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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:12 PM

 

200 year long drought might be "normal", even without global warming.

As bad a global warming is, and as much worse as it will get, extreme weather events have been pretty normal even in the best of times.

From the book The End of the Long Summer (Dianne Dumanoski):

...from roughly A.D. 800 to 1300 rainfall in California fell to only 25% of what has been the recent norm and stayed at that level for more than two centuries--a grim period when 50 percent of the West staggered under a megadrought. During this time, sand dunes blanketed vast areas of the Great Plains stretching all the way from Texas and Oklahoma through the heartland to Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Ed Cook, a scientist who has worked on reconstructing these droughts through tree ring records, has described the prospect as scary, adding "You take the water away, and the semiarid West just depopulates." In such a scenario, the gravity of the economic damage could far exceed the scale of the environmental insult and leave public officials without the resources to deliver emergency assistance; to provide water; to manage refugees; and to fund the permanent relocation of large populations to habitable regions. As things now stand, one of the first surprises of climate change might be how quickly global industrial civilization unravels in the face of relatively minor disruption.


The bottom line is that the interconnected and interdependent global economy is fragile enough already that even without global warming the whole house of cards could come tumbling down in the face of normal climate variation. Add global climate change to the mix and the crash of industrial civilization seems virtually certain.

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Response to Speck Tater (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:46 PM

1. 800-1300 AD. that sounds like the Medieval Warm Period

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/medieval.html


Basically, what seems to have cause warm weather in Europe and the North Atlantic, caused droughts in the American West.

And that period was NOT as warm as today's climate:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/medieval-warm-period_n_1933536.html

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