Monday, June 16, 2008

Is warming bad?

Cousin Mark goes to the trouble of reading the IPCC report so we don't have to. I looked up site after site and graph after graph on the points made in the report. For every claim made there is a counter claim. The statistics can be interpreted in many ways. But, let's suppose that all of the global warming enthusiasts are right and we are entering a significantly warmer period; is this a bad thing?

One of the many things that is constantly brought up is increased drought due to warming; this makes no sense. If the planet warms then that should cause melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. If that occurs what is the impact? The impact is to release more water. Therefore, a warm period should be a wetter period. Glacial periods are the truly dry periods with low biomass; fewer plants and therefore fewer animals. Interglacial periods are the periods of plenty on the Earth. The Mesozaic era, the dinosaur period, was a time of a warmer planet than what we are in now, or likely to be in, even in the worst case scenarios. This period lasted some 180 million years and was a time of tremendous abundance in flora and fauna.

The only real problem that warming presents is a disruption of the status quo. Flooding of some low lying coastal areas, and perhaps inundation of some low elevation islands, like the Maldives. This is problematic for the people in the affected areas, but on a global issue we have to consider the impact on the human species, not individual humans.

So though I'm skeptical of global warming as a long term problem. I think we should hope for warming as opposed to cooling, which is what sunspot activity would predict.


Cousin Mark said...

J.R. - it seems like you are minimizing the potential devastation global warming could cause in its "disruption of the status quo."

Here are some tidbits I found:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the primary federal agency responsible for managing the oceans, has projected that by 2010 half of all Americans will be living in coastal counties. Globally almost two-thirds of the world's largest cities are coastal. Sixty percent of people on Earth live within 97 kilometers (60 miles) of the sea. Ten percent of the world's population lives in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters (33 feet) above sea level. Although they only comprise about 2.2 percent of the world's land area, these low-elevation coastal zones (LECZs) are home to 600 million people.

J.R. said...

I am minimizing it, because the IPCC predicts a rise of 1.5 feet by 2100. That is not likely to be a major problem. Now the crazed Al Gore claims a rise of 20 feet, but he is just not credible.

Cousin Mark said...

The thing that worries me are the current atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations being so high.. higher than in 10's or 100's of thousands of years. And I think the science is clear that these are greenhouse gases.

It's scary to think what the 22nd century might be like if CO2 and CH4 keep rising like they have been. It might not strongly impact the majority of voting age adults in our lifetime, but what about our great-great-great-grandchildren?