Predictions of CLimate Change Doom and Gloom

Predictions of CLimate Change Doom and Gloom

Yes, the climate is changing, and we need to take reasonable actions to reduce humanity's impact on the planet. But there are plenty of folks who are eager to predict doom and gloom... in order to get wealth, power or simply attention.

Nasa scientist preducts end of arctic ice by 2018The EPA has made predictions (a.k.a, projections) about what will happen if climate change continues as they expect.  We love a prediction, who hasn't read their horoscope or had a psychic reading at least once?   But, predicting doom and gloom is a challenging subject, fraught with , well, doom and failure. 

Recall these recent and failed predictions (and don't take our world for them, follow the links to sources and in some cases, see these goofballs making their insane predictions):

  • 2000 - Edgar Cayce This psychic predicted the Second Coming would occur this year.
  • Y2K - computer disaster of  December 31, 2000
  • April 29, 2007 - Pat Robertson In his 1990 book The New Millennium, Robertson suggests this date as the day of Earth's destruction.
  • 2008: Nasa scientist Jim Hansen says  the Arctic will be ice-free by 2018 - Dr. Patrick Michaels, former Virginia State Climatologist and the  Wall Street Journal looked at his predictions and also mocks his , well, idiocy. Here's an excerpt:
    "The Nature study found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain.
    Several more of Mr. Hansen’s predictions can now be judged by history. Have hurricanes gotten stronger, as Mr. Hansen predicted in a 2016 study? No. Satellite data from 1970 onward shows no evidence of this in relation to global surface temperature. Have storms caused increasing amounts of damage in the U.S.? Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show no such increase in damage, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product. How about stronger tornadoes? The opposite may be true, as NOAA data offers some evidence of a decline. The list of what didn’t happen is long and tedious."
  • The Mayan calendar 2012 end of the world - The ;2012 phenomenon predicted the world would end at the end of the 13th b'ak'tun. The Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid, Nibiru, or some other interplanetary object; an alien invasion; or a supernova. Mayanist scholars stated that no extant classic Maya accounts forecasted impending doom, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresented Maya history and culture. Scientists from NASA, along with expert archaeologists, stated that none of those events were possible
  • 2008: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013 - see Snopes here
  • 2013: Arctic ice will be gone by 2015 (See UK Gaurdian)

More crazy predictions:Obama's new oceanfront mansion

So with this body of historical evidence, we at EHSO are going to  openly mock these crazy predictions for their sheer hubris and idiocy in predicting "The End" yet again. 

Don't you guys ever learn?

EPA predictions

The EPA's predictions are more rational, not as immediate, but still dire.

The graphs have two lines; Reference and Mitigation.  The red reference line is if we do nothing' the blue, if we take their recommended mitigation efforts.

And though they are based in science, they are still "best guesses" using relatively miniscule data and simple algorithms (compared to the size and complexity of the  earth itself) to attempt to approximate the immense and complex interactions that occur in nature.

Even using the most sophisticated computer models available, just look at the accuracy of weather forecasts.  So, take these predictions with a grain of salt the size of the moon...

  • TeChange in Global Mean Temperaturemperature Projections - Global mean temperature under the CIRA Reference scenario is projected to increase by over 9°F by 2100 (Figure 1). This estimated increase is consistent with the USGCRP Third National Climate Assessment, which projects a range of 5-11°F by 2100.14,15 To help illustrate the magnitude of such a change in global mean temperature, the last ice age, which covered the northern contiguous U.S. with ice sheets, was approximately 9°F cooler than today. While some areas will experience greater increases than others, Figure 1 presents the average change that is projected to occur across the globe under the Reference and Mitigation scenarios. As shown, temperatures in the Mitigation scenario eventually stabilize, though due to the inertia of the climate system, stabilization is not reached until several decades after the peak in radiative forcing. The Reference scenario continues to warm, reaching a temperature increase of almost five times that of the Mitigation scenario by the end of the century. This demonstrates that significant GHG mitigation efforts can stabilize temperatures and avoid an additional 7°F of warming this century, but due to climate system inertia, benefits may not be apparent for several decades.
  • Line graph showing the change in global mean sea level rise from 1990 to 2100 under the CIRA Reference and Mitigation scenarios.Sea Level Rise Projections - Global mean sea levels are projected to rise about 56 inches by 2100 under the Reference and about 37 inches under the Mitigation scenario
    The projections for global sea level rise account for dynamic ice-sheet melting by estimating the rapid response of sea levels to atmospheric temperature change.
  • Precipitation Projections - Precipitation in the U.S.Series of eight maps showing the percentage change in annual mean precipitation across the U.S. under the CIRA Reference and Mitigation scenarios.
    The IGSM-CAM projects future changes in

     annual mean precipitation over the course of the 21st century under the Reference and Mitigation scenarios (Figure 1). Under the CIRA Reference scenario, the model estimates increasing precipitation over much of the U.S., especially over the Great Plains. However, the western U.S. is estimated to experience a decrease in precipitation compared to present day.

    Under the Mitigation scenario, a similar but less intense pattern of increasing precipitation is projected over much of the country, particularly in the central states.

  • Extreme Precipitation - The figure below shows the change in the intensity of extreme precipitation events from present day to 2100. Blue areas on this map indicate that the future’s heaviest precipitation events will be more intense compared to today. Under the Reference, the IGSM-CAM shows a general increase in the intensity of extreme precipitation events, except over California. The increase is particularly strong over the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast. Global GHG mitigation is likely to greatly reduce the increase in intensity of extreme precipitation events, as shown in the right panel of Figure 2.
    Figure 2. Change in the Intensity of Extreme Precipitation with and without Global GHG Mitigation
    Set of maps showing the change in the extreme precipitation index relative to the baseline across the U.S. in the CIRA Reference and Mitigation scenarios.

  • Levels of Certainty