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If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
May 24, 2006 2:10 AM   Subscribe

Global warming underestimated by up to 78%. Scientists analyzing historical climate data for Europe have established the existence of a greater-than-anticipated positive feedback mechanism between high temperatures and global carbon dioxide levels. This provides more scientific evidence to support previously-expressed concerns that as global warming intensifies, a chain-reaction of considerably higher temperatures may occur. This corresponds with a new report released by the Australian government, claiming that "there is now perceived to be a greater risk that the upper end of the well known IPCC TAR estimate of a 1.4 to 5.8°C temperature rise will be reached or exceeded by 2100." "Estimates of future warming . . . may have to be raised by about 50 percent."
posted by insomnia_lj (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
If this keeps up the nudists will win.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:18 AM on May 24, 2006


... the authors focused especially on relatively recent climatic anomaly known as the "Little Ice Age." During this period (about 1550-1850), immortalized in many paintings of frozen landscapes in Northern Europe, Earth was substantially colder than it is now.

Interesting scientific method. Perhaps they had studied the paintings of the impressionists they might have concluded that Earth was then substantially less in focus than it is now. What would studying Picasso's work says about the environment?
posted by three blind mice at 2:34 AM on May 24, 2006


I don't get the title, since the post has absolutely nothing to say about sunlight levels, and even if it did there were studies released recently implying that too much sunscreen can actually be a bad thing.
posted by nightchrome at 2:40 AM on May 24, 2006


What would studying Picasso's work says about the environment?

been blue so long it seems like green to me.
posted by Hat Maui at 2:43 AM on May 24, 2006


Interesting scientific method

I know it's all the rage to ignore the parts of the article that are detrimental to your snark, but only two paragraphs above your quote you will find the following:

The researchers achieved their breakthrough by interpreting the high-resolution data from polar ice cores and temperature reconstructions based on geological proxy data in a new way.

The line about the paintings is an interesting factoid, but I doubt it had anything to do with the research.
posted by splice at 3:20 AM on May 24, 2006


Interesting scientific method. Perhaps they had studied the paintings of the impressionists they might have concluded that Earth was then substantially less in focus than it is now. What would studying Picasso's work says about the environment?

Because studying a time period that happens to have been "immortalized in many paintings" is the same as studying those paintings themselves.
posted by Olli at 3:23 AM on May 24, 2006


I don't get the title
posted by psmealey at 3:45 AM on May 24, 2006


I don't get the title, since the post has absolutely nothing to say about sunlight levels, and even if it did there were studies released recently implying that too much sunscreen can actually be a bad thing.

Clearly, you are unaware of the Sunscreen Song
posted by antifuse at 3:48 AM on May 24, 2006


Dammit, beaten to the punch by psmealey.
posted by antifuse at 3:48 AM on May 24, 2006


I know it's all the rage to ignore the parts of the article that are detrimental to your snark, but only two paragraphs above your quote you will find the following:

So is anything that makes fun of the dogma snark, or just the parts you don't like?
posted by three blind mice at 4:00 AM on May 24, 2006


Actually, at the current rate of progress, the ozone hole will totally close in 50 years. Too bad we'll be flooded and swarmed with weird animals at that point.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:32 AM on May 24, 2006


Clearly, you are unaware of the Sunscreen Song

Or, to be more correct "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen"), and for the record, the text comes not Kurt Vonnegut at the 1997 MIT Commenment cermemony, but Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, in a column titled "Wear Sunscreen."

Digression over.

I really hope this is wrong. We're on a very dicey point, climate wise, esp. when you consider that if we manage a large reduction in CO2 emissions, we'll almost certainly have a large reduction of particulate emissions as well. Less particulates, more energy reaching the ground, warmer temps. (Global Dimming, if you wish to google.)

Having CO2's effects maginified makes things even dicier. The artic melt is bad enough (water absorbs far more heat than ice, which just reflects most energy back.) We're getting too damn close to the Greenland Melt point, if the Greenland icepack melts, the extra heat absorbtion from the newly uncovered landmass and loss of reflection from the ice means Antartica isn't far behind.

Why do I think this is going to be very bad, well before I die?
posted by eriko at 4:52 AM on May 24, 2006


Of all the inhospitable zones of the planet, I expect most are inhospitable for being too cold rather than for being too hot.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:57 AM on May 24, 2006


Guys, this is nothing to worry about. It's only natural!
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 5:37 AM on May 24, 2006


"We're on a very dicey point, climate wise, esp. when you consider that if we manage a large reduction in CO2 emissions, we'll almost certainly have a large reduction of particulate emissions as well. Less particulates, more energy reaching the ground, warmer temps. (Global Dimming, if you wish to google.)"

Indeed. Dr. Peter Cox (University of Exeter) was one of the contributing authors for the new findings. He's one of the world's leading climate modelers, and is one of the foremost experts on global dimming. He was featured in the recent NOVA episode "Dimming the Planet", infact, where he explains the global dimming effect.

Cox is also one of the climatologists responsible for creating the HADCM3 climate model, which predicted the die back of the Amazon forest around the middle of this century, caused by regional warming and drying. At that point, it stops being a net carbon storage sink, and starts becoming a major source of CO2, due to fires.

This isn't all the bad news. Apparently, air pollution radiates more heat back into space than previously thought.

Earlier this year, Cox warned that if the cooling effect of emissions turned out to be greater than expected, it could trigger faster global warming, basically because the air pollution problem is being addressed more rapidly than greenhouse gas emissions. Here's a Powerpoint of one of his more recent presentations on the "global cooling" aerosol effect.

It has some pretty omenous climate models in it, such as "Potential Impact of Amazon Dieback on Dust Production".
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:18 AM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Of all the inhospitable zones of the planet, I expect most are inhospitable for being too cold rather than for being too hot."

That said, if you were to melt all the ice off of the top of Greenland, you'd find some pretty lousy soil for agriculture... and if global warming does bite us in the butt, expect a massive reduction in both arable land and in water supplies to grow crops on that land, as snowpacks melt off.

It'll be dustbowl days all over again, only this time it will be a worldwide issue.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:23 AM on May 24, 2006


Of all the inhospitable zones of the planet, I expect most are inhospitable for being too cold rather than for being too hot.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:57 AM PST on May 24


And here I was thinking that the ones underwater were the issue.

That and the shift in rainfall causing land that used to grow crops to become fallow.


It'll be dustbowl days all over again, only this time it will be a worldwide issue.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:23 AM PST on May 24


Don't forget how oil will be more expensive and therefore using oil as a crutch will be harder!
posted by rough ashlar at 6:52 AM on May 24, 2006


Looks like two American scientists just completed a similar study:

"Using as a source the Vostok ice core, which provides information about glacial-interglacial cycles over hundreds of thousands of years, the researchers were able to estimate the amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, two of the principal greenhouse gases, that were released into the atmosphere in response to past global warming trends. . . In their GRL paper, Torn and Harte make the case that the current climate change models, which are predicting a global temperature increase of as much as 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, may be off by nearly 2.0 degrees Celsius because they only take into consideration the increased greenhouse gas concentrations that result from anthropogenic (human) activities.

“If the past is any guide, then when our anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming, it will alter earth system processes, resulting in additional atmospheric greenhouse gas loading and additional warming,” said Torn.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:59 AM on May 24, 2006


I wonder whether Bush would like to blow off this new report on the effects of global warming on Texas.

Not only could it swamp their cities, strengthen hurricanes, and cause malaria outbreaks, it won't do their agriculture any good either. The EPA projected that global warming could reduce wheat yields in Texas by 43-68%.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:10 AM on May 24, 2006


How convenient! Just when Al Gore is releasing his hysterical movie!
posted by muckster at 7:28 AM on May 24, 2006


Hey, this is great! I don't know what's to complain about. I wouldn't have to drive nearly as far to get to the beach!
posted by IronLizard at 8:16 AM on May 24, 2006


Here's my review of An Inconvenient Truth.
posted by muckster at 8:47 AM on May 24, 2006


At that point, it stops being a net carbon storage sink, and starts becoming a major source of CO2, due to fires.

Um, no fires needed.

Rainforests: Carbon Sink or Carbon Source?
posted by dreamsign at 9:58 AM on May 24, 2006


So is anything that makes fun of the dogma snark, or just the parts you don't like?

No, no. Dissenting voices deserve equal respect no matter how ill-informed or intended. Because, you know. They're in dissent.
posted by dreamsign at 10:14 AM on May 24, 2006


.
posted by russilwvong at 10:31 AM on May 24, 2006


the oceans turning to acid is a particularly unsettling idea
posted by specialk420 at 11:28 AM on May 24, 2006


Anyone who's been paying attention to this over the years already knows were pretty much fucked in the long run. This was taught when I was in elementary school. Same for oil. DOOM. FUCKING DOOM ALREADY. I wish it would just hurry up and get here, the anticipation is killing me.
posted by IronLizard at 11:40 AM on May 24, 2006


The dinosaurs didn't become extinct from an asteroid. They died from farting.

Humans were envious. They couldn't fart enough to kill themselves off. So they built machines to fart for them. They died too.


- encyclopedia entry summation of the Extinction of the Humans, by Zogbort Fleenblurg, Earth Historian, University of Polaris Prime.
posted by daq at 12:08 PM on May 24, 2006


Excellent review Muckster.
posted by slatternus at 12:17 PM on May 24, 2006


This is stupid, it makes no difference to anyone.
I don’t see how anybody could even care.

...oh, wait, Earth is OUR planet, right, yeah. Sorry.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:53 PM on May 24, 2006


Americans can ignore this because it uses Celcius (Centigrade) and we don't use that here.
posted by Four Flavors at 3:19 PM on May 24, 2006


Alright, so other than running around going "AHHH, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE" what exactly does one DO about this?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:58 PM on May 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


why the assumption that you can do something?
posted by wilful at 5:02 PM on May 24, 2006


Sea level increases will probably happen gradually, not in a gigantic 400 foot wave that obliterates everything in its path.
posted by Sukiari at 6:18 PM on May 24, 2006


what exactly does one DO about this?

Drink.

On credit.
posted by pompomtom at 7:27 PM on May 24, 2006


eriko: Why do I think this is going to be very bad, well before I die?

Look at the bright side: If this is true, we'll probably die a lot sooner.
posted by spazzm at 8:27 PM on May 24, 2006


Hey muckster - great review. I just saw the film tonight, and i highly recommend it to everyone. Gore is incredibly impressive in the film. He does a superb job defining the problem, evidence and science, but leaves you with quite a bit of hope that with some political will we can solve the issue.

The most depressing part of the film was the reminder that this thoughtful, articulate man was 'defeated' by GWB.
posted by jba at 11:17 PM on May 24, 2006


Thanks, slatternus & jba.
posted by muckster at 8:46 AM on May 25, 2006


I'll miss insomnia's posts.
posted by homunculus at 11:45 PM on May 26, 2006


Gore=Hitler
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on May 28, 2006


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