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Earth Science

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

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

    by Bigby ( 659157 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:29PM (#40312309)

    I followed and agreed with your first two paragraphs. Even the first couple sentences of the 3rd paragraph. Then you went crazy.

    Inhospitable? You know the earth has been much warmer with humans living on it? Earth had a radically different climate 200 years ago, and 200 years before that, and 200 years before that. Define "radical" please.

    Then you finish with "we are directly responsible". That is the part being questioned. Not that the earth is warming, but the cause. You conveniently failed to bring that part up in your first two paragraphs. You even say "it's still up for discussion why it's happening". Did you come to the conclusion while writing the paragraphs in between?

    Then you finish by saying earth will not be inhospitable. What is your opinion here???

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:51PM (#40312609) Journal

    What agenda do you think climate scientists are working for? If climate scientists were catering to the powerful, wouldn't they be publishing data and models that the oil industries like?

    The fact that there is such strong agreement among climate scientists in the face of such powerful and wealthy opposition is a very good indication that they are not in fact serving an agenda.

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

    by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:58PM (#40312677)

    Wow. That Kool-aid must taste great.

    It's the other side that is chugging Kool-Aide. On one side you have climatologist and environmental scientists that have all agreed for a decade or more that we are seeing a major shift in the climate and we are the cause. On the other side are pundits that have an agenda to avoid changes that will affect lifestyle or corporate profits that have no formal education in climate science that say we can't affect weather no matter what we do to the Earth. Now which side sounds like the Kool-aide drinkers, the scientists or corporate America who are making a fortune off releasing CO2? I've heard claims all my life that we can't seriously affect the environment yet I've seen a massive change in the world over the last 50 years. Cities themselves cause heating because of all the dark roofs and roads so it's obvious we are having an affect on the environment. FYI the pundits are lying about all the experts that deny climate change. There was even a major study by a climate change denial group that had the same results as the climate scientist. Their reaction was to say that there is change but we can't be the cause. There was no proof that we weren't the cause it was their opinion. The carbon we are releasing predates the dinosaurs so it's insane to assume that it can't affect the environment. It took tens of millions of years to store it and we're releasing it in a couple of hundred years. To put it into perspective imagine a 1,000 years worth of your trash, you know those bags you leave out front for the garbage man. Now pile that thousand years of trash bags around your house. The pile would be hundreds of feet high. That's what we are doing when we release 400 million year old stored carbon. Think that ridiculous? Imagine ten million years of your garbage and you are getting closer to the truth. It's not the same thing obviously but it illustrates how extreme the release of CO2 has been over the last 200 years.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @03:11PM (#40312817)

    They start with the statement of "It is a scientific fact that global warming is happening," which is true. That the Earth is getting warmer outside of known cycles is a claim of fact, something you can measure, and measurements show it is indeed correct. No problems there.

    However the problem then starts that they make a bunch of other claims, such as that if the warming continues Earth will be inhospitable, and so on, and want to claim that is all scientific fact too. No, not so much. That things will get worse would be an assertion or judgement call that would be based on a bunch of theories and hypothesis about what will happen if the warming continues. It is the kind of thing that is actually up for a lot of debate since you have to evaluate all the different theories of what might happen, how well supported they are, and then pass a judgement call as to if it would be better or worse.

    Thing is, they present it as just something you have to accept part and parcel. A situation of "If you deny any of this, you are denying the facts." No, not really. Anyone who says the Earth isn't warming is denying facts, unless they can show how the measurements that we use to reach that conclusion are flawed (given the measurements are world wide and spanning a century, it is possible, though unlikely, the conclusion is incorrect). However from that it does not automatically follow that things will be horrible.

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

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:17PM (#40314725) Homepage Journal

    No, the geocentric theory was not science the way we practice it today. It was biblical theology, dressed up to look like what passed for science before science was science.

    Yes, in the future we'll have even better science about climate. It will be more precise, but the accuracy of current climate science saying "human pollution is increasing the Greenhouse Effect, overall warming the Earth and changing the climate" will not be changed. Because current science is good enough to state facts, even if their precision can always be improved. We can tell the difference between -1, 0 and +1, even if we can't always tell the difference between +1 and +1.1 .

    Of course we should also debate and challenge the science, especially science this important. That's how we make both the facts more precise and the science itself better at investigating. But there's not going to be any disproof of climate change science. This isn't 1955, when the science wasn't based in enough data and repeated studies to be reliable. It's reliable.

    Saying that there shouldn't be controversy about whether humans are changing the climate with our pollution isn't dogma. It's merely recognizing scientific fact. And defending it from the people who will say anything to undermine it, though they can't say anything scientific.

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

    by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @07:39PM (#40316457)

    The Bering Strait had a record amount of ice still in the ocean well into April, the longest it has ever been present. If this ice was present in December, your argument may be valid. April is not winter, and the ice should not have been there.

    And across the Arctic in the Barents and Kara Seas the ice levels have been extraordinarily low this year. Overall the level of ice in the Arctic has been slightly below average for this time of year. [] I have my doubts that "the longest it has ever been present." is accurate too.

    Worth noting that theory of evolution was formed about 160 years ago, physics has been evolving for thousands of years, and tectonic plate theory is about 100 years old. Thirty years old for a scientific THEORY is nothing. And with people like you shooting down any critical review, of course there will be no peer review.

    Fourier first noted that carbonic acid gas (CO2) absorbed infrared radiation in the 1820's. Tyndall quantified the effect in the 1850's. Arrhenius stated "if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression." in the 1890's. Ever since then we're just filling in the details.

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