Posted on | February 22, 2006 | 38 Comments
OK, if you smarty-pants scientists wanna do something useful with your time, here’s what I need to know. What effect will global warming have on my allergies?
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.
38 Responses to “Global Warming and Allergies”
I don’t think you want to know. The following is an incomplete horror list (also called an abstract) from Paul Epstein and colleagues:
Human activity has contributed to climate change. The relationship between climate and child health has not been well investigated. This review discusses the role of climate change on child health and suggests 3 ways in which this relationship may manifest. First, environmental
changes associated with anthropogenic greenhouse gases can lead to respiratory diseases, sunburn, melanoma, and immunosuppression. Second, climate change may directly cause heat stroke, drowning, gastrointestinal diseases, and psychosocial maldevelopment. Third, ecologic alterations triggered by climate change can increase rates of malnutrition, allergies and exposure to mycotoxins, vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, encephalitides, Lyme disease), and emerging infectious diseases. Further climate change is likely, given global industrial and political realities…..
S Bunyavanich, C.P. Landrigan, A. J. McMichael and P. R. Epstein: The Impact of Climate Change on Child Health. Ambulatory Pediatrics, Volume 3, Issue 1 , January-February 2003, Pages 44-52
And that’s just the abstract! If this is too depressing for you, why not cheer yourself up and read a more otimistic assessment from the CO2 Science Magazine: Enhanced or Impaired? Human Health in a CO2-Enriched Warmer World
The choice is yours!
Don’t ask. No-one knows the answer, so scientists write speculative articles, giving sceptics further excuse to dismiss the whole global warming issue as hype.
John, what, you’re 45 or so? You will die before global warming makes your allergies significantly worse. Isn’t that comforting?
If you assume that land use and deforesting will increase the amount of aerosols and increased fossil fuel burning will increase trop ozone, you are f___ed. Sometimes Roger Pielke Sr. has the right end of the stick
Or here’s another hypothesis:
My primary spring allergy problem is with juniper. According to Breshears et al. last year in PNAS, global warming is killing the pinyon. Pinyon and juniper are frequently competitors for a very similar niche – hence the “pinyon-juniper woodland” that dominates the area around where I live. If juniper gets the upper hand after the pinyon dieoff, I’m also f___ed.
But really, I was just kidding.
“What effect will global warming have on my allergies?”
To answer that, we need to know at least the following:
1) How bad are your allergies now,
2) How much global warming will occur between now and the time you die (probably *not* from global warming),
3) How will allergy medical care improve over time,
4) How will building systems air handling improve over time (since you likely spend more than half your day indoors)?
You and your doctor can best answer #1. (And your doctor would probably be very good at #3, especially if he or she is an allergy specialist.)
Assuming you’ll live about 50 more years, and you remain in New Mexico, the amount of average annual temperature change should be less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s less than the difference 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit difference between Albuquerque (56.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and Roswell (60.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Do you notice any difference in your allergies as you travel between these two cities?
P.S. The answer to #4 is that building filtration (and vacuuming) technologies will improve. But they are already sufficient such that, if you really take the effort (i.e., whole house HEPA filters, HEPA filters on your vacuum), you should already experience minimal problems indoors. (Unless you are *extremely* sensitive.)
Doesn’t look good for your allergies. Looks like juniper responds particularly well to enhanced CO2, as the hills around here show to the old-tmers. In fact, they’ve started burning some new Juniper growth because it’s reducing runoff. Whether the decreased runoff is because of increased transpiration or increased infiltration to the groundwater table I don’t know, but some greedy people downstream want more. Sound familiar?
I used to have bad hay fever until allergies were explained to me by an immunologist, after sticking my back all over with different allergens (turns out I’m allergic to all grasses except Dichondra and St. Augustine, and that’s because they don’t have pollen).
The analogy he used was a bathtub being filled with water. The drain is open, so the level inside depends on the rate of the water coming in. The water coming in is represented by the different sources of allergens in your environment, and the water going out the drain is your bodies ability to expel those allergens. Well, there isn’t a problem until the bathtub overflows – that’s when allergic reactions begin.
So, the solution to the problem is to get rid of the baseline sources – find out if there’s anything else you’re allergic to and get that out of your life. I make sure the windows are all closed while mowing and I immediately take a shower afterwards now (after stopping by the washer on my way in and starting a load which includes those clothes). No symptoms since.
Looks like you might want to go on a juniper killing spree around your house (or move to a neighborhood without them) – or, if you’re lucky, you’re allergic to something else as well that you can get easily rid of.
Juniper expansion. (You’re welcome for me not bothering you with a CO2pseudoScience ref.)
You just can’t keep away from insults, can you? If you think CO2science.org is pseudoscience (as opposed to general circulation model outputs I guess?) then why don’t you actually show why, other than just saying “back in the good ol’ days…”
I’ve wasted plenty of time, along with many others SH, in pointing out the scope and scale of CO2Sci’s cherry-picking and obfuscation. It’s been done so much, folk just use shorthand now.
I’m surprised your copious research efforts haven’t uncovered such discussion.
What’s more powerful however, is this plan: you could go to sci.env and search and see for yourself how expansive the list is.
Or, you could find out yourself and learn something in the process by, say, taking 2-3 of their “articles”, and going to a good Uni library with a good journal section(e.g., land-grant college), search ISI and actually read the material CO2Sci cites. It won’t take long.
Take any 2-3 articles, it won’t matter.
The quickest way to find out this fact is to read the material any IndyFunded cites. They, in fact, count on the fact their readers don’t follow up and read the source material for themselves.
Good luck in your library visit, SH. Let us know what you find.
That’s funny Dano. Joke, right? It’s not up to me to prove you’re not a liar, it’s up to you. Just take the link I gave on the 24th, put in Juniper, select all three boxes below it, and give us 2 or 3 erroneous reports of the 26 available.
That’s all – you probably don’t even have to go to the library!
You don’t get it. You’re asking me to do a db search.
The point is that when they write something – that is: perform an analysis or comment on something that just happened – (not just provide the paper, see?) they cherry-pick and obfuscate facts from papers. Like I wrote.
It’s not that hard. Really. Apparently you’re the only one who doesn’t know this.
I’m with Dano on the CO2science references. This happened to me most recently on the Anasazi-MWP issue, when I was googling the subject and happened to come across a CO2science reference. I already had the literature in question in front of me, and it was dead obvious how they were misquoting it. This is by no means the first time this has happened to me. Their clear purpose is advocacy, and they do it with the same single-minded and misleading zeal that Greenpeace does. I trust neither for even-handed analysis of the state of the science, preferring the primary literature as the appropriate currency of discussion.
I’ll give you that they mine papers for information favorable, specifically, to their cause (But Greenpeace? That’s a little harsh…). However, I know they don’t always misrepresent the papers. That’s what Dano is saying – that they *always* obfuscate their analyses. To me, it’s only interpretation of someone so immersed in their narrow view they ignore externalities – like when Gavin calls model outputs “data”.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong. Here’s an example. One would think an increase in freshwater runoff would be a good thing, right?
Check out the spin here.
I’ve seen that several times on their site. The authors come to some lame conclusion, and the Idso’s have an alternate explanation.
One would think an increase in freshwater runoff would be a good thing, right?
Why would you say that? In what context?
But the conclusion is only “Lame” in your eyes.
This linky you provided means there is less soil moisture.
That’s probably bad.
Well, here in the desert (aka marginally arable land) increased runoff is good.
How do you figure the “linky” (just can’t resist, can you?) *means* there is less soil moisture?
Increased runoff generally means less groundwater infiltration, which is not “good”, so I’m not sure where you get your information from that increased runoff is “good”, unless you equate that with increased rainfall. In this case, increased runoff after soil saturation is “good” as long as your channels can handle it.
The text of the article explicitly states there is less soil moisture – no figgerin’ involved. And less soil moisture and less ET means less atmospheric moisture late season which means less precip., which may stress ecosystems and certainly stresses soil biota.
Increased runoff “generally” mean less infiltration *only* if all other things are equal, which they certainly are not.
Plants are more efficient at using water with increased CO2, so until the biomass catches up with the increased runoff it will use less water than before.
And, the article does not say there is less soil moisture. In fact, it says there is *more* soil moisture in the ground, as less is taken up by plants.
Also, there is obviously more fresh water circulating, because there’s more water circulating (Make sense??). What evaporates from the oceans is fresh water, and runs off as fresh water. The avg residence time of water in the atmosphere is about 10 days, and 10 times as much water evaporates from the ocean as from land.
Anyway, we’re a long ways from allergies. If you don’t get it you don’t get it.
Increased runoff “generally” mean less infiltration *only* if all other things are equal, which they certainly are not.
Huh? Have you ever taken an intro soils class? I mean, besides obviously not?
the article does not say there is less soil moisture. In fact, it says there is *more* soil moisture in the ground, as less is taken up by plants.
This leaves extra water in the ground, which is eventually lost to river runoff rather than keeping the air moist–which would keep it circulating as fresh water.
Then, you’ll remember from your hydrology classes that less moisture in the area means less precip, which means less soil moisture (which is seen on the ground in the upper midwest, BTW).
And, despite your there is obviously more fresh water circulating, [and contradicted in the article you want to like so much (the passage just above, see)] you forgot that you learned in your intro geography course that the interior of continents is generally dryer, which China found out in the 80s after they deforested. They’re afforesting now, like Korea did after they deforested and afforested. And the eastern Med deforested but didn’t afforest…
Water just doesn’t circulate around freely. If it did, it would rain in the deserts and lots more in our upper Great Plains. But you knew that already, I’m sure.
If you don’t get it you don’t get it.
Well, Dano comes through. He actually says something of substance:
“Then, you’ll remember from your hydrology classes that less moisture in the area means less precip, which means less soil moisture (which is seen on the ground in the upper midwest, BTW).”
Academically, this is true. However, in terms of reality (which is where I prefer to live) you are incorrect. Check it yourself.
Yes, I remember my hydrology courses. And my soils courses. Do you remember thermo and fluids? Take them when you get old enough. Mostly try to get a grip on orders of magnitude. But, I’m done with you. It’s too bad you try to chastise everyone. You’re pretty smart for a 12 year old.
…It is shown that, in response to a doubling (or quadrupling) of atmospheric carbon dioxide, soil moisture is reduced in summer over extensive midcontinental regions of both North America and Eurasia in middle and high latitudes. Based upon the budget analysis of heat and water, the physical mechanisms responsible for the CO2-induced changes of soil moisture are determined for the following four regions: northern Canada, northern Siberia, the Great Plains of North America and southern Europe. It is found that, over northern Canada and northern Siberia, the CO2-induced reduction of soil moisture in summer results from the earlier occurrence of the snowmelt season followed by a period of intense evaporation. Over the Great Plains of North America, the earlier termination of the snowmelt season also contributes to the reduction of soil moisture during the summer season. In addition, the rainy period of late spring ends earlier, thus enhancing the CO2-induced reduction of soil moisture in summer…
Physical principles an’ all. Anyway,
Actually, it happens on the ground, too.
But I should have been more precise: the amount of precip is the same, but it is more episodic, leading to lower soil moisture, and which is explained in another way in this paper.
That is: the amounts are the same, or a bit more, but less frequent (it’s a big deal, really, and fortunately farmers don’t listen to some folks and instead are concerned, hence one of the reasons for the increase in conservation tillage in the MW).
But, here’s a primer on the whole thingy I’ve been talking about and why we see what we see on the ground.
Not exactly on point, but related, is Christensen et al, which is the most thorough examination of water supplies in the southwestern U.S. under climate change that I’m aware of:
Basin-average annual precipitation for the control climate was slightly(1%) less than for observed historical climate, and 3, 6, and 3%less for future Periods 1–3, respectively. Annual runoff in the controlrun was about 10% lower than for simulated historical conditions, and 14, 18, and 17% less for Periods 1–3, respectively. Analysis of watermanagement operations using a water management model driven by simulated streamflows showed that streamflows associated with control and future BAU climates would significantly degrade the performance of the water resourcessystem relative to historical conditions, with average total basin storage reduced by 7% for the control climate and 36, 32 and 40% for Periods 1–3, respectively.
That’s “The Effects of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Water Resources of the Colorado River Basin”, Climatic Change, January 2004
More directly on point to the issue being discussed above (soil moisture and water supplies) is Ruby Leung’s 2004 paper on her modeling of western and northwestern mountains:
The warming resulted in increased rainfall at the expense of reduced snowfall, and reduced snow accumulation (or earlier snowmelt) during the cold season. In the CRB, these changes were accompanied by more frequent rain-on-snow events. Overall, they induced higher likelihood of wintertime flooding and reduced runoff and soil moisture in the summer.
That’s “Mid-Century Ensemble Regional Climate Change Scenarios for the Western United States”, also in the Jan. 2004 issue of Climatic Change (which was chock-a-block full of useful discussion of these issues).
Thanks, John. That Clim Change issue is where I got some of these whacky ideas from. I think you mentioned one of those papers in your previous blog/incarnation/content provider.
Lester Brown also talks about the 3 Gorges dam water going north and the losses just to evaporation and the increased ET where the water is going to being a net loser.
Sorry, but nothing relevant in those links to the subject at hand that can’t be attributed to recorded warming, which as you know (?) is from more than one cause – E.G. pan evaporation?
Oh, and some model runs. Model runs don’t count when compared to reality. Got any reality?
I didn’t buy that article. Does it match the increased runoff data? I’m not sure the biggest problem we have here in the SW concerning river flow quantity isn’t Salt Cedar.
Not sure what you mean when you ask whether it “match(es) the increased runoff data”? Colorado River flow has been highly variable on decadal scales for the whole century it’s been measured, with a general (but probably not statistically significant) downward trend. The analysis in the Christensen paper is benchmarked against the actual flow numbers, so by definition it matches past runoff.
Yes, SH, the model runs are based on physical principles, which you state you understand.
And the primer walks you through it if you’ve “forgotten” your physical principles.
Close Dano –
Models are based on *simplifications* of physical principles.
You can atomistically quibble all you want to try to wriggle out of the “higher CO2 good ’cause CO2Sci sez so” corner you’re in, but higher CO2 leads to less soil moisture (as the arty you linked to sez) and consequently less atm moisture [during those times (as the arty you linked to sez)], which increases drought stress. More episodic precip also leads to less surety for farmers and changes biotic response.
But you knew this already.
Land use changes are certainly a big concern.
However, your model links don’t mean squat. Only by serious biasing can they reproduce what’s already happened, so how can we believe they can predict the future? How do we know the increased water flow and decreased demand won’t increase flora enough to offset the immediate dryness *projected* in the center of the continent? We don’t, no matter how much alarmists jump up and down and cry out that the sky is falling. It might be, but we’re a long way from the computational power to determine that, and the cards are stacked against it.
Here’s how close models are to reality. Blindfold yourself and try to drive to the store. Go ahead, park in the street. You will take off in the right direction, but do you think you’re going to actually get to where you’re going? Models built on simplified physical principles then biased to account for multiple unknowns… GIGO
I’m not sure how your hand-waving addresses what was said above, other than it doesn’t.
Steve H -
I’m puzzled about something. Earlier in this thread, you seemed to be citing the Gedney et al story as evidence for increased runoff in a CO2-enhanced world, and suggesting that would be a good thing. Now you’re trashing models. But the Gedney et al paper was a modeling study. If you want to dismiss modeling, that’s your right. I think there are some interesting epistemological questions associated with modeling. But you’ll have to be willing to abandon vast areas of 21st century science, giving the way modeling has become a central tool in pretty much every field.
Worth pointing out, if water supplies are your issue and real-world data is your currency rather than modeling, that there’s no modeling in the Dai paper Dano just linked to above, which clearly documents increasing drought as the planet has warmed. Or Phil Mote’s work documenting declines in western snowpack in the last half of the 20th century.
Good link Dano. I especially like the phrase:
“over the Mississippi River basin during the last
50 yr, increased cloudiness has decreased solar heating
and thus pan evaporation, while actual evapotranspiration
has increased because of increased precipitation
and soil moisture”
John – You have a good point, but the difference in the model study I quoted was that it was a qualitative analysis looking for the cause of an *actual* – not modeled – increase in runoff. It makes sense that increased CO2 leading to decreased water need and the slow response time of flora would lead to increased runoff until flora extents adapted – a model isn’t needed to see that, but the fact it’s verified by a model is refreshing
That’s quite a bit different from saying we’re going to have “x” degrees of warming in the next 50 or 100 years, without considering land use changes, flora gains, or solar variability. That’s just ridiculous. I would like to think (in fact I’m sure) that one of these days we’ll get it close to right – maybe not for a few decades, but one of these days…
The big thing is that fear of building coal power plants has increased my PNM gas bill (check your history at PNM.com) by $500 this year. If that’s representative of, say, 100 million households, that would be $50 billion dollars a year we could spend on research instead of just feeding power companies. That’s what, 10 or 100 times as much as we actually spend – I don’t know, how much do we spend annually on climate change research? And that’s nowhere near the extreme costs of a Kyoto agreement.
The dice are loaded to expand arable land and water use efficiency. I really don’t think there’s a need to panic – but we should get some realistic answers – and not suffer the hysteria induced by people who literally want to be power brokers.
As to the link Dano posted, I’ll have to study it a bit. It seems to conflict within itself, but in any case doesn’t account for the spread of flora, for land use changes from abuse by growing populations, or solar particle emission changes. Plus, I don’t think I’ve seen anything from Trenberth lately that’s not alarmist. He’s a good “company man.” (Remember Landsea?)
See here about modeling.
If you think the Gedney paper’s important, I think it’d be worth your while to follow the footnotes. Especially the Labat paper and the Legates and McCabe response to Labat. To the extent you’re arguing for benefits as a result of increased runoff, it also might be useful to read some of the literature that breaks down the runoff trends at a finer scale, showing increased runoff in wet places and decreased runoff in dry places over the 20th century, which seems a relevant distinction to the argument you’re making about relative harms and benefits from runoff changes.
As I’ve written before, I think population growth/societal vulnerability is the dominant variable in this equation, so I don’t think this is worth wasting a whole lot of time arguing over. But if there’s gonna be a discussion, it needs to be based on a full reading of the literature.
[...] Apropos a long and predictably unproductive comment thread, a new study published on line by Science today: Using predicted precipitation changes, we calculate that decrease in perennial drainage will significantly affect present surface water access across 25% of Africa by the end of this century. [...]
I think the most relevant link in this whole discussion is this one.
So, I agree, this thread is, as well as the typical climate prognostications and discussions, pretty much irrelevant. Or, you can take the models seriously and stop sneezing.
Elements of SEO is Powered by WordPress | Accessible Website Development - Alibi Productions