The Definitive Global Climate Change (aka Global Warming) Thread — General Discussion and Questions

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  • Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - 04:40pm

    #2211

    Mark Cochrane

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    NASA launches a new satellite for climate studies.

All, Below is the NASA press release from a a successful launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. The scientific community has been waiting for this for a long time since the first version OCO-1 blew up on launch. This should provide a much better understanding of how carbon is cycling into and out of the atmosphere. For emissions, this is a non-trivial problem since this is like trying to spot who is pouring the most water into the oceans by way of comparison. The atmosphere is well mixed so CO2 isn't very different anywhere and spotting new emissions (or uptake) is not easy.

Mark

July 2, 2014 NASA Launches New Carbon-Sensing Mission to Monitor Earth’s Breathing

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launches with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2)satellite onboard from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. OCO-2 will measure the global distribution of carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth’s climate. A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launches with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2)satellite onboard from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. OCO-2 will measure the global distribution of carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth’s climate. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) Wednesday. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the observatory separated from the rocket's second stage into an initial 429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit. The spacecraft then performed a series of activation procedures, established communications with ground controllers and unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays. Initial telemetry shows the spacecraft is in excellent condition. OCO-2 soon will begin a minimum two-year mission to locate Earth’s sources of and storage places for atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas responsible for warming our world and a critical component of the planet’s carbon cycle. "Climate change is the challenge of our generation," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "With OCO-2 and our existing fleet of satellites, NASA is uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of documenting and understanding these changes, predicting the ramifications, and sharing information about these changes for the benefit of society." OCO-2 will take NASA's studies of carbon dioxide and the global carbon cycle to new heights. The mission will produce the most detailed picture to date of natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as their "sinks" — places on Earth’s surface where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The observatory will study how these sources and sinks are distributed around the globe and how they change over time. "This challenging mission is both timely and important," said Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "OCO-2 will produce exquisitely precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations near Earth's surface, laying the foundation for informed policy decisions on how to adapt to and reduce future climate change." Carbon dioxide sinks are at the heart of a longstanding scientific puzzle that has made it difficult for scientists to accurately predict how carbon dioxide levels will change in the future and how those changing concentrations will affect Earth's climate. "Scientists currently don't know exactly where and how Earth's oceans and plants have absorbed more than half the carbon dioxide that human activities have emitted into our atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era," said David Crisp, OCO-2 science team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "Because of this we cannot predict precisely how these processes will operate in the future as climate changes. For society to better manage carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, we need to be able to measure the natural source and sink processes." Precise measurements of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide are needed because background levels vary by less than two percent on regional to continental scales. Typical changes can be as small as one-third of one percent. OCO-2 measurements are designed to measure these small changes clearly. During the next 10 days, the spacecraft will go through a checkout process and then begin three weeks of maneuvers that will place it in its final 438-mile (705-kilometer), near-polar operational orbit at the head of the international Afternoon Constellation, or "A-Train," of Earth-observing satellites. The A-Train, the first multi-satellite, formation flying "super observatory" to record the health of Earth's atmosphere and surface environment, collects an unprecedented quantity of nearly simultaneous climate and weather measurements. OCO-2 science operations will begin about 45 days after launch. Scientists expect to begin archiving calibrated mission data in about six months and plan to release their first initial estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in early 2015. The observatory will uniformly sample the atmosphere above Earth's land and waters, collecting more than 100,000 precise individual measurements of carbon dioxide over Earth's entire sunlit hemisphere every day. Scientists will use these data in computer models to generate maps of carbon dioxide emission and uptake at Earth’s surface on scales comparable in size to the state of Colorado. These regional-scale maps will provide new tools for locating and identifying carbon dioxide sources and sinks. OCO-2 also will measure a phenomenon called solar-induced fluorescence, an indicator of plant growth and health. As plants photosynthesize and take up carbon dioxide, they fluoresce and give off a tiny amount of light that is invisible to the naked eye. Because more photosynthesis translates into more fluorescence, fluorescence data from OCO-2 will help shed new light on the uptake of carbon dioxide by plants OCO-2 is a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Program mission managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, built the spacecraft bus and provides mission operations under JPL’s leadership. The science instrument was built by JPL, based on the instrument design co-developed for the original OCO mission by Hamilton Sundstrand in Pomona, California. NASA's Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. Communications during all phases of the mission are provided by NASA's Near Earth Network, with contingency support from the Space Network. Both are divisions of the Space Communications and Navigation program at NASA Headquarters. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. For more information about OCO-2, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/oco2 OCO-2 is the second of five NASA Earth science missions scheduled to launch into space this year, the most new Earth-observing mission launches in one year in more than a decade. NASA monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet. For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow Follow OCO-2 on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/IamOCO2 -end- Steve Cole Headquarters, Washington 202-358-0918 [email protected] Alan Buis Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 818-354-0474 [email protected]

  • Sat, Jul 05, 2014 - 05:42am

    #2212

    Mark Cochrane

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    Is El Nino coming and what would it mean?

All,

There is much interest in the likelihood of another El Nino occurring this year and even more uncertainty about the strength of the event if it does materialize. Although there has been some weakening in the forecasting models, current probabilities remain at 70% for El Nino conditions being met by the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer, rising to 80% during fall and winter. Best projections are for moderate strength but certainty is low so it could range from weak to strong (NOAA Link).

Globally, the main concern about whether or not El Nino arrives is that such events are coincident with the release of a lot of heat that is currently trapped in ocean waters. Translation – El Nino years are frequently the warmest years for global temperatures. Conversely, La Nina years, like we've been experiencing of late tend to be the coolest.

Given that April was the second warmest and May the all-time warmest respective examples of those months over the last 135 years, there is a good chance that 2014 will rival 2010 as the new warmest year on record.

That said, El Nino doesn't mean the same things for everyone all around the world. On the upside, wind shear resulting from El Nino conditions usually weaken the hurricane season in the Atlantic. Regionally, average conditions during El Nino look like this around the world during the Northern Hemisphere summer:

And this in the Northern Hemisphere winter months.

Weather patterns can change substantially and with large differences depending on the strength of the resultant El Nino. For my work, the propensity for extreme drought in the Amazon and in Indonesia are critical since they are often coincident with extensive wildfires within 'rainforests'.

NOAA provides some more detail for the US winters (link).

What you may find noteworthy is that southern California, and especially the mountains that hold the snowpack for the whole southwest do not show wetter conditions for 'average' El Nino conditions. The exceptional drought that is now impacting much of California and the prolonged drought throughout the southwest won't likely see serious relief unless a strong El Nino arrives. Under those conditions, storms that normally drop water in the northwest get pushed south to wet California and build up the mountain snowpack.

If El Nino fail to materialize this year, and even if it is just weak to moderate in intensity then the severe drought issues that are plaguing the southwest are likely to continue. Lake Mead will keep getting a wider bathtub ring and both Las Vegas and the agriculture of California's Central Valley are going to throw craps for another year.

Mark

  • Sat, Jul 05, 2014 - 12:35pm

    #2213

    Arthur Robey

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    Food for Thought.

Thanks Mark.

I am impressed by the Climatologists ability to extract any sort of pattern from chaos. Can we get an overlay of where we produce our food? (In calories per Ha.)

  • Sat, Jul 05, 2014 - 03:18pm

    #2214

    gyrogearloose

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    working hard at finding confirmation bias??

 

Regarding Chis's post #2187 re MacPherson

[quote=Chris Martenson]He claims that human extinction by 2030 is already a done deal.

This is such utter horsecrap that I don't even know where to begin.  It is irresponsible science at best, but I am open to the idea that it is actually worse than that.  (Alas, there's my own emotional system sneaking in…I hold a very strong beliefs around the ideas that neither the scientific method nor authority should be abused.)[/quote]

[quote=sofistek]It's good that Chris is open to the idea that it may be worse than even Guy McPherson claims. As Chris said, we can't predict the future with accuracy. A lot of what McPherson say's makes sense but his predictions don't and he's been sloppy with checking the science……….  Tony[/quote]

Tony, this reads as if you believe that Chris (in the statement above) was open the the idea that things could be worse than extinction by 2030……

However given the context when he says "open to the idea that it is actually worse than that", it seems to me that what he is open to the possibility that MacPherson is not doing irresponsible science, but deliberately lying.

That Chris characterized it as "utter horsecrap" should have been a bit of a clue……

His 'tone' is usually far more measured.

Cheers Hamish

 

 

 

  • Sun, Jul 06, 2014 - 08:19am

    #2215

    sofistek

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    Oops

Quite right, Hamish. After all, it couldn’t really be worse that McPherson (note spelling) appears to believe.
Sorry about that.

  • Tue, Jul 08, 2014 - 01:09pm

    #2216
    Doug

    Doug

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    Jeffrey Sachs’ report to the UN

Dr. Sachs is delivering a report to Ban Ki-moon today outlining how we, globally, can stay beneath the 2 degree C threshold that has been established to avoid climate disaster:

http://jeffsachs.org/2014/07/how-to-decarbonise-the-global-economy/

[quote]Today’s report on deep decarbonisation delivered to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, offers a new perspective on how countries can avoid dangerous climate change and achieve sustainable development. The report, produced by the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project which is overseen by the UN Sustainable Development Network, describes the joint efforts of independent experts from 15 countries to find national pathways to making economies based on low-carbon energy consistent with the 2-degree Celsius limit on global warming agreed to by governments in 2010. Such low-carbon pathways are feasible, but to achieve them will require a high degree of global cooperation and a novel design of the climate deal to be reached at the Cop 21 meeting in Paris in December 2015.[/quote]

[quote]But how can such low-emission levels be met at the same time as the world economy is growing? The research teams identified three main pillars for deep decarbonisation. First, a shift to low-carbon electricity produced by (country-specific) mixes of wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and fossil fuels combined with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Second, the electrification of personal vehicles, buildings and some industrial processes, powered by the low-carbon electricity supply. Third, massive energy efficiency, for example through improved building designs that dramatically reduce the need for external energy to fuel heating, cooling and ventilation. Fourth, outside of the energy system, a shift from net global deforestation and land degradation to net reforestation and land rehabilitation, making the terrestrial biosphere a net carbon sink rather than source.[/quote]

Being the eternal optimist, I believe that human beings are capable of rapid effective collective actions when threats are recognized by a sufficient mass of people.  Witness the transition to war footing during WWII.  However, these kinds of mass movements require strong inspired leadership and a sense of mission, neither of which is currently obvious.  There are a number of forces working against such action.  The forces of denial, while losing credibility, are still strong and in control.  This includes the kind of soft denial practiced by this site, in which climate change isn't blatantly denied, but isn't affirmed either except by this thread. The scientific illiteracy of the masses is solidly entrenched and doesn't appear to be lifting any time soon given the continued failure of our education system.  Our use of fossil fuel is on a 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead' trajectory with no sign of reason entering the mass media or political discussion of how to reduce petroleum use.  Carbon capture and sequestration as a concept probably would be a conversation stopper in any polite cocktail party banter.

[quote]Key technologies in need of a large-scale, global, targeted, coordinated boost of investment include storage of intermittent wind and solar power; CCS; electrification of low-carbon vehicles; low-carbon heating, cooling and ventilation of residential and commercial buildings; fourth-generation nuclear energy; advanced biofuels for aviation and freight; and the electrification of process heating in various industrial sectors.[/quote]

Do any of us realistically see this happening on a time scale necessary to avert disaster?  Given the general necessity of moving to a less rather than more complex society, can any of this be done?

Doug

  • Tue, Jul 08, 2014 - 03:31pm

    #2217
    John Lemieux

    John Lemieux

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    Soft Denial

You got that right Doug. Drives me crazy.

I'd rather take an outright denier any day. J.

  • Tue, Jul 08, 2014 - 05:38pm

    #2218

    Mark Cochrane

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    Could we?

Great Post Doug.

There is little doubt that the world could make a serious run at blunting the worst of climate change if we dedicated our economy, industry, hearts, and minds to the effort. I am not sure that we could keep things under 2C but there is nothing magic in that number. Better to be delaying arriving at 2C and easing in to some global temperature a little north of it than screaming past it on our way to an emission-be-damned date with truly unimaginable climate-driven ecological upheaval.

This would require an unprecedented level of global coordination in a non-destructive effort (we organize just fine for war). The question for me is twofold, what event could focus the world's attention on climate issues and move its priority above the multitude of other daily issues, and what person/group could effectively and credibly lead such an effort? Is there any group or person who enjoys a broad level of trust at this point in time? Making the attempt could prove transformational in global relations with a truly common goal that transcended national, regional, ethnic, and cultural differences. Contrary to expectations, this could invigorate economies, opening up many new fields of growth, while some existing industries get de-emphasized or dropped into history's dustbin. Global monetary policies would likely be one of the first casualties since they are hardwired to continue creating the cancerous growth-at-all-costs system that we have at present.

There are serious concerns that we would have neither the energy nor resources to effect such a global transformation as outlined by Sachs but, instead of stopping us in the attempt, it should spur us to start now. Every day we delay just leaves us with less raw material with which to make a change that everyone with any level of thoughtful engagement knows has to occur sooner or later. Sooner equates voluntary choices and more positive adaptations while later means forced and painful adjustments. If we would just commit to the path of suing less and becoming more sustainable, human imagination and industry could be employed in coming up with elegant and useful ways to address energy, space and resource limits instead of better ways to be distracted from reality.

It is past time for humanity to conceive of something larger than their individual navel-centered problems. Are we as human beings truly capable of constructive, forward-looking, cooperative behavior or are we just a bunch of delusional large-brained goldfish taking another turn around our global fishbowl, thinking it is a new experience every time?

Mark

  • Tue, Jul 08, 2014 - 06:19pm

    #2219
    Doug

    Doug

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    Bill Rees

Here is a vid by Bill Rees and his theme of 'degrowth.'  I think it is on point not only for this thread but also for the Las Vegas thread.  He's thought through a lot of the issues necessary to stay below 2 degrees C and to sustain human habitation on this blue marble:

http://www.postcarbon.org/video/2196694-bill-rees-why-degrowth

Doug

  • Tue, Jul 08, 2014 - 10:10pm

    #2220

    Oliveoilguy

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    Deceiving with Stastistics

I'm very open-minded on this issue, but when I see deception in an argument it makes me question those behind it and wonder why they can't rely on honest data. 

Lying with Statistics: The National Climate Assessment Falsely Hypes Ice Loss in Greenland and Antarctica

Yes there is ice loss, but really, what a sham to publish stuff like this. (I tried to check to check for authenticity, but could not confirm or deny that this was published.)

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