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Which will occur first.  a perenially ice-free arctic or a global 1 meter sea-level rise?

1 meter sea-level rise will be first by more than 10 years
7 (13.7%)
1 meter sea-level rise will be first by 2-10 years
3 (5.9%)
About the same time
0 (0%)
1 meter sea-level rise will follow by 2-10 years
7 (13.7%)
1 meter sea-level rise will follow by more than 10 years
34 (66.7%)

Total Members Voted: 50

Author Topic: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice  (Read 52679 times)

OldLeatherneck

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Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« on: February 21, 2013, 03:43:30 PM »


While this chart may be purely hypothetical, the events depicted are not!  I have chosen to use the loss of arctic sea ice on the x-axis, because we know the stages of decline.  We also know that Arctic Amplification is going to continue to play havoc with the climate, leading to severe droughts, extreme heatwaves and more violent storms. I've also included stages of Sea level rise (SLR) on the x-axis because the loss of the arctic sea ice will lead to accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS).  What we don't know is when in the future these events will be occurring, although, the best minds on Neven's blog seem to believe that we will see an ice-free September as early as 2016.  I arbitrarily placed a 1 meter SLR after a perrennially ice free arctic, however comments/opinions on that are welcome.

The global impact of Climate Change is already taking a toll on infrastructure and society.  This toll will only worsen unless CO2 emissions are drastically reduced or other mitigation efforts prove successful.

We Have Choices

While many of the events depicted on this chart are already unavoidable, humanity has within it's power to change the slope of the curves.  While I'm not always as optimistic about a rapid transition to renewable energy as my good friend Bob Wallace is, I'm also not as doomerish as those who believe that we are unavoidably heading towards a mass extinction event.

I welcome any thoughts/comments about the timeline of events and/or the societal impacts of unfettered Climate Change.
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Neven

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 03:52:11 PM »
Let me add to that the blog post I've written with Kevin McKinney last melting season, discussing the potential consequences of disappearing sea ice: Why Arctic Sea Ice Shouldn't Leave Anyone Cold.
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ritter

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 07:16:23 PM »
Hi Oldleather,

Thanks for posting on this subject. I'm not one of those great minds nor am I versed in science the way many of these fine folk are. But I'm keenly interested in this topic as I have a young child.

I like your chart but feel it is optimistic in that we (at least here in the US) are already experiencing droughts, heat waves and climate instability prior to an essentially ice-free September condition. Corn production in the US took a pretty good hit thanks to our "flash drought" and this winter isn't much improving things.


Many other of the world's bread baskets are facing climate instability as well. If this keeps up, we're going to have serious problems very soon. And if a perennial ice free Arctic amplifies these conditions (which I'm sure it will), I think we'll have your mass migrations, global wars and famine well before 1 meter sea level rise. Sure hope I'm mistaken.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 07:18:13 PM by ritter »

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 07:34:55 PM »
Neven,

Thanks for that link.  I do now remember when you and Kevin posted that.  I think this forum is going to provide a wonderful repository for a lot of significant material that has not only been written in the past but in the future months and years.

It will be interesting to observe the cultural shifts from individuals, to  local communities, to regions to entire nations and continents as the brutal evidence of AGW/CC becomes more and more obvious as the upcoming months and years transpire.

Adapting to change, no matter how necessary, is not an easy thing for many people to accept, let alone embrace.  Having taught and coached change management, I've seen how destructive the resistance to change can be to an organization.  I've seen senior executive balk at change the way they do business even when given statistical evidence of a means to improve their bottom line and annual bonuses.  Now, face with AGW/CC we are looking adapting to a changing world where there are no easy, painless solutions.  The longer we delay adaptation/mitigation the more painful the changes will be.

At my age (66), it would be easy to ignore many aspects of AGW/CC.  The most catastrophic events may not occur until my ashes have been scattered at sea.  However, as a species, we have a moral imperative to leave a habitable biosphere for future generations, even if the world's population must decline to survive in it.

Ritter,

While I was typing the above response to Neven, I was notified of your comments.  Here ae a few brief thoughts on your reply:

As I stated, the chart is purely hypothetical.  I created it just to get the conversations started about the timing and severity of the problems we are facing.  Your perspective about the impact droughts will have on the world's food supply, is very well taken.
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ritter

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 07:59:56 PM »
As I stated, the chart is purely hypothetical.  I created it just to get the conversations started about the timing and severity of the problems we are facing. 

Yes, hypothetical was understood!  :)

You bring an interesting perspective to this from the management perspective. As you say, change is difficult for many to accept, even when it improves your situation. And in response to climate change, I see very little in the way of leadership that will inspire the required change if our societies are to carry on. I very much fear we have done far too little far too late to effect the change we need to avoid roasting ourselves. I look to folks like Bob Wallace and yourself to offer up nuggets of hope to those of us that tend to get mired in the gloom of it all. Thanks.

Laurent

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 08:16:11 PM »
What about the sea level !?
The scientists say the rise will be 1 meter at the end of the century !
Personally I think this is not true because it is based on the actual rise !
Once the arctic melt we will have an excess of energy every year of  1000 km3 of ice (which is around 10y20 joules) and this quantity does seem to increase exponentially (double every 10 years (for the moment)).
What we know is that :
20.000 years ago the sea level was 120 meters below present with 180 ppm of CO2.
Today sea level is balance with the CO2 level before industrial era ! CO2 = 283 ppm
125.000 years ago sea level was 8 meters above with C02 = 290 ppm
330.000 years ago sea level was 20 meters above with CO2 = 300 ppm
(These figures are not accurate, I would be glad to see exact numbers)
It does seem that for 1 ppm we have around 1 meter of sea level rise.
We are 120 ppm (a bit less) above the industrial era which could mean 120 meters above is expected !?(when ?)

Laurent

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 09:00:51 PM »
Laurent,

4 or 5 years ago, after retirement, when I had time to look at what was happening to our climate, I did a quick Google Search, for SLR projections.  I found close to 15 different sets of projections.  While there were distinct variations between the different sets of projections and not knowing which ones were produced by the most credible scientists/institutions, I was satisfied at that time civilization had 90 years to prepare for 12"-18" of SLR by 2100.

We now know that even the most credible of those projections were grossly understated.  I believe that we have less than 40 years to prepare for a SLR of as much as 1 meter, maybe more....hopefully less.

More imminent, but less concern to many folks in the western world, is the very near-term relocation of almost the entire population of Bangladesh.  Where will those people go??  What country is capable of accepting and caring for that many displaced people.

It will be fascinating, if not alarming to watch how much mass is lost on Greenland and the WAIS in the next 4-5 years.  We almost need that data to make any valid near-term projections.  I'd start a poll on how much sea levels will rise by 2100, but I won't be around to award the prize to the winner.

In preparing for rising sea levels, coastal communities MUST begin making plans for massive sea walls or complete abandonment of major metropolitan areas.  Imagine the economic and societal impact of having to suddenly evacuate, abandon and relocate the entire population of Miami, FL!!
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Bob Wallace

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 11:23:53 PM »
Perhaps I'll never find a way to drive a stake into the heart of "Bob Wallace is an optimist".

I'm not optimistic about our future in the sense that everything is going to be fine.  I think we are already getting hurt by climate change, a few more years data may be needed to confirm that in the scientific sense.  And I suspect that the hurt will continue and will increase.

But I'm not convinced that we're headed toward a Mad Max world or a massive die-off of humans or a return to life in caves. 

I'm sure we have the technology to allow us to quit using fossil fuels.  I find Jacobson and Delucchi's 2009 analysis that we could get off fossil fuels in 20 years (were we adequately motivated) to be reasonable.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Global Change released the following graph.  It illustrates how much we would have to cut our CO2 emissions per year once we reach peak output.    Clearly we missed the 2011 point and are fairly certain to miss the 2016 point.  But if we can peak, worldwide, by 2020 or sooner we can limit  CO2 emissions to 750 billion tonnes between  2010 and 2050.



I think that the majority of Earthlings are figuring out that we've got to do some stuff quickly.  And our governments are starting to act.  The EU27 and the US have already peaked.  China may not peak until 2025 or 2030, but other countries may have reduced their emissions enough to allow the world to peak at 2020.

If we peak in 2020 can we cut GHG emissions by 9% a year?  Not easily done, but possible.  It would take a lot of plants churning out solar panels and wind turbines.  That can be done (read Jacobson and Delucchi). 

The one concern I have is affordable storage.  We're going to need a bunch and we are still trying to figure our the best solution.  We have technology which works, but it's not cheap enough for market forces alone to cause it to be installed in volume. 

ritter

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 11:38:02 PM »
Perhaps I'll never find a way to drive a stake into the heart of "Bob Wallace is an optimist".
...
But I'm not convinced that we're headed toward a Mad Max world or a massive die-off of humans or a return to life in caves. 

That is optimistic compared to what lurks in dark corners of my mind.  :)

I do find your posts on alternative energy enlightening. I'd love to install solar on my roof. Alas, with no forethought by the builders other then to maximize units/acre, my roof ridge is oriented north/south and is less than ideal. Add in shading from neighbors' houses and trees and it doesn't justify the cost.

In regard to storage, I think there will be a time when a great many of us just get used to not having electricity at night.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 12:34:35 AM »
I think there will be a time when a great many of us just get used to not having electricity at night.

I don't see that being even a remote possibility.

I live off the grid with solar panels.  I have light, computer, stereo, and refrigeration every night. 

Here's a worst case, IMO.  We would have to cut back and have fewer TVs/Gameboys/non-essential things running.  We would have to limit ourselves to LEDs/CFLs and have only a minimal number of lights on at a time.  We might have to give up our great big, inefficient refers and use something more modest.

We could do that with less than $1,800 worth of batteries and a $1,000 or less expensive inverter. We'd have to replace the batteries every 10 years or so and the inverter after 20 or so years.  About $20 per month would let us store daytime electricity for nighttime use.

But since the wind blows a lot at night, hydro/tidal/geothermal operate around the clock, and overall demand is lower at night I don't see the need to hoard electricity in our houses.

Matt

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 08:00:45 AM »
Bob,
The graph you have posted, i believe really sums up why so many people are pessimistic about our future.
I have been absolutely fascinated by Nevin's blog for over a year now, and through links and moving off on a tangent from those links came across the works of Prof. Kevin Anderson. In this presentation
he explains that graph, and what the world as a collective must do to reach these goals.
Unfortunately i don't believe there is a snowballs chance that we will meet even the best case scenario depicted in the graph.
I have read the contributions in Neven's Blog with amazement at how knowledgeable the contributors are (i have had to teach myself and research some of the comments just to understand in some cases). However now we have this forum, and can discuss areas more akin to my areas of expertise.
Unfortunately i believe our biggest problem in trying to solve the AGW crisis, is the state of democracy in many of the worst polluting countries. In my country of Australia for example, we basically run as a two party communist system  (a bit like the US), the only difference being the power of money (advertising to the 80% of politically brain dead voters) ensuring who is elected, instead of a gun. As the fossil fuel industry holds the most cash, they also hold the power over government decisions. A prime example of this occurred in the US with the emergence of the Tea party and subsequent hammering of Republican senators who wanted to act on climate change.
I believe that social revolution will occur before meaningfull action on carbon reduction and that massive consequences of climate change will have to become commonplace before the social revolution. By that time..... too late. :o

Do i have the title of the most negative now  ;D

Sharkproof

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 02:16:18 PM »
Are we really sure that agriculture will take such a hit in the short term?
I come from Sweden and what limits us in the northern part of the country is the
cold. My guess is that it is the same for most of northern Asia. There the extra warmth will be
helpful.

The main hit for agriculture should happen first when we lose land to the ocean. No?

Warmer countries will of course lose earlier....

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 03:12:34 PM »
Are we really sure that agriculture will take such a hit in the short term?




Sharkproof,

Dr. Jeff Masters at the WeatherUnderground wrote a lengthy article last year about how drought was the greatest danger of climate change.
http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2296
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lisa

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 04:32:11 PM »
I think that we're a lot closer to social unrest than most people think due to food prices/food scarcity.

There are about 45 million people or so people on food stamps in the US, or around 15% of the population.  What happens when the food stamp allotment doesn't keep up with the cost of food?   What happens when parents can't feed their children, but there are no funds for Foster Care Services? 

The Arab Spring was all about the cost of food.  We are walking a thin line.

Sharkproof

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 05:01:13 PM »
Yes, severe droughts and floods will be will decrease agricultural output.
I think however that temperature is even more important than these extreme events. Especially for colder countries.

Nobody would say that the opposite is true. That agricultural output would increase from the current levels if the climate would be colder.


TerryM

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 05:42:09 PM »
Yes, severe droughts and floods will be will decrease agricultural output.
I think however that temperature is even more important than these extreme events. Especially for colder countries.

Nobody would say that the opposite is true. That agricultural output would increase from the current levels if the climate would be colder.

IIRC experimental farming was attempted a few decades ago in Northern Ontario. The conclusion was that there wasn't a long enough season with strong sunlight to make it viable.

I'm sure that short season varieties of some crops might be viable in northern areas that have decent soil, but the short growing season regardless of temperature has to be taken into account.

In 2011 the Canadian wheatbelt was flooded out and I think a year earlier Russia ended it's wheat exports due to inclement weather. Unless farmers have a way to forecast weather conditions during the growing season they'll be planting the wrong crops at the wrong time.

Terry

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 05:45:03 PM »
I think that we're a lot closer to social unrest than most people think due to food prices/food scarcity.

"Civilization is only seven meals from anarchy."....Eric Severeid"

This is one of my favorite quotes showing how fragile the stability of civilization really is.

.....................The Arab Spring was all about the cost of food.  We are walking a thin line.

Not only had the price of grain doubled in Eqypt, but Egypt had recently transitioned from being a Net Exporter of petroleum products to becoming a Net Importer.  So increasing food prices were coupled with increasing fuel prices.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 06:01:56 PM by OldLeatherneck »
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Edheler

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 07:03:24 PM »



More modern disasters will generally be more expensive due to inflation. Your image isn't useful as an indicator of if natural disasters are becoming more expensive.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2013, 07:12:37 PM »

More modern disasters will generally be more expensive due to inflation. Your image isn't useful as an indicator of if natural disasters are becoming more expensive.

If you look carefully at Dr. Masters chart, you will note that the dollar values have been inflation adjusted to 2012 dollars!
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Gray-Wolf

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2013, 07:30:18 PM »
I just hope that we are not on the cusp of a minor 'abrupt warming phase' on the back of the past 5 years of extra low summer ice levels and a consolidation of the early snow melt?

I get the feeling that climate inertia has started to be overpowered by the forcings we had applied and that this extra 'boost' of energy will lead to a rapid climate shift to a more 'stable point' for the current level of forcings?

I'm quite 'Lovelokian' in my viewing of the climate syatem believing that the planet will do her best to keep things stable up until a certain point when she 'flips' to a higher temp stable point? The abrupt warming events we see as we haul out of ice ages might illustrate this well and our current, ongoing, albedo flip must have suddenly (in climate terms) put an extra jolt of energy into the climate pot. Seeing as last year we saw a further collapse in both ice levels and Greenland's albedo we must have gained another significant input on top of the ones that were already messing with Northern Hemisphere circulation.

The question for me is where do we go from here? Having been blighted by two flood events last year (Hebden Bridge, U.K.) I would hope that the extra energy puts more of a kink in the Jet, Heightening it's amplitude and shortening it's wavelength, dragging the 'stuck weather patterns' back into the Atlantic. I think I talk for most of the UK in this!
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Edheler

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2013, 07:37:27 PM »
If you look carefully at Dr. Masters chart, you will note that the dollar values have been inflation adjusted to 2012 dollars!

I did miss that but it doesn't really change things much. They probably used the CPI to try and balance the values. Since the late 1970's it has been fairly obvious to a number of economists that the government has been manipulating the CPI to reduce Social Security payouts.

Another big factor, especially with hurricanes, is that the level of development has been increasing at an accelerating rate. It makes comparisons of the present to the past difficult using the value of damage as the factor in the comparison.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2013, 07:53:14 PM »
Once more, in order to not be taken as a optimist - I think we're going to get hurt.

But I don't think we're going to get hurt any more than we've been hurt in the past when it comes to food and starvation. The Great Chinese famine of 1959 - 1961 saw between 15 million and 43 million perish.  We've had some large famines over the years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines

These days we have the ability to move food/people and communications to let us know where people are starving. 

Where will the food come from? 

-The US apparently throws away 50% of the food it produces. 

-Africa loses 50% of the food they produce due to lack of adequate transportation and storage. 

-We eat a lot of meat which means that we use 25 pounds of vegetable protein to create 1 pound of animal protein.

The economics of tighter food supplies will work on all of those problems. 

Then there's the issue of agricultural productivity in Africa.  The Chinese are working on that one.  They are setting up large "corporate" farms such as we have in the US.  Africa will start to become a food exporting country.

Our agriculture will move more toward the poles.  We can get away with that for a few decades as long as warming doesn't occur too rapidly.  Wheat will move north, corn will move in where wheat used to grow, cotton will move to the places corn grew.  Where I live we're seeing the wine industry starting experimental vineyards because the Napa and Sonoma valleys are begining to get too warm for some varieties.

As food gets more expensive we'll see more urban farming.  More backyard gardens. 

We're going to see plant varieties which can better deal with heat and drought.  We're going to see plant varieties which produce higher yields.  We're going to see improved farming methods, including better ways to farm with less water.

There's an interesting development in rice farming.  Some farmers in Asia have found that if they plant rice shoots one to a space rather than a cluster of ~3 and flood them less, production rises about 30%.  Crowd the plants less and drown the roots less and field yield improves.

And we'll probably see governments establish larger warehouse capacity to carry their country through a bad harvest period.

We stand a good chance of holding the hunger beast at bay, at least for the next few decades.  It's too hard to predict out further than that.



gfwellman

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2013, 09:26:03 PM »
Er, about Chinese agriculture in Africa ... that food will be shipped to China.  Africans will be worse off than ever.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2013, 10:11:26 PM »
It's not a one-way street with all the food going to China.  The establishment of efficient agricultural practices will feed people on two continents. 

China's main goal may be to produce food for its own people, but in doing so it will create the food transportation and storage infrastructure that Africa needs.  Local people will learn more efficient growing methods and have access to seed stock and equipment they wouldn't otherwise have.

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/DfID-China-to-improve-farming-in-Africa-/-/2558/1639726/-/ku14yfz/-/index.html

http://mg.co.za/article/2012-10-03-a-chinese-farm-in-africa

JackTaylor

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2013, 10:22:18 PM »
Er, about Chinese agriculture in Africa ... that food will be shipped to China.  Africans will be worse off than ever.


It's more than China.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121217-saudi-arabia-water-grabs-ethiopia/

"Google four words" africa agriculture saudi arabia.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2013, 10:58:05 PM »

It's more than China.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121217-saudi-arabia-water-grabs-ethiopia/

"Google four words" africa agriculture saudi arabia.


Jack,

Thanks for posting that  link about the Saudis having drained their aquifer.

I have a friend, whose is a retired Professor of Agriculture (PhD) from the University of Minnesota.  Early in his career, he was a part of the advisory/consulting team that was sent to Saudi Arabia, when the Saudis were first considering tapping this ancient aquifer for agricultural purposes.  The Saudis were informed then that the aquifer which took 10,000 years to fill, would only last 30-40 years if used to irrigate farm land.  It seems that those scientists were quite accurate in their prediction.
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2013, 11:35:10 PM »

As glacial retreat reaches critical levels in Bolivia, water stress plagues the cities of El Alto and La Paz.3,8,9 If our heat-trapping emissions continue to rise at current rates, many tropical glaciers in Latin America are likely to disappear within a few decades.12
◾Chacaltaya glacier, northeast of La Paz, lost more than 90 percent of its volume from the 1940s to the late 1990s-and disappeared completely in 2009.3,9,10,11
◾Average temperatures throughout the tropical Andes rose around 0.6° F (0.33° C) per decade in the last quarter of the twentieth century.13,14 Scientists have observed that temperature increases of as little as 0.2° F (0.1° C) per decade can cause glaciers to shrink dramatically.17
◾Melting of tropical Andean glaciers threatens the water supply of 30 million people, agriculture, hydropower, and the region's immense biodiversity.4,23
 
............................................................................

Glaciers across South America have shrunk severely in recent decades, with many vanishing altogether.12 Scientists attribute the accelerating retreat of Andean glaciers to climate change—primarily warming temperatures, higher humidity, and shifting precipitation.13 Average temperatures throughout the tropical Andes have been rising since the mid-twentieth century, with the rate of increase jumping to around 0.6° F (0.33° C) per decade in the last quarter of the century.13,14


http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-locations/chacaltaya-glacier-bolivia.html

As the glaciers continue to retreat and aquifers are depleted, there will be potential, if not certainty, of resource conflicts that may lead to open warfare.
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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2013, 12:05:20 AM »
Are we really sure that agriculture will take such a hit in the short term?
I come from Sweden and what limits us in the northern part of the country is the
cold. My guess is that it is the same for most of northern Asia. There the extra warmth will be
helpful.
The warmth won't be consistent. You'll still get the cold that you've always had, but there will be times of very high temperatures, too. Think of the Russian Heat Wave of 2010. So, it's unlikely that very many places will see agricultural production go up.

I can't speak about Sweden specifically, though. Maybe you'll get lucky.

JackTaylor

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2013, 10:39:17 PM »

The warmth won't be consistent. You'll still get the cold that you've always had, but there will be times of very high temperatures, too. Think of the Russian Heat Wave of 2010. So, it's unlikely that very many places will see agricultural production go up.

I can't speak about Sweden specifically, though. Maybe you'll get lucky.


The Latitude of Sweden compares to Palmer, Alaska where world record cabbage is grown.
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/giant-cabbage-sets-world-record-alaska-state-fair

Certain types of vegetables growing good above 60-N, does that imply we will be healthier by consuming more cruciferous vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae).

How far North will Cereal Crops grow, IMHO the limit will be when the end is near.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2013, 10:58:05 PM »
Just some brief thoughts on resource conflict/competition, specifically as it pertains to water.

I live in Texas, whose economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and the fossil fuel industry.  If the drought in this region of the U.S. continue to be more severe and more frequent, as predicted, I anticipate major competition between the agricultural community and the oil/gas industry.  While most of us wish they would stop drilling for oil, I don't see that happening in the next 5-10 years.

Fracking, which has led to the recent proliferation of gas/oil drilling here in Texas.  It is possible to use up to 5,000,000 gallons of water just to frack one well, and may need to be repeated more than once.  This is placing a tremendous drain on our groundwater resources.  That coupled with an expanding population.  With drought conditions, farmers are more dependent on water from the aquifers for irrigation purposes.

It does not help either that the State Government and much of the populace are still in major denial about AGW/CC.
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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2013, 11:16:09 PM »
I wonder is crop insurance payouts could be used as an indication of where things are headed.

http://www.agcanada.com/manitobacooperator/2013/02/06/u-s-drought-prompts-record-crop-insurance-payout%E2%80%A9/

So far, in the US at least, 2012 seems to be leading the pack with 11.6 B$ paid to date.

Terry

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2013, 12:17:08 AM »
Terry,

Using crop insurance as a metric is fine as far it goes, however, I wonder how many countries have crop insurance.  Also there are countries that would publish erroneous data or refuse to publish it in the first place.
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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2013, 03:21:22 AM »
While it's true that some regions will benefit from an extended growing season, overall there will be so much agricultural chaos that there will be a huge loss.  Places where we farm will change.  What will happen to the farmer who is working land that his family has owned for generations?  He's barely making it now -- there's no way he can start over on land that's never been worked.  What happens when the growing belt shifts from one side of a border to the other? 

A couple of years ago, I was working as a carny up in the UP of Michigan.  Most of the other carnys were city folk, but I was a local.  On one of my breaks, I wandered off and picked a handful of wild blueberries.  I tried to give some to a couple of the guys I worked with, but none of them would eat them because they didn't look like store-bought blueberries.

There are millions of people in the US who depend on restaurants and grocery stores for everything they eat, and who have no idea whatsoever of what they might do to feed themselves and their families from gardening, wild-gathering or hunting or husbanding animals/fish.

I'm living in central Michigan now, in Lansing.  It's a working class town with a lot of people out of work -- a lot of people who depend on food stamps, food pantries and church dinners.  I worry about places like this.  People are going to get desperate -- no jobs, reduced assistance, rising food prices. 

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2013, 02:05:29 PM »
OYSTER FARMERS Facing Climate Change

Oyster Farmers Kathleen Nisbet and her father, Dave, farm oysters in Washington's Willapa Bay. They recently shifted some of their business to Hawai'i, after ocean acidification started killing baby oysters in local hatcheries.

Over the past 250 years, the world's oceans have absorbed about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide that humans have put into the air by burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide lowers the pH of oceans, turning waters more acidic. The Northwest is home to some of the most corrosive waters on earth. Washington State in particular is an ocean acidification hotspot due to coastal upwelling that delivers cold water, low in pH and rich in carbon dioxide, from the deep ocean to its coasts. In Hawai'i, where coastal upwelling does not occur, the water is warmer and acidity is increasing less rapidly.

Ocean acidification makes it more difficult for oyster larvae and young oysters to grow and maintain their protective shells. Shells may even dissolve in increasingly acidic waters, leading to higher mortality in young oysters. Dave finds success in shipping baby oysters from Hawai'i and maturing them in Willapa Bay.

The Nisbet's story may be unique, but they are not alone. Washington supports the most productive commercial shellfish operation on the West Coast, a multi-million dollar industry at risk. Yet the issue exceeds lost profits. Not all farmers can invest in warmer waters. Coastal tribes harvest wild shellfish for economic and subsistence uses. Healthy seas help build livelihoods in rural communities. So what next?

Under rising emissions scenarios, ocean acidity may increase 100 to 150 percent by the end of the century. In response, farmers are using new technologies to monitor the acidity levels of hatchery waters. Young scientists are devoting their careers to understanding risk and resilience. Former Washington Governor Gregoire formed a blue ribbon panel on ocean acidification and issued an Executive Order to implement key actions. Washington State is pioneering efforts to tackle ocean acidification so that its waters continue to serve as a source of prosperity and inspiration. We need all hands on deck.


Video @
http://bdsjs.com/facing-climate-change/stories/oyster-farmers/
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2013, 02:13:28 PM »
COASTAL TRIBES Facing Climate Change

The Swinomish Tribe has lived on the coasts of the Salish Sea for thousands of years. Today, rising seas not only threaten cultural traditions, but also the economic vitality of this small island nation in the shadow of two oil refineries.

After scientists identified sea level rise as a threat to the Lower Skagit River area, the tribe launched a climate change initiative to study the long-term impacts of climate change on their reservation, and to develop an action plan to adapt. Impacts of sea level rise on the island, including coastal erosion, habitat loss, and declining water quality, raised central concerns. The study presented the Swinomish with a difficult question: whether to plan for inches or feet of rise?

Planning must embrace a range of possibilities. Important factors used to calculate global sea level rise, such as melt rates of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, vary widely. In addition, regional estimates must include local factors such as wind patterns and tectonic activity.

Sea level rise projections for Puget Sound range from very low (three inches by 2050) to very high (50 inches by 2100). Rising seas threaten to inundate up to 15 percent of low-lying Swinomish Reservation lands. Approximately 160 homes (worth over $83 million), 18 businesses (worth $19 million), critical roads and docks, areas of traditional tribal shellfish harvest, and sensitive cultural sites are all vulnerable to inundation. When sea level rise combines with more frequent and intense storms, a likely scenario in a warming world, the risks of damaging floods are even higher.

Planning for future change can thus feel like staring into a murky crystal ball. What if climate change cuts off mainland access to the Swinomish's Fidalgo Island Reservation? What if buildings relocated to higher ground in forested areas just swap the risk of flooding for increased risk of wildfire? What if sea levels change faster than scientists predict, and tribal peoples continue to bear a disproportionate burden of climate risk?

With millions of dollars invested in low-lying properties that include a bingo hall, casino, and hotel, the Swinomish are planning for a Puget Sound that is up to four feet higher than it is today. They are considering raising or relocating buildings, engineering shorelines to better support construction, and insuring properties against financial loss. But the coastal tribe cannot relocate inland or replace culturally significant lands and practices very easily. Tribal peoples worldwide have survived and thrived by adapting to change. The Swinomish will try to continue following the sea, living in rhythm with its rise.

Video @
http://bdsjs.com/facing-climate-change/stories/coastal-tribes/
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2013, 02:24:33 PM »
PLATEAU TRIBES Facing Climate Change

The Umatilla Tribe in northeastern Oregon promised to take care of the foods that promised to take care of them: water, fish, game, roots and berries. Can they keep that promise in a warming world?

Rising temperatures impact every stage of the salmon lifecycle. Salmon need cold, clear and clean water to survive. In winter, more rain and earlier snowmelt increase the risk of floods that can destroy salmon spawning grounds. In summer, low flows reduce the quantity and quality of salmon habitat. Warmer water temperatures physically stress the fish and block migration routes.

Climate change could also shift the ranges of roots and berries. Scientists project that air temperatures in the Pacific Northwest will increase 3°F by the 2040s, and even relatively small increases in temperature can alter conditions that sustain life. With temperatures changing too quickly for native plants to adapt, their range may shift north or to higher elevations for cooler temperatures. Some may become extinct.

The Umatilla's First Foods have deep history, extending back to original creation beliefs. What's new is the application of this tradition to modern land management decisions affecting all of the reservation's 178,000 acres – from the salmon that spawn in the floodplains to huckleberries growing in the mountains, and beyond to other lands where the tribe has rights to harvest and gather traditional foods.

The Umatilla might be the first tribe in the nation to use foods served at the Longhouse table to guide the way they protect, restore and manage natural resources. The First Foods promise to take care of water, fish, game, roots and berries continues to serve the Umatilla as they adapt to a changing landscape.

Video @
http://bdsjs.com/facing-climate-change/stories/plateau-tribes/
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2013, 02:28:02 PM »
POTATO FARMERS Facing Climate Change

John O'Conner grew Idaho potatoes where they had never been grown before. Then the state bought his water rights, and land that once grew thirsty crops is now providing wind energy.

A warmer climate is changing agricultural landscapes throughout the Pacific Northwest. Droughts are expected to occur more frequently, and in some places, more precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow. In the Columbia River Basin, spring snowpack is projected to decrease by more than half by 2100. These factors will make summer water less available in some rivers, presenting difficult choices to farmers who depend on summer stream flow for irrigation.

The Bell Rapids Project developed 25,000 acres of irrigated farmland high above the Snake River when water was cheap and plentiful. As competition for that water grew, irrigation costs rose and crop prices fell, making irrigation at Bell Rapids harder to justify. The state purchased the project's water rights to support salmon and steelhead recovery. New wind farms pick up speed in the fallow fields as the local economy – and farmers like John O'Conner – capitalize on more profitable uses.

Less snowmelt will impact hydropower, salmon, farmers, and cities all across the West. While the farmers of Bell Rapids successfully navigated the transition from irrigated agriculture to other uses, other farms may not be as fortunate. The winds of change are blowing in all directions, creating new opportunities and challenges for the landscapes and livelihoods of those in their path.

Video @
http://bdsjs.com/facing-climate-change/stories/potato-farmers/
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2013, 01:49:03 AM »
Thank you for the oyster story. Aragonite undersaturated at  omega = 1 but oysters suffer mortality at 1.5 . Arctic conditionsScience (2009)
Volume: 326, Issue: 5956, Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pages: 1098-100
ISSN: 10959203
DOI: 10.1126/science.1174190
PubMed: 19965425
Available from Science
or Find this paper at:
Abstract

The increase in anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and attendant increase in ocean acidification and sea ice melt act together to decrease the saturation state of calcium carbonate in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean. In 2008, surface waters were undersaturated with respect to aragonite, a relatively soluble form of calcium carbonate found in plankton and invertebrates. Undersaturation was found to be a direct consequence of the recent extensive melting of sea ice in the Canada Basin. In addition, the retreat of the ice edge well past the shelf-break has produced conditions favorable to enhanced upwelling of subsurface, aragonite-undersaturated water onto the Arctic continental shelf. Undersaturation will affect both planktonic and benthic calcifying biota and therefore the composition of the Arctic ecosystem.

Matt

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2013, 02:02:37 AM »
Terry,
I would agree that insurance payouts are quite a good indicator. Insurance is an issue i constantly use when confronted with the "its all a conspiracy" bulls##t. Rather than payouts i use premiums as an example and indicator. Insurance premiums are a great one to measure for a few reasons. 1. the cost of providing customer service is maintained very well. 2. The payout figures on claims (like for like) can be scaled for inflation 3. The re-insurance costs for providers are generally reported in company financial reports and again can be easily comaped to inflation/growth rates.
When people whinge about their carbon tax (here in Australia) i ask them why they don't complain about the increase in insurance premiums. I actually find that the penny drops for more people when i talk about the relationship between premium costs and extreme weather events, than actually talking about the science of AGW.... Sad really.....

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2013, 10:05:24 PM »
As recently as five years ago I was reading that in the coming few decades most of the effects would fall upon the global south. But even in the northern/temperate Canadian area where I grow fruits and veggies, although the growing season is at least three weeks longer, we've had two years in a row with not nearly enough water. People's wells have run dry at midsummer. I've experienced the difference between plants thriving with regular rainfall and plants barely surviving with irrigation (mostly hand-watering).

So, I think food shortages/price spikes are the first sweeping effect we'll see after the extreme weather events we're seeing now.

I'm putting this site as my signature. I built it five years ago to make it easy for people to eat less meat. This is a major way individuals can make a difference.
www.10in10diet.com

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2013, 10:57:39 PM »
As recently as five years ago I was reading that in the coming few decades most of the effects would fall upon the global south. But even in the northern/temperate Canadian area where I grow fruits and veggies, although the growing season is at least three weeks longer, we've had two years in a row with not nearly enough water. People's wells have run dry at midsummer. I've experienced the difference between plants thriving with regular rainfall and plants barely surviving with irrigation (mostly hand-watering).

So, I think food shortages/price spikes are the first sweeping effect we'll see after the extreme weather events we're seeing now.

Lynn,

While I believe that the northern latitudes will see the most increase in temperatures, it is the central grain growing regions of the Northern Hemisphere that will be hit by extensive droughts.  This will play havoc on the world's food supply. 
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2013, 11:49:53 PM »
From Local Relocation to Mass Migration as a Result of Rising Seas & Extreme Weather

From the dawn of civilization humankind has been on the move.  At times these moves were local as nomadic tribesman sought better pastures for their herds.  Other times the movement was forced as conquering tribes & nations drove out the vanquished.  Natural and climate related disasters forced yet more peoples to seek new homelands.  And we can't forget the discoverers in search of riches.

As the climate changes and sea-levels continue to rise unabated, there will be forced relocations.  Already we are seeing small island nations in search of  new homelands.  Extended periods of drought will leave some farmland, that onetime bore plentiful harvests, barren.  Where will the farmers find new cropland?  Battering storms will ravage the coastlines, forcing residents to seek shelter further inland.  As the rate of ice melting on Greenland and Antarctica accelerates,  the rising seas will begin to inundate major metropolitan areas worldwide.  And on a more hopeful note, maybe we will cease extracting fossil fuels from the earth, causing even more people to move in search of gainful employment.

At first the relocations will be manageable, when the relocations involve moving small communities with populations that number in the hundreds or thousands.  What will happen when mass migrations are necessary, simultaneously, in multiple countries on multiple continents?

It would be helpful if there were forward thinking leaders planning for the eventual migration of entire nations, with populations numbering in the 100s of millions.
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2013, 11:55:06 PM »
CO2 Threatens the World's Oceans



"In response to increased CO2 levels, the oceans have absorbed approximately 525 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, or about one third of the anthropogenic carbon emissions released both from industrial processes (mostly fossil fuel burning) and changes in land use practices (deforestation and urbanization). This absorption of CO2 has mitigated warming in the atmosphere, but is having negative impacts on the chemistry and biology of the oceans. When CO2 is added to the oceans it lowers the pH causing the upper ocean to become more acidic. "

Full article from the Ocean Acidification Research Center
http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/oarc/
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2013, 03:49:05 AM »
New Poll at Beginning of this Topic

For those who have just jumped to the last comment on this topic, I've added a poll at the beginning.

When I started this topic, my chart assumed that we would see a perennial ice-free arctic prior to seeing a 1 meter rise in sea levels.  After reading many of the posts/comments on other topics, I'm no longer convinced that this is the case.  Please go back to page 1 and provide your opinion.  I've also allowed the options for voters to change their vote.  As recent events have occurred in the arctic, we've all had to change our opinions about what local, regional and global changes will occur and when they will occur.


I'm not going to be changing the x-axis on this chart on a daily/monthly basis, however, at the end of a melt season, I may make some changes/additions/deletions.  Sometime in the near future, there will be a date certain for the first ice-free September.

Thanks,
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crandles

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2013, 12:58:28 PM »
For 1m sea level rise, 2080 to 2150 seems a reasonable range and I tend to favour dates earlier in this range rather than later in that range.

I don't think perennially ice free will happen within 25 years but I am afraid I have no idea how much longer it will take.

I therefore find it difficult to select a poll choice.

I think there is just too much uncertainty when trying to look ahead to 2050 and beyond. Sorry if that is not helpful.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2013, 01:24:18 PM »
.......................I think there is just too much uncertainty when trying to look ahead to 2050 and beyond. Sorry if that is not helpful.

Crandles,

Your insight, in and of itself, is helpful.  It is because of this 'uncertainty' that so many of us are following the unfolding events in the arctic. As we gain more knowledge and the scientists further hone their predictive models, we can then more accurately plan for adaptation.  This is very important for low-lying coastal communities. 
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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2013, 10:05:56 PM »
I based my WAG of meter of sea level rise >10 years after an ice free Arctic based on the sensible heat release when we've melted all the summer ice there is to melt.

I see this as a cumulative addition to Arctic ocean temperatures hugely augmented by albedo change. I don't see anything similar in the pipeline for Greenland although I do expect the melt there to increase rapidly.

The Antarctic is something I know very little about although I understand that a change there might give us one meter very abruptly.

Terry

lisa

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2013, 06:20:17 PM »
I've lived in the US midwest most of my life.  I work as a dialysis technician and my husband is a truck driver.  We are what most folk would call solid working class.  We've raised a bunch of kids, most of them ours, and we have several grandchildren -- we're in our early 50s. 

Until fairly recently, we've worked mostly lower class jobs - waitress, delivery driver, retail, and we always just made the ends meet every month.  We've never been able to accumulate much for savings, and we've never (until now) worked at any job that had any kind of retirement plan.

There are millions of people like us in the US.  Millions more who are less well off than we are.

Reading the news, I see all of the agriculture experts talking about how things will work out when the drought is over.  I hear them talking about how things will be better when the weather goes back to how it has always been. 

It's never going to go back to what is was.  If there's no drought, there'll be extreme storms and excessive heat.  We might have a year here and there where it won't be so bad, but overall the places where we currently grow food will shift north. 

What will happen during that shift?  How will things play out as food becomes more expensive?  Less people will be able to buy anything but the base necessities, people will loose their jobs, causing more business to fail because no one can affort whatever they are making, whether it be cheap t-shirts or electronics -- a downward spiral of hunger and substandard housing.

On top of that, people will need to relocate  because they can no longer live where they've been living -- raising seas, lack of sufficient drinking water, brown-outs -- and many will be abandoning the homes that are their only wealth.  They will be relocating with nothing but a few possessions and with no prospects.

Last year I was taking to one of the local Michigan senate candidates.  I asked him if there was any thoughts to what would happen if near term climate change causes food prices to spike and stay high.  What will happen to the folks who depend on food stamps?  What will happen to the folks who *aren't* on food stamps and can't afford to feed their children?

He just gave me a blank look and then started to talk about green jobs.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #48 on: March 04, 2013, 06:08:24 PM »
It is interesting in that the votes that have been cast up to this point represents a bimodal distribution. Some votes are cast for 1 meter sea level rise more than 10 years befor perennially ice free arctic while the largest vote tally is for perennially ice free arctic more than 10 years before 1 meter sea level rise. Few votes are cast for the three choices between these two extremes.

I voted for the first of these because I am still having real difficulty wrapping my mind around the concept of perennially ice free arctic. I have followed this blog for about 6 months and have read arguments for this but have mental pictures of some polar research scientist stepping into his winter housing somewhere north, rubbing his hands together and saying "Baby, it's cold out there." While sea ice maximums will continue to decline, when it gets cold in the winter (and it will) some of the Arctic will still freeze.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Global Impact (Economic & Societal) of Declining Arctic Sea Ice
« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2013, 08:29:55 PM »
Matt----Do i have the title of the most negative now

Actually, you are simply being realistic as is everyone who has commented on this topic. I've read through every comment and it is clear there is a consensus that the effect of AGW will be negative. Where optimism can be found in some comments, it relates to the ability of humans to adjust and accommodate the impact of AGW.

This is where I am most pessimistic in the near term and it has to do with the very nature of the most powerful way that human civilization has ever organized itself. Our current economic system has delivered amazing wealth and prosperity across the planet. While there are examples of seriously negative impacts, few nations have failed to benefit. Lengthening life spans are the single best statistic pointing to the universality of the benefits that capitalism has delivered. A vast infrastructure, representing the accumulated wealth of human civilization, spans the globe. This accumulated capital continues to generating incomes and wealth, delivering goods and services needed to support ourselves.

First, let's dispel the myth that leaders of our economic system are global warming deniers. While their public posturing may suggest this is the case, nothing could be further from the truth. Price Waterhouse Cooper, one of the most respected business research organizations in the world, has released a number of heavily researched advisories to industry. They are telling industry to adjust their capital investments to accommodate the certain dramatic impacts of AGW. Since a typical long term capital investment by business has a 20 to 40 year horizon, failure to do this could destroy a business. The insurance industry has released similar advisories regarding the increasing risks associated with AGW. Taken in isolation, this new focus on the very real impacts of AGW can only be interpreted favorably. They are finally getting it.

It is also pointing to the single biggest risk facing human civilization. Capitalism, despite its ability to deliver dramatically improving lives, is remarkably fragile and can be damaged by relatively minor perturbations. Five years ago, a financial crisis, driven by exotic investment instruments threatened the system. This drove huge flows of capital throughout the system as people sought safe havens. Many nations (Greece, Spain, Italy to name a few) are still suffering as a result while those countries that represented relatively safe havens (U.S. and Germany) recovered more rapidly. Keep in mind that this perturbation was purely financial. Nothing has physically changed in Greece or Spain that would cause their economies to virtually collapse. Last I checked, Spains unemployment rate was over 30%.

So why does the system resist the accepted truth of AGW? It is not because they doubt its veracity. It is because the existing capital infrastructure is dependent on the underlying rationale that caused its creation.

One example:

Archer Daniels Midland, over the past 10 years, has invested billions of dollars expanding a High Fructose Corn Syrup facility in Clinton, Iowa. It has had a major impact on the fortunes of what had been a depressed agricultural community. The facility stretches for three miles along the western banks of the Mississippi. If you ever drive by it, it is impressive. Heck, just use google maps, also impressive. The success of this investment is absolutely dependent on the industrial agriculture that surrounds it; monoculture, irrigation, high use of pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers. Regardless of how you feel about the viability of industrial agriculture, ADM and Clinton, Iowa will fight for policy that ensures its continued profitability. (Hint: If you ever find yourself in a tavern in Clinton, Iowa don't argue with other patrons about how HFCS is unhealthy.)

A second example: China has a huge advantage over the U.S. with regards to the percentage of their telecommunications infrastructure that is wireless. This is not because they are leaders in wireless technology but because they had so little land based telecommunications infrastructure in place. The U.S. telecommunications industry has a land based wire infrastructure that is valued in the hundreds of billions on their books. They simply cannot afford to write this off.

Third example: Houston, Texas owes its very existence to the huge capital investments in the petroleum industry. People may argue that there are other enormous economic strengths in Houston but make no mistake. Take away this industry or even shrink it significantly and Houston becomes Detroit.

The very underlying logic of capitalism is the preservation and exploitation of capital. Even in the face of real hardship, the system will work to preserve capital versus replace capital. This is due to the fact that a decision to replace capital destroys the value of existing investment. Any company that would choose to do this would be punished by the financial markets as capital flows move quickly away from such a foolish organization. Such a company would find that the cost of borrowing money in the form of interest rates would make it prohibitively expensive to make such a decision.

AGW will, in fact, destroy the value of existing investment globally as has been pointed out by all of the comments on this post. The impact on the worldwide financial system and the economic activity that it supports will be amazing (and not in a good way). :-[