AM (#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 jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:02AM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swalve (1980968)
        I wouldn't trust the smartest 2% of the people I know to build a shed, much less even understand a problem as complicated as global energy dynamics.
      • Dude/duddette:

        I was in Mensa. Big whoop. There is no correlation with being in the top two and being right, nor with being a genius and being right, for that matter.

        "Over the next ten years, the US would need to double its debt just to educate its own."

        *FIFTEEN TRILLION* dollars on education? Up yours.
        • I agree with you, I have an I R Smart membership card too. Many people don't automatically reach any sort of consensus regardless of facts. The bulletin and various SIGs can make slashdot look like tame sometimes. The nation voted in O who I consider to be a pretty smart guy and his hope and change platform just carried on what Bush had done. While I usually want someone smart running things, unfortunately smart AND not in the pocket of outside interests is probably very hard to find.
  • by MPAB (1074440) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:52AM (#38107346)

    Publicity for Ubuntu 16.04 or around.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @04:55AM (#38107360) Homepage

    We already have weird weather. It's the end of November and it's 15C outside (I can't put a degree symbol because the slashdot janitors have made an arse od input parsing). It reached a deep low of about 8C earlier in the month. During the summer, the temperature varied between -2C and 26C in July.

    Yesterday I was seeing wind speeds of up to 90mph in gusts and 60mph sustained, and today it is flat calm. In January we normally see sustained 120mph winds, but this year they were only about 90mph.

    Although it's flat calm and warm and sunny now, in as little as ten minutes the weather could go to a hailstorm with high winds and the cloudbase at about treetop height, then clear up just as soon as it came.

    Up here, this is all perfectly normal. It's just what it's like here.

    "Weird weather", is it? Well, we'll see.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)

      Some parts of the world already have highly fluctuating weather. That's just how it is.

      What would happen is that more parts of the world would get fluctuating weather, and those that already do would have it worse.

  • by lexsird (1208192) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:12AM (#38107412)

    Seriously, here it is.

    We engage the warp drive on the hemp production. We will suck every drop of carbon out of the atmosphere with it. Seriously, we have our number one oxygen scrubber growling like a weed. Once upon a time hemp grew like a weed. It was a damn weed and it would grow out of control. It's a pain in the ass if you want to grow corn crops. It makes great rope, in fact we enacted farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. Then we said...no..no more hemp.

    It seems the cotton industry hated it. Here is a WEED that people go grab for fibers then that they could weave for themselves cloths and such. Coupled with corn farmers they lobbied it as an evil South of the border thing. And they did their best to eradicate it. It also turned out that the jazz and blues musicians were smoking it in all of those wrong kind of places to be seen at as a decent Christian sort. They were able to demonize it even more with their lobbyists. Preachers thundered on about it, etc.

    But lets look at the facts of the matter. This plant has some amazing qualities to it aside from deer and rabbits wanting to eat it like it's a delicacy to them. The seeds of this are from what I understand can be distilled into a petroleum. Yes, I thought that as well. Petroleum? Seriously?

    Petro is a hydrocarbon. Correct? What do we have floating about fucking up our atmosphere? Carbon? What thrives on this stuff in the air? Plants? How about a plant that will chew this stuff up and store that carbon in it's seeds as energy for it's babies. Imagine harvesting those seeds for that hydrocarbon? Then you have a very strong fiber resulting from the harvest as well. There are various grades of this fiber to work with. First being very long strong straight strands, then of course pulp fiber which can be pressed into parchment paper such as what the US Constitution is wrote on. Imagine the image quality of a high quality ink printer photo on a paper that ages like our Constitution. I can't get that at Office Max, can you? Let me know if you do, I want to print off pirate maps on some. Arrgh!

    Here is the solution. You legalize and authorize hemp production in the US. It has to be licensed and monitored by the Ag department, not the DEA. Don't worry, stoners will not be growing weed in it or near it. They will cry if they do because it will be allowed to massively pollinate with Midwestern native hemp, which will drop the THC levels into the ditch weed category. Not to mention it will become seedy as FUCK. Everyone hates seedy pot. If you go to smoke pot and there is a seed in the pipe or the joint, BOOM! I have seen seeds blow up in a pot pipe someone was smoking and blow all the pot out of it and give them a face full of burning weed. It wasn't like a grenade, it just startles the living crap out of them when it happens. As a kid, I would get a seed, hollow out the tobacco of a cigarette, drop a big fat juicy seed in it, then repack it. We've all sabotaged a smoker like that before, right?

    As I digress...

    Those same "blow the fuck up in your face, so you better clean them out, NOOB" seeds are the ones that you run through a high pressure roller press and collect the oil. We also have to do this scientifically to appease the most staunch of skeptics. First, it has to be grown by using a strong composing, we can do this by processing a lot of our waste. We can let it process a trashy swampy sewer-ed field into clay, instead of devouring crop land. You just have to engineer the fields according with EPA standards for a land fill situation. It's called, get out the bulldozers time and do some serious earth moving.

    We can do some genetic experimentation with this to tweak it to grow insanely big and fast. Plants are amazingly fun to mess with on a genetic level, we have been doing it for quite a time now. We used to call it "breeding". There are an amazing variety of this plant that we can cross breed with. Take for example there is a breed of it in italy that grows 6 inches I day, I would say couple that with so

    • What would be better than hemp (at least, as a foundation) would be algae and bamboo.

      I'm not anti-hemp, but let's look at some facts. Fact, bamboo can be grown on crappy, dirty water. Fact, there's a strain of bamboo for almost every climate. Fact, bamboo is fast-growing and has more mass than hemp where you can grow the right varieties; one planting of many types is said to essentially fix all the excess carbon floating about above that land area. We can use it for many purposes, just like hemp. It's far more useful as a building material, which is very handy because in order to actually sequester carbon with plants you have to cut them down and bury them, or build stuff out of them. Allowing it to compost itself back to the land causes it to release most of its carbon back into the atmosphere which does not help us at all.

      As for algae, we have enough unused desert land in the USA to replace all of our fuel oil consumption with biodiesel from algae using technology proven at Sandia NREL in the 1980s. That technology was believed to be profitable by the time diesel fuel hit $3/gallon. This is of course dependent on getting permits from the BLM to grow the algae there. You can get permits for coal or oil but not for solar, so algae is probably out of the question as well unless we make some fundamental changes in our society. I could see Africa getting on board if they weren't being fucked by everyone in turn.

      • by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) <jbsouthsea.gmail@com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:13AM (#38107600)

        I think you misunderstand. The GP doesn't care about that. The GP wants to get high.

        • Wants to get high, justifies possible aid to global climate change.

          Quite similar to a person with a vested interest in ethanol once told me. Ethanol is carbon negative! Take the corn kernels and make ethanol. What do you do with the cob and stalks? He didn't know, but you could do something with them as they are made from carbon pulled from the air. There you go, more carbon stored than burned. Therefore, make and burn more ethanol by building plants made by the company he works for.

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        But the American desert is not lifeless (far from it; I live in the desert and I've never seen a place, outside of a swamp, so filled to overflowing with both plants and critters -- all of them spiney and hungry!) What you propose is destroying large swaths of that ecosystem -- which is already rather fragile. How do you justify that? How is this any different from destroying a more-conventionally "pretty" ecosystem, like a forest, for the same purpose?

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @08:05AM (#38107932) Journal
    This really comes down to the fact that you have ALL nations not wanting to make economic sacrifices while at the same time, we have China in a cold war with the west via economic means. There are 2 solutions for this:
    1) accept that we will have climage change and see where we go.
    2) Do something that forces ALL NATIONS TO CHANGE AT THE SAME TIME.

    Now, America is NOT going to change unless we see that nations like China, India, Brazil, etc. are going to change. China has already indicated that they will not change. They keep saying that this is about output / person, which is a false measure. So, how to change this? HAVE NATIONS PUT A TAX ON ALL MANUFACTURED GOODS PREDICATED ON CO2 FROM WHERE IT (and parts) CAME from. That tax should rise steadily to give nations time to adjust. OCO2 is about to go up. This sat measures CO2 in the atmosphere. This will give us a true measure of CO2 that is flowing in/out from a nation. That will make it possible for us to have true values to work with. That will almost certainly mean that many nations and even unexpected areas are going to show up as emitting far far more than what they expected. By doing a tax on ALL goods, we will see nations change quickly. The reason is because it is economically better to do that, then not.

    The one issue is how to apply it. Many will argue for CO2 per capita. That is one of the WORST measures going. The reason is that nations will cheat in their reporting. In addition, it rewards nations that have not controlled their population. In addition, CO2 output is NOT correlated with populations. Far from it.
    I have argued that the fairest and sanest would be per sq km. The reason is that the size of land is fixed and can be seen from space. Likewise Ag is a major CO2 emitter. But probably the worst output is a correlation with economic output. Most of man's CO2 output is far more related to economics.
    As such, it makes sense to look at it in terms of CO2 per $ of GPD or CO2 per land rather than per capitia.
  • Best Job Ever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rayvd (155635) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:06AM (#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.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann

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