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Melting Glaciers Cutting Peru Water Supply

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-buy-some-new-glaciers dept.

Earth 421

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In a story that may repeat itself in all mountainous areas dependent on glaciers for their water supply, the glaciers in Peru's Cordillera Blanca mountain range are melting so quickly (PDF) that the water they supply to the arid region is being threatened 20-30 years earlier than expected. Of the time needed for the region to adapt to the coming water shortages, previously thought to be decades, researchers now believe, 'those years don't exist.'"

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Ooo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511858)

Front page story making me feel alarmed and afraid at the same time. Must stop using electricity and save the planet before man made global warming frees us from this ice age we're in.

Re:Ooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511992)

Read up on chaotic systems. I think you'll find that forcing them is not great.

Re:Ooo (0)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512010)

Read up on chaotic systems. I think you'll find that forcing them is not great.

And things always go the way you think they will... let's give it a kick, couldn't be worse, right?

Re:Ooo (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512556)

Must stop using electricity and save the planet before man made global warming frees us from this ice age we're in.

By some accounts, GW is in fact counteracting the onset of an ice age. Unfortunately, according to these analyses, GW's forcing is much stronger the IA's forcing, so it's not keeping us in a stable state. (Hence the melting glaciers, shifting habitats, etc.)

If we could cut our GW's forcing back to a small fraction of what it is, we might be able to apply it as some practical terraforming, to extend the duration of the paradise that our species grew up in.

But most people just invoke "ice age" as an excuse to avoid doing something that will cost a lot of money in the short run.

And an *enormous* amount of money in the long run. Politicians like to fall down and kick their feet over the public debt that our descendants will inherit, but those same clowns don't care a fig if we leave them a foobar planet to live in.

bonanza (5, Interesting)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511880)

This melt off should be an interesting opportunity for archaeology and paleontology. Will such treasures reach back 1000, 5000, 40,000 years?

Re: bonanza (4, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512256)

Well, considering that humans didn't arrive in South America until around 15,000 years ago, 40,000 years is out. But more likely most if not all of the area under the glaciers in Peru has never before been seen by human eyes. 15,000 years ago the last glaciation was winding down so the glaciers were probably much bigger than they are now. I doubt those glaciers have ever been significantly smaller since then than they are now.

Re: bonanza (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512636)

Well, considering that humans didn't arrive in South America until around 15,000 years ago

No, that's not an accurate statement. The correct statement is:
"The oldest evidence of humans in SA was from around 15,000 years ago".

If we find new evidence which dates further back, we'll revise that number.

I doubt those glaciers have ever been significantly smaller since then than they are now.

They have. If you go back far enough in time the planet didn't even exist, let alone glaciers.

Re: bonanza (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512378)

There have been a couple of stories about 3000 to 5000 year old corpses recovered from these melting glaciers. One of the is famous, but I've forgotten his name. Igwi or something. Ohhh, here, I'll google for a couple stories:

Ötzi here, in a PDF
http://geog-www.sbs.ohio-state.edu/courses/g820.01/sp06/alpine_iceman.pdf [ohio-state.edu]

Incan ice children and others here:
http://www.mummytombs.com/mummylocator/featured/glacier.htm [mummytombs.com]

Re: bonanza (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512510)

This melt off should be an interesting opportunity for archaeology and paleontology. Will such treasures reach back 1000, 5000, 40,000 years?

Possibly. I know there have been instances where parts of mid-Twentieth Century air crashes were recovered (including body parts whose prior owners have been identified). And the Iceman's state of presentation indicates that he had not been melted out since he died ~5000 years ago.

Don't live in places without water, stupid. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511898)

It's really just that simple. If the local environment is not conducive to human habitation, fucking move somewhere else. There is always going to be someplace on the face of the earth becoming less habitable, and others becoming more habitable. The history of the human race is one of migration from area to area as conditions change.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (5, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511958)

Easy to say if you were raised in a more habitable place or if you're financially sound enough to move. Otherwise, I guess you're stupid for being born poor or in a poor place.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (2, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512208)

Yeah, I was about to say. Nothing more ignorant and simplistic said on /. in awhile.

"Like just move"

That's worked out real well for the Ethiopians. The animals that are too "stupid" to move, well sucks to be them I guess.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512328)

It's more of a racial thing than an individual thing. Some individuals will inevitably be caught between rock and hard place when the habitable area moves.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (5, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511960)

Oddly enough, there is a pretty sizable intersection between people who don't care about global warming, or have no interest in mitigating it, and those people who are staunchly against open borders.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (5, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512224)

Why is the parent marked Troll? Closed borders are exactly why people can't move en-mass from one area of the planet to another... And countries that are upset by such serious issues and cannot sustain broad migration are not suitable for internal migration.

In fact, it seems a perfectly logical response to the post it was referencing...

GrpA

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512704)

Why is the parent marked Troll? Closed borders are exactly why people can't move en-mass from one area of the planet to another... And countries that are upset by such serious issues and cannot sustain broad migration are not suitable for internal migration.

In fact, it seems a perfectly logical response to the post it was referencing...

GrpA

Well, now the parent is Insightful, and some dumbfuck mod marked this guy Troll. Why? What's he trolling? Just because u might not agree does not make him a Troll, he's presented a valid point relative to the discussion, he's not flaming, etc.

If you disagree, put up an argument don't fucking mod him down. You know who you are, asswipe. Your mod points would be better spent marking me flamebait. Now go fuck your mother some more, she won't quit calling me and that whore gave me the clap once already.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511990)

These are people who lived in places with water. And that water is going to go away, suddenly, as could happen to literally any source of water other than desalinated ocean.

The history of the human race has involved a great deal of migration. Unfortunately, the earth is now full, and there is no place to migrate to anymore which is not already oversubscribed. Migration from now on means war.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512754)

[quote]Unfortunately, the earth is now full[/quote]

Actually, it's not.

http://persquaremile.com/2011/01/18/if-the-worlds-population-lived-in-one-city/

http://true-progress.com/the-earth-can-feed-clothe-and-house-12-billion-people-306.htm

One problem is big ass North Americans taking too much food and space.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

lannocc (568669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512790)

Migration from now on means war.

So we must refuse any governance/ownership system where this is the case. For the interest of longevity, I cannot accept it as necessary!

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512100)

It's really just that simple. If the local environment is not conducive to human habitation, fucking move somewhere else. There is always going to be someplace on the face of the earth becoming less habitable, and others becoming more habitable. The history of the human race is one of migration from area to area as conditions change.

Yeah, same with all the animals. Except, of course, for the non-migratory ones.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512104)

before there was the means to ameliorate local suffering, this was called evolution, or survival of the fittest. Now that it is technologically possible to spread the wealth, should we? To take from the lucky and give to the unlucky do we propagate mediocrity and perpetuate neediocrity?

At what cost? Cosmic irony would be that wealth is used to save the lost rather than gain the stars.

in the forest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512158)

As unkind as it sounds, I think you have a point worthy of discussion.

However, I think this line of reasoning is more pertinent to talking about genetic defects and the like.

If they are unlucky, but then they get help, are they still unlucky?

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512196)

Not everyone believes in evolution, which is part of the problem, but this is an issue of time scales.

Species go extinct because they could not adapt to the environment. That is normal. What is not normal is man made acceleration of environmental changes. Where I live there used to be an ocean, but that was on geological time. What we are doing is like radically changing the temperature and pressure in a room in 1/1,000,000 of a second.

Evolution simply cannot allow species to adapt that fast, and there will be extremely few species that can. Man will probably be one of them, but I don't want to be around for that level of adaptation. It is going to suck.

Then factor in how complex the interaction is in the various ecosystems and you start having a chain reaction where all life might cease, or at least a mass extinction event where the planet "resets" itself and different live evolves all over again.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (4, Insightful)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512420)

You misunderstand evolution. Any adaptation that allows for survival in a given environmental condition is *already* there when that given environmental condition appears. It just so happens that everyone that *doesn't* have that adaptation dies off. Natural *selection* picks for traits that have already existed. An organism doesn't observe the environment and suddenly tries to "evolve".

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (3, Insightful)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512586)

You misunderstand evolution. Well, at least your comprehension of it isn't as absolute as you seem to think. The scenario you put forth is one possible example of evolution, but not the only possible one. A more likely scenario is one in which the environmental change is fairly gradual and, during the transition, a variation occurs making some subset of organisms more able to survive in the conditions the environment is transitioning to. The case where the environment shifts overnight is almost certainly less common and, even when it does occur, it's still more likely that the mutated subset of organisms that take over the niche don't come from the affected region, but repopulate it from nearby areas unaffected by the environmental change.

In any case, the kind of changes that require rapid adaptation by a population generally aren't very pleasant for the population. They're usually mostly, or absolutely destructive to the local population. Humans, as a species, or in smaller groupings, can survive all kinds of things. That doesn't mean that big changes don't cause all kinds of suffering and death on the individual level, however. This is something that some people seem to misunderstand (or callously dismiss when it doesn't affect them directly) leading to statements like "Don't live in places without water, stupid".

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (2)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512778)

He understands it just fine. Take the polar bear, for example. It's dependent on arctic ice forming in the ocean so it can go out and hunt seals. Now, if that ice were to be drastically reduced over the course of a couple thousand years, the polar bear would have some time to adapt to finding new sources of food or migrate. But make that drastic reduction in ice over the course of a few decades, and now the bear doesn't have the time to make those adjustments without flirting with extinction.

Shorter version: it's the sudden change in environments, stupid. See also: the meteor impact that killed off the dinosaurs.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512770)

Not everyone believes in evolution, which is part of the problem, but this is an issue of time scales.

Species go extinct because they could not adapt to the environment. That is normal. What is not normal is man made acceleration of environmental changes. Where I live there used to be an ocean, but that was on geological time. What we are doing is like radically changing the temperature and pressure in a room in 1/1,000,000 of a second.

Evolution simply cannot allow species to adapt that fast, and there will be extremely few species that can. Man will probably be one of them, but I don't want to be around for that level of adaptation. It is going to suck.

Then factor in how complex the interaction is in the various ecosystems and you start having a chain reaction where all life might cease, or at least a mass extinction event where the planet "resets" itself and different live evolves all over again.

The history of the planet is such that in good conditions, species proliferate and become more and more diverse.
There is an ongoing, "slow" process where local conditions can cause specific sub-species or niche species to go extinct; there's always a certain level of constant but slow fluctuation. This is the kind of natural selection you're thinking of, where a species may have a chance to adapt to changing conditions after or during the change.
However, there are also large-scale "extinction" or "survival" events, and these are the major driving factor in long-term evolution. When such an event occurs, it results in a massive kill-off because the only species to survive are the ones which are already adapted to the new conditions. The first type of selection I mentioned allows for life to become very diverse during good periods, increasing the odds that at least one of the variants has the traits needed before the next extinction event.

The "tree" of species isn't uniform and regular linear expansion like the Christians would have you believe. It explodes into a wide array of variations, then an extinction event occurs and most branches are culled, leaving only a few which, when conditions are ripe again, proceed to once more explode in diversity.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512466)

Cosmic irony would be that wealth is used to save the lost rather than gain the stars.

I love space opera as much as the next gnerd, but unless Einstein was seriously wrong we're never going to gain the stars.

A life-long one-way trip to the nearest neighbors may be feasible, but it's not likely that anyone will every want to pay for it, and even less likely that there will be anywhere to live once we got there.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512484)

The "cost" is increasing freedom: the unalienable right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, among others.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512260)

Yes and when they move the neighboring countries will welcome the refugees with open arms. Oh wait your a fucking moron never mind.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512278)

Try telling that to border patrol.

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512318)

Can this comment be construed as an invitation for those effected by melting glaciers, to pack up their stuff in an RV, and take up residence in your back yard?

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512476)

It's really just that simple. If the local environment is not conducive to human habitation, fucking move somewhere else.

And you'll welcome them into your country with open arms, right?

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

Col Bat Guano (633857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512550)

I guess you are putting out the welcome mat so they can move in with you then?

Re:Don't live in places without water, stupid. (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512742)

Creating dams makes land uninhabitable: No problem!
Global warming makes land uninhabitable: No problem!
Nuclear accident makes land uninhabitable: Burn more coal!

"Earlier than expected"? (1, Flamebait)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511916)

So basically the projections were wrong, but the culprit is the evil consumer who does not recycle his soup can, not the guy who made the projections in the first place.

Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511976)

So basically the projections were wrong, but the culprit is the evil consumer who does not recycle his soup can, not the guy who made the projections in the first place.

Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke.

I don't find this to be a joke. This just emphasizes how little we know about how the earth's systems will react to global warming. My fear is we won't listen to scientists until it is too late and we have killed off the majority of the organisms that help us counter the CO2 we are pumping into the air or the other effects, e.g. ocean acidification.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (4, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512014)

I don't find this to be a joke. This just emphasizes how little we know about how the earth's systems will react to global warming. My fear is we won't listen to scientists until it is too late and we have killed off the majority of the organisms that help us counter the CO2 we are pumping into the air or the other effects, e.g. ocean acidification.

I'm reminded of the kid who won the Ontario science fair by figuring out how to biodegrade plastic bags. Everyone always told him that it would take thousands of years for bacteria to break down those bags, so he instantly saw that if they break down in thousands of years, something's doing it, and that something can be cultured.

The environment changes, the organisms change. The universe loves organisms, and she'll never stop springing them up in places you'd never think you'd find them.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512048)

The universe loves organisms, and she'll never stop springing them up in places you'd never think you'd find them.

I agree fully in this statement. I often watch documentaries and the most interesting to me are the ones on extremophiles, some living in acidic caves with no light. In the end, Earth will be alright because humans will be dead, it may take a million years to recover but it will balance itself.

What we humans don't understand is we are stuck on earth for the near future(probably the next 1k years at our current rate, maybe less if we reprioritize) and we depend on the other life forms to survive, even if not directly, we do depend on them.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (5, Interesting)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512752)

The environment changes, the organisms change. The universe loves organisms, and she'll never stop springing them up in places you'd never think you'd find them.

More realistic version: The environment changes, the organisms die, or at least the ones unsuitable for the new environment die. Evolution is a process of death, either death as an early termination of an organism, or death as a failure to pass on genes. If you step back and look at the grand process of life, it has a beauty to it. The great Permian Triassic extinction brought the rise of the dinosaurs, and the extinction of the dinosaurs allowed a whole new set of species to appear, including our own.

But when you bring it down to your own life, a moral person cannot possibly take pleasure in the thought of the extinction of his children, of his grandchildren, let alone the extinction of his entire species. And that is really at the heart of the issue of global warming. The geological record gives good evidence that (a) the climate can get a great deal warmer than it is today and (b) that those periods of warming are associated with large scale extinctions. There is strong evidence that a warming world will have a profoundly different distribution of precipitation. Given that our current agricultural systems are dependent on our current precipitation patterns, it seems likely that changing precipitation patterns will result in a reduction in agricultural production. If there is less food in the world, then famine is likely to result. The systems we have developed where most of us can live in cities while others far away grow our food will be put under stress. A survey of history will clearly show what happens then. The disinterested intellectual systems of reason decay. Fear grows with material shortages, and with it grows superstition. Humans start to lose track of objective reality, they start to make decisions based on illusion and superstition. As they lose track of reality, humans become increasingly unable to implement the necessary changes to survive in a changing world.

If you want to get an idea of what I am talking about, read about the collapse of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages, especially in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Read about the major mass extinctions, and then ponder the question whether humans would have been able to rise above the environmental pressures that destroyed more than 90% of species in the time of the dinosaurs. And even if we weren't to go extinct, consider what it would look like of 90% of us were to die. Not just 90% of those in some far away desert, but 90% of the people in your own country. Consider what such a world would look like. It won't happen tomorrow. It won't happen next year, nor even in a decade. If you live another 30 years, you will see enough to see the shape of things to come. But you will still be able to consume comfortably for some time to come. It is your children who will have to deal with the consequences of your selfish consumption.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (2, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512248)

My fear is we won't listen to scientists until it is too late and we have killed off the majority of the organisms that help us counter the CO2 we are pumping into the air or the other effects, e.g. ocean acidification.

You mean listen to the scientists that were wrong in their predictions regarding this glacier melt in the first place?

Yeah, that sounds like it'll turn out well.

This just emphasizes how little we know about how the earth's systems will react to global warming.

If we, by your own admission, know so little about the Earth's climate system, why in $DEITY's name would anyone think it's a good idea to engage in attempting to modify the behavior of a system we don't understand and can't predict, particularly when such proposed attempts come at great cost, suffering, and death to huge numbers of people?

Strat

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512364)

You mean listen to the scientists that were wrong in their predictions regarding this glacier melt in the first place?

Wrong in that they *underestimated* how bad the problem is. And for you, this is reason to further ignore them? Now just to prove to us that you can't even maintain internal logical coherence across 2 simple sentences, we have:

If we, by your own admission, know so little about the Earth's climate system, why in $DEITY's name would anyone think it's a good idea to engage in attempting to modify the behavior of a system we don't understand and can't predict

Exactly the point: we need to stop fucking with it.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (-1, Troll)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512468)

Wrong in that they *underestimated* how bad the problem is. And for you, this is reason to further ignore them?

Yes. Yes, it is. What's to say that any so-called "solution" they propose is any more accurate? What if they overestimate the "cure" and toss the planet straight into an "ice-world" climate?

Exactly the point: we need to stop fucking with it.

Well, since the only way to accomplish that is to slaughter most of humanity and have the survivors return to hunter-gatherer existence or just have humans perform a self-extinction, that's not an acceptable option.

Although I'm sure most here would be fine with you volunteering to go first.

Strat

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512712)

Well, since the only way to accomplish that is to slaughter most of humanity and have the survivors return to hunter-gatherer existence or just have humans perform a self-extinction, that's not an acceptable option.

Or, you know, stop over consumption and make do with a perfectly reasonable lifestyle based on energy saving technologies that have been around for decades.

The problem isn't humanity, the problem is shortsighted, selfish little shits like yourself that were ready to crucify Carter for suggesting you put on a sweater during the winter.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512480)

uhm. the projections were not 'wrong' (first of all, these projections are estimates, based on a set of factors that may be constantly in flux and are influenced by our action and inaction all the time). so yeah, the projections were based on factors that changed so wildly in such a short time, that they now must change.

and don't try to dramatize the issue by vilifying an abstract 'evil consumer'. we are all just consumers, the only way to remain as such, would be to carry on our consumption in a sustainable manner.

what are you, 7?

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512068)

"Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke."

God trumps science?

and +5?

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (2)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512186)

"Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke."

God trumps science?

and +5?

Bigotry trumps metaphor?

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512096)

So basically the projections were wrong, but the culprit is the evil consumer who does not recycle his soup can, not the guy who made the projections in the first place.

Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke.

We have consistently discovered that the IPCC's reports on GW are too conservative. Everything is happening faster than the "alarmists" have been predicting.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (5, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512098)

The real question is this: are the estimated figures (which the scientists initially used to base their predictions) wrong due to accelerated climate change - things like mean and maximum temperatures? Or were the scientists wrong simply because they didn't understand the model well enough, or had a bad model on which they based their predictions?

Understanding why the estimation was off by decades might be important information to know, and all that. I am personally highly skeptical that an average temperature change in the region of a tenth of a degree or whatever it has been over the past decade could be responsible for this.

It's also possible that the size of the glaciers was initially wrong, too. Or maybe the rate or amount of melt was improperly estimated.

Is it possible this is just more reactionary knee-jerk fear-mongering bullshit due to a larger-than-normal rainfall in Peru this past year? That couldn't possibly be it, could it? I happen to know there are other places in the world which have had lower than average rainfalls this past year. (A more likely explanation may be that Peru has been stealing all of the clouds...)

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512142)

Is it possible this is just more reactionary knee-jerk fear-mongering bullshit due to a larger-than-normal rainfall in Peru this past year?

One thing that wasn't normal this past year was a three foot snowfall on a high desert in Peru that hadn't had any significant precipitation in over 150 years.

Not saying it has anything to do with the glaciers melting faster. Just responding to your hypothetical about abnormal precipitation in Peru this past year.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (-1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512226)

One thing that wasn't normal this past year was a three foot snowfall on a high desert in Peru that hadn't had any significant precipitation in over 150 years

How can you know what kind of weather occurred in Peru over the last 150 years? Did someone find Mayan engravings? Or there is this very old guy that can swear that this never happened since he was born? Or maybe it was a Union soldier that got lost and decided to start a weather journal?

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512412)

Good news. You managed to show absolute ignorance in only 4 important areas (that's 1 per sentence) with that brilliant comment. Those being: meteorology, geography, South American history, and USA history. You might benefit from knowing that the Incas were the native people of Peru (the Mayans being more central America), and that reasonably accurate records of rainfall exist wherever farming is important, and that "Union soldiers" were combatants in the American Civil War several thousand miles away - although, probably by pure chance, the timing would be roughly right in this context.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (2)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512646)

You might want to look at this [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia article. It's a timeline of meteorology. Apparently you have some severe misunderstandings about how long human beings have been taking note of the weather.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512110)

Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke.

You can replace "earlier than expected" with "faster than previously projected" if that helps. Most people don't need the help to understand it.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512244)

Unless God himself gave the schedule for those glaciers to melt, the notion of having them melting "earlier than expected" is a joke.

You can replace "earlier than expected" with "faster than previously projected" if that helps. Most people don't need the help to understand it.

The next time I make yearly projections about storage usage for a client and they get pissed because they run out of space in the middle of the year, I'll remember to spin this as a growth that is "faster than previously projected".

Unfortunately (for me), when I suck at making projections I lose contracts because my salary is not subsidized.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512352)

Unfortunately (for me), when I suck at making projections I lose contracts because my salary is not subsidized.

The data is changing. Carbon is increasing faster. The projections were more accurate when they were made given the info at the time.

And if they overproject, people like you say even nastier things than above.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512500)

And if they overproject, people like you say even nastier things than above.

Oh heavens no. People might say nasty things! Anything but that... why, it's so terrible, avoiding it needs to be our primary objective and we should modify our behavior accordingly. Fuck what you honestly believe is true given the data you have and the understanding you have achieved ... that is not as important as appeasement!

Is your name "daugherty" because it's your name or because you're a girlie-man?

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512114)

Read that as 'earlier than the politically correct prediction'.

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (3, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512288)

Scientists, when they made those projections, were being conservative, just including the factors they were sure of and discounting factors that were not well characterized yet. How much ridicule would you be heaping on them if they had overstated their projections?

Re:"Earlier than expected"? (1, Redundant)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512728)

Your life expectancy is probably around 80 years. If you get shot tomorrow, it's not the statisticians who are to blame.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511918)

FIRST! ... holy shit, how long does it take to comment on this site? I was left with "working..." for 30s before I was prompted with a robot picture... wtf?

This story is a waste of time... (1, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511924)

Why even bother posting this? It will just dissolve into a global warming debate within seconds, and slashdotters are by far the stupidest people I've ever conversed with on the topic of climate change and global warming. Normally slashdot opinions are above average on a given topic, but with global warming they're well below average: it's all fuzzy, intuited 'science' from physicists and programmers with zero understanding of ecology, copious libertarian babble, and wanton libertarian bashing.

It's just going to be a giant flamewar, and the average reader will truly be stupider for having read it.

Re:This story is a waste of time... (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511952)

In other words: invest in popcorn futures.

Re:This story is a waste of time... (1)

webgovernor (1852402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511964)

Your face is libertarian babble.

But yes, flame war in 3... 2... 1...

Re:This story is a waste of time... (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512036)

way to concentrate stupidity into a political group, you sound so much more reasonable now

Re:This story is a waste of time... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512338)

"stupidity as a political group" Interesting... I think there might be something to that.

Re:This story is a waste of time... (0)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512088)

We could have a giant flameware over climate change debate, instead of climate change itself... Hmm, yes.... Dolt! You just don't get that debate is core of all human progress, and flame war is the ultimate form of debate, where only the strongest ideas survive to procreate! If you're not up for it, you should go home and start... knitting!

Re:This story is a waste of time... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512120)

Normally slashdot opinions are above average on a given topic

That's a dubious claim. (In my opinion.)

and wanton libertarian bashing

Why should wanton libertarians be exempt from bashing?

Re:This story is a waste of time... (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512326)

slashdotters are by far the stupidest people I've ever conversed with on the topic of climate change and global warming.

Really? I've never found any other place (other than, say, a climatologist convention) where a reasonable number of people have even read the IPCC report. Here there are a lot of people who actually do understand the science, at least large parts of it. Seriously, even on climatologist blogs it just breaks down into blogger-worshipers and angry people who came from another blog. Here you can post something that you've been reading about climatology and get some reasonable (if at times rude) responses, that give you things to think about.

it's all fuzzy, intuited 'science' from physicists and programmers with zero understanding of ecology

Maybe you just say this because people disagree with you? I've seen LOTS of people give sources for their statements, not everyone, but vastly more than on any other site. Especially if you ask them.

Wonton libertarian bashing? (0)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512666)

How many stories have started with "those fucking libertarians", exactly?

The New Chevy Silverado! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511946)

gets 11 MPG City / 16 MPG Highway! WOOOT! Boy, am I ever glad we bailed GM out so they could keep making more of these gigantic trucks.

Record opening of Hwy 120 in California this year (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511950)

This year, highway 120 through Yosemite National Park has remained opened well past the time when it is normally closed. To date, the latest it has ever closed is 1st January (2001), but the current weather forecasts make it look like that will well and truely be broken.

After 2 years of very wet winters, California decided that the "drought" water conditions were no longer appropriate. Following hot on the heals of that is what could be one of the driest winters yet (snow resorts at Tahoe,etc, have relatively little snow.)

Re:Record opening of Hwy 120 in California this ye (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512406)

A friend in Reno says the mountains (between Reno and Lake Tahoe) aren't even snowcapped this year; that it looks more like the first dusting they usually get in September or October.

Of course, lack of snow in winter may just mean *dry*, not warm. Lack of snow doesn't disprove GW any more than last year's storms prove it. Receding glaciers is a different matter, if it continues year after year. Already 5-10 years ago they were saying that Glacier National Park had lost half its glaciers. And this kind of thing has been happening all around the world.

Re:Record opening of Hwy 120 in California this ye (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512418)

Lack of snow doesn't disprove GW any more than last year's storms prove it.

Uhm... I got that backwards.

The big hot thing in the sky (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511962)

It's the sun, stupid.

criminal (0, Flamebait)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512004)

Climate change denial is an act of treason against life on Earth.

Re:criminal (5, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512040)

Climate change denial is an act of treason against life on Earth.

Now let's not get hasty. Life on Earth will do just fine, it'll be just another mass extinction from which new life will spring forth, as it always has.

Now act of treason against humanity, that might fit...

Re:criminal (1)

taylorjonl (842217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512074)

I agree 100% with this comment. In the end some form of life will survive, I even think that humans will survive. We will just shrink our population and lose our advancements in technology, we will be cavemen again...

Re:criminal (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512150)

I feel truly privileged to read a number of posts in a row which EACH had a chance to deviate from the apocalyptic vision of the others, but instead chose the easy path. So many different ways we'll all die, so little time!

For heaven's sake, sometimes I think that the reason we have so many problems around the world today is what appears to be an incredibly cynical, doomsday view of everything. I could blame it on pervasive media (negative headlines are the best headlines), but that feels cliche.

Let's be realistic. Man will not go back to being a caveman. Population may shrink, but unless something truly horrifying happens mankind will go on. We'll probably innovate in different ways but we'll go on.

Re:criminal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512332)

Let's be realistic. Man will not go back to being a caveman. Population may shrink, but unless something truly horrifying happens mankind will go on. We'll probably innovate in different ways but we'll go on.

Of course humanity will survive, we're like cockroaches, but there's no reason (except profit) to make life harder for everyone. Otherwise, why not just nuke everything?

For heaven's sake, sometimes I think that the reason we have so many problems around the world today is what appears to be an incredibly cynical, doomsday view of everything. I could blame it on pervasive media (negative headlines are the best headlines), but that feels cliche.

Media sells entertainment, only a fool would take them seriously. Still, if you trust climatologists over uneducated opinions you know there's a very good chance that we're fucked.

Re:criminal (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512368)

For heaven's sake, sometimes I think that the reason we have so many problems around the world today is what appears to be an incredibly cynical, doomsday view of everything.

And ironically life has never been better. We've conquered major diseases. Childhood death is rare: how many people in your family died young? In mine none, but in my great-grandma's, 14 out of 16 died as children. Go back farther, during the black death as much as 60% of the population of Europe died in two years. That is something no AGW scenario dreams of, and yet it happened.

In the worst case, we won't die out, we will go back to how things were before.

Re:criminal (2)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512758)

That is something no AGW scenario dreams of, and yet it happened.

Actually, there's mass methane poisoning [realclimate.org] of our atmosphere if the gas melts out of glaciers faster than the biosphere can handle it:

The juiciest disaster-movie scenario would be a release of enough methane to significantly change the atmospheric concentration, on a time scale that is fast compared with the lifetime of methane. This would generate a spike in methane concentration. For a scale of how much would be a large methane release, the amount of methane that would be required to equal the radiative forcing of doubled CO2 would be about ten times the present methane concentration. That would be disaster movie.

Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And, in mass quantities, could supplant other gases like oxygen and nitrogen in the Earth's atmosphere. That by itself would be a mass extension event.....

Re:criminal (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512806)

For heaven's sake, sometimes I think that the reason we have so many problems around the world today is what appears to be an incredibly cynical, doomsday view of everything.

And ironically life has never been better. We've conquered major diseases. Immunisation is still effective (when used, lots of FUD about it), but our anti-microbials are seriously becoming less effective, and the "easy to find" antibiotics are mostly mined out. We'll have to work much harder on new ones and try 'phage technology and God knows what else to have effective drugs for bacteria quite soon. We may soon see untreatable ghonnarea, TB, phumonia etc, even in the first world. And yet we still allow "growth promoters" in animal feed and care which are anitbiotics with different names, leading to highly resistant bugs in out food animals. Yay! Childhood death is rare: how many people in your family died young? In mine none, but in my great-grandma's, 14 out of 16 died as children. Go back farther, during the black death as much as 60% of the population of Europe died in two years. That is something no AGW scenario dreams of, and yet it happened. In the worst case, we won't die out, we will go back to how things were before.

Except we've mined with very advanced techniques and farmed our soils intensively, we cannot go back to say the 19th century level sustainably as the old techniques and materials just can't cut it. We need to act now and not wait until it's too late, but we will. Until it happens in the EU/Canada/USA/Australia, the media and big multinats will not care or be forced to act.

Re:criminal (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512442)

I agree 100% with this comment. In the end some form of life will survive, I even think that humans will survive. We will just shrink our population and lose our advancements in technology, we will be cavemen again...

Runaway GW could turn the planet into a desert, with no life but microbes (if any). I think some planetologists think that's how Mars got its wonderful climate.

Barring that, I don't think we'll be reduced to cavemen. We'll just have more wars and social disturbances, as the agricultural/hydraulic "haves" become "have-nots", and vice versa.

And of course, we'll have to start moving our coastal cities to higher ground in 50-100 years.

So many questions (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512112)

What was their original model / projection? Has anyone else verified it? And if so, what measures will they be taking to supplement their water supply?

Re:So many questions (3, Insightful)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512198)

What was their original model / projection? Has anyone else verified it? And if so, what measures will they be taking to supplement their water supply?

They weren't projecting. Scientists were projecting glacier melt rate worldwide. They're all melting.

Verification so far is watching the glaciers melt faster.

What measures will a mountain dwelling people take to supplement their loss of glacial water supply? They will lose their way of life, same as anyone else in a permanent drought, say in an extreme example Texas continues it's drought pattern. All it will take is a few more years to destroy life there as they know it.

But they can always hope rains will return. People dependent on glaciers that vanished have no such hope. Their total ancestral way of life will also have vanished.

Re:So many questions (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512374)

Scientists were projecting glacier melt rate worldwide. They're all melting.

Except the ones that are growing....

Ayn Rand was right. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512178)

Atlas Shrugged is becoming more true every day. Be careful for the looters when they come for your water, and insist you load it in the car for them

Bogus Science (2)

STRICQ (634164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512282)

The science was so bad in this report it's already been torn to pieces. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/20/this-is-glacial-tap/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

Re:Bogus Science (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512344)

wattsupwiththat is not an authoritative source.

Re:Bogus Science (1)

STRICQ (634164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512382)

The IPCC is not an authoritative source either.

Re:Bogus Science (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512590)

Why not? Who is more authoritative, and why?

Re:Bogus Science (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512434)

Unfortunately, and as always, wattsupwiththat does nothing to deal with the basic claims, but instead has a lot of snark about whitewashing and how history shows that the projections are completely wrong. And as always, Watt's will not publish his own studies demonstrating his claims, or if he does, he will be laughed out of the science room.

Why not cite Glenn Beck while you're at it? (3, Funny)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512614)

Beck even has a chalkboard....I don't see Watts with a chalkboard.

Its a myth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512334)

a- "Did you hear about peru's water?"

b- "No."

a- "Its right on track with the earth temp going up like those wacky scientists have been saying."

b- "So some glaciers are melting."

a- "All over the place?"

b- "isn't bill o'rilley on?" / "SHUT UP!"

habitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512356)

Sounds like you could make tons of money of that,.. Restoring a rural area into a habitable one.

Install desalination plants on the ocean. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512446)

It's not that difficult.

Re:Install desalination plants on the ocean. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38512558)

Nah - just expensive to build and energy-hungry to run if you want daily consumption level water supplies. Otherwise its rationing and rich only pricing levels. And what about countries that don't have a coastline?

Re:Install desalination plants on the ocean. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512594)

"expensive to build, energy-hungry"

Hi, OTEC would like to say a few things to you.

Glaciers melting since last ice age (0)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512714)

Of course, over a long-term average, the glaciers have been melting since the end of the last ice age. Melting glaciers are much better than the alternative. In other news, the earth continues in its previous orbit.

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