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Antarctica
Melting faster than it's growing.
For two decades, uncertainty over whether Antarctica was gaining mass or losing it from melting ice has made it difficult for scientists to predict the level of sea-level rise to be expected from global warming. The data showed, in the view of some scientists, that ice loss in the Arctic was being balanced by a gain in the Antarctic. Now a study published in the Nov. 30 issue of Science shows conclusively from satellite data that East Antarctica is, in fact, gaining ice, but the loss from western Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula is twice as great as that gain.

In Greenland, the study concludes, ice is now melting at five times the rate it was in the 1990s.

Together with ice lost in Greenland, the melting in Antarctica has, the scientists say, raised sea levels worldwide by 11 mm in those 20 years, several times as much as previous measurements have shown. Combined loss: nearly 5 trillion metric tons of ice.

"The estimates are the most reliable to date, and end 20 years of uncertainty of ice mass changes in Antarctica and Greenland," said study leader, Andrew Shepherd, of Leeds University. "There have been 30 different estimates of the sea level rise contribution of Greenland and Antarctica, ranging from an annual 2mm rise to a 0.4mm fall.

"We can state definitively that both Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass, and as [the] temperature goes up we are going to lose more ice."

The Guardian has an interactive map for both here and here.

The scientists point out that the study does not resolve all the issues needed to predict how great sea-level rise will be because the interactions between warming air, warming seas, glaciers and the two giant ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica as hugely complex. Ian Joughlin, a member of the study team from the University of Washington, Seattle, said: "In Greenland, we are seeing really dramatic losses in ice, but it is still uncertain if it will slow, stay the same or accelerate further."

The sea-level rise of about a half-inch may seem small, but:

Study lead author Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds in England, said their results provide a message for negotiators in Doha, Qatar, who are working on an international agreement to fight global warming: “It’s very clear now that Greenland is a problem.” [...]

That seemingly tiny extra bit probably worsened the flooding from an already devastating Superstorm Sandy last month, said NASA ice scientist Erik Ivins, another co-author of the study. He said the extra weight gives each wave a little more energy.

“The more energy there is in a wave, the further the water can get inland,” Ivins said.

Part of that rise in sea level comes from the expansion of water because the ocean itself is warming. That warming contributes to the intensity of storms while the higher sea levels means higher storm surges, which, as seen in Hurricane Sandy can be immensely damaging.

In another study just published Nature Geosciences magazine, Alejandro Orsi, associate professor of oceanography, and his colleagues from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, researched steady warm water flows under the Antarctic ice shelves that extend from land into the surrounding Southern Ocean. The study added to concerns that warmer water may be contributing more to glacial loss on the continent than is warming air.

Perhaps, after having poured a billion or two dollars into denialist propaganda and buying puppets in Congress over the years, the Koch brothers and their ilk will soon be telling us no problem, we can grow wheat and corn in Antarctica to replace the losses in the world's existing agricultural belts.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:26 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Inhofe - Climate Denier (8+ / 0-)

    James Inhofe should consider checking himself out over this news.

    •  Will he ever (0+ / 0-)

      accept the moral responsibility of just the possibility that he is wrong?!?!  Perhaps in his pigheadedness he really does not "believe" in climate science, but he cannot at this point deny it is "possible" and if he stated this, I am certain he would be lying.  I mean, seriously.  So how can no action possibly be morally justified at this point??  So utterly despicable.

  •  I just ran the math on the sea level change (12+ / 0-)

    in FishOutofWaters diary in this comment and came up with 11.1mm of change. I'm not sure if I should be happy or worried that I'm off by .1 mm. ;D

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:34:37 PM PST

    •  "11.1 millimeters" (0+ / 0-)

      I really don't think the metric system is very helpful (yes, I did the conversion) - and I do see your broad laugh sign, so we're cool! "Nearly half an inch" seems a lot more informative than the appearance that a thousandth of less than half an inch is significant, doesn't it?  And to say "a planet-wide ocean rise of nearly half an inch" from current melting before the serious coming melt kicks in helps (Americans) to understand the problem more clearly.

       

      •  Half an inch won't impress very many (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeteZerria

        especially since most of those Americans who are the most stubbornly ignorant don't live anywhere near the sea. I'm not sure they really understand the concept of 3 feet of sea rise, that's just a tide, right? When they visit the beach, the boardwalk is like 10 feet above sea level.

        Drought... that they understand better. 110 degree summers in kansas they will understand.

        •  Utah - We are still mowing lawns (5+ / 0-)

          My mint and dill weed are still growing and thriving.  As a matter of fact, the dill weed is flourishing IN my lawn.  Smelled great when I mowed it this past week.

          Very freaky non-winter here, imo.  And Rio Tinto/Kennecott Copper Mine wants to add another 500,000 residents as they build houses on their land in Salt Lake County.  Maybe Rio Tinto will desalinize the Great Salt Lake to provide water.  lol

          OK, THIS IS AN ASIDE, I am afraid of our so-called drinking water.

          Oh, wait.  The huge aquifer that the copper mine has been polluting for 150 years is being used to provide tap water now.  There's not too much arsenic in it, whew (snark).  It's what comes out of my tap, which I don't drink or cook with.  Rio Tinto operates a reverse osmosis system (they just got a waiver so they don't have to change the filters, designed for three years use, for ANOTHER three years.  I tested the water.  There's over 800 ppm solids.  When ice cubes melt, they leave  a white powder on the counter.  Shameful disregard for the health of citizens in this polluted state.

          Bingham Canyon Water Treatment Plant Kennecott South Zone

          My water, as reported by Rio Tinto/Kennecott Copper Mine

          South Facilities Groundwater 2011 Remedial Progress Report April 2012

          I wish someone with knowledge of drinking water would help me, my family, and my town understand this.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:20:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This deserves a diary. n/t (4+ / 0-)

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 11:07:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That is a deplorable situation. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            War on Error

            I live in New York City, where we famously have a clean (and delicious) water supply from distant mountain reservoirs surrounded by protected lands, in a gravity-fed system that's been developing for 160 years.  Let's hear it for big, interventionist government!

            Now, I just hope for winter - which I miss very much.  Last winter was creepy.  And while weather and climate are not to be confused, it's simply a fact that when I was kid in the 60s and early 70s we would generally have a couple or few days that hovered around 0 degrees F, and I'll be damned if it's even gotten below 15 at night in years.  The winter before that had good snows - first time in years - but it still just didn't get that old-time harbor-freezing cold.

            The earth is ill, we are the contagion, and you can just feel it in your bones.

            If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

            by WestCider on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 06:49:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  can you help me with the math? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      5 trillion tons (over 20 years) is so large it's
      hard to wrap my head around it. so the question
      i have is how many tons are there total; what is the
      percentage of loss?

      •  10 trillion melted tons would raise... (0+ / 0-)

        ...sea levels about one inch. Estimates of the National Snow and Ice Data Center are that if all the 7.2 million cubic miles of ice covering Antarctica melted, sea levels would rise about 200 feet. If all the ice of Greenland melted, it would add about 20 feelt.

        120 x 220 = 26,400 trillion tons.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 11:03:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Assuming a density of 0.92 g/cc for ice (0+ / 0-)

        And the volume of the Antactic ice cap as ~ 30 million KM^3, I get roughly 2.8 x 10^16 metric tons.

        0.92 g/cc -> 920 kg/m^3 -> 9.2 x 10^11 kg/km^3

        multiply by 30 x 10^6 and divide by 1000 to get metric tons (a metric ton is about 2200 lbs in the english system)

        so we are talking about 1/10^6 of the total ice mass here lost in 20 years.  It doesn't sound like a lot, but there are a couple of things here:

        1) this ice cap has been stable/growing for probably the last 50 million years or so

        2) the ice loss is from west Antarctica, which has bedrock that is far below sea level.  Once the sea water can get under the ice it'll melt really fast (geologically speaking).  But that might end up seeming pretty fast in human time perception also (a few generations?).

        I double checked these numbers, but I left the engineering world for computer programming 16 years ago...so I could easily have erred here.  Would appreciate someone more confident triple checking me! ;-)

  •  You Last Graph Hits Home, Close To Home (15+ / 0-)

    This is the view outside my front door, well it was earlier this year before the harvest.

    Corn Field (Mascoutah)

    That is feed corn. Some bizzare strain from Monsanto that can seem to grow no matter what. Heck it grew well without a lot of rain and a period of time where it was more than 110 for 15 days straight.

    It is often really, really hot here in southern Illinois. Over 100. But nobody I can find recalls a stretch of heat like that.

    Now there are still a lot of local farms by me. That one in front of my house is owned and farmed by the lady that lives next door to me (around 250 acres).

    But many refuse to use Monsanto seed. Heck it could take me 10,000 words or so to explain why, but they in fact might be the most "evil" company in the world.

    Long story short, and I wish I would have taken a day to take pictures, those not using hybrid seed had nothing to harvest this year. Or close to nothing.

    The fields looked like something out of a "end of the world" movie, or from Ken Burn's new PBS show "Dust Bowl."

    I know people here are smarter on this issue then most. MB is a heck of a lot smarter than me. But my gosh folks corn is either in most of what we eat or it is fed to what we eat. We keep going down this path, and I am not even talking about all the other problems climate change causes, but the cost of the soda we buy or the chicken we want for dinner is going to start to increase a heck of a lot.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:38:14 PM PST

    •  Great comment, linked it line my diary because (6+ / 0-)

      had read a comment by you  yesterday about this.  You add personal experience and perception to the daunting stats....

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:51:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey Thanks. I've Mentioned This A Few (5+ / 0-)

        times the last few days, cause although I know we have more than a few folks here that live in rural areas, I think most are kind of removed from where the food they get comes from.

        Now I am not perfect, I still eat meats I get at a supermarket that feeds them gosh knows what. I only get about 60% of my stuff locally, which is just laziness on my part, cause I live in a place I could get anything I wanted.

        All the genetically altered crap scares the heck out of me. I just wonder if we have any idea what it is doing to the things we feed it to and then eat.

        I mean how this stuff grows just isn't natural. Corn like the size of my forearms, and I have kind of have large forearms. It just isn't natural.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:58:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Genetically Modifed Crops are Like Dog Food (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          Dog food is sold as food people believe they would want if they were a dog. It's not manufactured with the dog's health in mind. In the old days, dogs would often come across beef pot pies in the wild with healthy portions of carrots and peas. In the case of people, who wouldn't want big, juicy, tasteless corn the size of a forearm!

          When will people realize profit is an indicator of inefficiency in some form? It may be personally desirable given our culture, but profit is indicative of either an inefficient reaction to a transient or manipulation within the system.

          Either way, stop screwing around and buy more local stuff. :)

          •  And yet, if the choice comes between genetically (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mattakar

            modified crops and starving, which do you do?

            We have reached the point wrt global warming that survival needs to rise up the priority list.  It's too late to moderate our way out of the mess.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:41:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Have you seen the wild ancestors of our foods? (0+ / 0-)

          What we were eating a hundred years ago was thoroughly unnatural.

    •  The drought was the only good thing (0+ / 0-)

      that happened this year for the koch brothers etc. they are in competition with corn, ethanol specifically. The basic idea is that shale and natural gas will be cheaper and they can run the ethanol refineries out of business.

      Not to get too depressing, but we are kind of fucked either way. Fossil fuels fuck up the environment, and corn is unhealthy in processed form, plus it will be too expensive as the climate "evolves".

      I am sorry if you don't like my comments. At least I never promised to just put the tip in.

      by Marcellus Shale on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:10:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Make sure to pull your weeds (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      One of the many reasons to hate Monsanto is because they go after their customers neighbors. Really. If your neighbor is growing Monsanto seeds and some of them blow onto your property and grow, Monsanto might sue you for patent infringement.


      i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

      by bobinson on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:23:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Monsanto will both likely be part of the cause of (0+ / 0-)

      the great food shortages in the future and in position to capitalize on it.

      The movie Solylent Green constantly plays out in my mind when thinking of our current environment/corporate/food situation.

      Vote Tea Party Taliban! Bring the Burqa to America.

      by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:02:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, it never was about polar bears (0+ / 0-)

      for me.  They are just the canary in the coal mine.  It's about food and being able to sustain human civilization.

      Your photos looks like my buddy's hometown of Macomb, Ill.

      The future is green: www.greenasteroid.com

      by bogmanoc on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:36:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  how timely (9+ / 0-)
    Part of that rise in sea level comes from the expansion of water because the ocean itself is warming.
    that's exactly the thought that ran through my mind just now scanning fishgrease's atlantic sea level rise diary.

    the news here just keeps on a-coming. and it's grim. it's not simply the rates of change, which by themselves, would be alarming even if they stayed put.

    but they're not. the rates of change are accelerating.

    grimgrimgrim.

    "everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey." -john lennon

    by homo neurotic on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:40:43 PM PST

  •  Thank you (9+ / 0-)

    for this, I'm glad to see so many environmental diaries and it proves I have the worst diary timing ever.

    It Will Always Come Back to the Environment

    It includes news from Grist about fracking, things that won't shock anyone but should push people to demand we stop doing it!

    After fracking began at 32 sites within a couple miles of her ranch, Schilke’s cattle started dropping dead and Schilke herself started suffering from poor health. Ambient air testing found high levels of a bunch of nasty chemical compounds associated with fracking, and with cancer and birth defects.

    "It feels like President Obama still hasn't won. It never ends" - my very astute 9-year old watching MSNBC.

    by Ellinorianne on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:44:54 PM PST

    •  It Just Pains Me What We're Doing (7+ / 0-)

      to our planet. This year my town celebrated 175 years. Founded by some Germans that came to New Orleans, then came north up the Mississippi to St. Louis. They bought all the supplies they could and started to walk east. They walked about 35 miles, came to a clearing where my home town would be founded, put a spade into the soil and started to both pray and cry.

      They were stunned there was so much untouched land, soil that was as dark as tar. Streams. Rivers. Lakes. Wild game everywhere.

      They contacted their families back in Germany and the next thing you know we have hundreds of folks here. Heck 175 years later I have to explain my last name is Young with a "Y" and not Jung :).

      Much of the land around me is still pretty untouched. There is a fierce hatred of companies like Monsanto and "corporate" farms.

      I don't know about fracking, but I do know the coal companies are chopping at the bit to get ahold of this land all around me.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:52:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. And the shipping companies (7+ / 0-)

    can't wait to hove through the newly opened area, wheeeeeeee!

    ###

    Diary pimp:

    On The Lands of the Navajo, Ancient Ruins, and Our Own Civilization's Imminent Collapse

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:47:20 PM PST

  •  Anticipating the change? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    figbash, Words In Action

    You better believe the corporatists in the government are working it out on their calculators.  And their treaties.  And leases.  Oil pipelines.  Natural gas pipelines.

    I have no doubt they have already carved up both the  Arctic and the Antarctic, and divvied up amongst their friends, the Euro powers and some others.

    While the rest of us are sweating it out, watching the sea levels rise and catastrophies multiply exponentially, they are breaking out the champagne.

    They're looking forward to it!

  •  I have this cropland in Greenland for sale (6+ / 0-)

    Course you might have to take a few decades to build up a soil layer before you can grow anything.

  •  A thought: (0+ / 0-)

    In the Middle Ages, peasant farmers learned to keep a third of all fields fallow each year to maintain sustainable yield over time.  That would be considered "anti-capitalist" today.  Once, a generation could begin a great cathedral, at great cost, knowing full well that the full benefit would accrue not to them but to their grandchildren.  

    What is wrong with us that we insist on triple-packed styrofoam disposable food packages and individual carbon-spewing transport and super-methane-spewing cows and carbon-cycle-defying energy and all the rest knowing the consequences??

    Thomas Paine wrote, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."  How disgusting that we have created a civilization that rules itself by the precise inverse of that ethic.

  •  "GBCW" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    --Climate deniers, after screwing up any chance of fixing the problem.

  •  My brother spent a summer in Antarctica drilling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    ice cores for a research study. He lived in a tent in the balmy 0 F summer weather.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:18:03 AM PST

  •  Complications (0+ / 0-)

    "mitigation measures, even an abrupt switch to zero emissions, have practically no effect on sea level over the coming 50 years and only a moderate effect on sea level by 2100...

    Our projections show that limiting SLR [Sea Level Rise] to 1.5 m or below on a multi-century timescale is consistent only with high levels of mitigation. In our model, this is illustrated by a scenario that approaches a 50% probability of reducing warming below 1.5 ◦ C by 2100, with a high (80%) probability of doing so within the following half century. This scenario suggests that stopping further rise of sea level within a few centuries is achieved only with the large-scale deployment of CO2 -removal technologies4 . A 2 ◦ C warming limit, if interpreted either as a temperature-stabilization level, or as holding temperature below this level, would probably lead to many metres of SLR in the coming few centuries and would maintain rates of SLR higher than today for many centuries."

    http://ssi.ucsd.edu/...

    •  New Movie worth seeing... (3+ / 0-)

      I went to a screening of CHASING ICE which just came out and will go wider shortly.  It is a documentary of James Balog who is also a Natl. Geographic photographer and has perfected the time lapse camera technology and used it in the arctic, Greenland and other glaciers to see the effects of the glacier melts.  Beautiful yet scary as the data they show and tell about hits you.  They say that 75% of water in many areas comes from normal melt, if this continues not only will sea leveles be drastically changed, but drinking water in many areas as well as large scale flooding will be devastating.   Al Gore got it right so long ago and the naysayers still hold too much sway in this world.

  •  Again, I reference the current Scientific American (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ImpactAv

    It has an article on the impact of the Arctic ice melt -- not from the standpoint of sea level rise, as floating ice doesn't really contribute to that -- but from the standpoint of accelerated warming and methane release.  It makes a case (and a decent one) for some fairly massive geo-engineering.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:39:02 AM PST

  •  Not to be cold-hearted, but NYC seems to be the (0+ / 0-)

    proving ground for all the claims liberals have been making for decades.

    Bad foreign policy, bad government finance oversight, bad environmental policy.

    Fuck, when are the wiser centrist types going to pay more attention to us and bully the money-grubbing right-wingers out of picture for the sake of us all? We need a liberal based overwhelming coalition in government going into this crazy future.

    In fact, we should all be a lot more liberal in general.

    Vote Tea Party Taliban! Bring the Burqa to America.

    by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:44:08 AM PST

  •  I was reluctant to rec your diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tim DeLaney

    News like this isn't good.


    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. ~ Ben Franklin

    by jim in IA on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:54:53 AM PST

  •  They forgot groundwater depletion in that 11.1mm (0+ / 0-)

    but that is a lot of ice. 5 trillion tons ~5 trillion cubic meters
    or like an area the size of Greenland 2.1 million km2 lost 8 feet of ice in 20 years. I think I read somewhere that Antarctica may be adding some ice because of warmer, wetter climate.

  •  that's a lot of martinis /nt (0+ / 0-)

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:00:27 AM PST

  •  Hindsight is 20-20 (0+ / 0-)
    ..but it is still uncertain if it will slow, stay the same or accelerate further
    Not sure I'd pin too many hopes on melt "slowing." Or even why anyone would consider it a possibility.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:04:05 AM PST

  •  I dont need a study to KNOW the sea level is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bogmanoc, Meteor Blades, DSPS owl

    rising!!   and I didnt need SANDY to wake me up either.

    I have lived on the coast of America my entire life and I see it...  its obvious and blatant.  the beach is disappearing and the ocean is creeping closer and closer every year.

    When I would tell people that the beach was longer when I was a kid they would laugh and say your legs were shorter...  but  it isnt that my legs were shorter... the beach has disappeared.

    erosion has become a major problem and as fast as the Army core of engineers replaces the sand the sea takes it away again... and that is a fact.  

    there is a neighborhood in Bklyn NY called seagate.   it once had beautiful beachfront property and lovely homes...  in the last 20 years the beach has slowly disappeared and the bulkhead protecting this area has had to be rebuilt a number of times due to the increasing severity of storms.  When Sandy hit this neighborhood all HELL broke loose... the beach disappeared, the bulk head was destroyed and numerous homes just fell into the sea (sigh) and the ones left standing are now nothing but unlivable devastation...  

     that never happened when I was a kid.... and it isnt because my legs were shorter back then.

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:04:14 AM PST

  •  We are in for a perfect storm ... (0+ / 0-)

    1 - Climate change will disrupt our food production. Maybe (and maybe not) we will be able in theory to grow just as much food in the landscape that remains after climate change takes its toll. But adjusting to that change will take years. People need food pretty much every day or so.

    2 - Population continues to increase in spite of the efforts of many--notably the Chinese--to curb population increase. The problem is demographics. There is no rational way to reach a steady state in less than the median human lifespan, about 70 years.

    3 - Oil is running out. We have known this for many decades. Oil is what makes it possible to plant, grow, harvest, process, and transport food. When oil starts to peter out (peak oil), food production will also peter out.

    The net result is that the planet will not be able to support the 7 billion we have today, much less the billions that population growth will produce. A massive human die-off from starvation related problems is almost certainly inevitable. When? Certainly in the next century or two, and maybe sooner.

    It won't be pretty. Maybe everybody alive today will escape the worst of it. I hope so, and I'm glad that I personally will not have to witness it. The food cliff will utterly dwarf next month's fiscal cliff.

    Then again, I can hope that the Fighting Irish will claim the national championship in January.   :-)

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- -7.25, -6.21

    by Tim DeLaney on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:09:12 AM PST

  •  I went with a really aggressive scenario in my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tim DeLaney

    diary, and I expected to be called on it. No one did. I think everyone paying attention recognizes that while the climate scientists have to conservative in their proclamations, the reality is going to be much worse much faster than even the worse cases that modelers have developed.

    I think more climate awareness organizations are going to move towards warnings of worse cases in the near term as they realize people can't think about the end of the century. And sadly, those will probably be accurate.

    I fully expect a worldwide food shortage within 40 years. I won't be surprised if it happens in 20. The odds are that the US will be ok, as we do have a lot of surplus and money. But eventually we will not.

    Also, since money also determines whether you can buy food as individuals, it may be that bad here for many as well. Wealthy people will start stockpiling when the threat becomes apparent. Not just food, but farmland.

    We need to stomp out our Randism pathology before then, because only a strong sense of community is going to get us through this.

  •  Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, admits to AGW (0+ / 0-)

    He is now saying we should adapt to it rather than preventing it.

    This represents a new Party Line for the right-wing machine. How fast will they adapt to the official change in their version of reality?

  •  It's worse than we think. (0+ / 0-)

    Changing the subject to temperature rise (even though that effects ice melt) Global warming has a delayed effect of 30 years before we feel the full effects.

    We are due for a full 1 degree Fahrenheit over the next 30 years on top of the 1.4 degree average we have now (above pre-industrial). That's assuming that we were to stop all emissions today.

    The Antarctic melt should not be our focus, it is Greenland's melt that will be more dramatic since the average temperature in the Arctic is 3-5 degrees above the 1950 - 1980 baseline (Global Warming is more concentrated in the Arctic region).

    The Antarctic is two miles thick and it's barely beginning to melt compared to the Arctic ice cap which averaged 10 feet thick 30 years ago and has melted down to 6. As it thins out to zero.

    That's where we should be focused since the open water will effect the weather differently than the ice covered ocean does.

  •  I am sure that (0+ / 0-)

    all those climate deniers will be falling all over themselves to recant their views and correct themselves.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:19:33 PM PST

  •  "some scientists" ... eh? (0+ / 0-)

    "The data showed, in the view of some scientists, that ice loss in the Arctic was being balanced by a gain in the Antarctic"

    No competent scientist ever thought there was any such "balance" ... this is a common theme on denier sites like WUWT, but is utter nonsense scientifically, even without the findings of this report.

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