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Old 09-30-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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I periodically look at the raw climate date at NOAA. No cooling for the past 10-15 years. This made me wonder - what would you do if we started experiencing global cooling. From what I have read, a drop of as little as 5-8% farenheit would be all that is necessary to cause disruptions in our economy. What would you do if the gov's plant zone moved one step south? Zone 6 became zone 5, etc? Would you move south or try to tough it out where you are? Do you think we would have a problem with Canadians moving south? Would they become our new class of illegals?

I wonder if our deserts would become grasslands. Would the Gulf states experience more or fewer hurricanes? Would the tornado belt move south also?

Just curious.

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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It's doubtful that anyone who currently lives in high latitude/cold climate (Zone 1-4) is going to move south because it gets a little colder. They already know how to grow in a cold climate, and will be MUCH better prepared for an Ice Age.

I'd say that a successful grower in Zone 5 will probably stay put, but someone with less luck and experience may move south.

However, you may get people in Zones 6-8 moving south, since most of their experience will be with temperate climate plants and they may not be able to grow what they are familiar with.

Zone 9+ folks will probably just be happy that they can now grow cool season crops again.

Of course, a lot of growing isn't about the temperature, it's about the photoperiod and amount of daylight... which won't change much for any given latitude unless we get a siginificant change in cloud cover. The problem may arise is that the plant varieties which can handle the cooler temps, cannot handle the more southern photoperiods (longer days in winter, shorter days in summer, than up north). It may take several seasons for plants to adapt to the changes in temperature and/or photoperiods.

I expect that our diets would change, with animal products (who can handle the cold and eat cold-tolerant forages) increasing, while warm season crops (beans, rice, tomatoes, etc) would see a decline, in all but the more subtropical latitudes.

Weather would definitely shift as the cold drives the gulfstream lower in some places and higher in others (depending on polar ice and increased oceanic salinization). You may get more continental rain during the warm season, and more coastal snow during the cold season. Hurricanes and tropical storms will likely increase, due to increased salinization, but the belt may shift and the intensity/season/frequency may also change. Tornadoes will likely stay in roughly the same place (which has more to do with terrestrial geography than weather and ocean temps), but the intensity/season/frequency may change.

As polar ice caps increase, the saline levels in the remaining ocean will rise (because the ice is sucking up the water, not the salt and minerals). Increased salinization will increase the ocean density, which my speed up the weather engine, while the increasing difference between polar ocean density/temps and equatorial ocean density/temps will likely increase the intensity and violence of storm fronts. But this is all Chaos Theory, models exist showing the planetary engine both slowing or speeding up... no one knows for sure, and fossil records are somewhat inconclusive (subject to interpretation and extrapolation). All anyone knows is that it won't be what you're used to and probably not what anyone can truly predict (heck, we can't accurately predict the weather now, LOL).

It is more likely that temperate zone populations in urban locations will move south in an effort to stay WARM, rather than anything to do with food. Most structures in the temperate belt are not designed and built for heating efficiency, and urban areas will probably not have enough resources to keep these structures properly heated if the heating degree days increase susbstantially... wood would not be an option since urban areas are largely deforested, and obtaining & transporting other fuel types will be problematic due to inclement weather. Folks who already live in a cold climate will be better prepared for cold weather, but those in urban areas will still not fare as well as more rural areas with more resources and less competition.

All-in-all, a new Ice Age will not have nearly the impact on someone already living in Alaska, Yukon, Greenland, Norway, Siberia etc... or even in Bangor, Boston, NYC, Glasgow, St. Petersburg... as it will on someone living in San Francisco, LA, London, Paris or Rome. At least until the glaciers grow so big that they start mowing things down in their path on the continent... which would likely take longer than my remaining lifetime given current conditions, unless it got really cold really fast with seriously increased northern precipitation. Now... northern coastal cities may be well and truly pooched, since they have to deal with encroaching sea ice, not just glaciers.
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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During the last "Little Ice Age", about the only real impact was that the Greenland Settlements of Vikings died out around 1400 AD. There were famines in Europe, summers with snow and cold so crops wouldn't grow, some changes where more northern places started growing more grains than grapes for their beverages, but folks survived without any real mass movements to more temperate areas. http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/...e_ice_age.html

Now the last big blast of the last Ice age, Younger Dryas - Ask.com Encyclopedia was probably what killed off the Clovis people culture in North America and hastened the end of some of the Mega Fauna of the Pliscocene around 11,000 years ago.

Warming would probably make it easier to grow crops further north, cooling would make more folks carnivores instead of relying heavily on vegetable matter for the evening meal, but humans survived the height of the last major glacial period with far fewer resources than we have now, so just like today in places like Alaska and Montana, those who can adapt to cold weather would thrive, those who can't take any temps colder than 60 degrees Fairenheit would go south.

The big scare in the 1970s was that we were moving into another ice age, then came the ozone hole, then global warming, so it wouldn't surpise me to see somebody like algore start preaching ice age again.
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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It's more likely that our complex modern systems will fail due to a dramatic climate shift (warm or cold) than the actual survival ability of the species involved. Those who are prepared for or can adapt to the loss/reduction of modern systems, as well as the change in climate, will have much better survival chances.

The more complex a system is, the less parameter changes it can tolerate. Complexity is predicated by consistency and specialization, so when a parameter falls outside of design ranges the system begins to fail. Something as simple as an extra foot of snow for an extra month could impact transportation of resources drastically enough to cause the systems relying on those resources to begin failing... things like power plants, grocery stores, and hospitals. Unfortunately, most of our modern systems have become so complex, so specialized and targetted for "optimum efficiency", that they no longer have adequate redundancy and failsafes.

For all it's apparent simplicity, a mono-crop farm is highly complex and requires extremely rigid parameters. The loss of just 30 days in a growing season could break it. Too much rain, or not enough, especially coupled with the any interruption in power/fuel to pump water into/out of a field could decimate it. Rain, frost, snow, heatwave, drought or high winds at the wrong time in the growing cycle could ruin it. And that's not even considering transportation of inputs & outputs and the myriad ways that whole system could get hinked up by a drastic climate change.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:25 PM
 
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Most people I know that are taking into account climate change - take it in the opposite direction - they buy property somewhere in Michigan or Minnesota, counting on global warming making it more livable in these areas year round. Global cooling? Say what?
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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That's the tricky thing, you can have periods of warming in the middle of a general cooling period; and you can have periods of cooling in the middle of a general warming period. Changing conditions due to warming/cooling can change the weather enough to "auto-correct" a little too far in the other direction for a while. A decade or century or millenia isn't a long enough data point on a planetary timescale, even though they are significant to a human timescale.

If you can't handle a little abnormal heat or a little abnormal cold where you're currently at, then moving north or south might make a difference to you on the slow progress of climate change; but for most folks, the change will be slow enough to adapt to the difference of a few degrees or inches of precipitation over a few years. Continental climate folks will be less effected by cold than coastal/maritime climates, and coastal/maritime climate folks will be less affected by heat than continental climates.

I have no idea which way it's going... as our recent winters have been colder and longer than usual (50 years data) while our summers have been hotter, while our precipitation has gone up in the summer and down in the winter but overall averaging about the same just in different months than normal. <<shrug>> it's all just weather guessing.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
That's the tricky thing, you can have periods of warming in the middle of a general cooling period; and you can have periods of cooling in the middle of a general warming period. Changing conditions due to warming/cooling can change the weather enough to "auto-correct" a little too far in the other direction for a while. A decade or century or millenia isn't a long enough data point on a planetary timescale, even though they are significant to a human timescale.

If you can't handle a little abnormal heat or a little abnormal cold where you're currently at, then moving north or south might make a difference to you on the slow progress of climate change; but for most folks, the change will be slow enough to adapt to the difference of a few degrees or inches of precipitation over a few years. Continental climate folks will be less effected by cold than coastal/maritime climates, and coastal/maritime climate folks will be less affected by heat than continental climates.

I have no idea which way it's going... as our recent winters have been colder and longer than usual (50 years data) while our summers have been hotter, while our precipitation has gone up in the summer and down in the winter but overall averaging about the same just in different months than normal. <<shrug>> it's all just weather guessing.
I see what you mean. The people I was referring to choosing Michigan or Minnesota are not only talking about temperatures, they are also talking water availability.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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I recently heard a paper presented by the Arctic and Antartic Research Institute today. These guys provide data that hard commercial decisions are made on related to northern Russian sea lanes and how much cargo they can move and how much ice breaker support they need and how many ice breakers need to be built. They say that some of their shipping lines were already closed in August of this year and that there is more ice than there has been for several years. (They showed very conclusive maps.) It was also mentioned tht 2007 was a year of quite low ice but that conditions have since been changing. Their paper said that Arctic conditions move in 50 - 60 year cycles and that about half of each cycle is warm and about half is cold. They say that solar radiation and the oscillation of the met ocean physics is what causes this. They don't put a lot of stock in CO2 induced climate change, they didn't say it was BS but they implied it. Their predictions are that we are just starting into another cold cycle with lots of ice. I give the Russians full credit for knowing about ice and cold conditions and the opinion of these guys impresses me a lot more than anecdotes from native peoples that quite often just tell you what you want to hear. They aren't just banging their gums, it impacts the way their economy works. So I'd say talking about a new ice age might be quite appropriate.

AARI/AANII main page
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
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Based on the studying I've done I am already planning on an extended cold period in the near future. Global Warming has stopped. The Antarctic is sheet has been growing, the Arctic Ice sheet is expanding again. New cold/snow records are being set. Fairbanks Alaska had one of its coldest summers ever this year. The reason is that some researchers believe climate events like the Little Ice Age coincide with a drop in solar activity, based on the number of sunspots. Right now the solar cycle is running below normal and so this could indicate a drop in solar radiation from the sun, and therefore colder temps. Note that we are having far fewer hurricanes than just a few years ago also.

So, based on this my plans are in harmony with a future of colder temps. But that's OK. I grew up in Wis. in the 60's and it was pretty cold then. I know what to expect, and mankind easily has the technology to handle it.

I should also add that where we live in Texas had the coolest spring and summer we've had in the past 10 years. Farmers had to plant their cotton later than normal because of the last spring. At this point, they still need a couple of hot weeks cause the crop is not ready yet. We've never had that problem in the past 10 years.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Fairbanks Alaska had one of its coldest summers ever this year.
I live here and it got over 100F more than a couple days... it certainly wasn't the coldest summer ever. Averaged over the entire summer, the temperature may have been slightly colder than average since this summer was fairly short (2 months of sudden intense heat). Spring was a bit longer and colder than normal, but it also thawed a little early, and fall frost and snow has started in mid-Sept rather than Oct... but neither are unprecedented, particularly uncommon or exceptionally abnormal. So far, all the weather weirdness in Interior Alaska over the past few years is pretty much following the normal extended cycles (like the Russian shipping analysis indicates).
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