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posted by martyb on Friday April 30, @12:08PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Speed at which world's glaciers are melting has doubled in 20 years:

The melting of the world's glaciers has nearly doubled in speed over the past 20 years and contributes more to sea-level rise than either the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets, according to the most comprehensive global study of ice rivers ever undertaken.

Scientists say human-driven global heating is behind the accelerating loss of high-altitude and high-latitude glaciers, which will affect coastal regions across the planet and create boom-and-bust flows of meltwater for the hundreds of millions of people who live downstream of these "natural water towers".

Between 2000 and 2019, glaciers lost 267 gigatonnes (Gt) of ice per year, equivalent to 21% of sea-level rise, reveals a paper published in Nature. The authors said the mass loss was equivalent to submerging the surface of England under 2 metres of water every year.

This was 47% higher than the contribution of the melting ice sheet in Greenland and more than twice that from the ice sheet in Antarctica. As a cause of sea-level rise, glacier loss was second only to thermal expansion, which is prompted by higher ocean temperatures.

The authors found the pace of glacier thinning outside of Greenland and Antarctica picking up from about a third of a metre per year in 2000 to two-thirds in 2019. This is equivalent to an acceleration of 62Gt per year each decade.

The study uses historical Nasa satellite data and new statistical methods to construct three-dimensional topographies going back 20 years and covering 99.9% of the world's glaciers. The result is the most accurate and comprehensive assessment of the world's 217,175 glaciers to date.

Journal Reference:
Romain Hugonnet, Robert McNabb, Etienne Berthier, et al. Accelerated global glacier mass loss in the early twenty-first century, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03436-z)


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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @12:43PM (21 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @12:43PM (#1144697)

    Year after year after year.
    2005, Switzerland: "Archaeological Finds in Retreating Swiss Glacier"
    https://climateaudit.org/2005/11/18/archaeological-finds-in-retreating-swiss-glacier/ [climateaudit.org]
    2013, Alaska: "Ancient Forest Thaws From Melting Glacial Tomb"
    https://www.livescience.com/39819-ancient-forest-thaws.html [livescience.com]
    2017, Iceland: "3000-Year-Old Trees Excavated Under Glacier"
    https://www.icelandreview.com/news/3000-year-old-trees-excavated-under-glacier/ [icelandreview.com]
    2020, Norway: "Melting ice reveals an ancient, once-thriving trade route"
    https://phys.org/news/2020-05-ice-reveals-ancient-once-thriving-route.html [phys.org]
    2020, Austria: "New glacier evidence for ice-free summits during the life of the Tyrolean Iceman"
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77518-9 [nature.com]
    "Ötzi the Iceman may have scaled ice-free Alps"
    https://www.livescience.com/otzi-iceman-lived-in-ice-free-alpine.html [livescience.com]

    Also interesting:
    2014: "Receding Swiss glaciers incoveniently reveal 4000 year old forests – and make it clear that glacier retreat is nothing new"
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/08/receding-swiss-glaciers-incoveniently-reveal-4000-year-old-forests-and-make-it-clear-that-glacier-retreat-is-nothing-new/ [wattsupwiththat.com]
    2016: "Greenland was nearly ice-free for extended periods during the Pleistocene"
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature20146 [nature.com]

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by PinkyGigglebrain on Friday April 30, @05:11PM (20 children)

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Friday April 30, @05:11PM (#1144779)

      Yes, yes, the Earth has been both warmer and colder in ages past.

      But lets put whats going on now in context. [xkcd.com]

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @05:26PM (14 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @05:26PM (#1144790)

        We go over all of this with these articles, ideologues will not be swayed by pesky facts or science! Remember that congressman who brought a snowball to the floor proving that climate change is a hoax??? Big brains in the GOP /s

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @06:37PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @06:37PM (#1144818)

          Facts are the things that can be observed. Like the remnants of human dwellings under the glaciers.

          Things that you take on faith because the Party higher-ups tell you that doubt is not tolerated, are a different kettle of brain-eating amoeba.

          Do not think the Party invented something new and unexplored, here; the play may be a hit of the season in your theatre, but elsewhere a lot of people have already watched it to the end. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppressed_research_in_the_Soviet_Union [wikipedia.org]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:06PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:06PM (#1144828)

            Take your own advice for once, how the propagandists convinced you that you are the real objective rationalnperson while gobbling up their lies is beyond me. Something very wrong with conservative culture. You are so blind you think evidence of human life when glaciers were gone is a gotcha? So so ignorant.

            • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:59PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:59PM (#1144855)

              When one side refers to published accounts of observed facts, and the other answers with rants and inept namecalling, which is the one that "propagandists convinced"?

              Ignorance is when you do not know, do not wish to know, and refuse the knowledge which is put before you. It is not a kind of curse that you or your priesthood can place upon the unbelievers. Your misusing the word has only one effect; it shows to everyone the real depth of your own, well, ignorance.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:17PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:17PM (#1144892)

                AC MAGA JEENYUSH POUNDS TABLE DRAMATICALLY

                attack was ineffective

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @04:23AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @04:23AM (#1145303)

                You people voted for Donald Fucking Trump, of all people, as President of the United States, for crying out loud.

                Enough said.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Friday April 30, @08:33PM (8 children)

          by Tork (3914) on Friday April 30, @08:33PM (#1144869)
          Fox News had to issue a retraction for claiming Biden is taking our hamburgers away. Republicans unashamedly ran with it.


          If my Facebook feed is any indication the right in this country would rather be mad at the left about something new every week than actually do something productive like law enforcement reforms.
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:09PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:09PM (#1144886)

            Sure.
            The deceptive Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9501565/How-Bidens-climate-plan-affect-everyday-Americans.html [dailymail.co.uk]

            While Biden hasn't released details on what life could look like for Americans, experts and recent studies have laid out what would need to change by 2030 to reach the goal.

            The paragon of truth CNN https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/26/politics/fact-check-biden-climate-plan-red-meat-hamburger/index.html [cnn.com]

            The paper, by scholars at the University of Michigan and Tulane University, estimates how greenhouse gas emissions would be affected if Americans hypothetically decided to change their diets in various ways, such as cutting their consumption of beef to four pounds per year. The paper does not suggest a mandatory four-pound beef limit -- and, more importantly for the purposes of this fact check, the paper is just not related to Biden's plans.

            The paper found that if Americans made a 50% cut to their consumption of animal-based foods and a 90% cut to their consumption of beef in particular -- in other words, if they went down to four pounds of beef per year, or 0.18 oz per day -- there would be a 51% reduction in diet-related US greenhouse gas emissions between 2016 and 2030.
            To state the obvious: an academic finding that greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced if Americans hypothetically ate 90% less beef does not mean the president is going to force Americans to eat 90% less beef. There's just no link between the paper's hypotheticals and Biden's actual policies.
            "Our goal is simply to illuminate through research the potential impacts that various behavioral changes can make on greenhouse gas emissions," Diego Rose, a study co-author who is a professor and director of nutrition at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said in a Sunday email. "It is up to individuals to then choose their own behaviors that can address the drastic environmental situation in which we find ourselves. And it is up to society, all of us collectively, to incentivize those behaviors."

            Now, can you answer two easy questions the paragon of truth left without comment?
            1) Which political party the esteemed professor is affiliated to?
            2) How the "incentivize those behaviors" translates from doublespeak to regular English language?

            • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Tork on Friday April 30, @09:43PM (2 children)

              by Tork (3914) on Friday April 30, @09:43PM (#1144906)
              1) Have you fully thought this question through? Heh. What answer could I give that doesn't have an inverse relation to your 'side'?

              2) Well if the past is any indication nothing will happen but you guys will tell tales of how Joe Biden personally came to every American's doorstep and took their hamburgers at gunpoint. Then you'll bitch about biased media even though your news sources have had a provably terrible relationship with reality yet you dips never change the channel.
              --
              Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:36PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:36PM (#1145116)

                What answer could I give that doesn't have an inverse relation to your 'side'?

                A truthful one?

                Try that for once.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:46PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:46PM (#1145205)
                  Think it through, silly. ;)
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:30AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:30AM (#1144993)

              2/ The obvious 'incentivization' is to tax beef. Raise the price and people will eat less.
              As an aside, how does pig and sheep meat compare to dead cow on CO2 metrics? Taxing bacon would not be popular.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:52AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @02:52AM (#1145002)

            If my Facebook feed is any indication the right in this country would rather be mad at the left about something new every week than actually do something productive like law enforcement reforms.

            No, that just means that Faecebook thinks you want to see stories that indicate "the right in this country would rather be mad at the left about something new every week than actually do something productive like law enforcement reforms."

            Try reading some local news services instead of the bubbled up crap Faecebook feeds you.

            Even better, as an experiment* create a fake account and start liking anything you can find that shows "the right" in a good light. You will very soon have a feed that shows "the right" as bastions of intelligence and reason and "the left" as rabid nutjobs who burn things down. Faecebook shows what they think you want.

            *do it on a separate machine if you can, to try and avoid fingerprinting.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:05PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:05PM (#1145211)
              > No, that just means that Faecebook thinks you want to see stories that indicate

              that was in reference to the users not the news feed.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @07:14AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @07:14AM (#1145333)

                Which is just a derivative product.
                Bubble, bubble.

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @06:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @06:43PM (#1144821)

        Drawing cartoonish figures on an incorrect graph does not magically make the graph right. Magic does not work that way. :)

        Stone-age cavemen drawing that stuff on their walls, were using it as training manuals for young hunters. Modern cavemen have no such excuse.

      • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Friday April 30, @11:17PM (1 child)

        by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Friday April 30, @11:17PM (#1144929)

        Not only that, we were never trying to feed seven billion people in any previous climate. Let's not make changes to our life support system unless we know they're beneficial.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:06PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @07:06PM (#1145194)

          Not only that, we were never trying to feed seven billion people in any previous climate.

          No one among the billions is eating the climate. The food is coming from "chemical fertilizers, agrochemicals, and controlled water-supply (usually involving irrigation) and newer methods of cultivation, including mechanization": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Revolution [wikipedia.org]

          Let's not make changes to our life support system unless we know they're beneficial.

          Indeed. Let's stop raising the prices of fuel running the machines and energy going into producing the bulk chemicals our life support system depends on.

      • (Score: 1) by Without Batteries on Saturday May 01, @02:42AM

        by Without Batteries (13883) on Saturday May 01, @02:42AM (#1144998)

        Stonehenge Completed?

        Tumble Down Rocks

        From 1901 to 1964, the majority of the stone circle was restored in a series of makeovers which have left it, in the words of one archaeologist, as 'a product of the 20th century heritage industry'.

        http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicstonehenge.htm [ufos-aliens.co.uk]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @12:15PM (#1145089)

        Well global warming must be a hoax because Bidens trillion dollar proposals will only encourage and make it easier for people to create more of the biggest contributor to climate change. More people.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snospar on Friday April 30, @12:59PM (25 children)

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 30, @12:59PM (#1144700)

    Focusing on the last 20 years is truly irrelevant. We need to be considering these things on geological time scales. The human race is lucky to be living in an inter-glacial period. Winter is coming.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @01:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @01:06PM (#1144701)

      Winter is coming.

      From here, this year, it looks like it already arrived. :(

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday April 30, @01:19PM (1 child)

      by Thexalon (636) on Friday April 30, @01:19PM (#1144704)

      You want to talk about geologic time scales? What's happened in the last 150 years is something that by all available research used to take tens of thousands of years.

      Will the planet be fine? Yes. Will the humans and the other species humans rely on to survive be fine? No. Hope you aren't living anywhere near a coast!

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by looorg on Friday April 30, @01:59PM (4 children)

      by looorg (578) on Friday April 30, @01:59PM (#1144717)

      20 years is indeed utterly irrelevant in the long perspective. After all if you just extend it out to hundreds, thousands or millions of years then 20 years is not even a pixel blipp on the curve.

      If all the glaciers melted wouldn't that make the planet colder so it would eventually start to freeze again. New Ice-age is coming. Round and round it goes. Winter is coming, hopefully without the undead hordes.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by shrewdsheep on Friday April 30, @02:27PM (3 children)

        by shrewdsheep (5215) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 30, @02:27PM (#1144728)

        I am confused by what you want to discuss. Short time-frames certainly do not have to be irrelevant. A single moment like the impact of a meteorite can have enormous consequences. What humans are doing is a bit slower at the moment but none the less impactful.

        Then you bring up your expectation that eventually ice ages are coming (certainly not by glaciers melting). While this is probably true, long term (the thousands and million years you mention), they will also certainly cease to come eventually. Earth will become a dry, CO2-free planet. 500 million yrs from now but maybe earlier. But none of that would be for humans to experience, so no hordes there (dead or undead).

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @08:17PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @08:17PM (#1144863)

          A single moment like the impact of a meteorite can have enormous consequences.

          Non-acquaitance with school physics and math does have enormous consequences indeed.

          The dinosaur meteorite gave off from 1.3e24 up to 5.8e25 joules.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater#Impact_specifics [wikipedia.org]
          Humans in 2013 produced 1.575e17 watt-hours = 5.67e20 joules.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption [wikipedia.org]

          Now we take the lowest estimate for the meteorite, and a trivial (for those of us who learned it) division operation gives us a piece of knowledge.

          For puny humans to have the same impact, they have to toil relentlessly for 2292 years at 2013 level. Oopsie...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:37AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:37AM (#1145067)

            With the Sun warming their backs.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @03:37AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @03:37AM (#1145291)

            Your like a ufo-loon walking around a property with a gauss meter saying "that's a ghost" every time the meter blips.

            Why's the total energy important to you? Is there any evidence that the meteor dissipated any of its energy by the mechanical movement of matter, for example?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Friday April 30, @03:06PM (14 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Friday April 30, @03:06PM (#1144736)

      >Winter is coming.

      Or Summer. Summer is the worry, we seem to have avoiding Winter under control.

      We are in an interglacial period in an ice age now, and have been for the whole history of human civilization. But its already lasted far longer than usual - typically they last only a few thousand years, while this one is pushing twelve thousand, with some speculation that it's because of our pre-industrial application of fire and agriculture bolstering CO2 levels rather than letting them gradually decline as usual.

      Interglacial periods are one of the least stable climate "resting points" the Earth ever resides in, and they end in one of two ways: most frequently they slide back into a glacial period, but if there are sufficient forcing factors then the Earth returns to it's "normal" hothouse state, at least 5C warmer than now - usually a combination of orbital changes (Milankovitch cycles,etc.) and some additional environmental stressors. Ice ages are actually quite rare in the geologic record - even more rare than interglacial periods during ice ages.

      We got lucky on the Milankovitch cycles, the resulting solar energy change is currently peaking, but it's an extremely low peak and will be several thousand years before the next big one. The environmental stressors though - we're pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at rates never seen before, pushing levels toward heights rarely seen in an ice age, much less during interglacial periods.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @04:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @04:23PM (#1144762)

        Good primer on what the heck he’s talking about: PBS spacetime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztninkgZ0ws [youtube.com]

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday April 30, @07:14PM (12 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 30, @07:14PM (#1144833) Journal

        We got lucky on the Milankovitch cycles, the resulting solar energy change is currently peaking, but it's an extremely low peak and will be several thousand years before the next big one.

        Not according to here [principia-scientific.com]:

        During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Earth’s inhabitants have enjoyed an epoch of very high solar activity that is rare or unique in the context of the last several thousand years. The higher solar activity and warmer temperatures have allowed the planet to briefly emerge from the depths of the successive solar minima periods and “Little Ice Age” cooling that lasted from the 1300s to the early 1900s. Unfortunately, solar scientists have increasingly been forecasting a return to a solar minimum period in the coming decades, as well as the concomitant cooler temperatures.

        In several newly published (2017) papers, scientists have suggested that a substantial deterioration into solar minimum conditions and global cooling may be imminent (see, for example, here and here and here). What follows is a collection of dozens of other papers that have also projected a solar minimum-induced “Little Ice Age” climate for the foreseeable future.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Friday April 30, @08:04PM (11 children)

          by Immerman (3985) on Friday April 30, @08:04PM (#1144856)

          Milankovitch cycles have nothing to do with solar output - they alter the distance and tilt of the Earth in a highly predictable manner as its orbit gets manipulated by interactions with Jupiter and the other planets.

          The sun's output is also relevant of course, but that's a completely independent variable, and is far more volatile and virtually impossible to predict (the eternal trend of slowly increasing average output as it ages notwithstanding)

          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday April 30, @08:06PM

            by Immerman (3985) on Friday April 30, @08:06PM (#1144859)

            I should say - solar output virtually impossible to predict over long time periods. We're getting decent at predicting it over the course of years, even decades to some extent, but the behavior of Milankovitch cycles can be predicted across hundreds of thousands of years.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 01, @02:34AM (9 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 01, @02:34AM (#1144995) Journal

            Milankovitch cycles have nothing to do with solar output

            Both have to do with solar influx, which is the relevant measure of solar energy.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:48AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:48AM (#1145068)

              So... both sides. Except yours was wrong.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @03:46AM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @03:46AM (#1145294)

              Let me get this straight - you're saying that the amount of energy getting from A to B has nothing to do with either the energy output of A or the position of B?

              I just wanna be sure we're measuring the same quantities. In this particular case, the quantity of total fucking lunacy.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @03:59AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @03:59AM (#1145297) Journal

                Let me get this straight - you're saying that the amount of energy getting from A to B has nothing to do with either the energy output of A or the position of B?

                I just wanna be sure we're measuring the same quantities. In this particular case, the quantity of total fucking lunacy.

                Doesn't sound like you're even trying to measure anything at all.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @02:24PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @02:24PM (#1145390) Journal
                Let's try this again.

                Let me get this straight - you're saying that the amount of energy getting from A to B has nothing to do with either the energy output of A or the position of B?

                Nobody made that argument. You certainly didn't get this straight.

                I just wanna be sure we're measuring the same quantities. In this particular case, the quantity of total fucking lunacy.

                Doesn't sound like you're even trying to measure anything at all.

            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday May 02, @05:15AM (3 children)

              by Immerman (3985) on Sunday May 02, @05:15AM (#1145310)

              Yes, but I wasn't talking about influx. Solar output is highly volatile, but generally averages out fairly stable over the long term (thousands of years). It's one of many random environmental fluctuations that may contribute to a major climate shift *if* the deeper rhythms have opened the door for it (or the changes are sufficiently catastrophic). Milankovitch cycles (among others) determine those deeper rhythms.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @02:22PM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @02:22PM (#1145388) Journal

                Yes, but I wasn't talking about influx.

                Then it was good that I came around to correct your error, isn't it? Solar output is indeed somewhat volatile and that is quite relevant on the timescales we were discussing (for example, the last few centuries).

                It's one of many random environmental fluctuations that may contribute to a major climate shift *if* the deeper rhythms have opened the door for it (or the changes are sufficiently catastrophic).

                The normal cycle of day and night (in other words, normal exposure to sunlight) is the only deeper rhythm you need for solar output to be relevant to climate change.

                • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday May 02, @03:01PM (1 child)

                  by Immerman (3985) on Sunday May 02, @03:01PM (#1145400)

                  >The normal cycle of day and night (in other words, normal exposure to sunlight) is the only deeper rhythm you need for solar output to be relevant to climate change.

                  Right... it's just coincidence that virtually every major climate shift in the history of the planet has aligned with the Milankovitch cycles...

                  Solar output just doesn't change that much - if you look at the "wild swings" over the past 140 years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_activity_and_climate), the difference between the highest and lowest peaks is well under 0.15%, and mostly bounces back fairly rapidly . It just doesn't compare to the long-term stability changes associated with changing the planet's tilt so that icecaps can form more or less easily. Or nudging the orbit very slightly so that you get a fraction of a percent change in solar influx that lasts tens of thousands of years instead of tens. Or even to doubling the CO2 levels so that the planet has to get substantially warmer to radiate away the same amount of incoming power.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 02, @06:25PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 02, @06:25PM (#1145447) Journal

                    Right... it's just coincidence that virtually every major climate shift in the history of the planet has aligned with the Milankovitch cycles...

                    Which isn't saying that much. Over geological time, the timing of events is going to smear enough that a Milankovitch cycle will fall within the error bar. Second, we don't know what else, like solar output, for a glaring example, has similar timing cycles. Finally, the graph of recent changes in temperature (of the last 250k years) from here [climatedata.info], shows estimated temperature forcing from the Milankovitch cycle versus observations of temperature proxies. A few cycles fall near boundaries, but more do not. Eyeballing it, there's 6 to 8 major climate transitions and 19 significant swings in the cycles. For more specific examples, there are three peaks in the Milankovitch forcings (-195k, -170k, and -105k years ago) that are larger than the last one (-10k years ago), but didn't result in a significant swing upward in temperature.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @04:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @04:16PM (#1144759)

      That's like saying the meteor strike 60 mllion years ago is IRRELEVANT because it happened fast, not slowly. Dipshit.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:00PM (#1144826)

      I can't believe moron comments like this get modded insight. Idiots abound...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by PinkyGigglebrain on Friday April 30, @05:51PM (14 children)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Friday April 30, @05:51PM (#1144802)

    And here it goes again.

    Soon this thread will be flooded (pun unintended) with comments galor about how the Earth was warmer/colder in ages past, or how the current situation is nothing big on geologic time scales, etc., etc..

    What we have to keep in mind is that all those past warming/heating events had massive impacts on the life living at the time, some species went extinct, some took advantage of the bioms and flourished, great civilizations and cultures rose and fell due to the changes in the environment.

    That it happened in the past is only important to give context to what is happening NOW.

    "Temperature" [xkcd.com].

    The environment is changing, and it is happening in Human timescales. By all measures the world is becoming warmer, the ice is melting and the sea level will be rising by over 6 meters in the future. Whether that occurs in your lifetime or that of your grandchildren doesn't mater. Think for a moment about how much Human activity is currently located within just 2 meters of the current high tide mark.

    History is filled with examples of what happens when people wait till the last moment to actually DO something about an impending disaster. Will the current and future generations learn from those past examples?

    The longer Humanity puts off preparations/mitigations the worse it will be for everyone when the excrement hits the rotary impeller blades.

    --
    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @06:51PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @06:51PM (#1144823)

      History is filled with examples of what happens when people wait till the last moment to actually DO something about an impending disaster.

      And still, fascists and commies of 20th century managed between them to kill more than all those examples throughout history taken together. Now who is an impending disaster?

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:08PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:08PM (#1144829)

        The GOP

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @08:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @08:54PM (#1144876)

          Your declaration of faith is noted.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:38PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:38PM (#1144903)

          The GOP would have to kill every man, woman, and child currently living in the US today to reach the high score of Communism in the 20th century.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:43PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:43PM (#1144907)

            While I do despise the sniveling outrage culture the GOP has devolved into I do hope they cease their fascism. I would be very happy if they didn't reach the Hitler/Mao/Stalin levels of evil.

    • (Score: 2) by Snospar on Friday April 30, @07:18PM (2 children)

      by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 30, @07:18PM (#1144835)

      "The environment is changing"... Yes it is, continually. This study is doing the usual thing of focusing in on recent available data covering a microscopic period of 20 years because that's when 3D topographies became available. IF human activity has had a profound impact on the entire global climate then human activity (with money) can do something to reverse those changes. Technology has leapt ahead since we started burning coal in quantities and in many countries we're moving towards wind, solar and nuclear power with almost zero carbon emissions. There are large numbers of people looking at sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere and I'm confident they will be able to make this technology a reality and available IF we need it. Maybe we're providing the thermal blanket we need to stave off the next ice age. If not I will have to move South (because Winter is coming :) )

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @08:52AM (#1145069)

        Or - instead of saying the same thing over again - you could look at models of future climate and stop being a dumbass. Or put your mouth where my anus is and buy Florida property today.

      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday May 02, @03:10PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Sunday May 02, @03:10PM (#1145401)

        >then human activity (with money) can do something to reverse those changes

        Can? Certainly. Will? I'm far less optimistic, for the reason you mentioned: Money. Combined with short term thinking.

        The Earth is very big, and so changes slowly - even now with it changing at fairly unprecedented speeds, the changes we're seeing now are mostly because of the activities of our grandparents and great grandparents. And the real impact of any phenomenally expensive fix we attempt today won't be seen until our own great grandkids are in charge. Meanwhile, the people controlling the world's politicians mostly have trouble looking past the next quarterly financial report.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday April 30, @07:19PM (4 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 30, @07:19PM (#1144837) Journal

      By all measures the world is becoming warmer, the ice is melting and the sea level will be rising by over 6 meters in the future. Whether that occurs in your lifetime or that of your grandchildren doesn't mater.

      As has already been noted, fast change is much worse than slow change. a six meter rise now is much worse than a six meter rise in a few centuries. So, yes, it sure does matter how fast it occurs.

      History is filled with examples of what happens when people wait till the last moment to actually DO something about an impending disaster. Will the current and future generations learn from those past examples?

      Notice that the people of the developed world, who are blamed for most of global warming, are also the people most capable to do things about impending disasters.

      The longer Humanity puts off preparations/mitigations the worse it will be for everyone when the excrement hits the rotary impeller blades.

      Unless, of course, humanity uses that time and resources to fix worse problems than impending climate change disasters. There are many such.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:45PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @07:45PM (#1144849)

        Nice to see you reize climate change is a real problem. Still downplaying a bit, but still better than before.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 01, @12:11PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 01, @12:11PM (#1145085) Journal

          Nice to see you reize climate change is a real problem.

          The obvious rebuttal [soylentnews.org]. I've acknowledged that climate change exists and is a problem of some degree. The oldest dates from 2014.

          So when you say "reize climate change is a real problem", you're way out of date.

          The bigger problem here is that there is an extraordinarily weak case made for the seriousness of climate change. For example, consider the beginning of this thread. PinkyGigglebrain asserts a scenario a six plus meter rise in sea level that could happen in our lifetime (~30-50 years, let's suppose) or the lifetime of our grandchildren (~80-100 years) and assert they were equally bad. Well, that ignores time value (the cost or value of a sooner thing is more than a later thing) and the natural ability of human cities to adapt to huge changes over human lifespans. So this change over 30 years is much worse than the same change over 100 years just due to time value. When you add in that most of the affected real estate will be completely recycled every 50 years, the century distant disaster will mean that most of what's standing now will be completely recycled by then, and that replacement building will be recycled as well. While the 30 year disaster means a substantial bit of present day buildings will still be around to be inundated.

          Second, we have a considerable lack of evidence for a six meter rise in sea level over 100 years (much less 30 years). Currently we're rising a little over 40 cm per century. Sea level rise will have to accelerate a lot - with only untested computer models backing that level of acceleration.

          So right there, we have a huge disconnect between the scenarios and reality.

          Finally, there's my additional observation about humanity's ability to deal with disaster. One of the remarkable outcomes of developed world societies is that they are vastly more resilient and prepared for sudden disasters. These practices have spread to most of the world to the point that we've seen an enormous decline [reason.org] in deaths from extreme weather, worldwide.

          The Reason Foundation report chronicles the number of worldwide deaths caused by extreme weather events between 1900 and 2010 and finds global deaths caused by extreme weather events peaked in the decade running from 1920 to 1929, when there were 241 deaths a year per million people in the world. From 1930 to 1939 there were 208 deaths a year per million people. But from 2000 to 2010 there were just 5.4 deaths a year per million people in the world. That’s a 98 percent decline in the weather-related death rate since the 1920s. Extreme weather events were responsible for just .07% of the world’s deaths between 2000 and 2010.

          The extreme weather categories studied in the Reason Foundation report include droughts, floods, wildfires, storms (hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, typhoons, etc.) and extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.

          In summary, humanity is ready worldwide for sea level rise and extreme weather events - I don't see these events generating a lot of harm even should they become more frequent, due to the growing resilient. And there's no physical evidence to support the claim that we'll see large sea level rise in the next century, much less in a much shorter period of time.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:05AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, @02:05AM (#1145263)

            Texas would like a word. Damn you're just so dumb. Well, maybe not dumb, good possibility you're just a shill for the oil companies.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:46AM (#1145046)

      > The longer Humanity puts off preparations/mitigations the worse it will be for everyone

      What if it turns out the solution is to take you house and put more people in it for efficiency. And your parents' house. All for the betterment of Humanity.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:35PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, @09:35PM (#1144902)

    In fact, there is enough ice locked up in Greenland and Antarctica such that if all the ice melted it would cause a sea-level rise of 210 feet, a little taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No scientist is expecting anything even close to that this century, but after the Earth surpasses a certain level of warming, ice sheets become less stable and less predictable, with potential tipping points coming into play.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-rising-sea-levels-worst-case-projections/ [cbsnews.com]

    Elevation 420ft blaze it

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, @06:47AM (#1145049)

      On the plus side, great scuba in Italy.

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