×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Northern Hemisphere Pollution a Cause of '80s Africa Drought

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the ashes-to-ashes-to-africa dept.

Earth 158

vinces99 writes "Decades of drought in central Africa reached their worst point in the 1980s, causing Lake Chad, a shallow lake used to water crops in neighboring countries, to almost dry out completely. The shrinking lake and prolonged drought were initially blamed on overgrazing and bad agricultural practices. More recently, Lake Chad became an example of global warming. But new University of Washington research shows the drought was caused at least in part by Northern Hemisphere air pollution. Particles from coal-burning factories in the United States and Europe during the 1960s, '70s and '80s cooled the entire Northern Hemisphere, shifting tropical rain bands south. That meant that rains no longer reached the Sahel region, a band that spans the African continent just below the Sahara desert."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

158 comments

Who's to blame? (4, Funny)

twistedcubic (577194) | about 10 months ago | (#43949787)

Ha! And you thought they were crazy when they bllamed the "White Man" for droughts in Africa.

Re:Who's to blame? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949845)

Fellow Slashdot readers, I have a confession to make: My bare rancid asshole that you've all come to love is... a tadpole sucker! What, you thought I had bad news? Dream on! My feces-filled, disgusting asshole will keep squeezing all of the tadpoles out of your fetid cocks for many centuries to come! What say you?

Re:Who's to blame? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950259)

Fellow Slashdot readers, I have a confession to make: My bare rancid asshole that you've all come to love is... a tadpole sucker! What, you thought I had bad news? Dream on! My feces-filled, disgusting asshole will keep squeezing all of the tadpoles out of your fetid cocks for many centuries to come! What say you?

I say all of that sounds very good. Do you care if we don't use lube?

Re:Who's to blame? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950393)

I say all of that sounds very good. Do you care if we don't use lube?

Vigorous application of a wire brush negates the need for lube. If you're not sure who to use it on, then it's you.

The real question.. (5, Interesting)

intellitech (1912116) | about 10 months ago | (#43949917)

If that was caused my industrial pollution in the U.S. 30-odd years ago, what can we expect from the pollution China is dishing out?

Re:The real question.. (5, Funny)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 10 months ago | (#43950271)

Not much, I'd say. They blamed it on:
1) overgrazing
2) bad agriculture
3) global warming
4) pollution of US and Euro factories

How about we simply wait for 5) and blame those guys ?

Re:The real question.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950395)

But but but...they're COMMUNISTS!!! We can't throw them under the bus. This is slashdot, we believe in community efforts.

Long live socialism. We hope for communism tomorrow!

Re:The real question.. (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950893)

Long live socialism. We hope for communism tomorrow!

vote #1 obama!

Re:The real question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950963)

Overgrazing Obama? Yeah, he looks overgrazed to me.

Re:The real question.. (5, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950889)

what can we expect from the pollution China is dishing out?

lots of black pots and kettles

Re:Who's to blame? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950235)

Ha! And you thought they were crazy when they bllamed the "White Man" for droughts in Africa.

All I know is. If my great great great grandpappy knew things would turn out this way, he'd have picked his own cotton!

Re:Who's to blame? (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950903)

I needed a new heel for my shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say. Now where was I... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time.

Re:Who's to blame? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950239)

Bush. Its always his fault.

And personally i'm sick and tired of the 'blame America for the worlds woes'

Re:Who's to blame? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950767)

And personally I'm sick and tired of Americans pretending that their fucking awful country isn't responsible for the shitty state this world is in. 70 years of fucking with other people's shit, America. 70 years, America, of really not giving a fuck about what's yours and what not yours. 70 years of acting like you own the fucking world, America. 70 years of bullying other countries to do it your way, America. You are totally and utterly responsible for this fucked up mess, America. If you had minded your own fucking business, kept your ignorant fucking noses out of everyone else's fucking business, and just basically pissed the fuck off, the world would not be in such a shitty fucking state. Fuck you, America.

Re:Who's to blame? (3, Interesting)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 10 months ago | (#43950901)

... and you'd be speaking either Russian, German, Japanese at the moment. Now that America actually *is* withdrawing from the World stage you are about to find out just how much they did do for World stability. Shit is getting real. Syria is an example if the mess that is coming - and once Iran has nukes because of American inaction you'll be pissing your pants hoping the Yanks haul you out of another fine pickle. No, America is not perfect, but at least they believed ins Enlightenment values for everyone (even if the path they walked did not always lead directly to that goal). Now you'll be getting the world you want, where tinpot dictators can brutalize with utter impunity and the crushing weight of giants like China and Russia smack down small countries in far worse ways than the US did. No doubt you'll still blame the US even decades from now, just like the Cultural Marxist 'liberal' indoctrination taught you. Never let reality get in the way, Comrade.

Re:Who's to blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950969)

That's garbage. Whether they brought 'stability' or not, interfering in other countries' affairs is evil.

Re:Who's to blame? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43951137)

Yep. I mean, why Iraq? Have you noticed how the justification for that "war" kept changing over the years? It started out with Saddam and his WMD (anybody else remember "UN inspectors"...). What is it these days? Oh, Mr. Taliban and his band of booger-men.

The reality is that GW Bush lied, Colin Powell lied, Donald H. Rumsfeld lied, and the whole thing was just a big trainwreck that was supposed to make somebody look good. What are we left with? Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, more active Taliban than ever and a muslim world that's more pissed off than ever. Oh, and more government surveillance than ever...and the TSA to make you all stand in line and be groped (even the children).

Yeah, we know, you're just a bunch of harmless goofballs...

Re:Who's to blame? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43951109)

While I do agree that the US have been very helpful towards us during WWII and provided some much needed balance during the cold war, there are a lot of things it did wrong and still does. The fact that China and Russia do the same does not make those things okay. There is a world of difference between saving an allied nation from threat or invasion by a neighbor (good) and actively meddling in the domestic affairs of said nations. (bad)

Take the second Iraq war for example. Yes, the people were ruled by a dictator they would probably be better off without. Did the American intervention actually improve matters? Debatable. It is possible they would have had their own Arab Spring, maybe sparking a civil war for a time (like what is happening in syria) and the new boss might be as bad as the old boss (egypt) but the people would have at least a chance of eventually forming a decent government. Instead, a dictator has been replaced by an occupation force and puppet government. Regardless of actual intentions, this is how it looks like to at least some members of the populace, which is why there are still bombings and terrorist acts to this day. The whole mess has also antagonized much of the arab region against the west and encouraged Iran to develop nuclear weaponry.

Re:Who's to blame? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950913)

And it won't make a lick of difference
Because we've got the bombs, okay? John Wayne's not dead
He's frozen and as soon as we find the cure for cancer
We're gonna thaw out the duke and he's gonna be pretty pissed off
You know why? Have you ever taken a cold shower?
Well multiple that by 15 million times
That's how pissed off the Duke's gonna be

Re:Who's to blame? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 10 months ago | (#43950935)

We're not responsible for this shit - YOU ARE because you're too cowardly to stand up to us.

And that is how we're going to rule this fucking world and enslave you all - NSA, CIA, an army of politicians, and your own complacency.

Only Russia and China really stand any chance of remaining sovereign.

The rest of you guys? Bwahahahahaha. Pathetic.

Re:Who's to blame? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 10 months ago | (#43950799)

And personally i'm sick and tired of the 'blame America for the worlds woes'

So you see "Northern Hemisphere" and think that just means America? That continent spans both hemispheres!

Re:Who's to blame? (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950931)

you're right... northern hemisphere is only half of america

americans think they own the whole world, which also includes the southern hemisphere

Re:Who's to blame? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950897)

You do realize that niggers, Mexicans, and other minority trash live in the Northern Hemisphere, right?

Coal burning still a problem today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949791)

Seriously USA, get it together and get rid of it already.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949837)

more coal is burned in China than in the US.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950449)

So let's bitch about China instead of attempting to make change where we can! After all, we're slightly better than a communist dictatorship where the majority of the population barely has enough food to survive. Full speed ahead in our race to the bottom!

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950939)

don't forget that the USA is also a communist dictatorship... just by a different name

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43951143)

please! Communist dictatorships have universal healthcare. We're clearly facist state.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (3, Funny)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 10 months ago | (#43951263)

You're not in a fascist state, and the boys'll be knocking on your door shortly to convince you of that.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (-1, Troll)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 10 months ago | (#43950947)

Well, you can think about it it in realistic terms instead. Even if US adopted economy crushing policies to reduce emissions to insane levels it won't make an iota of difference compared to the 800 coal fired plants that India and China are building or planning. Furthermore, while these coal fired plants undoubtedly raise C02 levels the science of climatic feedback is so poorly understood it is not known whether those will be significant compared to the most significant 'greenhouse gas' - water vapour. In short, you'd be happy to destroy a productive economy for not real gain based on superstition peddled by alarmists. Despite what they say, the science is not settled and as time goes on it appears reality is trending towards the skeptics projections rather than the alarmists ones. You can mod me down for disagreeing with me, but you can't change the data that shows after a spike a decade ago global warming has slowed down to a negligible rate in the Northern Hemisphere and there is cooling in the Southern Hemisphere (where I live). I don't ask you to believe me, I ask you to check the data yourself before calling for deindustrialization.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 10 months ago | (#43951235)

Furthermore, while these coal fired plants undoubtedly raise C02 levels the science of climatic feedback is so poorly understood it is not known whether those will be significant compared to the most significant 'greenhouse gas' - water vapour.

It may have escaped your notice but there are large areas of open water on this planet.

Water vapour in the atmosphere is in equilibrium with the oceans.

The only way of increasing the water vapour in the atmosphere is to increase the temperature.... whoops!

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43951005)

We have made a change: we have some of the strictest particulate emission controls in the world. German diesel cars can't be sold in places like California because they emit too many particulates. Particulate counts around the world are dropping because other nations are slowly adopting the environmental regulations we pioneered.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949855)

The above comment is what you'd call a "double-entendre" -- on its deceptively harmless surface, the poster asks that the United States cease generating power through the combustion of fossilized Carbon.

However - "coal-burning" is also a slang term for interracial copulation, aka black-on-white miscegenation, and so white women who sleep with black men* are disparagingly referred to as "coal-burners."

* Having the soft internal pink of their conches pulled inside out by a thick turgid big black cock, that is.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (4, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | about 10 months ago | (#43949993)

You know, I live in the deep South and I've never once in my 53 years heard that term used that way until just now.

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950411)

Which is crazy because I noticed a lot of black men with white women in Indianapolis. WTF?! Whatever...

Re:Coal burning still a problem today (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#43950973)

Coal burning is not the problem by itself; coal power plants in the US have pretty effective particular filters. The US has lower particulate counts than Switzerland or Luxembourg, and about a third of the particulate count of China.

Not cooling, global waming! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949805)

Didn't anyone hand out the talking points? Coal causes CO2 emissions and global warming, not cooling! Please people, let's stay on script.

Re:Not cooling, global waming! (-1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 10 months ago | (#43949867)

Or does coal also cause particulates that block sunlight and offset the warming from the CO2? At least in the dirty parts of the world. In the US it just causes the warming because we have to filter the particulates.

Re:Not cooling, global waming! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949897)

Your repugnant, rotting cock will soon succumb to the warm embrace of my feces! Yeah, just keep stabbing your disgusting cock into my foul asshole, and make sure you stab it right through my soft, warm feces! It's a feces fiesta in here! What say you?

From the Ministry of Truth (0, Flamebait)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 10 months ago | (#43949893)

The cooling is the warning, obviously. Cooling is warming, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, Comrade!

Re:From the Ministry of Truth (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 10 months ago | (#43950959)

"Islam is the religion peace" is another doublespeak from the deluded islamophiles - yet jihad against infidels is commanded for every able bodied male if they can manage it (fortunately the West is too strong at the moment - so there is dispensation for deferring this commandment until a better opportunity).

Re:Not cooling, global waming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950013)

Why can't it cause cooling in one place and warming in another? Obama, as usual, was right when he used the word change. We know for a fact that racists caused a change. We just don't know how much of it is because of them. Either way, there's going to be a lot of old white men high-fiving each other after they read this headline.

Re:Not cooling, global waming! (0)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 10 months ago | (#43950177)

I've seen some questions raised on how much pollution in the 20th century masked global warming. I think this study shows just how much a relatively small change to a regional temperature can cause comparatively large changes in the area's climate. It should help support the potential changes that could come from a change of only a couple of degrees over the next century.

Re:Not cooling, global waming! (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#43950533)

Sorry but power won't generate itself and NIMBYs have made damned sure we ain't building any nuclear power plants so what else can you do?

Even the most generous estimates show that even if we throw trillions we don't have at it with current tech renewables will only provide at most around 30% of the US power needs, and that is IF we don't use any more than we are using now but if you want us to switch to hybrids? Well all that power ain't coming from the electric fairy.

This is why the USA ain't gonna do shit, its because we CAN'T do shit thanks to the NIMBYs every damned where. the Greenies say "ZOMG coal is soooo bad, stop burning that!" and you say fine, we'll replace them with nuke, then the NIMBYs go "ZOMG 3 mile island you can't build that!" so you go fine, we'll build some dams "ZOMG you'll kill the fishies!" well wind it is "ZOMG you'll kill the birds and ruin the land with noise pollution!" and on and on AND ON, meanwhile in the time it takes to get a single reactor through all the NIMBY shit China will have 25 reactors online so they ain't gonna have to worry when the oil gets scarce, they'll have high speed rail and electric vehicles and they aren't gonna have to be burning coal either.

Lets face it folks, much as i love this country the Asians are out there getting shit done and all we seem to be producing is lawsuits and whiners! You're not gonna get shit done about global warming here and it won't take a conspiracy, the NIMBYs will make damned sure you ain't building shit here so we have no choice but keep the shit we have going no matter what.

Re: Not cooling, global waming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950925)

The depressing thing... Its basically solvable with today's tech. it would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 10T$... which is not a viable number to even talk about politically. So instead we are going to wait until the front of the submarine touches the iceberg before we take the problem seriously.

Re:Not cooling, global waming! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 10 months ago | (#43950975)

if enough people sit around the campfire smoking joints they might give off enough heat to produce steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity

meanwhile china will be taking over the world... oh wait they basically already have

even if america decides it really has a problem with china, there is dick it can do because china has likely already bought all the political clout that american politicians can sell

if china needs a few bullion dollars to buy off more of america, they can just cash in some of their $1+ trillion is US treasuries

Oh no... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949849)

Particles from coal-burning factories in the United States and Europe during the 1960s, '70s and '80s cooled the entire Northern Hemisphere

I thought burning coal was supposed to be warming the planet, now it's causing global cooling? When will you 'libs' make up your minds!"

Coming in 3... 2... 1....

Re:Oh no... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 10 months ago | (#43949945)

Particles from coal-burning factories in the United States and Europe during the 1960s, '70s and '80s cooled the entire Northern Hemisphere

But, at the same time, the article says:

People living in the Northern Hemisphere did not notice the cooling, the authors said, because it balanced the heating associated with the greenhouse effect from increased carbon dioxide, so temperatures were steady.

If temperatures were steady, there was no cooling.

Re:Oh no... (5, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#43951073)

This sort of confusion is what psuedo-skeptics are are taking advantage of when they claim an ice age was predicted in the 70's. Coal gives off (among other things), SO2, CO2 and soot. Sulfur causes cooling, acid rain, and deadly "pea soup fog", Soot causes warming, lowers albedo, and accelerates ice melt. CO2 causes warming and ocean acidification. Some of the soot and sulfur was cleaned up by various clean air acts in the 60's & 70's after the death toll from "pea soupers" in London and other European cities started getting difficult to ignore. Sulfur emissions (and acid rain) were dramatically 20 odd years ago when Regan instituted a cap and trade treaty on sulfur emissions [smithsonianmag.com] , similar to those being proposed for CO2 (ironic, huh?).

Having said all that, climate scientists don't really talk about cooling or warming, they talk about +ve and -ve forcing and feedback [wikipedia.org] , two forcings with different signs can indeed cancel each other out. To confuse matters further CO2 can be both a forcing (humans, volcanoes) and a feedback (melting permafrost, increased bushfires). Feedbacks have far more uncertainty associated with them than forcings. When everything is taken into account you can work out a figure called "climate sensitivity" (CS). The CS in models compares very well with the CS derived from geology and really hasn't changed that much since the 70's.

All this is just a sample of the complexity that adds up to ripe pickings for people who have no problem deliberately misinforming the public for personal gain [sourcewatch.org] .

It's PAYBACK (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | about 10 months ago | (#43949853)

Payback, that is, for all the hurricanes they send us every year. Suck on it, Africa.

Re:It's PAYBACK (1)

eugene_roux (76055) | about 10 months ago | (#43951181)

Payback, that is, for all the hurricanes they send us every year. Suck on it, Africa.

Oh izzit?

Batten down the hatches, boys. Hurricane season next year might be a bit... uncomfortable...

Cure for global warming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949859)

"Particles from coal-burning factories in the United States and Europe during the 1960s, '70s and '80s cooled the entire Northern Hemisphere,..."

That should be pretty easy to duplicate. Could we use that system to cool the entire Northern Hemisphere again?

Because we all thought CO2 can't cross the equator (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949891)

Really? The Northern Hemisphere is the one that industrialized, it shouldn't be a surprise that it's the one that cause global warming.

Re:Because we all thought CO2 can't cross the equa (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 10 months ago | (#43950051)

You failed to comprehend what you read. The pollution from burning coal caused hemispherical cooling for the Northern part of the globe. Sad to admit but I'm unable to understand how cooling the Northern hemisphere caused global warming but I'm sure some of the geniuses around here will be glad to explain it to me. Too bad about Africa. It seems like whitey has been shafting them for a few centuries now. The slave trade, then the European powers carved the continent into provinces and raped the resources for their own benefit then throwing them unprepared into nationhood with no money and no prospects. Now through exploitation of coal for energy they've had their climate drastically changed. Life sucks, then you die.

Re:Because we all thought CO2 can't cross the equa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950137)

Those nasty Africans should never have split up Pangaea and forced the rest of us to float off on Laurasia. See what they caused?!!?

Re:Because we all thought CO2 can't cross the equa (1, Troll)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 10 months ago | (#43950999)

Um, perhaps you ought to check out a real history book some time. African slavery was run my Muslims. American businessmen were just one of the customers. Even today there is enslavement of Black animist and Christian Africans by Arab Africans in Sudan. Look on YouTube for "Simon Deng" if you want to see the personal testimony of a Sudanese man who escaped his Islamic masters. Sure, the imperialist European powers brought much bad in addition to the enormous good - but let's put the slave situation into historically accurate perspective, please. Especially since slavery still goes on today - and once the Caliphate is re-formed (by the Muslim Brotherhood, and their Salafi, Wahabbi and Al Qaeda mates) and an "Age of Jihad" is formally declared then we'll again see mass slavery again (non-Muslim women being espeicially prized as sex slave concubines with no rights). Saudi Arabia did not ban slavery until 1962 (and it still continues underground). In Britain there have been an epidemic (at least 60 gangs in recent years) of Muslim men deliberately grooming and drugging white British girls (around 12 seems to be the target age group). This article provides background about how slavery is explicitly permitted by Islam (and unlike the Abrahamic faiths) is still considered canon today. Here's an article that discusses the modern Islamic rulings that permit slavery (not just Qur'an 4:3):
http://sheikyermami.com/2013/03/23/sex-slaves-are-not-forbidden-by-islam/ [sheikyermami.com]

Obvious solution (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#43949919)

Burn more coal in the southern hemisphere, and push the rain back north...

Re:Obvious solution (4, Funny)

aevan (903814) | about 10 months ago | (#43950003)

Flash forward 60 years of push-o-war: global drought in the northern and southern hemispheres...with a towering curtain of water banding the equator...

Re:Obvious solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950473)

still way too many coalburners here in the US

Don't Worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949949)

Global warming will save the day and make things right as rain!

I don't think this is the whole story (5, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 10 months ago | (#43949959)

This [wisc.edu] goes much further into explaining some of the variance, both seasonal and longish-term (only goes back to the Fifties), of water table levels in the entire Chad basin - a system that covers a tenth of the entire African continent, not just a relatively small body of surface water. The human impact, according to that paper, accounts for about one twentieth of the total variance in the system but as much as 40% of the surface area of the lake itself (and up to half the volume), with most of that variance originating upstream in tributary river systems. AGW is barely even considered (or even mentioned, going by a quick scan down the paper), since the effects of AGW, if it even exists, have not been or cannot currently be measured because until it is properly defined, nobody even knows what to look for. It does deal with precipitation, which has had a bit of a lull over recent decades (1985-1994 being particularly dry years), but again this deals with the entire system not just the lake.

Re:I don't think this is the whole story (-1, Flamebait)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#43951009)

See, the way this works is: (1) take a large collection of randomly varying measurements, loosely and intuitively related to climate, (2) select the subset that correlates vaguely with some aspect of human behavior or economics you are ideologically opposed to, (3) write a paper about how the behavior causes the measurements and proclaim that it is a statistically and scientifically proven fact that one causes the other.

It's about consequences ... (4, Interesting)

MacTO (1161105) | about 10 months ago | (#43949969)

Personally, I don't buy into the global warming camp or anti-climate change camp. I recognize that the system in question is far too complex for us to understand with certainty. I also recognize that the system is "easy" to understand within statistical certainties, which are not reported often enough. I am also sane enough to recognize that my education in astrophysics only gives me some understanding into the issues of anthropomorphic climate change, rather than a complete understanding of it. I also recognize that my education gives me less understanding in it than climatologists, yet more understanding in it than scientists who never deal with problems at a planetary scale.

Yet one thing I am certain of: actions imply consequences. The consequences may be positive, negative, or neutral. Whatever the outcome, we must make an attempt to understand it. Our best means of understanding it are scientific. Political attempts to understand it only tell us if the consequences are desirable, thus they must come after scientific attempt to understand it. Other means of understanding climate change are likely based upon invalid systems of knowledge, and ought to be rejected altogether.

To make a long story short: I'd have to read the paper itself to judge the degree to which it's valid. Given that it is based upon scientific principles, I'm going to have to plead: I'm human, I have limited resources to deal with the problem presented before me, it is based upon a system of knowledge that I find acceptable (i.e. science), so I accept it.

As long as the authors are being intellectually honest, I believe that it is a valid way to accept their conclusions. (If they aren't intellectually honest, I'll hate them but still stand by the principle: actions imply consequences, now figure out what the consequences are.)

Re:It's about consequences ... (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#43950115)

When the changes affect global weather (and other) systems, the can be positive and negative, depending on your location and what period of time your looking at. It's part of why it's so difficult to measure and forecast.

Re:It's about consequences ... (2, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | about 10 months ago | (#43950165)

It's too bad that people like you are a tiny minority among the screaming hordes of the scientifically illiterate and those who take everything "scientific" they read at face value.

Re:It's about consequences ... (5, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | about 10 months ago | (#43950181)

Personally, I don't buy into the global warming camp or anti-climate change camp. ... Given that it is based upon scientific principles, I'm going to have to plead: I'm human, I have limited resources to deal with the problem presented before me, it is based upon a system of knowledge that I find acceptable (i.e. science), so I accept it.

So if, say, 50% of scientific papers are "intellectually honest," and 97% of scientific papers addressing climate change conclude that anthropogenic factors are the main drivers of variance over the last century or more, then how can you not "buy into the global warming camp"?

Isn't the whole "anti-climate change camp" devoted to the notion that there is such a thing as major, wide-spread actions without consequences, contrary to your major assertion? Because on the level of global climate, somehow man's actions are perpetually too small to effect it, or a deity will counter any potential harm we do, or the planet will magically turn every potential disadvantage to advantage, or the like?

Re:It's about consequences ... (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#43950463)

Isn't the whole "anti-climate change camp" devoted to the notion that there is such a thing as major, wide-spread actions without consequences, contrary to your major assertion?

You've nailed it. It's driven by the creationist idiots that think God created a perfect unchanging world so any suggestion of change is a spit in God's eye. It's a pity they think their God is so limited.

Re:It's about consequences ... (2, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 10 months ago | (#43950693)

It's driven by the creationist idiots that think God created a perfect unchanging world so any suggestion of change is a spit in God's eye.

I know it's wrong to try to respond to flamebait, but you have it backwards. It's the people who think that the way the world is right this very minute is the way it is always supposed to be and we must do everything we can to keep it static that are the problem, and they aren't the religious nuts, they're the eco-nuts. They admit that they know about ice ages and the lush, tropical periods that the dinosaurs flourished in, but somehow today is perfect and no change, man-made OR natural, can be allowed to happen. Yes, it was different before, but it can no longer be different because we like it the way it is.

They're the ones bemoaning the extinction of species that no longer fit the climate or environment, and trying to build seawalls to stop the ocean from eroding that spit that developed a mere fifty years ago, but they've built their home on it and it must be preserved because it's "natural" and that's how it has "always been". The very people who hurl insults at "those religious nuts" for not accepting Evolution as the origin of life are the ones who try to stop true evolution and survival of the fittest from happening.

It's a pity they think their God is so limited.

Backwards again. Religious people know God isn't limited. It's the atheists who cannot fathom a God with powers they cannot personally understand or account for.

You don't see the religious right out protesting for carbon cap and trade or against energy users or producers. They know better. Change happens. It is Hope and Change doesn't.

Re:It's about consequences ... (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 10 months ago | (#43950857)

You've missed it. It's not about religious people being stupid but instead about stupid people trying to make stupidity a virtue in a cut down version of a religion. Recall this is the same bunch that rejects the idea of an educated clergy and saw Jesuits (and well educated Protestant clergy) as their mortal enemy before they started going after scientists.

Pointing out a flaw in a Christianity Lite franchise that's really all about money and control is not the same as going after everyone with a belief.

You've read far too much into a simple statement above and managed to argue about something different and attack the team you think I'm cheering for

Re:It's about consequences ... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#43951057)

Isn't the whole "anti-climate change camp" devoted to the notion that there is such a thing as major, wide-spread actions without consequences, contrary to your major assertion?

No. One has to start by not mischaracterizing the arguments. First, this sort of juvenile argument is why I recommend we don't use the phrase "climate change" in a scientific context. Here, by describing the opposition to the current theories of anthropogenic global warming or AGW and to proposed costly societal remedies as "anti-climate change" or somehow denying that any climate ever changes, which I don't think describes anything other than a very small sliver of society.

Most such opposition grants some sort of climate change, even if it's God flooding the Earth to rid the world of a bunch of sinners. And most will grant natural climate change such as the glacial and interglacial periods of the ice ages. So almost everyone grants that climate change happens and most grant that the climate has changed in the past in the way that climatologists are worried about. The global temperature can raise and lower with effect on regional weather patterns.

Going past that, some even grant that AGW happens, which is the camp I'm in. But that doesn't imply that it is better that we do something about AGW than not.

There is this huge spectrum of beliefs. It's not all people who don't believe that climate never changes and that the Earth's climate won't ever change in the future.

Second, there is a lot more than a little dishonesty in this area. For example, the repeated assertion of consensus as an indication of correctness, such as you do above. There's a lot of money available to those who can back AGW propaganda and mitigation policies.

And I assert that aggregation of paleoclimate data has been taken over by these particular forces. Interpretation of the climates of the past is pretty much owned by a few organizations that all depend on AGW being some sort of threat to humanity in order to obtain funding.

And then there's the money. I figure there is currently roughly tens of billions each year in public funds available to special interests as a result of concern about AGW. And that this will go up to hundreds of billions per year in the next ten to twenty years, but only if the public buys in that AGW is a clear and present danger.

So if, say, 50% of scientific papers are "intellectually honest," and 97% of scientific papers addressing climate change conclude that anthropogenic factors are the main drivers of variance over the last century or more, then how can you not "buy into the global warming camp"?

So if the current paper isn't "intellectually honest" or is dependent on a paper which isn't. Then what? Arguments such as the above are painful to read. In the advent of widespread "intellectual dishonesty," especially when that is focused on certain influential areas, then it will matter. One should have an obligation to not just "buy in". If it's not, then it won't.

It's worth noting here that the only thing the paper does is claim cause and effect from a perceived correlation between global rainfall patterns and production of carbon soot in a certain region.

Other regions (particularly India and China) have increased production of carbon soot and sulfates during this time. So we have a regional drop in sulfate production (the focus of the study), but not a corresponding global drop [certi-clean.com] in sulfate production. In that link, see the graph on page 10. Note that sulfate production is only down slightly (about 15% roughly) from its peak in 1970.

Because on the level of global climate, somehow man's actions are perpetually too small to effect it, or a deity will counter any potential harm we do, or the planet will magically turn every potential disadvantage to advantage, or the like?

No. There is also the camp that no one has demonstrated that it is better to do anything about AGW, such as inhibiting the global economy by transitioning to a society that generates less greenhouse gases.

Re:It's about consequences ... (1)

chipschap (1444407) | about 10 months ago | (#43950391)

Political attempts to understand it only tell us if the consequences are desirable, thus they must come after scientific attempt to understand it.

I too cannot determine on my own whether the science supporting the conclusions being discussed here is sound. On the face of it I don't have strong reason to simply discard the conclusions; presumably the work was done by intellectually honest, competent scientists.

It's the political attempts at understanding that give me some trouble. Studies like this are eagerly taken up by those who want to believe that we are "bad" people and America is a "bad" country, to be blamed for anything and everything wrong in the world ... while they (the blamers) continue to enjoy their comforts and luxuries, and a lifestyle only dreamed of by much of the rest of the world.

Re:It's about consequences ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950539)

I don't buy into the global warming camp or anti-climate change camp. I recognize that the system in question is far too complex for us to understand with certainty.

However, the latter is all the anti-AGW camp wants from you. Just wait. Do nothing. Delay. That's why they exist.

I accept AGW science because it is the most hammered and hated field of science since evolution and yet, like evolutionary biology, it keeps on producing results. A good dumb-guy's-test of this is to look at level the two sides are working at: As in, say, cosmology, where the "big bang camp" are looking at subtle patterns in the CMB data to work out fine details of early inflation, or stretch into fringes like multiverse theory, meanwhile the "steady state camp" are still stuck arguing "is not!". Here we have AGW theorists talking about single region cooling events, caused by secondary climate effects, while the anti-AGW camp is still trying to argue whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

anthropomorphic climate change

Anthropogenic. "Caused by", not "Resembles".

Anthropomorphic climate change is when people see animus in weather events. "Mother Earth is finally waking up and scratching off the parasite of humanity", or "God sent this to punish us for gays in the military".

cut the BS already (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949977)

really had enough of Slashdot's "climate change" BS

old news(very) (1)

Sensei_knight (177557) | about 10 months ago | (#43950019)

If by pollution, you mean Mount St Helens erupting, then yes the infamous drought in Africa what's the result of air pollutants originating from North America. This is very old news.

Dalhousie already did it. (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#43950053)

This study sounds all radical and leading edge but was fundamentally done about 10 years ago by a Canadian researcher from Dalhousie University.
Talk about taking credit for someone else's work. Without going through the paywall I can't see if the much earlier work was properly cited but regardless they are making it sound like this is a groundbreaking discovery as opposed to confirming and probably increasing the detail of previous work.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kindom proved... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950091)

That Africa was a hot, desolate shithole in the 70's. And it still a hot, desolate shithole in 2013.

When did Africa change? It didn't rain for a few years??? Hmmm... let me think... wasn't it about the 1920's when we had a significant drought in the middle of the US (aka the dust bowl). Was that global warming from all the coal fired power plants in the SOUTHERN hemisphere?

Basically people who study the climate have their heads up their asses.

Remember... by 1980 we were supposed to have started the next ICE AGE.

Bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950129)

see Penn and Teller's Bullshit.

Toto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950139)

Did Toto write a song about this?

OMG Ponies, America is to blame! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950201)

I'm sure the industrial countries are not helping the environment, but the geologic record shows plenty of warming and cooling trends over a course of millions of years, not just the past 30. So a lake is drying up, probably is also over tapped for irrigation as well. I'll play the world's smallest violin for Lake Chad.

The prophets of doomsday. I the 80s it was cooling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950307)

In the mid 70's there was a better trend among doomsday prophets, they called it the "Global Cooling". All unexplained weather phenomena where blamed on it. I guess the trend is back :-)

Blame the USA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950325)

Is really getting old.

Its not our fault the world has problems. ( and 1/2 of the problems are marketing scam anyway ) And even if it was, too damned bad.

Oh Yeah? Well..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950413)

Sucks to be them!
Fuck those people anyway...

Why? Because fuck you too.

One word describes this (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 10 months ago | (#43950775)

HORSE SQUEEZE. Everything in the world is not America's fault. Heck, if it wasn't for the USA, WW1 would haven't been won, WW2 wouldn't have been one, the airplane, automobile, electric lights, industrialization, many advances in medicine, vaccines etc. Tell ya what....next earthquake, flood, volcano, hurricane, call someone else...we'll set this one out. Bunch of ingrates....

HOMmO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43950803)

wall: *BSD faces a But with Netcraft Completely before

It's Whitey's fault, yet again... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43951303)

Nothing to do with the fact that the average IQ of a sub-saharan African is 70.

Why can't the worthless blacks look after themselves? And why are these losers in OUR countries?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...