Another not-so-useful comment, but it’s interesting that we now all call this downscaling. In the sense of map scales, we’re talking about going a very small scale (global; say maybe 1:100,000,000) to a larger scale ratio (regional – maybe 1:10,000,000 or 1:1,000,000) … which process might better have been called upscaling. OK, “scale” is just meant in the rhetorical sense of “size”, but that’s not exactly sciency. Maybe it should have been downsizing?
I think McKibben had it about right when he said the best place to be in the coming tumultuous decades is anywhere where there is a strong, mutually supportive, resilient community (or something like that).
What’s the latest view on the ability of GCMs to capture regional scale changes? This has been a subject of contention in the past – has the reliability of models improved recently, or are different methodologies being used these days?
New Zealand has a very detailed analysis of the effects of climate change which takes the areas down to just a few hundred square miles. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/ The information is normally there but it is in the state or farming advisory sites.
Downscaling seems like the frog in the pot with temperature slowly moving upward. The frog may think he can take some useful steps to avoid death by boiling, but then he’s thinking short term.
Long term temperatures can only go one way with billions of pounds of carbon being pumped into our fragile atmosphere. The consequences are inevitable.
Yes, some areas may have delayed negative impacts, but it is only a matter of time before all areas suffer.
And what about food? Major food producing areas like Russia, the US Grain Belt, and the South have already taken devastating climate hits and seen crops wiped out. We all eat and we all get food from these vulnerable areas. My State, California, is a case in point. We are pumping our ground water dry and the drought hangs on, year after year. If you have one, please give us the “adaptation strategy” for agriculture when water runs out. Please hurry with those ideas.
While your state, California, may be experiencing agricultural issues, the South and Midwest are not. Crops yields have been increasing for decades, albeit with a few speed bumps along the way. 2013 was a bumper year for Modeled simulations show a general increase in productivity with future warming, even under the worst case scenarios.
Charles points to Reilly et al., US agriculture and climate change: new results — that’s a 2003 climate model paper. The authors there say their models suggest that climate change will not harm US agriculture. One of the coauthors is or was at NASA; perhaps someone knows of followups to that?
It’s been cited nearly 200 times: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=8453626307820527024
The cites include subsequent work by some of the same authors, e.g.
Günther Fischer, Mahendra Shah, Francesco N. Tubiello,and Harrij van Velhuizen
The results from the study suggest that critical impact asymmetries due to both climate and socio-economic structures may deepen current production and consumption gaps between developed and developing world; it is suggested that adaptation of agricultural techniques will be central to limit potential damages under climate change.
So the models suggest big changes are needed in agriculture, because otherwise the rich and fat will be doing all right, and the rest of the world will be feeling the damage. Does this sound at all familiar?
How would you feel if the world was falling apart around you
Pieces of the sky were falling in your neighbors yard
But not on you
Wouldn’t you feel just a little bit funny
Think maybe there’s something you oughta do
The main reason I cover climate change issues so relentlessly is because any meaningful solution to this problem will cost big bucks and the current economic environment will not allow us to spend that kind of money. So obviously, the economic thinking needs to be changed. Lobbying for such changes is the main reason I write this blog.
But once in a while, I am reminded that the costs of doing nothing are also enormous. So we find ourselves in the situation where an economic brain-lock prevents us from spending the money we need for remediation while at the same time, we are forced to spend the money anyway to clean up the damage….