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Earth Science Politics

Climate Panel Says To Prepare For Weird Weather 469

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, Interesting)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@goTIGERt.net minus cat> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:16AM (#38107190) Journal

    In fact increased heat in the system has several counter intuitive effects. This is because increased heat vaporizes more water increasing the length and severity of storm events. More Cat 5 hurricanes, more snow, more floods. Conversely it means frequent and unpredictable changes in weather patterns. This has to do with greater swings in climate, increased frequency of swings. This is what thermodynamicists refer to as a system in purturbation.

    Even the researchers that had objected to global warming now acknowledges its happening. The evidence in incontrovertible. They still argue to the cause, but considering that the year 2011 saw unprecedented production of greenhouse gases (far exceeding even the worst case scenarios), it should now be clear to anyone who doesn't have a personal axe to grind that the climate is in the process of extraordinary change, and that the conditions we rely on to feed 7 billion people are about to get very dicey. It is now time to begin global projects designed to move humanity off of fossil fuel. High altitude wind power, space based solar power, small thorium base reactors, high performance hydrogen fuel cells and advanced power storage technologies could easily cover our need until we perfect fusion. The fundamental impediment has been fighting a fossil fuel corporate monolith which has hijacked our government. Its time for us to take back our future.

  • and... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benthurston27 ( 1220268 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:20AM (#38107212)
    Will it also make some places more habitable?
  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @05:55AM (#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 lexsird ( 1208192 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:12AM (#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

  • Re:Warms?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by epine ( 68316 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:13AM (#38107416)

    They still argue to the cause, but considering that the year 2011 saw unprecedented production of greenhouse gases (far exceeding even the worst case scenarios), it should now be clear to anyone who doesn't have a personal axe to grind that the climate is in the process of extraordinary change, and that the conditions we rely on to feed 7 billion people are about to get very dicey.

    With seven billion people on the planet, and rapidly rising standards of living in China and other parts of Asia, with coal increasingly augmenting the petroleum plateau, I'd be shocked if every year didn't set a new record for CO2 emissions.

    What would be unprecedented here is a global consensus among rich and poor, east and west in preventing business as usual from raising the bar on CO2 emissions every year for the next half century--which is exactly what would have happened had the earth's CO2 levels not been precisely balanced at a precarious tipping point as science presently tells the story. If we pull this off, we'll be manufacturing a political consensus out of whole cloth such as never before witnessed on this blue marble.

    On another note, I don't get this beautification of scientific consensus as the second coming of fast food culture: science is, and always was, a slow food movement. It takes decades or centuries to reach secure conclusions concerning systems as complex as the earth's climate. I think this is a lot like a doctor who discovers a new disease model, then immediately proposes an extremely radical treatment of unknown severity and consequence.

    Via Wikipedia:

    Monsieur Homais is the town pharmacist. In one incident, he convinces Charles to perform corrective surgery on a young stable boy, afflicted with a club foot. During this era, correcting or eliminating a disability was a daring option and he may have considered this an opportunity to garner personal attention and praise. The operation is a disaster, and the stable boy is left with his leg amputated at the thigh.

    Amputated at the thigh IIRC by another doctor who shows and takes responsibility. In the long run, these interventions become routine, and the consequences become understood and mitigated.

    Is there any evidence that we can fundamentally shift the global economy away from fossil fuels on a radical program without incurring large and unknowable risks to geopolitical stability in doing so?

    The paint is still wet on climate science. Be careful what you wish for. And don't write me off as a club foot surgery denier. The old day-glo Wired was my personal hot tub: I'm a card-carrying techno-optimist. Politically, however, I'm extremely wary about any combination of alacrity with wet paint. Apollo 13 was pretty much the historical high water mark on smooth sailing amidst a crash program instigated by handshakes among our political overlords.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:19AM (#38107446) Homepage Journal

    For England, most of the heat input is via the ocean currents. The oceans are extremely large and it takes a lot of heat to make any significant difference in temperature. England will notice changes in rainfall - as indeed it has - long before any other effect becomes noticeable. The delay resulting from the ocean will mask temperature changes in Britain up until the Atlantic Conveyer fails entirely. THEN, temperatures will drop somewhere between 20'F and 40'F.yes, drop. Global temperature refers to the mean temperature of the entire planet, deserts and all. It is NOT an addition you can just make to everything. It is an average. If Billy as a car and Mandy has a car, then Grim gives Mandy Billy's car pus one more, the average number of cars has gone up even though Billy is now sulking in a corner.

  • by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:26AM (#38107470)
    It is true that there has been a lot of rain, but the only people who say it is due to the global warming so far that I am aware of are the Thai politicians who are asking for aid money. If you've seen something more than that, please post it, it would be an interesting read.
  • 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.

  • Re:and... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:48AM (#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:2020 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:50AM (#38107720)

    "Never mind about what we said about the hot weather, just get your tinfoil hats ready when solar magnetic decline and solar minimum freeze (y)our rears off in 2020..."

    Seems to me that tinfoil hats would be better protection against all that warming that hasn't been happening. And you could fold it into little boats to float all your possessions when the sea level rises to... wait, what? Back to the level it was 3 year ago.

  • by Troed ( 102527 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:59AM (#38108122) Homepage Journal

    Actual science says Sahara is greening: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html [nationalgeographic.com]

  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:26AM (#38108244)

    that I am aware of are the Thai politicians who are asking for aid money.

    By that impeccable logic, your parent post was a Thai politician.

    Talk about arrogant. "If they complain, it is because they want aid money." How about not having their home destroyed by people who couldn't give a shit about anyone else except themselves?

  • by swalve ( 1980968 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:27PM (#38108892)
    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.
  • Re:2020 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @01:51PM (#38109448)
    So the cardboard isn't as thick as the paper because if you compare them there is paper (some thickness) where the cardboard doesn't exist (has no thickness)? I'm not sure how you can't understand. The Arctic sea ice is growing smaller both in surface area [nsidc.org] and thickness. It is melting. The reason it is melting is because of the warming. Playing semantic games isn't going to convince anyone otherwise, except for people who want to be willingly deceived. If you showed some evidence the ice was actually recovering, that would be actual evidence for no warming. Instead, you provide anecdotes from what happened decades ago. Whatever.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller