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Old 02-06-2004, 05:10 PM   #1
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Global Warming...

While the Bush Administration publically denies that global warming is taking place, it is also secretly preparing for it. It appears that, within some groups, it is no longer a matter of "if" but "when," and it is no longer thinking in centuries, but in years...perhaps even within the next twenty.

Quote:
The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare
The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues.
FORTUNE
Monday, January 26, 2004
By David Stipp

Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.

The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade—like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies—thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S. and Europe. Worse, it would cause massive droughts, turning farmland to dust bowls and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California wildfires as a regular thing. Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as Pakistan or Russia—it's easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested in abrupt climate change.

Climate researchers began getting seriously concerned about it a decade ago, after studying temperature indicators embedded in ancient layers of Arctic ice. The data show that a number of dramatic shifts in average temperature took place in the past with shocking speed—in some cases, just a few years.

The case for angst was buttressed by a theory regarded as the most likely explanation for the abrupt changes. The eastern U.S. and northern Europe, it seems, are warmed by a huge Atlantic Ocean current that flows north from the tropics—that's why Britain, at Labrador's latitude, is relatively temperate. Pumping out warm, moist air, this "great conveyor" current gets cooler and denser as it moves north. That causes the current to sink in the North Atlantic, where it heads south again in the ocean depths. The sinking process draws more water from the south, keeping the roughly circular current on the go. ...

(Read the rest here.)
Although I think some of these "revelations" are not exactly as new as implied (the "huge Atlantic Ocean current" is the Gulf Stream, and even high school science students learn that the Gulf Stream warms that part of the Northern Hemisphere), it does give some insight as to what some people, including the government, are preparing for.

Melon
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Old 02-06-2004, 05:19 PM   #2
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Global warming may be taking place. It has in the past. I think it is arrogant of the human species to think they can cause global warming....
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Old 02-06-2004, 06:53 PM   #3
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Global warming may be taking place. It has in the past. I think it is arrogant of the human species to think they can cause global warming....
And I think it is equally arrogant to think that we can't, and, thus, can have total disregard for the world that we live in.

My opinion...

1) Science has theorized that global warming and cooling are inevitable cycles that have lasted for millions of years, and that we have been in a long warming cycle. Hence, the fact that an Ice Age was going to happen again was only considered a matter of time, and, at one point, it was theorized to happen naturally probably by A.D. 3500. That doesn't mean, however, that we do not have a hand in accelerating that process along. Now that we probably do have a good idea of what has been driving the warming and cooling--cooling cycles that eventually create the Gulf Stream or something similar that end the Ice Ages and warming cycles that ultimately culminate in the Gulf Stream's destruction, thus leading back into another Ice Age--but these are not mere short cycles, in general. If we lose the Gulf Stream and head into an Ice Age, even a "mini" one, it will be there long after we die.

2) A unrelated theory on sunspots put on theories of the Earth's warming and cooling cycles in a smaller, non-"Ice Age" perspective. The Earth warms and cools according to 320-year sunspot cycles, and, according to that theory, the Earth was in a cool, wet cycle when the "Little Ice Age" occurred in the Middle Ages. We entered a warm, dry cycle that has lasted since 1700. That same "cool, wet cycle" is due to return by 2020, and last another 320 years. This theory, overall, is less morbid: the Gulf Stream doesn't wither up and die, but expect dramatic climactic changes in a similar vein.

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Old 02-06-2004, 07:20 PM   #4
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Based on the weather this winter, I could use a little global warming!
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Old 02-06-2004, 07:21 PM   #5
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We studied the "ice age" of the Middle Ages in school in our history classes. It impacted everything in Europe, particularly, of course, agriculture, also health. I don't have any evidence that it affected clothing, but I wouldn't be surprised. People dress to keep warm in colder climates.
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Old 02-07-2004, 12:35 AM   #6
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My simpleton theory is that the farts of vegetarian dinosauras such as the brontosaurus and stegasaurus caused the earlier cycles of global warming.

Also, the current cycle of global warming that has caused unusually mild winters (and a complete LACK of accumulative snow) in the Gulf Coast states in the past 8 years has been caused by the fact that I bought a 4x4 Jeep in 1996, thus denying me the chance to test it on snowy roads.

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Old 02-07-2004, 05:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Global warming may be taking place. It has in the past. I think it is arrogant of the human species to think they can cause global warming....
Humans have managed to make hundreds of species of animals and plants extinct, polluted some bodies of water to the point where aquatic life no longer exists in them and created enormous holes in the ozone layer.

But of course, it would be utterly arrogant to think our actions can cause damage to the environment.
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Old 02-08-2004, 03:23 AM   #8
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Global warming is the one cause I could never really grasp. I mean, I get that it's a big ass hole in the atmosphere that means the icebergs melt, we are more susceptible to cancer from the sun, etc, but why do people complain about global warming and continue to buy cars or work in/support companies with factories that damage the ozone layer? We have Ozone Action days a lot where I live (the days where you're supposed to stay inside, not waste water on your lawn, avoid mowing lawns and creating excess polution) and yet, people are always doing EXACTLY what we're NOT supposed to: watering the lawn all day and driving around in gas-guzzling-polution-gushing-SUVs. What gives?

Sometimes I wish people would save all the energy they use preaching about how much damage we are causing to the environment and use that energy to take a long hard look at their own lives and see how they, as one individual, can help improve the situation. We don't need to drive yacht sized vehicles, we don't need to dump toxic fertilizer on our lawns, we don't need to water our lawns twice a day even during the rain, we don't need to clear cut the local woodlands to build Truman-Show-esque neighborhoods when there are perfectly usable buildings already standing, we don't need water toys that cause all manner of noise, air, and water pollution...I could go on and on....
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Old 02-08-2004, 05:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


Sometimes I wish people would save all the energy they use preaching about how much damage we are causing to the environment and use that energy to take a long hard look at their own lives and see how they, as one individual, can help improve the situation. We don't need to drive yacht sized vehicles, we don't need to dump toxic fertilizer on our lawns, we don't need to water our lawns twice a day even during the rain, we don't need to clear cut the local woodlands to build Truman-Show-esque neighborhoods when there are perfectly usable buildings already standing, we don't need water toys that cause all manner of noise, air, and water pollution...I could go on and on....
Exactly. I learnt about Creeping Environmental Problems (CEPs) at uni, of which drought is the main one but global warming probably comes under that heading as well. Because the symptoms take so long to appear, people are on the whole very complacent and believe that they can deal with the problem when it happens - which, of course, makes the whole situation a lot more difficult.

So, yes, I agree with you, LivLuvand BootlegMusic, there are a lot of things we can start doing now that may make a difference later on. Global warming won't have the same immediate, destructive effects as an earthquake or a cyclone, which means that people won't necessarily be able to tell whether driving a more efficient car has helped to prevent it, nor may they care. But if it does help in some way, then it's worth it ... besides, a little car is much better than a yacht-sized one in every single way.
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Old 02-08-2004, 05:53 AM   #10
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If anyone is unsure whether it is actually occuring, come spend a summer with me.

And these are only small gradual changes.
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Old 02-08-2004, 07:03 AM   #11
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The summers sure are getting hotter, aren't they. And I would venture to add that the last really cold winter I can recall was about 1998 or 2000. But that's just Australia.

I think maybe some people are confusing the hole in the ozone layer with the greenhouse effect. One in theory at least is letting more harmful radiation through to the earth's surface (though I tend to wonder if jet fuel does far more harm than a few billion aerosol cans), and the other is a sort of blanket of junk up in the atmosphere.

I would honestly be surprised if the US government were not secretly preparing for eventualities, just as I would be very surprised if the major oil companies are not planning for their own obselescence (ie. to avoid it).
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Old 02-08-2004, 07:27 AM   #12
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You'd be copping some heat up your way K, for sure. Easy for me to whinge, but its only worse up north.
On the issue of the ozone and greenhouse, I heard once (spoken so it could be all bullshit) was our cattle alone contribute to 3% of the hole in the ozone. Farting is the culprit. I kid you not, this was said to me once. Cows emit obviously noxious gas, which somehow makes it's way up a fair few km's in the air...If this is true, why not a few billion aerosols? And on that, isn't the rest of the world now CFC free with aerosols too?

Interesting, no matter how accurate lol.
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Old 02-08-2004, 08:52 AM   #13
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I think the cow thing is a bit of an urban myth. Not saying you buy it or anything, but if you think about it for a moment, what's so special about cows. I'd guess a lot of animals pass wind, as they say. No, I can't say I buy that explanation.

Actually I think you get the heat worse. You live in some kind of bowl from what I understand, whereas I live on top of a mountain (albeit further north).
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Old 02-08-2004, 10:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
We don't need to drive yacht sized vehicles, we don't need to dump toxic fertilizer on our lawns, we don't need to water our lawns twice a day even during the rain, we don't need to clear cut the local woodlands to build Truman-Show-esque neighborhoods when there are perfectly usable buildings already standing, we don't need water toys that cause all manner of noise, air, and water pollution...I could go on and on....
Absolutely. We're destroying our home for the sake of convenience and ego. Everywhere I look, people are driving ego-wanking, air polluting SUVs, throwing their garbage all over the ground, destroying the landscape to build yet another shopping mall we do not need (and there are many vacant lots and half-full buildings in this town!) or putting more toxic chemicals in our drinking water to "purify" it. I just wish people would get it through their thick stupid heads what they are doing to themselves and the planet.
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Old 02-08-2004, 10:37 AM   #15
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We have so many shopping malls, etc, etc in Birmingham it's ridiculous. Half the stores are shut down and it's just a bunch of empty buildings all over the place. Egads, some of this is just common sense, not some theory or something. There's alot of space just going to waste.
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