How serious are earth's problems

How serious is the threat to humanity

  • Beyond hope; The planet is dying

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • Catastrophic; Life as we know it will change fundamentally

    Votes: 6 11.5%
  • Serious; Significant changes will affect our way of life

    Votes: 23 44.2%
  • Of concern; Worthy of our attention and planning

    Votes: 10 19.2%
  • Not a concern; Life will go on without serious interruptions

    Votes: 11 21.2%

  • Total voters
    52
  • Poll closed .
  • #26
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Based on recent trends, it would appear the frequency will increase because the ocean temperatures have gradually increased.
There is the important part. Ever seen a non reversed trend in the climate history of earth? What went up came down again every single time, regardless of how big the meteorite hit was or how strong the volcanic eruptions were,

it appears that many were aware of the dangers that faced NO. Previous storms have shown the vulnerability of that. But if you cut funds for maintenance on fortification of the infrastucture as I hear on CNN, then you should be surprised to meet disaster whenever the natural fertilizer collides with the supporter, be it in 500 years or yesterday.
 
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  • #27
Ivan Seeking
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I can't help but wonder if Katrina will turn out to have been the impetus for the first major population migration due to GCC.

The hurricane season is what, half over?
 
  • #28
Tide
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No. Leaving aside the question of whether global warming is even occuring, recent major migration due to climate change includes the hordes of people leaving the frigid northeast for the warmer climates of Florida, Arizona and Southern California - i.e. the global cooling of the 50's and 60's.

Then, of course, there were the mass migrations of gigantic herds of mammals to escape the advancing glaciers during the last ice age some 25,000 years ago. Thank goodness we're still emerging from that ice age - which I suppose does constitute global warming! :)
 
  • #29
Astronuc
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Well I suppose that the Earth does not have problems. People living on it do though, and part of the problem may be population density and the way people try to manipulate the environment.

The weather is what it is, but high population density can have adverse impact - e.g. deforestation (for buildings and agriculture) which can lead to desertification, which can spark periodic drought. Then through in earthquakes, volcanoes, storms (hurricanes, typhoons) and floods, and large portions of any dense population can be affected.

Perhaps humanity is out of balance with the natural world.
 
  • #30
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Ivan Seeking said:
I can't help but wonder if Katrina will turn out to have been the impetus for the first major population migration due to GCC.
Oh dear...I hope not. :grumpy:
 
  • #31
Ivan Seeking
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Tide said:
No. Leaving aside the question of whether global warming is even occuring, recent major migration due to climate change includes the hordes of people leaving the frigid northeast for the warmer climates of Florida, Arizona and Southern California - i.e. the global cooling of the 50's and 60's.

Then, of course, there were the mass migrations of gigantic herds of mammals to escape the advancing glaciers during the last ice age some 25,000 years ago. Thank goodness we're still emerging from that ice age - which I suppose does constitute global warming! :)
Obviously I was talking about humans and your example brings up the question of numbers and defintions. But as for the point about the last ice age, this is a pedestrian view since it completely ignores the primary concern about GCC: The changes could far exceed normal variations and rates of change, and they may be doing so already.
 
  • #32
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We are now talking about a temperature trend of 0,6 degrees C per century. The correctness of this figure is highly dependent on historically insufficent sensors, data and algoritms. The now corrected lower tropopause trend as of 1979 is still significant lower than the surface trend which still doesn't give much support to greenhouse gas forcing being the significant driver.

Climate has always fluctuated, sea surface temperature -a likely major driver of hurricanes- as well. But air temperature is not the main driver of sea surface temperature, changing currents are, transporting and distributing heat. If the Thermohaline current slows down, the tropics are heating up, this is likely enhancing the conditions for hurricane forming. But would also be possible that higher air temperatures, with a lower vertical thermal gradient, suppress the forming of hurricanes. So attributing Katrina to global warming is a serious case of "affirming the consequent". There have been cat 5 storms in the past nowhere near any sign of global warming.

About the alleged ice ages, the formal scholar view about the temperature changes around 14,800 years ago, 12,900 ya and 11,670 ya is still thought to be 5-10 degrees Celsius per decade - natural causes. It isn't so, but anyway. How does that compare to the current 0,6 degrees celsius per century?
 
  • #33
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Check http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=1887012005 [Broken]:


A few quotes:

....
Since 1995 nature has conspired to make the Atlantic a little warmer and, ergo, stormier. But there is no linear temperature chart - in fact, a century's worth of data has shown no link to global warming. Consistent data gathered by weather planes since 1940 show that even the average of cyclones' peak intensity has eased from 41 to 38 metres a second over the last 50 years. Hurricanes are not only fewer, but milder. ..

It may infuriate those with a political point to make, especially as they head towards environmental summits. . ...

So the scare-mongering and cod science put about by political advisers and campaigners irritate professional meteorologists - such as Prof. William Gray, who issues the American hurricane forecast each year. Last week, he had this to say: "People who have a bias in favour of the argument that humans are making the globe warmer will push any data that suggests that humans are making hurricanes worse, but it just isn't so ... These are natural cycles."

Perhaps the last word should go to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in 2001 found the "intensity and frequency" of storms "dominated by interdecadal variations... with no long-term trends evident." There is much to be gained, financially as well as politically, by pretending otherwise. The Association of British Insurers has warned that premiums may rise to prepare for greater storm damage from climate change.

Public fear (and private profit) can easily be whipped up by quoting (and commissioning) selective studies. It has become a lucrative branch of academia, encouraging computer-generated forecasts of apocalypse. Sir David has now been allocated £3.7bn of government cash - including £150m to make the UK "lead on climate change science", as if this were a compelling priority for taxpayers. To put this into perspective, this year's European Cancer Research Funding Survey showed the Department of Health spending £27.1 million on a disease responsible for one in four UK deaths.
 
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  • #34
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That is the one thing that no one seems to understand, temperatures can and will fluctuate at different and possibly unpredictable times. The hurricane Katrina was created due to the water in the Gulf of Mexico being abnormally warm, much warmer then it was in the Atlantic, that is why it became so violent in such a short period of time. If we were to compare Earth's weather patterns to that of....say....Mars, Katrina really doesnt seems so horrible. Earth has incredibly stable weather, and it is no reason to get all worried something that should occur naturally every 100 years...
 
  • #35
Amp1
WW, theres the rub

you said
Earth has incredibly stable weather, and it is no reason to get all worried something that should occur naturally every 100 years...or so (my addition)
However, if these once in a 100 yr (or even half that) type phenomena happens say every (lets be generous) 3-4 yrs, wouldn't you have to agree that possibly something is happening out of the ordinary. :surprised

Would it take another series of F-4 and F-5 tornados ravaging the southern US (and F-1, 2 & 3 in the north), or an increase in the frequency of cat. 4 & 5 hurricanes to snap certain people out of their this is so normal kinda apathy. Stat. fluctuations can no longer be hid behind especially when faced with reality.
 
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  • #36
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Now what if basic meteoro-logic would predict that storms would be less severe, if the greenhouse gas warming ...erm....idea was to be true?

On the other hand, warming due to increased insolation either by more solar energy or higher absorption rates of radiation, would cause a tendency for storms to be more severe.

Why? when the enhanced greenhouse gas effect was to be the main cause of warming, the atmosphere was to be was warming faster than the surface this would cause the atmospheric temperature gradient or lapse rate to decrease. This tends to stabilize the atmosphere, suppressing the forming of storms.

Higher insolation warmth would tend to increase the surface temperature more than the atmosphere (which is confirmed). This would increase the lapse rate and cause more instability, fuelling heavier storms.

So if the storms get more severe, it would tend to falsify the greenhouse gas hype..othesis in favour of the insolation idea.
 
  • #37
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wow, that was so obvious and I seemed to have overlooked that too, and a great point, I dont have much to add to that, you sumed that up pretty well, soooo, what say you, Amp?
 
  • #38
Amp1
I'm not expert but

Andre,
(1)..., warming due to increased insulation either by more solar energy or higher absorption rates of radiation , would cause a tendency for storms to be more severe.
So, if I understand this correctly either factor (insulation or absorbtion) would tend to cause storms to be more severe (numerous also?). -your next statement-
(2) if the greenhouse gas warming ...erm....idea was to be true?
then
(3) Higher insulation warmth would tend to increase the surface temperature more than the atmosphere (which is confirmed).
(4)Why? when the enhanced greenhouse gas effect was to be the main cause of warming, the atmosphere was to be warming faster than the surface this would cause the atmospheric temperature gradient or lapse rate to decrease. This tends to stabilize the atmosphere, suppressing the forming of storms.
These two statements appear to be contrary to what you stated in the first quote. Maybe, however, they may not hold - The atmosphere warming faster than the surface due to a decreasing lapse rate - The insulation factor (which you stated) along with the radiation redirected towards the surface by the greenhouse effect would likely cause the situation you indicated in quote #1. You must also consider the oceanic warming caused by the increased radiation from the reflection back to the surface by the greenhouse gases. Well?
 
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  • #39
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The confusion I think is my spelling error of insolation. Increased surface heat due to either or both solar activity or albedo change, causing a higher lapse

You must also consider the oceanic warming caused by the increased radiation from the reflection back to the surface by the greenhouse gases.
Radiation is not "refected back" it is re-radiated back. greenhouse gasses absorb IR energy is certain frequency ranges and heat up, passing the heat to the other molecules, heating up the atmosphere. Individual greenhouse gas molecules (re)radiate IR and cool in the process. The warmer the more, but they have given off the heat already to the other molecules, so this effect is less than the absorbtion. Moreover as the reradiation goes in all directions, the IR that finally hits the sea again for warming is always less than the IR radiation that remains interacting in the atmosphere. So this effect still causes more heating in the atmosphere than on the Earth surface.

Sea Surface Temperatures are much more complicated than atmospheric temperatures because transport of water plays a major role, think of the ENSO(El Nino Southern Oscilation) for instance, apparantly independent of surface warming.

The combination of the Pacific Decadal Oscilation (PDO), ENSO (El Nino/La Nina), and the North Atlantic Oscilation (NAO), interacting with the Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (ATC) form a complex system that governs the surface water refreshment rate and consequently the sea surface temperatures in the Carabean, much more than direct warming.
 
  • #40
Amp1
Consider this.

Ok, so the oceanic currents are complicated, alright, my thinking is that they are warmed by at least two sources. ie: solar radiation at the equator and magma acticity at the oceanic rifts, through out the rift system. These two sources are relatively constant and thus the currents are stable. But if the lower atmosphere is warming that contribution will possibly upset some balance, wouldn't it? And if the polar caps are melting that would upset the salinity balance of some currents and along with atmospheric warming possibly cause climate changes, could that be a reason for some of the changes in weather patterns obsearved globally? :confused:
 
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  • #41
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Nice try but there are more players. The magmatic heat is very small, milliwats per m^2, that's no factor. But evaporation cooling down the water surface is a biggy that tends to be overlooked. But it drives the thermohaline current.

Now think of the El Nino El Nina twin to know that the oceanic currents are about the most variable part of the climate system.

The partial melting of polar caps and glaciers is something cyclic that happens every few hundred years. Also the magnitude is heavily exagarated. Most of Antarctica is accumulating ice. Only glaciers in West Antarctica are melting on the balance. Something similar is happening in Greenland.
 
  • #42
Amp1
I see your point Andre ... but

I have a bit of trouble believing that - "The magmatic heat is very small, milliwats per m^2, that's no factor." After seeing programs about the mid-Atlantic rift and so on ..., I wouldn't say that is a small input (but I do acknowledge one must consider the entire volume of the oceans when figuring this over-all input). :blushing:

As for the glacial melting, isn't the accumilation of new snow occurring in the middle and northern most reaches of Anartica? Also, isn't the freezing over of the Artic getting smaller each year? And what about desalinization of the northern and southern oceans, couldn't that disrupt the deep water currents, since salination plays a large role in the movement of these currents? :wink:
 
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  • #43
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Amp said:
but I do acknowledge one must consider the entire volume of the oceans when figuring this over-all input
Exactly, there are square meters with thousends of watts energy but there are mega square meters without, which reducing the average to milliwatts.

back tomorow
 
  • #44
Amp1
OK, what about the questions I posed on the glaciers and the decrease in freeze over in the Artic?

The desalinazation is a result of melting glaciers and Anartic ice, the thought process is that this would disrupt the deep oceanic currents most notably the Gulf Stream. Do you attribute that - if it happens - to normal natural processes?
 
  • #45
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Similar things happened in 950AD (the Medieval Warming Period), forthermore around something like 2000BC, 5000BC and 9000BC as far as I recall, alternated with big freezes like the ones 1650AD and 1820AD known as the Little Ice Age. There is very little doubt about all of those being natural.
 
  • #46
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so long as all particular nations compete (war) with each other to convert materials of the planet from their natural state to an other state so as to mass-produce products that are not needed, there is no hope that the planet or its inhabitants shall survive.
 
  • #47
Tide
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Ivan,

this is a pedestrian view since it completely ignores the primary concern about GCC
That's funny, Ivan! I had no idea you had such a sense of humor. Previous climate induced migrations of people were all accomplished by foot so, yes, it is rather pedestrian. The next one, when it occurs, will be done by automobile, rail, air or similar transport which some would regard as ironic. It only remains to be seen whether GCC (warming or cooling) is induced or accelerated by humans.

As to the magnitude of the change, I noticed last week that the National Weather Service showed several dozen projections of Ophelia's path over the following two days and the jumble of paths looked like spaghetti spread accross the map. And all of that is the result of more reliable and copious data pumped into the simulations than even the most ardent climate change afficionado could hope for in those models. One has to wonder whether long term climate forecasts that use less reliable data, ignore important physics considerations and don't even take hurricane activity into account can possibly be more reliable than the spastic two-day Ophelia projections.

In other words, one may employ "pedestrian" examples but with error bars as huge as the ones in question, speculation about climate induced migration is simply idle! :)
 
  • #48
Amp1
Andre please,

Similar things happened in 950AD (the Medieval Warming Period), forthermore around something like 2000BC, 5000BC and 9000BC as far as I recall, alternated with big freezes like the ones 1650AD and 1820AD known as the Little Ice Age. There is very little doubt about all of those being natural.
Yes, those events were natural. However, the changes to the eco. and natural balances and thus the resulting climate changes are induced by man. Deforestation, development of land (marshs, wetlands, deserts, ect), pollution, offshore drilling, there are even plans to tap oceanic methane hydrate deposits (which may prove catastrophic), all those items are implemented and caused by man. And the result will and is creating instabilities in global weather. You must have heard of the 'Butterfly Effect', well this effect is more like an Eagle flapping its wings because it's causing changes on a much reduced time scale probably measured in decades or less. :uhh:

http://www.climatehotmap.org/
:uhh:

http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/currenttopics/abruptclimate_rcurry_pr.html
:uhh:

http://www.whoi.edu/mr/pr.do?id=5098 [Broken]
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0627_050627_oceancurrent.html
:uhh:

"In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today -- more serious even than the threat of terrorism."
With this warning to an international science meeting in February 2004, David A. King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, brought the issue of global warming into sharp focus.
http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/
:uhh:

Something you would likely accept:http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=181#more-181

heres more on climate change: http://globalchange.gov/
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html
http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/primer/
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html (human impact)

http://www.besis.uaf.edu/regional-report/regional-report.html
:uhh:
 
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  • #49
Ivan Seeking
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Tide said:
That's funny, Ivan! I had no idea you had such a sense of humor. Previous climate induced migrations of people were all accomplished by foot so, yes, it is rather pedestrian. The next one, when it occurs, will be done by automobile, rail, air or similar transport which some would regard as ironic. It only remains to be seen whether GCC (warming or cooling) is induced or accelerated by humans.
You have got to be kidding. :rofl: Do you even know what pedestrian means in the context used?
 
  • #50
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"In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today -- more serious even than the threat of terrorism."
With this warning to an international science meeting in February 2004, David A. King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, brought the issue of global warming into sharp focus.
http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=1887012005 [Broken]

Public fear (and private profit) can easily be whipped up by quoting (and commissioning) selective studies. It has become a lucrative branch of academia, encouraging computer-generated forecasts of apocalypse. Sir David has now been allocated £3.7bn of government cash - including £150m to make the UK "lead on climate change science", as if this were a compelling priority for taxpayers. To put this into perspective, this year's European Cancer Research Funding Survey showed the Department of Health spending £27.1 million on a disease responsible for one in four UK deaths.
The whole global warming hype is based on what happened here:

oceanic methane hydrate deposits (which may prove catastrophic)
Nail on the head, however the story is totally different. What is interpreted as catastrophic warming events at the end of the ice age were actually catstrophic precipitation events instead, induced by the physics of decomposing clathrate fields. The start of the Holocene was nothing more than the dramatic increase in precipitation due to the decomposition of the Storegga slide area.

http://www.oce.uri.edu/oce582/prese...egga Slide Stability and Methane Hydrates.ppt

This event does not need any human to take place. But if humans could only remove the clathrate from unstable areas, preventing it from happening in the future, wouldn't that be a completely different story?
 
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