Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises.

Public Briefing: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change

Tuesday, December 3
11:00-12:00 EST
Koshland Science Museum (6th & E Streets, NW)
525 E St NW, Washington, DC 20001
or live Webcast

The National Research Council invites you to a public briefing for the release of Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises. The study examines the likelihood of various physical components of the Earth system undergoing major and rapid changes (e.g., a shutdown of ocean circulation, ice sheet disintegration, etc.), explores how to monitor climate change for warnings of abrupt changes and emerging impacts, and identifies high priority needs for future research directions and monitoring capabilities.

Speakers include Dr. James White from the University of Colorado at Boulder, who chaired the report’s authoring committee, and committee member Anthony Barnosky from the University of California at Berkeley.

Register here to attend the public briefing in person.

Webcast & Social Media

The event will also be webcast on this page.  Participants can submit questions to climatechange@nas.edu.

Follow the conversation about this event and report on Twitter, #abruptchange.

http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/events/public-briefing-abrupt-impacts-of-climate-change/#!

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49 Responses to Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises.

  1. Janice Moore says:

    LOL.

  2. norah4you says:

    Some one needs more money…..

  3. Jon says:

    Is this for a new Hollywood movie?

  4. BW2013 says:

    Are they going to institute a worldwide cold-weather campaign to collect thermal sleeping bags for those hundreds of thousands of Europeans who will be freezing in the coming winters?

  5. Eyal Porat says:

    rapid changes (e.g., a shutdown of ocean circulation, ice sheet disintegration, etc.)…
    They also should include traffic jams, blackouts and humanitarian disasters caused by lack of heating during winter, due to the current and future energy prices caused by Green agendas.

  6. A.D. Everard says:

    I sometimes wonder if the audiences that attend these things are made up of more realists than believers now – just trying to keep an eye on what the dastards are up to. Sometimes I even fantasize that the percentage of realists to believers grows with each event and one day, to everyone’s surprise, it will come out that the entire audience is made up of realists.

    The alarmists will feel lonely on the podium then.

    Okay, maybe I don’t get out enough.

  7. CRS, DrPH says:

    …if they want to be surprised, let’s see how they react if we get another Carrington Event-class solar flare. Talk about abrupt impacts….

  8. Tim Collins says:

    Enough of this public funded nonsense – to all expected attendees, cancel this meeting, get a job and start contributing something of value to your community!

  9. Jquip says:

    Wake me up when it’s more abrupt than all the snow melting come spring.

  10. bullocky says:

    ‘………. the likelihood of various physical components of the Earth system undergoing major and rapid changes (e.g., a shutdown of ocean circulation, ice sheet disintegration, etc.)……….’

    They seem to use the good ol’ term – ‘global warming’ – very sparingly these days.

  11. CRS, DrPH says:
    December 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    …if they want to be surprised, let’s see how they react if we get another Carrington Event-class solar flare. Talk about abrupt impacts….

    Surely you’re not naive enough to think the Sun has anything to do with Earth’s climate?

  12. Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) says:

    CRS, DrPH says:
    December 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    …if they want to be surprised, let’s see how they react if we get another Carrington Event-class solar flare. Talk about abrupt impacts….

    The only way you will be able to see their surprise, is to Walk there and look. Or get a horse. Nothing else is going to be moving.

  13. R. de Haan says:

    They keep recycling the same crap using the same methods.

    With a similar “alarmist” introduction a press conference was organized in Germany in 1986.
    This resulted in an major article about CO2 triggering the greenhouse effect causing sea level rise in “Der Spiegel” with the infamous front page showing the Dome of Colon in a flooded city. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/index-1986-33.html

    That’s when the Climate Scare took off.

    It also shows German’s are not capable of learning from their past.

    Before the Second World War, German “scientists” developed a theory about indentifying inferior people by measuring the size and shape of their noses.

    This theory provided the scientific excuse to send millions of those inferior people into destruction camps. Most of them were Jews.

    Today the AGW scare is at the basis of UN Agenda 21 and the planned reduction of the world population.

    This is why we have the Fed, the Central banks, the banksters and the US Government working in accord to destroy the very fabric of our civilization, our economy, our Middle Class, our pension, our health security, you name it.

    We’re all Jews now.

    http://green-agenda.com

  14. Pardon us for our abruptness, but we have invented many clever computer simulations to separate you from your hard earned cash…

  15. Bloke down the pub says:

    The most abrupt impact from changes in the climate that they are worried, about is when a drop in global temps causes their funding to be cut off.

  16. mitchel44 says:

    A.D. Everard says:
    December 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    “I sometimes wonder if the audiences that attend these things are made up of more realists than believers now”

    I believe it’s called a Preference Cascade, or Preference Falsification. Decent coverage of it in this pdf from the Cato Institute, http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/2003/12/v26n4-2.pdf

  17. philjourdan says:

    They need a sequel to the movie 2012?

  18. Peter Smith says:

    “Are they going to institute a worldwide cold-weather campaign to collect thermal sleeping bags for those hundreds of thousands of Europeans who will be freezing in the coming winters?” asks BW2013. What makes him/her think that North America will not suffer at least as badly?

  19. catweazle666 says:

    Boring…

  20. jknapp says:

    What about a mutated virus or bacteria immune to all treatment? Or an asteroid strike? Or Yellowstone erupting again? Or a major earthquake resulting in a 200 Ft high tsunami? All of which, I suspect, are more likely in the next 100 years than what they will be discussing. There are an infinite number of possible disasters out their just waiting but come on, if we spend even 1 minute and $1 on each one we will run out of time and money before we get to them all. They should get a life.

  21. Billy Liar says:

    R. de Haan says:
    December 3, 2013 at 1:48 am

    … “Der Spiegel” with the infamous front page showing the Dome of Colon …

    I wondered what the hell you were talking about until I looked at the picture – in English we call it ‘Cologne Cathedral’! :)

  22. Bobby Davis says:

    When are these people going to learn that we live on a ever changing planet? No matter if it’s the climate, the sea, or the land that we walk on, it is always changing. Nothing in the physical world stays the same, like they wished it would. Somethings change slowly, somethings change fast & most change at a variable pace. They get all excited everytime they see any variation in the most minute metric & it makes them look like the small minded idiots that they are. This is so much FUN watching these people & Al Gore crash & burn. Mother Nature is not cooperating with them!!!

  23. Eliza says:

    It may be easy to understand why some of the most ignorant and vociferous extreme climate scientists originate in Australia Nutercelli etc SKS.. Started by Keating and Dawkins in the 80′s this is the result they engendered and they are paying a huge price for the mistake!
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/billions-fail-to-stop-slide-in-world-student-rankings/story-fn59nlz9-1226774615386#

  24. Jeff L says:

    1) “Speakers include Dr. James White from the University of Colorado at Boulder, who chaired the report’s authoring committee, and committee member Anthony Barnosky from the University of California at Berkeley.”
    Researchers Univ of Colo Boulder, UC Berkley – both notoriously liberal ; I think the AMS liberal bias finding applies here.

    2) “identifies high priority needs for future research directions and monitoring capabilities.” = give us more money

    3) “Anticipating Surprises” – the big surprise will be any warming going forward will not be catastrophic. The even bigger surprise might be some degree of cooling over the next several decades due to natural cycles. I am sure they will be surprised, but readers of WUWT will not be.

  25. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    I’m totally astounded by the ongoing ramp-up of climate madness over the last year. They’ve gone and created a complete functioning alternate reality to play with. At our expense, of course.

  26. higley7 says:

    The shutting down of the Gulf Stream is an interesting idea. What escapes many is that the Gulf Stream actually speeds up during warm periods as the water becomes less viscous. Europe is warmed more in such case. But, with cooling the flow will decrease as viscosity increases and Europe receives less heat during cooler periods.

  27. wws says:

    It’s a shame so few of these people appear to have heard of Nick Taleb’s groundbreaking book, “The Black Swan”. Among other things, he spends quite a bit of time on the futility of prediction in general, pointing out that throughout the history of mankind, the most devastating of surprises have always been the ones that almost no one anticipated, or predicted. One could say that by definition, a true “surprise” is one that cannot be predicted from any extrapolation of past events (the method all so-called “intellectuals” use).

    If a thing can be anticipated, it cannot truly be a “surprise”, can it?

    In fact, the one rule that seems to hold true in chaotic systems (weather, stock markets, almost any system with a vast amount of complexity to it) is that if you think you can accurately predict something, then that is what will NOT happen, and instead, you will be visited with a true “surprise”; In Nick Taleb’s scheme, the “Black Swan” is the thing or event that every educated person of the time thought to be absolutely impossible, which then came true in spite of their certainty that it could not. For example, the end of the Roman Empire, or the sinking of the Titanic, or something like a 50 year bout of intense cooling suddenly descending onto the northern hemisphere. Not because any past trends “indicate” that is about to happen, just because that’s the perverse way (or better put, the cyclical manner) in which the real world works.

  28. Jay says:

    Maybe someone can find the link, but didn’t the most recent IPCC rate most of these “abrupt” climate changes as rather low probability?

  29. TomB says:

    Too bad I can’t take the time off. This is about 100 meters from where I’m sitting right now.

  30. Dave in Canmore says:

    I checked out Dr White’s bio and readers may find this surprising and interesting.

    he describes himself thusly:

    “Starting in the late 1980’s, my ice core research has helped to show that large climate changes tend to occur in the natural system as abrupt and rapid shifts in mode probably driven by internal adjustments in the Earth climate system, rather than slow and gradual adjustments to changing external conditions, such as the amount of energy received from the sun. Shifts of more than 10˚C in mean temperature in less than a human lifetime are common in the paleoclimate record, and serve as a warning that adaptation to future climate changes may not be easy. My research in isotopes in the carbon cycle has also helped to show that land plants are capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, amounts that equal our input of CO2 from fossil fuel burning on short time scales. Such large changes in the uptake of CO2 by plants is a key piece in the puzzle we must solve to formulate workable policy on CO2 levels and climate change.”

    That sounds pretty resonable actually.

  31. Jimbo says:

    Oh boy! What a load of dog poop. Why don’t they just say “we got big, fat mortgages so pleeeease send more money”? What an utter waste of time.

    The study examines the likelihood of various physical components of the Earth system undergoing major and rapid changes (e.g., a shutdown of ocean circulation, ice sheet disintegration, etc.),….

    1) And what would we do about the “shutdown of ocean circulation”? How might this happen? :)

    2) Which “ice sheet disintegration”? Greenland? Errr not this century. Antarctica? Err not this century.

  32. michael hart says:

    So what surprises have the fancy models predicted so far?

    [Obviously they failed to predict that their predictions were bad ones, but that was hardly a surprise either.]

  33. Pooh, Dixie says:

    Sunstein, Cass, and Timur Kuran. “Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation.” Research. Social Science Research Network, October 7, 2007. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/364.pdf

    Sunstein, Cass R. Beyond The Precautionary Principle. Working Paper #38. Public Law and Legal Theory. University of Chicago, January 2003. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/38.crs_.precautionary.pl-lt.pdf

    Sunstein, Cass R. “Throwing Precaution to the Wind: Why the ‘Safe’ Choice Can Be Dangerous.” Opinion. Boston.com – The Boston Globe, July 13, 2008. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/13/throwing_precaution_to_the_wind

  34. Steve Oregon says:

    ……..”explores how to monitor climate change for warnings of abrupt changes and emerging impacts, and identifies high priority needs for future research directions and monitoring capabilities.”

    Translation:
    Explores how best to morph the useless monitoring of meaningless observations into climate trend warnings to promote the expansion of useless monitoring of meaningless observations.

  35. Jimbo says:

    In Earth history abrupt climate change happens from time to time. We are just very lucky to be alive during this relatively stable past 10,000 years. I’m more concerned about abrupt cold than gently rising warmth. If the ice sheets began expanding you would hear the gnashing and wailing. If the biosphere greens (which it is) no one complains.

    A few examples of natural, abrupt climate change:
    Younger Dryas stadial (12,800 & 11,500 years BP) occurred within a decade – freezing NH temps.
    Little Ice Age began abruptly between AD 1275 and 1300 Miller et. al. (2012)
    Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse (colder)
    Dansgaard-Oeschger events
    Heinrich events

  36. Les Johnson says:

    My questions I emailed:

    Re: Richard Alley linking climate change to the Arab Spring.

    Food production appears to be increasing, and costs are falling. Please reconcile with your position on Arab Spring and climate.

    US cost of food, as a % of income, has fallen from 20% to about 6%, from the 20s to today.
    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/09/americans-love-to-complain-about-rising-food-prices-here-are-three-reasons-you-should-stop-whining/

    Global food production hs grown 41% faster (per capita) than the population.
    http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/events/archive/2011/paa/david_lam.html

    Re: the threat of massive retreat of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    Antarctic sea ice extent is expanding. Would not this have to reverse before a collapse could occur?

    Also, the IPCC has stated that there is no imminent danger of a WAIS collapse. Please reconcile your position with the IPCC.

    However, the WAIS ice shelves are not immediately threatened by this mechanism, which would require a further warming of 10°C before the -5°C mean annual isotherm reached their ice fronts (Vaughan and Doake, 1996). Although atmospheric warming would increase the rate of deformation of the ice, causing the ice shelf to thin, response time-scales are of the order of several hundred years (Rommelaere and MacAyeal, 1997; Huybrechts and de Wolde, 1999).
    Climate Change 2001
    Working Group 1
    11.5.4.3 Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets

    According to IUCN data, the rates of extinction have been falling since the late 1800s.

    Why does your statement that extinctions will increase, go against empirical data?

    The IPCC states in the AR5 that they have low confidence in any abrupt change occurring.

    Why do you dispute this?

    Several components or phenomena in the climate system could potentially exhibit abrupt or nonlinear changes, and some are known to have done so in the past. Examples include the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, Arctic sea ice, the Greenland ice sheet, the Amazon forest and monsoonal circulations. For some events, there is information on potential consequences, but in general there is low confidence and little consensus on the likelihood of such events over the 21st century. [12.5.5, Table 12.4]

  37. Jimbo says:

    higley7 says:
    December 3, 2013 at 6:58 am

    The shutting down of the Gulf Stream is an interesting idea. What escapes many is that the Gulf Stream actually speeds up during warm periods as the water becomes less viscous. Europe is warmed more in such case. But, with cooling the flow will decrease as viscosity increases and Europe receives less heat during cooler periods.

    Here are the results.

    Letter to Nature – 28 October 2005
    Slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 25° N
    Harry L. Bryden
    “………The comparison suggests that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has slowed by about 30 per cent between 1957 and 2004. Whereas the northward transport in the Gulf Stream across 25° N has remained nearly constant, the slowing is evident both in a 50 per cent larger southward-moving mid-ocean recirculation of thermocline waters, and also in a 50 per cent decrease in the southward transport of lower North Atlantic Deep Water between 3,000 and 5,000 m in depth……..”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7068/full/nature04385.html

    Abstract – Geophysical Research Letters – 25 March 2010
    Can in situ floats and satellite altimeters detect long-term changes in Atlantic Ocean overturning?
    The 2004 through 2006 mean overturning is found to be 15.5 ± 2.4 Sv (106 m3/s) with somewhat smaller seasonal and interannual variability than at lower latitudes. There is no significant trend in overturning strength between 2002 and 2009. Altimeter data, however, suggest an increase of 2.6 Sv since 1993, consistent with North Atlantic warming during this same period. Despite significant seasonal to interannual fluctuations, these observations demonstrate that substantial slowing of the AMOC did not occur during the past 7 years and is unlikely to have occurred in the past 2 decades.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature04385

  38. Les Johnson says:

    On extinctions:

    Extinction rates have been falling over the last 100 years, since the highest rates at the end of the 19th century. Apparently the UN agrees with Willis. Most extinctions are island species, with 68% of mammals, and 82% of bird extinctions. (page 58 and 59, chart in lower left corner)

    https://archive.org/stream/worldatlasofbiod02groo#page/58/mode/2up/search/extinctions

  39. Les Johnson says:

    lower right corner, not left. Coffee dyslexia, I am afraid….

  40. _Jim says:

    CRS, DrPH says December 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    …if they want to be surprised, let’s see how they react if we get another Carrington Event-class solar flare. Talk about abrupt impacts….

    Near zilch; CRS demonstrates the Dunning-Kruger effect as it applies to the power generation/transmission/distribution system …

  41. _Jim says:

    Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) says December 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

    The only way you will be able to see their surprise, is to Walk there and look. Or get a horse. Nothing else is going to be moving.

    Utter bullocks Otter …

    (D-K effect in full force now; unskilled individuals displaying their illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate, purporting knowledge of technical fields (power gen/trans/dist) they have never worked in nor even read about.)

    .

  42. tty says:

    The only thing I can think of that could shut down ocean circulation would be the Sun going out.

    However there are a number of other abrupt changes that would have disastrous effects for the human species:

    Very large scale volcanism (whether explosive or large scale fissure eruption/flood basalt)
    A large asteroid or comet impact.
    A flank collapse of a major oceanic island causing an ocean-wide tsunami

    All of these are known to actually happen with a probability >10^-6 per year while the prophesied climate catastrophes can’t be demonstrated to have ever actually occurred.

  43. Bruce Cobb says:

    An early warning system for climate? Good idea, except first they need to get the science right. Otherwise, you’re in a situation where you expect to fry or drown, but wind up an ice block instead, which is where they are now.

  44. john robertson says:

    So will the team members at IPCC Inc, be surprised by a sudden hardening of public hostility toward unnecessary spending of hard earned tax dollars, on useless junk like the UN and the associated parasites?
    The damage the prophets or profits of climatology have done to science, is yet to play out.

  45. David Ball says:

    Public incredulous>funding cut= Surprise !!!

  46. Steve Lohr says:

    wws says:

    December 3, 2013 at 7:00 am
    If a thing can be anticipated, it cannot truly be a “surprise”, can it?

    One would think this is true. I love it when experts tell us what is going to happen. I probably shouldn’t say anything but this is just too funny, sad and ironic all at the same time. The University of Colorado is in Boulder, Colorado. Colorado, as some may recall, experienced severe flooding which was particularly bad along the front range. A fabulous trail system for bicycles and pedestrians was built along, guess what, the margins of the various streams flowing into and through the urban areas. That a flood occurred probably wasn’t a surprise because they had drills for it in Boulder and heck they even had articles in the news paper about the “big one”. That said, I would like to have been a fly on the wall listening to the Boulder City and County staff responsible for the design and installation of all that infrastructure in harms way after they started hearing what had happened to their bike paths. Perhaps there were some surprises. Knowledge does not always generate the appropriate response. Like, maybe you shouldn’t build that there. My daughter told me one of the gates supposedly to be used to close the trail during high water got washed away. It may be in Nebraska now with a bunch of other stuff that cost lot of money. The forces of nature will do, we have seen, as they damn well please. I wish I could get paid to make stuff up or spend other peoples money without consequences. Life would be good!

  47. Kip Hansen says:

    Well, they have backed-off from the 2002 report named

    “Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises”

    now, we have in 2013:

    “Abrupt Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises”

  48. Fritz says:

    Of course “abrupt” climate change is a threat. Look at the Pleistocene era, and the rule of thumb is just when things start looking stable they change again. The conceit is that everyone thinks that the climate ought to stay the way they remember it from the year they turned 18. It was a good year, but it’s not the law.

  49. CRS, DrPH says:

    _Jim says:
    December 3, 2013 at 10:16 am
    CRS, DrPH says December 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    …if they want to be surprised, let’s see how they react if we get another Carrington Event-class solar flare. Talk about abrupt impacts….

    Near zilch; CRS demonstrates the Dunning-Kruger effect as it applies to the power generation/transmission/distribution system …

    ‘fraid not, Jimbo. I contribute to the FBI’s INFRAGARD collaboration and sit on the special-interest group for electromagnetic pulse (EMP) preparedness. My expertise is distributed control systems for water & wastewater utilities. One Carrington-level event, and our cities will all turn into massive Carnival cruise ships in terms of cleanliness. Please see:
    http://www.survive-emp.com/fileadmin/White-Papers/Disaster_planning_and_mitigation/InfraGard_National_EMP_SIG_v2_final_guidance_doc.pdf

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