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Global Warming's Silver Lining For the Arctic Rim

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the inspired-me-to-go-burn-some-tires dept.

Earth 582

Pickens writes "According to Laurence C. Smith, an Arctic scientist who has consistently sounded alarms about the approach of global warming, within 40 years the Arctic rim may be transformed by climate change into a new economic powerhouse. As the Arctic ice recedes, ecosystems extend, and minerals and fossil fuels are discovered and exploited, the Arctic will become a place of 'great human activity, strategic value and economic importance.' Sparsely populated areas like Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States — the northern rim countries, or NORCs — will become formidable economic powers and migration magnets. Predictions in Smith's new book The Earth in 2050 include the following: New shipping lanes will open during the summer in the Arctic, allowing Europe to realize its 500-year-old dream of direct trade between the Atlantic and the Far East, and resulting in new economic development in the north; NORCs will be among the few place on Earth where crop production will likely increase due to climate change; and NORCs will become the envy of the world for their reserves of fresh water, which may be sold and transported to other regions."

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Dutch disease (1)

robi5 (1261542) | about 4 years ago | (#34022360)

I haven't RTFA, but a bounty of natural resources may have serious drawbacks:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease [wikipedia.org]

Re:Dutch disease (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#34022800)

As if Canada didn't already have a bounty of unexploited natural resources. Shouldn't make much difference.

Deniers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022366)

I honestly wonder if people will still deny global warming when we have freighters traveling through the north pole in the summer. I mean, what's it going to take?

Re:Deniers... (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 4 years ago | (#34022424)

I honestly wonder if people will still deny global warming when we have freighters traveling through the north pole in the summer. I mean, what's it going to take?

I wonder if people using the term "deniers" will ever stop setting up strawman and accept that people are questioning the causes of climate change, not whether the climate actually changes. Someone can criticise AGW theories without also saying that the world is ever unchanging and will always be so.

Re:Deniers... (5, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#34022574)

It's not a straw man. Lots of people question that the climate changes, that CO2 is the cause, that increased CO2 concentrations are from human emissions. Just today I read an article by Norway's most prominent denier, and he asserted

1. CO2 concentrations can't possibly rise, because the ocean regulates it.
2. Even if it appears to be high right now, it can't possibly cause warming, because it's saturated.
3. The laws of thermodynamics contradict global warming.

I'm not going to judge all deniers by their least unreasonable spokesmen - for one, because they certainly wouldn't return the courtesy, and two, because they do very little to combat the more crackpot theories.

Re:Deniers... (0)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#34022934)

Interesting, first you write:

Lots of people question that the climate changes, that CO2 is the cause, that increased CO2 concentrations are from human emissions.

Then you talk about someone who denies, not just the combination of the three, but each one of them separately. That's different. To give an idea of how different it is, we don't actually have solid evidence that humans are causing global warming on Earth. That requires your above chain of reasoning to be complete, not merely disagreement with every single element of the chain. The key problem is the claim that elevated CO2 levels are the cause of currently observed global warming. Probably true, but climatologists need to justify their atmospheric models more than they have.

Re:Deniers... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022584)

Well it's the basis of the problem : climate change has become the strongest argument there is for a global all-encompassing world government. After all, any policy that hopes to do anything about it seems to need to regulate all energy expenditure world-wide. Now that's a LOT of power.

The only solution to global warming, in other words, is every communist's wet dream. The same is true for dictators, militarists, religious nuts, ... All are obviously supporting global warming, and it is VERY clear for what reason (hint : it's not that they're worried about the environment).

Needless to say, these forces have coopted the discussion. All technological solutions to global warming are instantly thrown out, because if not all support from socialist, communist, dictatorial, muslim and other undesirable governments would evaporate faster than you can say "stone that woman". And don't forget that one of those governments is China. Solutions like darkening the athmosphere, which could enable us to actively regulate the effects of global warming are about as welcome as the subtly-named "malthusian option".

That means that global warming is the number 1 "social justice" cause world-wide. And if you're wondering what's wrong with that, please remember that killing Jews was the number 1 social justice cause worldwide a mere 60 years ago.

While, yes, I agree that there are factions in what's called the "denier" camp : 95% is afraid of what the government will do with the power global warming demands of them, and 5% is actually denying (historical) global warming. As for the dispute on the predictions of the IPCC and effects of global warming : please remember that the IPCC's predictions have all proven false (first IPCC report is 20 years ago, and they made a "95% certain" prediction. We're outside of their 95% range. The same is true for all other IPCC reports. The IPCC's reports have been consistently wrong in their predictions, so exactly what is irrational about refusing to believe their new predictions ? Additionally, to add insult to injury, the IPCC has refused to give a concrete 95% confidence interval for their latest prediction. Coincidence ? Right ... they don't believe their own predictions). In the department of adding insult to injury you can add Al Gore's lifestyle choices [blogspot.com] .

How about we solve global warming once and for all :
-> use planes to spread dust in the athmosphere
-> use ships to increase H2O in the athmosphere
-> make a huge solar panel and launch it, providing power and dark (preferably mostly over oceans) ...

Policies like that, 95% of the denyer camp will support. IF the earth is warming, these will help.

-> deliver full control over all energy expenditures, from social policy to gasoline taxes to an organization that stood by and did nothing against (or actually caused) all massacres since WWII

That policy WILL NOT improve climate, and will be fought until the dying breath of half of America.

Re:Deniers... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022678)

Quote: Needless to say, these forces have coopted the discussion.

Nope, it's very NEEDFUL to say.

Firstly, what forces?

Secondly, are they coopting it?

Thirdly, is it wrong merely because someone has coopted it? If it is, why?

Quote: How about we solve global warming once and for all :

Why am I reminded of the Futurama episode with the comet running out of ice in "Crimes of the Hot"?

"This will solve the problem once and for all!"
"What about..."
"I SAID ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!"

Quote: Policies like that, 95% of the denyer camp will support. IF the earth is warming, these will help.

Well, help, yes. It won't solve the problem once and for all, because dust would need to be continually being dropped out of the sky (who is going to organise this and deal with the expenditure [cf your earlier communist wet-dream fearmongering]?) and would have to be increased year-on-year if we don't also stop producing CO2.

Re:Deniers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022948)

I actually like that futurama episode a lot. There's a reason it's classified as "fiction", of course.

Well, help, yes. It won't solve the problem once and for all, because dust would need to be continually being dropped out of the sky (who is going to organise this and deal with the expenditure [cf your earlier communist wet-dream fearmongering]?) and would have to be increased year-on-year if we don't also stop producing CO2.

If we wish to survive with 6 billion people on the planet we WILL need to control climate ourselves. So we're going to have to do this anyway. Or we're going to kill ourselves by choking our economies. While that will solve the problem, I for one am not a fan. Of course, the IPCC is.

And, of course, there's peak oil. Let's take the most absurdly optimistic scenario : by 2030 (probably by 2015-2020) all CO2 production increase will have ceased for the simple reason that the source material will be gone. By 2050 (probably 2030 at the latest) CO2 production will have halved.

Why isn't that massive drop good enough for you ? Unless, of course, it is not enough because it doesn't give anyone the power to force their ideas on billions of people, which, as I said, is the motivation behind the IPCC policies.

Re:Deniers... (2, Informative)

ferd_farkle (208662) | about 4 years ago | (#34022722)

I wonder if people using the term "deniers" will ever stop setting up strawman and accept that people are questioning the causes of climate change, not whether the climate actually changes.

INHOFE: I think I was right on that, and I do believe — first off, let’s keep in mind, though, what the issue is. It’s not whether or not we’re going into a global warming period. We were. We’re not now.

You know, God’s still up there. We’re now going through a cooling spell. And the whole issue there was is it man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, CO2, methane. I don’t think so

Re:Deniers... (1)

jayveekay (735967) | about 4 years ago | (#34022732)

If you believe the earth was created 6000 years ago, you probably are not going to be capable of a rational debate on the scientific evidence of long term (tens of thousands of years) climate change.

What percentage of adult humans claim membership in religions?

Re:Deniers... (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022752)

Is your comment satire?

Re:Deniers... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022868)

What percentage of adult humans claim membership in religions?

Since only humans can really claim membership in religions, it would seem the species reference is superfluous, and normal "adult humans" would've just said "adults". Or are you non-human and meant "you humans"?

But to address your question, the answer is who cares. I don't give a flying fish if you claim your earth worship as a religion or not. The less artificially qualified question is, what percentage of adults are religious? Answer: 100%. Everyone's picked something to be religious about.

Re:Deniers... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 4 years ago | (#34022874)

Ah, but that's not important. Mankind is producing eleventy billion trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide just simply by existing, and it gets into the atmosphere and by (handwave handwave) mechanisms too complicated to explain to someone so obviously stupid as to believe that climate change is happening (handwave handwave) it only absorbs heat from the earth and only releases it back to the earth and then the ice melts and the polar bears all die.

Either that or the pro-AGW believers are utterly divorced from reality.

Re:Deniers... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022954)

  1. Walking up to a stupid baby seal and clubbing it on the head is evil.
  2. It's evil because it usually kills the baby seal (or at best leaves it with the worst headache of its life).
  3. Polar bears kill baby seals (and being in the habit of doing so, are a constant headache for baby seal mommas).
  4. Therefore polar bears are evil.
  5. Ergo that which makes all the polar bears die is good.

Who is questioning it exactly? (2, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 years ago | (#34022820)

Its a law of physics that CO2 is an infrared absorber - is someone questioning that?

Its a fact that CO2 levels are rising in our atmosphere - is someone questioning that?

Its a fact that most of that rise is due to man - is someone questioning that?

No?

So what are they questioning then and who is doing it? I mean who of significance , not the kind of pig ignorant
arts graduates who couldn't tell you what CO2 is composed of or its physical properties if their lives depended on it.

Re:Deniers... (1)

chrb (1083577) | about 4 years ago | (#34022836)

I wonder if people using the term "deniers" will ever stop setting up strawman and accept that people are questioning the causes of climate change, not whether the climate actually changes.

It's not a strawman - there have been many claims that "the world is not warming", although it does seem to be a less popular position today than in the past. List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming - Position: Global warming is not occurring [wikipedia.org]

Re:Deniers... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022426)

I honestly wonder if people will still deny global warming when we have freighters traveling through the north pole in the summer.

I don't.

I think you're being extremely generous towards the denial movement. The only thing I wonder about is what excuse they're going to use for that.

Re:Deniers... (1, Troll)

ThePromenader (878501) | about 4 years ago | (#34022906)

If you want to look at the question objectively, all you have to do is examine the (vastly) available science and ask yourself "qui bono"? What would motivate a majority of the world's scientists to 'fabricate' climate change, or 'manipulate' the reasons behind climate change? Who are the most vociferous deniers, and what do they gain from their denial?

Personally speaking, I tend to group deniers - people who won't even try to examine the question objectively, but base their 'research' and 'conclusions' on predetermined opinions/positions - into two groups: Those paid by the very causers of the majority of CO2 emissions (and the emitters themselves, those who dare to come forward with their denial), and lonely blowhards seeking to attract attention to themselves through their 'controversial' opinion.

They don't deny it! (4, Informative)

tygerstripes (832644) | about 4 years ago | (#34022428)

I'm no apologist - I think climate change is a very serious issue that is being dangerously ignored - but you've just raised a classic straw-man and it's very annoying.

Almost nobody denies the existence, to a greater or lesser extent, of "global warming." The argument is now whether the observable changes are predominantly attributable to man's impact on the environment, or to the natural climatic lifecycle of the Earth.

It's very important before weighing-in to an argument that you understand what the argument actually is, from both sides.

Re:They don't deny it! (-1, Troll)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#34022642)

Of course it's human made.

The question is rather should we try to act against it in any other way than trying to make our impact smaller (or even more stupid trying to act in a way which let us do "more evil things" / have more of a buffer?)

imho: No.

(Make less of an impact? Yes.)

In other news wtf is it with you Americans and people like those damn tea house jerks?
"Oh we shouldn't care about anything, more money for everyone!"

GL HF. Jerks.

You're already the most filthy people on the planet. Get with the times and take some responsibility.
Start by separating your trash and recycle things (the only things I actually throw away is cat litter and those ear cotton things), recycle your plastic bottles (or drink regular water ..) instead of just throw everything in the same place or later into the pacific. Get smaller cars and stop bitching about how you may have to sacrifice something instead of remaining the biggest jerks of the planet. You will still be able to keep the title for long even if you start, don't worry about it.

Re:They don't deny it! (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#34022734)

Isn't recycling a net loss for the environment? It's not a stretch to recognize that we spend more energy reprocessing waste than making the original stuff in the first place. Thus, it's better for the environment not to recycle. Maybe when resources become more scarce, it'll be better all around to mine a landfill than a mountain. Until then, recycling is the choice that damages us all.

Landfills are a safe and proven technology. Recycling is a demonstrable net loss, economically and environmentally.

Why do you recycle? Do you hate the earth!?! Stop killing mother earth with your evil recycling plants!

Re:They don't deny it! (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | about 4 years ago | (#34022720)

The argument is now whether the observable changes are predominantly attributable to man's impact on the environment, or to the natural climatic lifecycle of the Earth.

Is there, really? I believe this question has been answered pretty decisively by the scientific community, with a resounding consensus that man's actions are moderately to significantly affecting global warming.

Re:They don't deny it! (2, Insightful)

jayveekay (735967) | about 4 years ago | (#34022764)

Even those who believe in human caused climate change will not reduce their standard of living to (possibly) make a difference in the rate of change.

"Tragedy of the Commons" where the Earth's atmosphere is the commons.

There's a spectrum (3, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | about 4 years ago | (#34022854)

I've observed a bit of a spectrum (with some people occupying an 'area' of the spectrum instead of a single point - not being absolutely positive of where they stand).

For example, I've heard the following from several different people:

* there's no possible way we have accurate temperature readings of the global temperature 'state' - you'll find out that someone placed the thermometer too close to the earth (too warm) or in direct sunlight in the Sahara, etc, etc (they don't seem to understand the concept of taking lots of samples from lots of places and averaging the result)

* I heard Rush Limbaugh spend most of a program once going on and on about the eruption of a volcano, and how it was putting out more CO2 than mankind would emit in like 200 years or something like that, and concluding there's nothing mankind could possibly *do* to change the climate.

* I've heard people say there might be warming, but it is related to Solar activity cycles and has nothing to do with human activity.

* I've heard people say "So what? Global warming means winter is less horrible. I'm all for that." - which, I suppose, if you live in Canada or the Northern States of the lower-48 (places like New England, NY, PA, the Midwest, etc), is true - some people, as this article discusses, will likely *benefit* from global warming; unfortunately, that benefit comes at the expense of a lot of other (some of whom are very poor to begin with and their lives will be made even worse) people.

* I've heard people say maybe global warming will/is happening a little bit, but that as it happens, cloud cover will increase, which will reflect solar energy, so it will be self-moderating.

* Then there are the folks who believe that any kind of problem is just the fulfillment of prophecy, and Jesus will come rapture the righteous, while the damned will suffer 'real global warming'.

So basically, among the deniers, there's a range of people from "it's definitely not happening", to "maybe it's happening, but I don't think we need to do anything about it", to "it's happening, but there's nothing we can do about it, so eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die".

Re:Deniers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022432)

Sure they'll accept it, as they don their scuba gear and visit the underwater ruins of what was once the ol' glorious city of Miami, or watch movies featuring the fabled golden city of Lost Angeles when there was land there before.

Re:Deniers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022498)

The worse prediction are for a sea level rise of an inch or so over a 100 years. There are not going to be any underwater ruins. You are watching too many bad Kevin Costner movies.

Re:Deniers... (1, Informative)

gilleain (1310105) | about 4 years ago | (#34022646)

There are not going to be any underwater ruins. You are watching too many bad Kevin Costner movies.

Hey, hey. Say what you want about AGW, but don't run down 'Waterworld'! I watched it again the other day, and it's really a great-bad film; as in, enjoyably bad.

What other films have fights between catamarans and jetskis (which seem incredibly robust - they can hang around underwater for hours)? Or Dennis Hopper being fitted for a false eye by his sycophantic minions? Or races through a pirate oil tanker? Great stuff!

Re:Deniers... (4, Informative)

FirstOne (193462) | about 4 years ago | (#34022686)

"The worse prediction are for a sea level rise of an inch or so over a 100 years. "

How much will sea levels rise in the 21st Century? [skepticalscience.com]

"For the lowest emission rate, sea levels are expected torise around 1 metre by 2100. For the higher emission scenario, which is where we're currently tracking, sea level rise by 2100 is around 1.4 metres. "

And it gets worse for the centuries beyond 2100. 2100-2199 ~+3 meters, and 2200-2299 ~+5 meters..
Needless to say.. but the the The Coast Is Toast: Take the Money and Run [thepriceofliberty.org] ..

PS.. For you mathematically challenged deniers, one(1) meter is 39.37 inches..

Re:Deniers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022780)

The IIPC report disagrees with these numbers by a very large amount. Averages are in the 1-2mm per year of sea level rise over 100 years. You can run the numbers yourself. Greenland simply cannot melt fast enough for that kind of rise over that sort of time. Antarctica is largely not important (ice sheet melt, not continental). And there is simply no other massive bodies of ice to melt. Rebound occurs over 100s of years.

The ocean is really really big. It takes a lot of water for a 1 meter change.

Re:Deniers... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022892)

The IIPC report disagrees with these numbers by a very large amount.

No, it doesn't. They're comparing two different things. The numbers in the IPCC report explicitly ignore any contribution from fast ice dynamics (read the footnotes). Those dynamics are precisely what have the potential for large sea level rise within a century.

You can run the numbers yourself.

Have you run the numbers yourself? Look at the papers on kinematic ice constraints (e.g. Pfeffer et al. (2008) [sciencemag.org] ) for upper bounds on how fast an ice sheet can lose mass.

It's also kind of ridiculous to say that Antarctica is "not important". The West Antarctic ice sheet could be an even larger contributor than Greenland, if eroding ice shelves accelerate the flow of land ice streams into the ocean (i.e., not "melting" the land ice but simply dumping it into the sea).

Yes, the dominant time scale of a melting ice sheet is hundreds to thousands of years, but there are enough fast processes out there (basal lubrication, ice shelf disintegration, etc.) to get a significant century-scale response. We don't know yet whether that is likely to happen, but as far as we currently know, it's at least physically possible.

Re:Deniers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022482)

Judging by the 2009 slashdot link in TFS, the answer is yes.

They've moved the goalpost into the parking lot now: The burden is now on us to prove conclusively that the new biosphere will not be a tropical paradise, apparently.

Re:Deniers... (5, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | about 4 years ago | (#34022680)

They are not the main obstacle anymore, its greenwashing, lack of public information on effective actions, and political stalemates due to business interests, business as usual. For example, huge efforts to sell cars doing 45mpg only, instead of 25mpg, but almost none to encourage anyone to leave the car home, which would be 0gallon per mile, and everyone can try to do it, no fancy new car requirement and limitation.

Re:Deniers... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#34022818)

Only idiots deny global warming. That it is anthropogenic, however, still remains to be seen [cnn.com] .

Re:Deniers... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#34022856)

Denial can be an effective strategy for those who don't mind the consequences of global warming and look forward to useful geopolitical outcomes.

bad science (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 4 years ago | (#34022370)

And people wonder why global warming isn't being taken seriously by the people that matter....

Gulf Stream (2, Interesting)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#34022372)

I havn't RTFA, but has he accounted for that climate change is predicted to destroy the gulf stream? If that stops flowing Scandinavia is predicted to become /colder/ even with global warming.

Re:Gulf Stream (2, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#34022416)

Climate change isn't predicted to destroy the gulf stream, at least not to remotely degree of confidence we associate with other climate-related predictions.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 4 years ago | (#34022444)

It used to be, didn't it? Wasn't collapse of the gulf stream one of the big risks put forward of global warming, at one point? Is that no longer supported by anyone?

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

WarJolt (990309) | about 4 years ago | (#34022476)

we won't know until it happens. So until then our government will institute policy as if it is a sure thing.

Re:Gulf Stream (4, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022532)

Policy stances on pissing into the wind make no difference on the direction the wind blows.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#34022550)

Just like with other long term things, no?

I mean, do countries wait until it's clear there's going to be a war before they start training an army and making weapons? The US also has the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, just in case. It's generally a good thing to plan ahead.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022582)

Again (I say `again' because I frequently make this point), this is the precautionary principle [wikipedia.org] v the law of unintended consequences [wikipedia.org] . For example, it may be the case that maintaining a strong army and large defence industry makes you more likely to engage in war, much like giving a child pads and a helmet will make him more likely to take greater risks when he rides his bicycle.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#34022608)

But that's kind of what they're there for.

An army isn't so much protection against war as protection against getting invaded, and forcing others to do your bidding.

Pads and a helmet indeed are so that you can take greater risks. It's technically possible to sit on a box containing an engine and ride on it at 80 MPH. Nobody does it because that's too dangerous. A car on the other hand protects you enough that the tradeoff is worth it. If we could be safe enough at 300 MPH (as we are in an airplane or bullet train for instance), we'd travel at that speed as well. If it was safe enough to do on the road, then we'd do it on the road.

Re:Gulf Stream (0, Troll)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022706)

Well, you see that's the thing. You can argue the case from both sides. Scientific research shows that, for example, wearing a cycling helmet makes no difference. A helmet will not protect you in a serious accident and the slight increase in the risk taking behaviour you engage in by wearing one balances out the benefit you'd get from it, when compared to not wearing one when you're in a minor accident. Likewise unless you're a hyper-power, or have a nice stash of nukes, your strong military may be a threat to others and therefore you may be more likely to be attacked, not less.

To my mind even if the case is made that there is going to be warming, the economic "cure" is far, far, worse than the illness (cost of adaptation). So let us assume the scientific case is made (I don't believe it is); the economics of mitigation are truly from the mad-house.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 years ago | (#34022790)

"your strong military may be a threat to others and therefore you may be more likely to be attacked, not less."

Cite?

"To my mind even if the case is made that there is going to be warming, the economic "cure" is far, far, worse than the illness (cost of adaptation)."

For who? I'm sure all the creatures in the habitats that will be destroyed including in the sea are really concerned about the economics of trying to prevent it.

To hell with the short term economic effects. Its about time our species -people like you - started thinking long term. Global warming won't suddenly stop at a few degrees warmer - it will continue relentlessly until we change our ways.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022840)

Given that increased temperatures on Earth are associated with increased biodiversity, if the critters are going to start complaining, they should be more concerned with Human population increase, not carbon dioxide. Population and economic prosperity are somewhat correlated (the more wealthy the population, the fewer children couples have), you would surely agree that one solution to increasing population pressure is to make the poor richer. I don't think you'll be able to do that by replacing coal or gas fired power stations with a fucking windmill.

Where is this relentless warming? There's been no statistically significant warming since 1995. None of the models predicted that, did they? Why? Because they're wrong?

Re:Gulf Stream (3, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 years ago | (#34022864)

"Given that increased temperatures on Earth are associated with increased biodiversity,"

Cite?

I think you'll find the most biologically diverse habitats are in the temperate zones, not , for example in the sahara. Same goes for the seas.

"Population and economic prosperity are somewhat correlated (the more wealthy the population, the fewer children couples have)"

Actually its more to do with education rather than prosperity.

"I don't think you'll be able to do that by replacing coal or gas fired power stations with a fucking windmill."

No , but you could replace them with nuclear.

"Where is this relentless warming? There's been no statistically significant warming since 1995"

Really? Funny then how 1998 is considered to be the hottest year on record by most climate researchers and its looking like 2010 may beat it. I suggest you learn to use google and educate yourself.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#34022872)

For who? I'm sure all the creatures in the habitats that will be destroyed including in the sea are really concerned about the economics of trying to prevent it.

I'm sure they're just as concerned now about their habitats as they'll be after they're dead. If we're going to measure things by how "concerned" plankton is going to be about it, then we really don't have much to go on.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 4 years ago | (#34022936)

. A helmet will not protect you in a serious accident and the slight increase in the risk taking behaviour you engage in by wearing one balances out the benefit you'd get from it, when compared to not wearing one when you're in a minor accident

It's a bit of a tangent, but I wear a cycle helmet for the protection, not so that I can be more reckless. Cycle helmet + non-idiot is safer than non-idiot without cycle helmet.

Anyway, do we really have to argue by analogy for something this basic? Can we not agree that the US, for example, treats other countries very differently because it can beat the shit out of them, than it would if it had no military advantage and had to negotiate with them purely on the basis of trade and niceness?

Re:Gulf Stream (2, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#34022648)

It is a big risk in the sense that it would be bad in the case that it happens. It's listed in the IPCC proceedings under "nonlinear response of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation".

Warning that something bad can happen is not the same as predicting it. I don't think anyone is supporting it in the sense "this is very likely to occur", and it would be very odd if they did so at an earlier time (since the uncertainty would have been even greater).

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#34022672)

Don't worry, we'll reverse it dumping all the cold outside the coast of Florida! Mohaha ;D

Nah, time will tell I suppose. But haven't it been said it's already slowed down somewhat?

If it slowed down because we got a better climate even without it I guess it wouldn't matter? I mean in case there's some temperature balance thing. Time will tell. But please no more cold :D

I wonder if Norway will claim more of the area, us Swedes are so lame. Norway most likely already is (or becoming) the worlds best place to live in. Major screw-up by us. Time to move across the border =P

GULEBÖJ o lusekofta!

(According to CIA world fact book Norways GDP per capita is #5 in the world, their social well-fare rating is #1 and they put their oil money in a well-fare fund for future generations. They even got a "prison" on an island outside of Oslo with no fences and no guards and with only 20% relapsed criminals. Take that US justice system. Though I guess they may not jail random drug abuser, time after time [youtube.com] ...)

Re:Gulf Stream (3, Interesting)

publicworker (701313) | about 4 years ago | (#34022950)

Climate change isn't predicted to destroy the gulf stream, at least not to remotely degree of confidence we associate with other climate-related predictions.

(disclaimer: oceanographer with only fleeting interest in global warming)

True, but I would like to elaborate. Some of the early climate models predicted the Gulf Stream to shut down* and naturally one of the objectives for building better models was to confirm or disprove these predictions. I don't think any of the newest IPCC models show the Gulf Stream shutting down but there are indications that it may slow down in the future. Not enough to off set the underlying warming though.

So it seems we don't have to fear rapid changes because of a sudden shut down. Last thing I heard about this predicted shut down was that it was being classified as "low probability, high impact event". The impact would indeed be high, but it seems the probability becomes less and less the better the models become.

*) I'm being very imprecise. What I mean is that the North Atlantic Current (an extension of the Gulf Stream) was predicted to slow down or that the northern branch would become weaker (from Ireland towards Norway) and the southern branch stronger (from Ireland towards Spain). Worst case scenario the northern branch would turn off.

Re:Gulf Stream (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022466)

It doesn't matter what it destroys or benefits it brings, the fact is, the world is changing, nobody is doing anything about it, and humans will do what they do best, adapt.

More alarmist bollocks. (2, Informative)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022526)

There is no evidence the phenomenon – which brings a constant flow of warm water and mild weather to northern Europe – has slowed down over the past 20 years, climate scientists say.
‘The changes we’re seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle,’ said researcher Josh Willis, from Nasa.

Please stop repeating the same old alarmist conjecture, hypothesis, unfounded speculation, stupefyingly idiotic model predictions and start actually going out and measuring real world data [agu.org] .

Re:More alarmist bollocks. (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#34022692)

Of course you realize the people saying that also support AGW?

Re:More alarmist bollocks. (1, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022736)

Of course you realize the people saying that also support AGW?

Yes of course I do. They are in the business of successfully transferring money from the Government to their institution, so naturally they must append, "because of man-made Global Warming" to each and every grant proposal. But anyway, that doesn't change the facts and the facts are what we're interested in, surely?

Re:More alarmist bollocks. (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#34022796)

And you do know what are some of the most wealthy corporations around, right? I'll give a hint: somewhat involved in sources of energy. And would be more than happy to make any scientists able to refute AGW fabulously wealthy on the personal level, any grant institution with assured funding.

(really funny how the facts are facts for you only as long as they reaffirm what you want... to hell with all the rest of "facts" the messengers bring)

Re:More alarmist bollocks. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022912)

(really funny how the facts are facts for you only as long as they reaffirm what you want... to hell with all the rest of "facts" the messengers bring)

Funny how one side always trots that out to use against the other side without quite realizing that by doing so they're doing the exact same thing.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Two-way street. Double-edged sword. Etc., etc.

Re:Gulf Stream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022544)

No problem, don't read the article. Just watch Day After Tomorrow and see for yourself. The US is going to get colder (drastically) and Scandinavia will probably be OK.

Re:Gulf Stream (1)

rve (4436) | about 4 years ago | (#34022852)

I havn't RTFA, but has he accounted for that climate change is predicted to destroy the gulf stream? If that stops flowing Scandinavia is predicted to become /colder/ even with global warming.

That idea never made sense to me...

The gulf stream is powered by the forming of ice in the north Atlantic during winter: water crystallizes to ice while salt is expelled, increasing salinity and thus density of the water, which causes a downward flow. An increase in temperature would lead to less ice formation, a slower downward flow and thus a slower gulf stream. Ok, this still makes sense. A slower gulf stream would lead to a lower temperature, ok this still makes sense, right? A drop in temperature causes more ice to form, a faster downward flow of salty water, and a faster gulf stream, which causes the temperature to go up again.

So an increase in temperature causes a drop in temperature, and a drop in temperature causes an increase in temperature? Hey, it looks like this system is buffered to keep the temperature more or less the same just with different amounts of winter ice. Don't say there's a lag of thousands of years without explaining how. Water flows from the equator to the north Atlantic in a matter of weeks.

Hardly news to Australians... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022376)

For years people have migrated to the beach in warmer weather to get to the NORCs.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022442)

At least in Scandinavia this has been in the news several times since 2006 when Norway claim to extend it's seabed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_claims_in_the_Arctic [wikipedia.org]

Re:Old news (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#34022750)

Could hypothetically get...interesting now that most of the international community said "to hell with territorial inviolability of european borders" (generally sort of a sanctity for the last half a century) by agreeing to independent Kosovo.

After all it's not fair how Finland won't get the best benefits (*); and all just because of loosing its Arctic coast ((*)however small they would be in comparison - always something) to the Soviet Union in a war aggression by the latter. Luckily, I can sleep well knowing the Fins won't push for something like that; at least as long as Greenland decides to rejoin EU...

To summarize: (2, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | about 4 years ago | (#34022448)

Arctic scientist says the Arctic will become super important.
Is it grant hunting season already?

Re:To summarize: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022480)

You have echoed my thoughts exactly. I give you 1+ intarwebs

Hooray! (0, Offtopic)

eldepeche (854916) | about 4 years ago | (#34022456)

Wow, that will be great for those impoverished countries on the Arctic rim. The US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Russia have been shit on for too long. It's time for the low-lying countries to take their lumps too. Polynesian islands, Bangladesh, southeast Asia, the Caribbean, coastal Africa, it's your turn.

Thanks to global warming for upending the existing economic order.

Re:Hooray! (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about 4 years ago | (#34022502)

Denmark is on the Arctic rim?

I mean I know Greenland is technically part of Denmark, but far as I know it's cold as hell here but we're not in the Arctic.

Re:Hooray! (1)

WarJolt (990309) | about 4 years ago | (#34022530)

yes you are part of the arctic rim... I think you guys are too low in eevation to really tell.

Re:Hooray! (1)

WarJolt (990309) | about 4 years ago | (#34022536)

missed an l in elevation

6 months of night (1)

medoc (90780) | about 4 years ago | (#34022510)

The temperatures may stay nice up there but it will still be night 24 hours a day during the winter.

IMHO this is not really compensed by long summer days, and these places will not be good replacements for the Riviera.

Let's rather try to keep the world temperature steady while we still get a chance !

Re:6 months of night (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#34022758)

You know, 6 months is just the extreme in one point...

Oh, excellent... (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 4 years ago | (#34022518)

as long as you can get there and survive there due to the hurricanes.

Increasing the total energy in the atmosphere will not result in a well-behaved warming, but in more variable and extreme weather patterns, and there will be more hurricanes and storms at seas. This little game humanity is playing with the Earth may well end up in tears.

Re:Oh, excellent... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#34022900)

as long as you can get there and survive there due to the hurricanes.

Yes, as we saw in the documentary, "The Day After Tomorrow", the superstorms sucked. Fortunately, the human survivors did that bonding thing and we don't have to worry about superstorms any more.

Scuba gear (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 4 years ago | (#34022548)

It's going to become warmer, but won't people get wet feet when all that ice flows into the ocean?

How consistently has he "sounded alarms"? (-1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#34022624)

As consistently as mean global temperatures have refused to rise for the past 20 years?

Seriously, how long are we going to keep funding Chicken Little to squawk that the sky is going to fall tomorrow, 4 REALZ TIHS TIEM!!!!!1!!?

Re:How consistently has he "sounded alarms"? (5, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#34022728)

Mean global temperatures have refused to rise for the past 20 years, now?

I wonder what you could get away with saying. Maybe there was a great volcanic eruption in Chile last week. Maybe there hasn't been any hurricanes over the caribbean for five years. Maybe global sea level has dropped two meters on average?

Because it's about as plausible to say any of that as saying mean global temperature has refused to rise for the past 20 years. [wikipedia.org]

Re:How consistently has he "sounded alarms"? (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022916)

What happens if you remove El Nino 1998 from that graph? We know that's not an atmospheric phenomenon, it's an oceanic cycle, and it was the most powerful El Nino for a very long time indeed, nothing to do with CO2. According to Phil Jones, there's been no statistically significant warming since 1995. That's 15 years. Around 1/2 of your usual "significant" timescale. It's not looking good for the hypothesis, is it?

Re:How consistently has he "sounded alarms"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022962)

What happens if you remove El Nino 1998 from that graph?

This [realclimate.org] .

According to Phil Jones, there's been no statistically significant warming since 1995. That's 15 years. Around 1/2 of your usual "significant" timescale. It's not looking good for the hypothesis, is it?

You, like many, are confused about what "statistically significant" means.

Over a 10-15 year time scale, it's common for no climatological trend to achieve statistical significance. That doesn't mean there is no trend. It's because it usually takes about 20-30 years of data to detect a trend with 95% confidence in a noisy, autocorrelated data set.

That's why it took about 30 years for scientists to become sure there was a modern warming trend in the first place, and why 30 years is the commonly accepted standard for calculating "climatological trends".

See here [agu.org] for an expository article intended to address this misconception. It takes the perspective of showing how short term "trends" commonly contradict the actual long term trend, which is another way of saying that short term trends often don't achieve statistical significance.

Re:How consistently has he "sounded alarms"? (4, Insightful)

qmaqdk (522323) | about 4 years ago | (#34022778)

As consistently as mean global temperatures have refused to rise for the past 20 years?

Seriously, how long are we going to keep funding Chicken Little to squawk that the sky is going to fall tomorrow, 4 REALZ TIHS TIEM!!!!!1!!?

What? I read in earlier (Score:5 Insightful) and (Score:5 Informative) posts by h4rm0ny (722443) and tygerstripes (832644) that nobody was denying that global warming was happening.

In any case, dear politically correctly attributed AGW sceptic, which facts are you basing your above assertion on?

Someone needs to read the news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022888)

Someone needs to read the news.

Does this:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

look like "mean global temperatures have refused to rise for the past 20 years?"?

Maybe if your head is wedged FIRMLY up your (or Koch's) arse it does.

Now that you read my book... (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about 4 years ago | (#34022628)

How much would you pay this prime plot of arctic tundra that I happen to be selling? Ten million dollars per acre? $500,000 per acre?

Would you believe for the low, LOW price of $99,000 per acre this piece of frozen wasteland...er, wonderland could be your very own!*

*Mineral, petroleum, and water rights not included with purchase.

Re:Now that you read my book... (1)

MacroRodent (1478749) | about 4 years ago | (#34022708)

As an owner of a plot of land in one of the cities mentioned as beneficiaries, the article made my day... That ought to take care of my retirement fund :-).

Antarctica (0)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | about 4 years ago | (#34022644)

Lets not forget about Antarctica too. The next great War is going to be there. An entire continent ripe for colonisation. An entire continent of untouched resources. It will be like the Americas before Columbus, and even more so, since there are no native peoples there to agonise about. I think it is time that we accept the Earth is not static. This statist view of geography and climate is a by-product of our short attention span. The Earth changes and had always been. Entire ecosystems have many times went through great extinction events. What were once sea bed, are now mountain tops and vice versa. Rivers, lakes, even entire oceans had dried out. We humans will adapt or we will be replaced by other more successful species.

Re:Antarctica (0, Flamebait)

qmaqdk (522323) | about 4 years ago | (#34022814)

... The Earth changes and had always been. Entire ecosystems have many times went through great extinction events. What were once sea bed, are now mountain tops and vice versa. Rivers, lakes, even entire oceans had dried out. We humans will adapt or we will be replaced by other more successful species.

What's different this time is we caused it. And have the power to avert it. Only we won't because of silly things like "who has the bigger car" and "open windows with air condition on".

I have no doubt, though, that we will adapt. Our children will be missing out on large parts of nature, though, something that you may or may not give a shit about. Just consider that it won't be easy to replace 4 billions years of evolution.

Re:Antarctica (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 4 years ago | (#34022878)

Just consider that it won't be easy to replace 4 billions years of evolution.

Nah, not 4 billion years. More like, at most, 60 million years of evolution, or less if you count the lesser mass extinctions that have happened after that.

60 million years, not a big deal really, for nature, just something like 1,5% of the history of Life. Sort of like a human getting kicked back half a year in their education/career/family life (comparing human life span to expected life span of habitable Earth).

Re:Antarctica (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#34022844)

Hey, even better for Arctic rim countries - as far away as they can be ;p

BTW, we're not sure where our limits of adaptability are until we hit them - so better to play safe; already causing one of the biggest and most rapid extinction events in geological history might be, at the least, not a good sign about the influence on the surroundings, on which we also depend.

Misconceptions fueled by misconceptions... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022688)

Global Warming is the biggest misconception-induced panic I've ever witnessed. Seriously, it's not as big of a deal as everybody is making it out to be. It probably won't even be warm enough for Arctic trade routes before the Earth's cooling cycle begins. People are talking about the end of the world, but the world has been warm before. The world has been WARMER than it is today, and by a fair bit too. Go to any respectable scientific source (i.e. not the IPCC) and you'll see that Climate Change is inevitable and temporary.

Pity about the geometry... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#34022716)

While it might be nice for the peoples of the Arctic rim to be able to move from a "shivering a lot and burning penguins for warmth" based economy(yes, I know, penguins are antarctic; but the arctic doesn't have any birds nearly as iconic), the fact that there are many more people, and a lot more land, closer to the equator is going to make that move a major net downer. Particularly since the inhabitants of the new equatorial desert are unlikely to take kindly to any plans that involve them dying quietly in their place, which will imply a certain amount of desperate migration, which never goes very well....

Re:Pity about the geometry... (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | about 4 years ago | (#34022730)

Of course it is so - but since I live far from the equatorial parts, for me the global warming has a potential to be a net benefit.

In fact, given this data, I wouldn't be surprised if the large and economically strong northern countries would deliberately continue the global warming trends, since it would benefit them a tiny bit, and greatly harm their future global competitors such as China, India, Brazil and all the SE Asian countries - which would clearly dominate the world soon otherwise.

Re:Pity about the geometry... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#34022808)

Given the amount of angst and disruption caused by the relatively puny numbers of existing economic migrants, I suspect that things might not be so ducky.

Even in situations where the long-term basically turns out well(ie. the US's comparatively open immigration policy(with various historical exceptions based on whatever flavor of subhuman we are freaking out about today) has basically been reasonably successful; short, sharp upticks in migration, particularly the sort that is more desperate than entrepreneurial, can get really ugly.

China, large swaths of Africa, and central America are already a bit water-stressed. Their (large) populations aren't going to take kindly to the idea of just shriveling up and dying. Under sufficiently severe stress, local governments are either just going to fail, or going to adopt a deliberate "go north, young man" policy to make their excess populations somebody elses problem. At that point, places like the US, southern Europe, Russia, etc. enjoy the delightful choice of either absorbing a giant bolus of "the wretched refuse of your teeming shore", or the militarization and xenophobia of a society willing to just stretch out the concertina wire and start shooting to kill. Fun times.

Extra giggles will, of course, be had all around if doctors in the northern hemisphere have to start reading the Journal of Tropical Medicine as a matter of professional practice, rather than altruism...

Re:Pity about the geometry... (3, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#34022772)

What evidence do you have that there's going to be a desert across the equator? I mean apart from the fact that the UK Met Office decided to change its map to show all landmasses as brown, rather than green (when I fly over the UK, it looks pretty ****ing green to me - what they did was very Orwellian, if I may say so). If equatorial desertification does happen, it will be due to population pressure, deforestation and agricultural practices, not AGW.

Re:Pity about the geometry... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#34022838)

Doesn't really matter what causes desertification, the consequences are largely the same. More specifically, we are discussing an article proposing the notion that fair portions of the arctic are going to become more or less temperate. I am granting that the status of "true for the sake of argument". Given that, severe ecological disruption, and probable desertification, of equatorial regions seems fairly likely.

If TFA's projection is wrong, that may not be true at all; but there also isn't much to talk about.

Transplanting Penguins (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#34022884)

(yes, I know, penguins are antarctic; but the arctic doesn't have any birds nearly as iconic)

Did anyone ever try to transplant penguins from the Antarctic to the Arctic? It would be an interesting experiment, and definitely worth a Ig Nobel. On the other hand, when folks start transplanting animals into foreign environments, it always ends in tears. Ask someone in Australia about rabbits, or someone in Florida about pythons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbits_in_Australia [wikipedia.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_Pythons_in_Florida [wikipedia.org]

Bow before your new...... (2, Interesting)

Anti Cheat (1749344) | about 4 years ago | (#34022770)

Canadian Mosquito and Black Fly Overlords.

If Smith's unlikely “thought experiment” scenario was to happen. Wouldn't a lot of the Canadian arctic be a shallow sea, caused by the rising sea levels? So don't rush out buying land before checking an elevation chart.

Re:Bow before your new...... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#34022832)

So don't rush out buying land before checking an elevation chart.

      Or get flood insurance?

Somali pirates need a new job (1)

KayakFun (720628) | about 4 years ago | (#34022804)

This will also put an end to piracy in the eastern part of the Indian ocean, when all ships between Europe and Asia go the northern route. Time to get a decent job?

Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022846)

I've long thought that Global Warming was a cruel, Canadian plot for world domination...

More to global warming than melting ice (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#34022882)

I find it amazing that people who report on climate change/global warming/armageddon fail to appreciate the nature of weather. Weather is *water moving in the air.* This simple understanding explains just about everything that happens with the weather.

Sure, warmer areas mean melted ice and areas that were before inaccessible or unusable. But there's more to it than that. There will be global weather pattern changes as well. Places that once got rain will dry up. Places that were arid will get wet. Conditions favorable to certain life and vegetation will change and that life and vegetation will simply die off and even become extinct. We have a global ecosystem that is being changed and upset in ways that simply cannot be predicted. Being able to reclaim some land is what I would characterize as some "short term gains."

Truthiness is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34022928)

Truthiness is just making up whatever bullshit acronym you want out of thin air and publishing it in a global warming article, then adding the acronym to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] to try and give it some credibility when confused people try to look it up.

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