And We Can’t Even Predict Next Week’s Weather!

We just got back from the beach on Monday after a 4 day trip.  It was a very nice trip with friends and kids to Orange Beach, AL.  Along with the friends we went with, we were joined by a former college roommate of mine.  It sure was good to have Rob come too!  The kids really enjoyed the beach, ocean, and indoor pool(!). Rob is also terrific with the kids as well.  Although it was tiring at times, we will look back and cherish those memories someday. 

So today I had begun surfing and saw a gloom and doom headline about the U.S. beaches eventually disappearing due to rising oceans (from “Global Warming”).  In this same article on AOL’s homepage (Kim and I have it as our homepage – convenient to check the headlines of the day),  I saw the following captions on an 11 frame picture gallery decrying “In April, scientists laid out a troubling timeline of the planet’s future.”  (My comments are in italics.)

Near Term:

1. 2007: The world population surpasses 6.6 billion as the majority of people now live in cities than in rural areas, changing patterns of land use. 

2. 2008: Global oil production peaks between 2008 and 2018, triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflicts between nations over dwindling supplies.  (MSJ Comment: Hasn’t the end of the oil supply been predicted numerous wrong times before?)

Intermediate to Far Future 

3. 2020: Flash floods increase across Europe. Less rainfall reduces agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some areas. Population reaches 7.6 billion.

 4. 2030: Up to 18 percent of the world’s coral reefs are lost as a result of the changing climate and other environmental stresses.

 5. 2040: The Arctic Sea is ice-free in the summer, and winter ice depth shrinks drastically. Some say this won’t happen until 2060 to 2105.  (MSJ Comment: Whew! I’m glad that some say it won’t happen until within a 55-year window, 20 years later!)

 6. 2050: Large glaciers shrink by 30 to 70 percent as a quarter of the world’s plant and vertebrate animal species face extinction.

 7. 2070: As warmer, drier conditions lead to more frequent and longer droughts, electricity production for the world’s existing hydropower stations decreases.  (MSJ Comment: Now this MUST be about 0.25% – 1% of the world’s total electric output!  Do you think that about 10 more nuclear power stations can be built before then (sweating / wringing hands currently).)

 8. 2080: Between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people experience water shortages and up to 600 million go hungry.  (MSJ Comment: Sadly, how many currently experience water shortages and starvation?  This is surely a distortion scare tactic, as there are too many who already face these problems — and NOT from global warming).

9. 2085: The risk of dengue fever from climate change increases to 3.5 billion people.  (MSJ Comment: How many face this threat now?)


Far Future:

10. 2100: A quarter of all species of plants and land animals — more than a million total — are driven to extinction.  (MSJ Comment:  Wow!!)


Far, Far (!!) Future:

11. 2200: An Earth day is 0.12 milliseconds shorter, as rising temperatures cause oceans to expand toward the poles, speeding up the planet’s rotation.

Wow!  And I thought that I had a cynical point of view!  I actually laughed to myself about some of this (e.g., 1/4 of the world’s plant and animal species are going / went extinct!  Q: How many go extinct everyday anyway?!) Again I say: we can’t even predict next week’s weather!  [Nevermind that Mars’ temperature has also risen by nearly as much (or more) than the Earth’s temperature rise over the same time frame (approx. 0.5 degF over something like a 50-100 year period.)].  Somehow, I think that forecast MAY change over the next 20-25 years, and, if not, I’ll be the first to admit that I assessed this poorly.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 1:21 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Just a couple decades ago, Time Magazine was forcasting the next ice age. Hmmmm… I wonder how those predictions have turned out. Given the strong correlation between solar flares on our Sun (which cycles) and our temperatures, I expect predictions of an ice age to start up in about 10 years.

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