Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wanna See What the 2nd Half of the Century Looks Like?

Well, this is it.   The green bits and blue bits are the lucky places.   Yellow through violet are where it's going to be really tough to survive.   This is a picture of global mega-drought.  It comes from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.  These models are based on the 'moderate' model from the IPCC.   That is based on atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 500 ppm by 2050 and 700 by 2100.  But, given the way we're going, we're actually headed for 1000 ppm by 2100 so the horrible drought map below may actually be a rosey projection.  Click on chart for larger version.

Now to give you a better perspective of this map, the worst drought in recent memory was in the sub-Saharan Sahel region.   It ranged between a -3 and -4 on this scale.   By mid-century we're looking at some very heavily populated areas including the Mediterranean basin, much of central United States and Latin America rocketing into the -10 to -15 range.   The orange and red bits will be merely heavily stressed.

By the way, the NCAR sees the global drought actually showing up beginning around 2030.   No one is going to escape the fallout from this.   See all those glowing parts of the United States?   Well the people who live in those parts are going to be looking for other places to live.   That means massive climate migration.    Now, look at that map again.  If you lived in the American south or west, where would you be headed?


LMA said...

Good Lord, there are going to be a lot of people and creatures in a lot of pain. I certainly wouldn't want to be living on the prairies. This reminds me of Stephen Hawking's prediction that we are going to need to travel to another planet in the next century if we are going to survive.

BTW, I've never heard of the documentary entitled "How to Boil a Frog" (gruesome metaphor). Once the frog suffered tissue damage and felt pain, it would try to escape. I guess we will try to escape too once we feel the heat.

Hard to believe this could be the future.

The Mound of Sound said...

The frog reference is to an experiment that stands as a metaphor for mankind. Take a pot of boiling water, toss in a frog and it will jump straight back out. Take a pot of cold water, put the frog in and turn up the burner - the frog stays put, enduring the incremental heating until it boils. It cooks alive. Just as we're doing.

It's a great documentary. Get your hands on a copy if you can. Made in Vancouver and everything.

Yes, my friend, it is going to get hot, hot and dry, very hot and dry. What I find perplexing about these Liberal and Progressive bloggers is how few of them have any inclination to engage this issue. They'll get utterly absorbed in long-form census or the long gun firearms registry but remain the boiling frog on climate change. Worse yet, their much adored political leadership is doing precisely the same.

Anonymous said...

South Korea had a foreum regarding the advanced equipment developed for alternative energy last week in the COEX building in Seoul. I was amazed at the kind of development around windmills for example, that do not make a lot of noise due to the engineering. A barbeque that uses solar heating and so on. Arirang television now has an information segment between programs informing the public about the need for alternative energy. The schools have and are installing solar panels on the upper floors of their buildings. If South Korea can do this why can't we? Anyong

LMA said...

MoS, I understand the metaphor but my point is that the frog will not sit still and be boiled alive once the pain avoidance mechanism kicks in. I don't think we will either, but by the time we finally take serious action, the problems may be out of our control. Any geoengineering fixes we attempt might only make matters worse. We will not be able to jump out of the pot so to speak unless we can all move to another planet.

As environmentalists are warning, the time to act is now, but 2060 seems like such a long time away so the old denial just kicks in.

Anyong, I read somewhere that solar power plants will use more water for cooling than coal power plants. I think there are going to be a lot of bumps along the road to our transition to renewables. Even more reason to get going now.

The Mound of Sound said...

Actually LMA, as I explore in today's post "Delusional Thinking" I'm coming to believe that we're quite capable of, perhaps even already practising, Andean fatalism.

I struggle to find any other explanation for the apathy to this threat, both public and among our elected officials.

Bear in mind the drought depicted in the NCAR 2060 map is already here. It's already impacting Latin America and the southern U.S. as well as the Mediterranean Basin countries and others. Asphalt turns to goo on Istanbul streets. The Greek tourism minister laments his country may soon be too hot to support a tourism trade. Southern Europe is savaged by forest fires.

This isn't something that's going to land with a plonk in the future. It's here and we are acting like the frog in the pan.

LMA said...

The water is still lukewarm in the pot here in Canada. Yes, the Innuit are warning us about the changes in the Arctic, prairie dwellers are noticing the long periods of drought followed by torrential rain, the Maritimers are experiencing more storms, but in the next decade it will be a different story. We should be worrying about 2020 rather than 2060.

The Mound of Sound said...

I expect you're right. It probably won't be more than a decade before the situation deteriorates sufficiently that even the denialists will be running for the high ground. When that happens I hope we have some vehicle to hold them accountable for the damage and suffering they've caused by running interference for corporatism. Maybe we could banish them to, oh I don't know, New Mexico? Sounds about right. Ed Stelmach, Steve Harper, Mark Steyn, Inhofe, Limbaugh, Hannity, the whole gang.