A lot of you are too young to remember that decades before the greenies became obsessed with global warming they were obsessed with nuclear winter. (One reason why some older people may not be as convinced of global warming is that we've heard climate warnings before. I'm not saying that's me, but I'm sure that for a lot of older people it's like the constant fads plaguing the health obsessed segment of society. Many of whom have been touting one miracle substance after another over the years. Ever heard of laetrile? DMSO? Herbal "cures" for cancer, heart disease, diabetes? Mega-dosing of vitamins and/or minerals?)

I wonder if global warming could be managed by a carefully managed program of nuclear detonations? Sure, there'd be some details to work out (we wouldn't want to poison the atmosphere with radiation), but if we could deal with that, we could just manage global warming (assuming global warming is real, of course).

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If the global warming advocates are wrong, and we act on their recommendations we will waste hundreds of millions of dollars.  If the deniers are wrong and we act on their recommendations, people die.

Chronic 2000-04 drought, worst in 800 years, may be the new normal
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120729142137.htm (http://www.printfriendly.com/print?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedail...)

July 29, 2012
ScienceDaily (July 29, 2012) — The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century.

Such climatic extremes have increased as a result of global warming, a group of 10 researchers reported July 29 inNature Geoscience. And as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, they may eventually be seen as the good old days.

Climate models and precipitation projections indicate this period will actually be closer to the "wet end" of a drier hydroclimate during the last half of the 21st century, scientists said.

Aside from its impact on forests, crops, rivers and water tables, the drought also cut carbon sequestration by an average of 51 percent in a massive region of the western United States, Canada and Mexico, although some areas were hit much harder than others. As vegetation withered, this released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with the effect of amplifying global warming.

"Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline," said Beverly Law, a co-author of the study, professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science at Oregon State University, and former science director of AmeriFlux, an ecosystem observation network.

"During this drought, carbon sequestration from this region was reduced by half," Law said. "That's a huge drop. And if global carbon emissions don't come down, the future will be even worse."

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and other agencies. The lead author was Christopher Schwalm at Northern Arizona University. Other collaborators were from the University of Colorado, University of California at Berkeley, University of British Columbia, San Diego State University, and other institutions.

It's not clear whether or not the current drought in the Midwest, now being called one of the worst since the Dust Bowl, is related to these same forces, Law said. This study did not address that, and there are some climate mechanisms in western North America that affect that region more than other parts of the country.

But in the West, this multi-year drought was unlike anything seen in many centuries, based on tree ring data. The last two periods with drought events of similar severity were in the Middle Ages, from 977-981 and 1146-1151. The 2000-04 drought affected precipitation, soil moisture, river levels, crops, forests and grasslands.

Ordinarily, Law said, the land sink in North America is able to sequester the equivalent of about 30 percent of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the use of fossil fuels in the same region. However, based on projected changes in precipitation and drought severity, scientists said that this carbon sink, at least in western North America, could disappear by the end of the century.

"Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier," Law said. "We expect more extremes. And it's these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grassland."

During the 2000-04 drought, runoff in the upper Colorado River basin was cut in half. Crop productivity in much of the West fell 5 percent. The productivity of forests and grasslands declined, along with snowpacks. Evapotranspiration decreased the most in evergreen needleleaf forests, about 33 percent.

The effects are driven by human-caused increases in temperature, with associated lower soil moisture and decreased runoff in all major water basins of the western U.S., researchers said in the study.

Although regional precipitations patterns are difficult to forecast, researchers in this report said that climate models are underestimating the extent and severity of drought, compared to actual observations. They say the situation will continue to worsen, and that 80 of the 95 years from 2006 to 2100 will have precipitation levels as low as, or lower than, this "turn of the century" drought from 2000-04.

"Towards the latter half of the 21st century the precipitation regime associated with the turn of the century drought will represent an outlier of extreme wetness," the scientists wrote in this study.

These long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century "megadrought," they said.

Time to figure out what to invest in: solar panels, well-drilling gear, drought tolerant crops, etc.

Global Warming: "Humans Are Almost Entirely the Cause" (http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/07/global-warming-humans...)
—By Kevin Drum (http://www.motherjones.com/authors/kevin-drum)

| Sun Jul. 29, 2012 12:10 PM PDT


Climate skeptic Richard Muller, who started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature in 2010 in order to get at the real truth of climate change, last year published preliminary results showing that the climate establishment was right after all. Global temperatures really have been going up dramatically over the past century.Today he says more: (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-clima...)

I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

....The historic temperature pattern we observed has abrupt dips that match the emissions of known explosive volcanic eruptions; the particulates from such events reflect sunlight, make for beautiful sunsets and cool the earth’s surface for a few years. There are small, rapid variations attributable to El Niño and other ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream; because of such oscillations, the “flattening” of the recent temperature rise that some people claim is not, in our view, statistically significant. What has caused the gradual but systematic rise of two and a half degrees? We tried fitting the shape to simple math functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity and even to rising functions like world population. By far the best match was to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice.

....The careful analysis by our team is laid out in five scientific papers now online at BerkeleyEarth.org. That site also shows our chart of temperature from 1753 to the present, with its clear fingerprint of volcanoes and carbon dioxide, but containing no component that matches solar activity. Four of our papers have undergone extensive scrutiny by the scientific community, and the newest, a paper with the analysis of the human component, is now posted, along with the data and computer programs used.

The extent that humans have devastated the environment is unprecedented.  Global warming is a very small issue compared to all the other issues.  Recently there is evidence to suggest that the mass extractions happened in past due to Hydrogen Sulfide build up from the oceans turning anaerobic. We mammals would be the first to die off.  But long before that stage happens, there will be climate swings that kill crops, cause droughts/floods which will likely lead to large populations of starving and displaced humans.

When I tell people that global warming may be a penny ante problem compared with the death of the oceans, I often find a deaf ear. 

We shouldn't worry about the planet. The planet will survive after it kills us. We'll die off and balance will be reachieved in a few billion years. Perhaps another intelligent species will evolve. 

The planet won't last forever, but we won't kill it. In fact, we'll make room for something else and perhaps better.

The religious fundamentalist will never care about protecting the environment since it conflicts with their idea of the coming of Jesus, the devil, or what ever they are waiting for. 

Now whether or not something better than we humans will evolve when we are gone depends on the extent of the damage and the time remaining for evolution to reboot.  Lets say an asteroid hits the earth in a couple million years, once again another reboot!  So the planet might be doomed to have nothing but bacteria and fungi until its death.  If the human race wakes up, we can drastically improve the genetic diversity on the planet, as well as securing our own future.    

I'm not sure how important it is to secure our own future. We may be a bit of a mistake of nature, since other critters were bestowed with far better survival characteristics. Cockroaches, rats, and of course the single-celled organisms.

George Carlin on the planet:

http://youtu.be/NL8HP1WzbDk

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