Monday 30 April 2007

Question on Climate Change?

I am passable at geographic knowledge, but no expert. Today something occurred to me know which I thought someone in the interweb might be able to answer?

How much land will become unusable with climate change, versus how much will become usable as the temperature increases?

My guess is that with Canada and Northern Asia, the balance maybe in favour of more land becoming habitable on balance....does anyone know or understand how to work this out?

UPDATE - Thanks for all the comments and insights. A good friend of mine who is an eminent geographer kindly pointed out that rising sea levels will put paid to any land gains as a whole and that the Southern Oceans are of little consolation to people in the southern hemisphere. So that is me put straight. His eminent blog is here.


Lord Nazh said...

if the climate changes as 'bad' as it did in the middle ages, we may understand the name Greenland :)

Anonymous said...

CU, I think the problem is asymmetry in a number of factors. For a start, whereas land can become unusable almost overnight (shifting deserts, dustbowls), land that has been unusable, but becomes 'warm enough' to use, can't be put to the plough just like that:

(a) because it's often rock or a bed of gravel that once supported an ice sheet

(b) because melting tundra turns into vile bog


Two other mega-problems:

> cost of putting this land to habitational / agricultural use: for the above reasons, as well as not being quick it won't be cheap - and the people who will need the land are often not too flush with $$

> mass migration !! Will Canada be pleased to be told that the population of Bangladesh is on its way ...? (I can tell you now, Russia will be closed for business)

Which is why (previous posts) I reckon adaptation is perhaps more important than prevention. For example, if the population of Bangladesh could somehow stay put, Russia might be open for business as a massive grain-exporter from reclaimed tundra. (however, note the point on cost above ...)

Newmania said...

Grennladn was not called Greenland because it was green it was name to lure migrants.

James Higham said...

...more land becoming habitable on balance...

On what basis do you even postulate this, CUS?

Lord Nazh said...

The same basis that the climate porn folks say we'll all die James :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you mentioned this. Straight off the cuff, I can tell you that my son had a football game cancelled last weekend because the ground was too hard and cracked to play on, it happened to another team in the area too. That ground was unusable due to the present climate change conditions. Are extra astro-turf pitches going to be provided to train our young sportsmen?

There are lots of other serious implications, the war in Darfur is believed to have started over water shortages in a tribal area forcing them into the enemy camp. It means we will need to develop crops that can grow in dry conditions. That's. just a start.

dearieme said...

If you want to believe the models (I don't) then warming will be predominantly at high latitudes, at night, in winter.

Anonymous said...

'That ground was unusable due to the present climate change conditions.' (ellee)

Serves them right for playing football in the cricket season!

If climate change = longer cricket season and shorter football season then I'm all up for it.

CityUnslicker said...

OK lots to answer:

Lord N - see newmainia's answer

ND - i think these are some good points indeed. However, there will be large scale immigration with climate change and there is very little way short of genocide to stop this over time.

Adaptation is clearly a key element and will be what wea ll have to do . however, I postulate that some of this adaptation will be for the 'good' so to speak some northern latitudes.

N - Wiley marketeers those Vikings...

CityUnslicker said...

JH - I glanced at a map, hence the question!

Lord N - there are indeed strong entusiasts on both sides.

Ellee - I am not convinced our current weather is due to this at all. Last year in april it snowed. Overall of course the temps are showing a very gradul warming and over time it does seem as if April is becoming drier.

Dearime - I have seen too that more of the warming is in the north, which bolsters my hypothesis!

CityUnslicker said...

Steven_l - Cricket is doomed after that shambolic world cup!

Lord Nazh said...

I realize its wikipedia(and I hate wiki):
"At that time the inner regions of the long fjords where the settlements where located were very different from today. Excavations show that there were considerable birch woods with trees up to 4 to 6 meters in the area around the inner parts of the Tunuliarfik- and Aniaaq-fjords, the central area of the Eastern settlement, and the hills were grown with grass and willow brushes. This was due to the medieval climate optimum. The Norse soon changed the vegetation by cutting down the trees to use as building material and for heating and by extensive sheep and goat grazing during summer and winter. The climate in Greenland was much warmer during the first centuries of settlement but became increasingly colder in the 14th and 15th centuries with the approaching period of colder weather known as the Little Ice Age."
History of

CityUnslicker said...

LN - I don't dispute that the climate has changed, even in the recent past. However, the changes we are currently undergoing are happening in decades, not centuries or millenia.

Lord Nazh said...

City: Name a change that is occurring (and proven to be occurring) that is 1) tied to man and 2) different than any other change that has happened.

CityUnslicker said...

LN - There is a huge welter of evidence to show the climate is changing. What is the true cause? how much is caused by man?

These things are less certain. But I have seen with my own eyes the pollution in East Asia, the smell of sulphur everywhere in China. To believe man has no effect is to deny what you can see before you.

I am not some climate change fanatic who belives that back to the stone age is the answer. Real technological solutions can and will be found, plus we will have to adapt.

I saw the Gore film and disliked its hype of predicitve science; but I like its title; An inconvenient truth. I wish that man was not doing damage, but we are and do not yet know the consequences.

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