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After posting my first kos diary a couple of days ago on Climate change will be much worse than you think, I read a recent MIT report that predicts temperature increases this century due to global warming.  The report, Probabilistic Forecast for 21st Century  Climate Based on Uncertainties in Emissions  (without Policy) and Climate Parameters, is an update to a report done in 2003.  Here is the bottom line:

So, what does this graph say?  It says that in a business-as-usual ("no policy") scenario, there is a 50% chance that the temperature will 5C (9F) or more warmer in 2095 and there is a 95% chance that it will be 3.5C (6.3F) or more warmer in 2095!

Scientists tell us that going past 2C (3.6F) warmer will be disaster.  As I said in my previous post, 2C (3.6F) warming will be really bad, 3C (5.4F) will be biblical, and at 4C (7.2F) and above, we face the possible collapse of agriculture, the economy, and perhaps civilization itself.  It may be "Game Over" at 6C (10.8F) and above.

We can see from the graph that there is a 50% chance we will cross the 2C (3.6F) "danger line" between 2040 and 2050, and there is a 95% chance will will cross it by 2060 or before.

The report states that there wasn't any major items that caused the increase in temperatures between the 2003 and 2009 reports.  Rather, a number of small items had a multiplicative effect instead of additive.  This makes sense when you realize that increases in temperature cause other increases.  For example, a temperature increase caused by melting permafrost will warm the ocean which, in turn, will absorb less CO2 which, in turn, will increase the impact of other releases of CO2.

I hate to say it, but I can't think of any reason why the next report in a few years won't show an even more alarming graph.

You can see more about climate change (including a reading list, links, and news items) at my web site,

Originally posted to dannym999 on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 12:12 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks for posting this info (9+ / 0-)

    I wonder if they have taken the current economy into account? This is a real wild card, because there's a huge contraction going on world wide and it will have some unpredictable effects. It isn't the most pleasant way to reduce carbon emissions, but I'm sure hoping it's going to help some.

    In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

    by Lefty Mama on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 12:35:17 AM PST

  •  If you want more scary check out this: (6+ / 0-)

    It is time for action!

  •  check diary on rec list (12+ / 0-)

    by A. Siegel, pointing out that WaPo and NYT are standing together in solidarity, one on the Will column and the other on a review of Obama science appointments and proposals which turns into a hatchet job. This diary with the WaPo/NYT diary makes a nice pair of bookends as data continues to be collected but the MSM still is pandering to denialists.

    With the latest piece, there is an idea presented by Roger Pielke, Jr, a social scientist, who is concerned that if scientists do not present "all sides" but appear to be partisan, they will not appear to be honest brokers.

    This idea is a bit bizarre when applied to pure science since the researcher formulates a hypothesis, develops a model that should test the basic premise and then he examines the results of the experiment and tries to come to conclusions as to why the results were what they were.

    Unless the scientist is faking his data or cherrypicking his data or manipulating either the data or the process, there should not be any room for this "honest broker" idea since the scientist is not an advocate for one position or the other but more of a reporter and analyzer (not precise description but this is from a climate denier who appears to be trying to set the same ground rules that ID proponents want; the basic presumption  that the denialist position is a valid one)        

    •  Pielke's writings have been bizarre. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Hamlet, 1:5

      by synductive99 on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 11:14:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as a scientist I have the responsibility to present the "side of the facts" as best I can understand them, nothing else. I havent read that article but scientists having to present "all sides" sounds like total bullshit. There aren´t sides in science like in politics, it isnt a sports game, it frequently is operating at the limits of understanding with a set of observations that is far from conclusive. Evenhandedness is actually anti science and that Pielke guy must know it or I can´t think much of him as a scientist.

        And next, scientists are also citizens and as such they have as much right to be partisan as anyone else. However when they present views etc based on their science, that should be based on its merits.

        the problem is rather that many people are totally uneducated (in the sense of unprepared) to deal with science. You dont have to be able to do science to be prepared to work with it but you have to have learned to understand how it works and what the scientific approach is and isnt, and that could be taught nearly everyone in basic education and it apparently isn´t. If Pielke is a sociologist then that is a field where he might wish to focus his activity on.

  •  The Permian extinction event (8+ / 0-)

    began with a 5 degree increase in temperature. Just sayin'.

  •  FYI ... (10+ / 0-)

    Posted MIT produces study that should terrify us: Or, why George Will should read WashPost.COM Monday.  

    The MIT work should scare us. This is serious confirmation of how bad our situation can get.  And, it was well reported by a part of The Washington Post. A part, we can suspect, that George F Will and the opinion page editors don't bother to read.

    I think this graphic is good as well ...


    FYI: Cited you at Get Energy Smart! NOW!! also.

  •  Pogo Was Wrong. Don't That Just Beat All? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, Temmoku, twinpeaks

    Pogo told a street person weaing a sandwich board sign proclaiming the end was near that the fellow was an optimist.  The end of the world wasn't near, said Pogo, and the poor fellow was just going to have to put up with things.

    I hate to say it, but I can't think of any reason why the next report in a few years won't show an even more alarming graph.


    Who do you think will be around to make the graph, let alone look at it?

    Best,  Terry

  •  Don't be scared (0+ / 0-)

    For every chart that shows temps rising, you can find one that shows them falling.

    My take - they can't tell me what the weather is going to be like next week - so I don't get too worried when they tell me what it's going to be like in 80 years.

    Just don't pollute, be eco friendly and we'll all be fine.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 04:20:17 AM PST

    •  you clearly don't understand (10+ / 0-)

      anything about science, or long term forecasting vs short term weather. Try again.  And by the way, can you point to even ONE graph (let alone the many you indicate) by actual scientists predicting global temp declines over the next 100 years?

      Please stop with the right wing denier talking point about since you can't predict localized weather more than 72 hours in advance you can't predict global long term patterns. That is called "demogoguery" - defined as the willful misleading of those who do not understand.  It is BS and you know it.  If you don't you really should look into it before you post crap like this.

      •  Here we go.... (0+ / 0-)

        Lets see, it only took you a few sentences to insult me and then tell me I'm pushing RW talking points....I didn't say GW was not a problem but the diarist said they are scared....I said don't be becasue these predictions are just that.

        Here's a big F-O to you for being so rude.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 05:05:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you still have not indicated (5+ / 0-)

          that you understand the questions I raised.  You don't understand projections and statistics from your responses. What is the basis of saying that just because something is a projection or prediction (no matter how well founded) that we have nothing to worry about?  If GW is a problem we only know about  the magnitude of the problem from scientific projections and models.  If you discount them you discount the science.

          And one more thing - you claimed that you can deny long term projections because we can't predict tomorrow's weather. That is ludicrous.  It is a false comparison.  It enables right wing deniers.

          Finally, I asked you to produce even one graph from a scientist that projects cooling over the next 100 years.  You said that they exist in equal numbers to those like the ones in the diary.  

        •  ctexrep, it it is hard to be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snakelass, environmentalist

          polite to someone who is so hopelessly clueless as you appear to be.  Congrats to bluegrass50 for telling it like it is.

        •  Sorry dude (0+ / 0-)

          but you're really, really clueless on this and trumpet RW talking points so of course that is bluegrass50 accused you of.  

          You are WAY off base.

  •  one important point about communicating to (7+ / 0-)

    the public - we should always rescale these predictions to Farenheit.  Most Americans have no intuitive feel for the differences in the scales.

    Most Americans will see it as 2 "degrees" or 4 "degrees" without realizing the vast difference between the F and C scales.

    Then the deniers will pick up on this and mislead by talking about "degrees" without any reference to scales.

    •  Yes! I was confused when I first started reading (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, twinpeaks

      about global warming. I went and looked it up and don't remember even now the conversion other than the fact that the science being expressed in C made it seem significantly less than when I converted the numbers into F.

      Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

      by Bob Guyer on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 06:28:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here you go, C to F Conversion (0+ / 0-)

        C x 9/5 = F (for relative degrees, not for specific temperatures)

        So, 7C Warming = 12.6F
        5C = 9F
        3.5C = 6.3F
        2C = 3.6F

        And these are global averages.  The poles will warm much more than the equator, so bye bye Greenland and (eventually) Antarctica.  As Jim Hansen puts it, we will live in an ice-free world.  That means sea level rise of 280 feet eventually (not this century), but 6 feet this century is likely and 20 feet is not out of the question.

        Remember, the graph above is "no policy", with policy (like the upcoming COP15 conference to replace the Kyoto Protocol, things won't be nearly as bad (though they will still be quite bad!).

      •  OK, I've added Fahrenheit to the post (0+ / 0-)
    •  Thats the problem (0+ / 0-)

      scientists are acting like scientists. They use the scale that actually makes sense, not the one that is better for informing the public. Of course, it shouldn't be the job of scientists to inform the public, that is what the media is for(... you can stop giggling now).

  •  Point of new return (4+ / 0-)

    I believe we left it in the dust some time ago. Reducing carbon emissions will do little to slow down the dominoes. Toss this stupid "clean coal" research and throw some serious resources into pulling carbon OUT of the atmosphere. Even so, I don't think we'll reach an equilibrium for many generations.

    Just call me Debby Downer.

    •  An Upper For You, Debbie Downer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snakelass, Temmoku

      I tend to agree it will likely only get worse but our data remains very limited.

      There are far more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.  The destruction of rainforest may be playing a far greater role than we know and so on.

      What we do know is the oxymoron you refer to, "clean coal" is a terrible symptom of the problem.

      We can change but there is no evidence we will.

      Best,  Terry

      •  Cow farting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Talking of more potent gases.  Methane bubbles up from the arctic permafrost and creates a positive feedback -- something the UNies forgot but the MIT people seem to have factored in.  And then there's the question of red meat consumption, which has 14 times the carbon footprint of poultry and for many people is comparable to the extra emissions of driving an SUV rather than a standard car according to one report I read.  There's a simple solution, though -- besides a chicken in every pot instead of a steak on every barbie, we could also dramatically reduce methane emissions by feeding cattle food they're not allergic to.  Grain, the feedlot staple, gives them the runs.  Natural grass is what they're supposed to eat.

    •  Should've been our focus all along (0+ / 0-)

      The lifestyle changes required to reduce emissions are going to be an impossible sell.

      Developing technology to pull the carbon out of the atmosphere not only helps in and of itself, it reduces the necessary changes to reduce emissions to the point where they'll be palatable to the general public.

      Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

      by Whimsical on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 07:31:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Selling energy bill frugality is always possible (0+ / 0-)

        There are few things more annoying than seeing hundreds of dollars literally go up in smoke every month on natural gas or fuel oil, or driving a lumbering 20mpg vehicle and looking over into the next lane to see yourself get burned by a little 35mpg four-banger.

        That's the entry point for getting people to save money.  Admittedly, convincing people to keep consumer durables for longer will take not only higher quality but also education on the incredible environmental impact of producing them.  I personally think a good approach in cities is to make people pay the true cost of disposal.  To make such an approach stick in the countryside as well you'd need some enforcement so that it doesn't all end up as junk in the woods.

        •  But its not going to be saving money (0+ / 0-)

          In order to reduce emissions, a LOT of people are both going to have to pay more and make do with less energy, while at the same time watching China and India increase CO2 emissions.

          They're just not gonna roll over and take that; they will fight every step of the way until it is far beyond too late.

          No, I remain convinced that the only way we get out of the global warming pit we are in, and I concede we may not, will be to invent our way out of it.

          Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

          by Whimsical on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:09:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is There Any Cloud Modeling? (0+ / 0-)

    At all?
    Cause I sure didn't see any.

  •  not to worry.... (0+ / 0-)

    In mid-December 2008 there was a record ice storm in northern New England.... proof that there is no such thing as global warming.  Two days after the ice storm, the region had record high temperatures for mid-December... up in the mid-60s Fahrenheit... thus proving there is no such thing as global cooling.  No global warming and no global cooling means no climate change at all.  Yayyyy!  We can screw our incadescent light bulbs back in, we can keep driving our Hummers and we can keep partying on!  Yayyyyy!

    At least it is proof if we assume that a few days of strange weather in one corner of the planet can disprove theories based on many years of observations about the global climate... and we also have to overlook the fact that ice storms only happen when the temperature is just slightly below freezing.  LOL.

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