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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
    More: Scary, World Bank, climate scientist, least developed country, doomsday scenarios, climate pattern, city plan  
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1440 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Nov 2012 at 10:50 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-11-19 10:57:21 AM  
3 votes:
Real estate tip for the 2000's: Don't live on the beach.
2012-11-19 12:02:57 PM  
2 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 04:01:01 PM  
1 vote:

dervish16108: SpectroBoy: Food
[usahitman.com image 450x338]

That's an awful lot of Corn Flakes. Where's the milk going to come from?

I prefer to take my Corn Flakes with bourbon.
2012-11-19 12:28:52 PM  
1 vote:

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

Best Global warming explanation EVER.
2012-11-19 11:33:11 AM  
1 vote:
Does anyone else have trouble remembering how to dress themselves? Sure, pants are larger than underpants. But if you wear shorts, the difference is not so much.

Are we so fragile that a sequence that most people consider 'easy to remember' is enough to label me retarded?
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