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  1. OK, I’ll bite. April was not only the first month above 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 (Mauna Loa), it averaged above 401. In El Nino years, we expect higher levels, since the warmer ocean surface won’t absorb as much CO2.

    So, assuming this El Nino doesn’t fizzle out, how high will we get this year, and how long will we stay above 400? (Can we start a poll or a gentlemen’s and ladies’ wager?)

    Comment by wili — 2 May 2014 @ 11:47 AM

  2. Bill Ruddiman’s AGU 2014 Tyndall lecture is finally available online. (H/T Malcolm Hughes).

    I recommend this, and even more get his recent book, Earth Transformed(2013).

    Research by Bill and other scientists has come a long way since Plows, Plagues and Petroleum(2005). I think the Holocene makes much more sense, and the evidence is pretty good that:
    a) For 8,000(5,000) years, human changes to CO2 (CH4) had slowed the normal interglacial cooling, well before the Industrial Revolution started.

    b) For the last 2,000 years, there have been enough people that plagues and wars have been able to cause century-scale CO2 jiggles, where drops have resulted from pandemics and reforestration. The clearest is the unique drop into 1600AD (massive pandemic in Americas), but the smaller drop from pandemics around time of Roman Empire’s decline are also visible.

    Some even quicker (multi-decadal) CH4 jiggles seem human-influenced as well, as per Mitchell, et al(2011):
    “Times of war and plague when large population losses could have reduced anthropogenic emissions are coincident with short periods of decreasing global methane concentrations.”

    Specifically, sometimes invasions of China deliberately destroyed rice paddies and canals.

    a) ~1,000
    ~8,000bp to ~2,000bp: millennial effects from adding CO2 and CH4, deforestation.

    b) ~10-100
    2,000bp to start of Industrial Revolution:
    enough humans to cause century scale and even multi-decadal jiggles in CO2/CH4.

    c) ~1-10
    Industrial Revolution onward: by now, CO2/CH4 effects visible on year-to-decade scale.

    Bottom line: This has some implications for attribution of variability on some time-scales, since some of the jiggles appear to have included human contributions, not just natural.”climate changes naturally” is true, but the Earth’s climate has not been entirely natural for ~8,000 years.

    Comment by John Mashey — 2 May 2014 @ 11:53 AM

  3. Bottom line: This has some implications for attribution of variability on some time-scales, since some of the jiggles appear to have included human contributions, not just natural.”climate changes naturally” is true, but the Earth’s climate has not been entirely natural for ~8,000 years.

    Comment by John Mashey — 2 May 2014 @ 11:54 AM

  4. The latest alternative climate change theory puts a whole new spin on ‘state of the art. ‘

    Comment by Russell — 2 May 2014 @ 12:00 PM

  5. Probable causes of the abnormal ridge accompanying the 2013-14 California drought: ENSO precursor and anthropogenic warming footprint
    S.-Y. Simon Wang et al.

    DOI: 10.1002/2014GL059748

    The 2013-14 California drought was accompanied by an anomalous high-amplitude ridge system. The anomalous ridge was investigated using reanalysis data and the Community Earth System Model (CESM). It was found that the ridge emerged from continual sources of Rossby wave energy in the western North Pacific starting in late summer, and subsequently intensified into winter. The ridge generated a surge of wave energy downwind and deepened further the trough over the northeast U.S., forming a dipole. The dipole and associated circulation pattern is not linked directly with either ENSO or Pacific Decadal Oscillation; instead it is correlated with a type of ENSO precursor. The connection between the dipole and ENSO precursor has become stronger since the 1970s, and this is attributed to increased GHG loading as simulated by the CESM. Therefore, there is a traceable anthropogenic warming footprint in the enormous intensity of the anomalous ridge during winter 2013-14, the associated drought and its intensity.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 May 2014 @ 12:05 PM

  6. Gavin is quoted extensively in a recent post at ClimateCentral on a new study about terrestrial sources of Arctic methane: “Arctic Methane Emissions ‘Certain to Trigger Warming’”

    Here’s the link to the abstract of the actual study:

    “A synthesis of methane emissions from 71 northern, temperate, and subtropical wetlands” Merritt R. Turetsky and 16 others (!). In Global Climate Change Biology.
    Perhaps Gavin could write up a lead post on this interesting study for discussion here?? ‘-)

    Comment by wili — 2 May 2014 @ 12:38 PM

  7. Outstanding TED talk, Gavin. You’ve made an important and compelling point, very succinctly: The models have skill.

    One point: “Each additional order of magnitude in space means 10,000 more calculations…” ? I would’ve thought 1,000 more calculations (10^3)…

    [Response: Timestep also needs to decrease – so that’s 4 dimensions, not three. – gavin]

    Comment by robert — 2 May 2014 @ 3:28 PM

  8. John Mashey: “Earth’s climate has not been entirely natural for ~8,000 years.”

    Strong support for naming the Anthropocene Epoch.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 2 May 2014 @ 3:58 PM

  9. We see Zachariae breakup faster than Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden. The reason may be a submarine trough leading under the former, allowing warmer Atlantic Intermediate water to reach the ice base. Zachariae also has a deeper caviity under it that extends over a larger area.

    Read all about it


    Comment by sidd — 2 May 2014 @ 5:11 PM

  10. I’m hoping that either RealClimate or Tamino will do a post on Lovejoys’s
    “Scaling fluctuation analysis and statistical hypothesis testing of anthropogenic warming”

    Is such a thing in the works or possible?

    Comment by Shelama — 2 May 2014 @ 6:36 PM

  11. I’m wondering how far BAU can go in terms of emissions. Do we have the resources to do three doublings all on our own? Four doublings? Five?

    I’m not talking about feedbacks, but just fossil carbon pools that could be resources with the right kinds of incentives. For example, in addition to tar sands in Canada, there is oil shale in Utah. Thin coal seams might be gasifies in situ as well. All of those things return energy. Currently, some cement plants are using their carbon dioxide to grow algae to make biofuels. Would we ever do calcination just to get carbon dioxide to make fuels? Would such a thing end up being carbon neutral owing to the quicklime attracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? We might expect abundant sources of hydrogen under some generation schemes. Would that be used to upgrade deep fossil carbon deposits such as oil source rock or tight-gas shale? Is there potentially five or ten times more oil and gas to be had than we have thus far considered?

    Just how monstrously large could that camel be whose Keystone XL nose is sniffing around the edges of the tent?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 2 May 2014 @ 6:51 PM

  12. Breaking! The IPCC is confusing people.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 2 May 2014 @ 7:15 PM

  13. CD@#11–Does this graph help answer your question? (Sorry about the long url.)—

    Comment by wili — 2 May 2014 @ 8:33 PM

  14. CD@#11: The first bar graph at this site is more inclusive (and it has a shorter url!):

    There is a heck of a lot of proven reserves of coal in the ground, and if methane hydrates can be effectively extracted, that would represent an enormous additional source. Even if you figure that we have to quadruple emissions to double atmospheric levels, many doublings seem possible.

    Comment by wili — 2 May 2014 @ 8:43 PM

  15. Useful TED talk, and glad to find the transcript here:

    for fairly deaf nonagenarian who might be interested in the note about reductionism. And even I could understand it! Great job.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 2 May 2014 @ 9:18 PM

  16. > not talking about feedbacks, but just fossil carbon

    Don’t encourage them to think that way:

    Justice Ginsburg … defined the legal mind as one that “can think about a thing inextricably attached to something else without thinking about the thing which it is attached to.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 May 2014 @ 9:58 PM

  17. So I hope it’s totally fine that I keep on nagging about the model-data comparisons. I wonder what has happened to them. Have they been abandoned? Or is an overhaul in the works to incorporate Kosaka & Xie? Anyway – I miss them.

    Comment by Random — 2 May 2014 @ 11:37 PM

  18. The recent slowdown in the warming rate of the Northern Hemisphere may be a result of internal variability of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation a natural phenomenon related to sea surface temperatures, according to a new paper from Michael Mann and others just published in Geophysical Research Letters. …

    Comment by JCH — 2 May 2014 @ 11:56 PM

  19. Hello,

    As an undergraduate student (majoring, not in climate science, but in biological sciences), the debate concerning the causation (and its implication) of rising carbon dioxide levels has always interested me.

    Upon viewing the graph (in the ‘Carbon Dioxide Levels Climb…’ article) plotting the atmospheric CO2 concentration against time, one thought that occurred to me was the controversial notion that global warming, due to atmospheric insulation, is merely the outcome of a naturally occurring cycle, rather than solely mankind’s fault. The fact that we have reached the greatest peak in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere strongly points at a largely unnatural cause in our day and age.

    A question, from a mind unlearned in green technology and climate science: is there no chemical or technological means to reverse the increase in concentration of atmospheric CO2? Limiting the increase is one thing – reversing it is another. Yet, I understand there are almost insurmountable problems with this thinking.

    Yet, with whatever technological means the future makes available, perhaps such a line of thinking is not totally absurd.

    The problem I personally foresee with such a course of action, I suppose, is that any chemical reaction converting CO2 en masse would ultimately produce products that would be no better than CO2 itself. (For example: enormous financial costs aside, hydrogenating CO2 to formic acid (H2CO2) would be unreasonable and unfeasible, let alone destructive.)

    Comment by Ryan R. (u14086078) — 3 May 2014 @ 6:23 AM

  20. I come up against denialists in nontechnical forums, recently one with a Ph.D. in meteorology against my masters in optical engineering. He may be a paid gunman as I know such propaganda and misinformation organizations exist. Does any such organization exist for the people who recognize the problem and want to take action? Wars cannot be won unless all the small skirmishes are statistically won and sometimes whole battles can be lost or won based on one small skirmish. There are websites of various levels of technical competence that I can go to. But I think what is needed is an army of people of various levels of technical competence trained for argument and the enemy’s psychological techniques. When one of the fighters needs help, he could call in an “air strike” from those with more expertise, like most posters here. Just a thought. This IS a war.

    Comment by Stan K — 3 May 2014 @ 9:17 AM

  21. “Ryan R” — have you tried the Start Here button at the top of the page?
    Care to post a link to your college’s biology department page? Some courses there will help on biogeochemical cycling and rates of ecological change.

    “Stan K” — one guy’s opinion: “nontechnical forums” are loaded with third hand copypasting. Test it — copy text from the assertion into a web search box. Do it again days later; see how much it’s spread. Most of that stuff is being rebunked. It’s been debunked; find it in the Skepticalscience lists.

    A copypaster, even those that aren’t automated bots, is there to distract you. Chasing third hand rebunking of old claims tires you out and annoys the audience. New thinking won’t appear in “nontechnical forums” — test what you read, search for its reuse, before being suckered into replying.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 May 2014 @ 10:29 AM

  22. #20-1–

    And perhaps too obvious–don’t be intimidated by claimed credentials. Some of these cats are not above lying about that, too.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 May 2014 @ 12:17 PM

  23. 2 John Mashey says Bill Ruddiman’s AGU 2014 Tyndall lecture is finally available online. (H/T Malcolm Hughes).

    I recommend this, and even more get his recent book, Earth Transformed(2013).

    Research by Bill and other scientists has come a long way since Plows, Plagues and Petroleum(2005). I think the Holocene makes much more sense, and the evidence is pretty good that:
    a) For 8,000(5,000) years, human changes to CO2 (CH4) had slowed the normal interglacial cooling, well before the Industrial Revolution started.

    b) For the last 2,000 years, there have been enough people that plagues and wars have been able to cause century-scale CO2 jiggles, where drops have resulted from pandemics and reforestration. The clearest is the unique drop into 1600AD (massive pandemic in Americas), but the smaller drop from pandemics around time of Roman Empire’s decline are also visible.

    Some even quicker (multi-decadal) CH4 jiggles seem human-influenced as well, as per Mitchell, et al(2011)…

    Bottom line: This has some implications for attribution of variability on some time-scales

    And you just laid out exactly why consumption must fall so far in most societies/nations, and why getting below 300ppm is vital. Even an extremely low-carbon 7 billion is likely to keep CO2 rising over time without serious efforts to avoid that.

    On the plus side, I long ago realized how easily we could avoid glacial periods by judicious land use changes and FFs over long time periods. We should be able to literally never see another glacial.

    Comment by Killian — 3 May 2014 @ 2:55 PM


    Today’s CP discusses a very interesting recent article on Methane emissions. One takeaway: “The permafrost carbon feedback is one of the important and likely consequences of climate change, and it is certain to trigger additional warming … Instead of reducing emissions, we currently are on track with the most dire scenario considered by the IPCC.”

    Today’s CP methane study also references a 2011 methane study focused on thawing permafrost. Equally interesting in this latter study are the comments; they constitute one of the most interesting comment threads I have seen on any climate advocacy blog. Highly recommended.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 3 May 2014 @ 2:55 PM

  25. Ryan R wrote: “A question, from a mind unlearned in green technology and climate science: is there no chemical or technological means to reverse the increase in concentration of atmospheric CO2?”

    This gets into mitigation, discussions of which our hosts have asked we eschew on this month’s UV thread.

    But the answer is yes — the already dangerous anthropogenic excess of atmospheric CO2 can be drawn down and sequestered in soils and biomass by organic agriculture and reforestation. See the item linked below (previously posted on the April UV thread):

    Reversing Climate Change Achievable by Farming Organically
    Rodale Institute
    April 23, 2014

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 May 2014 @ 3:31 PM

  26. wili (#14),

    That is a good start. A chart a little farther down is taken from “Storms of my Grandchildren” and has the notation “Emitted CO2 (ppm)” so the immediate uptake into the biosphere and oceans is not accounted for. So, taking about 350 GtC to-date (2006) and about 110 ppm above preindustrial (280 ppm) at that time I get about 900 GtC to get to the first doubling. I get about 2900 GtC in reserves shown in the chart so that comes to about 2.7 doublings available all on our own, without carbon dioxide feedbacks such as permafrost rot. Now the methane hydrate in that chart is a one shot thing. And, depending on processing the oil shale may be as well. Tar sands leave a residue but that can be burned so we are probably getting all the carbon there too. So, in terms of fossil reduced carbon, we’re really looking at source rock for existing oil and gas fields (including tight gas shale) now gas reserves have probably jumped quite a bit since those charts were made. Lets say they doubled. Then we might have about 800 GtC to multiply by some factor for buried carbon we could access through in situ upgrading with hydrogenation fracking. If that factor is 5 then that is an additional 4000 GtC so 6900 all together. That comes to 3.9 doublings. If the factor is 10 (probably appropriate for Marcellus type source rock), then that is 8000 additional GtC so 10,900 GtC all together. That comes to 4.6 doublings.

    With a fast feedback climate sensitivity of 3 C per doubling that comes to 8 C of warming for the bar chart as presented, 11.7 C of warming if we can rend 5 times more carbon from already exploited source rock or 13.8 C of warming if it is ten times more. Hansen’s book indicates that the sensitivity increases at these very high forcings so including slow feedbacks that may be 28 C of warming as a minimum. That is not enough to make the oceans boil, but it does make a lot of the Earth’s surface uninhabitable by mammals.

    So, it would seem that the advent of low cost and functionally unlimited renewable energy which could give us a cheap source of hydrogen for novel exploitation of buried fossil carbon, may grant us enormous new destructive powers. It further seems unlikely that CCS could handle such a glut, we’d run out of places to bury the carbon dioxide. (Sorry for the mitigation reference in this thread.) It may give us almost two more doublings of carbon dioxide concentration. Perhaps the nose of that very large camel should be kept out of the tent.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 3 May 2014 @ 3:58 PM

  27. Stan K,
    ‘Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.’ George Bernard Shaw

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 3 May 2014 @ 4:38 PM

  28. Yes, God Would Let that Happen.

    Katherine Hayhoe:

    Please note embeddded video (1:31):

    –which is #9 here, as of now:

    Comment by patrick — 3 May 2014 @ 6:10 PM

  29. @ robert (post 7)

    “One point: “Each additional order of magnitude in space means 10,000 more calculations…” ? I would’ve thought 1,000 more calculations (10^3)”

    Just to be a bit more clear, the size of the timestep is limited by the amount of time it takes information to travel across one element of your grid (see CFL condition). If you increase the resolution by a factor of 10 in each direction, then you decrease the size of each element in the your grid by a factor of ten, which means that information takes a factor of ten times less amount of time to travel across an element in your grid, and so your timestep goes down by a factor of ten. You then need to do ten times as many calculations to evolve your system for the same amount of time. Additionally, your grid is a thousand times a large, so this corresponds to ten thousand times as many calcualtions.

    @ gavin

    Great talk! I do not understand what you meant when you said “it’s the whole, or it’s nothing”. It sounded like you were saying that either every physical process must be taken into account, or we could learn nothing from climate models. This is clearly not true, and I am sure you didn’t mean that, so I am interested to know what you did mean.

    Comment by Colin Johnstone — 3 May 2014 @ 7:14 PM

  30. Colin:
    CFL limit applies to explicit methods, implicit methods can use large time steps, but at the often large cost of solving systems of equations.
    I don’t think the horizontal and vertical dimensions are equivalent either, they could be increased by different factors. If horizontal variation is covered by spectral methods, then things will scale differently as well.

    Comment by Thomas — 3 May 2014 @ 10:34 PM


    I inadvertently stumbled across this article while searching for something else. Addresses health aspects of climate change.

    Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Mar 1;189(5):512-9. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201310-1924PP.
    Climate change. A global threat to cardiopulmonary health.
    Rice MB1, Thurston GD, Balmes JR, Pinkerton KE.

    Recent changes in the global climate system have resulted in excess mortality and morbidity, particularly among susceptible individuals with preexisting cardiopulmonary disease. These weather patterns are projected to continue and intensify as a result of rising CO2 levels, according to the most recent projections by climate scientists. In this Pulmonary Perspective, motivated by the American Thoracic Society Committees on Environmental Health Policy and International Health, we review the global human health consequences of projected changes in climate for which there is a high level of confidence and scientific evidence of health effects, with a focus on cardiopulmonary health. We discuss how many of the climate-related health effects will disproportionally affect people from economically disadvantaged parts of the world, who contribute relatively little to CO2 emissions. Last, we discuss the financial implications of climate change solutions from a public health perspective and argue for a harmonized approach to clean air and climate change policies.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 4 May 2014 @ 7:59 AM

  32. Hank (#16),

    I’m not quite sure what you are getting at. If the accessible fossil carbon pool is much larger than usually assumed, then carbon feedbacks may not be all that significant in terms of warming. In the factor of ten scenario in #26, probably most of the soil carbon would be oxidized, but at only 2000 GtC that only results in 0.24 more doublings and 0.72 C additional warming when placed on top of a huge anthropogenic warming.

    Gavin may be able to say if the upturn in response in the right hand sector of fig. 30 of “Storms of my Grandchildren” is owing to not recognizing the limit on biosphere carbon available for feedbacks or not since he ran some of the models.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 4 May 2014 @ 12:27 PM

  33. Thomas, you are right of course. Gavin didn’t state clearly exactly what type of numerical scheme he was talking about, so maybe my assumption was wrong. I guess it was just a quick statement about how computation time increases with resolution, and not to be taken too seriously.

    Comment by Colin Johnstone — 4 May 2014 @ 6:32 PM

  34. Ground truth is forcing due to CO2 plus feedbacks is less than the forcing which repeatedly drives the earth into ice ages from periods of warmer temperatures and high CO2

    [Response: Sure. But how is that comforting or relevant in any way? Those were huge changes too. – gavin]

    Comment by Buck Smith — 4 May 2014 @ 8:56 PM

  35. Colin, To be fair, I think Gavin is quite familiar with the algorithms and the scaling laws of them. What is tougher to determine is how things will scale with modern highly parallel computing, where both memory and computational capability are distributed. Off-chip communications tends to become more important than floating point operations. And off-chip data access can be affected by the combination of better data partitioning and larger on-chip data caches.

    [Response: Chip design/multiple cores etc. are a big reason why computing power is increasing – it’s not just about the speed of single processors. The increases in scale I discussed are not as simple as the heuristic I discussed but that is a pretty code rule of thumb. Other issues are that at higher resolution we are moving to different grids (Cartesian –> Cubed sphere or icosahedral) but we are also adding more tracers (chemistry/aerosols) that have changed the balance between column physics and advection in how long it takes to run a model. The other heuristic that is worth mentioning is that real clock time for climate models has been static for decades (at around 3-5 years per day). – gavin]

    Comment by Thomas — 4 May 2014 @ 10:27 PM

  36. [Response: On another topic, another triumph for scientific prediction: no contrarian blogs mentioned the Nenana ice classic this year.]

    Comment by gavin — 4 May 2014 @ 10:59 PM

  37. 34 Buck Smith says Ground truth is forcing due to CO2 plus feedbacks is less than the forcing which repeatedly drives the earth into ice ages from periods of warmer temperatures and high CO2

    [Response: Sure. But how is that comforting or relevant in any way? Those were huge changes too. – gavin]

    Don’t see how this can be true except at some threshold of CO2 + feedbacks, so I assume you meant present levels?

    Comment by Killian — 4 May 2014 @ 11:03 PM

  38. Colin,

    I took Gavin’s phrase, “it’s the whole, or it’s nothing”, in the context of what he was saying, that it’s impossible to learn anything much from looking at one small piece of the system (either in locality or factors) since there are so many other areas and factors that impact that small piece. This is true no matter how large the piece is.

    Comment by Tony — 5 May 2014 @ 12:58 AM

  39. #31 Diogenes

    Along those lines:

    “India deployed troops in Assam on Saturday after more than 30 Muslims were gunned down in three days of what police said were attacks by Bodo tribal militants, who resent the presence of settlers they claim are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

    Modi has repeatedly called for tighter border controls and last week said illegal immigrants from Bangladesh living in the state of West Bengal should have their “bags packed” in case he came to power.”

    No scientific study, no dry academic language. Just a picture of the convolution of the climate system with the human ecosystem– imagine what it will be like after a few decades of rising sea level?

    So Diogenes– what’s that global cooperative mitigation/adaptation plan of yours again?

    Comment by mgardner — 5 May 2014 @ 5:39 AM

  40. > If the accessible fossil carbon pool is much larger

    The increasing ease of access to fossil carbon _is_ largely a feedback.
    Most of the increasingly accessible fossil carbon was under Arctic ice or permanently frozen — until we messed things up. Now it’s becoming more easily accessible. Our own actions are part of the feedback from burning carbon.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 May 2014 @ 8:05 AM

  41. > Killian … don’t see how this can be …

    Read the history, e.g.

    At a conference on climate change held in Boulder, Colorado in 1965, Broecker announced that “The Milankovitch hypothesis can no longer be considered just an interesting curiosity.”N_20. People at the conference began to speculate on how the calculated changes in sunlight, although they seemed insignificantly small, might somehow trigger ice ages.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 May 2014 @ 8:48 AM

  42. @36. Gavin…

    Couldn’t the same be said that “RC didn’t mention the DC Cherry Blossom Bloom Date” … “this year”..?

    I guess conceivably contrarians and mainliners will be jumping to one or the other of these depending on when it suits what they want to call attention to. Or, do you conceive of a time where the Nenana Ice Classic will show a very late start date and it NOT be labeled natural variability? [Or, the Cherry Blossoms blooming way early and it NOT be labeled climate change..?]

    [Response: There isn’t a symmetry here. There are dozens of posts here that discuss the necessity of placing events in context as opposed to using them in and of themselves to ‘prove’ something. If we had only had posts on cherry blossoms in years when they were early, you might have a point, but I don’t recall any such posts. By contrast, WUWT had ~half a dozen(?) posts on Benana last year. Context is all and cherry picking of single events is mostly misleading when ever it is done. – gavin]

    Comment by Salamano — 5 May 2014 @ 8:59 AM

  43. @~39
    Just a request. Let’s not open the floor to further chaotic and degenerative verbal gyrations on The One True Holy of Holies…

    Comment by Radge Havers — 5 May 2014 @ 10:35 AM

  44. Previously we mentioned sulphate aerosol pollution and wondered what would happen if China got serious about air pollution control. According to a recent news item they are now planning to do so. Consequences for the Earth’s climate?

    Comment by DP — 5 May 2014 @ 10:39 AM

  45. #42–OK, I’ll mention it:

    So what?


    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 May 2014 @ 10:45 AM

  46. > if China got serious about air pollution control.

    You can find some answers to your question using
    ‘oogle: china sulfate “climate model”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 May 2014 @ 11:50 AM

  47. Hank (#41),

    Nope. I’m thinking of something different. Worse living through chemistry: use renewable energy to split water, then pump the hydrogen into petroleum source rock to sop up the type IV kerogen which has too low a hydrogen content to form liquids or gas otherwise. Then bring the resultant hydrocarbons up to use as fuel. That would give access to carbon that we would not bother with if we did not have a source of low cost energy to throw at it. Low cost renewable energy almost makes it inevitable that immature source rock like the the Green River Formation will be heat processed to get oil. But as renewable energy becomes even cheaper, even more irresponsible schemes may be put in place. This sort of thing has already been proposed for coal-to-liquid and biomassto-liquid. What is novel here is to use the heat and pressure at the depths of oil source rock to run the reaction. I guess you might call it a hybrid renewable hydrogen-geothermal-fossil carbon way to make things much much worse than we’ve yet imagined at a profit.

    If you want to call it a feedback, it would be a Buckminster Fuller feedback where our time spent with fossil fuels has given us the technological wherewithal to move to renewables in a world shaking manner. Misapplication of those new powers could have much more deadly consequences than what got us here so far.

    The whole concept that peak oil would help with the m-word is mistaken. We haven’t even begun to produce oil from fossil carbon unless we control emissions by choice and leave those profitable but deadly schemes alone. Tar sands, oil shale, and now in situ hydrogenation must be stopped.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 5 May 2014 @ 12:24 PM

  48. Prof. Schmidt writes:
    “at higher resolution we are moving to different grids (Cartesian –> Cubed sphere or icosahedral”

    I see adaptive grids in ice sheet models these days, and some ocean or atmosphere models using them. Are the approaches still predominantly Eulerian in nature, or have there been serious efforts in the Lagrangian direction ? I do see some comoving approaches in some icesheet work.


    Comment by sidd — 5 May 2014 @ 12:35 PM

  49. Gavin. Adding more local physics improves the ratio of local work to communications. Note also that each generation of chip increases the vector (SSE) performance, so that potential ops per clock per core is going up dramatically, even as clock rates stagnate. Ensuring that the most intensive parts of your code vectorize should be given a high priority.

    Comment by Thomas — 5 May 2014 @ 8:18 PM

  50. Kevin,
    Another interesting natural observation of the recent warming. The average peak date over the past decade is April 2, ranging from an earliest of March 20 (2012) to the latest on April 10 (2014). During the 1960s, the average date was April 7, ranging from March 29 to April 15. So, the increase has been 5 days over the past 50 years. However, if we go back further, the average peak date during the 1920s was April 3, with an earliest date of March 19 (1921 & 1927) and a latest of April 13 (1924), similar to recent years. The Washington Post predictions of much earlier peak dates may be premature.

    Comment by Dan H. — 6 May 2014 @ 7:26 AM

  51. Sidd #48,

    “I see adaptive grids in ice sheet models these days, and SOME ocean or atmosphere models using them.”

    Impressive, especially since they’ve been reported in the open literature at least since 1980 (and probably before).


    Comment by DIOGENES — 6 May 2014 @ 7:31 AM

  52. Not one mention of Pielke in this report: Finally.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 May 2014 @ 9:05 AM


    Good report, but Wisniewski’s assessment is right on target:

    ” “While President Obama has taken some important steps to address climate change at home, his administration is undermining that progress by ignoring the huge amounts of carbon pollution that would accompany the fossil fuel industry’s plan to export coal, liquefied natural gas and oil abroad,” said Gabe Wisniewski, Greenpeace USA’s climate and energy campaign director, in an email. “Climate change is a global crisis which will only be made worse by extracting and exporting fossil fuels, whether it’s fracked gas from Appalachia, coal strip-mined from Montana, or oil drilled from the Arctic.””

    Comment by DIOGENES — 6 May 2014 @ 9:11 AM

  54. Chris Dudley: no discussion of mitigation here this month, see top of page.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 May 2014 @ 9:59 AM

    is discussed at

    The report was supervised and approved by a large committee representing a cross section of American society, including representatives of two oil companies. Congress ordered in 1990 that a major scientific assessment of climate change be compiled every four years, though the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were slow to comply with the law, and this is only the third report to have been produced.

    One of the report’s most dramatic findings concerned the rising frequency of torrential rains. Scientists have expected this effect for decades because more water is evaporating from a warming ocean surface, and the warmer atmosphere can hold the excess vapor, which then falls as rain or snow. But even the leading experts have been surprised by the magnitude of the effect.

    I’d welcome discussion of the paleo record for extreme precipitation events following rapid warming, e.g. Schmitz, Pujalte, et al.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 May 2014 @ 10:36 AM

  56. for US readers, this is local:
    doi: 10.1130/G32785.1 v. 40 no. 7 p. 591-594
    Clay assemblage and oxygen isotopic constraints on the weathering response to the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, east coast of North America

    Cédric M. John1,*,
    Neil R. Banerjee2,
    Fred J. Longstaffe2,
    Cheyenne Sica2,
    Kimberley R. Law2 and
    James C. Zachos3

    The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, a transient global warming event, is characterized by extensive evidence of a more active hydrological cycle. This includes a widespread pulse of kaolinite accumulation on continental margins, viewed as the by-product of either enhanced chemical weathering consistent with much more humid conditions and/or increased erosion of previously deposited laterites. … the latter might be indicative of extreme seasonal precipitation patterns. To assess these hypotheses, we present a new high-resolution clay mineral assemblage and oxygen isotope record …. This finding points to accelerated exhumation and erosion of kaolinitic soils, most likely Cretaceous laterites.


    “… I’ll know my song well before I start singing
    And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
    It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.” == Bob Dylan

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 May 2014 @ 10:46 AM

  57. This will probably have been noted by others before this appears, but what the heck? The Federal Advisory Committee report is out today:

    The main website link isn’t up to date yet, but draft chapters are available here:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 May 2014 @ 10:55 AM

  58. [Mods: there was a captcha problem. Remove this if it’s a dupe. Thanks!]

    @37: I also don’t see how that can be so, if you compare the forcings in a globally-averaged annual manner. Globally-averaged annual Milankovitch forcing over the last 1M years has been ~ +- 0.3Wm-2 [1] (though it’s much larger at 65 degrees N.: ~ +- 55Wm-2 [2]), whereas near-present (2005) net globally-averaged anthropogenic forcing is ~1.6Wm-2 [3].

    [1] Laskar et al, “Insolation of the Earth from -20 Myr to +10 Myr”,…270..522L . , at Fig. 4.

    [2] Ibid at Fig. 5.

    [3] AR4 WG1, s.TS.2.5, at Fig. TS.5

    Comment by Meow — 6 May 2014 @ 1:35 PM

  59. Re: Forcing difference between stade and interstade

    I believe the reference is to total forcing. An estimate for the difference between last glacial maximum and preindustrial from the Alfred Wegener Institute may be found here

    GHG -2.8, dust -1.4, ice sheets -3.0, vegetation -1.2, for a total of -8.4W/m^2

    Hansen et al. estimate around -6 for GHG + albedo in “Climate Sensitivity, Sea Level, and Atmospheric CO2″


    Comment by sidd — 6 May 2014 @ 6:38 PM

  60. “they’ve been reported in the open literature at least since 1980 (and probably before).”

    Oh. My. God. Has anyone told Manabe this ?

    More seriously, my question remains, is anyone doing lagrangian approaches ? i wasn’t necessarily asking about going all out lagrangian, since one does have to deal with inconveniences like terrain boundary conditions, but more like a comoving grid with some intelligence about the BCs.


    Comment by sidd — 6 May 2014 @ 6:52 PM

  61. [edit – OT]

    Comment by Killian — 6 May 2014 @ 7:22 PM

  62. 58 Meow says @37: I also don’t see how that can be so, if you compare the forcings in a globally-averaged annual manner. Globally-averaged annual Milankovitch forcing over the last 1M years has been ~ +- 0.3Wm-2 [1] (though it’s much larger at 65 degrees N.: ~ +- 55Wm-2 [2]), whereas near-present (2005) net globally-averaged anthropogenic forcing is ~1.6Wm-2 [3].

    [1] Laskar et al, “Insolation of the Earth from -20 Myr to +10 Myr”,…270..522L . , at Fig. 4.

    [2] Ibid at Fig. 5.

    [3] AR4 WG1, s.TS.2.5, at Fig. TS.5
    – See more at:

    Thanks for the math, Meow, but I wish people would realize simple logic is often enough for a forum discussion on certain points: Milankovitch 182 – 298, Homo Destructus 280 – 402. Temps following.

    We win.

    Comment by Killian — 6 May 2014 @ 7:38 PM

  63. [edit – OT]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 May 2014 @ 10:10 PM

  64. Gavin sorry for double posting basically the same comment. Thanks for your thoughts in response. I think ice age forcings are relevant because an ice age will be a lot worse for the planet than warming.

    Comment by Buck Smith — 6 May 2014 @ 11:43 PM

  65. From the course at
    there is a really great table of word substitutions to make when talking to non-scientists. Do tables copy? No.

    Terms that have different meanings for scientists and the public

    Scientific term Public meaning Better choice
    enhance improve intensify, increase
    aerosol spray can tiny atmospheric particle
    positive trend good trend upward trend
    positive feedback good response, praise vicious cycle, self-reinforcing cycle
    theory hunch, speculation scientific understanding
    uncertainty ignorance range
    error mistake, wrong, incorrect difference from exact true number
    bias distortion, political motive offset from an observation
    sign indication, astrological sign plus or minus sign
    values ethics, monetary value numbers, quantity
    manipulation illicit tampering scientific data processing
    scheme devious plot systematic plan
    anomaly abnormal occurrence change from long-term average

    Just convert it back into a table. This is from a lecture by Richard Somerville on communicating climate science. The course is from UC San Diego.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 May 2014 @ 12:30 AM

  66. So, assuming this El Nino doesn’t fizzle out

    The question really comes down to whether ENSO is deterministic and predictable, or chaotic and largely unpredictable.

    A sinusoidally perturbed wave equation (the Mathieu equation) models the seemingly chaotic ENSO as a quasi-periodic waveform:

    This is one of those phenomenon that should exist if ENSO is being described as a “sloshing” of the Pacific ocean’s waters. So its not surprising that it matches the experimental observations so well given the known inertial changes in the earth’s rotation.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 7 May 2014 @ 12:50 AM

  67. Stanford has decided to divest its coal stocks and will consider doing more. Divesting from companies pursuing unconventional oil should be next.

    The article says Stanford is the first large University to do this. That is true for US universities. Cambridge in the UK decided to divest some time ago.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 May 2014 @ 6:31 AM

  68. Editor @63,

    Discussion of fossil carbon pools is part of climate science. It is separate from discussion of mitigation methods. Is discussion of adaptation off topic?

    [Response: This isn’t a game show so please stop trying to legalistically get around some rule. There is no rule, it’s simply that discussion of mitigation/adaption/renewables/nuclear etc. just ends up repeating itself all the time, with the same people and the same lack of engagement with anyone else – it gets boring. So just talk about something else that is actually climate science related here, or set up your own blog with a focus on exactly what you want to talk about. Thanks – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 May 2014 @ 7:59 AM

  69. Lets talk about personal emissions:

    Who here has worked it all out what they emit in Co2 terms?

    My household does 4 tonnes per annum in Co2 from automobiles (60 MPG diesel motors), 9 tonnes per annum from burning gas (heating and cooking) and around 1 Tonne from electricity usage (2000 KWH per year) and as I dont fly much at all (2 times in 5 years)and then from everything else around a couple of tonnes. Lots of carbon calculators around. I have been able to reduce my consumption and have measured it over a few years to see if I have managed to get my emissions down. I have also invested in wind turbines to offset my electricity usage.

    I reckon that makes my household around 17 tonnes per year, way to high really. I know people in houses who consume 20 tonnes in heating and cooking alone per house let alone everything else.

    We are way to high and that states a lot for even at just 8.5 tonnes for me its still way to high and yet the highest in society will have emissions over 100+ tonnes each from all of their activities. Worrying really as China are coming on and consuming more and hence the west needs to consume a lot less. Economics is based on growth and hence emission cuts is deemed to impact that and hence not much is being done. Sure renewables are growing and fast but its not fast enough to stop 1.5-2C which is 450 ppmv for a 50/50 chance of reaching that.

    Its a lot of pontificating going on and a lot of politics is being talked but on the basis of what is actually needed from Annex and non Annex 1 countries the pain is going to be felt by them but caused by us it would seem. When will the world peak its global emissions, certainly not whne all of the great and the good reports are looked at. Here in the UK our CCC independent climate assessors were saying 2016 and now its 2020 and hence the window closes whilst humanity needs another round of global meetings to agree how to prevent 2C whilst it might well be its a 4C world they are actually talking about.

    Something very political is going on and although its advised by science its not the science that is truly represented but a ghost of it, one that gives hope to politicians but is not based on reality.

    Comment by Pete Best — 7 May 2014 @ 8:15 AM

  70. Gavin @68,

    Perhaps I’m being a bit too discursive then. I’m interested in discussion surrounding fig. 25 in your paper “Efficacy of climate forcing” again.

    There you and your coauthors state:

    “The efficacy diagram extended over a large range of
    forcings should have vertical upturns at both the small
    forcing and large forcing ends, corresponding to the snowball
    planet and runaway greenhouse instabilities. Indeed, the
    snowball earth instability is evident for [about] 20% So and there
    is a hint of the runaway greenhouse at 8 [times] CO2. The
    upturns are expected to be sharper and to occur at smaller
    forcings for longer timescales. Numerical problems in
    model parameterizations have hindered more complete
    exploration of the extremes of the efficacy diagram.”

    In “Storms of my Grandchildren” the models appear to have been extended to 16 times CO2 in fig. 30 there. And I recall you are unsure of it was Ruedy or Sato who conducted those runs, but it was not you. I seem to be discovering that nearly 32 times CO2 is accessible owing to technological advances not previously considered in this context. Extrapolating the Efficacy from 16 times CO2 to 32 times CO2 by eye in fig 30 of “Storms” suggests as much as a doubling of climate sensitivity at that high forcing. Does that extrapolation seem like it has any merit at all?
    Are the numerical problems in the models being addressed so that they may cover plausible BAU scenarios?

    Catchpa: specially artHot

    [Response: It’s not really a question of numerical problems, but rather a progressively increasing violation of underlying assumptions. For very high CO2 (> 10x), radiative approximations need to be changed (to include CO2-CO2 collisions for instance), atmospheric thermodynamics changes (molecular weight of air, expansion coefficients, etc.) and total atmospheric mass increases. Each of these require work to incorporate (and this is being done), but it isn’t trivial to do. – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 May 2014 @ 10:38 AM

  71. Pete Best #69,

    Mitigation discussions are disallowed on this thread. I have responded to your comments on the Apr 2014 Unforced Variations thread.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 7 May 2014 @ 11:14 AM

  72. @59: But during a Milankovitch cycle, only the change in insolation is a forcing. The other changes are all feedbacks, and the theory thus postulates that the climate (in at least some states) is quite sensitive to changes in insolation at 65 degrees N.

    Comment by Meow — 7 May 2014 @ 11:48 AM

  73. ot alert: Boston area Fort Point Open Studios this weekend; please introduce yourself (see local press for info). Some good environmental projects around here these days. For example:

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 7 May 2014 @ 12:05 PM

  74. “I think ice age forcings are relevant because an ice age will be a lot worse for the planet than warming.”

    Just out of curiosity, ignoring possible nuclear wars or major asteroid strikes, or stopping CO2 emissions tomorrow, does anyone here think there is a significant chance of Earth returning to ice age depths in:
    – next 1,000 years
    – next 10,000 years
    – ever, as long as there is a technical civilization that can produce SF6 or similarly-strong GHGs?

    If so, have they read David Archer’s The Long Thaw or Bill Ruddiman’s Earth Transformed, Ch 17? and can they offer evidence for rejecting their analyses?

    Comment by John Mashey — 7 May 2014 @ 12:08 PM

  75. > personal emissions: … what they emit

    After that, work out the other side of the balance sheet, what you capture.

    The online calculators aren’t much use for that, yet: acres x inches of topsoil, over a lifetime, isn’t simple to calculate, but it’s about the simplest carbon capture anyone can accomplish. Find a patch of neglected ground, buy it, learn what can live there, help its recovery.


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 May 2014 @ 12:59 PM

  76. Where the carbon goes on its way to subduction
    links to a description of the sea floor by someone who has seen a lot of it. That’s one of several very informative posts from a discussion thread at Metafilter about what is involved in finding that lost aircraft.

    Brief excerpt follows:

    . Near areas without a clear sediment source, carbonate can accumulate to form huge platforms which in turn shed parts like crazy. And let’s not forget icebergs, which drop huge blocks of sediment, boulders, rocks, and dirt, all into the ooze of the sea floor, where they mush the sediment in fascinating ways and then get buried.

    In other parts of the deep ocean, sediment accumulation occurs from the “pelagic rain” which is a mixture of clay and plankton. Depending on the currents, nutrients, and temperature of the water, this rain can be mostly silica based plankton, calcareous plankton, some clay, or mostly clay (comprised of particles like volcanic ash, dust, and sometimes meteorite particles). And fish feces, which may turn into something else on the way down and once buried (if you see rocks that are completely green, like the Greensands of England, and it’s not volcanic, it’s proably full of a mineral called glauconite and indicates the presence of a lot of organisms that produced feces.) It can take years for a particle to reach the bottom of the ocean, and sediment accumulation rates can vary from millimeters to 2 centimeters every thousand years.

    Not only that, all that happens and then gets buried and affect future accumulation. Faults may dictate accumulation and sediment flow, and then be buried themselves or still be active. And let’s not forget our old friend erosion. And salt. Oh how buried salt affects the sea floor. It’s all yummily complex.

    In some areas, sediment accumulation is poor due to location (many parts of the Pacific Ocean, for example, where trenches along the edge trap a lot of sediment), lack of accumulation space (i.e. a basin) or oceanic currents, preserving much of the original sea floor topography from its birth. And let’s be clear here: oceanic crust was born in fire, and it moves. It moves all over the place, inches a year sometimes. 20 million years ago it may have been near a continental plate and the recipient from the sediment from a river, and now it may be the middle of the ocean without any currents or pelagic rain, but carrying along on its seamounts a dirty white line called the Carbonate Compensation Depth (CCD), or “marine snow” from when it was close enough to something to support plankton…almost lonely, really.

    And not only does oceanic crust move, it ages. (As does the water it carries – imagine how old some of the water in the deepest, quietest part of the ocean must be.) The oldest crust in the Pacific, aged from the Jurassic at 180 million years old, is almost at the end of its life (ocean crust is created, then destroyed, and then created again in what’s called a Wilson Cycle, which lasts ~200 m.y.). As it ages, it may experience (near the edges of basins and topographic high spots) erosion and sediment accumulation as sea level goes up and down (never underestimate the amount of erosion that can occur during a sea level rise and fall).

    So – this crust in this part of the world ranges from young to old – it ranges from ~40-81 million years old on the 90 East Ridge to mid Cretaceous near Australia @100 m.y. – and has been strongly affected by movement of Australia, India, and Antarctica. A sediment accumulation map of the area shows sediment depths of 0-500 meters once you leave the coastline of Australia, although that map is a little suspect because this area is very tectonically active and sediment accumulation may be less because of basalt build-up. The 90 East ridge - that large line extending north towards India – is a series of seamounts from the Indian plate passing over a hotspot (much like Hawaii) on its speedy path towards colliding with Asia. The Australia-Indian plates are (proposed to be) currently spreading apart and there are several fracture and baby spreading zones in the area, creating a complex topography of ridges and trenches, as well as submerged continental crust.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 May 2014 @ 2:23 PM

  77. #70–File under “Oh, that’s not good, either”:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 May 2014 @ 2:58 PM

  78. Can’t assess the technical aspects of this paper on sunlight and the tree-ring ‘divergence problem’, but conceptually it’s pretty neat. And the results are certainly of interest:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 May 2014 @ 4:55 PM

  79. sidd @ #60 etc:

    Hahaha … some people need to learn to play nice. Langrangian grids have also been used for decades in one corner of one of my areas of interest: soil and rock mechanics. Reasons there might parallel some in ice mechanics: local properties need to move precisely with any material flow / failure (and often depend intimately on the local history). Presumably those benefits don’t apply in mixing fluids like the atmosphere and oceans. Maybe there are also serious computational penalties, although FLAC (linked above) has always had a reputation for speed. (It’s just the name: Fast Lagrangian Analysis…)

    Comment by GlenFergus — 7 May 2014 @ 8:26 PM

  80. Levitus quarterly OHC has now updated to March 2014. Both 700m & 2,000m continue to show an upward curve in the 5-year rolling averages, as graphed here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’).

    Comment by MARodger — 8 May 2014 @ 3:25 AM

  81. #50–Which brings up another interesting (though hardly novel) point.

    If the prediction of advancing blossom dates were purely statistical, then sure–the advance now is not that much more dramatic than that in the 20s, undercutting its statistical significance. (Though presumably also strengthening the correlation between earlier blooming times and warmer temperatures.)

    However, the prediction of further advance can also rest on the basis of physical process–specifically, GHG forcings known to be increasing over time.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 May 2014 @ 7:03 AM


    Interesting perspective on Methane (

    The takeaway:

    “By comparison, under business as usual human fossil fuel emissions combined with amplifying feedbacks from the Earth climate system (such as those seen in the fens now forming over thawing Arctic tundra), total warming could spike to an extraordinarily damaging level between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius just by the end of this century.”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 8 May 2014 @ 7:13 AM

  83. Gavin @70,

    raypierre seems to like trying a few possibilities for including self-broadening. Is that the approach you are taking as well? The heavier atmosphere would seem to give more distance over which the lapse rate can play which would boost climate sensitivity.

    Speaking of raypierre, I think he feels that increased scattering makes a CO2 tipped runaway impossible, you’ve got to wait for the Sun. Yet increasing sensitivity still means otherwise higher temperatures at 32 times CO2. I hope you can see now that even though renewable energy is often discussed in relation to mitigation, under normal economic considerations (what would be profitable?), it would actually make much larger fossil carbon pools available owing to its falling cost and fossil carbon’s convenient reduced form. That should motivate climate modeling efforts that can speak to the effects of applying renewable energy to fuel synthesis through enhanced fossil carbon extraction.

    Such modeling efforts are relevant to present day policy issues such as development of Green River oil shale or tar sand pipeline decisions. People often complain about biofuel mandates, yet requiring an ever increasing fraction of our fuels come from atmospheric or dissolved carbon rather than fossil carbon seems like a necessity if renewable energy is going to make a helpful rather than hurtful contribution. Without the mandates, we get BAU on renewable steroids and five rather than three doublings of carbon dioxide.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 8 May 2014 @ 8:27 AM

  84. Glen@79. The issue with Lagrangian is that for fluid or even highly distorted solids the grid gets so badly twisted out of shape as to be useless. Think about coffe and cream mixing in a stirred cup. There are hybrid methods, like ALE, which try to get the best of both. But they have their drawbacks.

    Comment by Thomas — 8 May 2014 @ 8:33 AM

  85. Thanks Thomas, guess that’s what I expected. Further to sidd’s thought bubble, another might go something like: why not formulate the problem in (non-Lagrangian) finite elements instead of finite difference. I’m sure that’s occurred to plenty of others, who’ve managed immediately to dismiss it, for reasons my ignorance obscures.

    (Vastly increases discretisation complexity, to what purpose? Most obviously, modern FE codes do automated, on-the-fly, mesh refinement to suit local gradients … and its opposite. Substantial benefit might accrue if you could make your GCM put calculation nodes right where the current circulation pattern needs them, and not where it doesn’t. It mightn’t be all that hard to try; there are commercial generic FE codes that’ll solve just about any combination of differential equations you specify, in any geometry.)

    [Response: Folks have been playing w/ spectral element approaches for some time. see e.g. Baer et al (2006) “Climate Modeling with Spectral Elements” -mike]

    Comment by GlenFergus — 8 May 2014 @ 6:25 PM

  86. Thanks, everyone. I had forgotten that the z co-ordinate in some ocean models is lagrangian. Agreed, the distortion of of a lagrangian co-ordinate system makes computation intractable quickly, but we retain path(history) information in the distortion of the grid and a measure of Kolmogorov mixing so we pay a price for that. Perhaps the ALE routines are smart enuf now to use lagrangian in low-mixing flows, and switch to eulerian elsewhere. I don’t know how much this buys you, i have the impression that a lot of cycles go to recomputing meshes.

    Another corner in my thought bubble was the fact that in (soil mech) interfaces between two media, the less compliant one is sometimes modelled with lagrangian picture, and i was thinking about ice and water. Unfortunately the phase transition close by complicates things, a solid in contact with its melt is complex (though fascinating), even without all those twisty bits in the water ice transition. A long time ago, in a different life, i worked on similar systems, and my hat’s off to those who are doing so today. Speaking of which, I see that NEGIS models are coming along


    open access at

    All the usual suspects, including Csatho, who was seeing dimples over Peterman Canyon in 2006. They do something called algorithmic differentiation to invert a cost function for modelled and measured surface mismatch, which would have been impossible a couple decades ago, both because we didnt have the data, and because we didnt have the CPU/bandwidth. Check it out, amazing how far brute computational force coupled with physical insight can get you.


    Comment by sidd — 8 May 2014 @ 11:55 PM

  87. Story on the HANDY model and a soon-to-be-published paper predicting…. what we already know is happening, But, nice for some formal science to step up and confirm collapse isn’t just a fringe issue and that climate, indeed, is a player.

    NASA, Irreversible Collapse Study

    It’s been being said for decades – Catton, Holmgren and Mollison, Club of Rome, and update in 2005, et al. – but maybe people will listen to this since it is more “serious” science?

    But… the “elite” typically don’t listen:

    Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:

    “While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

    Now, don’t I feel special? Destined to be ignored, and happening in real time.

    While the article doesn’t cover it explicitly, climate virtually always plays a role in any societal collapse. Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology.

    NASA Concludes When Civilization Will End

    Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don’t reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us … Everything is worse and we’re still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don’t exact immediate punishment on the stupid.

    It would be nice to see some climate-based analogies for the issue of growth. Is there anything in the math, the systems that easily lends itself to the discussion of the limits of systems in size, longevity, use of available inputs? Hurricanes, e.g., need a certain amount of heat. Is there anything aobut some of these cliamtic systems that better helps us understand the nature of limits within the physical system of the planet?

    Comment by Killian — 9 May 2014 @ 4:20 PM

  88. Chris Dudley (83)-

    I can agree climate sensitivity increases by the time you get to 32x CO2 (see e.g., Russell et al., 2013). One of the reasons for this is simply that the forcing goes up a bit faster than a log function much beyond 1000 ppm or so, but also because that model (and others) give stronger water vapor and high cloud feedbacks in such a regime.

    But there seems to be a lot of stability in 3-D models against a runaway, even moreso than in the 1-D models that have dominated the literature on this topic, since the dynamics still keep parts of the globe well subsaturated in a very hot atmosphere. The updated absorption coefficients in such climates (neglecting clouds) decrease Earth’s albedo at high water vapor concentration since it effectively absorbs solar radiation that would otherwise be reflected, but with clouds my take on this is that even removing most of the low clouds from the current climate would probably not trigger a runaway (as a sensitivity study, Coldblatt and Zahnle showed removing all low clouds doesn’t even resolve a faint young Sun, and you probably need more solar increase to trigger a runaway than that).

    I’m certainly not going to speak for raypierre, but I think the intuition is that in a very moist atmosphere, clouds can only exert a strong greenhouse effect if they are extremely high in the atmosphere, and so the scattering effect probably wins out. That’s not a statement about feedback though. At this point though, I don’t think anyone has an idea what clouds do in such climates, but I still don’t think there’s a plausible way to change albedo enough to trigger a runaway.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 May 2014 @ 11:49 PM

  89. Chris (#88),

    Thanks for the reply. That helps. I wonder if you could write up a realcimate post on that paper since it is paywalled?

    I wish the realcimate archive were working.

    [Response: Sorry – hadn’t noticed the problem. Fixed now. – gavin]

    We could look back more easily at raypierre’s thoughts on this. I think he was invoking Rayleigh scattering as a barrier against a CO2 tipped runaway regardless of clouds.

    An issue gavin mentions is the increased mass of the atmosphere. This further raise the altitude from which radiation escapes to space and gives the lapse rate a longer run to work on so that surface temperature is higher and sensitivity is higher. Is this effect included in Russell et al?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 May 2014 @ 9:03 AM

  90. Killian,
    Mark Twain had a bit to say on peoples’ tendencies to extend linear projections indefinitely:

    “In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”–Life on the Mississippi

    The comfortable are reminiscent of the man who fell of the 100th floor of a building and was heard, as he passed the 50th floor, to say, “So far, so good.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 May 2014 @ 9:45 AM

  91. Some food price implications of the drought in California are starting to emerge.
    Although it is still early, and detailed data on the extent to which enhanced well pumping and crop insurance programs will interact to affect yields remains murky, the current estimate of fallowed acreage in the Central Valley is 12%, or 800 thousand acres. National food price inflation is still forecast to remain “normal”, at between 2.5% to 3.5%, for 2014 overall, but particular price stresses are already registering and anticipated to linger for beef and dairy. Some price-inelastic vegetables such as avocados and lettuce could hike by ~30%, with others such as broccoli by ~15%, and grapes and tomatoes by perhaps 10%. (The USDA opened a web site on April 16 to monitor affected markets, at:

    Comment by Dave Peters — 10 May 2014 @ 1:37 PM

  92. Chris Dudley-

    Yes, in the Russell paper both CO2 and water vapor add to atmospheric mass, and the dry gas constant and specific heat are modified accordingly. The resulting temperature profiles as a function of height are shown here…you can see the increase in atmospheric pressure in the last few runs.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 10 May 2014 @ 4:12 PM

  93. Gavin,

    Thanks, that helped. Chris, here is a portion of the discussion from back then.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 May 2014 @ 4:25 PM

  94. UC Santa Cruz Climate Science & Policy Conference, Feb 28-Mar 1, 2014.

    Videos now available.

    This was a really fun conference to attend.
    1) UCSC is of course a beautiful campus, set amidst the redwoods.

    2) Good speakers.

    3) Very important: mix of climate and social sciences, something I hope to see more of.

    I hope they do more like this.

    Comment by John Mashey — 10 May 2014 @ 10:37 PM

  95. Chris (#88)

    Reading back a little, I think raypierre was not saying regardless of clouds, but rather was looking to see if cloud behavior could help to drive a runaway beyond cloudless models and was coming up with: not easily if at all. In a cloudless model, as the atmosphere gets more massive, Rayleigh scattering increases, increasing albedo, providing stability against runaway for a while. Attempted CO2 tipping does not overcome this so it must be increased radiative forcing to notch up to the runaway point.

    So, in the Efficacy paper, the increase in sensitivity at 8 times CO2 is an increase in sensitivity, alright, but not an indication of the start of a runaway.

    Hopefully, that gets to the core of that issue.

    The increased sensitivity, though, is interesting in its own right.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 11 May 2014 @ 1:03 AM

  96. Chris (#92),

    Thanks for that link. It seems to be that the sensitivity going from control to 16 times CO2 and from 16 times CO2 to 256 times CO2 is about the same. Perhaps there is a bulge? The biggest individual step seems to between 16 and 32 times CO2. Looks like about 9 C per doubling there compared to slightly less that 3 C at the first doubling. That seems to support my extrapolation of fig. 30 in “Storms of my Grandchildren.” but continued steeper extrapolation would not be supported.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 11 May 2014 @ 1:15 PM


    Received this in the mail today; anyone familiar with this issue? Does it have the significance the reporter states?

    “At the elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) anticipated by around 2050, crops that provide a large share of the global population with most of their dietary zinc and iron will have significantly reduced concentrations of those nutrients, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Given that an estimated 2 billion people suffer from zinc and iron deficiencies—resulting in a loss of 63 million life years annually from malnutrition—the reduction in these nutrients represents the most significant health threat ever shown to be associated with climate change.”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 12 May 2014 @ 8:36 AM

  98. Further to my #32, now that the archive is available, I’ve found a reckoning of carbon feedbacks here:

    In #26 we’re counting as much a 1000 GtC of clathrates as fuel rather than feedback, but that may leave 9000 GtC as a feedback. In addition to the 2000 GtC of soil carbon mentioned in #32, there may be 4000 GtC in known permafrost and (unknown) ice sheet covered surface carbon. Together that comes to 15,000 GtC available for feedbacks. So, that is somewhat more than the factor of 10 case in #26. Together, we get to 5.8 doublings rather than 4.6 doublings.

    In the figure Chris linked, the smallest sensitivity per doubling occurs between 32 and 64 times CO2 so all the feedback carbon together may lead to just a couple C of warming if the BAU on renewable energy steroids scenario releases as much fossil carbon as possible. It appears that renewable energy can make carbon feedbacks fairly unimportant in terms of warming when counted in this manner. Feedbacks could be a complication if renewable energy is used with ethical considerations in mind, but purely economic use together with the low climate sensitivity where feedback carbon comes into play may make them only the frosting on the life destroying cake.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 May 2014 @ 11:25 AM

  99. 9 May 2014 An international team of scientists estimate that up to half of the recent global warming in Greenland is caused by natural climate variations.
    The research, published today in the journal Nature, sheds new light on the rapid melting of Greenland’s glaciers. Crucially it indicates that global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions may not be the only factor responsible.
    Dr Ailie Gallant from Monash University said these natural variations stem from an unusually warm tropical Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea. This “sweet spot” is partly responsible for Arctic warming.
    The team used observations and used advanced computer models to reveal that a warmer western tropical Pacific Ocean has caused atmospheric changes over the North Atlantic, warming the surface by about half a degree per decade since 1979.
    What remains unknown is whether the enahnced warming in Greenland will continue.
    Professor John Wallace from the University of Washington said that if ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific changes, it could result in a reduction in the amount of warming in Greenland.
    “Ice is exquisitely sensitive to temperature, more than we ever would have thought. Natural variations could either accelerate or deaccelerate the rate of melting of Greenland’s glaciers in coming decades, but in the long run, the human induced component is likely to prevail,” Professor Wallace said

    Comment by Wally — 12 May 2014 @ 11:35 AM

  100. Re: Les Chevaliers de l’Ordre de la Terre Plate, Part II: Courtillot’s Geomagnetic Excursion:

    How can this be accessed in the English translation please?

    It appears to have flipped languages while I was using it.

    (a). This issue is being hyped by the GWPF and James Delingpole.
    (b) Raypierre’s article was very good.
    (c) Courtillot does not appear in RC Wiki.

    Comment by deconvoluter — 12 May 2014 @ 11:51 AM

  101. A couple of papers are saying WAIS is undergoing unstoppable collapse.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 May 2014 @ 1:01 PM

  102. Worth knowing about for tracking down the origin of “stuff” you find on the Internet:
    A blog about plagiarism and scientific misconduct

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 May 2014 @ 1:35 PM

  103. Wally @ 99: I posted on that new Ding, Eric Steig, et al. paper in the other thread
    by mistake and got an interesting reply, although not yet from Eric.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 12 May 2014 @ 1:37 PM

  104. Antarctic ice: if we keep the heat on there is also trouble in the east:

    Ice plug prevents irreversible discharge from East Antarctica

    btw Chris, is your link one character short?

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 12 May 2014 @ 2:09 PM

  105. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1249055 Report
    Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 May 2014 @ 2:32 PM

  106. Pete (#102),

    Good catch:

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 May 2014 @ 4:10 PM

  107. There is also coverage at the Guardian, and it is not paywalled.

    Comment by The Raven — 12 May 2014 @ 7:01 PM

  108. And press releases from NASA and the University of Washington:

    Comment by The Raven — 12 May 2014 @ 7:08 PM

  109. #101 et seq– Hopefully, we’ll hear directly from Eric on this one.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 May 2014 @ 10:33 PM

  110. Re #101 – going to take 1000 years for it to disappear though and hence the real issue is going to be about seal level rise the rate of contribution this century and beyond. If it accelerates along with Greenland then by the end of the century it could be much higher than the 59 cm (due to a lack of ice dynamics modelling capability apparently). As much as James Hansen once suggested – 6 ft (2 metres)due to it being a wet process as he describes it.

    Interesting the guardian article states:

    The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet could eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world. But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.

    The two studies, by Nasa and the University of Washington, looked at the ice sheets of western Antarctica over different periods of time.

    The Nasa researchers focused on melting over the last 20 years, while the scientists at the University of Washington used computer modelling to look into the future of the western Antarctic ice sheet.

    But both studies came to broadly similar conclusions – that the thinning and melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has begun and cannot be halted, even with drastic action to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

    So it looks as if there is now enough trapped heat in the southern oceans licking at WAIS that its irreversible.

    Comment by Pete Best — 13 May 2014 @ 4:07 AM

  111. Thanks to all for the links to this important news about the now inevitable collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    Can a collapse earlier than two centuries away be ruled out completely? What does this mean for slr for the next few decades? Is the increase in sea level rise from this source possibly going to be balanced by possible decreases in the rate of sea level rise from Greenland, if, as recently reported, much of the recent melting there is due to a natural cyclic pattern?

    In any case, I find the whole thing incredibly sad. Here again, we have altered a fundamental feature of the planet we evolved on. Something that there is no way now to put back together. Something that will mean that important, now-heavily populated portions of the earth will be unavailable to future generations, requiring massive relocations and disruption, at least.

    Try looking at what happens to Shanghai and to the entire province of Jiangsu just to its north with just a couple meters of slr. Not to mention the southern half of Bangladesh, the Calcutta area, and many other such regions. These are some of the most densely populated areas on the planet, and there is now no way to prevent them becoming covered by the ocean, probably within a few centuries if not much sooner. Or are we going to spend endless resources building ever-higher dikes to keep out ever-rising sea levels from coastal areas everywhere??

    Further news wrt Antarctic (thanks to ASLR at neven’s Arctic Ice forum for finding this):

    Grace A. Nield, Valentina R. Barletta, Andrea Bordoni, Matt A. King, Pippa L. Whitehouse, Peter J. Clarke, Eugene Domack, Ted A. Scambos, Etienne Berthier , (2014), “Rapid bedrock uplift in the Antarctic Peninsula explained by viscoelastic response to recent ice unloading”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol 397, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.04.0191 July, 2014. published online on 12th May 2014

    Comment by wili — 13 May 2014 @ 6:56 AM

  112. The Abstract says:

    Resting atop a deep marine basin, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has long been considered prone to instability. Using a numerical model, we investigate the sensitivity of Thwaites Glacier to ocean melt and whether unstable retreat is already underway. Our model reproduces observed losses when forced with ocean melt comparable to estimates. Simulated losses are moderate ( 1 mm per year of sea-level rise) collapse for the different simulations within the range of two to nine centuries.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 May 2014 @ 7:10 AM

  113. If we consider 64 times CO2 as the outcome of economically driven BAU, it is interesting to examine what adaptation measures might be considered: Some respiratory problems might occur at that level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so breathing apparatuses might be useful for infants, young children and the elderly. While the surface air pressure is already increasing, that does not help with oxygen availability since it is water vapor that is adding to the mass of the atmosphere. Average surface air temperature is warmer that the present day equator everywhere, but is below human body temperature within about 20 degrees of the poles. Some alpine valleys in these regions might have present day equator-like temperatures. Thus, adapting equatorial crops to constant light conditions might provide a source of sustenance. Precipitation may be adequate for that. However, sustaining a population of 10 billion on crops from alpine valleys at high latitude is probably not realistic, particularly since most of the population will need to live there, putting pressure of land for agriculture, so laboratory synthesis of glucose will be a needed adaptation. Fortunately, renewable energy is efficient compared to photosynthesis so reduced land area for feeding people may not be a problem. Range for meat production might be extended by switching to insects and reptiles that can survive in higher temperatures too, but just shifting to laboratory protein growth seems like the more likely adaptation. Heatwaves will likely pose a serious mortality risk so cooling methods will be needed for survival. Evacuating to alpine peaks may not be adequate so mechanical methods would be required. A much higher specific humidity would increase energy requirements for this.

    Since migration to presently uninhabited areas would be needed, adaptation requires writing off nearly all the present world economy’s value. The difficulty in reconciling IPCC WG II accounting and WG III accounting highlighted recently here would really be moot, since present value would be a total loss. National values tied to particular geography would also be destroyed. It is interesting, however, that the adaptations regarding food supply needed for mere survival, could, if BAU is avoided, be used to restore the roaming range of the buffalo in North America and let the deer and the antelope play freely again. National values might be enhanced in that situation.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 May 2014 @ 10:06 AM

  114. Antarctica, SLR and implications imho

    So the WAIS is collapsing right now in slow motion and will speed up as time goes by. Can SLR happen much faster than models indicate? I think so provided we continue BAU all the way to the year 2100. (imho BAU will collapse by 2050.) BAU through 2100 would create a far warmer world than our great ice sheets have ever experienced, and the Antarctic Archipelago only looks like a continent because we can’t see through all the ice. [Fretwell et al. “Bedmap2: improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica”, picture.] I doubt that models more or less extrapolation from current observations tell us what would happen under blistering 2100 BAU. Hansen has a grasp of very basic physical science: heat melts ice. Why is that hard to believe? I would be glad to have a new expert post on this though.

    Wili has the sanest comment:

    In any case, I find the whole thing incredibly sad. Here again, we have altered a fundamental feature of the planet we evolved on. Something that there is no way now to put back together. Something that will mean that important, now-heavily populated portions of the earth will be unavailable to future generations, requiring massive relocations and disruption, at least.

    But you are seriously missing the human response picture if you just read RC. To get more realism you must visit Eli. You won’t like it, but do it.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 13 May 2014 @ 10:50 AM

  115. It seems that the science on AGW has always underestimated exactly how soon things will occur. Not that it will happen but how quickly. When it comes to the WAIS is it possible that dramatic SLR could happen much sooner than anticipated? Could we be off by several hundred years and several meters in the opposite direction?

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 13 May 2014 @ 10:59 AM

  116. > It seems that the science on AGW has always
    > underestimated exactly how soon things will occur.

    I’ve had the same feeling but would welcome pointers to research.
    Is there a meta-study of past IPCC reports discussing how each of them has looked in retrospect, and finding out what explains divergence over time? (I’d guess mostly it’s the political, er, tempering of the scientific work that makes each IPCC report appear in hindsight to have been overly optimistic/conservative — the ‘don’t scare the sheep’ approach to policy)

    I wish for a Journal of Cassandra Studies, evaluating early warnings.

    I’ve been able to find some more general work along those lines, e.g.: (Thompson-Reuters — public policy and early warnings covering a variety of development, rights, climate, and law areas)
    (Effects of Global Warming Around the World — Union of Concerned Scientists)

    The public health literature seems the place to look, e.g.“public+health”+”early+warnings”+evaluation+retrospective

    which finds among much else Mazur’s early work:

    True warnings and false alarms: Evaluating fears about the health risks of technology, 1948-1971

    which has been cited by many later papers that look worth reading:,5&hl=en&num=60

    These are the sort of questions that make me wish RealClimate had a librarian on retainer, to help figure out what’s good information.

    Is there a librarian or library intern at NASA or Columbia who could be persuaded to moonlight here for tips and gratitude?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 May 2014 @ 12:04 PM

  117. NYT:

    The acid test of a scientific theory is whether it makes predictions that eventually come true. So consider this old prediction, from a pair of researchers in Australia and New Zealand. They were summarizing the results of then-primitive computerized forecasts about global warming:

    The available evidence suggests that a warmer world is likely to experience an increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events, associated with a more intense hydrological cycle and the increased water-holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere.”

    That was published in 1995, and it was based on research going back to the 1980s. Fast forward to 2014.

    In the National Climate Assessment, published last week, researchers in the United States reported that

    “large increases in heavy precipitation have occurred in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains, where heavy downpours have frequently led to runoff that exceeded the capacity of storm drains and levees, and caused flooding events and accelerated erosion.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 May 2014 @ 12:53 PM

  118. Hank Roberts wrote: “I wish for a Journal of Cassandra Studies, evaluating early warnings.”

    Baltimore psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly did some interesting research in that field in the 1990s, and wrote a book entitled Madness and Apocalyptic Visions, in which she described what she called the Cassandra Complex — “the agony of those who predict the future and are not believed”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 May 2014 @ 1:02 PM

  119. #118–The story of poor Cassandra is indeed a powerful. I used it in connection with the Arctic sea ice back in 2010, writing:

    We’ll finally understand:  all the Cassandras were right.  We’ll understand that our position in the world is not guaranteed us, regardless of  our own actions.  That our welfare in this world is our responsibility, not God’s.  And that, by protecting our comfort, we will have imperiled our very survival.

    [Image of “Ajax and Cassandra,” by Joseph Solomon.]

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 May 2014 @ 1:44 PM

  120. Pete,

    BAU has chugged through huge calamities with out taking any notice. The twenty to forty million famine deaths in China were hardly even known in the late 1960’s. WWII kept the wheels of industry spinning at a high pitch with even more deaths going on. We may see huge suffering in the 2050’s but I doubt it would put an end to BAU. BAU ends when we decide it ends. Absent a decision, it just keeps going.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 May 2014 @ 2:15 PM

  121. Re: Cassandra

    I notice that while the Joughin paper reference both Weertman(1974) and Mercer(1978), the Rignot paper does not.

    Joughin points out that the onset of catastrophically fast retreats on Thwaites “will ensue once the grounding line reaches the basin’s deeper regions”

    That grounding line bears watching. And the same is probably true of PIG, Haines,Pope, Smith, Kohler as detailed in Rignot. If _none_of these can melt on a timescale faster than centuries, then the timescale of centuries is plausible. But there is awful synergy here, from Joughin:

    “Our simulations also assume that there is no retreat of the ice-shelf front. Full or partial ice-shelf collapse should produce more rapid retreat than we have simulated. In addition, we have not modeled ocean-driven melt that extends immediately upstream of the grounding line, which could also accelerate retreat”


    “Such rapid collapse likely would spill over to adjacent catchments, undermining much of West Antarctica”

    From Rignot:

    “As shown here, the glacier grounding lines retreat rapidly, at km/yr, over the entire sector. On Smith/Kohler, the retreat rate of 1.8 km/yr is even greater than its rate of horizontal motion of 1.1 km/yr.”

    At these rates, the grounding lines reach the deepest sections of beds in decades, not centuries. The scales on Fig 3 in Rignot are in tens of kilometers, not hundreds.

    I fear Joughin model is optimistic on the timescale.


    Comment by sidd — 13 May 2014 @ 4:29 PM

  122. Why does Cassandra get all the press and not Laocoon and his poor kids? Is the name too hard to say? He does get some awesome sculpture, at least.

    Comment by wili — 13 May 2014 @ 4:54 PM

  123. SecularAnimist:

    the Cassandra Complex — “the agony of those who predict the future and are not believed”.

    It must be worse for people who reveal the past and are not believed, like Mike Mann or (one of my personal heroes) J. Harlan Bretz.

    If AGW deniers think climate’s been just as bad or worse before, it’s easier for them to dismiss predictions of a hot and stormy future.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 13 May 2014 @ 6:53 PM

  124. Laccoon et al. were weather.
    Cassandra was climate.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 May 2014 @ 8:05 PM

  125. In #32 I wrote: “Gavin may be able to say if the upturn in response in the right hand sector of fig. 30 of “Storms of my Grandchildren” is owing to not recognizing the limit on biosphere carbon available for feedbacks or not since he ran some of the models.”

    Getting back to this subject after a few years, I realize that does not make a lot of sense. Fig. 30 is given in forcing on the x-axis so it is what it is in terms of CO2. A doubling is just a doubling, not also its attendant feedbacks, or perhaps we might say it is the concentration in the atmosphere regardless of source.

    With the confirmation of fig 30’s growing sensitivity coming from the work of Russell et al. (2013) and new estimates of the actual reach of BAU we can now assess the value of Hansen’s chapter on the Venus Syndrome. That chapter placed a full stop on man’s activities and indeed life on Earth. That was a powerful lever for moral suasion.

    I wonder if the new situation is not even more powerful. Reduced to being packed into a few alpine valleys in Antarctica and the Northern extension of he Urals, cowering from deadly heatwaves in the summer, eating chemical swill from laboratories, when it comes time to say:

    “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.
    The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.
    Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies:
    Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions:
    Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing:
    Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations:
    All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
    There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.
    And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.
    But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.
    With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance, and their children are within the covenant.
    Their seed standeth fast, and their children for their sakes.
    Their seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shall not be blotted out.
    Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.”

    Will people not simply snicker at the thought of us and curse us?

    Ending all life on Earth, while dramatic, may not compete with nearly doing so and being held up to contempt forever more. Rather that a full stop, we are heading for an endless fermata of ridicule and hatred. None of our good qualities will be acknowledged and we will be remembered only for the destruction we wrought in full knowledge that we betrayed our progeny and secured them no blessings but only suffering.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 May 2014 @ 8:07 PM

  126. Even if we could get conservatives to admit the latest research isn’t a hoax, the oderly slow retreats discussed in the papers only contribute a millimeter or less per year to SLR. To the average Joe that doesn’t sound very alarming. Even several of these mm/year events happening simultaneously, which looks likely as we get circa a mm/year from each of several glacial systems, just doesn’t strike fear into the heart.

    Comment by Thomas — 13 May 2014 @ 10:40 PM

  127. > Bretz


    2007 (from “why study Antarctica”, a rather long discussion of what might be happening);

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 May 2014 @ 12:02 AM

  128. A new report claims climate change is a security threat.

    “The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees.

    In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases.

    In an interview, Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that the report’s findings would influence American foreign policy.”

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 May 2014 @ 12:35 AM

  129. Chris Dudley @ 120,

    “We may see huge suffering in the 2050′s but I doubt it would put an end to BAU. BAU ends when we decide it ends. Absent a decision, it just keeps going.”

    Surely you jest, Dr. Dudley!

    BAU has already ended, it’s just that poor Wiley Coyote has run out past the edge of the cliff and hasn’t looked down yet.
    It’s an awfully long way down. Last year I spent 8 months in São Paulo Brazil, the city where I was born, It has a population of about 20 million and it is bursting at the seams in every way imaginable. It should be obvious why there is social unrest happening there and all over Brazil and compared to the rest of the world Brazil is still a paradise with huge amounts of natural resources. Anyone who thinks we can continue to add 4 São Paulo’s worth of people to the planet every year and BAU will end when ‘WE’ decide it ends hasn’t thought that comment through to its ultimate consequences.

    Should be interesting to watch what happens when the water runs out…

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 14 May 2014 @ 5:27 AM

  130. GISS temperatures for April have been posted. I’m getting the feeling that temperatures are perhaps on the move upwards even before the predicted El Nino in the autumn (which will boost global temperature some months after that again).
    The last 12 months from GISS are 0.56, 0.6, 0.53, 0.61, 0.73, 0.6, 0.78, 0.6, 0.68, 0.44, 0.7, 0.73.
    The hottest 5 months within last 8 months of GISS are as a group unprecedented outside El Nino events. Five months at 0.68 or higher have not occurred together outside the 2005 & 2010 events. The full 135-year record shows only 34 such months prior to this current run.
    Thus my feelings of a pre-El-Nino upward movement.

    Comment by MARodger — 14 May 2014 @ 5:32 AM


    This paper (available to read) from an article on sceptical science points to the fact that 400 ppmv last occurred millions of years ago and the ice caps were smaller and the Arctic ice sheets did not exist at all. The entire argument hinges on when did the WAIS form.

    This graph demonstrates that Antarctica’s first ice cap formed at around 700 ppmv but that this is most likely the EAIS that formed and I don’t think it is actually known when WAIS formed and so if WAIS formed later then it also could be responding to the climate and hence its worse than Greenland as Greenland has buttresses holding the ice back more so than WAIS does.

    Whatever our future 500 ppmv does look distinctly plausible as at 2 ppmv per annum its only 50-60 years away and even 450 ppmv looks like we cant avoid it now. However surely for ice sheets to respond in terms of metres of sea level rise we need a long time consistent exposure of high levels of Co2 (hundreds of years) and then surely (?) these projections of doom are not likely as we can prevent such long time exposure to high co2 levels even if we emit 500 – 600 ppmv in the short term?

    Comment by Pete Best — 14 May 2014 @ 5:59 AM

  132. Though RealClimate’s readers might like John Oliver’s wonderful “Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate!:

    Comment by Paul Miller — 14 May 2014 @ 6:14 AM

  133. The most morose prophet may have been Jonah, who got Nineveh to change its ways and then despaired because the retribution did not come.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 May 2014 @ 8:54 AM

  134. Fred (#129),

    Thanks for the honorific. Not joking at all though. BAU does just fine with lots of misery along the way. It just needs to keep on increasing fossil carbon emissions. The theme I’ve been developing in this thread is that renewable energy gives us a much deeper reach into fossil carbon pools than we would otherwise have. Novel hydrogenation fracking using renewably sourced hydrogen to activate type IV kerogen gives us an enormous new whack at known oil source rock and access to much much more fossil carbon than usually assumed. BAU has no resource based constraints for centuries. So, it really is about a decision to bring BAU to an end.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 May 2014 @ 1:01 PM

  135. A better cite for that conversation I mentioned from 2007 — mentioning Bretz, with various clips and cites for the studies that disproved — and improved — our ideas about, e.g., subglacial water as a source of outburst floods, and that drumlins get formed below glaciers and very fast. It’s a good collection for looking at how fast what we knew changed:

    The rate of change in our thinking about the stability of the Antarctic — when I was young it was thought stable for millenia to come — reminds me of how Geology 101 changed the year after I took the class.

    The ‘no known mechanism’ argument is rather threadworn by now, having failed — e.g. continental drift, and lung cancer, and climate change, none of which have yet to conclusively nail down every possible detail about what’s going on — nevertheless, what happens continues to happen.

    This is why science is worth doing — we can take some pride and joy from our success understanding the world by challenging nature: “Prove me wrong. Please!”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 May 2014 @ 1:35 PM

  136. #134–Well, he was sort of a Cassandra in reverse, wasn’t he? He hated the Ninevites so much he wanted nothing to do with saving them–and foresaw, correctly, that God might well find a way to get them off the hook.

    Hey, do you think testimony from the mouth of a whale might induce the US House to repent?


    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 May 2014 @ 2:18 PM

  137. > Pete Best
    That PDF link goes to the cautionary

    “Note: This is a quick blog post on a specific current media question, not a review paper so I have not attempted to fully reference everything in it.

    Given that, I can see why you rely on Surely to believe that it can’t happen fast and besides someone will fix it. That’s all he’s got there — the old natural rates of change, the we don’t know for sure. Presumaly he’s got a basis for saying all that, but without cites, how can you tell?

    But more to the point, the paleo work doesn’t give us a worst case.

    Given the published work recently discussed above — pointing out the mechanisms that are pushing warm water under the edges of the Antarctic ice, and the discovery that the Antarctic minus ice is an archipelago — and the earlier discoveries from drilling that there’s liquid water at the bottom of the ice in many places already — I wouldn’t think Surely is a basis for confidence.

    Have you looked at the wind pattern around Antarctica?
    Take a look — this should be a current picture:,-90

    Surely paleo rates of change — much slower — wouldn’t lead us to expect that the deep past experienced the same rapid changes in the wind patterns, which are pumping warm water under Antarctica’s skirts now.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 May 2014 @ 2:52 PM

  138. p.s., for Pete — Dr. Pearson is appropriately skeptical about some of the rate change arguments, e.g. here (I can see only the first page):
    February 26, 2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1322077111
    PNAS March 25, 2014 vol. 111 no. 12 E1064-E1065

    Layering in the Paleocene/Eocene boundary of the Millville core is drilling disturbance

    Paul N. Pearson, Christopher J. Nicholas

    In a study of a sediment core from the US Atlantic Coastal Plain (Ocean Drilling Program Site 174X-Millville), Wright and Schaller (1) claim to have resolved the onset of the Paleocene/Eocene carbon isotope excursion (CIE) across 13 y. Such a rapid change would require an enormous and instantaneous release of isotopically light carbon into the ocean/atmosphere, implicating comet impact. The claim rests on the interpretation of rhythmic layering in the sediment core as annual couplets but here it is proposed that they are an artifact of drilling disturbance.

    When claystones are rotary cored they can fracture into “biscuits” that spin within the core barrel as drilling progresses (2). Slurry can be injected between and around them, later hardening into featureless muddy partings. We have …

    That paper he criticizes does make an extraordinary claim, and the problem he describes might be an alternative explanation — and more and perhaps more careful drilling ought to distinguish what’s in the sediment from what’s in the cores, if the cores are disrupted during the drilling operation.

    I, um, hope he’s right about that rate of change, just selfishly speaking.
    Science includes ripping apart one another’s papers, as Peter Watts has pointed out.

    Wright and Schaller:

    Other references

    (Zeebe has also criticized that paper)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 May 2014 @ 3:02 PM

  139. What’s with the Lennart Bengtsson situation? Tempest in a teapot? Cutthroat “warmist” McCarthyism? It’s certainly making the rounds of denier comments all of the sudden from somewhere.

    Comment by jg — 14 May 2014 @ 5:25 PM

  140. Kevin (#136),

    I’d heard they were already taking advice from a whale.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 May 2014 @ 7:58 PM

  141. When pondering whether current & soon coming climate forcing is likely to cause significantly higher sea level, think about more recent times than 33 Ma. I’ll mention and Dalziel’s papers,10&hl=en
    to suggest that only half as far back will do. But really, let’s think of the planet as it is, or at least its geology since Panama sutured.

    Sea level has been up multiple meters since then and CO2 has not gone much above 300 has it? Not close to 400, or have I missed something?

    So of course the seas will rise. It is just a question of how soon.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 14 May 2014 @ 10:49 PM

  142. The issue is somewhat confusing when trying to go back in time many millions of years and many factors can interfere with the results. The article is this one:

    I took the article from this quote from the piece:

    Values similar to today (398.03 ppm for Feb 2014) were last seen during short intervals in the Pliocene some 3 to 5 million years ago, but the last time long-term mean CO2 was at this level was in the middle Miocene climatic optimum (~16 million years ago; see this blog piece by Paul Pearson for more discussion).

    Now I don’t know what is meant by a short interval in terms of the time they are specifying but it stands to reason that it has to be at least a millennium to cause ice sheets of the size of WAIS to disappear significantly (I could be wrong and it does not take such a long time perhaps but its a low probability so the main issue how much additional sea level rise will WAIS add to Greenland’s contribution over time)and hence its all reversible presently but if ocean heat is mounting to the point where it cant be stopped then that’s a bit worrying but can you get anyone to believe it?

    For all of the paleoclimatic data available to us the rate of warming must be of some significance as I have read that generally speaking the normal rate of weathering is around 13 ppmv per million years and hence humanity adding 2 ppmv per annum is very significant and warming on human time scales has to have a significance that might be unprecedented in earths humanity.

    All a bit worrying

    Comment by Pete Best — 15 May 2014 @ 3:45 AM

  143. #128 “A new report claims climate change is a security threat.’ Doh!

    NEW? Gosh who knew? Everyone, for like 2 decades or so, that’s who. And could one not find a better credible source than the NYTs …. a proven corporate distorter of the facts and rhetoric for decades now.

    Comment by wally — 15 May 2014 @ 4:52 AM

  144. #137 “But more to the point, the paleo work doesn’t give us a worst case.”

    I think it does … only variable is the speed of approach, but all the inputs are known, the future planned emissions are already known (barring sanity appearing on earth soon) and can be calculated accurately enough to point to the outcome of 1000ppm CO2 passed circa 2100. The worst case is a major mass extinction event the 6th since earth was earth. How much worse does it have to get?

    Dr Peter Ward 2013 Lecture on Climate Change – Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps with summary, quotes, and links

    Comment by wally — 15 May 2014 @ 5:00 AM

  145. Chris,

    If you think that BAU has no resource restraints for centuries, you must have missed all of the analysis about resource restraints (LTG, the 30 year update, for one) or the analysis about human boundaries or the effects of climate change.

    However, perhaps our last best hope is that you’re wrong and that limits will force the demise of our industrial civilisation to at least get some belated mitigation of the unmitigated disasters heading our way.

    Comment by Tony — 15 May 2014 @ 5:49 AM


    I’m surprised our Windfall proponents haven’t posted this yet!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 15 May 2014 @ 7:08 AM

  147. BAU looks like 3% annual growth in emissions. With 10 GtC emitted in 2007, an additional 10,900 GtC would be emitted by 2123 under BAU. And it seems plausible, and even likely that we can access this much fossil carbon as the declining cost of renewable energy encourages converting that energy to convenient liquid fuels in an efficient manner (using available reduced carbon).

    So, what does a smart and respected economist say about this?

    “What about the argument that unilateral U.S. action won’t work, because China is the real problem? It’s true that we’re no longer No. 1 in greenhouse gases — but we’re still a strong No. 2. Furthermore, U.S. action on climate is a necessary first step toward a broader international agreement, which will surely include sanctions on countries that don’t participate.”

    So, non-market things have to happen, but even this seem naive. For a UN based process, there are five countries upon which sanctions cannot be brought: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Two of these did not even cut emissions in response to the Kyoto Protocol. Any one has the economic base to lead the world in emissions and keep BAU going. So, the UN organizational structure makes it impossible to use sanctions where they must be used to end BAU.

    Krugman may be correct that coercion will be needed, but the peace preserving options associated with UN sanctions will not be a part of the menu. He’s got the first step right: US emissions cuts, but his next step has problems.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 May 2014 @ 7:49 AM

  148. Well, Stephen Colbert seems to have an opinion about our situation. Unfortunately, it’s no joke:

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 15 May 2014 @ 8:49 AM

  149. Tony #143,

    “However, perhaps our last best hope is that you’re wrong and that limits will force the demise of our industrial civilisation to at least get some belated mitigation of the unmitigated disasters heading our way.”

    Isn’t all this all really a charade? Climate science tells us we’ve already committed to somewhere in the range 1.5-2 C. Climate scientists tell us that temperatures in this range are ‘dangerous’, using variants of dangerous. While none are willing to define ‘dangerous’ outright (with the exception of McPherson), aren’t they really saying that temperatures in this region have a good chance of placing the carbon feedbacks on autopilot? So, BAU or non-BAU may not make all that much of a difference, especially if autopilot strengthens considerably.

    Thirty years from now, when NYC has replaced Ft. Lauderdale as the Venice of the East Coast, and Congress is still debating whether climate change is real, the climate community may look back at McPherson the way the Religious look back at the Biblical Prophets!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 15 May 2014 @ 9:01 AM

  150. Tony (#143),

    Yes, I misspoke having failed to do the math correctly. No constraints out to 2123 based on using renewable energy to take another whack at known oil and gas source rock.

    Now, there may be deeper non-biogenic reduced carbon reservoirs that our new renewable energy prowess would give us access to, but evidence for these is slight up to now. Non-biogenic graphite seems rare, for example. And, there may be undiscovered fossil carbon reservoirs presently under ice. Coming up with another factor of 10 gets us about two centuries of BAU. Might be there, might not. However, 256 times CO2 does not appear to be survivable for mammals. Extended exploitation of existing oil and gas fields through novel hydrogenation fracking may be the last BAU hurrah for that reason.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 May 2014 @ 9:50 AM

  151. Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment

    (MEECE), a European Union project to explore the impact of climate and human activities on marine ecosystems.
    The MEECE Model Atlas provides climate and ecosystem response scenarios, from plankton to fish, in a readily accessible form for marine policy and management

    Research from that model is discussed here

    The depletion expected in the amount of plankton in the marine food web could reduce fish biomass in 47% of the total global ocean area, especially in tropical oceans….
    … In the Baltic, Barents and Black Seas, it is expected to increase.

    Guillem Chust, an Azti-Tecnalia researcher and the lead author of the paper, said: “In the ocean regions that lose more phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass, fish biomass may also decrease dramatically.” … the oceans’ role in moderating climate change would also be damaged: “As there will be less phytoplankton, absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere by the oceans will be lower, as plankton is responsible for half of the planet’s photosynthetic activity. This in turn will reduce the ocean’s capacity to regulate the climate.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 May 2014 @ 12:28 PM

  152. DIOGENES wrote: “I’m surprised our Windfall proponents haven’t posted this yet!”

    Given that the moderators have specifically requested “no discussion of mitigation options this month – that has been done to death in previous threads”, it seems strikingly rude to engage in name-calling to try pick a fight over solar energy.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 May 2014 @ 12:47 PM

  153. @148 – Stephen Colbert may receive the biggest traction with his F-bomb parody, and CNN may get rebuked for ignoring the Antarctic instability elephant that just entered the room, but it was Naked News that had the right wordsmith – with a street-punch description. She described the process as “global warming is to blame for a chain-reaction at the Amundson Sea area glaciers, causing them to warm faster than previously thought.”

    Comment by owl905 — 15 May 2014 @ 1:40 PM

  154. Find this indefinite business as usual strange. Oil is about to peak though hydraulic fracturing may extend this for a few years. Even coal may be less abundant than we think. Also in a few decades fossil fuels will be obsolete anyway.

    Comment by DP — 15 May 2014 @ 4:54 PM

  155. #137 “But more to the point, the paleo work doesn’t give us a worst case.”

    I think it does … only variable is the speed …

    Speed changes biogeochemical cycling. A slow increase in CO2, dissolving into the oceans did not change pH drastically even while atmospheric CO2 went up very high, because ocean chemistry buffered the pH.

    The unprecedented fast rate of CO2 increase does change pH drastically — the biogeochemical cycling in the ocean can’t keep up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 May 2014 @ 5:00 PM

  156. This report is rather disturbiong, though perhaps not surprising:

    “Increasing evidence is emerging that the policy summaries on climate impacts and mitigation by the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were significantly ‘diluted’ under political pressure from some of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and the United States…”

    “…WG1 co-chair Prof Thomas Stocker, however, denied any knowledge of such political pressure, describing these allegations as “not correct for WG1.” He conceded that “the situation is different” for WG2 and WG3…”

    Comment by V. Jobson — 15 May 2014 @ 6:58 PM

    cites this source, well worth reading:
    where you can read:

    The authors of the IPCC’s recent Fifth Assessment Report therefore included two moral philosophers. I am one of them. I have been a member of the IPCC’s Working Group 3 since 2011…. Eventually we were presented with a few sentences that, we were told, the developed countries would reject, and an alternative few sentences that, we were told, the developing countries would reject.

    As he left the room, one delegate privately advised us not to depart far from his version of the text, because his delegation was very close to deleting the whole section anyway. This was the moment when I began to enjoy the whole event. The threat was not frightening. We privately pointed out in return that, if our section was deleted, we would no longer be authors of the SPM. We would be free to go to the press and publish what we liked.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 May 2014 @ 11:56 PM

  158. DP (#154),

    When do you think liquid fuels will be obsolete? They can be worked around, but they are awfully convenient.

    You should read back a little too. This is about rejuvenating existing oil fields by throwing energy at them. Energy may even be substantially squandered and still come out ahead of synthesizing liquid fuels from atmospheric (or dissolved) carbon dioxide, the responsible way to get liquid fuels.

    Peak oil is not really a meaningful concept once we can use low cost renewable energy to make high priced fossil energy. It is a no-brainer to process the Green River shale that way, for example.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 May 2014 @ 12:17 AM

  159. #146–“I’m surprised our Windfall proponents haven’t posted this yet!”

    – See more at:

    I’m surprised Dio has already forgotten that we aren’t talking about mitigation measures this month.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 May 2014 @ 7:01 AM

  160. OK, this is technically a mitigation-related matter, too, and thus violates the embargo on such comments. Yet I’m presenting it because said embargo is a) not ‘legalistic’ in nature, and b) this matter is a follow-up to some old news discussed on RC, and c) comes at things from a very different angle and thus may be of some interest. Moderators, do what you will…

    Anyway, long-timers may recall Klaus Lackner’s “Kilimanjaro Energy”, an outfit formed to investigate and commercialize free-air CO2 capture. Since a big venture capital deal in 2010, news from them has been non-existent–perhaps because of slow development of the CO2 market. But apparently things are going on: KE was just awarded a patent covering a whole slew of free-air capture methods. Doesn’t mean anything will come of it, of course–but it indicates enough confidence to pay a bunch of legal fees. Those interested can peruse the technical details here:

    I just scanned them quickly, myself, for reasons implicit in the second-last sentence. But others may feel more inclined to really dive in.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 May 2014 @ 8:29 AM

  161. Kevin McKinney #159,

    “I’m surprised Dio has already forgotten that we aren’t talking about mitigation measures this month.”

    Your ‘tag team’ quarterback already addressed this issue (#152). However, in my original posting (#149), I nowhere mentioned that it had to be posted in the May 2014 Unforced Variations. The April 2014 thread is still open, and there are other threads as well. And, while we’re on the subject of omissions (not emissions), your ‘team’ might want to discuss the following on the April thread as well: “”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 16 May 2014 @ 9:19 AM

  162. DP wrote: “Also in a few decades fossil fuels will be obsolete anyway.”

    Chris Dudley replied: “When do you think liquid fuels will be obsolete?”

    Non sequitur.

    DP didn’t say “liquid fuels”. DP said “fossil fuels”.

    I do think that some of the major uses of liquid fuels — e.g. for ground transport — will become, or at least certainly CAN become, obsolete in the very near future.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 May 2014 @ 10:14 AM

  163. Re- Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 May 2014 @ 12:17 AM, ~#158, and Comment by DIOGENES — 15 May 2014 @ 7:08 AM, ~#146, are both trying to sneak in O/T (anti) mitigation arguments because of, respectively, dreaded “convenience” and “windfalls.”


    Comment by steve Fish — 16 May 2014 @ 10:21 AM

  164. North Carolina has officially enshrined a myopic sea level forecasting policy:

    Let’s not look to far into the future…no more than 30 years has been decreed.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 16 May 2014 @ 10:25 AM

  165. This looks like a study worthy of a main post (if I may be so bold):

    Mark Pagani, Ken Caldeira, David Archer, James C. Zachos, (2006), “An Ancient Carbon Mystery”, Science, doi:10.1126/science.1136841

    “Sudden global warming 55 million years ago provides evidence for high climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2, but the source of the carbon remains enigmatic.”

    “…a climate sensitivity of 6.8 to 7.8°C per CO₂ doubling” !!??

    (Thanks ASLR at Arctic Ice Forums for alerting me to this fascinating and frightening study.)

    Comment by wili — 16 May 2014 @ 10:28 AM

  166. SA,

    Actually it is very deeply in the midst of the issue. Pricing for liquid fuels is high and they might be sourced from converting carbon dioxide with hydrogen, from adding hydrogen to biocarbon, or adding hydrogen to fossil carbon (once the oil shale and tar sands are all processed). The cheapest method looks like using fossil carbon. So, if liquid fuels remain convenient, and fossil carbon is not regulated, BAU continues. Vast networks of multi-lane highways covering Asia, Africa and South America will join Australia, Europe and North America in a transportation culture that keeps emissions growing.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 May 2014 @ 3:01 PM

  167. > Diogenes
    > “I nowhere mentioned that it had to be posted in the May 2014 Unforced …”

    Diogenes, from what you wrote, seems you don’t understand the forum software.

    This isn’t a “chat room” where everything gets posted on top.

    Don’t always post in the latest open thread and assume the hosts will decide where your post should appear. They clean up after us regular readers here some, when we mess up, but not always.

    Blogger forums don’t work that way.

    You’re — we all are — expected to find an appropriate open thread.

    Here’s how: Look from the Home page (link is at the top of every RC page). Read topics; Page Down to the bottom, click to see « Older Entries and find an open topic appropriate to your idea.

    Unused or overlong topics eventually get closed.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 May 2014 @ 4:29 PM

  168. Wili, thanks for boldly posting on climate science. Here is something more up-to-date:

    Sense and Sensitivity.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 16 May 2014 @ 9:20 PM

  169. Current events: Record May Heat and Wildfires Continue in California; Extreme Flooding in Serbia; Fish flinging tornado in Sri Lanka (not Monte Python).

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 16 May 2014 @ 9:31 PM

  170. # 147 CD re “BAU looks like 3% annual growth in emissions. With 10 GtC emitted in 2007, an additional 10,900 GtC would be emitted by 2123 under BAU.”

    Would someone chip in and buy this poor chap a calculator that works please?

    Using IPCC AR5 WGI TS data
    Meaning CONSERVATIVE figures ………
    Total cumulative fossil fuel CO2 emissions in GtC
    (Gigatonne of Carbon aka Petagram of carbon or PgC)

    1750 to 2011 amounts to 365 ± 30 GtC
    261 years equals 1.4 GtC per year average up to 2011.
    2000 to 2009 the GtC increased by 3.2% per year
    2011 CO2 emissions rose to 9.5 ± 0.8 GtC

    THEORY- Holding that rate @ only 9.5 for 88 years = extra 836 GtC to 2100; Add the historical 365 GtC and this amounts to a grand total ~1200 GtC by 2100

    However, the IPCC RCP8.5 between 2012 and 2100 actually is 1685 ± 225 GtC!
    1,685 GtC is 462% (or 4.6 times) the 365 GtC from 1750 to 2011 or another 4 C

    Current BAU trajectory leads directly to a cumulative figure over 2,000 GtC by 2100

    Compare these figures to the known implications for high Carbon emissions:
    Hansen et al. 2013 … A cumulative industrial-era (1750-?) limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3-4°C with disastrous consequences.

    HOWEVER the path actually leads to Cumulative emissions of ~2,000 GtC would indicate a minimum GMST of +4°C before 2100 on top of the ~2C already in the system …. with even further global warming to 6-8°C quite possible over time.

    All things being equal, if this rate of fossil fuel energy use continues then +4°C is all but a certainty by 2100. This is ignoring any and ALL Climate Feedbacks, such as from the loss of ice, methane in the arctic, and other major ‘tipping points’ in the climate system that science as yet cannot predict very well.

    We also know the historical 365 GTC raised Carbon Dioxide pollution to date by +120 ppm of the atmosphere to 402 ppm in 2014.

    The above Carbon Emission projections equate to an increase of another ~552 ppm on top of the 402 ppm.

    So a reasonable BAU trajectory forecast is for CO2 rising as high as ~950 ppm bby 2100.

    That is over 7 times the CO2 increase of 120 ppm to date and it’s happening in under 85 years should BAU prevail.

    BAU includes the current expected future capacity and massive growth in Hydro, Nuclear, Biomass, and clean green renewables out to 2040 and ongoing globally. iow a best possible case projection with no major changes to BAU economic and political life on the planet, bar marginal improvements on the edges in some nations, not all.

    Prof Peter Ward and his team suggests CO2 @ 1000ppm and at NO time in the geological past has there been Ice at the Poles. No ice means no ocean current system and inevitable mass extinctions and a 10C world.

    How are the poles going now, as CA bakes in 100F temps and it’s not even summer yet? Do any recall the status with the unprecedented early spring fires across parts of Australia (the canary in the mine) last year sept-oct and what happened as the summer unfolded?
    Peter Ward summary in a world without Ice Caps .. how bad can it get?

    Comment by wallly — 16 May 2014 @ 9:39 PM

  171. peer-review number checking feedback welcomed.

    Comment by wallly — 16 May 2014 @ 9:49 PM

  172. Quote from IOP publishing regarding a refused publication on climate models: <a href=" “One cannot and should not simply interpret the IPCCs ranges for AR4 or 5 as confidence intervals or pdfs and hence they are not directly comparable to observation based intervals (as e.g. in Otto et al).
    In the same way that one cannot expect a nice fit between observational studies and the CMIP5 models.”

    Gavin, what is your view; ‘one cannot expect a nice fit’?

    [Response: The CMIP5 model histogram is not a probability density function, even though it is often causally used as such (even here). So the reviewer is technically correct that a pdf created from a simpler method will not match the MME spread even if one of the models was perfect, so in that sense, a ‘nice fit’ is not to be expected. However, we do expect (ideally) the real world to look like it could be drawn from the same distribution as the models we have and if it doesn’t, there is an interesting discrepancy to deal with. The solutions to that discrepancy can be complex – associated with the comparison itself (is it apples to apples), biases in the observations (Arctic coverage for instance) or issues with the model forcings or physics. See my paper in Nat. Geo. for more discussion of that. – gavin]

    Comment by AntonyIndia — 16 May 2014 @ 10:20 PM

  173. There’s no ‘obsolete’ label anywhere near fossil fuels. There’s no ‘peak’ problem in sight. Both suppliers and consumers are adding more investment and research and structure. Fossil fuels are in healthy supply and are expected to provide 80% of the world’s energy needs for at least the next 40 years. Global energy demand is expected to rise 56% during the same period:
    “Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46% increase,” Source – EIA.
    Anyone, anywhere, expecting a market-forces or supply-constraint to upset the fossil fuel paradigm needs to re-think Patience as an answer.

    Comment by owl905 — 16 May 2014 @ 10:28 PM

  174. #161–Nice bait, but I’m not biting anything except my tongue.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 May 2014 @ 10:39 PM

  175. #165 wili thx for the ref: also said:
    “Thus, the PETM either resulted from an enormous input of CO2 that currently defies a mechanistic explanation, or climate sensitivity to CO2 was extremely high.”

    I’m thinking ‘tipping points’ in scale. iow that the ESC rises exponentially in co-ordination with all manner of (yet definitive) climate feedbacks. Esoteric indeed, please don;t ask for my peer-reviewed paper. :) As Gavin showed nicely in his recent TED video, fact is the best in the world only have a handle on 4/18 parts of the jigsaw puzzle here. Unknown Unknowns is a big pickle to be in, just ask Rumsfeld.

    Peter Ward deals with the same time frames and events here, if you like another perspective …. and put them together may show a slightly clearer image of the jigsaw puzzle box lid. The end note nails it imho, “… clearly CO2-induced global warming event.” imo, going anywhere near potential “feedbacks” or “tipping points” is a game over/tilt strategy.
    They say “Yet, the source of the CO2 remains a mystery.” again, imo if the problem on our plates today is 21st century AGW, then really it doesn’t matter what the source was back then. Stopping CO2 concentration rise is the ONLY viable solution for now.

    Peter ward puts it like “what the difference between flood basalts, volcanoes and a Volvo? Nothing! CO2 is CO2 is CO2. The volcanoes did it in the past, now it’s something else, and we know what that something else is.”

    CO2 is now 402ppm and rising 2-3ppm every year. Therein is our problem. Everything else is frills and bunting, or makeup and perfume. best, take care

    Comment by wallly — 16 May 2014 @ 10:46 PM

  176. Might be worth considering how glass road surfaces would hold up under extreme weather conditions associate with warming. Where I live, the worst pot holes seem to come from temporary seeps and springs under the road surface or the passage of heavy vehicles. Silica is both denser than asphalt so is may not float up so much and delaminate. On the other hand, where I grew up, frost heaves caused a lot of damage. Hard to see silica standing up to that gracefully, whereas asphalt just gets laid down again.

    In the extreme though, asphalt may turn out to have problems with heat waves owing to melting, that silica, if properly padded for thermal expansion, may prove superior.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 May 2014 @ 10:53 PM

  177. What exactly do you mean here Chris???

    “However, 256 times CO2 does not appear to be survivable for mammals.”

    Comment by Chris Dudley

    What is 256 times CO2? Is that some sort of calculation? I don’t understand it. I’m not a scientist and math isn’t my strong point either.


    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 17 May 2014 @ 1:05 AM

  178. Very satisfying pic of a squat red machine with a large handle on top, a formidable lever on the bottom in fig 1 of Podolskiy et al.


    used in measuring snow sintering. Open access, read all about it.

    On similar note, does anyone have references to numbers for specific surface area of snow/firn ? (yeah, i know, how long is a piece of string … )


    Comment by sidd — 17 May 2014 @ 1:44 AM

  179. wili @165.

    Do bear in mind that the paper you cite is Pagani et al (2006) is rather old and that even today due to a paucity of data, our basic understanding of the PETM can kick up controversy as perhaps Zeebe et al (2014) well illustrates.
    If the CO2 release did last millenia as is generally accepted, this will lead to PETM CO2 release rates far lower than our present rates (PETM rastes of 0.3 – 1.7GtC/yr, while we are presently topping 10GtC/yr) although the total PETM release remains much higher than our present efforts (eg +550GtC and counting).
    Sorting out the source and nature of the PETM carbon release is central to the puzzle but I haven’t read any great controversy on climate sensitivity stemming from such work. More typical is this from the full text of DeConto et al (2012) (abstract here) “…this orbitally triggered permafrost–carbon–warming feedback liberates almost the entire global PFSC reservoir, releasing 3,434PgC +/-951 Pg C within the observed 10^4-year timescale of carbon release. This raises global-mean temperature in our model by 6 deg C, accounting for the warming at the PETM (ETM1) without invoking high climate sensitivity to CO2 or additional feedbacks involving other carbon reservoirs”.

    Comment by MARodger — 17 May 2014 @ 4:16 AM

  180. Here’s one for raypierre:

    Divestment at University of Chicago could be making some progress. Are the faculty doing anything to support this?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 May 2014 @ 4:41 AM

  181. Good article on the dilution of the IPCC report by the political representatives.

    The Guardian is blessed to have Nafeez Ahmed as its main Climate poster, not some mindless lackey of the Windfall proponents.

    Also, good article in El Nino by RobertScribbler ( “Deep Ocean Warming is Coming Back to Haunt Us: Record Warmth for 2014 Likely As Equatorial Heat Rises”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 17 May 2014 @ 6:27 AM

  182. Here’s one for Gavin:

    In you contacts with Columbia faculty, do you get any sense why they have not supported the students more in this? The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing wants to see broad campus support on this and faculty certainly organize around other divestment campaigns. Why are they not doing so here? Can the faculty of Columbia’s Earth Institute be doing more? Would a guest post here from Klaus Lackner be helpful? Might he be able to explain why the committee thought his panel was ambivalent?

    Already the National Review is crowing over this. The monstrous Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’sousa cut their fangs opposing divestment from South Africa under National Review tutelage. The stakes are high in this. Mustn’t lose momentum.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 May 2014 @ 6:28 AM

  183. My short post last night on climate sensitivity got lost – here is a link 4u

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 17 May 2014 @ 10:40 AM

  184. > … Nice bait, but I’m not biting anything except my tongue.


    “It’s not the trolling, it’s the biting.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 May 2014 @ 11:05 AM

  185. owl905 #171,

    Bingo! Your post should be required reading for all visitors to this site.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 17 May 2014 @ 11:45 AM

  186. Re: liquid fuels without fossil carbon, isn’t that one pretty much already solved by ethanol and biodiesel? Of course those compete with food for agricultural production capacity, and fossil-carbon-based liquid fuels are cheaper absent government action to raise their price, but the engineering issues don’t seem overwhelming. If I’m wrong, I’ll be glad to have someone disabuse me.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 17 May 2014 @ 11:57 AM

  187. ClimateDialogue on Climate Sensitivity
    May 15, 2014 (Bart Verheggen)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 May 2014 @ 1:19 PM

  188. Wili asked for discussion of the issues raised by Pagani et al (Science 2006 10.1126/science.1136110)
    (pointing to a pdf file copy; the actual cite is at the bottom of that PDF page)

    That has already been discussed here: use the site search box at top of page, or a straight site search with the DOI or cite, e.g.
    and of course see the citing papers; there’s much more recent work, as several people have mentioned above.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 May 2014 @ 5:28 PM

  189. owl905 @ 173,

    “Anyone, anywhere, expecting a market-forces or supply-constraint to upset the fossil fuel paradigm needs to re-think Patience as an answer.”

    Sorry owl, you are 100% wrong! Peak Oil is very real and it is happening now! To be clear peak oil doesn’t save our goose from being cooked by climate change since CO2 emissions will continue to increase from other sources, what it does do however is accelerate the collapse the fossil fuel based global economy. Which has some pretty nasty feedback loops of its own.

    If you could, please let us know where Steve Kopits is wrong or what he might be missing?

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 17 May 2014 @ 5:45 PM

  190. Chuck (#177),

    I linked a graph from supporting material for Russell et al. mentioned by Chris earlier. It shows average world temperature as a function of latitude (South Pole to North Pole). Our Fahrenheit scale is set at 100 by the body temperature of a calf. That is sort of a mammal temperature. It comes to 37.7 Celsius, the vertical scale in the figure. The top line in the figure, according to the legend below, represents 256 time carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The temperature is everywhere warmer than 45 C or 113 F. You can live through a 113 F afternoon, but at the poles, we’ll see the largest seasonal variation. So, summers may be around 130 F. That does not work for humans or other mammals. We can’t cool so we die.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 May 2014 @ 6:36 PM

  191. Wally (#170),

    You seem to be wandering a bit. Adding in cement production, do you see a stunning difference between 10 GtC in 2007 and 9.5 GtC in 2011? That looks like reasonable agreement. The definite integral of

    10*1.03^x dx from 1 to y comes to 10*(1.03^y/ln(1.03) -1.03/ln(1.03))

    setting that equal to 10,900 GtC and solving for y comes to 118 years. Adding to 2007 gives the year those emissions are complete. Looks like I subtracted rather than added the runt term in my original solution, so it goes out to 2125, not 2123. Setting y equal to 93 gets about 5000 new GtC emitted between 2007 and 2100. RCP8.5 does not grow exponentially to 2100 so it has lower cumulative emissions than BAU.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 May 2014 @ 7:12 PM

  192. In other news:
    “Emissions from forests influence very first stage of cloud formation”

    And: Robert W. Howarth. A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas. Energy Science & Engineering, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/ese3.35

    Comment by flxible — 17 May 2014 @ 9:47 PM

  193. MA (#186),

    Biofuels are produced at the efficiency of photosynthesis. So, the question has been: how to find enough land to cover our liquid fuel use? One answer was to get reduced carbon from biomass but supplement that with more efficiently produced hydrogen.

    But why bother to collect biomass if there is lots and lots and lots of fossil carbon around that can be upgraded to liquid fuel in the same way? It takes some energy input, but that energy is getting cheaper and cheaper and it is produced much more efficiently than photosynthesis.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 May 2014 @ 10:18 PM

  194. 170 wallly: We went through that scenario here a few years ago. It seems closer and deadlier now.

    190 Chris Dudley likewise.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 18 May 2014 @ 2:07 AM

  195. Sorry for posting an old (but still interesting!) article, and thanks to the many who have posted newer relevant ones as well as older discussions. MARoger’s quote at #179 from DeConto that release of PFSC (PermaFrost Soil Carbon) alone (after some initial orbital forcing) caused 6 degrees C of global temperature increase (if I’m understanding this correctly) is somehow not very comforting, even if there is no indication from PETM for increased climate sensitivity.

    Comment by wili — 18 May 2014 @ 6:03 AM

  196. > why bother to collect biomass … there is
    > lots and lots and lots of fossil carbon

    Oh, Oh, I know: bother because burning fossil carbon is stupid!

    And stupidity isn’t always uncorrectable.

    People did eventually decide to stop breathing asbestos, and burning tobacco and lead, and crapping upstream of their drinking water sources, so there’s hope we’ll bother to stop burning fossil carbon too, because stupidity is avoidable once recognition occurs.

    This irony stuff doesn’t work well on the Internets.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 May 2014 @ 8:39 AM

  197. Chuck (#177),

    Rereading your question, I need to give you a more direct answer. That is a good thing too because it forces me to admit to a sleight of hand that most people have probably noticed already, but which should be stated explicitly. 2 times CO2 means doubling the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from some level. To a very simple approximation, each doubling should have about the same effect on temperature which is why climate sensitivity is often given as so many degrees of warming per doubling. Another doubling is 4 times CO2, another, 8 times CO2, and so on up to 256 times CO2, where Russel et al. (2013) stop running their simulations. Turns out that Russel et al.’s work indicates that climate sensitivity is not all that constant as a function of doubling CO2, confirming and extending some work that Gavin was involved in.

    But here is the sleight of hand: doubling CO2 is from some level. Gavin’s work doubles (or halves) from the preindustrial level. Russell et al. start from a level that is about 10% higher, the 1950 level. Since, in what I’ve been developing here, that translates to finding 9000 rather that 8000 extra GtC (gigatonnes of carbon) it isn’t all that important, but it should be recognized. So, 256 times CO2 in Russel et al. means about 280 times CO2 in the context of Hansen et al.’s Efficacy paper if they had run models to that many doublings.

    Most people interested in math will have memorized powers of 2 out to 4096 or so and will recognize 256 as a power of 2. It is good that you asked about this. 256 probably does not look special to you or to many other people as well.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 May 2014 @ 9:02 AM

  198. Fred Magyar #189,

    ” Sorry owl, you are 100% wrong! Peak Oil is very real and it is happening now!”

    Owl never mentioned ‘peak oil'; his focus was specifically on fossil fuels, and that’s why I gave him the DIOGENES five-star rating (#185). There’s no lack of coal or other fossil fuels to satisfy the EIA emissions forecasts for three decades hence.

    But, we have a more serious problem on this blog, and in the climate change community in general. It is how the debate is being framed, and who is framing the debate. For example, the main peak temperature target in all the major studies and international reports is 2 C. That’s where discussions start, including on this blog. Where did the 2 C number originate? Why, that’s the number the diplomats and their associated governments believed they could sell to the masses; there’s little scientific evidence that such a target will keep us ‘safe’, and much evidence that it will not. But, the debate was ‘framed’ to make 2 C the acceptable norm.

    The same has occurred with BAU, which really underlies your comments and the peak oil comments. Why is BAU relevant? In my view, it is a very large number, and miniscule actions can be taken to reduce BAU, and provide the illusion of ‘progress’. It is analogous to the situation of Mutually Assured Destruction, where we and the Soviets accumulated nuclear arsenals that could destroy each other twenty times over. An agreement to reduce arsenals by 10% made it appear as though great progress was being made, and although it certainly was better than no agreement, it meant in practice that we could still destroy each other eighteen times over. That’s the same situation with BAU. The debate needs to be reframed based on allowable temperature targets, a CLIMATE SCIENCE ISSUE OF THE FIRST ORDER, and the translation into allowable carbon budget. If we used an appropriate metric like this, then we would see that a drop in oil production of ten or twenty or thirty percent over the next few decades is as irrelevant to climate change as the reduction in MAD arms was to survival of the citizens of the USA or USSR.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 18 May 2014 @ 10:22 AM

  199. Hank (#196),

    I guess I should refer you to your #54

    But I would point out timescales for some of your examples are not encouraging. My church was established in the 1600’s in Port Tobacco, Maryland, a place that concentrated on tobacco exports. And, even though Maryland exports have fallen recently, tobacco consumption is growing still. This seems to mean ongoing lead burning as well.

    Sanitation is not a solved problem in large parts of the world and asbestos production and consumption continues.

    There are some examples that are more encouraging having to do with atmospheric science, but we are not discussing good things this month.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 May 2014 @ 10:43 AM

  200. I have remarked that a hard rain’s gonna fall on Greenland. Neff(2014) doi:10.1002/2014JD021470 detail an atmospheric river to Greenland triggering the great darkening of 2012. I have interspersed ascat images into panels from from fig 3 in the paper.

    More ascat images may be found at


    Comment by sidd — 18 May 2014 @ 1:26 PM

  201. Chris Dudley #199,

    “but we are not discussing good things this month.”

    Can you elaborate?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 19 May 2014 @ 7:37 AM

  202. wili @195.
    Headlining “6 degrees C of global temperature increase” may not be the best take-away from DeConto et al (2012) [Full pdf.]. (Note this results from something like a quadrupling of CO2, thus ECS=3ºC.) Remember that the world at the end of the Palaeocene does not present the same climatic picture as we have today. The reservoir of carbon locked into permafrost in the late Palaeocene appears to be much greater than today with 3,500±900GtC released during the PETM(ETM1) and additional releases during the subsequent ETM2 & ETM3. Yet today, for instance, Zimov et al (2006) estimate the current reservoir as 1,600GtC.
    While this may provide a little reassurance with this comparison, our pre-industrial CO2 levels were lower than the late Palaeocene (perhaps a third the level) so to quadruple atmospheric CO2 will today only take a third of the emissions it did during the PETM.
    However, I feel a comparison of today with the PETM should mention the relative slow speed of the permafrost emissions and put this in the context of how quickly this permafrost will melt. The rate of emissions appears to be ‘very slow’ in than, say, Schaeffer et al (2011) Abstract] argue for a permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) by AD2200 of 190 ± 64 GtC. Like SLR, PCF is a challenge we leave with the warmed-up world for future generations centuries-hence to grapple with.

    Comment by MARodger — 19 May 2014 @ 8:28 AM

  203. From McMillan(2014) doi:10.1002/2014GL060111
    Ice loss in West Antarctica up by 30% in the period 2010-2013 as compared to 2005-2011. Thats a doubling rate of less than 15 yrs


    Comment by sidd — 19 May 2014 @ 11:18 AM

  204. What is wrong with my rough calculation of the increase in ocean temperatures due to AGW:

    anthropogenic forcing: 2 W/m^2
    multiplied by surface area of earth (collecting area): 1.3 * 10^14 m^2 = 2.6 * 10^14 W
    multiply by length of year in seconds (3.1 * 10^7) = 8.0 * 10^21 J/year
    divide by mass of oceans (1.4 * 10^24 g) = 5.7 * 10^-3 J/year-g
    divide by heat capacity of water (4.2 J-g/Kº) = 1.4 * 10^-3 Kº/year

    One millidegree increase per year???? This is way, way, wrong, but I can’t for the life of me see where this simple calculation goes wrong. It should certainly get us into the ball park.

    So what am I doing wrong?

    Comment by Chris Crawford — 19 May 2014 @ 12:07 PM

  205. Insurance company goes after communities for “failing to prepare for flooding. The suits argue towns should have known climate change would produce more flooding.”

    “Chicago says it is already spending heavily on infrastructure to adapt to changing weather and has a comprehensive Climate Action Plan.

    But the city’s foresight may have made it a target, said Verchick, since Farmers cites the document as evidence officials were aware of the risks.”


    Comment by sidd — 19 May 2014 @ 12:59 PM


    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 May 2014 @ 1:13 PM

  207. #191 10,900 versus 2,000 GtC, you are wrong.

    Comment by wally — 19 May 2014 @ 2:04 PM

  208. Dio re “But, the debate was ‘framed’ to make 2 C the acceptable norm.”

    I suggest considering the temp was set rather than a CO2/CO2e ppm because the former is flaky with severe time lags, and the latter is accurately measurable in real time. It’s a hunch. But if I were “them” that’s exactly what I would do too as it is eminently a ‘rational’ approach to avoid responsibility.

    In the beginning, the max goal was framed as PPM ….. if my memory is ok.

    Comment by wally — 19 May 2014 @ 2:13 PM

  209. Can’t stop laughing

    If your doctor says you have high cholesterol and you have a high risk of a heart attack, only idiots go home and search the internet until they find a web site that says cholesterol doesn’t exist.


    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 19 May 2014 @ 2:17 PM

  210. I would like to suggest a possible contributor for a guest post here; Lennart Bengtsson.

    While I suspect that I personally would find LB’s personal politics entirely repulsive, oh Voltaire.

    I have a feeling that LB is currently being abusively manipulated by dark forces, of whom you are all aware; but that he has enough credentials for his scientific opinions to grace these pages.

    His inside story of how the 200+ year tradition of anonymous peer review just got publically pissedallover by the GWPF/Ridley/Times might also be of wider interest.

    Perhaps a debate between one of y’all who sees evidence for a higher ECS OTOH, and LB OTOH?

    [Response: Thanks – great pastiche of the sillier contrarian memes! – gavin]

    Comment by idunno — 19 May 2014 @ 3:57 PM

  211. My new favorite quote:

    Belief in climate change is optional, but participation is mandatory

    Jim Beever, Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 19 May 2014 @ 4:22 PM

  212. Pete Dunkelberg wrote: “Can’t stop laughing”

    Perhaps you don’t very often read blogs that deal with diet, nutrition and health. The behavior described in the passage that you quoted may sound absurd, but it is VERY common.

    In fact there are a lot of folks who will react to scientific studies showing that meat consumption is linked to multiple serious health risks with a level of denial that would make the most hard core global warming denier blush.

    And just as in the global warming case, they can point to their own “studies” from meat-industry-funded “think tanks” to “prove” that eating lots of bacon is good for you and vegetarians are REALLY the ones more likely to die from a heart attack.

    For that matter there are still folks out there denying any link between tobacco smoke and cancer.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 19 May 2014 @ 4:27 PM

  213. The American Society for Microbiology annual meeting is starting.

    Hat tip to microbiologist and author Joan Slonczewski from her blog which points to this session:

    Global Change Microbiology: Anthropogenic Pressures and Microbial Responses

    The presentations on the schedule are:

    Oceans, Climate, and Human Health: Infectious Diseases Linked to the Environment

    Blighted Harvests: Plant Pathogens in a Changing World

    Winners and Losers in a Changing Climate: Dynamic Models of Marine Microbial Populations

    Walking Thin Ice: Microbial Feedback Mechanisms from a Shrinking Cryosphere

    Disturbance, Adaptation and Selection Drive Greenhouse Gas Production by Terrestrial Microorganisms

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 May 2014 @ 4:35 PM

  214. Wally #208,

    “I suggest considering the temp was set rather than a CO2/CO2e ppm because the former is flaky with severe time lags, and the latter is accurately measurable in real time.”

    I have no problem with A temperature being selected; the problem is with a temperature that has little or no scientific basis, and appears much too high for any degree of safety. Had a temperature of around 1 C been selected as the norm/target, I would have no problem. Then, we would be seeing far different proposals for remediation, and far different conclusions coming from international reports. Yes, the debate was framed to take all of us off the hook, and insure we do little to really solve the problem.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 19 May 2014 @ 5:15 PM

  215. And if you follow the microbiology links — there’s a whole universe of material out there — much modeling starting to be done — and not much discussed in the climate change area.

    This is where the atmosphere can change change following a change in the microbial population of the upper ocean — which can occur very fast, given how fast they reproduce (or don’t).

    Here’s ENSO showing up in the rate of accumulation of ocean carbon (see the arrows across the timeline pointing to marked changes in the rate):
    That’s from among the figures from Jorge L. Sarmiento and Nicolas Gruber’s paper Sinks for anthropogenic carbon, Physics Today, 55(8), 30-36, 2002

    Does this ring any bells for anyone?

    There is an unexpected “glitch” in the CO2 record for the 20th century, a hesitation in the steady steeply rising curve. At one point, for a few years, even a small downturn was recorded. The timing of this unexpected reversal of the pattern coincides with World War II, a time of increased fossil fuel emissions, but, interestingly, also a time of markedly reduced fishing activity. Fishing, whaling and sealing in the North Atlantic Ocean came to a virtual halt during the war. (Was the “biological carbon pump” in the sea therefore able to recoup a bit of its former strength and momentum while the fishermen were otherwise engaged, fighting the war?)

    “Between 1935 and 1945 the atmospheric CO2 concentration was constant, or even declined slightly. The reason for this is unknown.” 3

    Large increases in fish numbers were apparent in the North Sea and elsewhere by the end of the war. The biological activity that built those larger fish stocks seems possibly to have been the same activity that briefly drew down more CO2 from the atmosphere, and caused the “glitch” in the graph. Enough life remained in the sea in 1939 to rally and realize a noticeable gain in a few years. Like a “new growth forest,” re-growing what was cut down, a fish population recovering from a depleted state can act as a carbon sink, and also as a catalyst for faster plant growth. During the wartime break from fishing, marine life in the Atlantic Ocean “inhaled” CO2 deeply, rapidly rebuilding fish stocks, and it seems from the atmospheric record that marine CO2 uptake briefly equalled CO2 exhaled by the ocean in those years.

    Things are different now. Sixty fishing years later the ocean is in much weaker condition. ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 May 2014 @ 7:44 PM

  216. Wally (#207),

    The integral seems to be correct. The number of years seem now to be correct. Perhaps you have just not been paying attention.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 19 May 2014 @ 8:01 PM

  217. More here:
    Has Bill Ruddiman looked at this interpretation anywhere?

    marine productivity has been thought to be “physically forced.” Recognition of the strength of “biological forcing” has been lacking in traditional views, and this is the basis of the arguments offered here, including the reasoning that total productivity can be reduced by significant living biomass removal (fishing). It is speculated here that, besides ecological functions such as floating spawn, one important route of biological forcing that has been missed may be the possibility that vertically migrating zooplankton not only shuttle carbon down to deeper waters, but they may also shuttle ‘new’ nitrogen up to surface waters.

    That latter idea is well developed, e.g.

    What Makes Plankton Migrate?
    Jul 31, 2013 – Diel vertical migration (DVM) is exhibited by plankton all over the ocean, not only zooplankton, but by dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria too….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 May 2014 @ 9:54 PM

  218. More here:
    Has Bill Ruddiman looked at this interpretation anywhere?

    marine productivity has been thought to be “physically forced.” Recognition of the strength of “biological forcing” has been lacking in traditional views, and this is the basis of the arguments offered here, including the reasoning that total productivity can be reduced by significant living biomass removal (fishing). It is speculated here that, besides ecological functions such as floating spawn, one important route of biological forcing that has been missed may be the possibility that vertically migrating zooplankton not only shuttle carbon down to deeper waters, but they may also shuttle ‘new’ nitrogen up to surface waters.

    That latter idea is well developed, e.g.

    What Makes Plankton Migrate?
    Jul 31, 2013 – Diel vertical migration (DVM) is exhibited by plankton all over the ocean, not only zooplankton, but by dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria too….

    And this. Why was this so hard to find? Is this ‘outsider science’ that’s not getting traction in the journals? Or am I just looking in the wrong places?

    Marine animals actively helped to lower the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere and increase the oxygen content of the ocean, to the extent that they accelerated nutrient cycling and plant growth.

    Modern Whales and Seals – 25 Million Years Ago

    Modern whales and seals evolved by about 25 million years ago. Birds, fish and sharks still thrived, and the entire assemblage did quite well together.

    Centuries ago, before fishermen began removing fish and their predators, seas were unimaginably full of large healthy animals. The first explorers of the Northwest Atlantic ocean reported that the noise of the great numbers of whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence prevented sleeping at night, that large cod could be caught in baskets lowered into the sea, that fish were so numerous they slowed the progress of ships, that oysters and other invertebrates grew to huge sizes and were extremely abundant, that there were massive colonies of big fat seabirds, and that rivers were so full of giant sturgeon it was dangerous to get in a canoe….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 May 2014 @ 10:02 PM

  219. Well, crap. This explains a whole lot.
    Threaten an industry, get squashed?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 May 2014 @ 10:06 PM

  220. Re:OHC

    Most of net radiative imbalance goes in the top, so a couple millidegrees averaged over depth sounds about right.

    From the Department of Slightly Dubious Statistics from sidd:

    net radiative imbalance is about the same as the amount of arctic sea ice melted every year. (So far, we might run out soon.)


    Comment by sidd — 19 May 2014 @ 10:32 PM

  221. Grrr. something ate a bunch of my previous comment

    it should have read, net radiative imbalance integrated over one year is roughly the same as the latent heat required to melt a volume of ice equivalent to the seasonal melt in Arctic sea ice every year (gross, not net, i mean the difference between the spring max sea ice volume and fall min volume)

    But like i said, we might run out or sea ice in the arctic soon when the seasonal melt hits zero lower bound on volume.


    Comment by sidd — 19 May 2014 @ 10:42 PM

  222. #216 – Chris Dudley – wrong assumptions = wrong answer. Keep trying or keep digging.

    #191 10,900 GtC …. WRONG

    Is that clear enough? Probably not (whatever)

    Comment by wallly — 20 May 2014 @ 2:12 AM

  223. West Antarctica’s ice sheets collapse [with refs]
    incl “One of those potential fuses is the Totten Glacier, on the margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. In this area, a rift in the Antarctic crust allows sea water to extend hundreds of kilometres under the ice, literally undermining the ice.”

    Observed thinning of Totten Glacier is linked to coastal polynya variability
    Published 05 December 2013

    Comment by wallly — 20 May 2014 @ 2:16 AM

  224. Chris @ #204:

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but before we answer, are you seriously interested or out to make trouble?

    [Hints: The forcing applies to the whole surface, not the sun-facing disc. Much ocean mass is at great depths, which so far have warmed little. If one wanted to do rough numbers, it would make more sense to focus on the mixing layer above the thermocline, say maybe 300 m depth.]

    Comment by GlenFergus — 20 May 2014 @ 5:52 AM

  225. #201

    We’re not discussing mitigation this month.

    Back when I was in high school and college we worked on ending the nuclear arms race. Part of that was getting Congress to pull the plug on Star Wars. Living in the Senate Majority Leader’s state helped with that for me. But I also spent a semester in Tucson where I worked with David Grinspoon on consciousness raising in the public, promoting the work of Carl Sagan on Nuclear Winter. We sponsored forums and showed a film on the climate effects of nuclear war.

    Similar efforts are going on with bringing an end to global warming. For a while, it looked like the Venus Syndrome might play a role similar to Nuclear Winter. However, the runaway discussed in the Efficacy paper and in “Storms” does not seem likely given the way a bigger atmosphere increases albedo. So, it is interesting to know how far things might go without a runaway.

    It turns out that renewable energy and basic economics can push us much further along than has been previously understood. We can produce a world where little agriculture could take place and only alpine regions at very high latitude could be marginally habitable with assistance from mechanical cooling during heatwaves. We’d have to synthesize food chemically and all nations would be destroyed since their territories would be desolate. Looks like we could do more damage than Nuclear Winter.

    So, exploring the bad stuff may turn out to be a good thing if the result is an an agreed upon rather than controversial doomsday scenario. Ultimately, Nuclear Winter made the nuclear arms race unpatriotic. Renewable energy appears to be able to destroy the American Way of Life by providing much deeper access to fossil carbon pools. That may make our current “All of the above” energy strategy unpatriotic as well.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 May 2014 @ 8:04 AM

  226. #219–Thanks for posting that, Hank. DFO should be a little more open-minded, methinks; their management of the Canadian cod stocks has been a decades-long disaster that has caused hardship to thousands of humans–little say the ecological havoc. I’d think that they might be looking for some different answers by now, but I guess I’d be naive.

    And yes, your #214 does indeed ring a bell or three. It’s fascinating to see a different mechanism proposed to account for the WWII dip which is so striking in the record. Of course, it’s not the only factor in play–I’ve wondered about the aerosol forcings created by combat, such as enormous volumes of smoke from burning cities and oil fields, and the huge dust clouds stirred up by large tank battles in the North African desert, not to mention a big jump in FF emissions on a global basis–but still…

    You can spin an anecdotal scenario: as FF emissions from combat and logistics ramp, you get increased radiative forcings; combustion products (largely ‘sooty’ aerosols, one presumes) reinforce that in certain regions at least. Perhaps lots of that North African dust ends up in the Atlantic, providing a nice nutritive boost for fishery stocks there, priming the biological pump just as human predation falls off a statistical cliff?

    Then things pretty much flip with the end of the war: increased ‘biological forcing’ draws down CO2, the short and relatively mild post-war recession helps hold down emissions temporarily, and black carbon is suddenly much less common in the atmosphere. Put it all together, and you get a brief cooling before the post-war ‘economic miracles’ really kick in with expanding CO2 emissions once again–and the sailors go back to fishing and sealing and whaling?

    A properly quantitative analysis would be pretty interesting, I’d think.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 May 2014 @ 9:42 AM

  227. You know about biogeochemical cycling?
    Trash the “bio” component, and what’s left?

    I sure hope the modelers get the biological side understood before it’s gone.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 May 2014 @ 10:23 AM

  228. Oops.


    Lead researcher, PhD student Grace Nield, based in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University, explains: “You would expect this rebound to happen over thousands of years and instead we have been able to measure it in just over a decade. You can almost see it happening which is just incredible.

    “Because the mantle is ‘runnier’ below the Northern Antarctic Peninsula it responds much more quickly to what’s happening on the surface. So as the glaciers thin and the load in that localised area reduces, the mantle pushes up the crust.

    “Rapid bedrock uplift in the Antarctic Peninsula explained by viscoelastic response to recent ice unloading.” Grace A. Nield, Valentina R. Barletta, Andrea Bordoni, Matt A. King, Pippa L. Whitehouse, Peter J. Clarke, Eugene Domack, Ted A. Scambos, Etienne Berthier.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters. To be published Vol 397, 1 July, 2014.

    and in

    The Conversation

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 May 2014 @ 10:38 AM

  229. Chris Crawford @204.
    One of your numbers is a bit out which probably makes enough difference to give your answer that ‘incredible’ feeling.

    The AGW forcing applies to the surface of the globe, not the disc as seen from the sun. Thus the answer would be 4x larger. All you other numbers are reasonably close, but they do all err to reduce the size of the answer (the main culprit is the heat capacity of salt water which is 3.985 J/g/ºK at 0ºC, 3.993 J/g/ºK at 20ºC.) by another ~6%. I’ve ignored the effects of high pressure on heat capacity for reasons that should be evident below.
    So the number I get is ~0.006ºC/year.
    As sidd pointed out @220, the idea that the oceans will increase in temperature by an even amount is not the best way of viewing ocean warming. The bottom of the oceans are the coldest bits and that temperature is set by the freezing temperature of salt water because that is the densest water on the planet. So until ice disappears at both poles throughout the year, the bottom of the oceans will remain at roughly the same temperature.
    So it is surface waters that are going to be doing the warming. Perhaps if you say the majority of that 0.006ºC/year for the total ocean mass (let’s say two-thirds of it) is accumulating in the top 700m, with the average ocean depth 4,000m, over a century that would yield a 2.3ºC rise.
    I hope this now appears more credibile for you.

    Comment by MARodger — 20 May 2014 @ 10:48 AM

  230. Greenland will be far greater contributor to sea rise than expected May 18, 2014

    “Operation IceBridge vastly improved our knowledge of bed topography beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet,” said co-author Eric Rignot of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “This new study takes a quantum leap at filling the remaining, critical data gaps on the map.”
    The team also reported stark new findings last week on accelerated glacial melt in West Antarctica. Together, the papers “suggest that the globe’s ice sheets will contribute far more to sea level rise than current projections show,” Rignot said.

    Comment by Wally — 20 May 2014 @ 11:40 AM

  231. Something to come back to next month:

    Comment by wili — 20 May 2014 @ 12:13 PM

  232. More climate change due to changing microbes:

    We’re gearing up for a June-August 2014 intensive field campaign designed to further this science. In addition to continued investigation of black carbon, we are bringing new focus to analyze the darkening effect of microbes.   Glacier and ice sheet biologist Dr. Marek Stibal will be gathering data on the increasingly pronounced effects of microbial and algal growth on the warming ice sheet.

    As larger and larger ares of Greenland become subject to summer melt, more liquid water, a key limiting factor for microbial growth, is available on the ice sheet. In addition, Dr. Stibal and Dr. Karen Cameron will be examining whether fertilizing factors, such as nitrous oxide from industrial processes, may be encouraging additional biological activity on the ice sheet.
    In a recent Dark Snow posting, Dr. Stibal noted that organisms on the ice produce dark pigments to shield themselves from intense sun, as well as other functions.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 May 2014 @ 1:42 PM

  233. “So until ice disappears at both poles throughout the year, the bottom of the oceans will remain at roughly the same temperature.”

    – See more at:

    D’oh! Of course… (although bottom formation rates are variable now.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 May 2014 @ 2:19 PM

  234. Hi Gavin,

    I am not a contrarian, except insomuch as I consider you guys to be fully implicated in a corrupt process which misleadingly UNDERstates the risks due to AGW, due to scientists erring on the side of whatever (LR?, RL?) lower risk, maybe; and government reps from Saudi rewriting your reports don’t help neither; nor does the amount of corporate endowment cash swirling about in academia these days; and read some fracking Chomsky.

    Anyway, LB QUOTE himself disavowed the media’s skewed portrayal: “I do not believe there is any systematic ‘cover up’ of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being ‘deliberately suppressed,’ as The Times front page suggests.”

    So there it is. The man himself doesn’t believe the cooked-up controversy presented by conservative media. Any objective examination of the situation finds absolutely no validity to either the claims of McCarthyism or of conspiratorial suppression of science. In fact, the reviewer that “suppressed” Bengtsson’s paper offered a number of suggestions to improve its odds of being published. Certainly not something you’d do to a paper you’re trying to “suppress.”

    All that said, I wish the best for Bengtsson, and hope he never has to experience real McCarthyism. But in any event he is a pawn in this affair. The real story here is how desperate the professional climate change denial machine is to fan this dubious matter into yet another faux scandal, even as the observations of climate change come more sharply into focus, ENDQUOTE

    I think it would be very illuminating if you were to arrange a debate about intimidation on these pages between the author of the above, and LB. They could talk about degrees of McCarthyist intimidation; climate sensitivity; whatever. As I understand it, one of them was called ‘silly'; the other one bundles his death-threats by the dozen.

    If LB can show that, as a contrarian, he has been hampered in his career, or been prevented from publishing over the last half century, that would of course demonstrate various contrarian blathering points. Your risk.

    At any rate, his welcome here, and a continuation of the genuine dialectic, as opposed to eristic, debate that has been conducted in the peer-reviewed lit over the past 50 years would, obviously, demolish the contrarian case.

    It might also shed more light on the puppet masters than they might like. I have no idea how a rejected paper makes the lead in the Times of London. Have any of your rejected papers made international headlines?

    Thought not.

    See? There are some areas where LB knows more than you or I. LB is a pawn. Queen him.

    Comment by idunno — 20 May 2014 @ 3:09 PM

  235. Whoah–algae #1 source of sulfur into the atmosphere.
    Models got this anywhere?

    “… algal metabolite … is the most abundant
    form of sulfur released into the atmosphere.”
    Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (9), pp 4750–4756
    DOI: 10.1021/es403351h
    Publication Date (Web): April 1, 2014

    Direct Linkage between Dimethyl Sulfide Production and Microzooplankton Grazing, Resulting from Prey Composition Change under High Partial Pressure of Carbon Dioxide Conditions

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 May 2014 @ 3:11 PM

  236. Wili #231,

    “Something to come back to next month: ”

    So, let me get this straight. We are facing possible extinction because of climate change. Yet, here at climate change amelioration Ground Zero, we allow unpaid advertisements for a vegan diet (#212), but we disallow any discussion of climate change amelioration.

    Is this a great country, or what?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 20 May 2014 @ 3:32 PM

  237. DIOGENES, when are you going to stop arrogantly lecturing the hosts about how they should run this blog, and start up a blog of your own where you can pontificate about whatever you like to your heart’s content?

    Of course the latter would involve some actual effort, whereas freeloading on RealClimate does not.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 20 May 2014 @ 5:14 PM

  238. More modeling, cautionary, because — feedbacks! — more crap will be washed downstream with more extreme weather events, changing the microbiology.

    Here’s a model looking at a polluted areas of the North Sea:

    Gypens N, Borges AV, Speeckaert G, Lancelot C (2014)
    The Dimethylsulfide Cycle in the Eutrophied Southern North Sea: A Model Study Integrating Phytoplankton and Bacterial Processes.
    PLoS ONE 9(1): e85862. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085862

    We developed a module describing the dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) dynamics, including biological transformations by phytoplankton and bacteria, and physico-chemical processes (including DMS air-sea exchange). This module was integrated in the MIRO ecological model … and provides an explicit representation of bacterial activity in contrast to most of existing models that only include phytoplankton process (and abiotic transformations).

    Model analysis demonstrates … the need of adequately representing in models both phytoplankton and bacterial processes affecting DMS(P) dynamics. This is particularly important in eutrophied coastal environments … dominated by high non-diatom blooms …. to predict future feedbacks of DMS emissions on climate ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 May 2014 @ 5:36 PM

  239. 236 Dio,

    You’ve received more latitude than just about anybody ever. (The only other contender is a guy named Dan H) You had your say, even essentially had your own personal thread, Mar UF. Don’t be a whiner.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 20 May 2014 @ 11:38 PM

  240. @235 “Whoah – algae #1 source … Models got this anywhere?” How much weight do you want the models to put on DMS when it has an atmospheric residency of one day?

    Comment by owl905 — 21 May 2014 @ 12:21 AM

  241. Jim Larsen #239,

    “You’ve received more latitude than just about anybody ever…..Don’t be a whiner.”

    My posts have the consistent focus of methods and plans for major climate change amelioration. For some strange reason, I believe that, at this critical time, a climate science blog should have a pathological obsession with identifying the best climate science-based targets for focusing the plans. ANY deviations from that focus are, in my opinion, a waste of the considerable talents of the moderators and some of the posters, and I will do my best to ensure we remain focused on the central target! If you define that as ‘whining’, so be it.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 May 2014 @ 4:28 AM

  242. #237,

    I have no doubt you are comfortable with disallowing discussion on climate change mitigation. I have yet to see a post from you that would provide any substantive climate change amelioration, so this month’s ban on mitigation discussion is your Business As Usual!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 May 2014 @ 4:32 AM

  243. @wally #222:

    At risk of being wrong myself, I think you’re confused over what CD has calculated and why.

    His point AIUI is that given that there are 10,900GtC available to be emitted to the air if we throw cheap renewable energy at the problem of its extraction (which figure is calculated in the original comment to which he referred you at his #216), there are no resource constraints on BAU until at least 2125 – so that ending BAU requires a conscious decision to stop. He is not working out how much carbon will be emitted by 2125, he is working out how long it will take to burn through the 10,900GtC he has identified as being available. If you are right that we’ll only get through 2,000GtC by 2125, it makes his point even more forcefully.

    (reCaptcha is getting to the point that a machine will have a better crack at identifying the text than a human).

    Comment by Robin Levett — 21 May 2014 @ 5:35 AM

  244. wallly (#222),

    You got your math wrong before. Now you are not reading carefully either. Perhaps a particular example would help. Parts of the Marcellus Shale formation are so carbon rich they are bituminous. The formation started the oil age by being the source rock for the Seneca Oil Company. Now it is exploited for tight natural gas. But after the oil and natural gas are extracted, there remains a huge amount of concentrated unexploited reduced carbon. That carbon can be made mobile by the addition of hydrogen. That is not current practice in the ground because producing hydrogen is expensive. But energy is getting cheaper owing to improvements in renewable energy technology. With cheap hydrogen available, producing liquid fuels from the residual fossil carbon in the Marcellus Shale formation becomes economically attractive. Thus, multiplying present fossil fuel reserves by a factor of five or ten seems quite justified.

    What you are calling an assumption is not an assumption. It is a natural consequence of renewable energy becoming cheaper than fossil energy, the geology of fossil fuels, and the convenience of liquid fuels. Liquid fuel craving already drives the use of renewable energy in ethanol and biodiesel production and those efforts use clumsily inefficient photosynthesis as an energy input while wasting energy on reducing carbon while fossil reduced carbon is still plentiful. Other renewable technologies have significant efficiency advantages over photosynthesis and can be applied to known concentrated deposits of reduced carbon for fuel synthesis. Because of that, we can expect an oil glut this century. As long as renewable energy keeps getting cheaper as projected, more and more fossil carbon becomes economic reserves. And, we can expect plenty of places to use it: etc…

    Watch a Pennzoil PurePlus commercial and you’ll see we are already far down the synthesis road. Broad new vistas of destruction are wide open to us.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 May 2014 @ 8:03 AM

  245. D @ 242
    This isn’t hard to understand. The moderators suggested giving mitigation or whatever a rest because the ‘discussion’ (and I use the term lightly) was unproductive (to put it kindly). From where I sit, I looks like you don’t get how scientists see their work and how they engage in conversation. What is worse, what ticks people off, is that you are dismissive of that and the extraordinary patience accorded you by the moderators.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that you have something to contribute. That’s why I wish you’d hurry up and get over yourself so we can learn what that is. In the meantime could we please not make this thread about the moderators or whoever else you resent for having the effrontery to not bow to your wishes?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 21 May 2014 @ 8:34 AM

  246. Owl, I dunno, that’s why I asked about it, hoping someone knowledgeable will comment. Can you suggest something to read on the subject, or search terms?

    I found this:

    Carbonyl sulfide during the late Holocene from measurements in Antarctic ice cores
    M Aydin et al – AGU Fall Meeting, 2013 –

    … Carbonyl sulfide (COS) is the most abundant sulfur gas in the troposphere with a global average mixing ratio of about 500 parts per trillion (ppt) and a lifetime of 3 years. … Oceans are the largest source, emitting COS and precursors carbon disulfide and dimethyl sulfide. …

    I’m not arguing that it _is_ significant.
    I’m asking.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 May 2014 @ 9:35 AM

  247. DIOGENES wrote: “I have no doubt you are comfortable with disallowing discussion on climate change mitigation.”

    I am comfortable with respecting the moderators of this blog.

    DIOGENES wrote: “I have yet to see a post from you that would provide any substantive climate change amelioration, so this month’s ban on mitigation discussion is your Business As Usual!”

    I am also comfortable with ignoring your trollery.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 21 May 2014 @ 10:41 AM

  248. OK, I found an undergrad-level introduction that may be about the level I need; other suggestions welcome.

    I’m going to keep asking about the climate science issues here and ignore the background as long as I can.
    “It’s not the trolling, it’s the biting.” — Marion Delgado

    So on sulfur:

    Volatile Organic Sulfur Compounds of Environmental Interest: Dimethyl Sulfide and Methanethiol. An Introductory Overview
    Authors: Chasteen, Thomas G.; Bentley, Ronald
    Publication: Journal of Chemical Education, vol. 81, Issue 10, p.1524
    Publication Date: 10/2004

    DOI: 10.1021/ed081p1524

    Volatile organic sulfur compounds and their degradation products play important environmental roles in global warming, acid precipitation, and cloud formation. Two important members of this group, dimethyl sulfide, DMS, and methanethiol, MT, are formed by living organisms as well as by abiotic processes.

    DMS is synthesized by various organisms in the marine environment and large quantities of it are released to the atmosphere. One key precursor for DMS synthesis is the sulfonium salt, dimethylsulfoniopropionate. MT, also formed in marine environments, can be further converted to DMS. The chemical reactions responsible for the biosynthesis of DMS and MT are emphasized here, as well as means for their degradation.

    Since sulfur compounds are often ignored in normal course work, this article provides a basic foundation for an understanding of these interesting and environmentally significant compounds.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 May 2014 @ 10:58 AM

  249. Ice sheets as a significant source of highly reactive nanoparticulate iron to the oceans.
    Authors Jon R. Hawkings, Jemma L. Wadham, Martyn Tranter, Rob Raiswell, Liane G. Benning, Peter J. Statham, Andrew Tedstone, Peter Nienow, Katherine Lee & Jon Telling NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | 5:3929 |
    DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4929, published 21 May 2014

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 May 2014 @ 11:17 AM

  250. “For some strange reason, I believe that, at this critical time, a climate science blog should have…”

    Then I would second previous suggestions that you start that blog.

    See more at:

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 May 2014 @ 11:30 AM

  251. So with the recent increases in estimations of current and future melt rates from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and from Greenland, has any one put this new info together to come up with new projections for sea level rise over the next decades to centuries?

    Comment by wili — 21 May 2014 @ 2:17 PM

  252. In political news (from TPM):

    “A Texas lawmaker on Tuesday said that President Obama believes he can combat climate change because he thinks he’s God, according to Raw Story.

    “During a debate between candidates in the lieutenant governor race, an audience member asked state Sen. Dan Patrick (R), who will likely win the election, how much money he would spend to “cool the environment.”

    “Patrick said he would spend “zero dollars” to combat climate change.

    “I understand why Obama thinks he can change the weather — because he thinks he’s God,” he said, as recorded by Raw Story. “He thinks he is the smartest person in the country. He thinks he knows better in Washington what we do in Texas. He thinks he’s the one, through all of his executive orders, that Congress isn’t even up to his level, so I’m not surprised that he also thinks he can change the weather.”

    “The state senator went on to argue that global warming is not backed up by solid scientific evidence.

    “First of all, when it comes to climate change, there’s been scientific arguments on both sides of the issues,” he said. “But you know, if you want a tiebreaker, if Al Gore thinks it’s right, you know it’s wrong.”

    “Patrick added that policies enacted to address climate change will “destroy our economy.”

    “I’ll leave it in the hands of God. He’s handled our climate pretty well for a long time,” he said.”

    Apparently this sort of rhetoric works in TX.

    Comment by S.B. Ripman — 21 May 2014 @ 2:32 PM

  253. Oops.

    Greenland will be far greater contributor to sea rise than expected May 18, 2014

    Deeply incised submarine glacial valleys beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    M. Morlighem1, E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, H. Seroussi, E. Larour
    Nature Geoscience (2014), doi:10.1038/ngeo2167

    Drat. This is definitely going to be more inconvenient than imagined.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 May 2014 @ 3:22 PM

  254. On the other hand, more glacial meltwater is going to deliver more biologically available iron:

    Statham, P. J., M. Skidmore, and M. Tranter (2008), Inputs of glacially derived dissolved and colloidal iron to the coastal ocean and implications for primary productivity, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB3013, doi:10.1029/2007GB003106.

    This glacial meltwater input of Fe to adjacent polar waters will be greatest around Greenland where there are highest annual meltwater discharges. However, the greatest impact of this source of glacial meltwater Fe is anticipated to be in Antarctic high nutrient low chlorophyll (HNLC) waters where phytoplankton productivity is typically limited by availability of Fe. For Antarctic waters the estimated meltwater Fe (TDFe) input is about 10% of that suggested to come from sea ice melting, but glacial inputs continue throughout the austral summer ablation period after sea ice melt is complete.

    That hints that we (for values of “we” equal to grandchildren and above) ought to see a boost in recovery of the life in the oceans, if it turns out that we (us, now) have left the oceans in shape to recover to pre-anthropocene population levels.

    If not, of course, the jellyfish and slime will remember us with gratitude.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 May 2014 @ 3:47 PM

  255. Re 225 you give yourself credit for ending the nuclear arms race, when actually they became redundant when the USSR imploded. While I don’t think we will be using them in 2100 or even 2050 they will likely be around for a while.

    Comment by DP — 21 May 2014 @ 5:33 PM

  256. DIOGENES — Over on
    there is an entire section devoted to any topic related to climate change that does not relate to a BNC blog post. The moderator is most capable and you are, I thoroughly believe, welcome to develop your thoughts there. Indeed, if over there I might actually read what you write, which I do not here. This is (supposed to be) a climatology and only climatology site.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 May 2014 @ 7:02 PM

  257. Bravo:

    A new fuel-cell concept, developed by an Michigan State University researcher, will allow biodiesel plants to eliminate the creation of hazardous wastes while removing their dependence on fossil fuel from their production process.

    The platform, which uses microbes to glean ethanol from glycerol and has the added benefit of cleaning up the wastewater, will allow producers to reincorporate the ethanol and the water into the fuel-making process, said Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist and one of the co-authors.

    “With a saturated glycerol market, traditional approaches see producers pay hefty fees to have toxic wastewater hauled off to treatment plants,” she said. “By cleaning the water with microbes on-site, we’ve come up with a way to allow producers to generate bioethanol, which replaces petrochemical methanol. At the same time, they are taking care of their hazardous waste problem.”

    The results, which appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, show that the key to Reguera’s platform is her patented adaptive-engineered bacteria – Geobacter sulfurreducens….

    Avoiding methanol is a big improvement.
    Not to mention not needing any fossil fuel.
    Microbes — they know what they’re doing, if we listen.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 May 2014 @ 7:12 PM

  258. @DIOGENES #242

    I could be wrong, but as I understand it there is no ban on discussing mitigation this month; there is instead a requirement that if you wish to do so, you do so on a specific thread, where it is already the subject of discussion, and not in this particular thread. If that is correct, is that such a hardship?

    Comment by Robin Levett — 21 May 2014 @ 7:39 PM

  259. Hank Roberts, thanks for looking at biological consequences; also the ocean link is fascinating and, sadly, predictable. They give me a cauld grue, but it’s better to know. Some of this is a bit dated, but that only indicates that we are culpable in not being continuously aware of the dangers involved.

    SciShow has something (from a different route) about eutrophication towards the end of his “what’s the worst” show, starting about minute 9, mentions anaerobic bacteria and hydrogen sulfide:

    Jeremy Jackson is also depressing; here’s the short verion (Hank, I know you knew about this; also, I prefer the long version with extended slides of evidence and all which can be found with a simple search on jj and oceans):

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 21 May 2014 @ 8:39 PM

  260. @Chris Dudley 244. Yes, producing hydrogen is expensive now, but it will never be cheap. Cheap renewable energy will not be wasted drawing expensive energy from the ground – it will be served directly to consumers at market price n profit. Renewable sources will become competitive at the new expensive paradigm of energy resources, but will not reshape the market structure; just as the fracking revolution only put a dent in the market shape for a few years. Reduced carbon will be even more expensive to extract and to exploit than tar sands, and it will follow the tar sands business case model.

    Comment by owl905 — 21 May 2014 @ 9:13 PM

  261. “I lit a cigarette on a parking meter and walked on down the road. It was a normal day” B. Dylan

    Comment by Dave Peters — 22 May 2014 @ 4:08 AM

  262. There are some interesting details on China’s means of obtaining fossil fuels here:

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 May 2014 @ 6:35 AM

  263. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” –Mahatma Gandhi

    On divestment, here is a funny kind of laugh-at-you article. The joke seems to be on the writer Steffy. He urges the students to turn off the lights on their protest signs because “At night in Wisconsin, you aren’t powering your lights with wind or solar power.” which shows a certain ignorance of wind power which supplies 2.3% of power on average in Wisconsin but a greater fraction at night when demand is lower. The flag at the top of the photo indicates the wind is blowing pretty well. The real funny, however, is that it is blindingly obvious that the students’ signs are battery operated. He has no idea where the power to run those signs came from. The rest of the article is clueless as well. Published by Forbes:

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 22 May 2014 @ 7:01 AM

  264. Following on about fish problems, NYTimes has an interesting item about clearcutting about to be approved in Alaska (actual area is quite small):

    United States Forest Service … intends to approve the Big Thorne timber sale, which would allow the logging industry to harvest about 6,200 acres of remnant old-growth trees in Tongass National Forest, the world’s largest remaining temperate rain forest. It would be the most destructive old-growth cut in the forest in the past 20 years.

    …. In a healthy system, the old-growth western hemlock and Sitka spruce provide a moderating influence for the stream environment; large trees along the banks help cool water in the summer and warm it in the winter. The forested hillsides absorb rainfall and snow melt, ensuring a steady flow of current for the hatching and spawning fish.

    But when timber companies arrive, punching in their roads and clear-cutting, gone are the trees and root wads that create a diverse stream environment. Now the water runs in flash floods down the bare hillsides, washing away the fish eggs and silting up the spawning grounds.

    It’s sad, and it’s bad business. …. the Forest Service, buffeted by lobbying pressures and subject to a 1990 Congressional mandate to seek to meet demand for Tongass timber, is stuck in an outdated “get out the cut” mind-set that made sense back when timber was southeast Alaska’s economic backbone. ….

    As for logging, it actually costs taxpayers more than $20 million annually for timber programs and logging roads, even after timber sales receipts are taken into account.

    To be clear, I’m not anti-logging. The harvesting of young growth and second growth could play an important role in the southeast’s recovery. But when the Forest Service makes a timber sale, it’s geared toward larger, out-of-town companies that can exit the state quickly. Small-scale local operations can’t afford the large tracts the Forest Service makes available, nor do they have the equipment to complete the cut by the required deadline.

    …. The Forest Service …. has estimated that it will take more than 50 years to redress the problems logging in the Tongass has already caused wild salmon.

    Here’s a crazy idea: Instead of prioritizing large-scale timber sales, what if the Forest Service protected the Tongass? … tourists who come to Alaska to see one of the last wild places on earth wouldn’t find in its place a moonscape.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 22 May 2014 @ 7:14 AM

  265. Interesting articles in the semi-popular periodical EOS Transactions this week …

    <a href="; title="On the loss of WHOI's Nereus“>

    <a href="; title="EOS's summary of the Rignot, et al paper on the WAIS”

    And, at the risk of transgressing the guidance at the top of the post,

    Comment by Jan Galkowski — 22 May 2014 @ 10:17 AM

  266. #235
    I can not read the article since it is behind a paywall, but I assume that it says that DMS from algae is the largest contributor from natural sources. I have not seen anyone claim it to be larger than anthropogenic. However it as an important part of the sulphur cycle (10-30 %), and I think most models which include the sulphur cycle also include DMS.

    Comment by Øyvind Seland — 22 May 2014 @ 5:22 PM

  267. The real Diogenes was a monster of pride. Et tu DIOGENES.

    Comment by Tony Lynch — 23 May 2014 @ 12:41 AM

  268. Robin Levett #243,

    “he is working out how long it will take to burn through the 10,900GtC he has identified as being available. If you are right that we’ll only get through 2,000GtC by 2125, it makes his point even more forcefully.”

    What point is that? According to McKibben, in his Terrifying New Math article in Rolling Stone:

    “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees…..This idea of a global “carbon budget” emerged about a decade ago, as scientists began to calculate how much oil, coal and gas could still safely be burned. Since we’ve increased the Earth’s temperature by 0.8 degrees so far, we’re currently less than halfway to the target. But, in fact, computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 now, the temperature would likely still rise another 0.8 degrees, as previously released carbon continues to overheat the atmosphere. That means we’re already three-quarters of the way to the two-degree target.”

    And, that’s for about an 80% chance of staying under 2 C, a contrived meaningless target about twice what is allowable. So, using the 565GtC will be more than enough to do us in, much less the 2,000 GtC mentioned above. The 10,900 computation is a meaningless exercise!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 23 May 2014 @ 5:36 AM

  269. Gavin,

    You are quoted saying:

    “So when we go out into the future, there’s a difference. The future is unknown, the future is uncertain, and there are choices. Here are the choices that we have. We can do some work to mitigate the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s the top one. We can do more work to really bring it down so that by the end of the century, it’s not much more than there is now. Or we can just leave it to fate and continue on with a business-as-usual type of attitude. The differences between these choices can’t be answered by looking at models.”

    The quote is from here:

    Did you misspeak when you used the word “can’t” in the last sentence or is this a transcription error? It does not seem to make sense in context.

    Actually I meant the differences in policy that lead to the different outcomes. It could have been clearer. – gavin

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 23 May 2014 @ 5:38 AM

  270. From today’s CP:

    “Long-Awaited Plan To Fight California’s Epic Drought Passes Senate With GOP Support”

    The title, as usual, is a misnomer. This plan is completely reactive and reflexive, and will not get at the root of anything. It is analogous to addressing a symptom without eliminating what is causing the disease. Unfortunately, that’s the BEST we’re going to get from our Congress when it comes to amel******** climate change.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 23 May 2014 @ 10:47 AM

  271. If you read one climate blog article this year, it should be the following:
    “The real budgetary emergency and the myth of “burnable carbon”

    “We have to come to terms with two key facts: practically speaking, there is no longer a “carbon budget” for burning fossil fuels while still achieving a two-degree Celsius (2°C) future; and the 2°C cap is now known to be dangerously too high.”

    “What is less well understood is that if the risk is low, THERE IS NO CARBON BUDGET LEFT.”

    “If a risk-averse (pro-safety) approach is applied – say, of less than 10% probability of exceeding the 2°C target – to carbon budgeting, there is simply no budget available, because it has already been used up. A study from The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research shows that “the combination of a 2°C warming target with high probability of success is now unreachable” using the current suite of policy measures, because the budget has expired.”

    “For all these reasons – that is, prudent catastrophic risk management, accounting for food production and deforestation emissions, and for Arctic sea ice and carbon store instability – the idea of “burnable carbon” – that is, how much more coal, gas and oil we can burn and still keep under 2°C – is a dangerous illusion, based on unrealistic, high-risk, assumptions.”

    “A second consideration is that 2°C of warming is not a safe target. Instead, it’s the boundary between dangerous and very dangerous, and 1°C higher than experienced during the whole period of human civilisation. The last time greenhouse gas levels were as high as they are today, modern humans did not exist, so we are conducting an experiment for which we have no direct observable evidence from our own history, and for which we do not know the full result.”

    Where have we heard this message before?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 23 May 2014 @ 11:14 AM

  272. @DIOGENES #258:

    From my #243:

    “His point AIUI is that given that there are 10,900GtC available to be emitted to the air if we throw cheap renewable energy at the problem of its extraction (which figure is calculated in the original comment to which he referred you at his #216), there are no resource constraints on BAU until at least 2125 – so that ending BAU requires a conscious decision to stop. – See more at:

    Comment by Robin Levett — 23 May 2014 @ 9:04 PM

  273. A bit more ‘oogling in Scholar for atmospheric sulfur:

    Estimates for 1976, made with the aid of emission factors, indicate that man’s activities generate a total of 104 Tg Sa−1. This already represents over 40% of all atmospheric sulphur emissions and, if it continues to increase at the present rate, will exceed Nature’s contribution well before the end of the present century.

    but that was early in the Clean Air Act, and didn’t happen:

    Chemosphere Volume 58, Issue 2, January 2005, Pages 163–175

    Global emissions peaked in 1989 and declined rapidly thereafter. The locus of emissions shifted towards East and South Asia, but even this region peaked in 1996. My estimates for the 1990s show a much more rapid decline than other global studies, reflecting the view that technological progress in reducing sulfur based pollution has been rapid and is beginning to diffuse worldwide.

    but China, India …?? and changes in the microbial populations ….??>

    I’m just trying to ask an interesting enough question to tickle someone who knows something about the subject to comment about ocean microbiology and climate; pointers welcome to more reading (tho’ I’m paywalled out of much).

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 May 2014 @ 9:47 PM

  274. DIO the 2,000 GtC is cumulative since ~1750/1800 whatever. It includes the 565GtC and all the way out to 2100, fwiw.

    It won’t happen but only because things will implode globally long before then.

    Comment by Wally — 23 May 2014 @ 10:56 PM

  275. Gavin,

    In my #259, I’m trying to figure out if you disagree with the IPCC when they distinguish different outcomes from different RCP’s. Are you saying that the future is so magically different in its nature that in that one case models are completely without skill?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 May 2014 @ 12:53 AM

  276. Robin Levett #258,

    “I could be wrong, but as I understand it there is no ban on discussing mitigation this month; there is instead a requirement that if you wish to do so, you do so on a specific thread, where it is already the subject of discussion, and not in this particular thread. If that is correct, is that such a hardship?”

    You are correct, but the way this blog works, posting on a page 3 thread is equivalent to pissing in the ocean to raise its level. Disallowing appropriate discussion of climate change mitigation on Unforced Variations FOR ANY REASON is equivalent to the Presidential candidates not discussing climate change during the debates. The game now is all about mitigation, and the central technical problem is selecting the targets to drive the mitigation.

    Read #271, and re-read it. If those targets are correct, and I believe they are, our maneuvering space is collapsing rapidly and may have disappeared. The main contribution of a climate science blog, moderated by world-class scientists, should be to address the validity of those targets mercilessly and incessantly. Who else is going to do it??? With the Huns at the Gates, disallowing mitigation discussion is equivalent to giving the sentries a week off!!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 24 May 2014 @ 5:05 AM

  277. Wally #274,

    “DIO the 2,000 GtC is cumulative since ~1750/1800 whatever. It includes the 565GtC and all the way out to 2100, fwiw.”

    Understand. My point is that the 565GtC is a fiction. It is based on a contrived target (2 C), which even McKibben admits has little scientific basis, and is probably a factor of two too high. We have a bizarre situation in which two of the leading proponents for harsh actions, Anderson and McKibben, both admit their target of 2 C is basically contrived, has little scientific basis, and may be high by a factor of two. Yet, that doesn’t stop them from making recommendations based on the 2 C target. Does that make sense to you? If your broker tells you that a firm appears headed for bankruptcy and its stock is way overvalued, yet recommends that you buy now, would you find that credible? Why are the recommendations of Anderson and McKibben any more credible, based on targets that even they admit are contrived? And, why is this climate blog not pulling out all the stops to provide maximum insight as to what the credible targets should be?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 24 May 2014 @ 5:18 AM

  278. owl905 (#259),

    So, Austin is buying grid ready solar power for $0.05/kWh. I think you’ll agree that we can dispense with the inverters for hydrogen production. So, cut the cost in half. That is $42 for an oil barrel’s worth of energy. Let’s assume 85% efficiency for producing hydrogen, no well costs since we are using existing oil fields and we double the energy content of the hydrogen when we drag up the fossil carbon. That comes to a production cost of $25/barrel. At a market price of about $100/barrel, that looks profitable. Nope, looks like renewable energy can put substantial downward pressure on oil prices. Certainly processing the Green River shale at an EROEI of 3 gives a very attractive $14/barrel cost. The Saudis may even envy that these days.

    We’re looking at an absolute glut.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 May 2014 @ 7:53 AM

  279. Gavin @269,

    Thanks for the response. I’m still not clear. I could see that climate models need policy choice input, or better, forcing scenarios, to work. But the IPCC also uses economic models to try to translate specific policy choices into emissions outcomes. Are you just saying that climate models don’t tell you how to implement policy, only what that policy must accomplish?

    I think that changing ‘can’t’ to ‘can’ fits in the context of the transcript. So, I’m still stuck.

    [Response: Choices by society are not made by models, they are made by people. – gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 May 2014 @ 8:26 AM

  280. 272 Robin Levett … “there are 10,900GtC available to be emitted”

    Evidence ? CITES please ?

    Comment by Wally — 24 May 2014 @ 8:52 AM

  281. Dio, look at the right hand sidebar. You’re oblivious to how this works.

    New comments, and inline replies, are listed in the list in the right sidebar.
    That appears on every screen people see. NO MATTER WHICH TOPIC they post in.

    There is no “Page 1″ here.

    People are ignoring you _because_ you make irrelevant posts,
    and you refused to use the topic dedicated to your ideas,
    and you appear to think you own the blog.

    Hey, maybe you do. IF so you’re going to be all alone here soon.

    Until you figure out how to use the tool, you can’t do the work.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 May 2014 @ 9:43 AM

  282. CD, all your math assumes no externalized costs and no carbon tax, right?
    Using a clean fuel (hydrogen) to gather otherwise unreachable dirty carbon makes no sense unless you believe there’s no added cost to burning it.

    There’s also the notion of doing exactly the opposite of what you keep suggesting — extracting the hydrogen from hydrocarbons in situ, leaving the carbon in the ground. That might make sense.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 May 2014 @ 9:46 AM

  283. @wally #280:

    “272 Robin Levett … “there are 10,900GtC available to be emitted”

    Evidence ? CITES please ?”

    Restoring your snip, what I actually said top DIOGENES was:

    “His point AIUI is that given that there are 10,900GtC available to be emitted to the air if we throw cheap renewable energy at the problem of its extraction (which figure is calculated in the original comment to which he referred you at his #216)”

    from which it is clear that a sufficient cite is the post to which CD referred you at #216 – namely his #26.

    Comment by Robin Levett — 24 May 2014 @ 12:04 PM

  284. Hank (#282),

    Good question. We are not good at bringing externalized costs back into accounting, so I’m just looking at what a producer pays in costs and what the producer gets in revenue. Using cheap renewable energy to produce high priced liquid fuels seems pretty inevitable.

    Hydrogen, by itself, is a little inconvenient to work with. It is presently produced from natural gas though as you suggest. But, the carbon is released to the atmosphere, not returned to the ground.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 May 2014 @ 12:49 PM

  285. Gavin @279,

    Still stuck though that is clearer. Would you agree with this? “[Questions about t]he differences between [the outcomes of] these choices [can] be answered by looking at models.”

    It may not be the point you were trying to make, but it does seem to be true.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 May 2014 @ 1:00 PM

  286. Fascinating study of the destabilization of Austfonna in Svalbard by Dunse et al. doi:10.5194/tcd-8-2685-2014

    “We identify a hydro-thermodynamic feedback that successively mobilizes stagnant ice regions, initially frozen to their bed, thereby facilitating fast basal motion over an expanding area.”

    “Cryohydrologic warming and increased frictional heating both act to enhance this positive feedback, weakening the flow resistance exerted by the lateral shear margins and initially cold-based ice patches acting as “sticky spots”. The interplay between cryohydrologic warming and the emergence of basal hydraulic lubrication over an expanding area of the ice base constitutes a hydro-thermodynamic feedback.”

    Read all about it, open access


    Comment by sidd — 24 May 2014 @ 1:11 PM

  287. D @~ 276, 277

    What Hank said.

    D, you couldn’t have done a better job of poisoning the well on that topic if you tried, and yet here you are still attempting to muddy the waters at the intersection of science and policy. Hmmm, what if the people who do this for a living actually had a better handle on the nuances of this situation than your basic, self-styled prophet? It’s a devilish conundrum, eh?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 24 May 2014 @ 1:27 PM

  288. Seems military scientists have different ideas than CD about hydrogen :)

    Comment by flxible — 24 May 2014 @ 10:16 PM

  289. Now that Antarctica is in a state of decline, what’s next? I’m assuming several meters of SLR are already in the works. Greenland is unstable. We’re not slowing down with emissions so what’s the game plan? The IPCC has issued several dire warnings. I’m hearing more talk about Climate Change in the media and on the news. Even the Pope has taken a stand. I take that as a positive development but where do we go from here? Thanks.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 24 May 2014 @ 10:41 PM

  290. flxible (#287),

    We’re not discussing responsible ways to get liquid fuels this month.

    Note, however, that the energy needed to reduce carbon in that process is not required for a coal-to-liquid scheme, for example. For the Navy, the process makes a lot of sense; no need to haul jet fuel around. But, for commercial use, using fossil reduced carbon as a feedstock would be cheaper.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 25 May 2014 @ 12:40 AM

  291. 283 – Robin Levett
    #216 is not a Cite nor evidence. AIUI is not a cite nor evidence.
    and #26 is far from being factually accurate let alone rational … and light years from being a Cite so it may as well be a coin toss, in my humble opinion.

    Perhaps the RC crew could consider pre-registering people allowed to post comments here, as it would make it far better and less of a waste of time for Gavin (and many readers who never post). The scientific literacy quotient would skyrocket over night. Yeah that would mean barring (not approving) me and Dio too … in case you wonder how serious I am .. I am very serious. The world was heading in a better direction when RC had Mojo.

    Meanwhile Gavin would be far more effective (and I suspect happier) if he started doing more TED Talk type presentations than wasting his time on these bog comments pages. The one he ref’d at the beginning of this months thread was excellent … everything since then is well, far less impressive (or useful). cheers

    (but what would I know …. well I would be pretty close to accurate to say that the RC traffic now would be less than ~20% of what it was in 2008/09. ASk Gavin he would know for certain. )

    Comment by wallly — 25 May 2014 @ 5:25 AM

  292. @flxible #288:

    A couple of points:

    Firstly, as yet, the technology is at lab scale, and will require serious work and time to get it up to ship scale. The technology will be limited to nuclear-powered ships producing jet-fuel – massive energy input is required, which would rule out producing enough energy to power the ships themselves (if they could produce enough solar to create liquid fuel to power the ship, they could run the ship directly off the solar…).

    Secondly, the US Navy has the advantage of floating on their (prospective) fuel source. If this is going to be used to replace liquid fuels for transportation generally, the production technology will have to be developed further, and integrated into the existing storage and distribution networks. Who knows whether, absent the military imperative, that will be economically feasible given the necessary energy inputs, which will have to come from non-fossil sources.

    Comment by Robin Levett — 25 May 2014 @ 5:41 AM

  293. Wally #274,

    “It won’t happen but only because things will implode globally long before then.”

    As I interpret your remark, the only reason that we won’t burn up the xyz GtC by 2100 is ‘global implosion’. What is your global implosion scenario, especially with regard to limiting fossil fuel use? If climate degradation produces more intense heat waves, more intense storms, more wars, etc, these types of events tend to use more fossil fuels, not less. Other than massive population die-offs, what is it that will reduce fossil fuel use under these conditions?

    Comment by DIOGENES — 25 May 2014 @ 8:26 AM

  294. Wow, Gavin hits the jackpot!

    “Choices … are made by people”

    So obvious when you think about it, innit?

    And unfortunately, some people are not related to reality. Our House of Representatives, for example, who voted to pass this (which hopefully the Senate will stop). Just like those expensive and useless votes to repeal health care for all.

    None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 25 May 2014 @ 8:31 AM

  295. Re- Comment by Chris Dudley — 25 May 2014 @ 12:40 AM and above

    It is impolite to troll your off topic idea here when the rest of us are trying to respect the management’s wishes.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 25 May 2014 @ 10:23 AM

  296. Robin (#291),

    At the risk of discussing something sensible, and since you’ve broached the subject, cheap renewables make this sort of thing competitive as well, just not as competitive as making the planet nearly entirely uninhabitable. There are, for example, places south of Iceland where the wind resource is exquisite and applying that to producing liquid fuels from hydrogen and dissolved carbon dioxide from the oceans there would fit our present liquid fuel delivery infrastructure like a glove: there is already a world supplying tanker fleet. As Gavin points out, we have a choice to do the responsible thing. We could be fossil fuel free at lower cost than our present energy system in a couple decades. But polluting even more costs even less on a market decision timescale, so BAU would not follow a sensible path. It would, rather, make every nation’s territory desolate.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 25 May 2014 @ 10:53 AM

  297. Susan Anderson @ 292,

    “Choices … are made by people”

    So obvious when you think about it, innit?”

    And unfortunately, some people are not related to reality.”

    I think it all depends on who is buttering their bread…

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    ― Upton Sinclair

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 25 May 2014 @ 12:15 PM

  298. A while ago, I asked if anyone had any idea what the new research on WAIS and GIS melt rates might mean for rates of global slr. Here’s what I found in an AJ piece:

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August warned of a three-foot sea level rise by 2100. But with new insight into melting glaciers in West Antarctica, that increase must be revised to at least seven feet.”

    And that’s not including the increases above earlier estimates from GIS melt, so one might conservatively add another couple feet, yielding at least 9 feet or 3+ meters total sea level rise by centuries end. (But if I’m way off here, I trust someone will correct me.)

    Does that make sense to others? Are there any other places where anyone has been hearing these estimates being made in light of the most recent research on WAIS and GIS melt rates?

    It seems to me that these are crucial calculations for the huge portion of the global population that now lives below these levels. How much of this increase in slr should we expect to get in, say, the next 20 years? Half a meter? Less? More? (Obviously, specific locations will have less or more than the global average, whatever the numbers may be.)

    Another point made here (toward end of video):

    is that there is a 100-1000 times greater likelihood of coastal flooding with even just a .5 meter increase in slr. So the near-term (years to very few decades) consequences for many coastal residents would seem to be quite dire for many.

    Thanks ahead of time for any insights.

    (Might we expect a main post on these important developments?)

    Comment by wili — 25 May 2014 @ 6:20 PM

  299. [edit – do not use multiple sock puppet names on this blog. You will be automatically deleted.]

    Comment by Iconoclast — 25 May 2014 @ 7:59 PM

  300. Susan (#292),

    The choices Gavin outlines in the TED talk is pretty complicated.

    “Here are the choices that we have. We can do some work to mitigate the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s the top one. We can do more work to really bring it down so that by the end of the century, it’s not much more than there is now. Or we can just leave it to fate and continue on with a business-as-usual type of attitude.” – See more at:

    If you start to parse that, the word “we” is complicated. The “we” who starts an effort probably isn’t the same “we” who finishes since there is “now” and “the end of the century” involved which is long enough to have a few generations of people. So, what sort of “we” has that kind of durability. Nation state hold a kind of enduring identity and can take decisions, but it seems pretty clear that Gavin’s third choice, BAU, only needs a few “we’s” to take that road for any efforts on the part of others to be erased. So, “we” means the entire world for a long time, and our experience is that that sort of thing falls apart after a while. The UN has shown a little staying power, but the League of Nations did not endure. So, the “we” that needs to make decisions may not be well enough defined for long enough to be capable of making decisions.

    And, then there is the decision itself. In some ways it is like a call to repentance. If you decide to repent, you have decided something, but do you really decide not to repent, or is it just habit carrying you along? One aspect of the theory of the ban- al- ity of evil is that evil can just crop up without any particular decision point. BAU represents a non-decision in its very description. We could say that once we are informed about the consequences of our actions, we are responsible for them, but there are many people actively trying to lie to us about this issue, so it is hard to know it we are informed or not.

    Then it starts to devolve into a whole can of worms of not what to do, but how to do it, a topic we are avoiding this month. There are people who can’t stand that Al Gore wanted to censor por- no- graph- y, so they’ll insist that whatever gets done has to be done in a way that he would not like. There is a guy who’s father’s project at a national lab was a horrible mess to clean up. He wants our global warming problem to be a means of vindicating his dad’s failed project. He’s worked hard at promoting that and now Jim Hansen is writing the President about it. What a waste of time.

    And, perhaps the worse thing is that there is just so much carbon we can access. Just as Carl Sagan pointed out that over time the chances of an accidentally caused nuclear conflagration become quite large absent disarmament, a century or so of high carbon emissions anytime in the next ten thousand years means desolation. How could we “disarm” those carbon pools and put them permanently beyond use? I’m not sure we could. The choices Gavin describes don’t get made once and for all, they have to be stuck to.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 25 May 2014 @ 8:18 PM

  301. 287 Radge Havers et al
    RE says “what if the people who do this for a living actually had a better handle on the nuances of this situation”

    What if they do not? Richard Tol comes to mind here. it’s a very very long list in fact. What about AR5 WG3? Did RC post several articles about the under-estimation of the conclusions of the IPCC AR5 WGI or not?

    What about this? ?????????

    “As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently reported, strong climate action would shave less than 0.1 percentage points a year off the world’s annual economic growth.”

    As part of the Deep Decarbonisation Pathway Project, experts are working out what we need to do to put each of these economies on a path to deep carbon cuts by 2050 … Led by eminent US economist Jeffrey Sachs

    Australia also has great potential for carbon capture and storage ….. [ like does anyone have a URL to a real coal fired plant using CCS effectively and economically anywhere? ]

    Brightsiding climate is a bad strategy
    Is all “good news” and no “bad news” a good climate action and communications strategy? This analysis finds that the answer is a resounding “no”. with 20 page pdf fwiw … the internet is rife with supporting material about this, IF one would imagine even looking for it, and crosschecking psychology papers related to CC, public surveys, the Media etc etc etc

    Even read or watch Gavin Schmidt’s previous Manager/Supervisor Dr James Hansen’s many scientific papers, lectures, articles, interviews, and quote back to DIO any item that contradicts anything he has said/intimated so far.
    On the webpage “Updating the Climate Science: What Path is the Real World Following?”, Drs. Makiko Sato and James Hansen update figures in the book Storms of My Grandchildren
    OPINION “Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power and Galileo” (2014/02/21)

    JH Species extinction
    Peter Ward species extinction

    Peter Sinclair, producer of “Climate Change Crock of the Week” talks with the attendees of Texas Renewables 2012 about the continued thinning of the ice in the Arctic, and how dangerous anthropogenic climate change is happening now.

    So tell me again, besides a lack of politeness and tact, what exactly is DIO saying that is NOT supported by the CLIMATE SCIENCE DATA and TOP WORLD SCIENTISTS???

    I imagine not following the RULES of a Blog might get him shot or life imprisonment in China, or Syria, or Egypt … pretty serious stuff here apparently. Naughty Diogenes!

    Comment by Iconoclast — 25 May 2014 @ 8:21 PM

  302. What a scam that Denis Rancourt climate guy blog is with Peter Laux’s challenge for a $10000 prize to :present a conclusive argument based on empirical evidence that increasing atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel burning drives global warming”

    My submission was simple
    1 warming is unequivocal
    2 Peter Laux’s comment in reply to me on FB ” all you have shown is that the RF for CO2 is 1.6Wm2 that does not prove that it is due to humans”
    3 the laws of physice are non debatable

    of course he refused and i was called a troll but i asked for his address and that of his lawyer so it could be tested in court, i was then blocked and peter has gone into hiding

    c’est la vie

    Comment by john byatt — 26 May 2014 @ 2:11 AM

  303. Chris Dudley #298,

    “So, “we” means the entire world for a long time, and our experience is that that sort of thing falls apart after a while. The UN has shown a little staying power, but the League of Nations did not endure. So, the “we” that needs to make decisions may not be well enough defined for long enough to be capable of making decisions.”

    You need to start connecting the dots.

    Dot #1: From post #271, the target peak temperature for (hopefully) avoiding going on autopilot is 1 C, OR LESS!

    Dot #2: Per your quote, we need strong multi-generational global commitment to this target in order to have any chance of coming close.

    Dot #3: See, which shows how Australia’s support for climate change action has dropped by about half since its peak in 2006. Support took a slight uptick last year, and it is being spun as a major change. This poll parallels the recent Gallup Poll on climate change attitudes in America (the Gallup had no uptick), and would have to be in the 80s or 90s in order for Dot #2 to have any chance of being operable.

    All three dots (and many more) have to be connected in order for the trends to reverse. The odds of that happening are probably in the nano-percent region!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 26 May 2014 @ 9:24 AM

  304. Iconoclast (et al.) @~ 300

    Re: hyperbolic venting and other deliberately obtuse rhetorical games

    Could we please not make what’s left of this month’s UV thread about the moderators?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 26 May 2014 @ 9:47 AM

  305. “…like does anyone have a URL to a real coal fired plant using CCS effectively and economically anywhere?”

    See more at:

    Ask again in June. It’s just a few days away, now.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 May 2014 @ 9:49 AM

  306. wili #297,

    You quote AlJazeera America on the implications of WAIS on SLR:

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August warned of a three-foot sea level rise by 2100. But with new insight into melting glaciers in West Antarctica, that increase must be revised to at least seven feet.”

    I do not know where they get 7 feet from. I think it is hard to say what this would mean for updating the IPCC projections. They would probably be revised upward, but it is hard to say how much.

    To get a feeling what it might mean I recommend Aslak Grinsted’s post, where he uses the expert-elicitation from Bamber and Aspinall (2013) to derive new aggregate numbers based on the IPCC baseline scenarios, which results in ca 1.6 meter by 2100 for RCP8.5:

    How much the upper limit by 2100 by an expert elicitation would affect the new findings from WAIS and Antarctica would be interesting to see. I hope that Bamber and Aspinall plan to make an update of their paper. We need more of these qualitative assessments focusing on the tail events.

    Note also that the IPCC range is only qualified by being “likely”. The IPCC did not provide any specific numbers for the more uncertain tail-outcomes, which includes a collapse of WAIS.

    Comment by perwis — 26 May 2014 @ 10:07 AM

  307. Steve (#294),

    Reread my posts more carefully. I’ve been discussing carbon dioxide levels and TED talks this month. I did correct flxible’s misunderstanding of the energy requirements for a technology I’ve discussed here in other months when a comment was directed my way.

    Just to reiterate, while renewable energy could be used to cut carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, a subject we are avoiding this month, its most probable use would be to increase levels up to 64 times preindustrial owing to the much deeper reach into fossil carbon pools that low cost energy affords. The anticipated trajectory of renewable energy technology, the geology of fossil carbon deposits and the normal functioning of economics makes this the most likely path. As we’ve discovered, even RCP8.5 counts as mitigation compared to what BAU would produce.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 May 2014 @ 10:36 AM

  308. That Al Jazeera piece is attributed to “Renee Lewis” who is a “Digital News Producer”

    The story’s claim that the IPCC estimated “3 feet” and that estimate now “must” be changed to “7 feet” appears without a cite, not attributed, and the “3 feet” claim links to an earlier Al Jazeera story on an early draft of the last IPCC report, which makes no such claim.

    Most of the actual quotes are from Mathieu Morlighem (at in the Rignot Research Group) so I’d guess we’ll see a clarification from them and perhaps from the Al Jazeera “Digital News Producer” eventually.

    This is probably more useful as a reference for the earlier number

    Base the new estimate on that and you can get considerably higher water.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2014 @ 11:32 AM

  309. Soils that formed on the Earth’s surface thousands of years ago and that are now deeply buried features of vanished landscapes have been found to be rich in carbon, adding a new dimension to our planet’s carbon cycle.

    The finding, reported today (May 25, 2014) in the journal Nature Geoscience,

    is significant as it suggests that deep soils can contain long-buried stocks of organic carbon which could, through erosion, agriculture, deforestation, mining and other human activities, contribute to global climate change.

    “There is a lot of carbon at depths where nobody is measuring,” says Erika Marin-Spiotta, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of geography and the lead author of the new study. “It was assumed that there was little carbon in deeper soils. Most studies are done in only the top 30 centimeters. Our study is showing that we are potentially grossly underestimating carbon in soils.”

    The soil studied by Marin-Spiotta and her colleagues, known as the Brady soil, formed between 15,000 and 13,500 years ago in what is now Nebraska, Kansas and other parts of the Great Plains. It lies up to six-and-a- half meters below the present-day surface and was buried by a vast accumulation of windborne dust known as loess beginning about 10,000 years ago, when the glaciers that covered much of North America began to retreat.

    The region where the Brady soil formed was not glaciated, but underwent radical change as the Northern Hemisphere’s retreating glaciers sparked an abrupt shift in climate, including changes in vegetation and a regime of wildfire that contributed to carbon sequestration as the soil was rapidly buried by accumulating loess.

    “Most of the carbon (in the Brady soil) was fire derived or black carbon,” notes Marin-Spiotta, whose team employed an array of new analytical methods, including spectroscopic and isotopic analyses, to parse the soil and its chemistry. “It looks like there was an incredible amount of fire.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2014 @ 11:56 AM

  310. April’s HadCRUT4 was the tenth warmest month on record and the warmest outside an El Niño. And predictions that we are due an El Niño this year (eg) have increased certainty.

    Comment by MARodger — 26 May 2014 @ 12:15 PM

  311. PS — that article talks about buried carbon underneath “a vast accumulation of windblown dust known as loess”

    Well, how likely is loess to move away and uncover buried carbon?

    It happens all the time, particularly after periods of unusually heavy rainfall.

    So — add this to the consequences of more extreme weather: releasing previously uncounted buried fossil carbon.

    About that angry beast? Turns out that it’s a much, much larger animal than you thought when you began poking at it. Most of it was buried. Now we’ve awakened it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2014 @ 12:17 PM

  312. Don’t let loud voices proclaiming that “something must be done”
    not drown out those already working at it

    I only learned this search term yesterday.
    Don’t know why I hadn’t heard it before.
    These groups are using climate modeling extensively,
    though more for policy than for research.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2014 @ 4:18 PM

  313. Naughty Diogenes!

    Comment by Iconoclast — 25 May 2014

    (DIO – I’m afraid you’ve become a little unhinged my friend.)

    Moving on…. I’ve been reading all the links that have been provided here concerning Antarctica’s WAIS and it’s glaciers. So do I have this right that they are no longer “moored” to the ocean floor via a grounding line? I’m assuming this means they are basically untethered and free to roam about the Southern hemisphere?

    I realize as wili has pointed out that this probably changes the math on SLR. I am also assuming that it changes the time scale on how soon we can expect significant SLR. It seems to me that several factors concerning Climate Change are coming together more quickly than anticipated. We have a lot of “conservative estimates” but they don’t seem to be holding up to reality too well. Are there any “liberal estimates” we might need to look at, just in case?


    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 26 May 2014 @ 5:43 PM

  314. For John Byatt: facts won’t convince those who refuse to understand, but see
    How do we know that recent CO2 increases are due to human activities? –22 December 2004

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 May 2014 @ 9:48 PM

  315. > So do I have this right that they are no longer “moored” …
    > I’m assuming this means they are basically untethered

    You’re having us on, right?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2014 @ 12:30 AM

  316. Iconoclast #300,

    “what exactly is DIO saying that is NOT supported by the CLIMATE SCIENCE DATA and TOP WORLD SCIENTISTS??”

    The problem is, most of the posters here only want to hear a sub-set of climate science, and it’s not the same sub-set on which I focus. Look at medical research. There are many papers that discuss the etiology of a specific disease only. They track the evolution of the biomarkers through time, and document how they deteriorate. it’s the research equivalent of watching a patient die. There are other papers that focus on identifying the critical pathways, on which ddrruugg development can be concentrated.

    On RC, the main focus of the articles is on the etiology of the climate, and the main interest of the readers appears to be the etiology. I am far more interested in the climate analog of the ddrruugg development targets: what are the temperature and other variable values that should not be exceeded during our transition away from fossil fuels? Yet, for some reason, the moderators have instituted an embargo on that topic. I have yet to see a Hansen or Spratt post on limits, and how close we are NOW, much less how close we will be in decades.

    I know that when the atmosphere is trapping net heat, ocean, land, and atmosphere temperatures will increase, and ice will melt! Endless posts bemoaning the rapid loss of ice at both poles and in glaciers offer little insight RELATIVE TO UNDERSTANDING THE LIMITS OF TEMPERATURE ET AL THAT WILL DRIVE US OVER THE BRINK!! And, without a good scientifically-rigorous analysis and specification of those limits/targets, how can I/we take effective actions to avoid them???

    Comment by DIOGENES — 27 May 2014 @ 6:33 AM

  317. Gavin,

    You’ve left my question in #285 hanging. I’m pretty clear that you feel that climate models are not decision engines. It is interesting that game theory models strongly determine military policy and stock market models, in the form of high frequency trading algorithms, are autonomously setting economic policy. Models, in themselves, are not incapable of doing policy.

    But, I still can’t tell from your talk or your answers here, how much skill you think climate models have for informing human led policy decisions. One way of reading what you wrote is that they are completely useless.

    Do you have a statement on what climate model projections of the future can do which balances what you say they can not do?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 May 2014 @ 6:50 AM

  318. Chris Dudley #299,

    “There is a guy who’s father’s project at a national lab was a horrible mess to clean up. He wants our global warming problem to be a means of vindicating his dad’s failed project. He’s worked hard at promoting that and now Jim Hansen is writing the President about it. What a waste of time.”

    I would expect a post like this from the ‘tag team’, not from you. Please provide a reference, so we can judge for ourselves.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 27 May 2014 @ 7:48 AM

  319. Susan Anderson #293,

    “And unfortunately, some people are not related to reality. Our House of Representatives, for example, who voted to pass this”

    Three comments.

    First, those measures, even if implemented, would not even be in the ballpark of where we need to go to stay within the quasi-safe limit of 1 C. They are no better than the ‘tag team’ proposals.

    Second, ‘we’ voted those politicians in office, knowing full well their philosophies on a number of issues. They are doing their job, representing their constituents.

    Third, there are many posters here who are very quick in blaming someone else for our climate change predicament. Oh, it is because of the Koch Brothers, or Rex Tillerson, or James Inhofe, or ….. The truth is, we are our own worst enemy. Let me count the ways. Our radical ‘leaders’, including Kevin Anderson, Bill McKibben, etc, select a target temperature of 2 C, recommend a plan based on achieving the 2 C, then, in the next breath, tell us that 2 C is a dangerous regime. What non-ideologue in his right mind would follow such a plan, especially when the leaders state the targets are ‘dangerous’? Also, with all of our prodigious postings decrying the lack of action on climate change, most people here ‘run for the hills’ when they are told about the levels of sacrifice and deprivation that will be required to achieve temperatures in the 1 C range. Yes, these external influences are not working for our benefit, but if truth be told, we’re doing most of their dirty work for them.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 27 May 2014 @ 8:05 AM

  320. Thanks, hank @#308, for the link to that excellent Guardian article. I was aware of the Horton survey from last year, but not of the “Vision Prize” on (even though it is partly sponsored by my local university!). Here it is again:

    From that survey we read:

    “41 percent responded that it’s likely or very likely that sea level rise will exceed the IPCC highest estimate [of .91 meters], and 71 percent answering that it’s at least as likely as not.”

    I am struck that these experts did not say that their own _highest estimate_ was higher than the IPCCs, but that they thought that, as I read it, actual sea level rise would exceed IPCC’s highest estimate of about a meter. One wonders, then, what their highest estimate would be. Especially in the light of the most recent research.

    Presumably at this point we can conclude that most experts would expect actual sea level rise to exceed one meter by 2100. The questions remain–By how much? And what would the high-end estimates be, the ones that are so important for doing accurate risk assessment? And how much faster do we expect these levels of sea rise to appear? Any light that any of our experts or search sleuths can throw on these important issues would be most welcome.

    Comment by wili — 27 May 2014 @ 8:45 AM

  321. 303 and 318:

    Ask such questions here:

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 May 2014 @ 9:20 AM

  322. Richard Alley is interviewed here about the latest news on WAIS and GIS:

    The actual interview starts at 16.08.

    Thanks to Raenorshine at neven’s arctic sea ice forums for this link.

    Comment by wili — 27 May 2014 @ 11:09 AM

  323. Re- Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 May 2014 @ 10:36 AM, ~#307

    It is this poorly reasoned anti mitigation idea about using nonpolluting energy to produce polluting energy that you have been asked to not talk about because it clogs up discussion. You have trolled this idea in this thread something more than a dozen times when there is an open topic specifically about mitigation and another Unforced Variations thread that has been left open for more contentious discussion. Your behavior is (gasp) “inconvenient.”


    Comment by Steve Fish — 27 May 2014 @ 12:19 PM

  324. >You’re having us on, right?<

    Comment by Hank Roberts

    Maybe I misspoke a little. When I said "untethered" and "free to roam about"… I meant that they would eventually break off and float away since there's apparently nothing grounding them to the ocean floor. That's the impression I got from reading some of the findings. I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole but I guess that's not appropriate on here. It sounds like a serious situation to me but I'm not sure how this changes the timescales on when we might expect SLR to really kick in or how much we can expect this century, in light of this new development.

    So Hank, I would like to know your personal opinion on this since you were kind enough to respond. In particular, this is what I was reading and looking at:

    Incidentally, are you by any chance British? Just curious.


    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 27 May 2014 @ 12:21 PM

  325. As a matter of climate science, a target carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm is not a 2 C temperature stabilization target.

    Claiming McKibben is seeking a 2 C temperature stabilization target is false.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 May 2014 @ 12:27 PM

  326. Audio file: 150816005-inquiringminds-35-richard-alley-west-antarctica-is-melting-and-we-cant-stop-it.mp3

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2014 @ 1:16 PM

  327. This has gotten ridiculous even by my standards.

    There is a productive discussion to be had about how scientists can best inform policy. It won’t be helped very much by self-absorbed posturing, amateurish vaudeville ventriloquism, or clueless caricatures. Nor are out-of-date, finger wagging bromides about how democracy works particularly helpful. Also in this day and age, rowdy activism for its own sake, without respect for both how scientists need to work and how politics get done, runs the risk of being quickly undone.

    On this site in particular, it is probably best to approach the subject as thoughtfully, patiently, mindfully, and professionally as possible. If you can’t do that, consider turning your talents to where they might be of some use, like annoying Rush Limbaugh and similar intransigent impediments to progress.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 27 May 2014 @ 1:45 PM

  328. re 316 DIOGENES says: “On RC, the main focus of the articles is on the etiology of the climate, and the main interest of the readers appears to be the etiology.”

    If that is what it is, then it is what it is. You’ve made your point, and many agree with you, and far more than will ever tell you publicly here. As we say in Australia, When you are up shits creek in a barbed wire canoe without a paddle, you may as well get out and walk. Or trying to push shit uphill can only result in one thing. Why bother? May as well go argue with Monckton as beat your head against a brick wall here. Gavin isn’t interested. I can only conclude he must know who you are via your email address, or he wouldn’t have given you an entire thread left open for months. No one has ever got that here ever. Gavin isn’t going to change here, ever. And he’s rules the roost. I don’t think it is worth it, but whatever, do as you wish. I’m not judging you in any way. Best

    Comment by wallly — 27 May 2014 @ 2:52 PM

  329. 293 DIOGENES asks about “implode globally” 99.99% chance this won;t even get through, but what the hell.

    Dio, history repeats. To see the future look backwards and connect the dots and use multiple diverse tools. Despite the surface changes that often look bigger than they really are today is not much different to when henry Viii was cutting his wives heads off. People are people, and they keep acting like people.

    I mentioned at an earlier date about a major financial crisis around the corner phase 2 of the GFC that will it look like someone only broke wind. It’s very close and much is about to be exposed. What happens when Govts keep printing money and borrowing money from other nations like there is no tomorrow or it will never come? The contagion will spread to China in a flash, and the two biggest economies on the world !40% of all GHG emissions fall off a cliff overnight. All the shale gas fields become uneconomical and the financial impacts keeping getting worse. Global GDP fals off a cliff, the GFC was 7.5% worldwide drop, well quadruple that for a decade or two. Climate change effects keep coming in the short term, el nino around the corner and arctic ice loss in summmer circa 2025, and the extreme weather events kill both the Insurance companies and multiple governments already under stress. Social crisis follow, farming and fish stocks ie food big problems mass starvation and no bailouts. Sure a few wars here and there, no biggy, Russia and China are already top dogs now, a couple of nukes and even a few volcanoes and the globe will cool .. mass starvation, floods and droughts, all at once, and by 2040 your looking a brave new world starting over like it’s 1945. NO one will be arguing about climate change anymore, and then some intelligence will reign supreme for a while and tech will get back on track less a few billion here and there. The self sufficient will survive, the ingroups will survive, people will save things like rescuing text from the Library at Alexandria, common sense will return, and life will be very different. GDP and the global economy won;t matter and the invisible hand of the markets will finally be dead too and seen as the myth it always has been. Does have to be this way, can play out differently but the fact is that people are just stupid, and others usually those in power tend to be somewhat Mad – which is why shit happens. Look at Ukraine and all the spin and lies about that. If the really extreme weather events hit hard in the next 5 years maybe the worlds govts and masses will wake up about climate and economics like the US did regarding Slavery. But remember the US went through civil war hell and a couple million dead before that commons sense rational change was made. Don’t hold out much hope this time either. Slavery and carbon emissions? Same bone different horse, pattern repeat. There wont be world wars like 20th century too but most have wised up to that bs, and won’t throw their lives away for nothing again. So no one will need to burn 2000 GtC by 2100, reason and logic wise Philosopher Kings will return to the stage in good time. Frankly, I don’t really care that much about it one way or t’other. I know what I am doing and have taught my children to be survivors in a very tough world. My job is done.

    Comment by wallly — 27 May 2014 @ 3:20 PM

  330. 316 DIOGENES also asked: “how can I/we take effective actions to avoid them???”

    You can’t. Use your common sense and trust your own instincts. WITH or “without a good scientifically-rigorous analysis and specification of those limits/targets”

    Stop waiting for the rest of the world or governments to have an epiphany. have your OWN epiphany and then act in your own best interests and your loved ones …. buy land with ground water natural fed stream, and feed yourself, set yourself up independent and self-sufficient. Anything else is relying on others to play fair and honestly and use their brains. It ain’t gonna happen like that .. it might happen but your betting your life and your children life on that. It would take a civil war there to overturn the current insane mindset of the majority of Americans to wake to the reality of climate change and a change to the economic order that is part of the US DNA now. Christ they haven’t gotten over racism and religious bigotry yet. Ya reckon the US will wake up one day and go shit, the “free markets” hey it’s a myth, let’s fix it today? Taking carbon out of the economy is like ripping your own heart out of your cheat and believing you can still run a 4 minute mile. ( smile ) I ain’t depressed, this isn’t negative – just telling it how it is. the details don’t matter … YOU get the science all lined up and then YOU get the big picture right and then YOU do whatever you can. 5 years left for a global agreement in line with Hansen/Anderson/350org etc .. and then it’s game over anyway… the next phase is basic survival. A D-Day Moment that will last 2 decades. If the global financial crisis ala Depression hits which I think is pretty much guaranteed now, and soon, no one will be interested in GHG mitigation anyway, too many other things going on and the UNFCCC (the whole UN probably) will go down the toilet anyway. You don;t need Walmart or the Stock Market, nor GDP oir the pedophiles in the Catholic church etc so forget it, and get on wiht your life and enjoy doing something constructive for those you love and who love. No one here or Gavin loves you Dio, so walk away mate! I am not here for them either. Cheers

    Comment by wallly — 27 May 2014 @ 3:41 PM

  331. Kevin, thx re #301 but your link goes to this —

    296 – Chris Dudley says:
    25 May 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Which is nothing about CCS operational???

    I have checked here for example … and says there are NONE. Check the Project variations and look for yourself. That is why I asked here .. so what gives? I had heard (recall?) something about a US or Canadian power plant, a small one was trying to do CCS prototype system and had been funded as a test, but as yet still zero CO2 into the ground for storage.

    btw most of the projects on that page have nothing to do with Coal fired power plants .. but other things that are only marginally a positive for mitigation bar the basic tech itself. Several are running in Australia already in the west on gas fields but really they are nothing much of value imho. It’s more about getting more gas up out of a reserve, which is the last thing anyone needs except Shell et all.

    Comment by wallly — 27 May 2014 @ 4:28 PM

  332. Clive Hamilton – Vice Chancellor’s Chair, Centre For Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics (CAPPE) at Charles Sturt University (Australia)

    Forget ‘saving the Earth’ – it’s an angry beast that we’ve awoken
    Whether you consider yourself to be an environmentalist or not, the warnings from Earth system science have far-reaching implications for us all.

    Comment by wallly — 27 May 2014 @ 5:03 PM

  333. > I would like to know your personal opinion on this

    My opinion is we should be listening to the scientists.
    The pointer above to Richard Alley is a good start. ‘oogle his name and images to find his slide shows.

    The web pages for the most recent two papers discussed, after a while, will start to display “cited by” links — papers referencing the new information.

    Those will be the next round of answers. Await publication.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2014 @ 5:28 PM

  334. Another excellent Guardian article for discussion next month:

    Comment by wili — 27 May 2014 @ 7:11 PM

  335. Re- Comment by Radge Havers — 27 May 2014 @ 1:45 PM, ~#326

    I think that your concern has to do with the fact that the Real Climate Silly Season (RCSS) has arrived. The RCSS is a short term irregular cyclic phenomenon that isn’t a directional forcing in science blog commentary. The RCSS is thought to be the chaotic result of random variations having to do with the interaction of local day length and weather with a commenter’s contact with reality.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 27 May 2014 @ 8:07 PM

  336. Wally, the link should go to the comment from which I quoted; it’s auto-generated by the blog software as a convenience for those following the thread, if you do a copy-paste.

    It’s still not June, so I’m not getting into mitigatory measures, of which CCS is one.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 May 2014 @ 10:50 PM

  337. Hi Radge @ 326 you say: “On this site in particular, it is probably best to approach the subject as thoughtfully, patiently, mindfully, and professionally as possible.” Now that’s a good standard to aim for, especially professionalism.

    Wasting time at a Limbaugh or WUWT site is a waste of time, more fun putting one;s head into a meat grinder. About 9 months ago TheConversation (Uni fact driven news site) was infested with deniers, some professionals in anti-CC orgs, and Murdoch Newscorp/fox type shills and right wing political junkies. I counted at least 30 regulars who would disrupt comments on every climate related article and were very obnoxious and insulting and baited everyone. Most were Uni grads and some retired physics geologists and engineers some professors. It was a lot of fun (at times), but they really did upset people as well as the moderators who were overtaxed and copped a lot of grief and couldn’t keep up.
    In January they appointed a community standards person full time, Corey. Have a look at here, acknowledging it’s a different kind of site with far more resources .. here is their Community Standards fyi eg “Be respectful Treat people with the respect you’d like to receive. Admit when you’re wrong.” “in an article about the policy response to climate change, comments that deny the science of climate change will be considered off topic.” and “Be constructive – Explain why you disagree or agree with something. Your reasoning is as important as your opinion.” “This article sucks” will be deleted. “I disagree with this article. Here’s why…” and the rest.

    Last year I never took a backward step and eventually got barred … but not before I managed to help (with some talent at pushing buttons and arguing hard facts with refs) until they worst offenders spat the dummy and the most egregious perpetrators booted first. It was a price I was willing to pay … then along came Corey who cleaned a lot of others. A few months back there were still some old Trolls there, so I had a another dig in, and helped get several of those booted permanently almost immediately. Now there’s ONE left, and he has tamed down so much now it;s no big deal. No more BS .. new people are making comments and asking good questions, so many in the world are really in need of a lot of help in understanding the complexities of CC etc. It VERY difficult and takes time and patience from helpers willing to share info refs and be supportive. But until the crap was cleaned out and denialism banned properly and professionally it was incredibly difficult. Clear guidelines are critical and then enforcing those fairly and consistently without fear or favour is more than just critical. Posters cannot maintain a standard when the moderators don’t.

    Today I posted a simple but detailed unoffensive comment on another thread, a reply to these, noting given they mention nuclear then I should be able to reply fairly, and I quoted several passages from a James Hansen article which itself was referencing other sources. My straight forward content rich NON-insulting non-adhom comment has been sent to the bottom of the pacific yet again, no problem, I really don’t care anyway. The following is but an example … I could pick almost any poster here really, I could.
    161 Chris Dudley says: 28 Apr 2014 at 1:51 PM Edward (#157), You are becoming quite unbalanced. […] It’s not about rhetoric Edward, it is about your emotional state regarding nuclear power. Your seem to be driven to delusion.

    153 Chris Dudley says: 26 Apr 2014 at 3:30 PM
    Edward (#140), You’ve really misunderstood the situation with nuclear power. The levelized cost of new nuclear power is vastly greater than for renewables. (end quote)

    It was the last one I addressed with HARD FACTS and references, simply for readers and the original poster to have an OPPORTUNITY to look for themselves. No brow beating. Did my comment get deleted because I mentioned nuclear, and said I was doing that openly, due to the existing multiple comments already o the thread cross several pages .. it wasn’t an UV thread either.

    Most climate issues show up here They constantly feed through new release science papers, and article are by scientists and academics from around the world. The discussions are intelligent , light hearted usually, friendly mostly (now), and the moderation is consistent and fair. They also have a UK site. There’s other sites around similar i think, most blogs get a bit centric on the owners personal interests. CP doesnt take comments anymore and then there’s who have Judith Curry in residence now so a broad range of ‘arguments” are arising. Comments are allowed and it is US Centric plus CC science in general, and soon will shift into Politics mode too. People have mentioned BNC (?) and the nuclear mitigation/energy topics etc here before, but i find it far from inspiring, and pretty slow. I don;t like what Chris has done to climatestate, but so long as he and those who use it are happy not a problem. Each to their own hey?
    I think a Dio type person and many others might find one of the two sites linked pretty interesting places to investigate … to both contribute value of their own efforts/knowledge and learn more along the way.
    And if you love it hear then have at it, as they say in the land of the free. (sic) But at the end of the day when only 1 out 10 of my wise comments ever make it through to this place … know that DIOs are passed right through day after day as are Dudley’s no matter what. Who knows why, and who cares? Not me. But you can;t blame Dio or Chris for what appears on this website space. They do not control it. And neither do you et al. C’est la vie, huh?
    Cheers and enjoy the scenery you Crazy Oats you! ( smiling )

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 12:00 AM

  338. Chris Dudley #324,

    “Claiming McKibben is seeking a 2 C temperature stabilization target is false.”

    In McKibben’s infamous Rolling Stone article (Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math), he states the following:

    “The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can’t raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius – it’s become the bottomest of bottom lines. Two degrees.”

    He then goes on to state:

    “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.”

    Those are two of the three numbers in his ‘terrifying new math’. The third, of course, is the fossil fuel reserves ‘we’re currently planning to burn’, five times his allowable budget. He then goes on to conclude:

    “The three numbers I’ve described are daunting – they may define an essentially impossible future. But at least they provide intellectual clarity about the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. We know how much we can burn, and we know who’s planning to burn more.”

    The implication/inference is we have a carbon budget remaining of ~565 gigatons that we can burn and stay within 2 C, and we should aim for that. While he gives examples of scientists who believe much above 1 C is dangerous, he does not state that should be our target, and bases his carbon budget on the 2 C number.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 28 May 2014 @ 4:47 AM

  339. Wally #328,

    “No one here or Gavin loves you Dio, so walk away mate!”

    First, I want to thank you for your response in #327. Second, I don’t post here for accolades from the moderators or other posters. I post to exchange useful information, and ignore most of the incoming noise. I have not walked away, because I would like to get more info on the appropriate targets, and of all the climate blogs, this one offers the highest probability of such information being produced. The fact that it has essentially not been addressed yet is very disappointing, but hope springs eternal. My full statement on the request for targets in #316 (And, without a good scientifically-rigorous analysis and specification of those limits/targets, how can I/we take effective actions to avoid them???) really meant the global ‘we’.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 28 May 2014 @ 5:05 AM

  340. 338

    “The number 350 means climate safety: to preserve a livable planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.

    We believe that a global grassroots movement can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world, and is uniting to create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all.”

    Given your handle, you can’t help being churlish, but it is definitely a lie to call McKibben’s description his position.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 May 2014 @ 9:10 AM

  341. On the central coast of CA another blowback of global warming is in process.
    The rainfall shortage has led to a feed shortage for cattle. Not wishing to sell them all off, wishing to preseve their carefully-amassed mother herd, ranchers are trucking large numbers of them to Colorado.
    They will need to be shipped back when CA again sees rain.
    How bad will the climate disruption get? That’s what much discussion here is pointed to.
    In some highly charged and pressurized future will things like A/C use and cattle trucking be banned because the carbon budget is completely used up and energy from other sources has to be reserved for higher priorities?
    The growth of “cli-fi” literature makes sense.

    Comment by S.B. Ripman — 28 May 2014 @ 10:22 AM

  342. The second PMIP3 general meeting … between the 25th and the 30rd May 2014 … Namur (Belgium)
    The Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) is a consortium of research scientists and academics that has been active since 1995 to study past climates, with a focus on model-model and model-data comparison. Its objectives are to document performance of climate models, understand mechanisms of past climate change, and improve our knowledge of climate sensitivity…..
    Follow the meeting on twitter : #PMIP3

    My thought as a casual reader here:

    I mentioned above that more extreme precipitation events predicted as climate changes, falling on the loess soils that accumulated at the last great climate change (at the end of the last ice age) likely are going to cause more landslides.

    I’d expect the alluvial fans formed back then (which have appeared to be stable for centuries, and on which we’ve built a lot of structures) to start moving again.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2014 @ 10:51 AM

  343. Wally #337,

    “But at the end of the day when only 1 out 10 of my wise comments ever make it through to this place … know that DIOs are passed right through day after day as are Dudley’s no matter what. Who knows why, and who cares? Not me. But you can;t blame Dio or Chris for what appears on this website space. They do not control it.”

    Stay with the facts. Neither you nor I know what gets submitted; we only know what gets posted. My straight technical comments almost always (or perhaps always) get posted. My responses to some extremely vituperative comments many times will not see the light of day. I don’t know what Chris’ statistics are; he can speak for himself, if he so chooses.

    We can’t set the rules; someone else owns the ball. We can only choose whether to play the game or not. I try to minimize my responses to slanderous and vindictive comments; no one benefits from either set of comments. My goal is to try and elicit any ideas that could offer a way out of the climate predicament into which we have gotten ourselves. If one out of ten comments contributes to that goal, it’s better than nothing. I would prefer nine out of ten.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 28 May 2014 @ 12:15 PM

  344. wallly (#337),

    Are you saying you are a sock puppet for Edward? Best not to do that. I was edited earlier in this thread. You can also find a bore hole selection here: I’m not proud… or tired.

    I would urge you to look at the word “new” in the place you quoted me. That may clear up a misunderstanding.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 May 2014 @ 12:36 PM

  345. 304 Radge Havers, in my opinion your comment is disengenous, ignores the actual content of my specific points which directly referred to YOUR own comment, and I find it unnecessarily offensive and irrational. You raised a point, I disagreed and gave very strong reason for that with references. Then you do not have the courtesy to even say thanks, or acknowledge even ONE single aspect of that which is true and factual. ala it is the science that supports Dio concerns – nothing else matters, and yet to continue to ignore that and discount the firm basis for his opinion and conclusions and have never once acknowledged the accuracy of those views are now widespread in the science academic economics WEF OECD IMF IPCC NAS Universities recent Literature and the broad community and showing up on every climate related info site across the world today. (as per my references given on this page in several places.) How you speak to Dio is your choice alone. You can be nice and polite or how you usually speak to him and so many others over the years here. Both have an EFFECT that returns to you and influences the discussion.
    Now you make it a admonimem strawman attack, and you then falsely twist that into me making it about the moderators. The problem is not mine, I see it as all yours. You have a choice how you speak to dio and everyone else. take responsibility for your own words before criticizing others may be a sound professional standard to apply to yourself.
    You wanna make it about me personally and the post is published then I should have equal right to present material that completely undermines your argument/s using reason and logic alone as well. Where are your credible references to “people who do this for a living actually had a better handle on the nuances of this situation””???? I see none, and none have been presented since Dio arrived months ago. Yet you and others speak from a high pulpit about “standards and professionalism” and the value of factual hard science and peer reviewed papers? Meanwhile personal attacks on other posters keep getting published while basic corrections of FACT (no insults with refs for anyone to check) about posts by Dudley are deleted x8 times on a “science” site over 4 days ? In my humble opinion you do not present a coherent logical argument that can withstand the slightest analysis based on the evidence here RH. (are my opinions allowed here of RHs criticisms and flawed arguments using factual material or only opinions, misrepresentations and insulting adhom comments by others about me and dio? I have no problem with the mods, I do not care one bit, they can do what they like it’s their website, but does that mean I have NO RIGHT to simply speak about the facts of the matter? Like why is it more important to maintain a misunderstanding and have false information left here instead of a simple correction of what was actually said and rejection of the insults and extra falsehoods I was accused of that do not stack up in any way??? It’s a fair question, that deserves an answer in my humble opinion. It raises some additional issues about “professional standards” that should be obvious to anyone. )

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 12:50 PM

  346. 336 Kevin McKinney says:27 May 2014 at 10:50 PM
    “Wally, the link should go to the comment from which I quoted ….. ”

    IT DIDN’T – you try it.

    That was my point and why I was confused. It appears that Comment Numbers/urls are changing sometimes here (or the copy/paste of the link was in error). Several weird website issues have been happening here for a while pre/post their site update.

    Just letting you know that is WHY I didn’t understand what you were getting at. TY
    Don’t bother about my request on any CCS plant, it’s too late now, I don;t care anymore, I have enough valid info about no/limited credible activity on this subject at this time… all spin (misuse of grants subsidies) and wishful thinking to date.

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 12:59 PM

  347. Steve (#323),

    Try reading again. Consider as you read that we used to use wind power to get whale oil. Consider also that what I am describing is already happening.

    You may not like it, but this is the most economic path. That is why it is called BAU.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 May 2014 @ 1:22 PM

  348. First it was the bad news from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet:

    Then came the bad news from the Greenland Ice Sheet:

    And, as if this was not enough, now we also need to worry about the East Antarctic Ice Sheet:
    ” the removal of a specific coastal ice volume equivalent to less than 80 mm of global sea-level rise at the margin of the Wilkes Basin destabilizes the regional ice flow and leads to a self-sustained discharge of the entire basin and a global sea-level rise of 3–4 m.”

    Let us hope that these things take long time to unfold. But I think we need to start thinking really hard about how to live with rapidly changing sea levels…

    Comment by perwis — 28 May 2014 @ 5:55 PM

  349. New Paper – The research to be published in Global Change Biology on June 3 was carried out by 10 researchers from 11 universities and research institutions in Brazil and the UK.

    Read more at:

    54 GtC (billion tonnes of carbon) is lost from the Amazon every year due to selective logging and wildfires, making up 40% of the global yearly carbon loss from deforestation. [ note this appears it is not included in past/current net emissions data of IPCC, nor future scenarios RCPs]

    Lead researcher Dr Erika Berenguer from Lancaster University said: “The impacts of fire and logging in tropical forests have always been largely overlooked by both the scientific community and policy makers who are primarily concerned with deforestation. Yet our results show how these disturbances can severely degrade the forest, with huge amounts of carbon being transferred from plant matter straight into the atmosphere”.

    The findings come from Lancaster University, which conducted landmark research calculating the carbon loss from logging and fires in the tropics. It examined samples of trees, soil, litter and dead wood from 225 sites in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

    The findings highlight the impact that the forest degradation due to logging has on emissions. Logging has altered the forest canopy making it less able to store carbon and more prone to wildfire.

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 7:06 PM

  350. Kevin McKinney – previously you mentioned you were active in KeystoneXL/shale gas protests activism?
    FYI/motivation/ideas winning – Community coal seam gas campaigns have had some big wins lately, most recently in the suspension of the drilling licence for CSG company Metgasco in New South Wales. Referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the decision was partly attributed to lack of community consultation.
    In the Pilliga Forest, west of Tamworth, the ongoing actions and protests over plans to develop a CSG hub have delayed proceedings dramatically. In November last year, the Victorian government extended a moratorium on fracking until 2015. And in March, the NSW state government backed down on the granting of new CSG licences.
    So why are these community campaigns winning, even if it is just in the short term?

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 7:23 PM

  351. Nov 2013 Prof Peter Ward on Science literacy, convincing the public about CC realities, the URGENT need for Cultural Change inside Science Departments at Universities regarding basic performance standards, teaching abilities, who gets promoted and why, plus enhancing and insisting upon a Scientist’s ability for outreach to the General Public as part of their primary Job Description and potential for career promotions and their Salary

    Link goes direct to lecture segment

    from University of Washington’s 34th Annual Faculty Lecture – Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Climate? What is the Worst That Global Warming Could Do?

    Any comments?

    Will Peter Ward get an invitation to speak at the next AGU Meeting? If not, then why not?

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 9:57 PM

  352. 342 Chris Dudley says:28 May 2014 at 12:36 PM
    wallly (#337),”Are you saying you are a sock puppet for Edward?” Nope

    “That may clear up a misunderstanding.” All misunderstandings are your own. If my posts were not interfered with that misunderstanding would have been cleared up a week ago easily. I am on a very tight leash here, Gavin has demanded of the other Moderators that only he “approves” my comments. That seriously interrupts clear communication and only makes it worse for everyone, including himself. My personal values, direct approach, sense of humour, my extensive and very relevant personal experience and knowledge and opinions are not valued nor understood. That’s fine by me. I have no desire to be a “resident” here either. As a teacher of teachers only the alert comprehend, and I have been very successful at that and have no interest in kudos nor need positive affirmations from others. Ego and always being right does not drive my actions or words. I get it that you Chris won’t understand what I am talking about here. So be it. That’s not my personal failing or making. Good Luck with it.

    Comment by wallly — 28 May 2014 @ 11:09 PM

  353. Those will be the next round of answers. Await publication.

    Comment by Hank Roberts

    I will. I would still like to know if you have any opinions on sudden SLR. Dr. Alley said that the movement of glaciers was like “flipping a switch” instead of something more gradual as far as movement goes. Does this add any credence to the possibility of sudden SLR this century? (your opinion)

    I was a little surprised to find out that Dr.Richard Alley was a conservative Republican. I wonder what he thinks about his party’s rejection of Climate Science or any other science for that matter? I know that Charles Keeling was also a Republican but I don’t think the GOP was quite like they are now on certain issues back in his day.


    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 28 May 2014 @ 11:43 PM

  354. REgarding the excellent comments by 344 perwis (and to Diogenes or anyone else interested in the new Science paper about Amazon Carbon emissions already posted to here this morning) well one aspect is obviously about the rational need for massive sequestration of carbon from extensive re-forestation etc. James Hansen puts the figure at a minimum 100 GtC (equal to 10 years of total carbon energy use today) which is truck load of trees and acreage. The problem I saw articulated a cp weeks ago (will try to find the ref for that) was that unless drastic emission cuts comes first to stop further warming and climate impacts in weather, then circa 2040 such “new” forests will not survive due to climate change and will go back into the atmosphere again, and trying to plant more post 2040 will very likely not succeed. [obviously depending on when/if that transpires]

    BUT more than that aspect it also shows new Paper listed on the con today informs us yet again that the true carbon emissions total quantity are being underestimated (past and into the future) this time from forest logging use and subsequent fires in the Amazon not only from total destruction. SEE:

    New Paper – The research to be published in Global Change Biology on June 3 was carried out by 10 researchers from 11 universities and research institutions in Brazil and the UK. Read more at: or ref

    “54 GtC (billion tonnes of carbon) is lost from the Amazon every year due to selective logging and wildfires, making up 40% of the global yearly carbon loss from deforestation.” [ note this appears it is not included in past/current net emissions data of IPCC, nor future scenarios RCPs]

    So, if 54 GtC PER YEAR (5 years of total global CO2 emissions each year) is going into the atmosphere each year from the amazon alone,and if this study is accurate and valid over time, then it alone blows apart every single CO2 projections in the IPCC reports since 1990 to today.

    What really concerns me now .. there is such a large volume of NEW quality research papers being published even the Climate Scientists must be personally struggling to keep up to date and could be under extreme stress trying to work out which new Studies are the most important…. and what to do or say about it. How they are coping with this personally, and how well they are able to support and communicate with each other while the “ground is basically shifting under their feet” almost daily is hard to comprehend.

    Comment by wallly — 29 May 2014 @ 12:27 AM

  355. Paul Krugman:

    “Think of it this way: Once upon a time it was possible to take climate change seriously while remaining a Republican in good standing. Today, listening to climate scientists gets you excommunicated — hence Mr. Rubio’s statement, which was effectively a partisan pledge of allegiance.

    And truly crazy positions are becoming the norm. A decade ago, only the G.O.P.’s extremist fringe asserted that global warming was a hoax concocted by a vast global conspiracy of scientists (although even then that fringe included some powerful politicians). Today, such conspiracy theorizing is mainstream within the party, and rapidly becoming mandatory; witch hunts against scientists reporting evidence of warming have become standard operating procedure, and skepticism about climate science is turning into hostility toward science in general.”

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 29 May 2014 @ 12:32 AM

  356. Here I give some background on the Bengtsson saga in English:

    Comment by Magnus W — 29 May 2014 @ 1:40 AM

  357. Has this research been referenced? Swell and sea in the emerging Arctic Ocean. I’m not sure if the use of models (which overestimated at some point) renders this less than an iron-cast candidate for another positive feedback mechanism. As the ice retreats, the waves get bigger (in summer), which breaks up the ice more, causing more melting. I heard that this is an impact in the Antarctic, too.

    Comment by Tony — 29 May 2014 @ 4:00 AM

  358. Chris Dudley #338,

    “but it is definitely a lie to call McKibben’s description his position.”

    In November 2012, after publication of the Rolling Stone article, McKibben went around the country on a ‘Do the Math Tour’, whose focus was listed on his site: “It’s simple math: we can emit 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth.” ( Sounds like his position to me. I think it’s pretty obvious who’s doing the lying on this issue!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 29 May 2014 @ 4:52 AM

  359. Here is a letter on divestment that is worth reading:

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 29 May 2014 @ 6:14 AM

  360. Chris Dudley #300,

    “There is a guy who’s father’s project at a national lab was a horrible mess to clean up. He wants our global warming problem to be a means of vindicating his dad’s failed project. He’s worked hard at promoting that and now Jim Hansen is writing the President about it. What a waste of time.”

    You have yet to provide one shred of evidence backing up your presently unfounded assertion above!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 29 May 2014 @ 6:49 AM

  361. Re- Comment by Chris Dudley — 28 May 2014 @ 1:22 PM, ~#343

    You make my point.


    Comment by Steve Fish — 29 May 2014 @ 9:10 AM

  362. “…80 mm of global sea-level rise…”

    That would be equivalent to less than three average years.


    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 May 2014 @ 10:33 AM

  363. Looks like the new regulations for existing power plants will require a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions over six years. Regional Cap-and-Trade run by states will fit into these regulations.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 29 May 2014 @ 10:37 AM

  364. Steve Fish @~ 335

    Would that it were so. I think we’re looking at silly in the rear view mirror when it comes to one or two of the cases here.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 29 May 2014 @ 11:23 AM

  365. A pretty accurate picture of how things will go from here wrt denialists & pseudo-skeptics:

    Comment by wili — 29 May 2014 @ 1:50 PM

  366. 358,

    I take a “pack out your trash” position of 280 ppm on what our carbon dioxide concentration target should be, yet I am very please that with RCP2.6 we have a 270 GtC cushion which can avoid major extinctions owing to climate change. Dangerous climate change arrived early, so many people will die while we work on this, but we won’t be destroying biodiversity potential by that means, we won’t be eliminating the potential for recovery. RCP2.6 is marginally compatible with the goal. Since we’ve got to go through 350 ppm to get to 280 ppm, I support what is doing. And, though I often urge that China be coerced into cutting emissions using GATT, the 2 C limit does have the potential to get China to act voluntarily. That is where the world diplomatic efforts are concentrated so far. The usual consequence of diplomatic failure is war.

    So, a 280 ppm target to be good people, a 350 ppm target to avoid culpability for deaths from dangerous climate change and future ice sheet destabilization and a 2 C limit to avoid major powers war and limit famine and species extinction to some degree. Mathematically, both targets are compatible with the limit.

    You might ask McKibben if his work to get people to understand the 2 C math might not just be a case of trying to keep 350 ppm within reach. Your accusation just does not fit.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 May 2014 @ 6:52 AM

  367. 360,

    I answered you here:

    Don’t keep asking on a page where the answer is not allowed.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 May 2014 @ 7:00 AM

  368. wallly (#354),

    If you want to pinch hit for Edward, do it back in that thread where that topic is allowed. I suggest you read Amory Lovins book “Reinventing Fire” first so you can have an adequate handle on the topic.

    If you get censored, ask why. I suspect you just posted to the wrong thread. If you read that thread, you’ll see that I got the topic open with this post: Relative costs of mitigation options can be discussed there.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 May 2014 @ 7:34 AM


    There are myriad atmospheric CO2 concentration targets being proposed. It is instructive to examine some of the range, and the accompanying arguments. Below, I summarize four of the many: 450 ppm; 350 ppm; 300 ppm; 260 ppm. All are fantasies, of course. There is no relationship between our current policies/actions on CO2 emissions, nor any realistically proposed policies and actions, and achievement of targets anywhere near the above ranges.

    “450 Scenario: A scenario presented in the World Energy Outlook that sets out an energy pathway consistent with the goal of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2°C by limiting concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to around 450 parts per million of CO2……
    -The 2°C Scenario (2DS) is the focus of Energy Technology Perspectives. The 2DS describes an energy system consistent with an emissions trajectory that recent climate science research indicates would give AN 80% CHANCE of limiting average global temperature increase to 2°C. It sets the target of cutting energy-related CO2 emissions by more than half in 2050 (compared with 2009) and ensuring that they continue to fall thereafter. Importantly, the 2DS acknowledges that transforming the energy sector is vital, but not the sole solution: the goal can only be achieved provided that CO2 and GHG emissions in non-energy sectors are also reduced. The 2DS is broadly consistent with the World Energy Outlook 450 Scenario through 2035.”

    “350 ppm (Safe): Many leading climate scientists do not have that appetite for risk. A December 2013 report by “James Hansen, Johan Rockström, and 15 other scientists, “Assessing ‘Dangerous Climate Change’: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature,” declares that 2°C of global warming would have disastrous consequences and could cause major dislocations for civilization…..The authors advocate for a TARGET OF 350 PPM AS THE MAXIMUM SAFE CONCENTRATION OF CO2 CONCENTRATION, WHICH WOULD STABILIZE THE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE AT 1°C ABOVE PRE-INDUSTRIAL LEVELS and avoid runaway climate destabilization.”

    “That “350 ppm” is where gets its name. “PPM” stands for “parts per million,” which is simply a way of measuring the ratio of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the other molecules in the atmosphere. Many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments agree with Dr. Hansen that 350 ppm is the “safe” level of carbon dioxide….. Right now we’re at 400 ppm, and we’re adding 2 ppm of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. Unless we are able to rapidly turn that around and return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk triggering tipping points and irreversible impacts that could send climate change spinning truly beyond our control.”
    Yet, the leader of goes on a national Do the Math tour, hyping the 2 C target and 565GtC remaining carbon budget, neither of which will get us in the ballpark of what Hansen recommends. AND, WE WONDER WHY THE CLIMATE ADVOCACY MOVEMENT HAS A HARD TIME FINDING RECRUITS!!!

    “ exists to inform people about the Climate Emergency and the need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentration to a safe and sustainable level of about 300 ppm.

    The fundamental position of is that “There must be a safe and sustainable existence for all peoples and all species on our warming-threatened Planet and this requires a rapid reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to about 300 parts per million”. [1]. urges the World to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (CO2) to about 300 parts per million by volume (ppm). In urging a target of an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 300 ppm, is informed by the advice of top world climate scientists as set out below.

    The name reflects support for the implicit goal of less than 350 ppm CO2 (although, as detailed below, a goal of “350 ppm” is clearly inadequate according to top climate scientists) and the goal of about 300 ppm CO2 of the 2009 Australian Climate Action Summit [12], the Australian Climate Emergency Network [13] and the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group [14].”

    “The four key take home messages of the Target 300 Campaign
    1.The target for a Safe Climate is 300 ppm CO2 or below.
    2.We can reduce our emissions by 50% or more today individually or collectively if we simply choose to.
    3.We have already passed the tipping points for a number of critical climate systems.
    4.We must create a global cooling as soon as possible and we have the solutions to do this.”

    260 PPM:
    T. Goreau, PhD
    Delegation of Jamaica
    Scientific & Technical Briefing To the Association of Small Island States
    United Nations Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18 2009

    The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above todayʼs levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long term climate records, not on models. We have not yet felt the climate change impacts of the current excess of greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels, and the data shows they will in the long run be many times higher than IPCC models project. In order to prevent these long term changes CO2 must be stabilized at levels below preindustrial values, around 260 parts per million. CO2 buildup must be reversed, not allowed to increase or even be stabilized at 350 ppm, which would amount to a DEATH SENTENCE FOR CORAL REEFS, SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES, AND BILLIONS OF PEOPLE LIVING ALONG LOW LYING COASTLINES. The good news is that all the tools for reversing global warming and reducing CO2 to safe levels are ready, proven, and cost effective, but are not being seriously used due to lack of policies and funding.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 30 May 2014 @ 8:55 AM

  370. What really concerns me now .. there is such a large volume of NEW quality research … Climate Scientists must be personally struggling to keep up … how … to support and communicate with each other … is hard to comprehend.

    Killfile or its social equivalent; filter out the chat and pearl-clutching and ranting, and avoid forums when chat by nonscientists drowns out science.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2014 @ 10:07 AM

  371. Chris Dudley #366,

    “You might ask McKibben if his work to get people to understand the 2 C math might not just be a case of trying to keep 350 ppm within reach. Your accusation just does not fit.”

    What is this ‘accusation’? All I’m doing is quoting his written statements, in articles and on his blog, and in his presentations on his tour. So, I’m to blame for his superficially contradictory statements? Sorry, you’re aiming at the wrong target!

    Now, is his public support of the 2 C target and 565GtC remaining budget a ploy to gain recruits for the more dire sacrifices that lie ahead if the 1 C and 350 ppm targets are desired? Is it really a Trojan Horse to get his foot in the door? Maybe. I doubt whether he would want to admit that to me in a written response!

    But, that gets into the issue of one’s moral compass. If you’ve read my posts on this blog, I don’t compromise with the truth, and I take an enormous amount of flack for holding to that position. Stating some true facts, and ignoring other true facts, is not my view of stating the truth. One could debate whether or not this selective process of presenting facts is a lie, but unless all the important known facts are presented, in their appropriate context, it is not the truth, from my perspective.

    That’s one reason I admire Hansen. He states the target should not be higher than 350 ppm, and the interim peak temperature should not be higher than ~1 C, and he provides an amelioration plan consistent with those objectives. As far as I can see, there’s no deception on his part. He provides the critical facts, and places them into context. Maybe McKibben has the same beliefs, but that’s not what he is consistently presenting to the public. BTW, I have a similar problem with Kevin Anderson. He selects 2 C as his target, makes amelioration recommendations based on this target, then in the next breath states that such a target places us in the Extremely Dangerous regime. Can you honestly state that this makes sense to you? Would you follow a leader with this philosophy?

    I am not condemning Anderson or McKibben. They are very good people, who are putting their reputations and careers on the line to try and reverse the climate change situation in which we are mired. They have what amounts to an impossible task, and maybe they believe the one-step-at-a-time approach is the best way to gain a critical mass of recruits. Maybe they’re right; who knows? Laying out the actions really required to achieve the 1 C level targets may be a far too bitter pill for the vast majority of people to swallow; they’re not even willing to put a sweet lozenge under the tongue, at this point.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 30 May 2014 @ 11:18 AM

    “Considered together, these points would seem to indicate that glacial inertia to heat forcing is not so great as previously hoped. More likely, the energy balance of the Earth System more rapidly responds to total heat content, energy imbalance, and pace of heat accumulation than previous sensitivity estimates assumed. If this meta-analysis is true, and it seems to be based on a growing pile of evidence, sea level rise for the current century is likely to be far greater than previously anticipated by scientific assessments. The top range of a 3 foot sea level rise for this century under IPCC modeling is likely, given current realities, to instead be a low estimate. A more realistic range, given a greatly reduced true glacial inertia, is probably 3-9 feet through 2100 with higher outside potentials during large glacial outburst flood events.”
    “This “committed warming” of past CO2 emissions whose effect will be manifested in the coming decades is about 0.6 degrees Celsius. Adding up the current warming of 0.85°C from the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the loss of aerosols with global dimming at 1.2°C, and the “committed” temperature rise from the 40-year lag time of CO2 emissions equal to 0.6°C, we get a total of 2.65°C. If all industrial activity stopped right now, we would already be committed to 2.65°C, a global average temperature rise of three times what we are currently experiencing.”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 30 May 2014 @ 11:54 AM

  373. John Abraham on new Rignot study:

    “the authors found, ‘widespread presence of well-eroded, deep-bed troughs along the ice-sheet periphery, generally grounded below sea level, coincident in location and spatial extent with fast-flow features and extending over considerable distance inland.’ These features were not previously known.

    These findings allow a few conclusions. Aside from the importance of deep troughs to ice motion, the extension inland means that glaciers will have to retreat further than anticipated inland in order to reach a position above sea level…

    The ice sheet is therefore more vulnerable than predicted, and existing projections of sea level rise contribution from Greenland are too conservative and need to be revised…

    As the authors state in the paper, ‘Our findings imply that the outlet glaciers of Greenland, and the ice sheet as a whole, are probably more vulnerable to ocean thermal forcing and peripheral thinning than inferred previously from existing numerical ice-sheet models.'”

    Comment by wili — 30 May 2014 @ 3:33 PM


    Vulnerability of marine based sectors of Antarctica
    posted May 7, 2014, 2:44 AM by Aslak Grinsted [ updated May 23, 2014, 1:29 PM ]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2014 @ 3:56 PM

  375. On Lychee fruit & forebodings from the Bay of Bengal

    (Kota & Rajasthan both hit 116 F,)

    Comment by Dave Peters — 30 May 2014 @ 8:38 PM

  376. So can we say which processes are just slower in the paleo record, and which are likely quite different with our current rate of change?

    I’m thinking of ocean pH, which I recall did not take a rapid excursion in most of the past high CO2 times– because the processes that continue the chemical cycling to convert the dissolved carbonic acid into solid carbonates worked — slowly, but sufficiently fast during paleo times.

    What else? Winds circulating surface warm sea water under the icecaps? With a slower rate of warming, would the winds have also not changed so quickly?

    I realize proxies are hard to find for wind and water …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 May 2014 @ 8:48 PM


    its the thing to do when you know that the UN and other mechanisms of resolving issues have their hands tied by the real lack of political will, economic uncertainty and available technology to reduce our emissions.

    The path to a clean future is blocked is many factors – ignorance, caring, vested interests, money, corruption, lack of education, more important things to worry about and the media to name a few

    Comment by Pete Best — 31 May 2014 @ 6:06 AM

  378. wallly (#354),

    That 54 GtC looks like a mistake. From the paper:

    “The aboveground carbon pool was the most sensitive to human disturbances with disturbed primary forests containing between 18% and 57% less carbon than we observed in undisturbed forests (Fig. 2). Combining this observed range with Brazilian government remote sensing estimates of the extent of forest degradation (INPE, 2013b) suggests that, in 2010 alone, the Brazilian Amazon could have lost between 0.03 and 0.08 Pg of carbon from the 7 51 000 ha of forest impacted by fire and/or logging – c.40% of the loss from deforestation in the same year (INPE, 2013a). This substantial loss of carbon stocks remains unaccounted for in inventories of greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. MCT, 2010).”

    So, in 2010, around 0.055 PgC were lost from the forest which is 0.055 GtC, not 54 GtC. If the lumber is used to make toilet paper, then the path to the atmosphere is pretty quick, but if it is used to make furniture, it may not get to the atmosphere for quite a while. Since this is selective logging, furniture seems more likely.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 31 May 2014 @ 7:19 AM


    Comment by DIOGENES — 31 May 2014 @ 9:43 AM

  380. Of Lychee fruit failure and delayed monsoons in the Bay of Bengal:

    (Kota [1M+] & Rajasthan swelters in record 116 F. heat)

    Comment by Dave Peters — 31 May 2014 @ 12:21 PM

  381. Mods: Can we have an approximate limit on the number of copy-paste posts and posts consisting of links by any one person? Gets hard to read through that all to find an actual discussion.

    — thanks

    Comment by Non-Scientist — 31 May 2014 @ 2:59 PM

  382. Hey, an awkward question I can’t answer:

    We say burning biomass is net zero, it’s not adding any fossil carbon (ignoring the processing, and transportation, and fertilizer, of course)

    Now I see projects to burn the methane from cattle feedlots — which is derived from the same biomass.

    We know methane is a short-lived forcing — really big, but only for a few years before it oxidizes into CO2.

    What’s the tradeoff when a business buys a carbon offset that burns feedlot methane, versus buying a carbon offset that burns, say, flare gas from drilling?

    And do any of the regulations or projections look at that? Does it make much difference?

    (I don’t want to restart the methapocalypse stuff here, please — just compare the biogenic methane vs. fossil methane as issues to consider)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2014 @ 6:31 PM

  383. 378 Chris Dudley says: wallly (#354), “That 54 GtC looks like a mistake”

    Well everyone makes mistakes Chris. So if this is wrong (quoting)
    “54 billion tonnes of carbon is lost from the Amazon every year due to selective logging and wildfires, making up 40% of the global yearly carbon loss from deforestation.”

    … then there is nothing I can do about it. Feel free to correct them yourself at the Conversation and contact Lancaster University and tell them where they got it wrong and ask them to correct it. Report back here and let us all know how you did and post the Updated corrected information from both sites. Here’s a real opportunity for you to make a difference IF you are right. It’s not my problem, I didn’t cause it and I’m busy. Thanks for the heads up though, very interesting.

    [Response: The press release is completely wrong. The paper has between 0.03 and 0.08 PgC for the Amazon deforestation (40% of total). And 1 PgC is 1 GtC, and so it should be ~0.06 GtC – 1000 times smaller than the release. i.e billion should be million. – gavin]

    Comment by wallly — 31 May 2014 @ 10:34 PM

  384. I have a question which is totally outside this thread.. but it is the open thread, so:

    Is there a -reasonable possibility of anthropogenicly altering the climate with 2-300 years via BAU (not via a deliberate, science-fiction scenario) in such a way that results in the atmosphere’s oxygen content falling enough that mammals can’t survive?

    I’ve never seen this hypothesized, but I’ve read that in a earlier geologic age there was a die-off of this type. Of course, the Earth was a different place then.

    If this is even plausible, how long would it take?

    Comment by Non-Scientist — 31 May 2014 @ 11:04 PM

  385. 371,

    I’ve pointed you to what aims for. Are you just too blind to make the connection with the Target paper you also cite? Try much harder to catch on to things. Manufacturing a controversy is a form of dishonesty and that seems to be what you aim for.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 31 May 2014 @ 11:06 PM

  386. 371 DIOGENES says: “BTW, I have a similar problem with Kevin Anderson. He selects 2 C as his target, makes amelioration recommendations based on this target, then in the next breath states that such a target places us in the Extremely Dangerous regime.”

    That is provably untrue, Anderson does not say that at all. The key point being “HE selects 2 C as HIS target”, no he don’t pal!

    He actually says ***IF*** the target is going to be 2C AND as every govt on earth has agreed to that at the UNFCCC lets use that to look at the REALITY, and he adds the UK Govt states that IS their target too, then THIS is what it means … that target is impossible on current realities. (my own words) The multiple videos of his lectures say what I just said repeatedly… go check what he actually says again, and again, and again.

    He has a website, I have emailed him several times and he responded to me sincerely, you go ask him directly what HIS TARGET IS … AND REFERENCE YOUR POST HERE TO HE GETS THE CONTEXT RIGHT TOO. After you get over the shock, then feel free to apologize to him and then ask the “moderators” (?) to delete your comment and redo it.

    [edit – just let it go. Don’t be abusive to other commenters, don’t shout and try to be constructive. If you can’t stick to the rules here, there are plenty of other places on the internet]

    Comment by wallly — 31 May 2014 @ 11:19 PM

  387. Hank (#382),

    In the Clean Development formalism here are the rules gas flaring reduction:

    You’ll see that the gas has to be converted from flaring to use as a fuel or chemical feedstock.

    But, in landfill management, flaring the gas counts for a credit. It needn’t also be used for energy.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 1 Jun 2014 @ 6:26 AM

  388. EPOCA is over but their blog continues to report current research almost daily. Here’s one: (from )

    Experimental assessment of diazotroph responses to elevated seawater pCO2 in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Global Biogeochemical Cycles.(subscription required).
    (full article is paywalled)

    This sounds like a rather dramatic change for the 2 out of 9 experiments.
    Do we expect these are local variations and not something that would be happening globally? Because a drop in primary productivity of that magnitude would be, well, enough to make us gasp, right?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jun 2014 @ 9:18 AM

  389. Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 May 2014 @ 6:31 PM, ~#382

    Yours is a sticky question. My opinion from a sort of purist viewpoint is that no carbon credits are due unless the amount of fossil carbon in the atmosphere is reduced. By this reasoning there should only be a credit for not releasing flare gas at all, burned or not, and bio methane should only get credit if it is used to displace fossil methane (e.g. make electricity).


    Comment by Steve Fish — 1 Jun 2014 @ 10:28 AM


    “Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains for the umpteenth time that climate action is super cheap — and that even the pro-pollution U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees…..
    In April the world’s leading scientists, economists, and governments reviewed the literature and came to the broad consensus that even aggressive climate action would reduce the median annual growth of consumption over this century by a mere 0.06%……
    In May, the world’s leading energy experts said we are headed towards catastrophic 11°F warming but that if we wanted to keep warming to a far safer level, under 4°F warming, it would require investment in clean energy of only about 1 percent of global GDP per year through 2050……”

    This article is misleading to the extreme. A temperature peak of 4 F warming would be an absolute disaster. Hansen et al state 1 C or less should be the target, and 2 C (3.6 F) would be dangerous. So, we would spend $44T, and still be in very dangerous territory. And, this is what we get from a supposedly climate advocacy blog???

    Comment by DIOGENES — 1 Jun 2014 @ 11:20 AM

  391. Hank Roberts wrote: “What’s the tradeoff when a business buys a carbon offset that burns feedlot methane, versus buying a carbon offset that burns, say, flare gas from drilling?”

    We need to eliminate both feedlots and drilling, both of which are severely harmful in multiple ways both to the environment and to human health.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Jun 2014 @ 12:13 PM

  392. Now that it is June, I can answer #303 (#318 needs to be posted in another thread still since nukes, and particularly pointless fanboi schemes are off topic in all threads but one).

    Basically, you are barking up the wrong tree. The break up of the UN will come through a rupture between permanent security council member states. Countries like Australia, where the rule of law is important, can probably stick to commitments. The difficulty is permanent security council member states that are run by oligarchies. They have the economies to keep BAU going into the next century and motive to do so if it maintains internal power and advances their global strategic positions. So, a unified global effort may strain the UN beyond breaking.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 1 Jun 2014 @ 12:34 PM

  393. Now that it is June, it is worth a mention that in the first quarter of 2014, solar power provided 74% of all new generating capacity in the US and rooftop PV installations exceeded commercial installations for the first time.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 1 Jun 2014 @ 2:44 PM

  394. Re DIOGENES #258, where have we heard this before, that there cant be *any* carbon budget left given effects already observed?

    From me for, oh, the last 5, 6, 7 years. Right here on RC. But all I needed was logic. Then came risk assessment, then came permaculture principles.

    Not everything requires a study to be understood.

    Comment by Killian — 1 Jun 2014 @ 6:05 PM

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