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View Diary: Jeff Masters: the Climate Has Shifted to a New State (280 comments)

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  •  an analogy can be found (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, G2geek, ozsea1, JanL, adrianrf

    in how a warming climate pushes bands of vegetation zones up hillsides. sure, the same flora and fauna moves upwards, and is in that way sort of sustained (if it can migrate as fast as the zones move; trees are less limber than birds), but on the other hand, the surface area of the top part of a cone is decidedly smaller than that further down on the lower slopes.

    so change will also bring a net reduction of useful cropland in addition to the spatial displacement. a recipe for hard times if there ever was one.

    •  good insight there! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, DawnN, BusyinCA, SME in Seattle

      If I understand you correctly: Regardless of everything else, shifting the agricultural regions further toward the poles is analogous to shifting them up a cone toward the apex: the available surface area is smaller.

      Interesting, and yet another factor in the coming dieoff.

      Here's to maintaining an attitude of scientific detachment as a preferable alternative to getting depressed to the point of paralysis.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:22:34 PM PST

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      •  That's actually not accurate (4+ / 0-)

        Take a look at a globe. There's more land surface area at high latitudes than at low latitudes, up to a point; the oceans narrow, but the continents actually don't (much).

        The problem is the quality of the land, not its expanse. Canada and Siberia are very, very large.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 07:39:30 PM PST

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        •  Hmm, OK.... (0+ / 0-)

          The central part of Canada got scraped down into the US midwest, but I wonder about other parts, and about the northern parts of what used to be the USSR.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 08:53:52 PM PST

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          •  you need to take the soil into account (5+ / 0-)

            that´s where the otherwise seemingly logical idea that agriculture moves to canada or siberia, fails. Where it is today, agriculture is sustained by soils that have grwon in their appropriate climate zones over timescales of thousands of years. Thats the times necessary to build such a thing. When a permafrost melts becuase a different climate zone moves over it, then it doesnt yield arable land as soon as its thawed. To the contrary such land would be a quasi regolith, on which successive waves of vegetation would have to work for a long time to create anything remotely similar to the postglacial black soils of the Ukraine for example. Thta means, yes, after a long wait those newly warmed lands could take over the breadbasket role of the southern lands - not before.

            thats whats meant with teh "quality" of the land. It has none to start with, it first would have to build some, and that could take easily tens of generations, time thats not available if we need to replace some breadbasket quickly.

            the speed of climate change makes it so deadly.

            •  yes, and yes. though, compost. (0+ / 0-)

              Municipal organic wastes e.g. "food and yard waste" can be composted relatively quickly, and could be shipped in large quantities to till into the soil. Add manures (cow, horse, chicken), add biochar, add a few other things, and one can produce something like a viable soil fairly quickly.

              However all of that still lags behind the speed of climate change, and the economic cost of doing it will slow it down further.

              Bottom line: lots of starving people in Africa and Asia, and the emergence of chronic hunger but not quite starvation as a recognized social problem in Europe and the US. And then it only takes a few very pissed off people with access to the internet and a highschool-level chem/bio lab, to whip up a revenge-plague and unleash it by suicide carriers. Mark my words.

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:59:36 PM PST

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