New US Forest Service report seeks to clarify climate information

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One of the biggest issues folks have with understanding climate change is the lack of predictability in the weather. For instance, those living in the Mid-Atlantic States hear from experts that the region has now moved into a dry savanna-like climate zone, but yet two winters ago over 40 inches of snow fell in a single month.

In an attempt to make science and technical concepts of projecting climate change clearer to the public, the U.S. Forest Service has published a report simplifying complex information and resources.

The Report, Climate Projections FAQ, is the first effort by a land management agency to assess climate projections and establishes a shared understanding about the use of climate projections for land managers and agency partner organizations.

“Getting everyone on the same page about what climate scenarios are, and how and where it is appropriate to incorporate them into decision-making is a big step forward,” said Dave Cleaves, Climate Change Advisor for the U.S. Forest Service. “For many land managers, there has been considerable confusion about how to interpret and use climate scenarios. This report helps open a meaningful dialogue.”

Effectively responding to climate change requires using the best available science to anticipate changes and impacts to land management. Climate scenarios offer one way to identify and examine the ecosystem challenges posed by climate change.

“Rather than a misguided attempt to identify the most accurate climate scenario, we strongly encourage land managers to explore projected variability through these multiple scenarios. This report helps to cultivate a better understanding of the scenarios’ strengths and limitations,” said Amy Daniels, lead Forest Service scientist on the report.

The process of developing climate projections embodies a number of choices about future assumptions, as well as the most appropriate climate models to use.

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Fredric L. Rice    
Los Angeles, California  |  May, 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM

It is a complicated and interesting problem. Climate change is observed globally, and the trend has been and continues to be that dry areas are getting drier, wet areas are getting wetter, all while average temps rise and as yearly high temp records are broken around the world. Then, as the article notes, when Winter comes and there's ice and snow or it's cold outside, the low information voters among us glibly proclaim all of the scientific evidence and the solid concensus of the world's climate scientists to be some kind of "liberal" hoax, apparently designed to keep Americans enslaved to the United nations, to hear the badly-informed tell it. We have flora and fauna on the move as a result of global warming. We're seeing polison oak doing very well at higher and higher altitudes. Some species thrive in warmer climates, some perish, and low information voters pick-and-choose from what scientists observe to entrench in their minds their economic/political delusions cum wishful thinking that humans are not altering their environment to any significant degree to their detriment. No amount of education or public information can sway low information voters. The Forest Service's efforts are doomed to fail among what appears to be a majority of the world's "Western" industrialized nation's citizens.

Santa Fe National Forest  |  May, 30, 2012 at 08:21 PM

It still shocks me when I encounter someone who has bought in t the denialism propaganda, and insists climate change has not happened and is not happening. The George C Marshall Institute, and the Heartland Institute, are both neo-libertarian pseudo-conservative "free market" propaganda mills that have been fabricating, and then selling, doubt about the science when among scientists there isn't any and there has not been for decades.

NC  |  May, 31, 2012 at 11:32 AM

We "low information voters" have seen far too many bandwagons based on junk science and wild doomsday predictions. Best examples around of GIGO computer modeling. GIGO? Garbage In=Garbage Out. Changes going on? Evidence is building that says maybe. Based on man made carbon? No. Every living creature gives off carbon dioxide taken in by all species of the plant world who then give off oxygen. Circle of life, remember? There is also some very interesting data beginning to emerge concerning the Sahara. Apparently the tilt of the earth changes approximately every 20,000 years which changes the climate. The Sahara goes through cycles of desert, fertility, desert and I assume it would effect the worlds desert belt, not just the Sahara. History Channel has a couple of different episodes on the subject. "Sahara" and "Sahara Info". Last shift was apparently documented by tribes living in the area at the time with cave drawings. Ocean floor core samples dating back over 3 million years showed a consistent pattern of 20,000 year intervals. Only Gore and his political cronies still support the carbon/greenhouse theory.FYI

Fredric L. Rice    
Los Angeles, California  |  May, 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM

There is some degree of irony in your comment in that you confirm everything I said previously. :) Global warming and climate change is all a "liberal" conspiracy, no dobt driven by atheism in the minds of low information voters. Funny how some 20 million climate scientists around the world are all engaged in a United Nations conspiracy or, at minimum, all dumber than the typical Rush Limbaugh listener, isn't it?

Washington  |  May, 31, 2012 at 05:50 PM

We've got the furnace on today. It's COLD here in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps plants are migrating in part to the added CO2 that enables plants to grow better. It may not just be heat that's playing a part. No one denies CO2 levels are higher. We just are skeptical that mankind has an appreciable effect on global temperatures. But if mankind did, consider that water vapor is 95% of all GW gases. What effect do you think adding over 40 million US acres of marginal land to growing biofuel feedstock does to added humidity over the US? On average it takes 200 gallons of water to make a gallon of ethanol. Environmentalists are throwing much more global warming gases into the atmosphere.

Al Anding    
Madison, WI  |  June, 05, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Anyone that looks objectively at the climate will see that climate does very over time. Check out the Vikings that lived on Greenland up until about 1,250 AD. It was warmer there before 1,250 AD then it is today. Here is this part of WI we have had glaciers covering the area in the recent geological past. Ice boring records indicate that it was warm & CO2 was higher 8,000 years ago. Do some open minded research, see for yourself, don't believe anyone until you have checked the facts.

Ray Hull    
AZ  |  July, 01, 2012 at 08:03 AM

Where is the proof that humans are causing climate change? Where is the "hard" data that supports the climate alarmists? The only thing I've seen is attempts to distort the conclusion a rational scientist would reach or computer models that don't come close to correlating with the real world. Meanwhile the EPA is imposing without congressional approval greenhouse gas sequestering. $trillions are and will be flushed down the toilet hole!

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