Thursday, September 4, 2014

Global Warming Denialism, Part 3

Cato Institute, one of the more important conservative think tanks, posted an article a few years ago claiming that global warming had turned into global cooling.  This was done using one of the more common methods for statistical lying called "cherry picking".  They started their time series of global temperatures with 1998, one of the highest of the last twenty years because of a major El Nino.  In other words, they did a time series analysis starting with a high temperature event that had nothing to do with global warming.  That is classical lying with statistics.

This year they gave the task of this analysis to someone else and were forced to conclude that the planet continued to warm.

So the global warming deniers at the Cato Institute have had to back off from complete denial to an alternate position, "adaptation" -- okay, it's increasing, but we will be able to deal with it.  The problem is that we aren't going to be able to deal with it.  The Cato Institute is tragically wrong.

A new study reported by ThinkProgress describes the possible outcomes:
The researchers from Cornell, University of Arizona and U.S. Geological Survey conclude that “the risk of a decade-scale megadrought in the coming century [in the SW] is at least 80 percent, and may be higher than 90 percent in certain areas.”


Megadrought

Multidecadal (>35 year) megadrought risk estimates of projected precipitation changes across all 27 climate models in three emissions scenarios — aggressive action (g and h) and continued inaction (i).
Continued inaction (i), is the most likely future prospect, and not just for the American Southwest:

We extend our analysis of megadrought risk in the western US to the rest of the world by examining raw [model] estimates of decadal drought and multi-decadal megadrought from the three RCP [emissions] scenarios. Risks throughout the subtropics appear as high or higher than our estimates for the US Southwest (e.g., in the Mediterranean, western and southern Africa, Australia, and much of South America).

That's "Megadroughts".  And they will have very large consequences, for agriculture, and for environmental migration, i.e., people fleeing drought.  In fact it is happening right now.  Agriculture and populations in the American Southwest are having to take extreme actions as a result of current drought conditions.  And Africans and people in the Mediterranean are right now emigrating regions of drought.  This is just going to get worse.

There is no adaptation to these events.  The consequence is going to be social disorder.  The Cato Institute need to pay attention, to again update their expectations for the future.