mercredi 6 août 2008

World View: Climate Change, 4C Rise & Rainfall

Moon transits Earth (infrared)

Such a pretty planet. Why don't we take better care of it?

As the lake's pollution increases (12 cases of e-coli in 2007 & 2 cases of algae in 2008), I recall 2 conversations.

One was with a person who suggested some years back that the lake was too deep to be polluted. All along his family's home was dumping their septic system into the lake. Just last summer the neighbours caught "wind" and notified the authorities. They live in Baie Yelle, site of the algae outbreak!

A second person suggested this July that climate change was a hoax; and that the horrible summer and that the increase in rainfall was proof that the temperature was getting cooler. According to this person climate change was all crap.

In both instances I tried to make my case that all the scientists (NOAA, IWMI, NASA's GISS, UCS, WCS, USGA, AMS, UNEP, WMO, WHO, IPCC) ...blah blah blah. The U.N. Climate Panel, drawing on the work of 2,500 scientists, said last year that rainfall was likely to get more intense... blah blah blah. But to no avail.

...In short, global warming is going to make extreme weather even more extreme than scientists have thought.

So, as both these articles suggest, these 2 people's mindsets are clearly wrong (I am being polite). Except their mindset and resulting actions, and lack their of, are causing harm to the lake and their neighbours.

Stern Report established that - from the point of view of climate change on the global economy - prevention is cheaper than cure. Can not the same can be said of e-coli & algae blooms, on the lake, the local economy and property values?

Moreover, the Stern Report has come up with potential scenarios. ...Yikes!

"No Lake is an Island"
- Paul

Melting ice caps in Greenland. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Climate change: Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientist

Defra's chief adviser says we need strategy to adapt to potential catastrophic increase
James Randerson, science correspondent
Wednesday August 06 2008
The Guardian

The UK should take active steps to prepare for dangerous climate change of perhaps 4C according to one of the government's chief scientific advisers.

In policy areas such as flood protection, agriculture and coastal erosion Professor Bob Watson said the country should plan for the effects of a 4C global average rise on pre-industrial levels. The EU is committed to limiting emissions globally so that temperatures do not rise more than 2C.

"There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial," Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the Guardian. "But given this is an ambitious target, and we don't know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realise a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C."

Globally, a 4C temperature rise would have a catastrophic impact.

According to the government's 2006 Stern review on the economics of climate change, between 7 million and 300 million more people would be affected by coastal flooding each year, there would be a 30-50% reduction in water availability in Southern Africa and the Mediterranean, agricultural yields would decline 15 to 35% in Africa and 20 to 50% of animal and plant species would face extinction. MORE >>>

Environment: Intense rainfall due to global warming could raise flood risk
Ian Sample, science correspondent
Friday August 8 2008
The Guardian

Climate scientists have issued a fresh warning over the future risk of flooding after research showed heavy rainstorms are likely to become even more intense than predicted.

Rainfall is expected to increase with global warming because the atmosphere can hold more water as it heats up, but the extent to which rainfall patterns will change in the future has been unclear.

Writing in the US journal Science, researchers warn regions that are already vulnerable to flooding will be hit hardest by rainstorms in the future, and that previous predictions may have underestimated how intense these rainstorms will be.

Researchers from Reading and Miami Universities used satellite data from 1987 to 2004 to see how natural changes in surface and air temperatures caused by El Niño weather events influenced rainfall over the tropics. They found a clear link, with countries experiencing far more rainfall as temperatures rose.

"When we first looked, we saw that the warm periods were associated with the periods of heaviest rainfall, but when we looked more carefully, we found the models underestimated what the satellite data showed by a factor of two to three," said Richard Allan, who led the study.

If other researchers are able to confirm the findings, it suggests areas already prone to flooding may experience far more problems as global temperatures rise.

Yesterday one of the government's chief science advisers, Robert Watson, said the UK must prepare for a 4C rise in average temperatures, despite Europe's declared goal of no more than a 2C rise.

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