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CLIMATE CHANGE Los Alamos researcher: Dire forecast for state's forests

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Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 11:00 pm | Updated: 11:10 pm, Thu Oct 10, 2013.

While Congress dithers over budgets and battles over climate policy, scientists and others are urging state and local governments to take action as climate change affects water, agriculture, forests and businesses such as ski resorts that are dependent on dwindling snow.

Rising temperatures are killing forests globally, and research by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists finds it is highly likely that the Southwest, including New Mexico, will lose the vast majority of its forests by 2050. That means no golden aspens in the fall or pine trees in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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9 comments:

  • Khal Spencer posted at 12:53 pm on Tue, Oct 15, 2013.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 418

    Its pretty easy to chase down Park Williams, Cathy Wilson, and Nate McDowell, all earth scientists at LANL (Park Williams has been interviewed extensively by the Albuquerque Journal's John Fleck), and why they have expertise on the subject.

    Meanwhile, who are Oscar Michael and Henry Bowman, and why should we take them seriously? Can they provide credentials as to their expertise when speaking of AGW? Are they laypersons or Ph.D. climate scientists or something in between?

    That's the problem with these chat rooms, and why at least one scientific publication has ended its chat space. Unless we all lay our cards on the table, its difficult to know who is blowing smoke and who is speaking authoritatively. By using disparaging phrases like "models have become a joke", Mr. Bowman, for example, doesn't sound like he knows much about the science, which has progressed far beyond where we can afford to joke about it.

     
  • Karl Anderson posted at 11:08 am on Sat, Oct 12, 2013.

    Mal Adept Posts: 24

    Good comment, Brigitte. People who deny anthropogenic global warming (AGW) seem to get their facts from right-wing talk shows and blogs, rather than actual working climate scientists. Here, Henry and Oscar nicely demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect: they so ignorant of the scientific case for AGW that they think they know more than the scientists doing the research. Worse, what they think they know isn't true!

    That's sad, but there's an easy remedy for the Dunning-Kruger effect. I recommend one book above all others for anyone with at least a high-school science education, who want to get up to speed on AGW: "The Discovery of Global Warming" by Spencer R. Weart of the American Institute of Physics.

    The Discovery of Global Warming is available both in paperback (the Santa Fe Public Library has three copies) and online, at

    http://tinyurl.com/WeartBook

    Dr. Weart was trained as a physicist but spent his career as an historian of science. The book is a highly readable work of historical scholarship, not partisan polemics. Read it, and you'll understand why there's such an overwhelming scientific consensus for AGW.

     
  • Brigitte de Saint Phalle posted at 1:49 pm on Fri, Oct 11, 2013.

    Saint999 Posts: 6

    At the Sevilleta NWR researchers are monitoring the movement of desert plants northward. In the 8 years I've lived here I've seen the views in the Sandias become more open and the forest floor more littered with dead trees that could turn a big fire into a tragedy. The forest seems to be in slow retreat.

    It was fun to read the Bowman posts telling me to worry about the next ice age. It must be nice to think that any imperfection in a model means the results are not scientific. (News Flash: models are not perfect, they are always being improved as we learn more.) It must be nice to dismiss the majority of climate scientists because science does not march in a straight line, and predictions are statistical. It was colder this year in NM and it rained a lot - they know nothing!

    My worry is that the local successes may not counter local failures elsewhere. But I agree that's no excuse for inaction. I'll vote for it, that's certain.

    Here's a dream: we perfect renewable energy and storage for that energy. Then we give the technology to the rest of the world at a price that gets it used everywhere. The kind of financial insanity could save the world.

     
  • Henry Bowman posted at 3:35 pm on Thu, Oct 10, 2013.

    Henry Bowman Posts: 17

    My point is that, scientifically, we really have almost no idea what is going on. We have some clues, but at this point have no method that we can use to predict the future accurately. That means that IPCC predictions of future dire consequences are simply fraudulent, and as such should be ignored.

    We do know that the earth's surface has been steadily warming since roughly 1850, the end of the so-called Little Ice Age. We expect it to warm in the future, but this expectation is based simply on history, not science. And, we do know, contrary to statements quoted in the article, that the climate has been warmer in the past, and that humans (and plant life) thrived in such climates.

    I seriously suspect that, as far as climate is concerned, we'll all be just fine for the next few thousand years....that's when the next real ice age should be upon us.
    I find "End of the Earth" predictions rather laughable. If the climate warms, we will be, on the whole, better off. if it cools, not so much.

     
  • oscar michael posted at 5:05 pm on Wed, Oct 9, 2013.

    oscar mike Posts: 142

    denier here! I will take full blame when all the trees and grass have disappeared!

     
  • oscar michael posted at 5:03 pm on Wed, Oct 9, 2013.

    oscar mike Posts: 142

    really? is that why the global temp hasn't risen in over 15 years? How can you accurately state that green house gas emissions are at the highest state in over 800,000 years? Stop already with the tree-hugging scare tactics!

     
  • Anna Carvlin posted at 1:53 pm on Wed, Oct 9, 2013.

    yogianna Posts: 2

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I am so glad you spent time at the talk and are spreading this important information. I think when people say, Oh, we will lose our Aspens, that really sucks. That's when change happens. Think local, act local.

     
  • Anna Carvlin posted at 1:52 pm on Wed, Oct 9, 2013.

    yogianna Posts: 2

    I don't understand what your point is. Are you saying that we will not lose our forests? Are you saying that climate change is not real? What is your point Henry! Please be clear. If you're a climate change denier, say it loud and clear so we know who to blame when we have no greenery in New Mexico. Thanks,

     
  • Henry Bowman posted at 12:20 pm on Wed, Oct 9, 2013.

    Henry Bowman Posts: 17

    The story uses italics to quote passages from the IPCC report. I note that the passages selected appear to be from the "Summary for Policymakers", rather than from the actual IPCC report, which is quite lengthy. The summary is a political document, written by politicians, and should not be regarded as scientific. In any case, many of the passages quoted are simply incorrect, sometimes wildly, and represent political hyperbole intended to scare people into providing the UN power.

    It has become clear over the past 15 years that the climate models used by the IPCC are completely worthless for predicting anything useful about the future climate. Such models have become a joke, and the only reason anyone would use such worthless information is for political purposes. They have no scientific value.

     

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