Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug,

I'm really surprised you think this is science. 
This is redress of a non-scientists criticism of Global Warming interpretations.

Just because this can be used to say "Take that, Bill O'Reilly!" doesn't make it useful.
Event this persons "advanced" arguments spurious at best - the interpretations of the science do not match the science itself, in other words.

Quote:
Thus when arguing for low climate sensitivity, it becomes difficult to explain past climate changes.  For example, between glacial and interglacial periods, the planet's average temperature changes on the order of 6°C (more like 8-10°C in the Antarctic).  If the climate sensitivity is low, for example due to increasing low-lying cloud cover reflecting more sunlight as a response to global warming, then how can these large past climate changes be explained?

Because there are relatively cyclic shifts in Global temperature, and it's common knowledge that Ice Ages of all durations and intensities are preceeded by periods of warming;

This chart shows a reasonably consistent cycle of ice ages - which shouldn't really surprise anyone. This is the basis on which most natural sciences are built. Observable, reoccurring phenomenon. 

Statements like this:

Quote:
Tung and Camp were thus able to use satellite-based solar data over 4.5 cycles to calculate an observationally-determined model-independent climate sensitivity of 2.3-4.1°C for a doubling of CO2

 

Are almost useless when discussing climate. It shows a relationship between CO2 and temperature - that's... not... really new...

It's not really contestable that CO2 is a factor in warming, and I don't think anyone is arguing that. 
What's not being presented, and what restrains a logical and cohesive conclusion is that this is still a matter of 44 years - the chart above, regarding ice is looking at more than 100,000 times that much data. So, it's not logical to say "this .0000044% of data is showing quite clearly that..."

It's just not enough to build a cohesive opinion. 
So, what are the scientists saying?
Here, from his own source:

Quote:
 Since the forcing is known, 

contrasting solar-max and solar-min years over multiple periods yields a pattern of 

earth’s forced response, which is better than previous attempts of using “warm-year 

analogs in recent century”--- some of which may be due to unforced variability --- to 

infer information relevant to future CO2 forcing. Our procedure for the solar-cycle signal 

yields an interesting pattern of warming over the globe.  It may be suggestive of some 

common fast feedback mechanisms that amplify the initial radiative forcing.  Currently 

no GCM has succeeded in simulating a solar-cycle response of the observed amplitude 

near the surface. Clearly a correct simulation of a global-scale warming on decadal time 

scale is needed before predictions into the future on multi-decadal scale can be accepted 

with confidence.

http://www.amath.washington.edu/research/articles/Tung/journals/solar-jgr.pdf

This continuation is also noteworthy:

Quote:
 Since the forcing is global, theoretically one should expect a global-scale response.  When globally and annually averaged and detrended, but  otherwise unprocessed, the surface air temperature since 1959 (when modern rawinsonde network was established) is seen in Figure 1 (reproduced from Camp and Tung [2007c])  to have an interannual variation of about 0.2 °K, somewhat positively correlated with the solar cycle, although the signal also contains a higher-frequency variation of comparable magnitude, possibly due to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

Please take a moment to consider the Solar Argument that I've put forward to counter AGW as a runaway nightmare scenario.

Quote:
 Since the forcing is known, 
contrasting solar-max and solar-min years over multiple periods yields a pattern of 
earth’s forced response, which is better than previous attempts of using “warm-year 
analogs inrecent century”--- some of which may be due to unforced variability --- to 
infer information relevant to future CO2 forcing. Our procedure for the solar-cycle signal 
yields an interesting pattern of warming over the globe.  It may be suggestive of some 
common fast feedback mechanisms that amplify the initial radiative forcing.  Currently 
no GCM has succeeded in simulating a solar-cycle response of the observed amplitude 
near the surface. Clearly a correct simulation of a global-scale warming on decadal time 
scale is needed before predictions into the future on multi-decadal scale can be accepted 
with confidence.

If you actually read the articles that are posted, and have an understanding of Climate or Meteorological science, you should be able to see through the thin veneer of the AGW maniacs who vehemently demonize anyone who dares to oppose their doxology.

Further, transitory weather patterns, semi-permanent systems which have a tendency to drift and create 'anomalies" for statistic variables due to Air Mass stagnation or advection (Such as the ENSO patter mentioned above) make for a very muddled and unpredictable long term forecast. Again, consider for a moment that even our best meteorological models have trouble with forecasts 7-days in advance. 

I realize this isn't the same exact situation, but the principles are common, as are the outputs. They're best guesses that may or may not be accurate. Our margin of error could be anything between slight warming commensurate with the amount of CO2 trapped in the Troposphere, or it could be an all-out, worst case scenario where a perfect storm of Solar Strength, high levels of CO2 mixed with deforestation ad nauseum lead to a drastic change in our "usual" climate.

In summation, there is no consensus, and the "science" you like to use as a vaulting pole for intellectual high ground says as much.

So, I'd like to thank you for your non-answers and attitude, because it further discredits the crowd that can't seem to open their minds to scientific skepticism and refuse faulty data as a source of fact.

Please do not think that because your unscrutinized links contain data that superficially leads you to a conclusion, that you are correct.

Cheers,

Aaron

PS - Please stop talking down to people who don't believe what you do.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug,

It really isn't very helpful for you to just send links to talking points that support your point of view. People can say whatever they want, including those who purport to be spouting pure science. By the IPCC calculations the direct heating effect of CO2 doubling would be negligible, but that is not what they say on your link, while failing to mention the reliance on unproven positive feedbacks.  I will take you more seriously when you can state in your own words, graphs or equations what constitutes the best evidence for believing in a human cause for a catastrophic global warming. I am afraid that I don't put much stock in authorities such as James Hanson, Stephen Schneider, Phil Jones and Michael Mann. Their own actions have seriously undermined their claims to be scientists. They are embarrassments to honest science and the public has become rightly skeptical of their claims.

Stan

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

If you are tired of cold weather, cheer up. After six hundred years of the coolest temperatures in the present interglacial times, we have been warming up for the last hundred years. Maybe Doug would care to comment.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Stan and Aaron,

Interesting responses. 

Quote:
It's not really contestable that CO2 is a factor in warming, and I don't think anyone is arguing that. 

You're not?  Since when?  Don't get me wrong, any admission of the scientific realities is welcome news.

Stan,

Quote:
It really isn't very helpful for you to just send links to talking points that support your point of view.

No, those are links to the latest scientific understanding of climate change.

Before I go on, I'll just note that the two charts you guys supplied above aren't really useful for what's happening today and what has happened since industrialization really started ramping up ghg's.  Aaron, your chart has gradations of 50k years.  It is interesting, however, to note that the ice volume was about the lowest and temperatures were nearing the highest in the last 450k years before the industrial age.  Stan, your chart ends 95 years ago with climbing temps.  It would be interesting to see a continuation of that chart that would reflect most of the temperature rise we are responsible for. 

Maybe it is useful to try to ferret out where exactly we differ. 

Do either or both of you agree that atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest in 200k years?

Do either or both of you agree that we (humankind) are adding 2ppm or more CO2 to the atmosphere annually?

Does either of you question this chart?

carbon dioxide variations

Stan-

Quote:
By the IPCC calculations the direct heating effect of CO2 doubling would be negligible, but that is not what they say on your link, while failing to mention the reliance on unproven positive feedbacks.

You didn't cite your source, but perhaps what you consider "negligible" climate scientists consider significant.

Quote:
So now to calculate the change in temperature, we just need to know the climate sensitivity. Studies have given a possible range of values of 2-4.5°C warming for a doubling of CO2 (IPCC 2007).

Without going into the calculations (you can follow along here http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect-advanced.htm if you wish) this is the current assessment of the amount of warming already programmed into the system.

Quote:

Plugging in our possible climate sensitivity values, this gives us an expected surface temperature change of about 1–2.2°C of global warming, with a most likely value of 1.4°C. However, this tells us the equilibrium temperature. In reality it takes a long time to heat up the oceans due to their thermal inertia. For this reason there is currently a planetary energy imbalance, and the surface has only warmed about 0.8°C. In other words, even if we were to immediately stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere, the planet would warm another ~0.6°C until it reached this new equilibrium state (confirmed by Hansen 2005). This is referred to as the 'warming in the pipeline'.

Well, I gotta go guys.  I'll get back to this when I have the time.

Doug

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug wrote:

Do either or both of you agree that atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest in 200k years?

Do either or both of you agree that we (humankind) are adding 2ppm or more CO2 to the atmosphere annually?

Does either of you question this chart?

carbon dioxide variations

Stan-

Quote:
By the IPCC calculations the direct heating effect of CO2 doubling would be negligible, but that is not what they say on your link, while failing to mention the reliance on unproven positive feedbacks.

You didn't cite your source, but perhaps what you consider "negligible" climate scientists consider significant.

No problem with your chart, but the assumption that it portends catastrophic warming is just that; an assumption. The CO2 absorption bands are already so saturated that the atmosphere will, thankfully, be relatively unaffected by adding more. Adding another coat of black paint to an already well painted black window has little effect. The expected direct heating effect; about 1 C according to IPCC, is shown below. Anything more would be due to positve feedback effects whose existence and magnitude have not been established. Even the sign of the feedback effect from clouds is not known and it is likely the most important one. So we really do not know what the future holds at this point, but what is shown by the graph that I posted yesterday is that the current warming is neither exceptional nor beyond the bounds of normal climate variability. (BTW, for the 95 yeas not shown at the right of that graph, the additional warming has been 0.6 C)

Perhaps folks have forgotten that Phil Jones, head of the CRU, has agreed that there has been no statistically significant warming trend since 1995, and also that there is no statistically significant difference among the warming trends of 1860-80, 1910-40, 1975-95, all at about 0.16 C per decade. Thus one cannot use the temperature record to statistically establish that the recent warming has been different from past warming periods.  If you really want to have fun, try to explain why the second period shown below would be caused by humans, while the first would be natural, having occurred before the anthropogenic release of much carbon dioxide. (Temperature on the left axis, time on the bottom horizontal.)

Would it be a good idea to quit experimenting with our atmosphere? Yes! But we need a better assessment of what the costs and likely outcomes of trying to curtail CO2 emissions might be. Climate science is not yet up to the task of telling us.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug,

I don't like the layover of CO2 and the Industrial Revolution - it looks like someone did it on paint, there is no explaination of what the colors mean and I don't see any supporting data.

Please post those, or a different chart, because that's a point worth discussing within the context of warming.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

wow. I'm sure glad I didn't follow this thread closely.

Over 800 posts on a forum with some of the most intelligent members on the internet and still no definitive conclusions. I've peeked in here once and a while and it's always just the same arguments rehashed over and over again. It's like a boring game of Pong.

It's been stated time and time again that the climate change debate has been a disaster and has done little but distract activists from getting actual work done. Stop wasting your time. Get over it and move onto some of the real issues that would help solve the supposed crisis as a byproduct.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Aaron,

That's actually two charts.  The colors during the exponential part of the CO2 rise match between the two charts to give a sense of the timing during the industrial revolution. 

Data?  Are you saying that you doubt we are currently at about 390 ppm now or that the preindustrial level was about 280?  I guess I thought those numbers had by now become common knowledge.  Even Stan accepted that chart. Wink

Stan

Quote:
The CO2 absorption bands are already so saturated that the atmosphere will, thankfully, be relatively unaffected by adding more.

Can you cite a source for this?

Or this.

Quote:
Perhaps folks have forgotten that Phil Jones, head of the CRU, has agreed that there has been no statistically significant warming trend since 1995, and also that there is no statistically significant difference among the warming trends of 1860-80, 1910-40, 1975-95, all at about 0.16 C per decade.

I think we're beginning to get somewhere guys.  It would be helpful if you both explain precisely what your objections are to the theory of anthropogenic  warming.  I get the feeling that we have just been throwing stuff at each other reflexively.  I'm truly interested in the science.

Doug

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.

Inevitably, there will be scientists who are skeptical about man-made global warming. A survey of 3146 earth scientists asked the question "Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?" (Doran 2009). More than 90% of participants had Ph.D.s, and 7% had master’s degrees. Overall, 82% of the scientists answered yes. However, what are most interesting are responses compared to the level of expertise in climate science. Of scientists who were non-climatologists and didn't publish research, 77% answered yes. In contrast, 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded yes. As the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement that humans are significantly changing global temperatures.


Figure 1: Response to the survey question "Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?" (Doran 2009) General public data come from a 2008 Gallup poll.

Most striking is the divide between expert climate scientists (97.4%) and the general public (58%). The paper concludes:

"It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists."

This overwhelming consensus among climate experts is confirmed by an independent study that surveys all climate scientists who have publicly signed declarations supporting or rejecting the consensus. They find between 97% to 98% of climate experts support the consensus (Anderegg 2010). Moreover, they examine the number of publications by each scientist as a measure of expertise in climate science. They find the average number of publications by unconvinced scientists (eg - skeptics) is around half the number by scientists convinced by the evidence. Not only is there a vast difference in the number of convinced versus unconvinced scientists, there is also a considerable gap in expertise between the two groups.


Figure 2: Distribution of the number of researchers convinced by the evidence of anthropogenic climate change and unconvinced by the evidence with a given number of total climate publications (Anderegg 2010).

Scientific organizations endorsing the consensus

The following scientific organizations endorse the consensus position that "most of the global warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities":

The Academies of Science from 19 different countries all endorse the consensus. 11 countries have signed a joint statement endorsing the consensus position:

  • Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias (Brazil)
  • Royal Society of Canada
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Academie des Sciences (France)
  • Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
  • Indian National Science Academy
  • Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
  • Science Council of Japan
  • Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Society (United Kingdom)
  • National Academy of Sciences (USA) (12 Mar 2009 news release)

A letter from 18 scientific organizations to US Congress states:

"Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science."

The consensus is also endorsed by a Joint statement by the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), including the following bodies:

  • African Academy of Sciences
  • Cameroon Academy of Sciences
  • Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Kenya National Academy of Sciences
  • Madagascar's National Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences
  • Nigerian Academy of Sciences
  • l'Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal
  • Uganda National Academy of Sciences
  • Academy of Science of South Africa
  • Tanzania Academy of Sciences
  • Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences
  • Zambia Academy of Sciences
  • Sudan Academy of Sciences

Two other Academies of Sciences that endorse the consensus:

A survey of peer-reviewed research

Scientists need to back up their opinions with research and data that survive the peer-review process. A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004). 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way (focused on methods or paleoclimate analysis). More on Naomi Oreskes' survey...

Klaus-Martin Schulte's list of studies rejecting the consensus

That is not to say there are no studies that reject the consensus position. Klaus-Martin Schulte surveyed peer-reviewed abstracts from 2004 to February 2007 and claims 32 studies (6%) reject the consensus position. In these cases, it's instructive to read the studies to see whether they actually do refute the consensus and if so, what their arguments are. You can read a summary of Schulte's skeptic studies here...

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug,

My objection is that there is a consensus regarding:
A. the scope of mankind's effect on AGW
B. the general outcome of any sort of Global Warming
C. that the science presented is complete enough to draw conclusions

I have argued for AGW in other circles - odd as you may find that. The problem for me is in the limited scope and understanding that people are standing on for their hypothesis. 

So, what would convince me?
First and foremost - a cease fire between both sides and a mutual agreement to put aside feelings and just address what we can see right now.

Second, a broad categorization of the possible outcomes - not a promise of disaster, or a total dismissal - but a realistic projection of what causes and effects will be taking place under the conditions we're witnessing.

The biggest problem with AGW and GW in general is that it's become two things: Public and Unscientific.

That has to be fixed before any real progress will be made.

Cheers,

Aaron 

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Aaron,

Except for the cease fire part, its all been done.  Go to realclimate.org and read what the climate scientists are actually saying.  It's not inflammatory, it's sane discussion of the science.  They are open about the uncertainties and openly discuss contrarian science, what little there is, with the contrarian scientists.  They all post there and their thoughts are given a fair airing. 

Read the article on consensus I posted above.  It's a fair reading of where the consensus is among those who best understand the science.  They aren't predicting the apocalypse, but they do discuss the range of possible future consequences.  Where's the boogieman?

Doug

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Quote:

Stan

Quote:
The CO2 absorption bands are already so saturated that the atmosphere will, thankfully, be relatively unaffected by adding more.

Can you cite a source for this?

Did you not understand the no feedback IPCC graph? It shows the small amount of direct warming to be expected due only to CO2.

Quote:

Or this.

Perhaps folks have forgotten that Phil Jones, head of the CRU, has agreed that there has been no statistically significant warming trend since 1995, and also that there is no statistically significant difference among the warming trends of 1860-80, 1910-40, 1975-95, all at about 0.16 C per decade.

Doug

Phil Jones was interviewed on BBC. I am sure that the full text of the interview is available on the internet. This is part of what was said:

Q&A: Professor Phil Jones

… The BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor
Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics. The questions were
put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA’s press office.

A – Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used
by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and
1975-1998 were identical?

"An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I’ve
assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the
record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the
marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met
Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of
sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880
period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and
1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different
(see numbers below).

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are
similar and not statistically significantly different from each other. "

Here are the trends and significances for each period:
Period     Length     Trend
(Degrees C per decade)     Significance
1860-1880     21yr  0.163     Yes
1910-1940     31     0.15       Yes
1975-1998     24     0.166     Yes
1975-2009     35     0.161     Yes

H – If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

"The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing – see my answer to your question D."

---------------------------------------------------

The numbers above indicate that the recent warming is not exceptional and is less than the expected 0.2C per decade of the IPCC simulations.  The slightly smaller number for the 1975-2009 period is consistent with a minor cooling trend since 1998. Moreover, even if warming had been “exceptional,” that would not prove that it is due to greenhouse gas emissions. As for Jones' last response, please note the climate models also fail to account for the warming from 1895 - 1946 by solar and volcanic forcing. So, Doug, what is your explanation for the two 51 year periods that I showed in my last post? Phil Jones doesn't have one. Whatever the causes, they are likely to be the same and are not encompassed by the climate models. Is it not obvious that models that can't explain the past cannot be relied upon to forecast the future?

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug,

I think we're on as close to the same page as we're ever going to be. 
More rational discourse is needed, but I'm better equipped to contest evidence than to present it.

Often, sources that have been sited here are spurious. I'll look over what you've posted and see what I can see.

In general, I agree that there is no doubt that there is AGW occuring.
My opinion, based on what little information we have, is that like the rest of our society, the warming is unsustainable.
I also see little evidence that much of the process is not perfectly normal over a long enough time frame. Unfortunately, this is where the data, science and forecasts part ways and enter conjectural territory.

All in all, I tend to think that no matter, balance prevails, if only temporarily. 

Cheers,

Aaron 

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Doug,

Excuse me for intruding into your dialogue with Aaron, but I have to dissent. Realclimate.org is home to the worst case of group think that I have seen in many years as a scientist. You need to balance that with wattsupwiththat.com.. Add 'em together and divide by two.

Stan

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/why-are-climate-scientists-ignoring-peak-oil-and-coal/

Why are climate scientists ignoring peak oil and coal?

 
by Hossein Turner on December 31, 2010
 
Climate scientists often make assumptions about large-scale growth in resource extraction without thoroughly referring to relevant studies in other disciplines. This is partially understandable given that they are not economists or political scientists. Yet I believe it is cause for concern.

While criticising the pervasive obsession with infinite growth of our political and economic institutions, it appears that many (albeit not all) climate scientists hold the belief that human ingenuity will somehow substitute declining oil with different forms of natural-gas, liquefied-coal, shale gas, and other carbon fuels at prices that can sustain growth.

For example, at the Cancun climate summit there was a paper by Professor Kevin Anderson that stated that “the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years. There is compelling evidence that economic growth has already reached its global peak and that any strong return to growth (manifested by countries in the OECD or emerging economies such as China or India) will be met by a wall of triple-digit oil prices triggering another economic collapse. Continuing economic growth will also depend heavily on heavy fossil fuels, such as coal.

However, according to a study by Tadeusz W. Patzek and Gregory D. Croft, the world could also face peak coal in 2011, after which “the production rates of coal and CO2 decline, reaching 1990 levels by the year 2037″.

This estimate of the peak is early compared to other studies predicting peaks over the next few decades, but the report authors claim that this is because the world will seek to consume the highest-quality and most accessible coal first and leave the less energy-dense and least accessible coal to burn later (and most likely only for certain critical economic/military sectors).

The crucial point is that all our theoretically large supplies will not become economically viable because of a lower energy return on energy invested (or EROEI).  This will ultimately have repercussions for economic growth and affordable prices.

A piece written by Uppsala University physics professor Kjell Aleklett also criticizes the level of economic awareness of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists with respect to coal.

“Our conclusion is that the assumptions of coal use that the IPCC recommended that climate researchers refer to in calculating their future horror scenarios are completely unrealistic. The question is why at all these gigantic volumes of carbon dioxide emission are to be found among the possible scenarios. The IPCC bears a great responsibility for the fact that thousands of climate researchers around the world have dedicated years of research to calculating temperature increases for scenarios that are completely unrealistic.”

The question is, how much impact will coal have on CO2 given how dependent the global economy is on oil? Dave Cohen of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas writes concerning the projected “business as usual” (BAU) scenario in a world of peak oil:

“In all BAU scenarios, it is presumed that energy technology (coal-to-liquids, biofuels, electric cars, any or all of these) will seamlessly step up to replace oil as the need arises. This assumption is not yet proven, and it appears to be tragically unrealistic.”

Cohen also mentions how CO2 emissions fell in the United States as a response to the recession, and they also fell in many industrialized nations in 2008 (albeit global emissions rose slightly overall due to Chinese and Indian growth), but with a global fall being confirmed for 2009.

Importantly, any significant prospect of economic growth is likely to trigger another oil price-hike and another recession with its associated emissions declines. Obviously though, the emission declines are nowhere near enough to prevent growth in overall CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

Growth misunderstandings

Looking at the predictions of climate scientists, we see certain assumptions about growth without factoring in the economic impacts that occurred as a result of the 2007-08 recession. For example, Climate Progress’s Joseph Romm reports that “[c]onsequently, and with tentative signs of global emissions returning to their earlier levels of growth, 2010 represents a political tipping point.”

It is hard to tell when such strong growth will occur once more. But what seems clear is that any strong increase in demand will quickly tell us that we are at the end of growth — particularly when we have a global derivatives debt that is almost 20 times the size of the world economy. These derivatives are basically a complex form of financial gambling and future risk-taking. They are part of our hugely problematic debt-based money system which seemingly insists on infinite growth; a perverse concept which violates the limits of our biosphere.

So, are most climate scientists aware that the world has likely hit the limits to industrial economic growth already? It seems that global warming scenarios are based around assumptions of continuing emissions growth facilitated by a world where political, monetary, and energy systems are not in a state of turmoil. Romm makes the following assumptions:

“We’re at about 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year — and notwithstanding the global economic slowdown, probably poised to rise 2% per year (the exact future growth rate is quite hard to project because it depends so much on what China does and how quickly peak oil kicks in). We have to average below 18 billion tons (below 5 GtC) a year for the entire century if we’re going to stabilize at 450 ppm (see “ Nature publishes my climate analysis and solution“). We need to peak around 2015 to 2020 at the latest, then drop at least 60% by 2050 to at most 15 billion tons (4 billion tons of carbon), and then go to near zero net carbon emissions by 2100.”

We now know that the IEA has admitted that conventional crude reached its all-time peak in 2006. In their 2010 report they state the following:

“Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d [million barrels per day] by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70 mb/d reached in 2006, while production of natural gas liquids (NGL) and unconventional oil grows quickly.”

A German think-tank also stated a few years ago that conventional crude oil peaked in 2006.  And, when considering “unconventional” liquid-fuels as a possible measure to alleviate the impact of the peak in conventional crude, it is important to realise that there is no real evidence to suggest that  these  alternatives (such as Canada’s tar sands) can fill the gap at prices that we can afford to burn.

Facing reality

Perhaps, it is worth highlighting here that speculative assumptions leave much room for error when it comes to mathematical modelling of a system that is highly dynamic and/or based on certain unknowns. Nevertheless, the current scientific predictions make it clear that we face a hostile climate in the coming decades. Many places are likely to become badly affected by higher temperatures with global average increases of between 2-2.8 degrees Celsius (assuming a rapid decline as depicted by the Hadley Centre).

However, the triggering of any climate feedback tipping points may depend on human economic activities that are helping to perpetuate these mechanisms; and these activities in turn are dependent on affordable oil prices in a global economy.

In the worst case, triple-digit oil prices and demand-destruction, political crises and wars, etc., will likely contract the GDP of industrial nations by a large amount. For example, a possible conflict with Iran could cause oil prices to soar rapidly. Also, the US Joint Forces Command 2010 report has warned that “surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear” by 2012 as well as warning of potential energy-based conflicts. Unfortunately, these factors are not included in the climate change projections made by bodies like the IPCC.

In a world of peak oil and of escalating political volatility, the fears and worries expressed by climate change scientists (such as those at the recent Cancun summit) concerning catastrophic climate scenarios, are looking less justified. However, as discussed above, a rapid decline in CO2 output can still potentially lead to a 2.8ºC global average temperature increase by the end of this century. Although, one could argue that even this level of CO2 growth may not come to fruition if conflicts break out over energy resources in the next few decades. This could end up forcing governments to ration energy to be used only for bare essentials.

In order for any energy system in the future to work, there must be an end to the “just-in-time” market inventory system that makes us very vulnerable to shortages. (The just-in-time system is one in which the materials needed for the manufacture of a good are delivered to the factory just as they are needed. This reduces in-process inventory and carrying costs, freeing up cash for other purposes.)

Better still, instead of waiting around for governments and businesses to move beyond their growth-fetishes, people can consider getting involved in the Transition movement as a way of empowering themselves in a world where large-scale economies can no longer operate.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Mike, Doug,

I have something here, both notable and worthy, that'll more likely give some clarity to the body of work that is the makings of much of this thread.

English literary author CP. Snow wrote a substantial piece that created much discussion back in 1956 with his lecture The Two Cultures. A link to the original transcript to the lecture in PDF can be found {Here}, and I've drawn upon a relevant snippet of what became a raging long-term debate in this quote below: -

CP. Snow wrote:

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: 'Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?'

I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question — such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, 'Can you read?' — not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their Neolithic ancestors would have had.

This is my viewpoint: -

Science in general is no-longer fully understood from the perspective of scientific review by the general public, but through literary review. If the scant literary review is skewed by misconception, then the results are mainstream ignorance of the facts. In other words, dumbing the detail of debate into the solid glob of a sound-bite reduces discussion down to unintelligible bickering and misunderstanding on subjects that as the truth is not governed are beyond the scope of both author and reader. Complex study to the general public has therefore become likened to reading Latin.

Human beings are known to comprehend rich data by the use of metaphor and allegory to understand much that is complex, and not by use of the math of physics as explanation, any more than the majority of the world on hearing music would automatically translate the sound in their mind into written music.

Here in lies the argument of democratic vote. If the voters of the nation are ill informed, then therefore there is no effectual democracy. If poorly comprehended information is laid out in democratic formula as an opposing argument in a study out of fairness to debate and decision, and the motives are ulterior for financial gain and not by choice based on the long term survival of the human race, ignorance kills democracy, kills rational debate on facts, and ultimately wipes out human beings ...

I could also metaphorically add that the more comfort that has been gained by the last three generations of the western world, the more detachment from nature has occurred and the further the population of those nations have marched away in lock-step from the natural laws of thermodynamics, seasons and life-cycles. It doesn't mean, however, that these societies, no matter how high they've appeared to fly, and even though the ground appears to be a long way down, aren't nose-diving at a steep decline with but a handful left who are objective enough to appreciate how spiteful the rocks will be when they hit ...

Happy New Year!

~ VF ~

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Stan

Quote:

The CO2 absorption bands are already so saturated that the atmosphere will, thankfully, be relatively unaffected by adding more. Adding another coat of black paint to an already well painted black window has little effect. The expected direct heating effect; about 1 C according to IPCC, is shown below.

Quote:

Did you not understand the no feedback IPCC graph? It shows the small amount of direct warming to be expected due only to CO2.

This appears to contradict your points Stan. 

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

Quote:

In sum, the way radiation is absorbed only matters if you want to calculate the exact degree of warming — adding carbon dioxide will make the greenhouse effect stronger regardless of saturation in the lower atmosphere. But in fact, the Earth’s atmosphere is not even close to being in a state of saturation. With the primitive techniques of his day, Ångström got a bad result, as explained in the Part II . Actually, it’s not clear that he would have appreciated the significance of his result even if he had gotten the correct answer for the way absorption varies with CO2 amount. From his writing, it’s a pretty good guess that he’d think a change of absorption of a percent or so upon doubling CO2 would be insignificant. In reality, that mere percent increase, when combined properly with the "thinning and cooling" argument, adds 4 Watts per square meter to the planets radiation balance for doubled CO2. That’s only about a percent of the solar energy absorbed by the Earth, but it’s a highly important percent to us! After all, a mere one percent change in the 280 Kelvin surface temperature of the Earth is 2.8 Kelvin (which is also 2.8 Celsius). And that’s without even taking into account the radiative forcing from all those amplifying feedbacks, like those due to water vapor and ice-albedo. #

In any event, modern measurements show that there is not nearly enough CO2 in the atmosphere to block most of the infrared radiation in the bands of the spectrum where the gas absorbs. That’s even the case for water vapor in places where the air is very dry. (When night falls in a desert, the temperature can quickly drop from warm to freezing. Radiation from the surface escapes directly into space unless there are clouds to block it.) #

So, if a skeptical friend hits you with the "saturation argument" against global warming, here’s all you need to say: (a) You’d still get an increase in greenhouse warming even if the atmosphere were saturated, because it’s the absorption in the thin upper atmosphere (which is unsaturated) that counts (b) It’s not even true that the atmosphere is actually saturated with respect to absorption by CO2, (c) Water vapor doesn’t overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there’s little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2, and (d) These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models. #

Doug

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Just because you live in right wing world doesn't mean you have to ignore science:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2013866921_climate07.html

Quote:

Kerry Emanuel is an oxymoron. He sees himself as a conservative. He believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. He backs a strong military. He almost always votes Republican and admires Ronald Reagan.

Emanuel also is a highly regarded professor of atmospheric science at MIT. And, based on his work on hurricanes and the research of his peers, he has concluded that the scientific data show a powerful link between greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change.

As a politically conservative climatologist who accepts the broad scientific consensus on global warming, Emanuel occupies a position shared by few scientists.

"There was never a light-bulb moment but a gradual realization based on the evidence," Emanuel said. "I became convinced by the basic physics and by the better and better observation of the climate that it was changing and it was a risk that had to be considered."

In much the same role that marriage and abortion played in previous election cycles, denial of climate change has become a litmus test for the right. The vast majority of Republicans elected to Congress in November doubt climate science, and senior congressional conservatives — Republican and Democrat — have vowed to fight Obama administration efforts to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions.

In only their second day in power, House Republicans on Thursday introduced three bills that would hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward with regulations to reduce heat-trapping pollution from factories and other sources, despite a 2007 Supreme Court decision that authorized action.

Quote:

Emanuel dislikes applying the word "skeptic" to those who deny climate change. He says all scientists are skeptical; that's the nature of the field. His innate skepticism meant it took him longer than his colleagues to be persuaded of climate change, Emanuel says.

He remembers thinking it ridiculous when a noted climatologist told Congress in 1988 that he was all but certain that the climate was changing. Yet, as analyses of climate data advanced through the 1990s and Emanuel found a relationship between hurricanes and climate change in his work, he came to see a link between greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change.

Climate-change deniers, including many in Congress, contend that, because the science is not "settled," the government should not act to curtail greenhouse gases.

"Scientists are being asked to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there is an imminent danger before we as a society do anything," Emanuel said. "The parallel to that is saying, 'You won't buy property insurance unless I can prove to you that your house will catch on fire right now.' "

Although more scientists are pushing back against climate-change denial, Emanuel is not convinced it can help, given corporate interests and the weight of the GOP arrayed against them. All this is making him reconsider his political loyalties: For the first time in his life, he voted for a Democrat, Barack Obama, in 2008.

"I am a rare example of a Republican scientist, but I am seriously thinking about changing affiliation owing to the Republicans' increasingly anti-science stance," he wrote in an e-mail. "The best way to elevate the number of Republican scientists is to get Republican politicians to stop beating up on science and scientists."

Doug

(edited to add copy)

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Dynamic Climate is Lesson of Ice Core Records

Made by God, immutable, perfect and constant, our world has always been the way it is now and will always be the same.  Perhaps it is a human desire for order and predictability that is at the root of such traditional beliefs.  But pesky facts get in the way.  Fossils provide evidence for creatures that must have lived long ago and gone extinct.  Rock layers and mountains ranges show a history of constant upheaval.

The static world is replaced by one where ever-present change is the grinding of tectonic plates, the random mutations of Darwinian evolution, the expansion of the Big Bang and the slow ebb and flow of glaciers over the land.  This is the world, predictable and gradual, that was contemporary science when I was in school and remains the dominant mind-set for many today.

In the late 1980's scientists started recovering the history of the planet laid down in polar ice.  There are few scientific observations that have so dramatically changed how we look at the world.  I still recall the first time I saw the deep-time series data from the Antarctica ice.  The cores gave us an unprecedented, highly resolved, long-term climate history.  There, laid before me was a past unlike anything I had imagined. Rather than textbook ever-so-gradual changes over millennial time scales, there were instead abrupt warming events punctuated about every hundred thousand years , with large amounts of rapidly fluctuating climate "noise" in between.

So much for the "gradual change" model of our earth's climate.  The idea that glaciers gradually advanced over the continents, reached a maximum point and then just as gradually retreated is clearly wrong.  Instead, the rapid temperature increases followed by the more gradual temperature drops suggest a kind of "relaxation oscillator" mechanism at work where the climate switches between cooling and warming states.

The major features of the temperature data can be correlated with variations in solar flux associated with periodic changes in the earth's orbit and tilt of the poles, known as Milankovitch cycles. However, the climate forcing due to orbital changes is the result of the sum of symmetric functions, and as a result, qualitatively looks the same if time were to run either forward or backward.  Not so for the actual climate data.  The Milankovitch oscillations appear more like triggers that release pent-up climate tensions.  The climate has its own dynamic behavior that is not merely a linear response to external forcing.  The rapid temperature rises suggest powerful feedback mechanisms that reinforce the switch to warmer climate.  The heat trapping CO2 concentration, which mimics the temperature data, could certainly be one of these mechanisms.  More solar warming as reflective ice sheets recede, leaving behind heat absorbing dark water and land, must also be important.

The violence and the chaos associated with finer structure in the temperature data is equally surprising, perhaps best seen in some of the ice core data from Greenland.

Here we see a comparison of the Antarctica and Greenland data for the more recent past extending back about 50,000 years.  The temperature, deduced from oxygen isotope ratios, is inherently a local measurement and subject to local weather patterns and difficult calibration issues, so the absolute magnitude of the changes in the northern and southern data is probably less significant than the relative level of fluctuations.  The Greenland data show very rapid and very large fluctuations in the the temperature - much more so than the Antarctic data, although the basic warming and cooling trends are seen in both.  This suggests that the driver of rapid climate change is primarily located in the northern hemisphere, where the polar region contains much more open water than in Antarctica.  Rapidly disintegrating ice sheets over open ocean could result in changes in atmospheric or oceanic circulation patterns and provide strong positive feedback for temperature change when the ocean goes from a white reflector to dark absorber of solar radiation - or vice versa.

The Younger Dryas is a period between about 11,000 and 13,000 years ago, during which the climate, coming out of the last great ice age, again rapidly fell back into an ice age for a couple of thousand years, and then even more abruptly warmed to near modern temperatures.  These events have been studied  extensively in an attempt to understand what was going on during the last great abrupt climate changes.  The high temporal resolution of the Greenland ice cores showed that the warming event occurred on a time scale of just a few years.  Attempting to fully understand this event is still an area of active research and paleoclimate modeling.

Current human-induced atmospheric emissions and land use changes are propelling the climate into a world that the last million years of ice core data never experienced.  Already in an un-glaciated world, we are now melting the polar ice that has survived for eons.  As the melt regions move poleward, carbon that has been frozen in place for the entire ice core record becomes available to the atmosphere, as methane and CO2 evaporate from the tundra.  The pent-up climate-changing potential is unknown and almost unknowable, because the best historic guide we have, the ice cores, have never recorded an event similar to the grand experiment humankind is perpetrating on the planet.  The lesson that these records teach is that warming events happen very rapidly -- out of all proportion to the trigger climate forcing event.  On the graph of the CO2 levels from the Antarctic ice core, I have added the modern contribution.  The vertical line extending to 390 ppm is an unprecedented dramatic climate forcing event on its own, even not including whatever feedback effects might amplify a climate mode-shift.  We are playing with fire!

Climate gradualism should have died when the ice core histories became available, but our cultural history has its own gradualism built into it.  Changing our collective world view may take decades longer than it does for a major climate circulation mode-switch.  Time will tell, but time is not on our side as we still empty our coal and oil reserves into the sky.

http://squashpractice.wordpress.com/

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

January 5, 2011

Repeat of a negative Arctic Oscillation leads to warm Arctic, low sea ice extent

Arctic sea ice extent for December 2010 was the lowest in the satellite record for that month. These low ice conditions are linked to a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, similar to the situation that dominated the winter of 2009-2010.

map from space showing sea ice extent, continentsFigure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for December 2010 was 12.00 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

High-resolution image


Overview of conditions

Arctic sea ice extent averaged over December 2010 was 12.00 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles). This is the lowest December ice extent recorded in satellite observations from 1979 to 2010, 270,000 square kilometers (104,000 square miles) below the previous record low of 12.27 million square kilometers (4.74 million square miles) set in 2006 and 1.35 million square kilometers (521,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.

As in November, ice extent in December 2010 was unusually low in both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the Arctic, but particularly in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait (between southern Baffin Island and Labrador), and in Davis Strait (between Baffin Island and Greenland). Normally, these areas are completely frozen over by late November. In the middle of December, ice extent stopped increasing for about a week, an unusual but not unique event.

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis Figure 2. The graph above shows daily Arctic sea ice extent as of January 2, 2011, along with daily ice extents for previous low-ice-extent years in the month of November. Light blue indicates 2010-2011, pink shows 2006-2007 (the record low for the month was in 2006), green shows 2007-2008, and dark gray shows the 1979 to 2000 average. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

High-resolution image

Conditions in context

The low ice conditions in December occurred in conjunction with above-average air temperatures in regions where ice would normally expand at this time of year. Air temperatures over eastern Siberia were 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (11 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal in December. Over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay/Davis Strait and Hudson Bay, temperatures were at least 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average. Southern Baffin Island had the largest anomalies, with temperatures over 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal. By sharp contrast, temperatures were lower than average (4 to 7 degrees Celsius, 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) over the Alaska-Yukon border, north-central Eurasia, and Scandinavia.

The warm temperatures in December came from two sources: unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere, and an unusual circulation pattern brought warm air into the Arctic from the south. Although the air temperatures were still below freezing on average, the additional ocean and atmospheric heat slowed ice growth.

monthly graph Figure 3. Monthly December ice extent for 1979 to 2010 shows a decline of 3.5% per decade.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

High-resolution image

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

grondeau

Thanks for the article.  Abrupt changes are certainly possible and precendented in a natural background, and there is no reason to think that human activities couldn't also bring on such changes.  This is, indeed, a grand experiment for which there is no precedence.

DTM

I don't think these remarkable changes in sea ice (and we should note Greenland ice) are unrelated to the strange weather we in the lower US have experienced the last couple winters.  Those of us in the cold snowy north are having marginally warmer and less volatile winters while the jetstream has shifted south carrying one blast after another to places unaccustomed to winter.  Ultimately the effects of climate change are very difficult to predict in such a complex system.  The only constant seems to be gradually warming global temperatures.

Doug

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

2010 is warmest year on record; stastically, ties with 2005 as the warmest. Last decade is the warmest decade on record.

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20110112/

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

More natural disasters on Australia's radar

An expert says Australia will see a higher incidence of extreme weather events like the flooding in Queensland.

Global Change Professor Peter Grace from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) says greenhouse gases and global warning are contributing factors, whether people want to accept it or not.

He says it will not happen tomorrow, but it will happen in years to come and people will come to know major flooding.

"We will have an increased frequency of quite major events similar to what we had, particularly the flooding event in south-east Queensland," he said.

"It means a bipartisan approach to climate change.

"Without that we are not going to go much further in terms of preparing ourselves for climate change in the future."

Since late December, more than 70 towns and cities across Queensland have been flooded and more than 200,000 people have been affected.

Some economists have predicted the damage bill could exceed $30 billion, although Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says it is not possible to say what the final figure will be "except that it will start with a 'b' and not an 'm'".

The heavy rainfall that has prompted the floods is the result of a La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean which brings wetter conditions to eastern Australia.

The 2010-2011 La Nina has been described as the strongest since 1973.

Scientists say 2010 was Queensland's wettest year since 1900 and the World Meteorological Organisation cited the Queensland floods among a high number of extreme weather events around the world last year.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Australian water torture

Paul Gilding

The understanding that climate change is an economic problem, not just an environmental one, has triggered the engagement of mainstream business over the last decade. Business leaders understand risk and those who understand the climate science quickly conclude that 'early action' is a far more intelligent and rational response than paying the much higher price of climate change’s full impact. All good in theory, the only problem is that the window for 'early action' closed about two decades ago. Any remaining doubt that this was the case was washed away with people’s lives, homes and businesses in Australia over the last few weeks.

While we can lament the lack of earlier action – and many like to apportion blame for it – there is little point. Instead we need to plan for our new climate reality and face the facts: Climate change is going to be very expensive and if we want our economies to survive the impacts we'd better start allowing for these costs in our economic planning, at both the national and corporate level. I will not go into the science that explains why these weather extremes are looking like our new normal – or worse, perhaps just an opening salvo. If you want to explore that further you can find some references here or watch a US TV report here.

There are some who argue that the middle of a crisis is not the time to draw the connection to climate change and the threat it poses. The opposite is in fact the case - it is just the right time, while emotions are raw and the impacts are in our face. As governments focus on hunting down terrorists after a terrorist attack, we should focus on the cause of our problem right now as well. Unfortunately in our case, there is no single group of perpetrators but rather a whole system we need to transform. Nevertheless, we should focus on it clearly and name the problem, with CO2-emitting energy sources like coal and oil the place to start.

Of course while doing so will hopefully encourage action to eventually stop the problem getting worse, it won’t change our more immediate reality. We are facing a chaotic climate crisis and we need to start putting money in the bank and making adaptation action a major priority, or our economies will struggle to cope. This would be a rational response to the threat already described in countless global studies. The reason for urgency is emphasised, however, by the growing recognition in the scientific community that we may have badly underestimated the speed and scale of change, particularly ice melting and sea level rise. Some of the world’s leading scientists, like NASA’s James Hansen, argue that several meters of sea level rise this century is looking close to inevitable unless there is quite an extraordinary shift from our current path, of which there are no signs yet. Such a climate shift will make the Queensland floods look like a rained out picnic and will deliver human tragedy and economic calamity on a scale that will be hard to fathom.

My key point, though, is not that we should dwell on such doomsday scenarios, no matter how inevitable they may now seem. We instead need to get ready to survive them – because we can, if we get focused on it now. That means higher taxes, with the money being put aside for the ultimate rainy day. It means rapidly changing building and town planning rules to reduce the economic risk. It means our financial institutions, and their regulators, allowing for climate risk when they lend money and it means ensuring our economy, as a whole, has more resilience built into it. No matter how desperate the forecasts now look, it is hard to imagine a crisis we can’t ultimately deal with, though not without cost. Human society has shown itself to be extraordinarily adaptable and capable of responding to new circumstances. Our resilience and capacity for innovation appears to be boundless once we put our minds to the task. WWII is perhaps the most dramatic example, and one from which we can learn many lessons and take great heart. While many of us have days when we despair at the lack of action in response to the climate science, history shows this ongoing denial is a consistent pattern. Fortunately, also consistent is our capacity to then suddenly wake up and achieve extraordinary change, amazingly quickly.

The good news is that, in a technical and economic sense, eliminating CO2 emissions from the global economy is quite viable, and surprisingly so, as Jorgen Randers and I detailed in our One Degree War Plan. These conclusions have been replicated in a number of other studies. So all we need is the decision to act. This will be little comfort for the families of the 30 dead in the Queensland floods since November, or those of the more than 800 now confirmed dead in Brazil’s worst ever natural disaster, with that country also gripped by floods and mudslides. But like water torture, each new catastrophic climate event slowly breaks down our resistance. Every flood drips on our collective denial, wearing it down until it will be paper-thin. Then one day, the denial will be gone and we’ll get to work. The more we get ready for that day, the less torture we will have to endure.

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

[Moderator's note: Copyright violation]

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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked. Surprised

Kelly Rigg

Kelly Rigg

Executive Director, GCCA

Posted: January 26, 2011 12:56 PM
Quote:
Greenpeace USA's lead researcher Kert Davies just broke the story about a congressional investigation requested by Rep. Waxman that may finally put the climate denial machine under the microscope.

This by all reckoning is a real "climategate" - a genuinely scandalous story in which a scientist who testified before Congress hid the fact that he was funded largely by corporate interests. But will it get the same airplay that the now debunked "climategate" story enjoyed?

Maybe timing is everything. The hackers who broke into the computers of the University of East Anglia did so just weeks before the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009. So when the denial machine went into overdrive the press fell for it hook, line and sinker. Despite several independent reviews exonerating the fundamental science, a number of newspaper retractions and various public apologies to people whose names were dragged through the mud, many people were left wondering whether climate change was really as much of a threat as it had been made out to be.

Compare that to the dog days of last summer. When much of the northern hemisphere was on vacation and concerns about climate tended more towards the cost of running an air conditioner, this far more explosive story barely escaped the blogosphere. Prominent climate skeptic Pat Michaels admitted on CNN that an estimated 40% of his funding came from petroleum industry sources:

In and of itself, this was hardly news. Desmogblog has revealed that since 1998 ExxonMobil has contributed $25 million to 35 anti-science nonprofits while oil giant Koch Industries has doled out more than $48 million to efforts that attack climate science.

Dr. Michaels, according to Rep. Waxman may have knowingly misled Congress into believing that only around 3% of his income came from the energy sector when he appeared before a congressional subcommittee hearing on the climate crisis the previous year. Waxman is now calling to have Michaels brought before the committee to clarify the sources of his funding.

In his letter to the new Republican Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Waxman points out that "Among the scientists who testified before this Committee on the issue of climate change in the last Congress, Dr. Michaels was the only one to dismiss the need to act on climate change."

I say it's time to give the skeptics a taste of their own medicine. Borrowing a term first tweeted by Andy Revkin of the New York Times, let's officially call this "Skepticgate" - a new synonym for the cynical, profit-motivated efforts of the Kochs and Exxons of the world to keep the public disinformed about the real and present dangers of unabated fossil fuel consumption.

Google "climategate" and you get 895,000 results. It's high time we expose the real "gate" in the room. So today I present a challenge:

How many results can we get on "Skepticgate" by the year's end?

Leave your thoughts, questions and comments about climate skeptics and what you think we can do to overcome their destructive influence on the media. If you've written blogs on the subject, please include the links below. And make sure to tweet about #skepticgate as this important story unfolds.

 

Follow Kelly Rigg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kellyrigg

I hope no one else is surprised.

Doug

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Doug
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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

And, of course, the ice keeps melting:

Sorry, don't know how to get this any smaller.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

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r
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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Cold Jumps Arctic 'Fence,' Stoking Winter's Fury

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/science/earth/25cold.html?ref=science

"Yet while people in Atlanta learn to shovel snow, the weather 2,000 miles to the north has been freakishly warm the past two winters. Throughout northeastern Canada and Greenland, temperatures in December ran as much as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Bays and lakes have been slow to freeze; ice fishing, hunting and trade routes have been disrupted."

[...]

"The immediate cause of the topsy-turvy weather is clear enough. A pattern of atmospheric circulation that tends to keep frigid air penned in the Arctic has weakened during the last two winters, allowing big tongues of cold air to descend far to the south, while masses of warmer air have moved north."

"The deeper issue is whether this pattern is linked to the rapid changes that global warming is causing in the Arctic, particularly the drastic loss of sea ice. At least two prominent climate scientists have offered theories suggesting that it is. But others are doubtful, saying the recent events are unexceptional, or that more evidence over a longer period would be needed to establish a link."

It certainly is counter-intuitive that global warming is the cause of the harsh winter here in the Northeast.   Should we expect the arctic circulation fence to re-form or is this tne new normal?  And if you are a skeptic, would you know what cyclical climate pattern is responsible?

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Damnthematrix
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Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Outback hot spell breaks records

The red centre of Australia is sweltering through a record-breaking string of hot days.

The mercury is again heading for 46 degrees in the tourist town of Yulara, near Uluru.

Staff at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park have called ambulances several times in recent weeks for visitors suffering heat stress.

Senior forecaster Mark Kersemakers says it is a remarkable hot spell.

"The temperature has actually been above 42 degrees for nine days running at Yulara, which beats the previous record of six days running greater than 42 degrees," he said.

"The previous record was 13 days greater than 40 degrees. We're already had 15 days of temperatures above 40."

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Doug
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Posts: 2745
Re: Global Climate Change: is it worth brushing off?

Quote:

"The temperature has actually been above 42 degrees for nine days running at Yulara, which beats the previous record of six days running greater than 42 degrees," he said.

"The previous record was 13 days greater than 40 degrees. We're already had 15 days of temperatures above 40."

To quote the great climate expert Paris Hilton "that's hot."Smile

Doug

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