[ExI] Existential hysteria

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Jul 25 11:59:38 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 12:43 PM, Anders Sandberg  wrote:
> The effect of climate change on perils is actually quite nontrivial (one
> reason for those meetings: more risk is not a problem to the industry, it is
> uncertain risk that is a problem). If everything gets equally warmer
> hurricane frequency and strengths might not be affected at all since they
> are being powered by a temperature difference. But the sea-stratosphere
> gradient is complex and hard to model reliably. Even without a change in
> hurricanes themselves a different climate may cause changed paths, and that
> is serious business. One discussion I participated in was the issue of
> unlocking faultlines by melting glaciers: most of the time a really
> small-scale slow issue, but even a tiny increase in extreme tail events in
> areas believed to be seismically stable  is a big deal (check out the
> Lapland fault province - huge postglacial quakes in otherwise totally stable
> Scandinavia). Models of changes in precipitation distribution are very
> uncertain, and the flood models they feed into are fairly sensitive to
> changes in land cover, which also clearly and nontrivially gets affected by
> temperature. And most obviously, even small increases in sea level have big
> effect on flooding probabilities: it is not like a one centimetre increase
> makes the flood level one centimetre higher (exceedances are always *way*
> higher than expected), but that they become much more common. But the sea
> rises are unevenly distributed. And so on and on and on...

And another problem is tipping points.
Risks are gradual until a tipping point is reached, then the effect
becomes unstoppable. All that is left is protection measures.

Recent satellite observations have confirmed the accuracy of two
independent computer simulations that show that the West Antarctic ice
sheet has now entered a state of unstoppable collapse. The planet has
entered a new era of irreversible consequences from climate change.
The only question now is whether we will do enough to prevent similar
developments elsewhere.
West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable

And that is only one example.........


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