May 4, 2011

Climate Change Hits Home As The Bay Is Expected To Rise

55 Inch Bay Area Flood Risk

The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) has just released Climate Change Hits Home, a policy paper which "addresses how we should adapt to climate change in the Bay Area, including which tools and strategies will make us resilient to its most severe impacts, including drought, higher temperatures and sea level rise" and recommends "strategies for local and regional agencies to begin minimizing the region’s vulnerabilities to these long-term but potentially catastrophic effects."

It is now widely accepted that the world’s coastlines and coastal cities will be faced with seas that are rising faster than ever experienced. In California, we are likely to experience a sea level rise of about 16 inches by 2050 and about 55 inches by 2100—and much more after that.
These estimates are based on ranges that correspond to several global greenhouse-gas emissions scenarios. In the highest-emission scenario, the range of estimated end-of-century sea level rise is between 43 and 69 inches.

It was two weeks ago that San Francisco’s Planning Commission voted to support the long-term development for the low-lying Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco's bay.

Climate Change Hits Home [spur.org]
Planning Commission Approves Treasure Island Redevelopment Plan [SocketSite]
The Draft Plan For 550 Acres In The Middle Of San Francisco's Bay [SocketSite]

First Published: May 4, 2011 9:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Maybe a big amusement park? Underwater world?

Posted by: kathleen at May 4, 2011 10:00 AM

This looks to be a bit harsh for the South Bay, but overall doesn't this approximate what the bay shoreline looked like pre-1900 or so? How much of the 2050 inundated area is fill projects from a century earlier?

Posted by: Adam at May 4, 2011 10:40 AM

So much of the SV would be underwater, it's mind boggling. A big chunk of the FiDi would have its feet wet as well.

Which makes me think there will be a big technological/public works intervention at some point. Close off the GG with a system of Panamax+ locks for boat traffic. Then use the new device to drain the Bay a bit (by 20-30 feet?), unlocking some very valuable land that they "don't produce anymore except in Hawaii". After all the dutch are doing it for farmland...

Posted by: lol at May 4, 2011 11:46 AM

why is SocketSite posting this drivel........sea levels are unchanged vs. hundreds of years ago..............

mindless, moronic, hysteria

Posted by: runnz at May 4, 2011 11:59 AM

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 12:13 PM

2100?? Right. It's gonna be a lot sooner than this. Keep driving those ugly Acura SUVs to pick up your lottery tickets.

Posted by: sf at May 4, 2011 12:22 PM

"sea levels are unchanged vs. hundreds of years ago"

Well, sure, if you go back far enough, you'll find some point when sea levels were where they are today. You'll also find periods when the seas were much, much higher and other periods when they were much, much lower.

The important bits are: which way are they trending now (up, up, up) and what did we build in their way (lots, lots, lots).

Posted by: BobN at May 4, 2011 12:24 PM

Excerpt from PDF:
The California Adaptation Strategy projects a rise of 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100....

From a 20th-century baseline of an average 12 extreme heat days per year in San Francisco, we may expect to see 20 such days annually through 2035, between 32 and 46 extreme heat days annually by mid-century and 70 to 94 days by the end of the century—an eightfold increase from today.

A constant +8 degree change in weather would make SF one of the most desirable places in the world. Just saying.

Posted by: eddy at May 4, 2011 12:36 PM

Eddy - does that mean we'll turn into Sydney, Australia? I've always considered Sydney as San Francisco but with beach weather.

Posted by: Fishchum at May 4, 2011 12:41 PM

Runnz are you with the army corps of engineers?
Own a home in Venice, Italy? Ever been to New Orleans? Check out what happens to Manhattan with same data.

This is a decades long problem, where all the people on the planet need to agree to put the earth's health ahead of multinational global profits, even if they name a oil tanker after you.

Posted by: kathleen at May 4, 2011 12:43 PM

This doesn't look too bad. I mean, for one thing, I'll be dead in the year 2100 so, really, who cares? And since when have projections about what would happen 100 years from now ever been accurate? Where's my flying car, for example?

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at May 4, 2011 12:54 PM

@Eddy, that stats about the heat days is far more significant since only a small fraction of SF homes and business have any kind of air conditioning. Our buildings and infrastructure is going to have to be radically altered otherwise this will be the city known for massive waves of annual heat deaths far soon then it become the new retirement/vacation home hot spot.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 1:09 PM

There is a prominent Dutch presence on the mid peninsula area. Maybe they have some ideas about keeping rising waters at bay.

Posted by: Mole Man at May 4, 2011 1:12 PM

@Mole Man one of the best things we can do is remove local damns, allowing silt to flow back into the bay to be absorbed by local wetlands so that the wet lands, which we have spent millions (billions?) restore, can rise with sea level and continue to best our best defense.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 1:15 PM

Though seaside locations like SF will be more affected than inland locations like Denver for example try to look beyond the local impacts. Instead of worrying about how to install air conditioning or build a dam to maintain the bay's level consider the impacts of the global food shortage, mass migration, and the ensuing wars.

It isn't a pretty picture. Avoiding and/or greatly delaying that consequence is pretty straightforward from a technical standpoint and only politics and stupidity stand in the way.

So if you're planning to solve this problem with a dam at the Golden Gate be sure to budget for a security barrier to wrap around the Republic of San Francisco, its remaining arable land, and freshwater sources. You'll need to to keep out the dying hungry hoards.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 4, 2011 1:41 PM

^^^ Zombie Apocalypse!!

Posted by: Average Joe at May 4, 2011 1:55 PM

crap. looks like all the airports will be under water. as will be the new HQ of facebook. not to mention mill valley. with no airports - no air travel. with no facebook no friends. with no mill valley - no culture and yuppidom. looks like we are looking at a total collapse of civilization. no wonder those pac heights mansions are going for >10m. the rich know what they are doing - they will be the only ones to survive. the rest of us will crowd into whatever remains of antioch.

Posted by: halpern at May 4, 2011 2:07 PM

Ya never know what the future holds....

"No one knows what caused the eerie quiet. The deep magnetic field apparently did not twist up in its usual way, perhaps because electrical currents inside the Sun grew weaker. Some scientists speculated that the Sun was powering down, at least temporarily. A panel of solar physicists studied these changes and projected that the Sun’s activity might reach just half of its recent levels in its next 11-year sunspot cycle. This could have minor implications for climate change. For the past century, human activity far outweighed the Sun’s modulations in affecting Earth’s climate. If the pattern of reduced solar activity continues through another of the Sun’s cycles and beyond, the subtle decrease in energy from the Sun could slightly offset global warming".

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Something-New-Under-the-Sun.html#ixzz1LQ7WkIIW

Posted by: Sun Activity at May 4, 2011 2:10 PM

Yeah, those climate predictions have been so amazingly accurate to date.

Nigel Calder (1975): "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind."

"Douglas Colligan (1975): The world's climatologists are agreed...Once the freeze starts, it will be too late."

Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, Earth Day (1970)
"If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. … This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age."

Posted by: anon at May 4, 2011 2:48 PM

with no mill valley - no culture and yuppidom.

Mill Valley still has culture? A non-diverse town of 13K or so that kills businesses like the Sweetwater Saloon and Village Music in favor of cupcake shops and other yuppie havens? I guess there are still some art galleries, but a lot of the culture got beaten out of Mill Valley starting in the 80s and 90s.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 4, 2011 2:51 PM

@Halpern

Try driving to your $10 million Pac Heights mansion via low-lying streets that are flooded or subject to periodic flooding. This isn't a problem that rich people can easily avoid, unless they die sooner.

@Anon 2:48

OK. Point taken. Experts frequently make mistakes. OTOH, it makes sense not to dismiss all predictions by experts...some of them are correct and it is worth avoiding catastrophic outcomes, even if the probability seems slight. That's why we buy insurance.

Posted by: SausalitoRes at May 4, 2011 2:55 PM

@bdb, I think you're grossly overestimating the issues of air conditioning as a life saving device for older/elderly people. Any of these changes will be gradual and people will adjust. +8 degrees is what we have outside today relative to most of the rest of the year. I'll take that anyday / everyday.

Posted by: eddy at May 4, 2011 3:08 PM

@sfrenegade: what is a "non-diverse" town? is East Oakland a non-diverse town? What about Millbrae?

does it mean a "low-crime" town?

Posted by: halpern at May 4, 2011 3:19 PM

I think by non-diverse he mean all one color. In this case, white:

http://www.pacificsun.com/news/show_story.php?id=2962

Posted by: R at May 4, 2011 3:34 PM

"It is now widely accepted that the world’s coastlines and coastal cities will be faced with seas that are rising faster than ever experienced."

More like widely debated, by respected scientists from two diametrically opposed camps. Studies from both sides get trotted out by the various powers that be for various reasons. They can both tell you precisely how to interpret ice corings.

But definitely, let's solve all of this on a blog where there are already about 600 differing opinions.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 4, 2011 4:09 PM

I'm sorry...in 2100 I'll be 152 years old.
100 year projections??!! Gimme a break.
I've got extremely smart and clever grandchildren...they'll fix it (IF it happens.) I'm with you Jimmy (no longer bitter.)

Posted by: bobo at May 4, 2011 4:18 PM

@Eddy ... tell that to the +500 people who died in the 1995 Chicago heatwave.

For 3 days temperatures reached +100 with no nighttime cooling (meaning that at 2am it was still 101, 102 degrees) in those 3 days over 500 people died of heat related issues, the city had to bring in refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies.

It only takes a few days of high temperatures to kill lots of people.

and if you think it can't or won't get that hot here you should consider the Russian heatwave of 2010, where an estimated 15k died due to the heat.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/moscow2010/

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 4:26 PM

Isn't it extreme heat inland that causes our SF summer fog by pulling it in from the ocean through the Golden Gate? Probably global warming will make SF cooler.

Posted by: bornpetrified at May 4, 2011 4:27 PM

@bornpetrified ... if you read the spur report it predicts, more days of the winds coming from the east blowing hot valley air across SF, which is what currently happens on those handful of +90 days in SF. The prediction is that the number of days where wind blows from the valley out to sea will increase substantially this giving us many more +90 possibly +100 days and nights.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 4:35 PM

the city and the state also needs to consider upgrading the electrical grid to handle the load of the additional cooling needs.

During a major heatwave it is very likely for there to be widespread blackouts, as happened in Chicago in 1995 and Russia in 2010. This tramps even more people in homes and buildings without any relief from the heat. Without a chance to cool off the effects of the heat become cumulative and individuals who may have been fine for a day or two succumb to the heat.

This is why Chicago has a network of cooling centers during the summer and an aggressive program to check on vulnerable citizens and get them to cooling centers during heat waves. SF will need to consider a similar program.

This is just one of the many changes every region will have to contend with as their local climates change radically in the next 100 years.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 4:46 PM

I'm talking about the weather in San Francisco. Not Chicago or Russia. It's all micro dude :-)

Posted by: eddy at May 4, 2011 5:00 PM

what is a "non-diverse" town? is East Oakland a non-diverse town? What about Millbrae?

does it mean a "low-crime" town?

East Oakland isn't a town, last I checked. Mill Valley isn't diverse at all, whether it's race/ethnicity, economics, restaurants, or just general character of the people. I'm not saying that's good or bad in itself, and I don't think diversity is good for diversity's sake, but it tends to weigh against having culture, as does Mill Valley's tiny size and the fact that it's a sparsely populated area largely indistinguishable from several of the other tiny Marin towns in the area. A small town that apparently banned live music in the 1970s probably isn't a good example of a cultural mecca.

I'm not sure what crime has to do with diversity. Sunnyvale is one of the safest cities in the country. San Jose is one of the safer big cities in the country.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 4, 2011 5:36 PM

Right, and the weather in SF is expected to change radically, it will be much hotter much more often.

Additionally we will lose a big chunk of our current waterfront as well as all of treasure island.

The city and the state need to start preparing now so that the water system, electrical grid, business, and residents will be able to handle the new reality climate change will bring. Preparing now means when it is +100 for days in a row or the Marina district sinks below the waves it will be an inconvenience and not a crisis.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 4, 2011 5:36 PM

I'm totally with Jimmy on this one.

Since I live in Noe Valley, hopefully the water will not lap up against our neighborhood.

Since by 2100 my house will be 196 years old and I just hope I have all my remodeling and permits completed by then.

Otherwise, I'm up a damn creek without a paddle.

So to speak.

Posted by: noearch at May 4, 2011 5:49 PM

Think positively: One decent nuclear apocalypse or a direct hit by a meteor would bring those temps down and we'd all be fine.

Posted by: tipster at May 4, 2011 6:15 PM

@sfrenegade: you're right East Oakland isn't a town but East Palo Alto is. However, I am not sure that arbitrary administrative divisions should define how diverse an area is. I know many whites who live in Oakland and pat themselves on the back for living in a very "diverse" town - but 90% of them live 90% white Montclair/Rockridge, etc.

Also, Mill Valley and Marin in general have the highest percentage of Jews in any California county. At least by the standards of most of the rest of America that is pretty diverse.

I am not sure what a "cultural mecca" is but I would imagine mine and your ideas of what is "culture" diverge.

The article cites HUD action against Marin cities apparently for not being "diverse" enough. Nothing similar is being proposed apparently for other towns in the area each of which is dominated by a "diverse" ethnic group. So apparently, in the eyes of HUD being ethnically monolithic is not bad just ethnically monolithic based on a particular skin color (but maybe I'm wrong and they will soon sue Detroit).

Crime statistics should tell anyone but the see no evil know-nothings the consequences of certain kinds of diverisity.

Posted by: halpern at May 4, 2011 6:18 PM

Prognostications like this are often not black and white though if the potential effects are severe and long lasting then it is worthwhile to consider the precautionary principle. Don't worry, if climate change is bunk then there's still plenty of time left to burn up the rest of the fossil fuels. They won't go to waste.

Who wants to drive out for a latte?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 4, 2011 9:10 PM

Has anybody heard about http://www.tierramerica.info/nota.php?lang=eng&idnews=960this project?
It will save Venice and can maybe save the SF Bay? I feel more sorry for places along oceans instead. Has anybody thought about the millions who live on Bangladesh's coast for example? Talk about genocide...

Posted by: Nasser at May 5, 2011 12:12 AM

Uh, water flows out of the Sierras to the ocean so blocking the bay from ocean will require the use of large pumps to push water UP from the bay to the ocean.

Posted by: djt at May 5, 2011 9:05 AM

^^^ Not necessarily. So long as the ocean level rise is less than the average difference between high and low tides you could simply let the water out at low tide.

Not that I think that turning the bay into a freshwater lake is a good idea though...

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 5, 2011 9:27 AM

"How much of the 2050 inundated area is fill projects from a century earlier?"

The inundated areas correspond very closely to the "artificial fill" areas according to the USGS map (see name link for map).

Posted by: NotSurprised at May 5, 2011 9:38 AM

"Also, Mill Valley and Marin in general have the highest percentage of Jews in any California county. At least by the standards of most of the rest of America that is pretty diverse."

And yet you still can't find a decent deli in Marin County. Even the 7.5% Jewish population in Marin County has no culture! :)

This discussion on diversity is not very interesting or productive, nor does it explain how Mill Valley has culture. I'm assuming you've given up on that, so you're focusing on a different argument.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 5, 2011 9:59 AM

We'll have gondolas for the tourists, on the underwater former bike lanes. Lemons to lemonade!

Posted by: Dan at May 5, 2011 11:02 AM

Has anybody thought about the millions who live on Bangladesh's coast for example? Talk about genocide...

Good point on poor countries.

Humans are a very adaptive species. The "easy" solution will be to migrate. As simple as that. It won't probably happen overnight, in one exodus, but over time, as local events push some of the people out little by little. Look at what happens with Northern Africa. Food cost issues created instability and revolt, and some long-lingering pressures made 10s of 1000s of the poorest try and migrate to the EU. It's a small burst of migration in the big picture, but pretty much what I think will happen if climate change goes on unchecked.

I don't think we'll see 100s of Millions of people from desolate/overcrowded areas move north, but a continuous number that will move north, send money home and sustain what would otherwise be an unlivable environment. It's already happening, due to population increases. One migrant from a poor country like Mali can help 10, 20 or more people survive in his own country by enabling them to consume imported foodstuff. The bigger issue is access to water. That's where international tensions might arise.

In rich countries this will not be as big an issue. Either we'll adjust by moving inland a bit, or we'll build levees where it's really worth it. The US has a very low density. Most of Europe too. Agriculture is so efficient that there's plenty to work with. We have plenty of water, if we know how to better use it.

Posted by: lol at May 5, 2011 1:47 PM

invest in Las Vegas now, befro it becomes ocean fornt property. A lwgacy purchase for your grandchildren.

My grandma saw the ocean here when everyone else saw desert...

Posted by: kathleen at May 5, 2011 9:24 PM

This sea level rise stuff is a bunch of hooey, it's not happening and it's not going to. Meanwhile arctic ice is growing and Antarctic ice is at record levels. Those are the real facts the warmers hope you don't learn.

Posted by: Reboot SF at May 5, 2011 10:08 PM

Meanwhile arctic ice is growing and Antarctic ice is at record levels.

Ice does naturally fluctuate and you certainly can't say that definitively based on looking at one year. There's an obvious trend downward in the Arctic:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

In any case, it's pretty clear that the polar areas aren't the only things affected by climate change.

What I do find odd is that one theory about the Antarctic is that the ozone hole was actually helping maintain the ice.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 6, 2011 10:19 AM

I alerted a close friend who I have been collaborating with for nearly three decades, personally and professionally. He's an impeccable researcher, colleague and friend and the climate discussion is something we've been having long before Al Gore's fact-free "The Sky Is Falling" film that garnered him Oscars and Nobel Peace Prizes in his thinly veiled attempt to create the Gore/Goldman Sachs carbon trading exchange that, if worked, would have made Gore and Goldman Sachs 1 trillion USD a year in income, all predicated upon the assumption that CO2 is bad, is rising and taxing it would somehow "save the world" -- It would have literally taxed your breath when it hasn't been established that CO2 is even responsible for anything related to climate change to begin with!

This is what he had to say about this map and sea level rise:

---

"Wikipedia has long been known for their warmist bias.

The chief editor was actively rewriting all the environmental entries,
especially on global warming. He was also deleting and rejecting
contradictory data.

This became a big stink, and eventually that guy was fired. Still, you
can't trust what you read there on global warming.

As far as sea level rising, I've been looking close at this for a year
now. Levels have actually dropped lately, and the rate of rising isn't
nearly as much as the warmists fear. You gotta remember, the seas have
been rising for 20,000 years.

As far as the IPCC predictions - show me one of their predictions that has
been accurate!

All of the extra water, supposedly raising the oceans, is supposedly
coming from the melting of Greenland and Antarctica (which has massive
amounts of land based ice). Except the south pole isn't melting, it's
increasing the amount of ice.

As for Greenland, people are very confused about it. Sure, it's had some
melting but it's not nearly as bad as they believe. In fact, the ice is
reforming in ways they never expected. Recent data is showing it's
reforming ice at the BOTTOM of the glaciers. Not only was this unexpected,
but it contaminates the "ice core" samples the AGW theorists have been
relying on.

If the ice at the bottom is melting and then refreezing, then the bubbles
of trapped atmosphere supposedly showing the historic record of CO2 (aka a
proxy of past temperatures) is unreliable.

Anytime someone mentions the melting of Greenland's ice, and rising sea
levels, ask them this question. Greenland was once "green." The ice was
melted and settlers established farms, raised grazing animals that feed on
grass, etc. What were the sea levels then?

If they were not "too high" then why would they be too high if it melts
again? If it was "too high" then such changes in sea level would be
normal, so why isn't that in the sea level in the charts they show?


I have no hope that attempting to edit the Wikipedia entry will be
accepted."

Posted by: Reboot SF at May 6, 2011 10:59 AM

To be honest I couldn't care less about atmospheric CO2 levels or global warming but the debate has sparked a discussion of increased energy efficiency and decreased dependence on imported oil. This structural change in our economy, should it occur, could prove to be far more important to the daily lives and long-term financial health of US citizens. Any attempts to reduce CO2 emissions through taxation or some half-baked prediction of sea levels rising "in 2100" are simply asinine.

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at May 6, 2011 11:24 AM

After the "birther" conspiracy theory, now we have the "warmist". TP is behind the first, who wanna bet Big Oil is behind the latter?

Science vs. Faith. The battle rages on.

Posted by: lol at May 6, 2011 11:33 AM

Reboot SF - Your "impeccable researcher" friend seems to struggle with basic logic.

Jimmy - Yes, there are multiple reasons to wean the USA off of foreign oil. The difficulty is that our political system isn't geared towards protecting long term economic health (or long term anything for that matter). Short term results will get you reelected. Expect gas prices to fall before the elections.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 6, 2011 12:16 PM

"Reboot SF - Your "impeccable researcher" friend seems to struggle with basic logic"

Why do you say that?

I looked it up because I find this stuff sort of interesting. The Norse settlers of 9th-10th century Greenland actually did take advantage of the medieval warm period, raising sheep and goats. Can you point to another area that was necessarily underwater as a direct result, or something?

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 6, 2011 12:49 PM

anon.ed - I'm not questioning the data presented and am taking that at face value. But the writer seems to imply some sort of conclusion. In the sky the writer sees a constellation forming the outline of some woodland creature whereas I'm just seeing a collection of stars.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 7, 2011 8:42 AM

You were questioning logic. The argument is well reasoned, and I should have known better.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 7, 2011 9:36 AM

[the following anon.ed comment spliced in from the 333 Oak Park thread. Taking it over here for relevance and continuity]

"If Greenland supported animal husbandry, which it did, then where was evidence of flooding elswewhere?"

... and there's one of the lapses of logic. Here the theory floated goes something like this :

1. Greenland supported animal husbandry during recorded history
2. there weren't reports of inundation during the time that Greenland supported animal husbandry
3. therefore global warming doesn't result in inundation.

Do you see the lapse of logic? There's a huge leap between 1+2 to 3. First of all how do we know that the grazing land in Greenland was a result of a warmer global climate? Could it have been caused by local conditions? The Gulf Stream perhaps? And how much land was open for grazing? The whole of Greenland? Or maybe a thin strip along the southern coastline? I'd think that you don't need much land to support the tiny historical population of Greenland. How much of Greenland's ice sheet had melted to support these Greenland ranches? How does that compare to what could result from dumping several million years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in a mere century? Are we sure that our man-made atmosphere intervention won't cause greater fluctuations compared to those historical natural climate changes? Could they be additive?

I'll admit that I do not have all of the answers. I haven't even studied the problem very closely. You'll also find that scientists exploring this issue aren't entirely certain either. But the climate change story does look to be very credible. Credible enough that I think we need to take caution and heed the warnings until we can fully understand the implications of converting fossil fuels into atmospheric carbon. Once that CO2 is integrated into the atmosphere it is really difficult and time consuming to extract it back down to earth. Much easier is to simply leave it in the earth.

Be sure to investigate the motivations of those who want to discredit global warming. Policies that reduce carbon emissions stand to reduce the petrochemical industry's profits. They are an extremely profitable commercial sector right now, perhaps the most powerful of all. That kind of money can buy a lot of influence including scientists. And it isn't just the petroleum industry that would like to continue to profit from burning fossil fuels. There are massive financial interests behind debunking climate change.

Also consider what would happen if we heed the warnings and climate change turns out to be bogus. We would have directed efforts towards non-carbon based energy sources which is hardly a harmful result. The sector of the economy that is fossil fueled would have slowed somewhat but guess what? That fuel is still there ready to be used by subsequent generations so the net effect is nothing.

Given that there's no certainty about climate change we have two courses of action each with two possible outcomes. We could ramp down our carbon emissions and the outcomes are either saving the earth from war, famine, and destruction if climate change is real and was averted or the aforementioned "null" result if climate change is bunk. Or we could continue business as usual, building more freeways, drilling deeper and into more sensitive ecosystems. If climate change is bunk than we get that same "null" result. But if climate change is real than we've just escorted the next generation into hell on earth.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 12, 2011 10:08 AM

"first of all how do we know that the grazing land in Greenland was a result of a warmer global climate"

First of all nothing, dude. You're not even trying to do anything other than argue. You can't even be bothered to Google. Whatever.

The Medieval Optimum or Warm Period is a known fact, as I've said:

http://www.google.com/search?q=medieval+warming+period&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7ADFA_en

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 10:14 AM

Of course if you wish to parse a question that encompasses quite a lot you're going to be able to find various points that are worth discussing. I did not say it was definitive. I said it was logical. And it is.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 10:21 AM

If "parse" means think critically and look at the whole picture, and "use logic" means don't think critically and only emphasize one factor, I'll parse over using logic every time. Maybe that's why we disagree so much here, fluj.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 12, 2011 10:32 AM

No. On the one hand there are scientific studies that lead one to pose a well reasoned question, and then there's logic. Whether or not the scientific studies contain debatable data is not the same thing as whether or not an argument is logically sound. There is science. And there is logic. If you don't understand that, then yeah, that's definitely one reason why we disagree so much on herer.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 10:50 AM

You know what SFrenegade? go away and argue different points you bring to the table all by your lonesome with another sucker. The guy said "logic" and I stayed talking about logic.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 10:53 AM

Uh, water flows out of the Sierras to the ocean so blocking the bay from ocean will require the use of large pumps to push water UP from the bay to the ocean.

Posted by: djt at May 5, 2011 9:05 AM
--------------------
^^^ Not necessarily. So long as the ocean level rise is less than the average difference between high and low tides you could simply let the water out at low tide.

Not that I think that turning the bay into a freshwater lake is a good idea though...

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 5, 2011 9:27 AM
*********************

Singapore recently dammed up Marina Bay with the Marina Barrage. They plan to let fresh water flow out during low tide, and pump it out when it rains heavily during high tide.

But the main reason the Marina Barrage was built was not to protect low-lying areas from sea level rise; rather it was to provide Singapore with a source fresh water (Malaysia is a major source of fresh water for Singapore, but it won't be for long).

Posted by: joh at May 12, 2011 11:02 AM

MOD,

True that renewable energy will not prevent the ultimate extraction of all accessible fossil fuels. But the key is time, there. We need to get ready for life without fossil fuels.

Unchecked consumption will lead to the following sequence of events:

1 - Skyrocketing prices that will lead to:
2 - Investment in better more extensive fossil fuel extraction that will lead to:
3 - More delaying of investments into renewable energy

The example of Canadian Oil Sands is typical. It makes sense to process it when oil is over $60/barrel. Under that price it's not cost effective enough. With a lower oil demand, we could have oil at less than 60, even 40 and the investments into this form of extraction would be delayed into the future when we really need it.

But with no credible alternative, we're stuck with high prices and we're going after hard-to-reach oil already, delaying the time when we'll need massive investments into renewable energy. And high oil prices mean high gas prices which means politicians are bound to support oil extraction, with the oil lobbies/angry electors pressuring them from both sides.

Whatever global warming scenario we get, we have to prepare for the post-oil era as quickly as possible. What we need is a Marshall Plan for renewable/alternative energy. The faster the better.

Posted by: lol at May 12, 2011 11:04 AM

Yeah, the problem is that the original premise both Reboot and fluj made doesn't really work:

"Anytime someone mentions the melting of Greenland's ice, and rising sea
levels, ask them this question. Greenland was once "green." The ice was
melted and settlers established farms, raised grazing animals that feed on
grass, etc. What were the sea levels then?"

Greenland is still green in the southern parts during the summer, as it was then. Having livestock there was a complete failure because the climate didn't support it and it wasn't logical. There's no indication that larges parts of the island other than the southern parts were green in any recent history. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, sure, but not recently, as fluj and Reboot indicated. The ice sheet was still largely intact then. That's why Milkshake's "parsing" is important.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 12, 2011 11:11 AM

Nonsense. Google "Medieval Warm Period + Greenland" and read up.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 2:24 PM

Uhh, yeah dude, read yourself, this among many things:

http://www.grist.org/article/greenland-used-to-be-green

The ice is very very old, and there's no indication that the majority of Greenland was ice free, just the southern parts where trying to farm livestock was an utter failure. Parts of the ocean were ice free, and that allowed people to sail, but there's absolutely no indication that a larger percentage of Greenland was ice free.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 12, 2011 3:46 PM

Whatever. It's not about "majority," and who said it was? It's about certain scientists and papers saying that Greenland did not and/or was not able to support, animal husbandry prior to the Medieval warming period. Stop doing that all the time, would ya? It's so shifty the way you try to insert things and change arguments. I'm not saying, "This is incontrevertible scientific proof." I'm saying, "The guy had a reasoned argument, so give it a rest with the lazy internet practice of saying 'logic' all the time, because you're not arguing logic." Here you are basically arguing "incontrovertible scientific proof was not achieved" when the point was, "there was a sound logical argument there." IF, pal. "If." Shall I draw the logic form for you next? LOL, you are one argumentative unihater.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 4:09 PM

Except that the argument means nothing in particular, because the fact that people may have raised livestock in less than ideal conditions means nothing in particular. Greenland's settlements back then are the same place Greenland's settlements are now, so why would there be significantly more melted ice so as to raise the seas? The argument has to go further in order to be reasoned, because if the ice didn't melt significantly, then Reboot's original statements are bunk:

http://web.me.com/uriarte/Earths_Climate/12._The_climate_of_the_last_millenium.html

Again, no one disagrees that that part of the world was a little bit warmer during that period, and that there were other parts of the world that were cooler then, e.g. the Pacific. But none of that sustains the Reboot's point or the question you asked ("Can you point to another area that was necessarily underwater as a direct result, or something?").

You could probably farm livestock on Greenland right now, badly, of course, as they did then with their apparently small cows. Go find the green spots:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=nuuk&ie=UTF8&z=10&ll=64.297653,-51.325378&spn=0.282311,1.334839&t=h&om=1

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=nuuk&ie=UTF8&z=11&ll=61.041667,-45.618668&spn=0.161905,0.667419&t=k&om=1&iwloc=addr

No idea what you're talking about with all the "internet practice" or quoting random words. You've repeatedly tried to call out people on Socketsite for an "internetty" argument or "netty-speak" or whatever you call it, but I still have no idea what that means.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 12, 2011 4:27 PM

"Except that the argument means nothing in particular, because the fact that people may have raised livestock in less than ideal conditions means nothing in particular"

Can I see some climate history credentials, from you? Thanks. Show them and I'll continue talking to you about this. I know how to use Google to make points and go on and on about things too. But your opinion regarding what is and what is not meaningful here is not something I rate. It is obvious that some find meaning in the Vikings coming to Greenland and raising livestock, year round, during the warming period. That is where the argument sprang from.

As to "internet practice" of quoting random things, well, I think you know quite a lot about it. You show your skills (heh, skills) in same daily on here. For all to see. Questioning "logic" is a cute little thing that people who post too much on the internet do. And yes, you know all about that.

Also, next time you go on and on about law, how about flashing some law credentials? Thanks in advance. I hit the "ignore" button when I see you going on and on about that stuff too.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 12, 2011 7:33 PM

anon.ed - You don't need to be a climate expert to see absence of support for this "because sunbathers in medieval San Tropez didn't need to move their beach chairs up the beach while Greenlanders barbequed, we have nothing to worry about from burning all of the fossil fuels thousands of time faster than they were created." theory. All you need is a good grasp of rational thought and a little science.

Speaking of which I'm confused with your stance on logic. First you praise this theory as being logical and then you denigrate using logic in an internet discussion. But here's a hint : logic isn't googling and regurgitating random factoids.

Which is what this so called impeccable researcher has done: found a plausible argument on the internet and "dittoed" it. It is an argument crafted for deceit, seeming to make sense but it doesn't. We're a democracy so if you can fool some people (and it seems like they've fooled you too) then you've bought influence.

I could be wrong though and an willing to hear an explanation of how we go from the believable premise to the specious conclusion. Anyone care to illuminate?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 12, 2011 8:58 PM

"found a plausible argument"

Yep. Plausible, well reasoned, logical.

I didn't Google factoids. I never strayed farther than the initial argument, bud.

"tropical sunbathers blah blah blah" = silly riff about nothing

"fooled you" = nope, never said how I stand other than you criticizing someone else's sound logic is typical, and typically inappropriate.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 8:09 AM

anon.ed - sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were the one googling factoids. That was the impeccable researcher.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 13, 2011 9:01 AM

Oh, the illogical plausible argument guy? Got it. Yeah, you saw right through him.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 9:22 AM

Plausible premise. The conclusion is in question. Maybe someone can help me connect the dots?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 13, 2011 9:32 AM

The conclusion? The point was to question others who are being so very conclusive. The point is to question rather defined sort of conclusions, one of which is depicted atop this thread.

Look, I get it. Your mind is made up and you're arguing from a perspective that you have. That's fine. But leave "logic" out of it when all you're really saying, "I have a different opinion." The argument is sound: This happened before, and did the world flood? no, it didn't. So saying this could be happening now, and the world will necessarily flood is therefore not valid.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 9:42 AM

"It is obvious that some find meaning in the Vikings coming to Greenland and raising livestock, year round, during the warming period. That is where the argument sprang from."

Yes, and all the *facts* we can find say it wasn't year round, so the premise is rather broken. I'm not sure where you have any more credentials on climate change than I do, although I probably read more on climate change than you do, pro and contra the typical arguments, that much is clear.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 9:46 AM

Uh, yeah they were living there year round, raising animals year round, where they hadn't before. And it was also warmer. Are you arguing that was a coincidence? Are you arguing that warmer does not necessarily mean less ice? Are you arguing that less ice does not mean melted ice going into the ocean?

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 9:54 AM

"This happened before,..."

Um then maybe you were fooled. That's the point I've been trying to clarify. The impeccable researcher claims that the situation that we could be facing in the near future already happened with no ill effect. I'm not seeing any evidence that the medieval Greenland situation has any relevance to today's situation. It might though I haven't found the connection myself and no-one here has come forward with the connection.

Wanting to believe that they are connected is not he same as demonstrating that they are connected. And there's a lot of money in the "wanting to believe" camp.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 13, 2011 9:54 AM

"I'm not seeing any evidence that the medieval Greenland situation has any relevance to today's situation."

OK. Not sure why that is. Because the guy is using the same land mass that's being talked about so very often today in order to make a point.

"fooled" ? I was paraphrasing the argument. I still haven't even told you how I think. You have though, many times over. And if you think there isn't big money on both sides of the equation, well then who's being foolish.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 10:02 AM

"Uh, yeah they were living there year round, raising animals year round, where they hadn't before. And it was also warmer. Are you arguing that was a coincidence? Are you arguing that warmer does not necessarily mean less ice? Are you arguing that less ice does not mean melted ice going into the ocean?"

If you read the literature, the animals were small and lived inside for much of the year. So yeah, they were "raised" for the whole year, sure, just badly as I said. You could probably raise livestock now, badly like those viking folk.

It was not much warmer if you read the accounts, and there's no indication that the ice sheet was any smaller than it is now or that the colonies were further inland than they are now. I could repeat myself again, if that helps. :)

What you're missing is that the temperature change was relatively small and localized. Huge parts of the ice sheet didn't melt. In fact, most of the literature says that the temperatures were slightly lower than they are now (read NOAA data -- the "Medieval Warming Period" in the north Atlantic is very close to today's temperature), and sea levels haven't risen quite significantly yet in our time, either.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 10:09 AM

"If you read the literature, the animals were small and lived inside for much of the year. So yeah, they were "raised" for the whole year, sure, just badly as I said. You could probably raise livestock now, badly like those viking folk."

Sure man. You've read all the studies and you've got the ability to sum it all up. Gotcha. And you've deduced that there's no place for a simple little well reasoned argument asking, "Well, what about this?" Understood.

Again, can I see some credentials?

Please man. Nobody is checking for your overly opinionated takes + selective Googling. You weigh in on nearly everything, you and MOD both. Well, you shouldn't.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 10:19 AM

So having more credentials than you is not enough. Citing people with credentials is unacceptable. Showing where your factual assumptions are wrong doesn't work. Giving a reasoned argument doesn't help. What else would you like, sir?

Basically you want to believe what you want to believe, which is fine, but stop trying to make it about grand principles.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 10:32 AM

"So having more credentials than you is not enough"

What on earth are you talking about?

You didn't even enter the discussion until a day later, and after I specifically named the subject.

Now I'm supposed to take your word for it that you know more about it than I do?

No thanks.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 10:50 AM

Well, you didn't even know that the temperatures in the north Atlantic in the "Medieval Warming Period" were similar to today. Your whole argument falls apart on that fact, so hell yeah, I'm more informed than you.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 10:56 AM

Similar temperatures now? What, like the whole climate change model isn't based off a matter of a few degrees in the first place? And I didn't know that. You read that precisely where?

Look. I got it. I raised the subject. Then you went out and read everything there is to read about it in a few days, and now you're a human compendium of knowledge on same. Fine. Enjoy that delusional self image. Have fun Googling, reading a couple paragraphs here and there, linking, and arguing on the internet until the cows come home.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 11:12 AM

There are numerous sources that the Medieval Warming Period was localized to the north Atlantic and that its temperatures were similar to today, and that today's temperatures have risen slightly higher. Maybe you should Google "Medieval Warming Period + Greenland" yourself. If you would like a head start from an actual climate scientist, here's a Yale professor's account:

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/rooted/2010/12/03/ask-a-climate-scientist-was-greenland-actually-green/

I read about things like this generally, like I read about a lot of things. Why would I read about climate change just to respond to your incorrect statement on the interwebs? Seems like you're the one who's delusional, and that you're the person who read one thing and assumed it was gospel without thinking critically about it or getting all the facts.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 11:23 AM

Yeah, I read that article two months ago. A friend of mine cited it. He was using it to say that global warming theories are largely bunk because the trends are merely naturally cyclical, which is his opinion. But in the article, the Yale scientist plainly agrees that the Vikings had to leave or were starved out around ~1400 when agriculture/animal raising became impossible. This was due to climate change. He also says that "the Little Ice Age" wreaked more havoc on the world than the Medieval warming period. So again, the initial question stands as logical. Not definitive. Not scientifically flawless. But also not flawed logic.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 11:55 AM

Did you read the 4th general observation:

The fourth general observation from proxy data is that the global-average temperature variations experienced in the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were smaller deviations from the norm than we are experiencing in the 21st century. The 21st-century pattern of global warming does not look like a natural climate cycle, because there is scarcely anywhere on the globe where a cooling trend counter-balances the warming.

Or the 5th?

The fifth general observation we get from the proxy data is that natural temperature variations that were smaller that those we are experiencing in the 21st century affected human civilization greatly.

And did you look up the temperature difference between the Medieval Warming Period and now?

If you connect all those things together, it defeats your premise: 1) it doesn't take much to improve the climate slightly in an extreme environment such as Greenland -- a slight ice melt in the seas, particularly in warmer months, is enough; 2) there's no indication that significant ice melts happened during the warm period in Greenland; 3) the Medieval Warming Period in Greenland was still cooler than now, so why would the sea level rise then any more than it would now?

In order for your premise to have any merit, significant amounts of ice must have melted during the warming period, making more of Greenland inhabitable than is today. That didn't happen.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 12:14 PM

It's not my premise, again, and all of your points are debatable. You continue to want to talk "irrefutable scientific evidence" and not "logic argument." In climate science. When I could cite 6 dozen credible contrary scientific opinions if I had enough time. As if someone couldn't cite ice coring to show that significant melting DID occur in Greenland at that time. Come on. These guys on both sides fight over ice coring constantly.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 1:47 PM

"It would have literally taxed your breath"

Any source for any proposal to actually tax people's breath, you know literally. :roll:

Posted by: Rillion at May 13, 2011 2:24 PM

You don't even have to get to ice coring, although ice coring doesn't agree with your premise as far as I know. Archaeologists have found remains of the former colonies, and they are where the villages in Greenland are now. These people were on the margins of being able to live there based on livestock, hence why I said they raised livestock badly. Their life was highly dependent on the very short summer growing season as I said before -- things didn't grow year-round.

I don't think anyone has ever asserted that the vikings lived further inland than the local folk in Greenland do now. Why? Because there was ice there! There are various sources you can find, I'm sure, although this Discover article provides a decent description of where and how the Europeans lived (as opposed to the Inuit):

http://discovermagazine.com/1997/jul/thegreenlandviki1186

The Norse colonists couldn’t have had a better start. Both the Eastern and Western settlements were ideally placed--located on inner fjords miles from the sea, nestled up against the ice sheet and sheltered from fierce winds. A persistent high-pressure zone over the ice cap made for warm summers on the fjords by deflecting coastal storms out to sea. From archeological excavations, researchers know that the Greenlanders subsisted on a diet of harp and harbor seal (and sometimes caribou), which were hunted in the summer on the outer fjords near the ocean, along with food from cows, sheep, and goats. The domestic animals pastured year-round along the inner fjords that produced grasses during the brief summer growing season. Despite their closeness to the sea, the Greenlanders, for unknown reasons, apparently didn’t fish.

A model of that economy, created by archeologist Thomas McGovern of the City University of New York and his colleagues, indicates that the summer growth of fodder for those domestic animals--and, in turn, the survival of the Greenlanders--was critically linked to climate change.


You're mixing up "there's no evidence that..." [significant amount of ice melted in Greenland] with "there is irrefutable proof that..." [significant amount of ice did not melt in Greenland]. I said the former, not the latter.

Sure, people fight over ice coring, but that doesn't turn "there is no evidence" into "it might be ambiguous." That merely turns "there is some evidence," into "it might be ambiguous." You can't overidealize how people's life in Greenland was during that period -- it was on the margins, which is why they disappeared.

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 2:45 PM

Again with "my premise."

And this ..

"Why? Because there was ice there!"

So what?

And you're saying stuff like this, "3) the Medieval Warming Period in Greenland was still cooler than now, so why would the sea level rise then any more than it would now?"

Which is clearly disputed.

And "no evidence," blah blah. I said this stuff was debatable from word one. I said the guy had made a logical argument.

Sorry you felt the need to go Dr. Googlestein and show the world how you're a insta-expert, once again. My point remains real simple and clean. The guy had a logical argument. Period.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 13, 2011 4:06 PM

Sure, if you make a bunch of wrong assumptions, it's perfectly logical. :)

Posted by: sfrenegade at May 13, 2011 5:04 PM

uh huh. Thanks for your wiki + google expert synopsis mixed with misstatements, talking about something real experts argue about vehemently.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 14, 2011 7:54 AM

"real experts" also argue the case for intelligent design over evolution. You'll find scientists with good credentials backing that theory. But that doesn't mean that we all evolved from a pair apple thieves sporting fig leaves.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 14, 2011 9:01 AM

Yep. Real similar there, bro.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at May 14, 2011 10:13 AM

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