Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Silly people math and sea level rise

I realize for many people thinking is a burden, and something to be avoided at all costs. That is a shame cuz as a person thinking happens to be one of two things you are designed to do. So whether you are one of those folks that believe in the theory of gravity & evolution, or if you are of the ilk whom feels that everything is just part of a god's plan, or if you have found some other explanation for your life's experiences... It would be fairly difficult to argue that thought is something humans are not supposed to do.

On that note, let's talk Obama's recent inaugural speech's headline topic, Climate Change!

Why does it seem that most discussions of climate change and the effects therein are illustrated in linear models as opposed to the exponential ones that they actually run?

Is it that people don't know the difference between linear and exponential growth? That must be it. Because if predictions about the effects of climate change were discussed in the public forum using the math that they actually behave according to, this country wouldn't need an initiative to move towards renewable energy etc. because we would already be there.

See, whenever I hear some idiot on the gossip stations CNN & FOX News (neither has an investigative journalism department - so you can't really say they are news) talking about climate change they use phrases like "change in X units per unit of Time." that implies a steady linear growth pattern, as the rate of change is  illustrated as a constant.

Take global population for example... that hasn't grown so linearly... that shot up exponentially, and continues to do so... until some limiting factor kicks in...

When discussing climate models in linear terms the dramatic reality of the situation is placated to the point of banality. In reality, the worse things get, the faster they get worse. For example, as the world warms, the faster ice will melt, increasing the rate of warming, thus increasing the rate at which ice will melt.

This seems to me to be so self-evident that it mystifies me as to why anyone would try to use a delusional and erroneous explanation like linear models...

By discussing climate change in a "less scary" manner, how does that foster a call to action better than the more dramatic reality?

Sea levels will not continue to rise at a steady rate. Using purely hypothetical numbers, sea levels will not rise at a constant 1cm a year... it may be 1cm the "first" year, but it is more likely that by the "fifth" year that rate will have increased to 2cm. By year "10," that rate of rise will have grown to 4cm, and by year "15" it would be 8cm a year... and so on?

So if you had a kid today, by the time your kid has had one of their own sea rise would be measured in meters per year as opposed to centimeters... That is a situation that I hope would be more compelling to stir action now... cuz if you use the math I just used as an example, Sea levels would have already risen a meter or so by the time they are rising at half a meter a year. Once you get to that point, people won't be able to move out of costal cities fast enough, there wont be enough inland infrastructure to support that population migration.

Compare the number of cities on or near the coast to those inland. If the tides crest at 30ft higher in 30 years... is that enough time to build enough housing and industry to support the populations of Boston, New York, Philly, D.C., Norfolk, Charleston, Jacksonville, & Miami... just to name a few major cities on the just Atlantic coast of just North America?

The last time atmospheric carbon was at 400ppm the sea level was about 75 ft higher... and don't be all "So, it's not like that now..." Give ol' mother Earth a few years, she's a lot older than you and moves a little slower, she's got to catch up to the hurt we've already done... Geologic time moves in anything but a New York minute.

Just sayin'.

One storm this past year shut down NYC for a week, already...

And according to the NY Times today, if both poles melt that would raise the water by over 200 ft. If you live near the ocean, go to a place where you can see the water. Then imagine what your town would look like with the waves lapping over the top of the nearest 11 story building... do you want your kids to be living in that place? Well, bust out the SCUBA gear cuz that's exponential growth for ya.

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