Sunday, March 11, 2007

Water hits climate fan

According to the AP, the forthcoming IPCC climate assessment report makes the following dire prediction:

"Hundreds of millions of Africans and tens of millions of Latin Americans who now have water will be short of it in less than 20 years."

This outlandish prediction constitutes an international relief emergency. Water supply projects on this unprecedented scale take at least a decade to plan, fund and build. Water supply infrastructure is very expensive, so we are talking a crash program to spend tens to hundreds of billions of dollars. (Figure $100 to $1000 per person or more.)

The IPCC has finally overhyped in the short term. No doubt because far out catastrophes were not selling enough political tickets.

Now comes the multi-billion dollar question. Does the international community want to divert this much money to supply water to people who already have it? On the shaky basis of computer models? Away from real problems?

Regional precipitation predictions are notoriously bad in climate models. We have seen cases where one model calls for a dramatic decrease (desert) and the next model calls for an even bigger increase (swamp). The international community is unlikely to pay untold billions on just in case both ways projects.

Maybe now they will finally take a serious look at the (un)reliability of the climate models. One can only hope.

Let the fun begin.


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