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Seas Rising Faster Than Projected 605

Posted by Soulskill
from the invest-in-canoes dept.
New submitter zenyu writes "IPCC's 2mm per year estimate for sea level rise at current CO2 levels has proven too optimistic. Sea levels have been rising 3.2mm per year in the last two decades. The IPCC's 50 cm — 100 cm projection for the next century may prove equally optimistic."
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Seas Rising Faster Than Projected

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  • It's ok. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:53AM (#42114695)

    Just tell those seas you don't believe in global we fucked up the climate change.

    That's the cheap choice. And it's all we're gonna do.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Just tell those seas you don't believe in global we fucked up the climate change.

      That's the cheap choice. And it's all we're gonna do.

      Hey, is that you King Knut?

    • Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:05AM (#42116375)

      I thought the seas stopped rising in 2008...somewhere around January or February.

      Coulda sworn I heard that a zillion times.

      WTF?

      • There are substantial seasonal variations in sea levels. It's completely trivial to cherry pick data to support that statement without it appearing to be bogus.

  • by mozumder (178398) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:55AM (#42114705)

    This is their entire purpose in life - to force you to pay to do anything by using their energy resources. And, they're going to do everything they can to make sure any bad news about energy consumption goes away.

    Remember kids, this is why you fight the energy companies. Do everything you can to fight them back!

  • I've given up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ndogg (158021) <the...rhorn@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:01AM (#42114735) Homepage Journal

    I've grown extraordinarily pessimistic that anything can or will be done about climate change at this point, and my only thought at this point is that we just need to enjoy what we can until the inevitable self-inflicted pain and suffering we will endure from its affects.

    So let's all party for tomorrow we may die.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:03AM (#42114749)

      I've grown extraordinarily pessimistic that anything can or will be done about climate change at this point, and my only thought at this point is that we just need to enjoy what we can until the inevitable self-inflicted pain and suffering we will endure from its affects.

      So let's all party for tomorrow we may die.

      Tonight! We dine in HELL!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        C'mon, the work canteen isn't that bad.

    • Re:I've given up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gox (1595435) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:26AM (#42114821)

      I've grown extraordinarily pessimistic that anything can or will be done about climate change at this point, and my only thought at this point is that we just need to enjoy what we can until the inevitable self-inflicted pain and suffering we will endure from its affects.

      We don't know how to solve such problems. The extent we can do with our current political technology is to become increasingly centralized to implement and enforce consistent policies. Which is a much bigger nightmare than global warming and would cause more suffering in the long run. Of course we won't call it suffering then, since we will be educated to know better.

      I'm pessimistic about our ability to solve this problem, but I'm mildly optimistic about the coping part. We can easily adapt. New technologies will deal with the problems we're likely to face. The worst part would still be the politics of it. There is too much friction in resource allocation, which will make it very hard to help threatened populations. There is even more political friction if you want to relocate them.

      Would these issues result in the same kind of centralization? If so, then moving in that direction now would be the lesser evil. It's very hard to reason about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > I'm pessimistic about our ability to solve this problem, but I'm mildly optimistic about the coping part. We can easily adapt. New technologies will deal with the problems we're likely to face. The worst part would still be the politics of it. There is too much friction in resource allocation, which will make it very hard to help threatened populations. There is even more political friction if you want to relocate them.

        There's no coping. There's NO coping at all.

        It's not about what we do about our popu

      • We don't know how to solve such problems.

        This is a lie. We DO know how to solve such problems for the same reason we know how to predict such problems- we do science.

        The only part of this problem we don't know how to solve is the denier part.

        The extent we can do with our current political technology is to become increasingly centralized to implement and enforce consistent policies. Which is a much bigger nightmare than global warming

        This is a distressingly ignorant statement . We, the nations of the world, acted in a coordinated fashion to turn back the VERY highly lethal threat of CFC's which were putting a hole in the ozone.

        Partially because we averted this disaster people don't know how serious it was. If left unchecked - whi

    • by mdsharpe (1051460)
      Agreed. We may or may not be at peak oil, but either way there's a heck of a lot more fossil fuel left to dig up, and I just cannot see any way that business will let themselves be denied that wealth.
    • Re:I've given up (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:28AM (#42116053) Homepage Journal

      Before you give up, I think it's worthwhile to examine the kernel of truth in the denialist position.

      When you force a denialist into the corner he'll pull out this chestnut: the history of climate shows greater differences than we're talking about for the next century; there's no "right" temperature for the globe. There's more than a kernel of truth in this, it just misses the fact that there's a big difference between changes that happen over the course of many lifetimes or many lifetimes in the future, and change that happens in the lifetime of people currently inhabiting the planet. It's a bit like somebody saying "fire is part of the natural forest lifecycle" then throwing his lit cigarette butt onto the dry forest floor.

      The differences between conservatives and liberals on this issue is that conservatives fear change we'd have to do something about, and liberals fear change we can't do anything about. But I content there are no such changes we cannot do anything about.

      Humans are adaptable. Change is traumatic, but we can adapt to a "new normal". On one of my favorite forest walks I encounter a visible sign of climate change: a dying grove of eastern hemolock (Tsuga canadensis). Twenty years ago walking into the grove in summer was like walking into a refrigerator. You could not see a patch of sky through the canopy, and sometimes snow drifts survived til June under the eaves of the grove. What's killing the grove is the wooly adgelid, an Asian insect whose northward range is limited by cold winters. When that grove finally dies I will miss it, but future generations won't. They'll see the black birch and rhododendron that replace it as normal, the way I see the red oak and Norway maple that replaced the American Chestnut (once the dominant hardwood species in N. America) as normal. Something will be lost but everyone won't experience loss, just those of us who remember what we used to have. *We* will experience loss, as will our children and grandchildren; but our great-great-great grandchildren won't.

      So what can we do about climate change? First, it's far from clear we can't stop it; we've been so busy debating (at least in political circles) whether climate is changing at all that we haven't really put any serious thought into stopping it. It's far too early to give up hope.

      It's also quite feasible that change can be slowed. People tend to underestimate the utility of that. There's a big difference between a 100cm sea level rise in 100 years and 100cm rise in 200 years; it's much easier and less traumatic to adapt to gradual change than sudden change.

      And we can face squarely the changes that are coming rather than pretending they won't or wringing our hands. That includes preparing for the loss of coastal property and accommodating populations as they abandon of some currently habitable areas. It includes preparing for the emergence of new diseases as the geographic range of pathogens and disease vectors expands. There's preserving species in danger of extinction as their habitat shifts out from under them, and changing crops as rainfall patterns change. Those are huge but achievable tasks that are made much easier by a marginal reduction in the rate of change.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        Honestly, my concern is less about the changes that climate will wreak, or even the ways we'll have to adapt to them, but about the ways that persistent denialism prefigures an inability to make decisions wisely. And also about the way those patterns of thought are hampering our ability to make wise choices now.

        If denialism were just about the fragments of truth you're talking about, we'd be able to hold a rational debate about them. But those fragments are buried under a mountain of outright lies, delusion

  • One consistent theme (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:15AM (#42114785)
    Every estimate has been overly optimistic. Can anyone see a problem with this? Essentially throw out the best case scenario and look at the worst case scenario as the baseline. Anyone not panicked at the thought of this IS A FOOL! After a decade plus of denial we come out with the worst case scenario is our best case. Basically three foot of ocean level rise is the best we can hope for and the likely result is twice that. Kiss all that coastal property goodbye! Forget all that because it mostly affects rich people. Just look at the Great Lakes. They stand at record levels. Remember this ISN'T the bad this is the best we can expect for the next 100 years and it may get worse after that. Drought is likely to be the norm not to mention storms damage. In 10 or 20 years the conservatives will blame the liberals for not telling them how bad it could get. Okay from a liberal here's how bad it can get, ever see Road Warrior???? That's bad. Good is probably Soylent Green. Any questions????
    • None at all. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by robbak (775424) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:23AM (#42114815) Homepage

      All we are going to do about it is shoot the climate scientists for not doing enough to warn us.

    • by kyrsjo (2420192) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:33AM (#42114851)

      "The rich" might loose their valuable beachfront property, but many poor in Bangladesh and other places will drown.

      A small sadistic part of me is looking forward to see what our right-wing politicians who argue that (a) climate change is a conspiracy and (b) immigrants are evil once the people-flood sets in - hundreds of millions of people are not going to sit quietly on their hands and drown, no matter how much right-wing western politicians wish that is true... Lets just hope there are no mayor shortages before the worlds food production can adjust - but on the other hand, "someone else" will probably get the pointy end of that problem, too...

    • by Bongo (13261)

      Catastrophe projections are predicated on feedbacks.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:13AM (#42115021)

      Yes unfortunately this is being treated as a scientific observation where caution means not making the most extreme claims. It should be treated like an engineering problem where caution means assuming the most extreme claims might be true (and build in a factor of 2 safety).

    • by WhiteSpade (959060) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:30AM (#42115091)

      Just look at the Great Lakes. They stand at record levels.

      Do you mean record lows or highs? Because the way it's written seems to indicate you think they're at record highs, and that is not the case at all. I am originally from Wisconsin, and dropping lake levels has been a concern for a long time and this year saw a record low for Lake Michigan. The states surrounding the lakes have been actively trying to protect and increase the lake levels, since they had been dropping for so long. Many states (read: the southwest) wanted to run a pipeline from the Great Lakes in order that Arizona can have green grass in their front yards. All of the Great Lake states (and eventually the feds) signed the Great Lakes Compact [wikipedia.org] in order to protect the lakes. In effect, it requires that all water removed from the lakes must be returned.

      Dropping lake levels has a significant economic impact on shipping in the midwest - measured in the billions of dollars (too lazy to find a citation for this, but I've read more than a few reports on this over the years).

      As for the rest of your post, yes sea level are rising, but I think a 3 foot rise in sea levels in the short term is not terribly likely. The seas are rising, this is a problem, but I don't think it serves anyone to overstate the problem. A cm or two is a big enough problem as it is. 3 ft in the short term would be nothing short of catastrophic. Calm down, focus on the problem, readjust to the new data, and contribute to the conversation productively with your newfound context.

      ---Alex

    • by seven of five (578993) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:43AM (#42116155) Homepage
      Just look at the Great Lakes. They stand at record levels.

      Actually, they're near record low levels due to drought [freep.com].
  • It really is as bad as we thought. Editors still let him publish.

    Yawn.

  • Regret (Score:5, Insightful)

    by allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:51AM (#42114911)

    One of the most regretful moments of my life was when a few people from an organization I don't remember were visiting my school, claiming that rising sea levels are nothing more than myths and scare stories. I clearly remember the guy in front of the class being all smug, saying "I'm sure you've all seen the movie Water World. Well, that's just Hollywood because the sea is never going to rise. Ice floats on water and has actually a lower density than water, therefore, if it melts, the sea level is going to stay the same or actually -lower-....".

    I was in agony, on the one hand I wanted to shove Antarctica, an entire continent packed with ice, full in his face, but my shyness, fear of being at the center of attention and making a scene by completely discrediting these highborn scientific authorities that had come to talk to us, made me stay quiet.

    Man, how much I regret having stayed quiet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @08:01AM (#42115491)

      ... were visiting my school....

      I assure you that if you spoke up, you would have been belittled by the smug asshole, your teacher would have joined in or told you to shut up, you would have been sent to the office, your parents called, and suspended. You then would probably would have been forced to apologize to those kooks.

      No you did the right thing. And not only that, I can be pretty sure those smug asshats walked away thinking they did a great job getting the "word" out about the "truth". Those people are delusional. All the data in the World will never change their mind. And as more things are done (hopefully) to deal with Global Warming, those people will be scratching their heads wondering why there's so much support for such actions. Kind of like the Fox News crowd who couldn't believe that Obama kicked Romney's ass in the elections. Actually it is the same crowd.

      The Fox News - Talk Radio crowd are so ill informed that they are living in a delusion of what reality is. Why right now, they firmly believe that Obama is going to pull some sort of a legal thingy doodle and be in office until 2020. But that's another story and post ....

  • by PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:08AM (#42115003)

    recent data doesn't show any increase in rate of sea level rise:
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ [colorado.edu]
    looking at the decadal rate of increase it has actually been falling off for last 5 years:
    http://www.masterresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/sea_level_rise_fig1.jpg [masterresource.org]
    doesn't appear to be any significant alteration in rate of rise over last 100 years, rate of rise in 30's-60's was about the same as current:
    http://www.oceanclimatechange.org.au/content/images/uploads/2012_sea_level_fig1.jpg [oceanclima...nge.org.au]

    A rather big factor that needs to be taken into account is that since the 1950's there has been a massive amount of ground water abstraction for agriculture that is estimated to contribute something like 0.4-0.8mm/year to sea level rise (15-25% of total).
    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2012/05/120531-groundwater-depletion-may-accelerate-sea-level-rise/ [nationalgeographic.co.uk]

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:22AM (#42115067)

    The IPCC always said that various positive feedbacks were not included because the science wasn't clear enough. That always implied that the AR projections were the best possible case, and don't forget that those were the consensus opinion - meaning that if the Saudi delegates didn't agree it wouldn't go in the AR.

    I just hope the AR5 will be a little more realistic and a wake-up call.

  • "Unless we reduce our carbon pollution rapidly, this study clearly shows we are heading for the nightmare world at the top end of the IPCC predictions,"

    No, we'll simply be heading for a world with sea levels that are a few feet higher and temperatures that are a few degrees higher a century from now, ample time to adapt without much effort. It's not like we need to move New York or Miami overnight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      It's not like we need to move New York or Miami overnight.

      Yeah, it's not like New York City recently experienced severe flooding or something causing at least $60 billion worth of damage, killing a few people, and basically shutting the whole place down for days.

      As far as how much of a sea level rise is really really bad, see for yourself:
      http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/ [geology.com]

      (Although I guessing some would be happy to see New Jersey or Washington DC underwater)

  • IPCC politics (Score:4, Informative)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:09AM (#42115933) Homepage

    You have got to admire the objectivity of Slashdot readers. I posted an article with a reference to the NOAA site that has global sea-level data online, for all to see. This data contradicts TFA (which is primarily a political report). Slashdot did not disappoint - within a couple of minutes, my comment was moderated into nonexistence..

    Here's a second chance: go look at the actual, raw data. [noaa.gov] Lots of stations have data for nearly a century. None of them show the kind of recent change in trend that the article claims.

    • Re:IPCC politics (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:43AM (#42116785)
      Other than Alaska's armpit (to coin a phrase), pretty much all going up, mostly in the 0-3mm/year range, but a hell of a lot of yellow and quite a bit of red. What exactly makes you claim it in some way debunks TFA? It appears to support it at first glance.
    • Re:IPCC politics (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nysus (162232) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @01:44PM (#42119313)

      This data you link to from NOAA does not refute anything. The rate of rise has accelerated over the past few decades.

      You were rightfully moderated into oblivion the first time.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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