This is an issue of interest, in as much as carbon in the atmosphere is increasing. A friend of mine, getting her PhD out at Berkeley, wrote this to me the other day: (Talking about the IPCC)
A decade ago, they were pretty conservative about assigning certainty to things, and they continue to be, but better models and more evidence have lead them, and most of the scientific community to accept that man-induced climate change is real. Now, it is acceptable to think about quantifying future climate changes. With the earth being a complex system and computer power not being quite good enough to run more complex models, the goal is to find as much consensus as possible.Nicole is one of those people whose opinions I would take to the bank. As she notes, climate change is still a great big mystery. In my mind, to borrow from Sir Winston Churchill, "It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; ...."
What I usually say to people is that no matter what someone thinks about what is going on from year to year in climate currently, just have them think about what happens when you put a blanket on. It is harder for heat to escape from around your body, so you warm up. There is no question that the amount of Carbon Dioxide that we have put, and most likely will continue to put, into the atmosphere serves as an additional blanket. Take pretty much any physical model of the earth, add some carbon dioxide, and it will heat up. Tens of complex global models also agree with this. Another simple effect of warming is that the ocean, if warmed, will thermally expand. This alone will raise sea level. So, taking this as something we do know, we then have to answer the question, how does this extra warming affect the world and by what magnitude.
So to answer your questions, of course, for some areas, climate change could be good. I heard that people are starting to think about expanding vineyards in the north of England, for example, in anticipation of shifting climate. And, I think any reduction in carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases will help increase certainty in the future. It's just something we've let run a little too wild in my opinion. But, no, I don't think the answers can really be quantified yet. I think we can count on some more extreme climate that may need to be dealt with.
Over at Powerline is this posting, "A Scientific Theory is Judged by its Predictive Power". As Nicole noted, folks were thinking about expanding vineyards in England. In fact, ten years ago there was this prediction:
However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".Note the pedigree of Dr Viner. CRU (Climatic Research Unit) at the University of East Anglia. These are the chaps who were revealed to have so arrogantly tried to shut up their backsliding colleagues last year in "Climategate".
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said
These days England is experiencing have record low temperatures and Europe itself is having a hard time with the cold weather.
This cold weather could indicate that the "Atlantic Conveyor Belt" has broken down, or maybe the "Gulf Stream" isn't as powerful as it once was. However, in March, NASA said that if anything, the Atlantic Conveyor Belt had sped up a bit.
I remember from back when I was young, in 1980, while stationed at Clark Air Base, the 26th Aggressor Squadron had as its theme song "Oh Lord It's Hard to be Humble." Since the job of the pilots of that squadron was to teach other fighter pilots how to kill them (the Aggressors), and they were very good in air-to-air combat, they had to check and make sure their "humble" was OK, so they didn't let their egos get in the way of their mission, teaching others how to kill them.
Would that some of those scientists who talk about climate change were humble and thus helpful.
What would also be helpful is the opening of a discussion on what would be the best climate for humans. Or better put, why is this the best of all possible worlds, climate wise?
Things I know:
- Carbon Dioxide is building in the atmosphere.
- We are too dependent on foreign oil
- The climate is likely to change.
- Lots of developing nations (e.g., China) want to get theirs before we destroy the world economy in order to prevent heavy snowfall in Europe.
- Where climate change is going.
I am, however, willing to look at reasonable global solutions that will muster the agreement of 200 nations and will result in economic development for those in the world looking for economic development. We still have folks out there who deserve an opportunity for meaningful work and a decent diet.
Regards — Cliff