Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chapter 3.4 of the federal government climate science project's SAP (synthesis and assessment product) is out, the abrupt climate change chapter. These products are excellent work, and the efforts of all these agency scientists and their research university counterparts, working under an administration many of whose leaders are still hostile to climate science and indeed any kind of science, are to be lauded.

I met a few of the authors at the recent NCSE conference, and enjoyed working with them on some questions about what the essential climate education for federal land managers might be.

The SAPs gave me hope these last few years because they proved that science was still at the root of federal resource management, that there were still plenty of good science brains in the federal government, and that we would be able to pick up the pieces very quickly when the dust had finally settled on the disasterous Bush legacy on climate change.

The new report on abrupt change makes important reading because it revises the sea-level rise estimate upwards, which is good because the new estimate is high enough to begin to affect city planning and other important on-the-ground concerns (although I think the width of the estimate is still too little). And it has a prognosis for the methane feedback.

I've been amazed how many developments, even ones managed by government, there still are right on the shore. Talk about denial! I wouldn't even think about owning property below the sixty foot contour, let alone building new stuff below the ten foot one. I've seen the melting, in pictures and for myself, and I have enough imagination, and enough science, to see how easily it might accelerate.

Old King Canute is alive and well and living on America's coast, wearing rose-tinted glasses, and getting his climate news from Fox and Rush!

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