Bring on the warming

The content on this webpage contains paid/affiliate links. When you click on any of our affiliate link, we/I may get a small compensation at no cost to you. See our affiliate disclosure for more info

Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 03:16 pm

Global warming means less rain for western Africa, reports The Guardian. This, of course, is bad news:

Even modest decreases in rain in western Africa will see rivers lose as much as 80% of their water, triggering a surge of what the scientists call “water refugees”.

At least they won’t be travelling far. The same study cited by The Guardian predicts an increase in rainfall for east Africa:

Climate change is expected to bring 10% more rain to Tanzania before the end of the century, boosting water course levels by 136%, while Somalia faces a 20% rise in rainfall, leading to more than a 1,000% increase in the water it receives from waterways.

Bizarrely, this is also bad news:

However, increased rainfall could lead to more standing water, more mosquitoes, and widespread malaria.

Standing water isn’t a problem at the moment; east Africa is currently enduring an appalling drought. Love that line about Somalia “facing” a 20% rise in rainfall, as though it’s some kind of threat. Somalians might feel differently:

Reports of baboons and hyenas attacking communities in drought-stricken Somalia are becoming common. The wild creatures are said to be locked in competition with human beings in search of water as the merciless drought currently affecting the entire Horn of Africa region exhausts both food and water supplies.

More rain for Somalia. How terrible.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/04/2006 at 04:02 AM
    1. Before the water refugees start swimming or otherwise making their way to Australia, I hope someone tells them that one third of our contienent is arid (desert) and another third is semi-arid (semi-desert). And we are short of water in the remaining third. The beer is ok, but.

      Posted by Rafe on 2006 03 04 at 04:19 AM • permalink


    1. PS Don’t tell them that the river at Launceston (Lawns ton) in Tasmania never runs dry!

      Posted by Rafe on 2006 03 04 at 04:21 AM • permalink


    1. When something – anything – changes, there are always winners and losers of varying degrees of severity. Since any state of affairs can get better or worse, we can see that the benefits or losses are not balanced. In the case of the potential change discussed – a moderate increase in rain for Somalia – it’s pretty clear to me that the benefits mightily outweight the drawbacks for that country. Trust The Guardian to drone on about the one negative they could think of (malaria) whilst completely ignoring the abundant positives (more arable farmland, less malnutrition, more livelihoods, less labour wasted carting water etc etc) by only mentioning an “increase in the water it receives from waterways.” Utterly pathetic.

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 03 04 at 04:31 AM • permalink


    1. Baboons and hyenas vs. Somali tribsdudes with AK-47s. I’d pay to see that epic although very short confrontation.

      Somali guy: Good news kids, by Allah’s grace I shot a bunch of lippy varmits without opposable thumbs and we be drinkin’ water tonight!

      Achmed the eldest: Water! my favorite!

      Other 13 children: Yaaay!

      Posted by Amos on 2006 03 04 at 04:36 AM • permalink


    1. I hope Tim can forgive me for temporarily hijacking this comment thread, but can anyone explain something in the latest Achewood strip for me?  Ray goes into the snack tent and sees someone who has blown his brains out, slumped in a chair.  Two frames later, the body has disappeared without trace.  Wha’ happen?

      Posted by cuckoo on 2006 03 04 at 05:52 AM • permalink


    1. One needs to bear in mind that to eco-maniacs, human beings rank rather low in biological importance.

      They were the ones who cheered on the psychotic environment in The Day After Tomorrow, and cried at the end, when the accursed humans survived.

      Posted by Mike Jericho on 2006 03 04 at 06:14 AM • permalink


    1. Yes, Yes global warming is all very well but what about the thrashing the Aussies got at Newlands yesterday :

      A match finely in the balance until they tossed the coin……

      How does one describe an innings of 93?

      It started badly and went downhill from there.

      At 4 for 7 the run chase was on…. your lot were all in the bogs when the coach called the next batsman’s name.

      Roll on Sunday.

      Just a final point : We all love murdering your mob (particularly us Proteas) because there is no doubt that overall Aussie has remained number 1 for decades.

      Your cricket is the world barometer… beat the Aussies and you’re at the top. Question is can we do a series?

      Tough ask!

      Posted by Mike 101 on 2006 03 04 at 06:20 AM • permalink


    1. In Australia, the east coast (say for Rockhampton due south to Sydney) has been getting progrssively drier, and the north west (kimberleys) have been getting progrsesively wetter since the high point of rainfall, the seventies.
      This is what has actually happened.  Whether it is becuase of global warming, or whether it will continue, is anyone’s guess.  I am willing to accept it MAY be because of global warming (as compared with more normal, run of the mill climate change). Doesn’t mean I want to go all postal and have the Government implement that joke called Kyoto though. Could be just the climate cycle too.
      But Tim does make a good point – climate change is not ALL bad.  In fact quite a few locations would be better off.  There will be some difficult adjustment, but man is a very adaptable creature.  I am sure we will live with it.

      Posted by entropy on 2006 03 04 at 06:50 AM • permalink


    1. Well, the problem of too much rain causing too many mosquitos is easily solved.

      DDT to the rescue!

      I suppose someone will then write a book called “Silent Swamp,” though.

      Oh, sorry: “Silent Wetlands.”

      Posted by SoberHT on 2006 03 04 at 06:58 AM • permalink


    1. He said ‘All that is missing is a band leader with a SI gunshot wound..” he was imagining the guy being there, he wasn’t really there.

      Posted by Amos on 2006 03 04 at 07:27 AM • permalink


    1. One needs to bear in mind that to eco-maniacs, human beings rank rather low in biological importance.

      Not really surprising though…after all, to be an eco-nut, it’s pretty much a requirement to only see the bad in any possible event. I suspect these people have a rather low opinion of their own worth, which they simply transfer on the rest of humanity.

      At any rate, it must be a rather sad existence (for various values of “sad”).

      Posted by PW on 2006 03 04 at 07:40 AM • permalink


    1. I blame chimpanzees using tools.

      An excellent tutorial on La Nina and El Nino is in the news as well, indicating what whatever is coming is a disaster.

      This is in the “looming’’ news genre, which is a sign of a slow news weekend.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2006 03 04 at 07:47 AM • permalink


    1. Question for science buffs:

      Is it true that there is a fixed, finite quantity of water in and around our planet? It is variously distributed between clouds, the oceans, rivers and lakes, underground, snow and ice and within the bodies of living things. The distribution may change day-to-day but ultimately it is the same quantity as existed 1,000 years ago – never increases or decreases, but it just goes around and around.

      Is this true? If so, what is there to worry about?

      Posted by Flying Giraffe on 2006 03 04 at 07:51 AM • permalink


    1. #13 Giraffe

      Weeeeell.. You said the planet and “underground”, so that takes care of water coming out of volcanoes and then going back into the rock pile during rock formation (diagenesis).  But “water” also enters the crystal structure of some rock forming minerals, so it ain’t liquid any more – so ‘water’ does tend to come and go a bit.  Crystals sound small, but there’s a quite a few of them round the planet.

      If you want to send a ‘global warming’, sorry, climate change advocate nuts, ask them how do they explain the end of the last global glacial epoch about 20,000 years ago EXCEPT by natural processes (eg mammoth farts = greenhouse gasses).  Then ask how they know that if there is global warming currently, why its not either another spurt in the end of the last glaciation, or at least also a similar natural process.  (I guess thats why they spout ‘climate change’ now!).

      The earth has gone ages (like, millions of years) without ice caps in the past and conversely has been like an iceball for millions of years also.  All we need to worry about is whether we go long on the summer or winter collections.

      Here endeth the lesson.

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 03 04 at 08:08 AM • permalink


    1. Wont someone think of the baboons?

      Posted by Nic on 2006 03 04 at 08:19 AM • permalink


    1. Forget the grabby little baboons!
      Save the hyenas!

      – Hyena Liberation Front

      Posted by monkeyfan on 2006 03 04 at 09:14 AM • permalink


    1. Drought is awful.  Except when there’s too much rain.  And then it’s mosquitos.  And malaria.  But then everything dries up again, and becomes a drought.  And baboons attack.

      It’s too much.  We should just kill ourselves now.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 03 04 at 11:01 AM • permalink


    1. Flying Giraffe, SCD is essentially correct.


      In the extreme meaning of “long term” (i.e., for the support of life on this planet over the next couple billion years), there is a finite amount of water.  The good news is, in the “short term” (geologically speaking), it’s effectively unlimited for sustaining life.  ‘Scuse the pedantic moment there……  ;-P

      Unfortunately, much of the water supply is locked in forms not readily useful to humanity (e.g., ocean water requires desalination before our use), although natural processes do that for us.

      And since there’s no creation of “new” water on Earth (AFAIK, anyhoo, feel free to speak up, folks), any such changes ought to be considered a loss, at least from the human perspective.  I suspect this loss is very minute in the long term, although I am speculating on that (sorry, no Goggling just now!).

      Further, there’s likely some direct leakage of water vapor (and air) into space.  Again, I suspect these water losses are very minute, at least geologically speaking.

      I bring this up because there’s evidence that Mars had free flowing water at one time, but doesn’t now.  If so, where did that water go?  Into the planet crust or ice caps?  Boiled off into space over the millenia?  Turned into ice for the Martian version of a martini?  The answers to these questions are being sought as we speak by scientists….Mars helps us understand Earth.

      I also bring all of this to point out that what others have noted about the Graudain article and other laments fro eco-nuts—they sees only the bad in climate changes.  The doomsayers completely ignore the simple fact that climate change (even regional variations) is largely a natural phenomenon that attempts to maintain a global balance.  That means there are positive things to go with the negative.  We’re better off taking advantage of the positive than dwelling on the negative.

      Equally important is that, by and large,  people have to live with the changes.  There’s a certain hubris in the hand wringing of the Graduain article, as though humans should be able to control this planet better than we do now.

      Or perhaps it’s only another lament that humans haven’t dropped dead just yet.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 03 04 at 12:13 PM • permalink


    1. Racist weather!

      Posted by Mystery Meat on 2006 03 04 at 12:33 PM • permalink


    1. Mike 101 — Australia is clearly suffering the negative effects of Global Bowling Change…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 03 04 at 12:52 PM • permalink


    1. What gets me is the inherent assumption that all climate change (assuming it even happens) is bad – almost by definition.  There is actually no consideration or acknowledgement 99% of the time that it might have any good consequences.  I just wonder why people assume that we have reached some sort of state of climatic perfection and that to change anything in any way would be a disaster.

      I say climate “reforms” are long overdue.  But the climate special interests are keeping the status quo in place for their own benefit.  The system is broken.  Someone needs to speak truth to power.

      Posted by kcom on 2006 03 04 at 01:02 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmm.

      I’ve been advocating for a few years now a national water system for America.  Basically America has to deal with the same sort of situation that Australia has to deal with.  Some areas get too much water while others go dry.

      But if you were to interconnect the regional water system with large trunk pipes, excavate new reservoirs that are connected to the storm sewer systems and build water purification plants to treat that water prior to use, you could maximize the efficiency of using what rainfall is available to the entire country.

      Additionally you could vastly reduce potential flooding as the water that would normally flood the rivers could be diverted into the new reservoirs for later use.  If you pumped this water to reservoirs in drought stricken areas you could also add in the effect of evaporation to produce additional rainfall instead of having to pump.

      Posted by memomachine on 2006 03 04 at 01:15 PM • permalink


    1. California built an aquaduct system that turned a desert wasteland into a fertile valley which, or so I’m told, could feed the world (although, if such is even the case, I suppose we’d all be eating nothing but soy). As a result, California, mostly desert, has so much water available for agricultural purposes (or thinks it does anyway) that we have considerable swaths of arable land devoted to crops that require flooding, like rice and almonds. Of course, all this requires that we steal water from neighboring states. But, ya know, screw ‘em.

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2006 03 04 at 01:58 PM • permalink


    1. ed — The Feds paved over the LA River system in the manner described.  Now we’re stuck with it: bad ecology, intereferes with the natural drainage of the land, uglier than a fallback prom date, major pollution of the beaches every time it rains because the runoff isn’t leached naturally…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 03 04 at 03:43 PM • permalink


    1. Yes, Richard, but without the concrete river beds, where would the bums, er, homeless pitch their cardboard tents?

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2006 03 04 at 06:14 PM • permalink


    1. #23 Kyda;

      *Southern* California depends not only on water taken from other states (Colorado river), but also water snatched from northern California (Owens valley, etc.) The rice grown in central and northern California gets water from snow and rain runoff from the Sierra Nevada; not bad for wildfowl on migration. (I grew up in L.A. county; couldn’t pay me enough to move back.)

      The concrete riverbeds in L.A. do have at least one entertaining feature during flooding (ignoring watching more than slightly mad enthusiasts rafting down to the ocean on inflatable pool toys); when the flow is high, downstream of bridges over the rivers you’ll see a roostertail of water higher than the tops of said bridges.

      Of course, it’s all done and back to dry and sandy normal within a week, ten days, tops.

      Posted by steveH on 2006 03 04 at 06:52 PM • permalink


      Don’t bother trying to come up with coherent, well reasoned arguments that blinkered greenhouse advocates will reflexively refute. Simply rub their own inconsistent ravings in their faces. That should ‘em up for a while.

      Posted by Brian on 2006 03 04 at 10:06 PM • permalink


    1. The Feds paved over the LA River system in the manner described.  Now we’re stuck with it: bad ecology, intereferes with the natural drainage of the land, uglier than a fallback prom date, major pollution of the beaches every time it rains because the runoff isn’t leached naturally…

      Not to mention providing prime nesting territory for James Whitmore-eating giant ants.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2006 03 04 at 10:19 PM • permalink


    1. Don’t forget all the neat car chase scenes that take place in the LA Riverbed.  Like Terminator 2.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 2006 03 04 at 11:27 PM • permalink


    1. The doomsayers are so sure but show them that their argumentsare crap and they get nasty very quickly but to be fair Brucedoes try to make an argument but it is typically incoherent and badly argued please tell me if any one can make head nor tail of this attempt to support global warming theory because thepiece  he claims to deconstruct is clear and concise and his is incomprehensible .

      Posted by Iain on 2006 03 04 at 11:42 PM • permalink


    1. Iain—that Bruce character is asserting his opinions are “truisms”, AKA “facts”.  He offers little to nothing in support of his truismsopinions.  “It’s true because I said so!

      This tactic is common amongst the adherents of the Mother Gaia™ religion.  And I do mean religion, not movement or science; they have a faith and dogma, and (as you noted) get very upset when someone questions their beliefs.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 03 05 at 12:31 AM • permalink


    1. You are spot on T R Jeffs this fellow is so sure of himself but with no real cause , but then again he is a fellow traveler of our old mate “mr lefty” Jeremy Sear and the piece I critique originally apeared at his “boltwatch” Blog. where it recieved the usual acolades from the true believers…HO HUM

      Posted by Iain on 2006 03 05 at 01:59 AM • permalink


    1. #18 The_Real_JeffS, you have exceeded your science neuron quota.  Water vapour does not ‘leak off into space’ from a planet of our size and nature.
      You are sounding like the Global WARmdoomers, whose two basic beliefs are:

      1. Any changes to weather patterns are very bad everywhere.
      2. Human beings cannot adapt to change.

      Even the Mother Gaia people are more optimistic.

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 03 05 at 05:05 AM • permalink


    1. Geez, Barrie, don’t go off the deep end, huh?  What part of “I suspect these water losses are very minute, at least geologically speaking.” did you not understand?

      No matter—I was trying to illustrate nothing is a closed system, if you expand the time scale out far enough.  Losses are inevitable, but we may not need to deal with them….either because we can’t or they don’t matter.

      Now go have a beer.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 03 05 at 06:22 PM • permalink


    1. Saudi minister slams costly alternatives to oil

      Mandating costly alternatives to oil in the name of a cleaner environment could impoverish people and lower living standards, the Saudi Arabian oil minister said on Tuesday.

      “I believe that we should not impoverish people in the name of a cleaner environment,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi told an energy conference. “Lowering living standards, or limiting peoples’ ability to rise out of poverty, in order to improve the environment trades one potential health hazard for another.”

      He said that would be the result of asking consumers to give up oil for a less efficient and more costly alternative fuel that would otherwise be uneconomical.

      Seems the “addiction” is a two way street.

      Naimi’s comments came a few days after U.S. President George W. Bush said America was addicted to Middle Eastern oil. He also committed to raising alternative energy funding by 22 percent for clean coal, wind and solar power, ethanol, and fuel cells.

      feb 7th.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2006 03 05 at 07:39 PM • permalink


    1. … impoverish people in the name of a cleaner environment …

      He just described the Kyoto Protocols to a T.

      Posted by Achillea on 2006 03 06 at 12:11 AM • permalink


    1. I recall reports of baboons stoning villagers around a waterhole in Zimbabwe, some time ago.

      Personally I think it doesn’t matter.  It’s a bit like when you order a delivery pizza and it’s a little burnt on the side, or completely underdone.  You just get on with life, just as we all should.

      Posted by scratchee on 2006 03 06 at 12:25 AM • permalink


    1. Flying Giraffe 13

      Is it true that there is a fixed, finite quantity of water in and around our planet?

      Oh pshaw!  That’s obviously impossible!  Why, if that were true, how would you explain where all the water went after the Noachian Flood?

      Posted by Stoop Davy Dave on 2006 03 06 at 06:06 PM • permalink


Page 1 of 1 pages