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(Washington Post)   Alarmist climate scientist nutjobs are yammering about the temperature again. Wait, it's the World Bank? Never mind   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 6
    More: Scary, World Bank, climate scientist, least developed country, doomsday scenarios, climate pattern, city plan  
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1426 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Nov 2012 at 10:50 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-19 12:02:57 PM  
3 votes:

ajgeek: Does anyone else have trouble believing that 4 degrees is going to cause the end of the world? Sure, on Celsius scale, 4 degrees is pretty significant if you go from 0 to 23 (an 18% increase). But if you switch this to Kelvin (which is what the actual temperature is) the variance is 1.4%.

Are we so fragile that a number we normally consider "in the noise" is enough to wreck the entire planet?


I'm going to take this at face value, since your profile says you "rarely" troll.

First, "in the noise" for a day (or even a season) is not the same as "in the noise" over the longer term of years and decades. As an analogy, compare the temperature to your personal budget. Your bank balance is probably all over the place over a given month, depending on when bills fall due. It probably even has seasonal variations (e.g. spending goes up during the holidays). But overall, what matters is whether spending is higher or lower than income over the long term. And if spending is higher than income, even by a small amount, in the long run bad things will happen.

The other thing about climate is that it's a complex, non-linear system with lots of feedback loops. And like many such systems, it can remain stable within certain parameters, but flip into a different stable state that has very different outputs for a small change in inputs.

Here's a simple (and simplified) example. The planet warms a little. Ice cover in the arctic declines a little. With less ice (bright) and more exposed water (dark), more sunlight is absorbed in the arctic ocean so that particular part of the planet warms even faster, accelerating the ice loss. At some point the rate of loss passes a tipping point, and a huge amount of ice dumps into the ocean. That causes an important ocean circulatory system that brings warm water north to shut down, and suddenly northern Europe is getting Ice Age-like winters. But it all happens because over a sustained period, the arctic was warmer by an amount that on a single day would be "in the noise".

To continue the budget analogy, suppose you deal with your budget shortfall by charging stuff to your credit cards. So now you have to pay interest on the credit cards in addition to your other expenses, so now your budget shortfall is even worse, so you charge even more to your cards. Pretty soon, the interest charges are eating ever more of your budget, and your shortfall is accelerating... Before long you've forfeited your car title on a payday loan, you're sleeping in the park, and you're giving $10 blowjobs at truck-stops to make ends meet.That's an example of a non-linear system: a relatively small shortfall in your budget turns into a catastrophic outcome.

Anyway, that's the basic principle.

If you want to understand it properly (i.e. not my half-assed explanation and analogy), there's tons of material available online at any depth of detail and degree of quantification you want -- but it's only useful to people who are open to the concept that a nominally small change, sustained over a long period, can cause a dramatic change in a system's state.
2012-11-19 02:04:01 PM  
1 votes:
Does anyone else have trouble believing that 4 degrees is going to cause the end of the world? Sure, on Celsius scale, 4 degrees is pretty significant if you go from 0 to 23 (an 18% increase). But if you switch this to Kelvin (which is what the actual temperature is) the variance is 1.4%.

Are we so fragile that a number we normally consider "in the noise" is enough to wreck the entire planet?


First, you comment regarding the proportion the change is to Kelvin shows you have no idea of what you are talking about. You want to compare the range of temperatures we are comfortable in to absolute zero (no atomic or molecular vibration)? Really?

Second, yes, we (our systems) are that fragile. The biggest problem is we have grown a huge population that is dependent on things staying the same. 100 degrees is hot, but not near records. Yet when cities not used to that kind of heat, or even not used to long periods of time at that kind of heat, get hit with it, people, plants and animals die, huge amounts of energy are used causing price increases and shortages, consumption patterns change and the markets are not ready, food is either in low supply or rotting. We saw this last summer in a few cities. Now spread it world wide. This is why the bank is getting involved (and Kudos to them for thinking this far ahead!). The biggest kicker? The global air temperature last year wasn't significantly higher than the year before (the extra heat went into melting arctic ice instead - see czetie's post on the effect of that). That was all just redistribution.
2012-11-19 12:42:44 PM  
1 votes:
Scientists: Global warming may cause drought and food shortages
People: yawn

Bankers: futures in drought resistant grains and vegetables gained 10 points this quarter due to perceived climate change risks
People: holy fark this changes everything!
2012-11-19 12:28:52 PM  
1 votes:

czetie: and you're giving $10 blowjobs at truck-stops to make ends meet.


Best Global warming explanation EVER.
2012-11-19 11:18:50 AM  
1 votes:

ajgeek: Are we so fragile that a number we normally consider "in the noise" is enough to wreck the entire planet?


It's not that people are going to boil alive from these temperatures. It's all about crop yields.
2012-11-19 10:57:21 AM  
1 votes:
Real estate tip for the 2000's: Don't live on the beach.
 
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