Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Friday December 08 2017, @08:05AM   Printer-friendly
from the invest-in-sunblock dept.

A new study in Nature [Ed-Abstract only for non-subscribers, but see below.] predicts that climate warming will be 15% greater than previous high estimates have predicted. This new study suggests that humans need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than previously expected and more than the Paris Agreement calls for. This study was based on analyzing the earth's "energy budget" (absorption and re-emission of radiation) and inputting that into a number of different climate models.

Also covered in more detail in Phys.org and in the Guardian.

The researchers focused on comparing model projections and observations of the spatial and seasonal patterns of how energy flows from Earth to space. Interestingly, the models that best simulate the recent past of these energy exchanges between the planet and its surroundings tend to project greater-than-average warming in the future.

"Our results suggest that it doesn't make sense to dismiss the most-severe global warming projections based on the fact that climate models are imperfect in their simulation of the current climate," Brown said. "On the contrary, if anything, we are showing that model shortcomings can be used to dismiss the least-severe projections."


Original Submission

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Friday December 08 2017, @04:13PM (18 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08 2017, @04:13PM (#607245) Journal

    There's a good chance things will be a lot worse than the consensus opinion.

    If so, then evidence will eventually come out that supports that interpretation. Currently, the actual climate doesn't support that.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   0  
       Disagree=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Disagree' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   1  
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by meustrus on Friday December 08 2017, @05:57PM (9 children)

    by meustrus (4961) on Friday December 08 2017, @05:57PM (#607298)

    The risk of climate change has always been, and everybody agrees on this, that by the time we have irrefutable evidence it will be too late to reverse it.

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 08 2017, @06:07PM (8 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08 2017, @06:07PM (#607309) Journal

      The risk of climate change has always been, and everybody agrees on this, that by the time we have irrefutable evidence it will be too late to reverse it.

      I'm part of "everyone" and I don't agree on this. Further, by your premise we don't have evidence to support this facile agreement. That's what really bothers me about this debate - the poor quality of evidence, reasoning, and rhetori from "everyone" including the scientists who in theory should be the grown ups in the room. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Not "We fiddled around with our flawed models to get conclusions that confirm our biases."

      • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Friday December 08 2017, @10:40PM (7 children)

        by meustrus (4961) on Friday December 08 2017, @10:40PM (#607477)

        Or you could read the statement as narrowly as I made it. You're welcome to believe that when the irrefutable evidence comes, everything will actually be OK. That doesn't change the hypothetical future in which you are wrong and it's too late to fix things. Unless you have a plan to drop global temperatures and unmelt the poles when the need arises.

        --
        If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday December 09 2017, @06:26AM (6 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 09 2017, @06:26AM (#607634) Journal
          I believe I just did read the statement as narrowly as you made it.

          You're welcome to believe that when the irrefutable evidence comes, everything will actually be OK. That doesn't change the hypothetical future in which you are wrong and it's too late to fix things.

          Why would we need to "fix" things? Adaptation is another climate change strategy - which is suspiciously missing from the climate change rhetoric while simultaneous low value strategies that trivially affect climate at great cost are embraced. That is to me the smoking gun indicating that the whole mess is argued in bad faith. A rational approach to climate change would be to present all the possible strategies for dealing with climate change and evaluate their relative pros and cons, including adaptation, not merely completely discount certain strategies on the basis that they are "irreversible" (with irreversibility set so low that it'll trigger unless we scare ourselves into action right now). It's an attempt to insert Pascal's Wager while hiding the other choices.

          Let's suppose that it is as bad as claimed by the scientists and sea level does indeed rise, several meters over a century or more. So what? We just move out of the places that are flooding, including across political boundaries, when needed. So what if there is a migration a few hundred kilometers north of ecosystems? These ecosystems would migrate naturally on their own. We could even expedite the migration of the necessary plants and animals. So what if there are localized extinctions of species that don't have an impact on large ecosystems? The species that survive can adapt to the new niches and we can return to nature critical swaths of land (habitat destruction being one of those things worse than global warming). Coral bleaching? Start migrating coral bands to where they will survive better.

          Another process going on here is that humanity is improving itself. It unfortunately is not as irreversible as climate change may be, but it is at least as important. When we divert immense resources globally to ineffectually deal with global warming, we're interfering with this process at little to no gain. For example, Germany's recent energy policy (Energiewende) involved doubling the cost of electricity in that country and increasing reliance on low quality coal mined locally [soylentnews.org]. So little effect on global warming (since they don't even change their own CO2 emissions much), but at great cost to Germany and their environment.

          • (Score: 1) by rochrist on Sunday December 10 2017, @03:10AM (1 child)

            by rochrist (3737) on Sunday December 10 2017, @03:10AM (#607869)

            Are you really this obtuse, or are you just playing a character on the internet?

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday December 10 2017, @07:21AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 10 2017, @07:21AM (#607923) Journal
              No.

              As I noted earlier, adaptation is the elephant in the room that climate mitigation advocates carefully avoid. That's not such a big deal for the layman on the street who isn't expected to understand climatology. But it is a glaring oversight for the scientific community.
          • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Monday December 11 2017, @04:55PM (3 children)

            by meustrus (4961) on Monday December 11 2017, @04:55PM (#608323)

            In order to adapt to climate change, we need to know what we're adapting to. And that's one thing that climate scientists generally agree that we don't know with any degree of certainty.

            See, it was originally called "global warming" because that's the first order effect: rising global temperatures. The most obvious second-order effect is that ice caps will melt. Some third-order effects include rising sea levels and a reduction of white planetary surface. Fourth-order effects of that involve large-scale marine ecosystem shifts and more global warming in a feedback loop due to less sunlight being reflected.

            Now, after decades of research, there are any number of models predicting wildly different sorts of changes to weather patterns in different parts of the world, generally predicting an increased incidence of extreme weather but not agreeing on much else. And this is just one set of butterfly effects. What else will happen that nobody has thought of yet?

            Not to mention that every adaptation you have proposed - mass human migration, massive ecosystem preservation efforts, direct intervention in coral reef maintenance - is a massive R/D, political, and engineering challenge on the scale of emission reduction, on its own. And we have no reason to believe we have predicted all of the destructive effects of climate change. There will be other challenges we haven't even considered yet.

            Climate change represents an existential threat to human civilization, and the worst part of it is that we don't fully understand what the threat is. We just know that a) fossil fuel emissions have dramatically increased levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to levels not seen since the time of the dinosaurs, b) elevated levels of greenhouse gasses are known to increase global temperatures, c) we have seen an increase in global temperatures at or above predicted levels thus far, d) predicted levels of global temperature change are an order of magnitude above what we have already experienced, and e) that time of the dinosaurs when greenhouse gasses were this high preceded a mass extinction event.

            I'm sure humanity will adapt - we're very hardy creatures. But I'd rather not try to live through a mass extinction event, especially not one that will require mass migrations out of generally impoverished areas. Just look at how Europe is handling its current influx of impoverished refugees.

            --
            If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 11 2017, @05:50PM (2 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11 2017, @05:50PM (#608348) Journal

              In order to adapt to climate change, we need to know what we're adapting to. And that's one thing that climate scientists generally agree that we don't know with any degree of certainty.

              That would be incorrect. Both human and ecological systems can adapt to certain levels of climate change without even the slightest awareness of the change. Human systems in particular can be extremely adaptable. For example the US populace moves so often that effective the entire population of the US is moved every eight years or so. So we're supposed to be concerned about climate changes that would require the movement of a fraction of the US population over a century or two? Would we even notice that burden? I doubt it.

              See, it was originally called "global warming" because that's the first order effect: rising global temperatures. The most obvious second-order effect is that ice caps will melt. Some third-order effects include rising sea levels and a reduction of white planetary surface. Fourth-order effects of that involve large-scale marine ecosystem shifts and more global warming in a feedback loop due to less sunlight being reflected.

              This is all quite well known, including that the fourth-plus order feedbacks aren't actually as net positive as claimed (we'd be warming now, if that were true). This is why I'm far more concerned about evidence than exciting stories. One can invent billions of such stories about the climate, but only a few of them have the potential to come true.

              Not to mention that every adaptation you have proposed - mass human migration, massive ecosystem preservation efforts, direct intervention in coral reef maintenance - is a massive R/D, political, and engineering challenge on the scale of emission reduction, on its own. And we have no reason to believe we have predicted all of the destructive effects of climate change. There will be other challenges we haven't even considered yet.

              That is absurd. As I noted, we already move the population of the US every eight years (and used to be more frequent than that at every six years around the year 2000). That means, just using the specialized infrastructure for moving people between homes in the US, we could move the entire world's population every two centuries. And it would be a trivial contribution to migration to move people from countries, like Bangladesh and Micronesia, which would be completely inundated by a significant rise in sea level to countries that aren't in such a bind. They aren't that populous and we have decades, if not centuries, to conduct any such moves.

              Similarly, the most important part of a "massive ecosystem preservation effort" is setting aside land. Habitat destruction is the real problem, not mild climate change. It's just not that hard. Coral reef maintenance? Why bother? Just allow better adapted organisms to move in and let them do their thing.

              I'm sure humanity will adapt - we're very hardy creatures. But I'd rather not try to live through a mass extinction event, especially not one that will require mass migrations out of generally impoverished areas. Just look at how Europe is handling its current influx of impoverished refugees.

              I'd rather solve the more important problems. Global warming mitigation advocates have repeatedly shown that they don't care about poverty, overpopulation, habitat and arable land destruction, etc. It's more things like doubling the cost of electricity in Germany (Energiewende) to show how virtuous they are or passing treaties (the Kyoto Protocol) that cause substantial economic curtailment with near immeasurable impact on global warming.

              • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Monday December 11 2017, @06:53PM (1 child)

                by meustrus (4961) on Monday December 11 2017, @06:53PM (#608380)

                But we are warming now. Many parts of the world are seeing record temperatures year after year, especially for winter highs. In my area, the highest recorded March temperature record was broken last year; it replaced the previous record which was set the previous year.

                And yes, environmentalists and climate change activists are not really the same group of people. They are actually starkly divided on the issue of science: environmentalists are traditionally anti-technology and are responsible for the way the EU regulates things like new chemicals or genetic engineering where we can't possibly understand the implications yet, while climate change activists are very pro-technology and carry a bias to believe the scientific community. One way this rears its head is on the topic of nuclear energy. Climate change activists would love to replace fossil fuels with nuclear, which would quickly cut emissions right now, but environmentalists are one of the primary groups standing in its way because of skepticism about its safety and an unwillingness to store the waste products basically anywhere.

                I'd rather see the environmentalists win, myself. But because they are the side that is skeptical of science, they are also the side that is incapable of producing novel solutions. Which is why they don't really have a solution besides de-industrializing.

                And we need real solutions to the problems you mention. But I don't think that we can just use America's "specialized infrastructure" to move the entire populations of low-lying countries elsewhere. Problems:

                1) Fixed infrastructure like highways and fueling stations are not movable and must be constructed anew.
                2) Distribution networks are geographically specialized and must be developed anew.
                3) The US is still going to need its infrastructure and the people running it at home.
                4) The people living in those countries don't want to move.
                5) The people living near those countries don't want migrants settling in their own country, even decades or centuries after settlement [aljazeera.com]. The people living in Western democracies don't want them either. The only places that want them are places like Dubai, who need an underclass of migrant workers [dailymail.co.uk] to build their shiny tourist traps.

                What you propose is pre-emptively moving millions of people against their will, to places that don't want them, requiring massive infrastructure that hasn't been built yet. Such a project would require imposing a command economy to implement a few Stalin-esque 5-year plans. So would settings aside land for ecosystem preservation, which let's face it has basically the same set of underlying problems.

                Which is the real reason why nobody wants to seriously consider solving the ripple effects of climate change and would rather try to stop it in the first place.

                --
                If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 11 2017, @08:03PM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11 2017, @08:03PM (#608408) Journal

                  But we are warming now.

                  Sorry, I meant warming more now. Some of the long term effects of global warming should be seen in the short term with warming beyond that explained by the short term radiative model. Instead we're pretty much on the nose for no net feedback on short term global warming.

                  What you propose is pre-emptively moving millions of people against their will, to places that don't want them, requiring massive infrastructure that hasn't been built yet. Such a project would require imposing a command economy to implement a few Stalin-esque 5-year plans. So would settings aside land for ecosystem preservation, which let's face it has basically the same set of underlying problems.

                  There are other ways to skin that cat. Let us keep in mind that there is already a substantial amount of immigration and most of the world is becoming wealthy enough to support immigrant populations. And I still don't see here the massive R&D expenditures you claimed would be necessary earlier for this task.

                  Which is the real reason why nobody wants to seriously consider solving the ripple effects of climate change and would rather try to stop it in the first place.

                  I think the real reason is the massive public funding. There's a lot of easy money out there for those with the right narrative. Even the oil companies can get in [greentechmedia.com] on that action.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday December 08 2017, @09:02PM (7 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 08 2017, @09:02PM (#607421) Journal

    If I drop you off a cliff, evidence indicates that nothing untoward will happen during the entire drop. The ground's getting closer? So what? You'll have no evidence that the fall will actually harm you right up into the second you hit the ground and splat like a 250-pound sack of hot, hairy strawberry ice cream.

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09 2017, @01:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09 2017, @01:10AM (#607536)

      ...and splat

      Where do I get tickets?

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday December 09 2017, @05:40AM (2 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 09 2017, @05:40AM (#607626) Journal
      Where's the evidence that climate data is as reliable as falling object data?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10 2017, @10:30PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10 2017, @10:30PM (#608083)

        Where's the evidence that climate data is as reliable as falling object data?

        Thank god people were not as dense when CFCs were shown to be destroying the ozone layer. Because if they were like you, we would have UV index of 60 now and nice shortages of food as even plants would have trouble growing. Instead CFCs were cut, ozone layer only deteriorated for next 25 years and now starting to slowly recover. Will take another 100 years. but at least people weren't stupid.

        But now the problem is 10-20x longer timescale and everyone is like "meh, fuck the grandkids"

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 11 2017, @12:03AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11 2017, @12:03AM (#608119) Journal

          Thank god people were not as dense when CFCs were shown to be destroying the ozone layer.

          Ouch! You really know how to pick bad examples, don't you? I note that as a related example where due diligence wasn't done. It happened because none of the powerful special interests involved had any interest in resisting the Montreal Protocol [wikipedia.org]. Well, it so happens that working energy and transportation infrastructure is far more important to us than merely cheaper refrigerants. Thus, the same standard of shoddy evidence isn't yielding the same results.

          But now the problem is 10-20x longer timescale and everyone is like "meh, fuck the grandkids"

          At least, I'm thinking of the future, what of you? Let us keep in mind that the current global economy which includes a significant mix of fossil fuels has resulted in the greatest improvement of humanity ever and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. I discuss that here [soylentnews.org]. That link also demonstrates that environmental problems that were shown to be problems (pollution, habitat destruction, etc) have been worked on and greatly improved by the developed world. The problem instead is that rivers which catch on fire, or cities drowning in lethal smog are a higher standard of evidence than the shell games and exaggerations played by climate researchers and their sponsors.

          Don't confuse resistance to a poor climate change argument with "fuck the grandkids".

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09 2017, @08:08PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09 2017, @08:08PM (#607770)

      Even if you do not know the history of Earth's climate beyond the last century, some of your opponents do.
      Life thrived upon the warmer planet Earth. And if your ilk is so far dumber than an Europolemur as to not survive, then good riddance.

      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday December 10 2017, @05:20AM (1 child)

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 10 2017, @05:20AM (#607909) Journal

        Life isn't what's at issue here, you complete and utter moron: it's civilization. Nothing says our civilization can survive the scale of the changes that are likely to happen, and since we've used up all the easily-accessible fossil fuels already, we probably won't ever be able to progress past the Iron Age if it all goes to hell and we have to start over.

        You really don't seem to understand the situation here, do you?

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday December 10 2017, @07:25AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 10 2017, @07:25AM (#607926) Journal

          Nothing says our civilization can survive the scale of the changes that are likely to happen

          But it is the smart bet.

          since we've used up all the easily-accessible fossil fuels already, we probably won't ever be able to progress past the Iron Age if it all goes to hell and we have to start over

          Or we could make biofuels and solar cells to progress past the Iron Age. The Sun didn't stop shining just because we used up a bunch of convenient fossil fuels.