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Earth Science

Why Groundwater Use May Not Explain Half of Sea-Level Rise 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the science-is-complicated dept.
New submitter Sir Realist writes "A recent Slashdot scoop pointed us at a scientific study that claimed 42% of global sea-level rises could be due to groundwater use. It was a good story. But as is often the way with science, there are folks who interpret the data differently. Scott Johnson at Ars Technica has a good writeup which includes two recent studies that came to remarkably different conclusions from mostly the same data, and an explanation of the assumptions the authors were making that led to those differences. Essentially, there is some reason to think that the groundwater estimates used in the first study were too high. However, that's still under debate, so it's worth reading the whole argument. Scientific review in action!"
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Why Groundwater Use May Not Explain Half of Sea-Level Rise

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  • by bbecker23 (1917560) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:25PM (#40312257)
    The issue is actually pretty similar to that with declining returns in oil production. Groundwater replenishment is certainly still happening. Similarly, the processes which produce oil are still occurring. The issue is that we are consuming much faster than we are replenishing. Groundwater, depending on the depth of the aquifer and the material in which it exists, can take years to thousands of years to be replenished. Oil takes millions.

    The reason that ocean levels might rise from groundwater is that we are bringing it up faster than it can go back down. All that water has to go somewhere.
  • Re:Scientific review (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <(gaygirlie) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:29PM (#40312315) Homepage

    >>>It's a scientific fact that global warming is real. There is no debate, and no controversy

    How come it's getting colder over the last decade with record levels of snowfall and cooler-than-normal summers? (I had heard by 2010 we wouldn't even know what snow is in Great Britain.)

    Over here in Finland it is actually getting a lot warmer than it used to. For several years now the temperature can be above zero even in January, but when I was a child that would have been totally unheard of; back then the temperature could drop as low as -35 degrees Celsius where I lived in.

  • Re:Scientific review (Score:3, Informative)

    by andy16666 (1592393) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:35PM (#40312417)

    >>>It's a scientific fact that global warming is real. There is no debate, and no controversy

    How come it's getting colder over the last decade with record levels of snowfall and cooler-than-normal summers? (I had heard by 2010 we wouldn't even know what snow is in Great Britain.)

    They don't. Global temperatures continue to show a rise, despite certain local climate variations.

  • by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:41PM (#40312479)

    I know you are joking but cisterns are illegal in many areas.

    Here is one of many stories that talk about it.
    http://www.hcn.org/issues/40.18/a-good-idea-2013-if-you-can-get-away-with-it [hcn.org]

  • Re:Scientific review (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ironchew (1069966) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @03:02PM (#40312729)

    So where are the reviews that actually challenge the hypothesis - or is that untouchable?

    Reviews don't do that; competing hypotheses do. In the world of science, a competing hypothesis overtakes the consensus if and only if it explains everything the old system could and more that it couldn't. Science demands alternative explanations that solve inconsistencies; finding a problem with the consensus is only the first step, and denialists are stuck there.

  • Re:Scientific review (Score:5, Informative)

    by icensnow (932196) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @03:07PM (#40312783)
    The idea that light was a wave moving through the ether was consistent with all available data, especially given the limitations of 19th century measurement, until the Michelson-Morley experiments. Maxwell's equations are still consistent with pre-relativity understanding, and I certainly had to learn how to work with them. The old way of thinking is not so much wrong as limited to a certain level of measurement, just as with Newton's laws and pretty much everything else before relativity and quantum mechanics. The old ways of thinking are still useful and generally correct within their assumptions. I begin to think that we need some kind of Godwin's Law against bringing up Kuhn and paradigms in an actual scientific discussion -- it seldom leads anywhere useful but usually is used just like this post to say "just because everyone who knows something thinks so doesn't mean it's right."
  • Re:Scientific review (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @03:19PM (#40312933)

    "if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression."

    See also: Svante Arrhenius, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground, Svante Arrhenius, Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Series 5, Volume 41, April 1896, pages 237-276. [globalwarmingart.com]

    Now, if you clean up your act and stop simply spouting lies, we might have a discussion.

  • Re:Scientific review (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @08:51PM (#40317299) Homepage

    How come it's getting colder over the last decade

    Whoever told you that was lying to you. They cherry-picked the year 1998 for a two-point comparison because it was anomalously high. If you picked 1997 instead you'd see warming way above predictions. But that would also be a lie. That's why climate scientists don't do that, and instead use rolling averages to find the underlying trends.

  • Re:Scientific review (Score:4, Informative)

    by rockout (1039072) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:26PM (#40318063)
    Your understanding of the word "theory" in the scientific world gives away your uneducated born-again leanings.

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