On Sat, Dec 01, 2012 at 08:50:46PM -0500, Stephen P. King wrote:
> "Scientists Peg Sea Level Rise from Polar Ice Melt at 11.1
> Millimeters Since 1992". 
> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scientists-measure-sea-rise-from-po
> 
>     What is the panic about?
> 
> 

Because of the +ve feedback mechanisms I mentioned in the previous
post, if you want to prevent the ice sheets from melting, you _have_
to do something about the CO2 going into thje atmosphere now.

The impacts of melting glaciers will only start to be felt towards the
end of the century, and IIUC it will be some 500 years before the West
Antarctic ice sheet sloughs off into the ocean, giving us time to
prepare for the sea level rise.

>From my own perspective, and I've thought this since I attended a
conference on global warming in the 1980s, and so far evidence has
backed it up, is that humanity will only switch from using fossil
fuels when renewable energies (solar, wind, etc) become cost
competitive. In particular, I predict that most of the available oil
will be extracted, and lot of the coal reserves, as it is not really
economical to make steel any other way. Nuclear energy will not save
us - public opposition to convention uranium powered reactors is too
intense, there is too little understanding of alternatives such
thorium reactors, and practical fusion is always about 30 years away.

So I've always plumped for the IPCC worst-case scenario, much of the
Earth's surface will become arid, and difficult to farm using existing
agricultural techniques, there will be a population rush as 10
billion-odd people try to exploit the newly arable lands opening up in
the polar regions, there will be more frequent, and higher intensity
storms, meaning our cities will need to be fortified against this, and
we'll probably have to abandon lower altitude cities to the advancing
tides.

In short, as a species, we'll just have to adapt to a changed
world. Let's go into the future with our eyes wide open, informed by
the best scientific models about what is going to happen. Bickering
about whether the greenhouse effect is real, or not, and whether
anthropogenic climate change doesn't help. Criticising scientific
models of the climate is good, as it leads to better models, but
needs to be done by people prepared to do the hard yards in sudying the
science, not by politicians. Politicians, on the other hand, should be
thinking very hard about what to do about all this, but unfortunately
are usually only interested in the next election.

Cheers

-- 

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Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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