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deep octopus

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Climate change in 2047
« on: October 10, 2013, 04:46:06 AM »
Lots of fuzz about a new study to be published in Nature tomorrow.

http://phys.org/news/2013-10-reveals-urgent-climate.html

Quote
The study... provides an index of the year when the mean climate of any given location on Earth will shift continuously outside the most extreme records experienced in the past 150 years.

...

The new index shows a surprising result. Areas in the tropics are projected to experience unprecedented climates first – within the next decade. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the index shows the average location on Earth will experience a radically different climate by 2047. Under an alternate scenario with greenhouse gas emissions stabilization, the global mean climate departure will be 2069.

...

In predominately developing countries, over one billion people under an optimistic scenario, and five billion under a business-as-usual-scenario, live in areas that will experience extreme climates before 2050. This raises concerns for changes in the supply of food and water, human health, wider spread of infectious diseases, heat stress, conflicts, and challenges to economies. "Our results suggest that countries first impacted by unprecedented climates are the ones with the least capacity to respond," said coauthor Ryan Longman. "Ironically, these are the countries that are least responsible for climate change in the first place."

"This paper is unusually important. It builds on earlier work but brings the biological and human consequences into sharper focus," said Jane Lubchenco, former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and now of Oregon State University, who was not involved in this study. "It connects the dots between climate models and impacts to biodiversity in a stunningly fresh way, and it has sobering ramifications for species and people."

...

The index used the minimum and maximum temperatures from 1860-2005 to define the bounds of historical climate variability at any given location. The scientists then took projections for the next 100 years to identify the year in which the future temperature at any given location on Earth will shift completely outside the limits of historical precedents, defining that year as the year of climate departure.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/dc-climate-will-shift-in-2047-researchers-say-tropics-will-feel-unprecedented-change-first/2013/10/09/f581b25e-3062-11e3-bbed-a8a60c601153_story.html

Quote
If they are correct, the transition will occur by 2020 in Manokwari, Indonesia; by 2023 in Kingston, Jamaica; by 2029 in Lagos, Nigeria; by 2047 in Washington; by 2066 in Reykjavik, Iceland; and by 2071 in Anchorage.

Researchers said at a news briefing that their estimates are “conservative,” based on mountains of data from 39 models and accurate within five years in either direction for any of the locations they studied.

Will be looking out for a full-text version as soon as one becomes available. It does seem conservative, in the sense that the warmest month from 1860-2005 from NASA's L-OTI, NOAA's NCDC, or HadCRUT4 is either February 1998 or March 2002 (about 0.90 C above 1951-1980), depending on which index you're using. And the warmest year globally is about 2005/2010, at 0.65 C above 1951-1980. By 2047, under BAU, it would imply that no year around that time will be cooler than 2005/2010. Not surprising, given IPCC's BAU projections zooming well past present temperatures by mid-century, and the study is in no way reassuring, but it is an interesting perspective with tenable, near-term consequences for many inhabited parts of the world.

wili

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 06:03:47 AM »
Yep, we are well on our way to making the world un-inhabitable.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

anonymous

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 01:28:54 PM »
I believe this is the PDF in question: www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2013/mora-2047.pdf

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 02:13:02 PM »
Quote
The index used the minimum and maximum temperatures from 1860-2005 to define the bounds of historical climate variability at any given location. The scientists then took projections for the next 100 years to identify the year in which the future temperature at any given location on Earth will shift completely outside the limits of historical precedents, defining that year as the year of climate departure.

And this is a good example of why this is still an optimistic take on things. I'm not undermining the validity of the work - but I would like to note that they're looking at a single factor - whether temperature falls within the bounds of historic variability for a given location.

There are many other factors (precipitation, season timing, wind, weather patterns, pest and disease vectors, cold episodes, etc) that come into play even before you look past said given location and towards the effects of vulnerabilities distributed globally by modern interconnectedness (trade, migration, etc).

Even then, that is ignoring the effects of unforeseen worsening rates or changes in the earth system that are not predicted or well understood yet (and there is plenty of those even just considering the known unknowns - enough for something to bite us statistically).

It seems to me that science is starting to come out with forecasts for substantially negative effects in as little as a decade now for some major regions - and typically based on examining a limited set of specific factors in a world of largely downside risks.

Put those additional stresses on top of a global society as stressed as we already are (and will become for factors not related to climate change) - and I think it underlines the chances of earlier faster collapse occurring.

JimD

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 04:45:03 PM »
ccg

It seems that they did take into account some other factors. 

Quote
The scientists calculated the index for additional variables including evaporation, precipitation, and ocean surface temperature and pH. When looking at sea surface pH, the index indicates that we surpassed the limits of historical extremes in 2008. ..

....The study found that the overarching global effect of climate change on biodiversity will occur not only as a result of the largest absolute changes at the poles, but also, perhaps more urgently, from small but rapid changes in the tropics.


Abstract

Quote
Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift beyond historical analogues. Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (±18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (±14 years s.d.) under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.

There are some good figures one can look at on the Nature site as well.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v502/n7470/full/nature12540.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 04:53:12 PM »
Here is the web site for the institution the authors are from.  Does not have full paper but does have the data and graphics.  Nice graphics.

http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/mora/PublicationsCopyRighted/Cities%20Timing.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 07:44:11 PM »
So let me get this straight: Quite soon in may places, the coolest years will be hotter than the hottest years of the period before 2005.

That condition will hit Sri Lanka in 2029 (and these are apparently conservative estimates), Northern India about five years later.

These are some of the most populous places on earth, and the places where wet bulb temperatures already are the closest on the planet to the unsurvivable 35 degrees:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/weather/1391165-highest-wet-bulb-temperatures-around-world.html

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/one-billion-people-face-entirely-new-climate-by-2050-study-16587

So, much of the most populated area in the world, the Indian subcontinent--Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka--is likely to become unlivable within a couple decades or so.

And note that the Ganges River basin, the area that is closest to the death zone of 35degrees wbt, is also the area of the densest population.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wrsc.org/sites/default/files/images/2011/india_population_densities_est._1995.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.wrsc.org/attach_image/india-population-densities-est-1995&h=806&w=778&sz=43&tbnid=sP0GwDfbnMwcKM:&tbnh=102&tbnw=98&zoom=1&usg=__znk661bD-gRlIMkQNyNJOBeVWAA=&docid=x2u_r_oQl-8UOM&sa=X&ei=TrVWUrOQEcnlyAGbzoBQ&ved=0CDUQ9QEwBA

Amazing and frightening times.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Richard Rathbone

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2013, 03:00:48 PM »
What's Nature's excuse for publishing denialist tripe that treats 2005 as natural variability rather than already well above the natural?

JimD

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 06:11:34 PM »
What's Nature's excuse for publishing denialist tripe that treats 2005 as natural variability rather than already well above the natural?

If the authors had set the baseline from 1860-1980, as would seem to be a better choice, how would you expect this to change the results?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 06:53:17 PM »
Yeah, 2005 seemed a bit late to me. I chalk this kind of thing up to the usual scientific reticence, the basic philosophy of which seems to be:

"Better to be too conservative and point this out as people are interpreting your findings than to offer estimates that could potentially be pointed to as being too "alarmist" so that some could more easily dismiss them."

While I understand where this impulse comes from, I think people have to get past that, learn to ignore the denialists, who are all going to scream and shout an make sh!t up no matter what we do, and just give the most accurate relevant info we possibly can so people know just how dire of a situation we're in.

Another way of approaching it is that it is the job of we in the non-denialist lay blogging and communicating community to constantly point out just how conservative these studies are, even when the studies are predicting really bad things happening really soon.

It shouldn't all be up only to the scientists and scientific publications, after all, to do all the heavy lifting here. We in the non-specialist community do have a role, and can and must play an ever-more active role in getting across to more and more people in more and more ways just how extreme our situation has become.

I see Neven and many on his blog and forum as in the forefront of this effort, and I'd like to thank all of you who have been and will be contributing to it, heartily.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 09:05:02 PM »
Another way of approaching it is that it is the job of we in the non-denialist lay blogging and communicating community to constantly point out just how conservative these studies are, even when the studies are predicting really bad things happening really soon.

Please - let's remember really bad things are already happening right now. Climate change is no longer a future thing - and that's a concept most people in the more developed world just don't seem to have come to terms with yet.

Millions of people are already dying (even presumably using fairly conservative methodology) and we can see clear and major changes in the operation of the earth system unfolding before us today. We can be fairly certain the majority of the coral reefs (shallow water at least) are now doomed - no matter what we do - and many are very substantially degraded already. The Arctic ecosystem appears similarly certainly doomed - no matter what we do. Low lying islands are already suffering the early effects of rising sea level, we are all seeing the impacts of increasingly extreme weather - but in some regions it is destroying lives and livelihoods (quality of life matters too!). We are already seeing outbreaks of conflict that would appear to have convincing climate change inputs, even if it isn't clearly a dominant factor yet.

While all this isn't even the tip of the ice berg of what we should expect to happen later, there is a whole host of things happening or that we have good reason to expect to happen (many irregardless of what we do now) in the foreseeable future (1-5 decades) and some major downside risks that could bite much faster - I think we should remember that for some people these things are already here and now.

Apart from the distastefulness of selfishness in disregarding those people - there is the sensible rationale of studying what happens to them to learn more about what we can expect later and to try to find solutions and coping strategies. That can apply at an individual or small scale level just as easily as on a grander scale.

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2013, 05:24:24 PM »
There are some good figures one can look at on the Nature site as well.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v502/n7470/full/nature12540.html

It actually looks like a pretty good paper, now I've made the time to read it. They seem to have anticipated a lot of the obvious questions, and kept it nicely readable to boot. Some parts that are interesting:

Quote
Under both RCPs, extrapolating these equations from a 140-year time bin to a 1,000-year time bin increased the estimated year exceeding the bounds of historical climate variability by only about 2 years.

That nicely highlights how fundamental the ongoing changes are. Since the paper would seem to be based on IPCC modelling, it also arguably represents a relatively conservative and outdated understanding too - with the general direction of new information being in the "worse and sooner" category.

It's also interesting that they considered an increasing number of consecutive years "beyond spec" - showing they considered the transition process and the headline figures being reported as "all years beyond spec" - but I think just having several years out of spec would be enough to cause substantial issues where it occurs in regions without much tolerance at the upper end of the spectrum.

In that context a single extreme heat or precipitation event beyond the top end of the historical spectrum can cause substantial damage to crop yields and infrastructure. I appreciate the paper isn't really talking about extremes but more about the typical values experienced - but the extreme portion of the scale will continue to shift in alignment with that (as Hansen has already demonstrated is already occurring very substantially with extreme heat events).

Given this is a default case scenario assuming business as usual and conservative modelling of the earth system based largely upon fairly certain knowledge and not including portions insufficiently understood or speculative (but still possible) it's damning that it's going to slide by with everything else. I can't think of a clearer way one could have laid out the fundamental nature of the changes in the pipeline - and largely committed ones at that - as reducing the emission of greenhouse gases at best would likely just delay things a bit, given committed warming in the system from existing greenhouse gas levels.

What kind of willful blindness in the courts of the policymakers can lead to this sort of presentation of the facts being sidelined and ignored? Surely only the very worst sort.

I'm still trying to picture a world with every month beyond previous ranges (having always viewed the ongoing changes as serious and fundamental it's still rather sobering seeing it spelled out like that in a published paper).

Even if my personal outlook is overly pessimistic and the next few decades ran on smoothly greased IPCC forecast rails, I still don't get to retire before it's a fundamentally transformed planet...

wili

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2013, 07:14:37 PM »
Point taken, cc. My comment was in reference to this particular report making specific claims about specific extreme conditions which, in this case, have not yet arrived, but will quite soon.

I often point out to people who seem not to be aware of the fact that GW and Mass Extinction are not looming threats--they are realities we are already deep inside of with devastating effects that have already happened and which continue at accelerated rates to annihilate human and non-human populations and biological systems/communities.

Right now I'm particularly concerned about the loss of life almost certainly going on as Phailin makes landfall in India as we type. Vishnu preserve them.

ETA: It sounds like there are mixed reports on deaths so far--possibly some already killed by falling trees.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/12/world/asia/india-cyclone-phailin/

Meanwhile:

5 killed, 2.1M without power as ‘Santi’ slams Luzon

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/505501/5-killed-as-santi-slams-luzon-ndrrmc#ixzz2hWu6cG3Q

« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 07:27:46 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2013, 07:32:25 PM »
Point taken, cc. My comment was in reference to this particular report making specific claims about specific extreme conditions which, in this case, have not yet arrived, but will quite soon.

I actually very much liked the way they presented it in this respect. They didn't exactly constrain themselves to saying by year X we will be beyond historic variability in location Y - they acknowledge the issue of increasing numbers of consecutive years (or months) of such conditions.

The example they refer to in Fig 1a shows a location that by 2012 can have 3 consecutive years beyond historical variability, at a slightly later point - 11 such years - and a bit later still - a continuous succession of years (the point at which one has permanently and completely exceeded historic norms, which was the value focused on).

To that extent I think it indicates both the ultimate outcome, but also the process - and manages not to lose sight of the fact that very substantial (and measureable) changes are already happening and have already happened (2012 was in the past after all, and even 3 consecutive years beyond historic variation is arguably rather important and significant).

Psychologically speaking - this is a continuous process (assuming no abrupt discontinuities, which may be an unsafe assumption) and there is a real danger that as each year rolls by people (even those realising the severity of the issue) simply normalise changes to date and climate change remains "in the future".

I view this as an important shift in understanding - and in terms of how people see climate change - if there is to ever be action, people need to understand the ailment is already spreading fast with a very bad prognosis. For as long as it is tomorrow, there is a real danger that is when our most meaningful actions will also occur.

wili

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Re: Climate change in 2047
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2013, 07:52:38 PM »
"there is a real danger that as each year rolls by people (even those realising the severity of the issue) simply normalise changes to date and climate change remains "in the future"."

Tru dat.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."