Climate News Network: December 13th, 2019, by Tim Radford| The world first of all can be saved. However, we need global co-operation. That’s not happening yet. Also with careful research and the building of ultra-fast computers.
LONDON, 13 December, 2019 –The way to steer the planet safely away from overwhelming climate crisis may sound familiar. Yet it’s also staggeringly ambitious. It’s consequently just about using incredibly powerful and ultra-fast computers.
Because studies in two separate journals also suggest fast computers will do it. I mean they have called for new thinking about global change. One warns that only a genuine accommodation with nature. It can save humankind from catastrophic change.
The other argues that present understanding of the trajectories of global heating is so uncertain. I mean so uncertain that what is needed is a global co-operation. Thereby delivering what scientists call exascale supercomputer climate modeling. So exascale means calculations at rates of a billion billion operations a second.
There’s a snag here. So nobody has yet built a working exascale fast computer. I also mean that several groups more over hope to succeed within a few years. But when it’s done it could transform the prospects of life on Earth.
We can’t save the planet and ourselves until “we understand how tightly woven people and the natural benefits that allow us to survive are,.” That was also said Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University; one of the authors of a paper in the journal Science.
“We have learned new ways to understand these connections. Especially and even as they spread across the globe. This strategy has given us the power to understand the full scope of the problem. That which allows us to find true solutions.”
“Human actions are causing the fabric of life to unravel. Thereby posing serious risks for the quality of life of people”
And Tim Palmer of Oxford University, an author of a perspective paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It has called for a new and international investment in sophisticated climate modelling. All therefore by exploiting a new generation of computers. So in much the same way that physicists at CERN in Geneva co-operated. All in exploring the sequence of events in the first microsecond of creation.
The point made by authors of the Science study is that humankind depends acutely on the natural world for at least 18 direct benefits: these include pollination and the dispersal of seeds, the regulation of clean air, and of climate, and of fresh water, the protection of topsoils, the control of potential pests and diseases, the supplies of energy, food and animal fodder, the supplies of materials and fabrics and yields of new medicines and biochemical compounds.
“Human actions are causing the fabric of life to unravel, posing serious risks for the quality of life of people”, the authors warn.
“Human actions have directly altered at least 70% of land surface; 66% of ocean surface is experiencing cumulative impacts; around 85% of wetland area has been lost since the 1700s and 77% of rivers longer than 1000 km no longer flow freely from source to sea.”
There was a need for “transformative action” on a global scale to address root economic, social and technological causes and to avert catastrophic decline of the living world. “Although the challenge is formidable, every delay will make the task harder”, they warn.
But in a world of rapid change – with species at increasing risk of extinction and global heating about to trigger catastrophic climate change – there is still the challenge of working out what the implications of any change might be.
The argument is that human society must change, and so too must the scientific community. Climate modelling might deliver broad answers, but researchers would still need to be sure what might work best in any particular circumstances, and that would require new and vastly more complex levels of mathematical calculation and data interpretation.
Professor Palmer and his colleague Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg call for better understanding of the need for change.
“What is needed is the urgency of the space race aimed, not at the Moon or Mars. Yet rather toward harnessing the promise of exascale supercomputing. All to reliably simulate Earth’s regional climate (and associated extremes) globally”, they argue.
However as they add, this will only be possible if the broader climate science community steps up. Meaning they begin to articulate its dissatisfaction with business as usual together. Not just separately but together. That has not happened yet.
So I mean not just among themselves. Yet externally to those who seek to use the models for business, policy, or humanitarian reasons.
As Climate News Network also adds in part:
In conclusion, failing to do so becomes an ethical issue. Because in that it saddles us with the status quo.
That’s a strategy that hopes. So hoping against all evidence, to surmount the abyss between scientific capability and societal needs.
Source: Climate News Network