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XKCD on Climate Change

  1. Jan 17, 2017 #1

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    XKCD made a really cool Climate Change timeline:

    https://xkcd.com/1732/

    which shows the effect humanity has had on it vs history.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2017 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    No one is interested in climate change since the singularity happened.
     
  4. Feb 14, 2017 #3
    Nice comic. The scale of time is a really difficult thing for humans grasp.
     
  5. Feb 14, 2017 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Especially the new administration but I digress,
     
  6. Feb 14, 2017 #5
    Cool timeline. Scary comic. Lets continue whith netmeeting as a start.
     
  7. Feb 14, 2017 #6
    Interesting chart. The book by Randall Munroe is great also: https://whatif.xkcd.com/book/#thebook

    I have a question about this. It seems odd to me that something like a 3 C shift would be so traumatic. I looked here:

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/a0762183.html

    and two adjacent cities in the list have a > 6F delta average in each season:

    City Average monthly temperature (°F)
    Jan. April July Oct.


    Asheville, N.C. 35.8 54.1 73.0 55.2
    Atlanta, Ga. 42.7 61.6 80.0 62.8

    So while Atlanta is certainly hotter ( Hot'Lanta) than Asheville, neither is uninhabitable or traumatically different.I might call Atlanta a relatively hot climate, and Asheville a relatively mild climate. But neither is so extreme.

    Yes, there is sea level rise, and other effects, but is a 3 C rise so awful? I'm not trying to 'argue' climate change, I am just curious about this specifically.
     
  8. Feb 14, 2017 #7

    Evo

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    If we're going to actually discuss CC, we have to abide by the rules.
     
  9. Feb 14, 2017 #8
    OK, thanks. I'm not sure what rules apply specifically. Were you addressing my post, or the thread itself?
     
  10. Feb 14, 2017 #9

    Evo

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    Staff: Mentor

  11. Feb 15, 2017 #10

    DrClaude

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    Staff: Mentor

    From the IPCC:
     
  12. Feb 15, 2017 #11

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    "Awful" is a value judgement and a matter of opinion.
     
  13. Feb 15, 2017 #12
    Ok, thanks. Ahhh, that pinned topic wasn't obvious to me, as I came here from the "New Posts" page - that takes me directly to the thread, and and the pinned posts are not visible unless you back up to that sub-forum listing.

    I understand the 'hot button' nature of the topic, and I'm not interested in going there. I will try to word my posts carefully to avoid even the perception of approaching that line. Wish me luck! :)
     
  14. Feb 15, 2017 #13
    OK, you are right. This isn't easy! :)

    So let me try this way - It seems that a temperature shift of ~ 3C would result in Asheville, NC having temperatures similar to what Atlanta, GA has today. Atlanta is a thriving city, and while they use a lot of A/C, life goes on each and every day, and I assume that Asheville would adapt over the time frame that is being estimated.

    I can understand a much higher level of problems for those in/near very hot climates now. Some of those places are barely inhabitable now, so even a seemingly small shift in a fragile eco-system could push things past a breaking point.

    I haven't looked at the IPCC reports in any detail for a few years now. I may try to do some digging again to better understand how they adjust for any positive, offsetting effects (longer growing seasons in cold regions, etc). But I guess that is separate from my earlier post, wondering if these changes are really so extreme for people in fairly moderate climates.
     
  15. Feb 15, 2017 #14

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    or "Reap the Whirlwind" from the movie "The Rock" thought it made sense to add a little weather humor.
     
  16. Feb 16, 2017 #15

    mfb

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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    @NTL2009: The main problem is not the temperature itself (a bit more AC does the job), the problem is the associated change in the weather.
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n9/full/nclimate1911.html (in most regions), more droughts, more wildfires, ...
    Most habitats shift a bit north (south in the southern hemisphere), which is not that problematic on its own, but it can make ecosystems less stable if the change happens too rapidly, and some ecosystems will stop existing because they cannot shift (limited to an island/river/...).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  17. Feb 16, 2017 #16

    mheslep

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    Gold Member

    Yes, that's the theory per the models, but so far, per IPCC AR5:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  18. Feb 16, 2017 #17

    BillTre

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    Science Advisor

    There are several things that concern me about climate change:

    1) Species loss: some species will be able to move (or their offspring will) fast enough to keep from going extinct, but some won't; those that are on isolated mountains, for example, will only be able to go up to reach areas matching their temperature range. When they reach the top, they will run out of options. Species in the arctic can't move farther north. Things like polar bears and the nalwhal might well go extinct.

    2) Ocean acidification: as there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, more of it will dissolve in the oceans and make them more acidic. This raises a lot of concern about pteropods in the ocean whose shell can be dissolved by these pH changes. Pteropods are at the base of the food pyramid for a lot of marine fish. Perhaps, if they died out, they might be replaced by some other zooplankton, but that is not now known, and if they were not replaced, ocean fisheries could well be decimated. pH changes such as these could affect other ocean organisms with calcium carbonate shells.

    3) Ecosystem disruption in general due to loss of species. Species are now being lost a high rates (not all directly due to climate change, but to other human interventions like habitat destruction and spreading of diseases), similar to or exceeding rates seem in geology during major species extinctions. As species are lost, ecosystems become less stable and less productive.
     
  19. Feb 16, 2017 #18

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

  20. Feb 22, 2017 #19
    Thank you XKCD for the fun Climate Change timeline.

    "No one is interested in climate change since the singularity happened."
    This sounds so interesting. What on earth does it mean?


    @NTL2009

    I suggest observing averaged temp anomalies at:

    http://cci-reanalyzer.org/wx/DailySummary/#T2_anom

    and then observing the associated local temps at your weather website

    (+0.5 average over 1979-2000 baseline may correlate with +5.0 local swing)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  21. Feb 22, 2017 #20
    Interesting chart - but am I reading it correctly? It looks like it is displaying today's temperature versus average? If so, that is interesting, but isn't it more like "weather" than "climate"?
     
  22. Mar 2, 2017 #21
    "It seems odd to me that something like a 3 C shift would be so traumatic... is a 3 C rise so awful? ...I am just curious about this specifically."

    ...Why are you curious about this number specifically?
     
  23. Mar 2, 2017 #22
    To approach this topic one must first be familiar with the IPCC findings. IPCC is the gold standard. When you take time to digest and dig into these results and the process, you will know why. If you have any gut-willies, you will need to tamp these down and begin.

    Since we are amateur enthusiasts we begin with a Summary and Synthesis paper:

    https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf

    Take your time reading and understanding this paper from beginning to end. It is do-able. More importantly, it is required if one plans to throw opinions around.

    Yes, this updated report released every number of years generates a delayed perspective. The current release, AR5 from 2014 represents the scientific analysis and synthesis of evidence gathered prior to about 2010.

    It is the research since 2010, which is in the process of being vetted and synthesized, that should be directed to in these forums and debated, not only as to methodology, but also as to implications.
     
  24. Mar 2, 2017 #23
    I think it is good to discuss this topic. I would consider 20k years to be a very small sample of time in terms of a planet's lifecycle. Also, the climate data from the past is not as high-resolution as data of the present. What you see from the past is an averaged temperature over a span of centuries (maybe decades, at best, if something drastic enough happened in an area). You don't see the standard deviations in temperature for the past. What you see today when looking at the climate of the past decades/century, is data points from the average of a few months, so those deviations are not smoothed out. Those deviations are now visible. Any and all deviations/anomalies are going to look like abrupt and drastic changes to a person who cannot discern. They are using vastly different methods of measurement at drastically higher resolution than we can use to measure temperature retroactively. Have we even established what an acceptable standard deviation from the mean is? Have we established what the mean should even be? Do we know how axial tilt affects which hemisphere is exposed to more solar energy? (yes we do). Does combination of matter on the surface of the northern hemisphere have the same average specific heat as the matter composing the southern hemisphere? (Not even close). Why is the narrative fixating on CO2? We are closer to the lower limit of atmospheric CO2 needed to sustain carbon-based-life on earth than we are to the maximum (We've actually had atmospheric CO2 reach 8,000ppm during ice ages).

    I have read the IPCC articles, and my main concern is the fact that they use very short frames of reference to establish the lambda of certain parameters. They also do not look at climate retroactively more than a few thousand years. I feel that establishing an idea of a climate trend requires us to look at more long-term trends than that. 20,000 years is a microsecond in earth's lifecycle.

    A changing climate does exist, always has existed, and always will exist on earth. I think that a lot of people lose their cool on this topic (no pun intended). It is hard to find the direct line of communication between the opposing viewpoints because this field of science has been so politicized.

    [Moderator's note: deleted off topic comments and unsourced image.]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2017
  25. Mar 2, 2017 #24

    PeterDonis

    Staff: Mentor

    Thread closed for moderation.

    Edit: Thread has been reopened. Please bear in mind the PF rules on the topic of climate change.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  26. Mar 3, 2017 #25

    DrClaude

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Because this is the main driver of the current climate change, as humans have transformed tons of carbon that was underground for millions of years into atmospheric CO2.

    I would really like to see a reference for that first statement. Also, nobody serious thinks that climate change will wipe out all life. It is the possible strong disruption of current life (including humans) that is worrying.
     
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