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Old 02-24-2006, 01:15 AM   #1
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I Guess Gaia Must Still Be Angry

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Climate change can't be blamed for any of the events that made the past tropical cyclone season the worst in recent times, a report by a group of international experts says.

"No single high impact tropical cyclone event of 2004 and 2005 can be directly attributed to global warming," it says in a report submitted to the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Commission for Atmospheric Sciences, which is meeting in South Africa .

Dr John McBride is a principal research scientist at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology and reports to the WMO on the effects of climate change on tropical weather.

He is also chair of the international WMO committee that produced the report.

McBride says the report came as an attempt to separate fact from fiction in relation to recent controversy about the role of climate change in producing tropical cyclones.

McBride says there's no doubt that the latest season was the most ferocious in recent times, with a series of vicious cyclones including Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans.

"These last two years were probably the most severe ... since the satellite era began [about 40 years ago]," he says.

But he says evidence linking this to climate change is inconclusive or lacking.

The case against climate change

A current argument suggests that as climate change causes the seas to warm the oceans store more energy that can be harnessed by the wind to form tropical cyclones.

But this is too simplistic, McBride says.

"There are other conditions that are necessary to be able to tap that energy source, such as the structure of the wind systems," he says.

McBride says there's no proof that cyclones have become more common or will become more frequent in the future, or that they'll take place in more parts of the world.

"Worldwide, there's really no evidence for any change," he says.

He says the report also questions claims that tropical cyclones have become more intense over the past 50 years, saying data used in the past may be inaccurate or incomplete because of limitations with the technology of the day.

The rising damage toll

McBride says it's true that the cost of cyclones, in terms of life and property, appears to be rising.

But he says this is because more people are living on the coast, not because cyclones are becoming more severe.

"There's a public perception that we're getting disasters everywhere and part of this is due to the fact that there are so many people living in vulnerable areas," he says.

"Given no change in tropical cyclone behaviour at all you will still get an increase in insurance damage and the financial scale of damage because of increasing coastal infrastructure."
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:37 AM   #2
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you mean, basicly, the climate conditions have not really worsened, it just a matter of comparing unevenly acquired data? what about the fact that the north pole has significantly shrinked over the last 30 years? such indifference is appaling.
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:42 AM   #3
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An unfrozen North Pole would have effects, the sea ice would not contribute to rising sea levels, a northwest passage would reduce freight costs and the ammounts of fuel used for goods being transported. The continental ice and the carbon trapped beneath it would both effect sea levels and cause a feedback mechanism driving climate change.

Perhaps the big questions such as how much human beings are changing global climate, can we stop it and what can be done that will actually have positive change are more important.

There is no turning back from the tipping point by just curbing emissions, rather than shoot for futile central planning perhaps concerted climate engineering programs should be launched. Do something but don't just do anything.
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:03 AM   #4
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
An unfrozen North Pole would have effects, the sea ice would not contribute to rising sea levels, a northwest passage would reduce freight costs and the ammounts of fuel used for goods being transported. The continental ice and the carbon trapped beneath it would both effect sea levels and cause a feedback mechanism driving climate change.

Perhaps the big questions such as how much human beings are changing global climate, can we stop it and what can be done that will actually have positive change are more important.

There is no turning back from the tipping point by just curbing emissions, rather than shoot for futile central planning perhaps concerted climate engineering programs should be launched. Do something but don't just do anything.
the 'shrinkage' in the north pole is not the major problem (except if youre a polar bear), it is a symptom.

the carbon emissions are an issue. they should be reduced, but how do you replace such a significant energy source? that is where alternative energy (i am including nuclear, ill explain later) and new transportation technologies come in.

firstly, most alternative energy sources are uneconomical at the moment. wind energy is widely used in denmark, but the industry needed subsidies to get off the ground. the key is the size, economies of scale. if you build immensely large wind farms and supply electricity to whole europe, that would be a lot more economical than solely supplying a small country like denmark. the same goes for solar and hydroelectric.

then there is hydrogen. iceland is doing a very interesting experiment as of late. the whole country is shifting away from oil towards hydrogen. hydrogen cars, hydrogen-fueled power plants etc. its a small country and their cars never leave the island, so it is possible to experiment with this technology on a small scale. they are producing hydrogen by employing the hot steam coming from the many geysers and volcanos on the island. very intriguing, at the very least.

then there is the issue of going nuclear. chernobyl showed how dangerous it could be, but there are improvements. google 'pebble-bed' reactors, you'll find out they are inherently more secure than the average power plant. with the emergence of such new technology and the ever-elusive fusion technology, nuclear is going to become a viable and sensible option.

of course, there are also very economical cars like the magnificient 'prius'. these could help immensely with conservation efforts and reducing emissions. driving an SUV is not a natural right, if a viable alternative is available, there is no excuse for polluting the air which happens to be common property.

by employing such environment friendly practices the world can be pushed towards greater conservation and slow or halt global warming and climate change, even if no reversal is possible. we owe this to ourselves and the generations after us. i dont feel comfortable leaving such a fucked up world behind, although the previous generation probably didnt mind.
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:24 AM   #5
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We can't cut our emissions overnight, it would be a graduated decline. The real issue is when the feedback mechanisms kick in and we get positive feedback for warming, although we tread the fine line between staying warm and being thrown back into another ice age already. There are a lot of fields that deserve investigation and there are a few methods of control that have been overlooked, one of which is climate engineering which could (from a cost-benefit analysis) be the wisest course of action.

I would not put to much stock in wind power for most of the world, and even a hydrogen source requires energy for extraction. I suppose that limited use of fossil fuels matched by a geosequestration program could be a good stopgap measure.
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