Friday, September 27, 2013

IPCC Report - "Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis"

Can't get the entire report to download, so am reading the "Summary forPolicymakers."  Hah!  "Look, Ma - I'm a policymaker!"

Wish I was.  I know a few policies I'd put in place, sharpish. But I digress.

Check out this bit of the summary report (italics in the original):

"Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

And yes, I am suppressing my urge to roll my eyes and exclaim "Duh!"

Here's something else I am sure you didn't already know (snark intentional): 

"Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions."

And then (again, italics in original)...

"Global surface temperature change for the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5°C relative to 1850 to 1900 for all RCP scenarios except RCP2.6. It is likely to exceed 2°C for RCP6.0 and RCP8.5, and more likely than not to exceed 2°C for RCP4.5. Warming will continue beyond 2100 under all RCP scenarios except RCP2.6. Warming will continue to exhibit interannual-to-decadal variability and will not be regionally uniform." 

And then we get to sea level (italics in original)...

"Global mean sea level will continue to rise during the 21st century (see Figure SPM.9). Under all RCP scenarios the rate of sea level rise will very likely exceed that observed during 1971–2010 due to increased ocean warming and increased loss of mass from glaciers and ice sheets." 

And then, in section E.8 - Climate Stabilization, Climate Change Commitment and Irreversibility, we get the nail in the coffin:

“A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period. Surface temperatures will remain approximately constant at elevated levels for many centuries after a complete cessation of net anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Due to the long time scales of heat transfer from the ocean surface to depth, ocean warming will continue for centuries. Depending on the scenario, about 15 to 40% of emitted CO2 will remain in the atmosphere longer than 1,000 years.”

SO NOW WHAT???!!!!

Well one thing is for certain, this is going to take massive action - immediately.  Governmental firepower needs to be thrown behind a scientific solution or solutions.

Geoengineering methods, like Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) are mentioned at the very end of the report, but the IPCC goes on to say that there is insufficient knowledge about any of these technologies to predict what they would or could do – and warns of limitations and frightening sounding “side” effects.

But what, pray tell, is the alternative to action?

Drowning in toxic swill - burning in wildfires - enduring devastating hurricanes - succumbing to myriad exotic mosquito-borne diseases?  And not "in the future," but in the next few weeks for some?

Ideas?  I'm feeling a little freaked out, here, myself.