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Living with Global Warming

May 06, 2008

If we're already past the tipping point on global warming, as seems likely, maybe it would be prudent to figure out, in some detail, what the effects are going to be, so we can deal with what we can no longer prevent.


Of course this comes under the heading of weather forecasting, a subdiscipline of the art of rhetoric that has somehow gotten labeled as a science.
What would it take to forecast with practical accuracy, at the local level, the effects of global climate change? Something on the order of a Manhattan Project in terms of commitment, according to climate modelers. And something on the order of 100 petaflops in terms of computing power in an international climate change center.
Fred Pearce in New Scientist magazine: "We think we know how to do it, but we need the computing power,' said Jagadish Shukla, chair of a meeting of 150 top modellers drawing up the plans."
The world's climate scientists have been meeting at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK, to plan a Manhattan Project for climate modeling, and plan to present their proposal to the G8 this summer in Japan.
Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs makes his own prediction: it won't be hard to fund the billion-dollar center if it can promise world leaders accurate predictions on droughts, water supply, and food supply.

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