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Arhetton
3rd March 09, 06:25 AM
read this interesting article on newscientist, had some cool pictures, especially this crazy one of the desert steamrolling fertile land:

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/mg20126971.700/mg20126971.700-1_300.jpg

and this world map thingo

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2697/26971701.jpg

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126971.700-how-to-survive-the-coming-century.html

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Anyway, I'm not sure how accurate these models are, but I find it interesting to imagine the world so different from how it is. Western Antarctica a lush paradise?! Most of the civilized world a giant dust bowl?!

Time to stick a flag in antartica me thinks!

danno
3rd March 09, 07:34 AM
ok, who's up for a 97 page debate on global warming? cullion, you there?




looks like we've claimed a little bit of it, no doubt this will all be contested should things ever begin to look like your map.
http://pilotgcseradicalgeography.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/WindowsLiveWriter/WhoownsAntarctica_13871/9_treaty_map_510%5B10%5D1.jpg

Keith
3rd March 09, 08:13 AM
The map makes my bullshit detector go nuts. Vast areas of land uninhabitable due to "floods, drought and extreme weather"? They've bundled together two opposite conditions there. And WTF do they mean by "extreme weather"? For that matter, wtf do they mean by "uninhabitable" land? Have any of these people ever heard of places like Nevada or Arizona? The idea that an area is uninhabitable due to "floods" bugs me. Do they mean that the floods will wipe out the current cities in those regions? This won't inherently make the area uninhabitable, you could just rebuild the city. Do they mean there will be recurring floods? Fuck, ancient cultures dealt with and prospered from this (the Nile, the Tigress, the Euphrates). I think we could do at least as good as emerging bronze age civilizations. They also seem to arbitrarily label some pretty fucking vast areas for geothermal energy production that I don't think are particularly suited for it (Since when have southern Spain and central France been geologically active?), and ignored places like Iceland that ARE. It's particularly telling that they donít have Iceland as a geothermal production area being that there are already active geothermal plants in Iceland and I would think they would only expand on this as the technology develops.

I feel pretty safe dismissing the article as alarmist propaganda without reading it. Yes, climate change is real and yes, it could cause some serious problems but when people make the problem out to be this extreme, tossing around loaded words like "uninhabitable" every chance they get, ZOMG life as you know it is going to END, it gives the public cause to say "bullshit" to the whole thing and do nothing about the problems that WILL happen.

danno
3rd March 09, 08:39 AM
The map makes my bullshit detector go nuts.

it's probably a bit alarmist, and definitely conjecture based on various models from various people. even the image above says "we don't really know what the world will look like". but i'll disagree with a couple of your points:


Vast areas of land uninhabitable due to "floods, drought and extreme weather"? They've bundled together two opposite conditions there. And WTF do they mean by "extreme weather"? For that matter, wtf do they mean by "uninhabitable" land? Have any of these people ever heard of places like Nevada or Arizona? The idea that an area is uninhabitable due to "floods" bugs me. Do they mean that the floods will wipe out the current cities in those regions? This won't inherently make the area uninhabitable, you could just rebuild the city. Do they mean there will be recurring floods?

if you look at australia right now, we're simultaneously experiencing a lot of floods, droughts, bushfires. that doesn't make it uninhabitable, but it does make life more difficult. people won't be very happy if this begins to happen more often and in larger areas of the country.


Fuck, ancient cultures dealt with and prospered from this (the Nile, the Tigress, the Euphrates). I think we could do at least as good as emerging bronze age civilizations.

nah. those examples are very, very different.

jubei33
3rd March 09, 08:54 AM
meh, have they set a date?

Keith
3rd March 09, 10:30 AM
it's probably a bit alarmist
A bit? Tha article says leads by saying 90% of the human population is gonna die. "A bit" got passed up way back there, this is full blown alarmist territory, edging toward absurd.

and definitely conjecture based on various models from various people. even the image above says "we don't really know what the world will look like".
in other words: science fiction

but i'll disagree with a couple of your points:
by all means....

if you look at australia right now, we're simultaneously experiencing a lot of floods, droughts, bushfires. that doesn't make it uninhabitable, but it does make life more difficult. people won't be very happy if this begins to happen more often and in larger areas of the country.
Let me know when there's a reduction in the number of "boat people" trying to make it to your country because of drought or floods. Australia is a big place. Are you telling me that the whole continent, every bit of it, is consumed with climate related hardship making it feasably uninhabitable in the long term? Do you really think it will it will get to the point where we should write off the whole contry, the whole fucking thing, to energy production for more temperate areas? Sydney, Melborne, Brisbane, all abaondoned with nothing left but a few maintenance communities to keep the power running? That's not how the world functions.

Southern California has been in a drought for as long as I can remeber, some 25+ years. In that time, Los Angeles has grown substantially. Only in the last year has the influx of imigrants to Los Angeles shown any signs of slowing, and that's because of the economy. Growth slowed down when the jobs started drying up. The water dried up years ago. Local water availability hasn't been a factor in decades: Los Angeles has always been dry. We get our water from other sources.

Now, it is possible that in the future the water from Northern California that currently supplys Southern California could dry up and force a mass exodus from Los Angeles, but that's not the point. The point is that in the past, area that would normally be unsuited for large cities have been maipulated by people to become habitable. This is certainly not the first time that people have made the desert bloom. The problem with the conjecture in this article is that it largely disregards the ability of human beings to maipulate their enviroment in innovative ways. When large population centers are faced with the choice to find a way to keep on keeping on, or to pack up a few million people and move, they usually find that way. And the ever advancing march of technology makes it easier and easier.

sochin101
3rd March 09, 11:27 AM
I expected hot chicks in life-rafts.

Can a mod change the title to "Climate change models (not chicks)" so I don't make the same mistake again.

Thanks.

sochin101
3rd March 09, 11:30 AM
Give me 10 minutes and I'll get in a life-raft and have someone take a pic, k?

danno
3rd March 09, 07:17 PM
Let me know when there's a reduction in the number of "boat people" trying to make it to your country because of drought or floods. Australia is a big place. Are you telling me that the whole continent, every bit of it, is consumed with climate related hardship making it feasably uninhabitable in the long term? Do you really think it will it will get to the point where we should write off the whole contry, the whole fucking thing, to energy production for more temperate areas? Sydney, Melborne, Brisbane, all abaondoned with nothing left but a few maintenance communities to keep the power running? That's not how the world functions.

Southern California has been in a drought for as long as I can remeber, some 25+ years. In that time, Los Angeles has grown substantially. Only in the last year has the influx of imigrants to Los Angeles shown any signs of slowing, and that's because of the economy. Growth slowed down when the jobs started drying up. The water dried up years ago. Local water availability hasn't been a factor in decades: Los Angeles has always been dry. We get our water from other sources.

Now, it is possible that in the future the water from Northern California that currently supplys Southern California could dry up and force a mass exodus from Los Angeles, but that's not the point. The point is that in the past, area that would normally be unsuited for large cities have been maipulated by people to become habitable. This is certainly not the first time that people have made the desert bloom. The problem with the conjecture in this article is that it largely disregards the ability of human beings to maipulate their enviroment in innovative ways. When large population centers are faced with the choice to find a way to keep on keeping on, or to pack up a few million people and move, they usually find that way. And the ever advancing march of technology makes it easier and easier.

one of the first things you said was that drought and flood are mutually exclusive, and i gave you a good example of why that is wrong. it causes big problems for permanent human civilisation. you also have to realise that we're not talking about the nile river here.

now, australia is the driest continent. there is not enough water to sustain large populations in most areas. i grew up in semi-arid desert myself. luckily, we also happen to be one of the least populated countries, and the vast majority of the poplulation lives in the wetter places on the coast. still, even in the big cities, we sometimes have water shortages which require the local government to enforce restrictions on things like watering the garden. i'm not joking, that actually happens here.

this is all BEFORE any severe global warming. we've been this dry for a long, long time and the plants and animals have adapted to it. but i wouldn't like to see it get any drier. that doesn't mean australia would be totally uninhabitable. i agree with you that the article is certainly alarmist in that way.

how do you think america would cope if it became as dry as australia? not saying it will, i'm just asking a hypothetical.

Keith
3rd March 09, 10:29 PM
one of the first things you said was that drought and flood are mutually exclusive
Actually I didn't. I said that they combined two opposite things. But I can tell you that if you are standing in the middle of a city that is suddenly under a meter of fresh water when it wasn't the day before, drought isn't going to top your list of problems that day.

What I meant is that they're painting large areas with a very broad, non-descript brush. People won't be able to live in these (large country sized) areas because it will be too dry. Or possibly too wet. Or possibly the weather will be really bad. Something like that. But you'd better worry about it, because these areas will be uninhabitable for some reason, trust us.

I hope you can see how this would make me a bit skeptical.


how do you think america would cope if it became as dry as australia? not saying it will, i'm just asking a hypothetical.

Honestly, it would probably mean some very drastic changes, and cause severe hardship. A lot of the answer would depend on how quickly such a change takes place (allowing the population time to adjust to new water resrtictions and invest in new technologies like desalination plants).


still, even in the big cities, we sometimes have water shortages which require the local government to enforce restrictions on things like watering the garden. i'm not joking, that actually happens here.
Happens around here too occasionally.

Yiktin Voxbane
4th March 09, 12:06 AM
South Australian here .

Been almost 3 years since washing the car with a hose / watering the garden has been legal . Our main fresh water source (Murray River) does not flow to the sea without assistance and in some parts is un-navigable by even the smallest of boats (hell we have sandbars where none hae been reported in recorded history) .

We have/had world class heritage wetlands that are now dried out, sunbaked repositories of nasty-assed harmful chemicals . Further north (Queensland) they grow cotton, one VERY water intensive crop . Further west (West Australia) they grow rice ..... WTFF ???2? .

The state Govt. is now *cough* building *cough* a desalination plant for a population MUCH smaller than other states .

Yesterday we had our firset recordable rain in over 100 days . Hopefully this does a LOT to extinguish the fires that still burn in victoria (most been active since Valentines day) .

elipson
4th March 09, 12:28 AM
Once again, Canada comes out on top.

danno
4th March 09, 08:24 AM
Actually I didn't. I said that they combined two opposite things. But I can tell you that if you are standing in the middle of a city that is suddenly under a meter of fresh water when it wasn't the day before, drought isn't going to top your list of problems that day.

did you say "meter" because you know we use the metric system? if so, ta.

well, where i grew up for example, you might go 2 years without rain then get a flood. that just sucked. you'd still have to deal with drought a few months afterwards. if it became even hotter and flooded more often... you get the idea.

it's also about variation over a larger area than you're probably thinking. you'll could have an area flooded, a couple of towns evacuated, then 500km away there still isn't a drop of rain.


What I meant is that they're painting large areas with a very broad, non-descript brush. People won't be able to live in these (large country sized) areas because it will be too dry. Or possibly too wet. Or possibly the weather will be really bad. Something like that. But you'd better worry about it, because these areas will be uninhabitable for some reason, trust us.

I hope you can see how this would make me a bit skeptical.

yeah.

for some reason, the article doesn't bother me much. maybe because i feel that debate is one-sided towards total denial. 80% of people i have spoken to think it's all hocus-pocus, 15% don't know what to believe, and the rest are gay vegan hippy stoners who think the planet is doomed because of the freemasons who faked the moon landing.

so my natural reaction is that it won't get much attention anyways, and if it does we need a little more ammunition for the other side of the debate. i could be wrong.


Honestly, it would probably mean some very drastic changes, and cause severe hardship. A lot of the answer would depend on how quickly such a change takes place (allowing the population time to adjust to new water resrtictions and invest in new technologies like desalination plants).

i think you'd have a harder time than us because of your much larger population. we're getting along pretty fine at the moment, but we're kind of pushing the limits of our water supply, especially for farming. as yiktin said, we've pretty much dried up a couple of major rivers here to irrigate farms.

it has no bearing on the discussion really, but i'll tell you a little story.

while we were living out in wilcannia (far western NSW, middle of the desert type stuff) there was no rain for about 5 years, then we had a downpour. dad was the local copper at the time so some sydney paper called him up for a short interview about the rain.

dad said that the rain started around 3am. the journalist asked how he knew the rain started at that time if he was actually sleeping.

dad said, "the dogs woke me up."

"the dogs woke you up?"

"yeah, they've never seen rain before so they started barking like mad."

i think the story actually made front page news at the time.

danno
4th March 09, 08:25 AM
Once again, Canada comes out on top.

you know you're gunna get invaded if any of this shit ever happens?

Cullion
4th March 09, 08:32 AM
Canada is on my list of 'safe' countries for the next 10 years.

Kein Haar
4th March 09, 10:30 AM
I would have thought that things would be generally wetter...with generally warmer water temps.

Yet, there is all this desert talk.

Sun Wukong
4th March 09, 01:33 PM
The map is clearly psuedo science bullshit that just makes wild guesses.

This is not to say that any data they used to come up with their ideas is useless, only that their conclusions should be ignored if this is the best they could do with it.

danno
4th March 09, 05:03 PM
I would have thought that things would be generally wetter...with generally warmer water temps.

Yet, there is all this desert talk.

it depends what area you're talking about.

danno
4th March 09, 05:12 PM
This is not to say that any data they used to come up with their ideas is useless, only that their conclusions should be ignored if this is the best they could do with it.

it looks like they've thrown together everything they can get their hands on, then given it to the graphic artist and said "build a new map for fallout 3 based on this".

it's funny because this magazine generally prints pretty reliable science.

what does everyone think of this bit:


If this happens, the ramifications for life on Earth are so terrifying that many scientists contacted for this article preferred not to contemplate them, saying only that we should concentrate on reducing emissions to a level where such a rise is known only in nightmares.

"Climatologists tend to fall into two camps: there are the cautious ones who say we need to cut emissions and won't even think about high global temperatures; and there are the ones who tell us to run for the hills because we're all doomed," says Peter Cox, who studies the dynamics of climate systems at the University of Exeter, UK. "I prefer a middle ground. We have to accept that changes are inevitable and start to adapt now."