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Hit the brakes hard

Filed under: — group @ 29 April 2009 - (English)

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604 Responses to “Hit the brakes hard”

  1. 601
    Mark says:

    re 595, no you had it right the first time.

    If some huge tragedy comes up where a pulse of energy is needed, there will still be easily available oil/coal/gas if we stop using it all up before it’s gone.

  2. 602
    Hank Roberts says:

    Seems we’re more likely to have some huge tragedy where a pulse of energy is the problem, though.

    McPhee, M. G., A. Proshutinsky, J. H. Morison, M. Steele, and M. B. Alkire (2009), Rapid change in freshwater content of the Arctic Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10602, doi:10.1029/2009GL037525.

    “… The dramatic reduction in minimum Arctic sea ice extent in recent years has been accompanied by surprising changes in the thermohaline structure of the Arctic Ocean, with potentially important impact on convection in the North Atlantic and the meridional overturning circulation of the world ocean ….”

  3. 603

    A late addition, and semi-off topic–I chose this thread because it’s under the “Greenhouse Gases” category–but I’ve got a “life and times” article up on Claude Pouillet, the protean–but too little remembered–French physicist credited with the first estimate of what we now call the solar constant, and in particular his 1838 paper Mémoire sur la chaleur solaire, sur les pouvoirs rayonnants et absorbants de l’air atmosphérique, et sur les températures de l’espace.

    Pouillet was an elegant experimentalist, and refined Fourier’s work on atmospheric heat transport. As with the Fourier article that preceded it, the present page is more focused on the life and times of the subject, and less on the scientific detail–I’m trying to supply context, not so much to elaborate or interpret the paper itself. Those looking for “human face” accounts of classic GW science may check it out at:

    Those interested in the original paper itself can find it here:

    Next up, Tyndall. . .

  4. 604
    Eric Rehm says:

    I am confused about one paragraph in the accompanying article “Climate crunch: A burden beyond bearing” by Richard Monasterksy in the same 29 April 2009 issue of Nature.

    Under the section “Slow Recovery” (p. 1093), Monastersky summarizes the accompanying Meinshausen et al. 2009 article, stating “For the period 2000 to 2050, they find that the world would have to limit emissions of all greenhouse gases to the equivalent of 400 gigatonnes of carbon in order to stand a 75% chance of avoiding more than 2°C of warming.”

    However, I can’t find the 400 GT figure in the Meinshausen et al. article. Instead, Meinshausen et al. say: “…we find that the probability of exceeding 2°C can be limited to below 25% (50%) by keeping 2000?49 cumulative CO2 emissions from fossil sources and land use change to below 1,000 (1,440) Gt CO2”

    Where does Monastersky’s 400 GT figure come from?