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NOAA Report: World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures 337

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the air-condition-the-planet dept.
pigrabbitbear writes with a story about some interesting possible effects of Global Warming. From the article: "It's a good thing that robots are stealing our jobs, because in about thirty-five years, nobody in their right mind is going to want to do them. Scientists from NOAA just published a report ... that details how a warming climate impacts the way we work, and the results are pretty clear — we do less of it. NOAA discovered that over the last 60 years, the hotter, wetter climate has decreased human labor capacity by 10%. And it projects that by 2050, that number will double."
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NOAA Report: World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:18AM (#43024421)

    it is just too hot ... I need my siesta break!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      it is just too hot ... I need my siesta break!

      After reading, I see that whoever did these studies, never seen a Mexican construction crew in August here in Georgia - in 100+ heat.

      And they got their work done well and on time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Global Warming is there anything it cannot do?

  • by sycodon (149926)

    Is there anything bad in the world that is not caused by global warming?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:23AM (#43024471)

    "It's a good thing that robots are stealing our jobs, because in about thirty-five years, nobody in their right mind is going to want to do them. "

    I don't want to do robots now. I mean some people in Japan might. But not me.

  • Doubt (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bigby (659157)

    Talk about a study that has too many variables to conclude something so major... How did they eliminate the effect of today's technology and culture on work ethic and demand? Among the thousands of other variables...

    5 degrees isn't going to reduce overall labor by 5%, let alone 10%. And the 10% is considered with far less than 5 degrees in increased temperature.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      he said, based on NOTHING.

      • by khallow (566160)
        Well, there are other studies that have concluded amazing things based on bullshit. So that's a bit more than NOTHING. Personally, I'm interested in how the study can claim labor has a temperature sensitivity of around 10% decline per degree C. That's huge. If it were true, then any sort of energy conservation via raising the thermostat in hot weather, would be greatly counterproductive.
      • Re:Doubt (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:40AM (#43024701)

        From Jamesl in "Below the headline...

        --- ... far below the headline ...

        Uncertainties and caveats associated with these projections include climate sensitivity, climate warming patterns, CO2 emissions, future population distributions, and technological and societal change.

        Because this is after all, just a projection based on computer models. And we know how well they work "out of sample."
        ---
        Spot on. In other words, they make a statement and then say that it could be wrong based on just about everything.

        Garbage.

        • by PPH (736903)

          Because this is after all, just a projection based on computer models.

          Computers predict computers will take over the world. News at 11.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Of those variables, four are quantifiable and subject to ongoing research and the last two are the ones we can actually control if we want to change whether the outcome actually happens. So I'm not sure what's wrong with the model.

    • Talk about a study that has too many variables to conclude something so major... How did they eliminate the effect of today's technology and culture on work ethic and demand? Among the thousands of other variables...

      5 degrees isn't going to reduce overall labor by 5%, let alone 10%. And the 10% is considered with far less than 5 degrees in increased temperature.

      Your math makes my head hurt. :>

    • Re:Doubt (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:31PM (#43025319)

      Apparently the US Army disagrees, because it's their research (amoungst others') on people's ability to work under heat stress that forms the basis for the model.

  • by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:23AM (#43024477)

    ... far below the headline ...

    Uncertainties and caveats associated with these projections include climate sensitivity, climate warming patterns, CO2 emissions, future population distributions, and technological and societal change.

    Because this is after all, just a projection based on computer models. And we know how well they work "out of sample."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The actual scientific paper makes it very clear that they're making a projeciton on known metrics about heat stress and known data about tropical climate. It would take Slashdot to turn it into a straw-man like "World Labor Capacity Dropping Because of Increased Temperatures".

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:28AM (#43024537)

    then when the east river in NYC freezes during winter and the temps are so bitter cold that the hipster idiots will go crazy and blame it on global warming

    and then the intelligent people can point out that this is completely normal. it used to happen in the 1800's all the time before global warming screwed things up with a warmer winter

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Why would you hope that, out of curiosity? Are you really the kind of person who would rather people made ill-informed conclusions because it offered you the opportunity to look like you're cleverer than them?

    • then when the east river in NYC freezes during winter and the temps are so bitter cold that the hipster idiots will go crazy and blame it on global warming

      and then the intelligent people can point out that this is completely normal. it used to happen in the 1800's all the time before global warming screwed things up with a warmer winter

      And those of us in the South thank you up there for pulling the Jet Stream further North, thereby allowing us to grow tropical vegetables in January.

      That's why they call it "global".

  • In other news...

    Resulting from average temperature and humidity growth, 98% people are 72% less inclined to indulge in sexual activities. Scientists from UN IPCC's climatodemography subcommittee agreed on 82%-91% less babies will be born in next 20 years than expected. 20 years after that, figure is a bit more fuzzy and goes from 86%-100% drop in new births.

    Dig deeper, sleep cooler, ... and keep your genes in global pool :)

  • They don't NEED to. (Score:4, Informative)

    by bistromath007 (1253428) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:33AM (#43024613)
    A warmer climate means more food, simpler shelters, and lower energy costs. (Or they would be, without air conditioning, which is a luxury in all but the hottest places.) Where it snows, everything is more expensive, so people have to work more than they would otherwise. From a labor perspective, global warming will bring about freedom from slavery.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      A warmer climate means more food, simpler shelters, and lower energy costs. (Or they would be, without air conditioning, which is a luxury in all but the hottest places.) Where it snows, everything is more expensive, so people have to work more than they would otherwise. From a labor perspective, global warming will bring about freedom from slavery.

      Oh you optimist! Just like computers would mean we only would be working four hours a day four days a week by the year 2000.

      • by Lluc (703772)

        Oh you optimist! Just like computers would mean we only would be working four hours a day four days a week by the year 2000.

        Once you factor in the amount of time you waste on Slashdot, your 16 hour (4 hours x 4 days) work week is pretty accurate!

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Not in the tropics, which is the region that their model addresses.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      A warmer climate means more food

      [citation needed]

      You're going to have to prove or at least somehow demonstrate that. It may not actually prove to be true.

      From a labor perspective, global warming will bring about freedom from slavery

      Snicker snort.

  • The answer is obvious. Let's throw more people at the probem. We just have to make up for each persons 10% cut in productivity by putting 10% more workers out there, and paying each one 10% less. Problem solved...or something.
    • Breeding is unnecessary for this solution. We already have a whole bunch of unemployed people, supposedly because there's not enough jobs for them, making the market very competitive and weighted towards capital.

      The punchline: this is an actual solution and not a joke, as you are treating it. In America, an eight hour day is still considered standard, and most people who manage to keep their jobs put in a great deal more work than that. This is unhealthy and exploitative, and causes the usual behavior of
  • by drik00 (526104) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:43AM (#43024741) Homepage

    What ever happened to "correlation does not mean causality?" I mean, I get more and more tired as the day goes on, and... I think it's because the sun is in the sky.

  • by realsilly (186931) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:45AM (#43024755)

    I thought the whole goal of inventing machines was to make jobs easier for human beings.

    Even if there is some valid conjecture behind this science, since the beginning of time, man has invented tools and machines to make jobs less difficult for man to do, thus decreasing the labor. And I know that when I don't have to work as hard, I enjoy lounging on a beach chair in a bikini soaking up the warmer weather and relaxing.

    There is much more to all of this I would believe. The world's population has increased tremendously and now there are more people and less work to be done, and I'd gather that a majority of the world's population is located in warmer climate areas, this conclusion would appear to me to be conjecture. ...but this is just my take on it...just an observation.

  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gravis777 (123605) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:47AM (#43024775)

    Maybe the amount of work actually done in the past 60 years has gone down because of union regulations (amount of time you are able to work a day, number of breaks required to give workers), regulations against child labor, regulation of minors in the workforce, and the possibility that a lot of jobs in the past 60 years (not all mind you) have turned from factories and physical labor to offices. Many occupations have also modernized and mechanized, increasing production and decreasing the need for physical labor.

    While a 1-3 degree difference in temperatures (or even 5-10 degrees if you want to get drastic) is enough to cause global enviornmental issues, I doubt that anyone is going to say "Shoot, its 73 today whereas 60 years ago it was 70, Oh, its just too hot, I can't work today". "Oh, its summer in Phoenix, its 110 today instead of 107 it was 60 years ago on this day, oh, I just can't do anything".

    Really really stupid corrolation.

    That is like saying the number of viewers of the Today Show has increaded substantially over the past 60 years, so we are going to say that The Today Show has got to be the most awesome show on television, and take into no account the number of households who have bought televisions in the past 60 years, the population growth, or even comparing it to the actual percentage of total viewers now versus then.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:23PM (#43025211)

      This isn't about pointing to a change and saying "this was caused by that". This is about taking what we now know about the effect of heat stress on labour output (as determined by the US military, for example), looking at the change in climate in the tropical regions, and looking at how that change in heat stress should have affected labour output, and how it should affect labour output in the future.

      They've created a model based on empirical data, tested it against historical results, and projected it into the future with a testable prediction. The "climate science isn't science because it's not experimental" crowd should be here imminently.

    • by Bengie (1121981)

      I doubt that anyone is going to say "Shoot, its 73 today whereas 60 years ago it was 70, Oh, its just too hot, I can't work today".

      It's a 3 degree change in the average across the globe and with wider variations.

      It's more like in one part of the Earth "Shoot, its 10f today whereas 60 years ago it was 40f" and in another part of the world "Shoot, its 90f today whereas 60 years ago it was 70f"

      But don't worry, it's only a 3 degree average increase. This last year alone, over 1,000 high temp records were broken around the world in only a 2 week period. That could easily be just a fluke, but it still doesn't make me feel any better abo

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:48AM (#43024787)
    In mediterranean countries they mitigate against this by working in the early morning, sleeping for the hottest part of the day, and working until very late evening. Two four-hour sleeps suits hot climates much better than one eight hour one. I wouldn't be surprised if in a much hotter climate an 8-hour sleep in daylight and working through the night made more sense
  • Work slowed down quite a bit here today because there's a snow storm. So if it was 40 degrees out instead, our productivity and workload would go up. In fact, this is a landscaping company so it would go way up. So hotter places that are so hot and swampy and miserable and unbearable that nobody should be living there right now (aka Mexico, Florida, Georgia, etc) will go down in productivity but places like this will go up.
  • Even if the study's figures themselves may somehow be "correct", there's still the continued productivity increase per person through advance of technology - even though "labor capacity" might have dropped and might continue to drop.

    Seems to be a study to give bespoke rationale for those in power to further increase work time or invent new socially detrimental measures to fight the impending shortage of workforce. While, in long term reality, increasing unemployment is the only thing to be expected.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      You'll get the same technical progress either way, it's just that in one scenario you multiply that output by 0.8 to account for the effect of increased temperatures.

  • That too many people have become lazy, narcissistic and generally so full of themselves that they think they're worth more than they really are. Add to that a group of people who blow smoke up the collective asses of these self-absorbed folk by promising them anything and everything in order to obtain and maintain power and influence.

    Attention: Ship B is leaving and you need to get on board now before the Earth blows up.

  • World temperature gradient vs latitude is ~ +1 degree C per 145 km latitude toward the equator. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Temperature_versus_Latitude_png [globalwarmingart.com]

    World temperature change since 1910 is ~ .7 degree C. http://www.csiro.au/en/Outcomes/Climate/Understanding/Climate-change-is-real.aspx [csiro.au]'

    Ohio is ~370km north-to-south, so that's about 3.6 times the temperature difference from 1910 to now.

    Are people in southern Ohio 30-40% less productive than people in northern Ohio?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Ohio's temperature doesn't vary nearly that much from north to south; the mean temperature in Cleveland is only about one degree lower than that in Cincinnati.

  • Time to play "Dog Pile on the Rabbit" with the mockery.

    After all, one can never let the topic of Global Warming go un-mocked - that would be a dereliction of duty!

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"

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