Climate action: cutting the Gordian knot--leadership needed

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Climate action: cutting the Gordian knot--leadership needed

Postby Marshall on October 26th, 2015, 10:20 pm 

Here's a 26 Oct press release from the the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Research. ... d-to-2degc

The institute goes by the letters "PIK" for Potsdam Institut fur Klima-Folgen-Forschung (one word: Climatechangeresearch)
It seems pretty hardheaded and sensible to me. If a successful climate response by humans, global scale, is possible, they seem to have seen what's needed to make it go. what do other's think?

The Paris Conference is coming up. This PIK study, that the press release is based on, will probably play a role in the conference: ... e2826.html
The full article is behind paywall, but there is the abstract summary which is fairly long and gives the idea.

Science News has picked up on the PIK study, which was published in Nature magazine's offshoot daughter publication Nature Climate ... 445892890/
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Re: Climate action: cutting the Gordian knot--leadership nee

Postby wolfhnd on October 27th, 2015, 12:56 am 

I think there is an elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. It's not directly related to the failure of the models to predict 22 years without warming as measured by the satellites but has more to do with the limitations those models have for policy. I don't think the oh woops we forgot to tell you that for the next 22 years the warming will go into the oceans leaves anyone with much confidence is the detail of the predictions. The claims of increased severity of weather events is another example where the models have proved misleading. ... Report.pdf

The point is that even if the models are reliable for long term temperatures they are proving extremely unreliable on shorter time scales.

So where is the elephant? Scientific predictions are find but we already have an extremely accurate record of the effect of climate change called history. So what does history have to tell us?

" The year 1816 is known as the Year Without a Summer (also the Poverty Year, the Summer that Never Was, Year There Was No Summer, and Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death[1]), because of severe climate abnormalities that caused average global temperatures to decrease by 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F). This resulted in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere."

"Cool temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in Britain and Ireland. Families in Wales travelled long distances as refugees, begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oats, and potato harvests. In Germany, the crisis was severe; food prices rose sharply. With the cause of the problems unknown, people demonstrated in front of grain markets and bakeries, and later riots, arson, and looting took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of 19th-century Europe.

The effects were widespread and lasted beyond the winter. In western Switzerland, the summers of 1816 and 1817 were so cool, an ice dam formed below a tongue of the Giétro Glacier high in the Val de Bagnes. Despite engineer Ignaz Venetz's efforts to drain the growing lake, the ice dam collapsed catastrophically in June 1818."

"In China, the cold weather killed trees, rice crops, and even water buffalo, especially in the north. Floods destroyed many remaining crops. Mount Tambora's eruption disrupted China's monsoon season, resulting in overwhelming floods in the Yangtze Valley. In India, the delayed summer monsoon caused late torrential rains that aggravated the spread of cholera from a region near the River Ganges in Bengal to as far as Moscow."

Go back in time a little further and we have the little ice age between the early 14th and late 19th centuries.

"Great Famine
Beginning in the spring of 1315, cold weather and torrential rains decimated crops and livestock across Europe. Class warfare and political strife destabilized formerly prosperous countries as millions of people starved, setting the stage for the crises of the Late Middle Ages. According to reports, some desperate Europeans resorted to cannibalism during the so-called Great Famine, which persisted until the early 1320s.

Black Death
Typically considered an outbreak of the bubonic plague, which is transmitted by rats and fleas, the Black Death wreaked havoc on Europe, North Africa and Central Asia in the mid-14th century. It killed an estimated 75 million people, including 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population. Some experts have tied the outbreak to the food shortages of the Little Ice Age, which purportedly weakened human immune systems while allowing rats to flourish.

Manchu Conquest of China
In the first half of the 17th century, famines and floods caused by unusually cold, dry weather enfeebled China’s ruling Ming Dynasty. Unable to pay their taxes, peasants rose up in revolt and by 1644 had overthrown the imperial authorities. Manchurian invaders from the north capitalized on the power vacuum by crossing the Great Wall, allying with the rebels and establishing the Qing Dynasty.

Witch Hunts
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII recognized the existence of witches and echoed popular sentiment by blaming them for the cold temperatures and resulting misfortunes plaguing Europe. His declaration ushered in an era of hysteria, accusations and executions on both sides of the Atlantic. Historians have shown that surges in European witch trials coincided with some of the Little Ice Age’s most bitter phases during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Thirty Years’ War
Among other military conflicts, the brutal Thirty Years’ War between Protestants and Catholics across central Europe has been linked to the Little Ice Age. Chilly conditions curbed agricultural production and inflated grain prices, fueling civil discontent and weakening the economies of European powers. These factors indirectly plunged much of the continent into war from 1618 to 1648, according to this model.

Rise of the Potato
When Spanish conquistadors first introduced the potato in the late 16th century, Europeans scoffed at the unfamiliar starch. In the mid-1700s, however, some countries began promoting the hardy tuber as an alternative to crops indigenous to the region, which often failed to withstand the Little Ice Age’s colder seasons. It soon caught on with farmers throughout Europe, particularly in Ireland.

French Revolution
As the 18th century drew to a close, two decades of poor cereal harvests, drought, cattle disease and skyrocketing bread prices had kindled unrest among peasants and the urban poor in France. Many expressed their desperation and resentment toward a regime that imposed heavy taxes yet failed to provide relief by rioting, looting and striking. Tensions erupted into the French Revolution of 1789, which some historians have connected to the Little Ice Age."

What history tells us is that the human experience has been that cooling has had a dramatic negative effect on civilizations in the geological recent past. It would seem reasonable that given the limitations demonstrated by current climate models and geologist that some consideration should be given to being as prepared for short term cool years as the long term warming. It is my belief that the IPCC has a wider responsibility than just substantiating anthropogenic global warming. The billions of dollars being spent on research need a broader perspective that is less politicized. Assuming that warming can simply be added to a stable background temperature is an alarming oversight.
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Re: Climate action: cutting the Gordian knot--leadership nee

Postby doogles on October 28th, 2015, 5:29 am 

wolfhnd , you've apparently left everyone speechless with your revelation of the mini-ice-age from the 14th century and the special mention of the severe cold periods of 1816/18. Good on you!

I find it hard to believe that none of our regular posters have commented one way or the other on your post.
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Re: Climate action: cutting the Gordian knot--leadership nee

Postby wolfhnd on October 28th, 2015, 6:29 am 

doogles » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:29 am wrote:wolfhnd , you've apparently left everyone speechless with your revelation of the mini-ice-age from the 14th century and the special mention of the severe cold periods of 1816/18. Good on you!

I find it hard to believe that none of our regular posters have commented one way or the other on your post.

I grew up as a farm kid. If you don't have that experience I don't think you can fully appreciate the true meaning of weather. There were years when our entire crop would be wiped out by hail or drought or one of the many other weather related disasters that dry land farming is subject to. On average crop failures were a one in every three year probability so you needed to plan you finances with that in mind. Those failures are of course very local and fields adjacent to each other may see very different yields.

It is important to keep in mind that modern transportation infrastructure make local weather events less important in terms of food security. In the U.S. there are substantial food reserves in the form of grain storage but that is not true in much of the world.

"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) comes just a year after world food stocks — the amount that countries store in reserve, like a savings account at a bank — dipped to the lowest levels seen since the 2008 global food crisis. Grain stocks are now forecast to reach 624.7 million metric tons by early next year — an amount equal to 25 percent of the food that is consumed by the world in a year and enough to supply the world with food for 91 days without any further harvests." ... year-high/

If I find the energy I will try and calculate the food reserve for the U.S. but I would expect it would be well over a year and maybe longer if you reduce livestock feed and ethanol production.

The recent reversal in declining world food reserve is interesting as a recent report from China showed that by 2100 the percent of severely arid land will increase from 40 to 50 percent. ... ing?tgt=nr

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