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Draft of IPCC 2013 Report Already Circulating 306

Posted by samzenpus
from the things-to-come dept.
First time accepted submitter iggymanz writes "More precise modeling has changed some long term climate predictions: sea levels to rise almost a meter more than present over the next century, but past dire warnings of stronger storms or more frequent droughts won't pan out. Instead there will be less strong storms, but peak winds in the tropics might be slightly higher. Temperature rise of global average will be about 3 degree C total, including the 1 degree C rise over the 20th century. In places where precipitation is frequent, it will become even more frequent; in arid areas, the tendency will be to become even drier. Some new arid areas are expected to appear in the south of N. America, South Africa and Mediterranean countries. Overall, hardly a doomsday scenario."
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Draft of IPCC 2013 Report Already Circulating

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  • Alien Civilizations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arisvega (1414195) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:21AM (#42241281)

    Now that the number of planets around stars in this galaxy alone is in the ballpark of several billions, one starts to think that the reason for no apparent alien civilizations similar to this one is because they boil themselves out .. they simply raise the temperature of their own place before they are able to either counter the effect, or before they are tech savvy enough to colonize someplace else: they either boil, starve, or poison themselves.

    If this projection is correct, and the effect grows at an exponential rate, it will be 1 degree for the last century, (order of) 3 for the next, 9 for the one after that, and then it is either super-tech or extinction.

    Careful now, humans.

    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:32AM (#42241373) Homepage

      Now that the number of planets around stars in this galaxy alone is in the ballpark of several billions, one starts to think that the reason for no apparent alien civilizations similar to this one is because they boil themselves out .. they simply raise the temperature of their own place before they are able to either counter the effect, or before they are tech savvy enough to colonize someplace else.

      This idea has been around for a few decades now. In Larry Niven's Ringworld [amazon.com] , the alien race the Puppeteers had moved their homeworld further away from their sun some centuries before the start of the novel, in order to avoid the death by heat that Niven felt would accompany technological development.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Charliemopps (1157495)

        Those books were garbage and I'm ashamed to have read them. Someone told me they were hard scifi... but instead it was a furry anime style series of bad science. All of his books, in fact, are pretty much garbage.

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:41AM (#42241431)

      they either boil, starve, or poison themselves.

      I'd put money on primary energy. Base your whole culture and economy on petrochemicals, use them up, then ? There could be a trillion "successful" civilizations out there right now living a vaguely ancient/medieval lifestyle, with legends of having billions of people burning hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in their distant past, but today its a couple million peasants with wax candles and ox power.

      Its a depressing anti-fission anti-fusion anecdote... if any other culture in the universe could have harnessed fission or fusion effectively, we'd currently be a province of their galactic star empire, or at least we'd have detected them by now. Since that seems not to be the case, I'm not overly optimistic about our odds with those energy sources. So when the oil and coal is burned up, that's it. Back to 1700 at best.

      • You're saying it like it's a BAD thing :)

        • by vlm (69642)

          Yeah it would be pretty bad. Fictionally, exploring the 1700s has been pretty popular to the point of tiresome. Nobody has explored taking modern culture back to 1700s tech. Even the "1632" series assumes the world's resources are ready for taking (again). "Survivalist" lit doesn't talk about much but the gun battles on the way down. A 1700s tech planet with 2000s culture would be pretty interesting to explore, after all the annoying population reduction is long taken care of. Scientists, doctors, eng

          • Nobody has explored taking modern culture back to 1700s tech.

            You might be interested in Stirling's Emberverse [wikipedia.org] series. I don't necessarily agree with his conclusions about what would happen in this scenario--for one thing, I think he assumes that civilization would actually fall too far and too fast, in contrast to the overly optimistic outcome of the 1632 series--but it's a good read.

            He also has to invoke something kind of mystical to make this happen. There's no realistic hard-SF scenario under which the entire world reverts to a pre-industrial technological level

          • by dpilot (134227)

            My guess is that once you take 2000s tech out of 2000s people, you won't have 2000s culture, either. Take away the tech and the population will crash. People tend not to like participating in a population crash, and don't do so peacefully.

            Two conspiracy theories for your consideration, and both have a common root:
            "They" know that there is no graceful way we can get from where we are to a sustainable word - there are just too many people. Even birth control and China-like birth policies won't do it fast e

      • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:53AM (#42241525)
        For all we know we are a province of their empire. Being conquered doesn't mean you are entitled to knowing about it if your technological advancement is so low that you can't participate in the greater galaxy...
        • by vlm (69642) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:13AM (#42241735)

          Participate does not equal see. The natives saw the guys with muskets and cannons and giant wooden ships, even if they couldn't get involved in court politics or academic research back home.

          Another interesting sci fi book plot or whatever is more than one group of savages (aka us, interpret us as pronoun or united states as you wish) might exist. Sure the neo-roman empire ignores and laughs at us savages as a group, but there should be other just slightly more civilized planets, yet still savages compared to the overlords, doing all kinds of stuff we'd notice, like tossing radioactive waste into their sun screwing up the stellar spectrum, or broadcasting RF all over the place, or doing strange things with neutrinos and graviton sources, or extensive civil engineering with H-bombs, or terraforming other planets in their solar system, or attempting to build a dyson sphere, or fill their upper atmosphere with fluorocarbons, all stuff we'd see other savages doing even if the overlords ignored all of us savages as a group, which is interesting.

          I've read Kraus et al about interstellar radio detection, I wonder if anyone out there has run similar numbers for pulsed neutrino generation and detection. I don't care quite enough to shovel thru arxiv for hours, but if some /.er has a useful lead to speed the search? That would make an interesting SETI technique with a built in "you must be this tall" sign to keep the rabble out, apparently EM radiation isn't nearly sufficient. "You must build a cryogenic 100 KM gravitation wave detector to participate in the intergalactic interspecies internet" or "You must be able to generate, control, and detect a neutrino flux equivalent to a major particle accelerator with a 10 amp beam current to participate in the interstellar interspecies internet"

      • by semi-extrinsic (1997002) <asmunder@stud.CU ... minus physicist> on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:16AM (#42241773)
        An interesting counter-argument is that we could, by chance, be one of the first civilizations to achieve the technological level we are currently at. Given what we know (or think we know) about the history of star formation in the universe, e.g. that the early stars going nova are the primary source of heavier elements (required for fission, hell, even for semiconductors), this is not unreasonable.
        • by arisvega (1414195)

          e.g. that the early stars going nova are the primary source of heavier elements

          Massive stars go supernova within a few million years from their creation: solids have been around in the Solar system for at least 4.567 billion years (from meteoritic studies), and the universe is at minimum 14.5 billion years old (cosmology arguments). There are already plenty of visible galaxies where star formation is not proceeding as fast as in this one.

          And, in light of new evidence, numerous planets around most stars seem to be the rule rather than the exception.

          So, plenty of time to develop life si

    • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:57AM (#42241551)
      We have been polluting heavily for a hundred years or so, but we are already able to counter the effect of global warming (look at all the schemes for changing climate, from space mirrors to simulated volcanic eruptions, to painting a small part of the earth white). The biggest obstacles are willpower for funding and lack of need/urgency.
    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      We're turning Earth into the Planet of Love [wikipedia.org]!
    • We can't "Boil ourselves out" it's one thing to claim we have the tech to change the global climate by releasing gasses that were locked away during a previously hot era, but the idea that we could KILL the earth is completely preposterous. At worst, we'll make it uncomfortable for ourselves, cause a mini extinction event and the world will move on with our without us. If without us, another intelligent race will come along eventually.

  • On the whole (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trisha-Beth (9231) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:23AM (#42241305)

    I'd rather have more accurate models than more precise models.

    Bad models don't get any better by adding decimal places.

    I expect that accurate modelling of something as complex as climate is really, really hard.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      >I expect that accurate modelling of something as complex as climate is really, really hard.

      especially, 100 years forward.

      I am not sure there is a big difference between my trust in this report's prediction of the future and the one in Time Machine.

    • Re:On the whole (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tolkienfan (892463) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:57AM (#42241555) Journal

      I'm pretty sure they mean more accurate. Many people incorrectly use "precise" and "accurate" interchangeably.
      The article mentions using faster computers. Anyone who's done modelling knows that you can do more steps in the same amount of time, resulting in increased accuracy. They also mention better modelling.

  • by david.given (6740) <dg@@@cowlark...com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:36AM (#42241403) Homepage Journal

    sea levels to rise almost a meter more than present over the next century ... hardly a doomsday scenario

    I believe you don't realise quite how many people live within a vertical metre of sea level.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      sea levels to rise almost a meter more than present over the next century ... hardly a doomsday scenario

      I believe you don't realise quite how many people live within a vertical metre of sea level.

      A lot live BELOW sea level and they are doing fine. One meter levees? Piece of cake. One century to build that? One meter levees don't even need to be reinforced with concrete. A small strip of land will be more than enough. And we can have beaches on coast side of the levee.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're glossing over the fact that that's a one meter rise in _mean_ sea level. Oscillating tides can change that to be +/- 5 meters in some places (e.g. Cook Inlet of Alaska, or the Bay of Fundy). Depending on the weather, storm surges can potentially have another additive affect. Most readers should be familiar with a normal distribution, where a subtle change in the mean can have a disproportionate affect on the extremes. So if you're expecting a one meter rise, to protect your coastal infrastructure

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:49AM (#42241499) Journal

      sea levels to rise almost a meter more than present over the next century ... hardly a doomsday scenario

      I believe you don't realise quite how many people live within a vertical metre of sea level.

      Well, that's a valid point however hamanity's war with the sea is nothing new [wikipedia.org] and the Dutch have become quite adept at it (with 20% of their country being reclaimed land). Now, that has a whole bunch of caveats about how much trouble they face is that system ever fails and we've all probably heard about that. I would bet that if people believed these reports, some relatively inexpensive measures could be taken to prevent a much more expensive catastrophe. I don't know how much these efforts could help Florida -- an occasional hurricane might make them a bigger problem. But engineers have been tackling this problem.

      For the United States, I think a bigger doomsday scenario of this is for agriculture in Texas. Texas already lost $7.62 billion in agricultural this year [star-telegram.com] and if you're telling me that that part of North America is going to get more arid? Well, droughts are something that humans have long had problems with. You can build all the irrigation you want but when that's dried up, there's not a lot you can do. If you like to eat beef and if you like Texas to be a productive state in the union, you should probably be concerned about this.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        So then beef production moves slightly north?

        Or maybe I can finally get grass fed beef from the USA?

        Over all a small increase in the price of beef is not the end of the world. The decreased red meat consumption would probably be a good thing on average for us.

        Texas still has lots of oil and natural gas. Its agriculture was living on borrowed time anyway. Once the aquifer went dry that was coming to an end.

        • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:30AM (#42242485) Journal

          So then beef production moves slightly north?

          This is a confusingly ignorant misunderstanding that I constantly see reiterated on Slashdot. There is only a finite amount of arable land and that is 18% of the United States with 0.21% of that being permanent crops. From this site [tradingeconomics.com], you can see in this graph [tradingeconomics.com] that the figure of 18% actually fluctuates. Now, there's a lot of factors at play but drought is a big one and this idea that you "just move the cattle North" to the new land is downright laughable. Temperature is not the only factor in making land arable. Why does Iowa produce more corn than per acre than any other state? Well, the soil has a lot to do with it but also the temperature is better than, say, Minnesota even though there's a lot of corn and soy grown in Minnesota.

          During the dust bowl of the 1930s [wikipedia.org], we should have learned that you can't just "move cattle and farming North a bit" to avoid droughts. We also should have learned how important it is to combat erosion and protect our water supplies.

          What happened last season in Texas was they failed to grow their own roughage (hay, straw, alfalfa, sorghum, etc) for their steers to eat and so they paid top dollar to have it shipped down to them and other states profited from Texas' loss. This is not a sustainable model. Moving cattle northward will not work, there is a reason ranching flourished in Texas -- any areas north of there that have the same conditions have long become ranches. Even if someone does the math and says "Oh, hey, this area of Montana here is going to be highly sought after" it's not like a massive ranch in Texas can pick up operations and move them to Montana in a single season. You're going to see restructuralization problems and the United States consumer will cry highway robbery when their already subsidized McDonald's burger costs $1.33 instead of $0.99. Should Texas become akin to Arizona, our economy will feel it.

          Or maybe I can finally get grass fed beef from the USA?

          You can already buy this from Montana and other states. The problem is how much grassland can support free roaming cattle. Again, a lesson learned from the Dust Bowl, we need to build ranches and feed them in order to prevent top soil erosion. If you demand they be free roaming and you calculate it, beef will become incredibly expensive and not a viable option for the entire populace.

          Over all a small increase in the price of beef is not the end of the world. The decreased red meat consumption would probably be a good thing on average for us.

          Right, those grapes were sour anyway?

          Texas still has lots of oil and natural gas.

          So? Most states depend on multiple sources of revenue, right? You should be alarmed when any major industry faces a major problem. Otherwise, why not just kill off all the other industries and embrace "lots of oil and natural gas"? Well, that's simple, you use what you got and Texas is losing arable land to grow food for their cattle.

          Its agriculture was living on borrowed time anyway. Once the aquifer went dry that was coming to an end.

          An unsustainable agricultural strategy is bad agriculture. Doesn't everything -- even your oil and natural gas -- depend on the availability of water? You make it sound like we just turned Texas into Mars and probably for the better? Ruining land is not the answer and this report states that Texas will get more arid so measures should be taken to at least prepare for that, wouldn't you think?

      • I would bet that if people believed these reports, some relatively inexpensive measures could be taken to prevent a much more expensive catastrophe

        The Netherlands expect to spend over E100B until the year 2100 on combating the consequences of rising sea levels. Doable for a rich country, but not exactly cheap.

        • That is annually about EUR 1*10^9.
          GDP of the Netherlands is ~EUR 700*10^9.

          So, assuming no growth of the GDP, that means an annual expenditure of ~0.14% of GDP.
          How will The Netherlands ever find that kind of cash?

    • Also I would like to point out that TFA pretty much ignores anything else than next century. If this trend accelerates, how would the world look like 500 years from now? If you think that's a LONG time, consider that mankind was traversing oceans 500 years ago.

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:57AM (#42242185)

        If you think that's a LONG time, consider that mankind was traversing oceans 500 years ago.

        1903 we first took flight.
        1942 we flew the first operational jet fighter.
        1961 we put the first man in space.
        1969 we put the first man on the moon.
        1971 we put the first space station in orbit.
        1980 we put the first re-usable vehicle into space.
        Today there are over a dozen private companies with space flight capability.

        500 years from now? You can't even begin to imagine what technology will be available. The only thing that you can be sure of is that it will look like magic.

    • by AdamHaun (43173) on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:35PM (#42244913) Journal

      It's never been about doomsday for the whole planet. It's about poverty, war, and general misery for billions. But Slashdot Libertarians are still stuck in their echo chamber where anything less than a massive asteroid strike is preferably to a tax increase. Didn't you know that the suffering of poor people is really just a plot to take away your money?

      Some new arid areas are expected to appear in the south of N. America, South Africa and Mediterranean countries. Overall, hardly a doomsday scenario.

      Oh, just some "new arid areas". No big deal. If you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Maybe you should read a bit about the massive drought that hit Texas last year [wikipedia.org]. Or the many, many wildfires [wikipedia.org] due to our entire state being a tinderbox. August in Houston was extra fun, with 29 out of 31 days [wunderground.com] reaching highs over 100 degrees F, with all-time highs of 109 F being reached on four separate days. Maybe you'd rather see some pictures [google.com], if that's your thing -- look, I Googled it for you! You know it's bad when people are hoping for a hurricane to bring drought relief.

      Let me make this simple for you: no water = no agriculture, no cities, few people, lots of fires. Texas has 25 million people. That's a lot of misery you can spread around. A lot of potential refugees moving to your neighborhoods. But clearly letting my state be destroyed is preferable to allowing TEH EVIL (nonexistent) MARXISTS enact their EVIL (nonexistent) SOCIALIST AGENDA! (Which everyone in the world except Slashdot Libertarians is in on, of course.) Those evil socialists just hate the obvious solution of having billions of people and most of our agriculture pack up and move. But not Slashdot Libertarians! In addition to being IT administrators, they're *also* the worldwide experts in the economics of relocating entire populations, and can tell you with 100% certainty that it's super-cheap and mostly painless as long as we let the free market work its magic! Unlike carbon taxes which will instantly destroy the world economy! Because Cambodia!

      (I really heard someone here compare fighting climate change to Cambodian communism once. Incidentally, Cambodian communism was all about forcibly relocating large populations, but if you want to be a good Slashdot Libertarian, you don't sweat the details.)

  • Hardly doomsday? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:44AM (#42241459)

    Let's compute the total market value of all coastal real estate below 1m elevation before we declare this "hardly a doomsday scenario."

    Let's also factor in the costs of re-aligning all land use to the new climate and the impact of that re-alignment on the global food supply.

    I'm not qualified to do that analysis, myself -- but I would venture, neither is the Slashdot editor who commented so dismissively on the report.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      what nonsense. what is the value of all property in Detroit 50 years ago compared to now? over a timespan of even half a century people can move, things can radically change. new things can be built, old things abandoned, foundations and streets can be raised.

  • Despite all the (legitimate) complaints about disinformation and scientific illiteracy in the U.S., there's this [businessinsider.com].
  • The end conclusion of that story was obviously written by someone who doesn't know much about the situation. Yes, a 12 pack of hurricane Sandies won't level Nebraska but a tiny shift like that with droughts and floods and higher temps will kill off so many species of fish, amphibians, coral, birds, etc that it will disrupt the entire animal kingdom. That won't be so good for the world. You'll be sitting there enjoying your lovely new weather and suddenly you can't buy tuna and the prices in the seafood s
  • After so many stories came out this year of revised data showing effects worse than previously predicted? I really hope they're not holding back for fear of being labelled "alarmist" by the denialists.

  • Without taking into account all factors, you can't decide if this change in sea level or climate will be good or bad. Will be change. That kind of change could mean that some animals or plants will have better odds of survival, other could have worse. Mankind could adapt to the temperature/sea level change (maybe at a bigger cost that it would cost to prevent it, or maybe not), but some other parts of the environment won't. And we could depend directly or indirectly on them, and it could hit us far harder b

  • Places like Florida are in danger, because it's flat, and built over with cement.

    But I am curious about soil accumulation and natural biosystems. The 1 meter rise, does it account for a century of soil growth?

    My old hometown of New Haven was built in the late 1600's. The town "green" is now almost 1-2 meters higher than it was in the 1700's. Thanks to bio accumulation. Most can see this happen. We had an area that we put dirt and gravel on. Over two years, weeds grew and were chopped down. We probabl

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