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Unforced Variations: Sep 2011

Filed under: — group @ 1 September 2011

This month’s open thread…


352 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Sep 2011”

  1. 101
    wili says:

    Thanks all for your insights. This article seems relevant:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010GB003845.shtml

    From the abstract:

    “Assuming several hypothetical scenarios of CH4 release associated with permafrost thaw, shallow marine hydrate degassing, and submarine landslides, we find a strong positive feedback on RF through atmospheric chemistry. In particular, the impact of CH4 is enhanced through increase of its lifetime, and of atmospheric abundances of ozone, stratospheric water vapor, and CO2 as a result of atmospheric chemical processes.”

  2. 102
    BillS says:

    #8 Paul

    Here are a couple of places you might look:

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/data_products/algorithms/

    The URL will take you to the Algorithm Theoretical Basis Documents for AIRS. Within one of the atbd’s you are likely to find an answer.

    You might also consider looking for the appropriate MODIS atbd

  3. 103
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    “Assuming several hypothetical scenarios….”

    Although some methane comes from the Arctic, it has not been established that methane from this source is increasing. Atmospheric methane is increasing just a bit this year, but from human causes. (For the purposes of this remark, cows and sheep are human:).

  4. 104
    wili says:

    Pete, there are indeed many sources of methane, but recall that atmospheric concentrations increase as you go from the south pole to the Arctic circle. I’m not sure what other cause there would be for such high relative concentrations at such high latitudes unless there are some major sources up there, but I would be happy to be enlightened to any you know of.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Airs_methane_2006_2009_359hpa.png

    The deepest red is far north of where most sheep and cows graze, burp and …

  5. 105
    Hank Roberts says:

    > not been established that methane from this source is increasing

    What’s this then? http://www.google.com/search?q=methane+bubbling+permafrost
    and Scholar finds more, e.g.
    Isaksen, I. S. A., M. Gauss, G. Myhre, K. M. Walter Anthony, and C. Ruppel (2011), Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 25, GB2002,
    http://doi:10.1029/2010GB003845

  6. 106
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    A time series is required to show an increase. Then you have to show where the increase is coming from. Is there an increasing time series from the Arctic? Did not atmospheric methane dip a little due to a dip in human sources in recent years?

  7. 107
    hank says:

    Is there to be no discussion whatsoever of the Wagner resignation?

  8. 108
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Is there to be no discussion whatsoever of the Wagner resignation?

    Given the fairly comprehensive treatment of his resignation by Wagner himself, there’s not much left to discuss without swerving into evidence-free speculation. Still, Wagner’s leap is almost irresistible as a subject of gossip. Short of diving into the Academy of the Paranoid School of Climate Science, there’s some better grade hypothesizing at the Rabbett & Tobis blogs. Might avoid reinventing the wheel by joining those?

  9. 109
    John Nissen says:

    @wili 100 and 80

    Re 100, the Isaksen paper you mention gives a baseline lifetime of 9.1 years, but for large quantities of methane in the atmosphere this can increase by many times.

    Re 80, yes we should be worried by vast quantities of methane, discovered by Professor Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakhova, who are about to make a further expedition to the ESAS (East Siberian Arctic Shelf).

    It so happens I’ve just made some calculations, based on their findings and the work of Isaksen; and prepared the following message:

    The Siberian Shelf is the largest continental shelf in the world [1], and includes the Kara Sea and the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS).

    Shakhova et al [2] reckon that 50 Gt of methane could be released “at any time” from the ESAS. They believe that the methane is held back by permafrost which is thawing as a result of Arctic warming, and a sudden release of such a quantity could be triggered by an earthquake – the region being prone to them.

    If the 50 Gt were released within a year, it would multiply the concentration of methane in the atmosphere by about 11 times (referred to as “methane X 11″), the total weight of methane currently in the atmosphere being ~5 Gt. Current direct radiative forcing of methane is estimated at 0.48 W/m-2 (Watts per square metre), compared to 1.6 W/m-2 from CO2. So this would be increased to 5.3 W/m-2. To this would be added indirect radiative forcing, as the methane reacts with other compounds in the atmosphere. Isaksen et al [3] calculate that an increase in concentration of less than half that amount (“methane X 5.2″) would lead to an additional 400% of indirect forcing. So the total forcing for “methane X 11″ would be well over five times the direct forcing, i.e. over 26 W/m-2. The resulting abrupt global warming of many degrees would probably not be survivable by our civilisation.

    If however the 50 Gt of methane were released over 30 years, it would lead to at least 4 times methane concentration on average, i.e. “methane X 4″. This would give a direct forcing of at least 2 W/m-2, and total forcing of at least 4 W/m-2. That would kibosh any chance of meeting the 2 degrees global warming limit, let alone the much safer 1.5 degrees limit now urged by UNFCCC chairperson, Ms Figueres [4].

    Thus there is a need for emergency action to cool the Arctic as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of such a methane excursion, whether produced from the Arctic Shelf or permafrost on land. But there must also be action to stop any drilling which could accidentally cause a leak of natural gas (which is mostly methane) or oil (which could prevent the formation of sea ice in winter).

    These actions would be against the short term interests of the oil giants, especially Exxon, now that they have a deal with Rosneft [5] with proposals to drill in the Kara Sea, and are no doubt looking forward to an ice-free Arctic.

    Thus there is not only the need to overcome the political resistance to solar radiation management geoengineering to cool the Arctic (at least without years more of research by which time it will be too late), but also to overcome the commercial resistance to prohibiting the drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic.

    How can we overcome such resistance to geoengineering, often from such well-meaning people as the ETC group and many environmentalists? And how can we stop the drilling?

    John

    P.S. Over the past few years, the atmospheric methane level has risen from 1750 ppb to 1850 ppb, which is 5.7%. If this rise was annual, you’d get a doubling in about 13 years.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Shelf

    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_methane_release

    [3] http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010GB003845.shtml

    [4] http://globalwarmingisreal.com/2011/06/03/unfccc-chief-says-two-degrees-is-not-enough/

    [5] http://planetark.org/wen/63110

  10. 110
    Hank Roberts says:

    > A time series is required to show an increase.
    > Then you have to show where the increase is coming from.

    Ah, then I have been thinking about it backwards. I was thinking the recent reports of methane starting to bubble up in those areas as the increase: http://www.google.com/search?q=methane+laptev

    But I haven’t seen a time series chart of those observations.

    Where it shows up — depends; as this hasn’t been seen in the global average, I’ll stay with my guess that more and better-fed methane-eating beasties would consume an increase, until they hit some other limiting factor.

  11. 111
    Hank Roberts says:

    > time series is required to show an increase

    Well, there’s this: http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/methane.jpg

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0904/full/climate.2009.24.html
    “In 2007, scientists scouting the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean began to notice some troubling signs. In about half of their seawater chemistry samples, the concentration of dissolved methane was two to ten times higher than in samples taken during previous years from the same locations. Then, last summer, they observed large rings of gas — sometimes as wide as 30 centimetres in diameter — trapped in ice, as well as methane plumes bubbling to the surface over hundreds of square kilometres of the shallow waters along the Siberian Shelf.

    The team, from Russia and other nations, presented their results at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in December ….”

  12. 112
    J Bowers says:

    Methane closely watched by scientists

    “This has become the first expedition dedicated to revealing the scale of methane emissions and accompanying processes. We assume, even though this needs to be clarified, that this results from the degradation of underwater permafrost which is no longer acting as a shell preventing methane from penetrating into the atmosphere from deep gas hydrate springs,” Igor Semiletov says.”

  13. 113
    J Bowers says:

    US counts the cost of nine months of unprecedented weather extremes

    “The insurance company Munich Re said in the first six months of the year there were 98 natural disasters in the US, about double the average of the 1990s.
    […]
    A year of US disasters – 2011 so far
    • Hurricane Irene, August 20-29. Over $7bn and around 50 deaths.
    • Upper Midwest flooding. The Missouri and Souris rivers overflowed in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Damages: $2bn.
    • Mississippi river flooding, spring and summer. Damages neared $4bn.
    • Drought and heatwave in Texas, Oklahoma. Over $5bn.
    • Tornadoes in midwest and south-east in May kill 177 and cost more than $7bn in losses.
    • Tornadoes in the Ohio Valley, south-east and midwest on April devastate the city of Tuscaloosa, kill 32 and cause more than $9bn in damages.
    • Tornadoes hit from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania 14–16 April. Toll: $2bn in damages.
    • 59 tornadoes in midwest and north-east April 8-11. Damages: $2.2bn.
    • 46 tornadoes in central and southern states 4 and 5 April. Toll: $2.3bn in damages.
    • Blizzard late January paralyse cities from Chicago to the north-east. Toll: 36 deaths and more than $2bn in damages.

  14. 114
    David B. Benson says:

    J Bowers @113 — And we arn’t even up to 1 K global warming yet.
    Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian

  15. 115
    David Miller says:

    John Nissen at 109:

    Thank you for the detail in that post.

    You did mention one other thing that is commonly brought up that I wanted to ask about:

    These actions would be against the short term interests of the oil giants, especially Exxon, now that they have a deal with Rosneft [5] with proposals to drill in the Kara Sea, and are no doubt looking forward to an ice-free Arctic.

    I’m confused about how the oil companies would go about drilling in the arctic ocean or surrounding seas. How does one build a platform to withstand a 10,000 square kilometer piece of ice 4 meters thick being driven by the wind? If we had anchors that could withstand that much force we could just anchor the ice across the Fram and stop most of the summer ice export:)

    I’m not doubting that Exxon wants to try, and probably is. The challenges, however, are significant. One doesn’t just bring in a supply ship every third day.

    “Ice free” is usually defined as a 90% reduction in ice extent during the summer minima; while anything like our current civilization is here it won’t describe winter conditions in the Arctic.

  16. 116
    Septic Matthew says:

    108, Doug Bostrom: Might avoid reinventing the wheel by joining those?

    I second the motion.

  17. 117
    Richard bird says:

    Thanks. Sorry if this is off topic. If you can suggest a better place to ask questions on climate generally, please do tell me.

    Where would one find a good guide to the analysis, basis and the calculation of greenhouse effect for CO2? (for a person with advanced maths and say first year university level knowledge of physics). I mean an analysis to give full understanding of how the published forcing figures eg 1.6 W/sm due to increase from 280 to 380 ppmv, are calculated. As you can imagine, it is hard as a layperson to comprehend how a concentration of just 1 molecule in 10,000 can have such an effect as to increase global temperatures by 0.6 degC.

    Re volcanoes I was really asking about underwater volcanoes and vents, and whether significant amount of heat is released into world oceans. Are they well studied?

  18. 118
    Joe Cushley says:

    Re: 117

    Start Here button, top left of Home Page.

    And given what you’ve posted here so far, I’d downgrade that 1st year university knowledge of physics estimate. No offence.

  19. 119
    dhogaza says:

    Richard bird

    As you can imagine, it is hard as a layperson to comprehend how a concentration of just 1 molecule in 10,000 can have such an effect as to increase global temperatures by 0.6 degC.

    How many molecules do you think there are in the atmosphere? You’re bordering on making an argument from personal incredulity here, which is a common tactic by those who deny a variety of scientific realities, not just climate science. The fact that *you* don’t know the physics doesn’t mean that physicists don’t know the physics. Who cares? Take Joe Cushley’s advice, start reading the information on this site.

    Here’s a simple comment on the whole “CO2 is just a trace gas” argument.

    Re volcanoes I was really asking about underwater volcanoes and vents, and whether significant amount of heat is released into world oceans. Are they well studied?

    What do you think are the odds that you, Richard Bird, have thought of something that tens of thousands of working scientists have ignored?

    Really. What are the odds?

    Especially given that the CO2 trace gas and submarine volcanoes heat the oceans arguments are two of the most common and dumbest “arguments” in the denialsphere.

    Which makes me ask … what are the odds that you, Richard Bird, thought up these two distractions on your own? Close to zero. I’m sure you’re just parroting something you’ve read on one or more really low-grade denialist sites …

  20. 120
    Theo Kurtén says:

    Richard: off the top of my head I recall that the total column mass of CO2 in the atmosphere is in the ballpark of four kilograms per square meter. (If I remember wrong, someone will surely correct this…). Does it seem incredible that a “roof” with density 4 kg/m2 (and fairly strong radiative properties) could make some teeny-weeny difference to the energy budget?

  21. 121
    Johanus says:

    Dr. Roy is still claiming that clouds effect the climate. What a maroon!
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/09/a-primer-on-our-claim-that-clouds-cause-temperature-change/

    [Response: Be careful here. It is obvious (and should be uncontroversial) that clouds affect the climate, and that indeed they affect temperature. This is not the issue in question (despite Spencer’s strawman description). The issue is whether clouds do something independent to drive climate *change*. – gavin]

  22. 122

    Eager to see RC’s synopsis of Dessler 2011!!!!!

  23. 123

    117, Richard,

    Visit CO2 is a Trace Gas at Skeptical Science. It’s brief and rather entertaining, if you need your credulity adjusted about exactly what trace amounts of elements are capable of doing.

    [To add to their list, 200mg of arsenic, or 100ppm of your body weight, is fatal. Only 100ppb — that’s parts per billion, not million — of the mass of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima actually underwent fission and released energy and leveled an entire city in moments. How’s that for the impact of a trace element?]

  24. 124

    #117–

    Richard, why do you think that the proportion of GHGs to non-GHGs in the atmosphere is the significant factor to focus on?

    After all, do you doubt the medicinal efficacy when you take a .5 g pill delivering a few micrograms of some active ingredient?

    Or take another analogy–the proportionate mass of GHGs in the atmosphere is roughly comparable to that of water droplets composing a moderate fog. (Or so I calculated once.) Would that consideration cause you to feel you’d never need to slow down when driving through such a fog?

    What you are asking for is an awful lot to chew on. (And I’m not the guy to ask, to be quite honest.) As a start, though, here’s a (relatively) brief overview of the history of observations of just one relevant parameter, the so-called ‘back-radiation’ or ‘sky-radiation':

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Fire-From-Heaven-Climate-Science-And-The-Element-Of-Life-Part-Two-The-Cloud-By-Night

    (That doesn’t address the ‘forcing’ part, just the direct radiative observations, and much of it is of course consequent to water vapor, not just CO2–just to clearly state the obvious.)

    There’s then the question of integrating the observations into the larger picture of the Terrestrial heat budget–not to mention the fact that the TOA satellite observations are probably more crucial for the warming issue than are the back-radiation observations. But for obvious reasons there’s a much longer history of the latter, and we do need to understand what happens near-surface, too.)

    For that, I can do no better than a Google Scholar search, which at least shows how large the topic is–my constrained search still brought up 4,400 results:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=1,11&as_ylo=2005&as_vis=1&as_subj=phy&q=terrestrial+heat+budget+global+OR+atmospheric+OR+radiation+OR+evapotranspiration

  25. 125
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Richard Bird,

    I find it interesting that denialists argue both that the concentration of CO2 is too low to be of consequence, and also that the greenhouse effect due to CO2 is saturated–sometimes in the same exchange!

    Consider this. Surely, the number that is relevant is not the concentration of CO2, but rather the number of CO2 molecules a 15 micron photon is likely to encounter on its way out of the atmosphere, right? Well, we know the weight of a column of air 15 microns in diameter (such that the photon will stand a good chance of interacting)–about 2.25 mg. We know that CO2 is ~400 ppmv–or about or that 663 of every million molecules in the column are CO2. That’s about 1.4 micrograms of CO2 in our 15 micron cylinder. So, we’re talking about 10^16 CO2 molecules in that column. Still think the effect of CO2 is puny?

  26. 126
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Richard, you want more details of physics? Go to SOD. Not that exact link, you’ll want to go back some. But that kind of time consuming detail when you don’t seem to have an idea of the big picture is probably not your best course. As noted in 119, you are distracted by some well known red herrings, and there are well known sources who make a profession of spreading such.

    About your question of the moment, what matters to a first approximation is how many IR absorbing molecules an IR photon passes close to before it escapes to outer space. And the answer is: a lot more than 100 years ago.

    A little of the big picture: we earthlings enjoy a neat two-gas greenhouse system. H2O does most of the “work” but CO2 adds enough heat to keep the H2O in the air, and the extra CO2 since we started burning things puts more H2O in the air. Thus the increase in IR absorbing molecules is greater than you think.

    Molecules and photons: the photons of interest are absorbed by GHG molecules, the energy is redistributed via collisions to the surrounding gas, sometimes an IR absorbing/emitting molecule gains energy and emits an new IR photon in a random direction, and this happens many times before energy escapes to space.

    ===
    It seems to me that so far you don’t have enough of a grasp of the big picture to recognize when someone is feeding you a steaming plate of red herrings. You might try reading books! What an idea! On the other hand, the professional deniers all have books just waiting for you.

  27. 127
    wili says:

    (I think RichBird gets the message by now, folks.)

    To John Nissen #109, do you have any ideas for how to ‘cool the Arctic’?? Are you talking about mirrors in space? Or aerosols? Perhaps this is a techinical point, but in this case perhaps such schemes could be categorized more as “regional environmental engineering” than “geo-engineering”? I don’t know it that would allay the concerns you mentioned. As one who has generally been against most geo-engineering schemes, I have to say I am open to hearing about any ideas that might allow this monster to toast the planet.

  28. 128
    J Bowers says:

    @ David Benson. Aye. I think what’s happening in Texas makes it 99 natural disasters this year so far, too. Maybe Governor Perry can throw a party for when the US hits 100.

  29. 129

    “Maybe Governor Perry can throw a party for when the US hits 100.”

    A tea party, no doubt.

  30. 130
    John Nissen says:

    @ wili #127

    I am organising a workshop in London, October 15-16, specifically to address the Arctic methane problem/crisis, and brainstorm on what can be done to stop a methane excursion. The approach must be multi-pronged: (1) geoengineering, especially with stratospheric aerosols and cloud brightening techniques, to cool the Arctic generally; (2) local methane management/engineering to try to prevent methane escaping into the atmosphere at hotspots; (3) capturing or destroying methane in the atmosphere.

  31. 131
    Robert Murphy says:

    The BigGovernment website just posted one of the most poorly written articles I have seen in a while. It claims a new paper in Nature has just disproved AGW because it’s really cosmic rays and the Sun that is driving everything.

    http://biggovernment.com/cstreet/2011/09/06/nature-journal-of-science-discredits-man-made-global-warming/#idc-cover

    “Nature Journal of Science, ranked as the world’s most cited scientific periodical, has just published the definitive study on Global Warming that proves the dominant controller of temperatures in the Earth’s atmosphere is due to galactic cosmic rays and the sun, rather than by man. One of the report’s authors, Professor Jyrki Kauppinen, summed up his conclusions regarding the potential for man-made Global Warming: “I think it is such a blatant falsification.””

    Jyrki Kauppinen has nothing to do with the recent CERN paper; and it most definitely the CERN paper they are referencing:

    “The research was conducted by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which invented the World Wide Web, built the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, and now has constructed a pristinely clean stainless steel chamber that precisely recreates the Earth’s atmosphere. The climate study involved scientists representing 17 of Europe’s and America’s premiere research institutes. The results demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that can grow and seed clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere…”

    This author conflated a paper that has never been published from some obscure Finnish physicist with Kirkby 2011 et al. The Kauppinen paper was alleged to be appearing in the June 2010 Nature way back in spring 2010. It didn’t. His name doesn’t appear on the Nature website. After completely confusing the current CERN paper with the Finnish guy’s non-existent paper, the article goes on to list the normal denialist talking points, from Climategate massive fraud to attributing AGW theory to Al Gore. There is never an explanation as to what this alleged silver bullet against AGW is supposed to be.

    This would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that a lot of people will read the article and never think to research it, believing instead that once again AGW has been slain by another valiant Galileo.

  32. 132
    wili says:

    Wow, John. Do you really have the clout to implement something like that?

    Some questions/clarifications (not meant to be criticisms):
    Wouldn’t aerosols quickly leave the area of the Arctic?
    Is there enough of a water column for the methane to be effectively managed underwater? Much of the continental shelf up there is just a few meters deep.
    What exactly do you mean by “capturing or destroying methane in the atmosphere”? Combustion?

    Perhaps that’s why you need a brainstorming session, to see what if anything can be reasonably done?

    If things are proceeding in as scary a direction as they seem to be, I wish you luck.

  33. 133
    Richard Bird says:

    Ray Ladbury: thank you that is EXACTLY the sort of information I was looking for. In fact I have been trying to arrive at those sort of figures in my own amateur way from first principles for a week or so, from consideration of a thin column of atmosphere. But I have lacked the data on atmospheric densities, average molecular spacing in gas etc. (All of which I guess is part of “Climate Science year 1″) My curiosity was first aroused by considering the image of the atmosphere as a flat dome, and C02 as a 1/10000th part of that dome. Wrong Image! – as I have since realised on reading up the history. But I was not able to find a correct analysis in terms of a column of air. So thanks again.

  34. 134
    Hunt Janin says:

    If you will pardon an elementary question, what is the relationship, if anym between methane and sea level rise?

  35. 135
    ghost says:

    RE: Kevin Mac 129, well the guv’s prayer party was followed by the burning of only ~1000 houses, so maybe it was a success in keeping the number “so low.” As it is, the moribund housebuilding industry will take a thousand, and is hoping for party sequels and maybe even cross-country franchises. No matter to the guv–he loves to dance the little sidestep.

  36. 136
    JCH says:

    ghost – on April 21 he called for 3 days of prayer. If he does that again, all I can say is if you live in Alabama, seek shelter.

  37. 137
    J Bowers says:

    For 131 Robert Murphy, a previous thread with Kauppinnen discussed.

  38. 138
    Meow says:

    Here’s my September nomination for climate cluelessness.

    Last evening Mr. Stephen Dubner of the well-named “Freakonomics Radio” discussed a “hurricane vaccine” with the host of NPR’s “Marketplace”. This system is intended to prevent hurricanes by reducing SSTs by using wave energy to mix surface waters with cooler subsurface waters. Asked repeatedly by the host whether, you know, anything could go wrong, “Freakonomics” author Dubner said that “environmental concerns…actually appear pretty benign when you look it through.”

    No climatologist was asked to comment.

    Have at it.

  39. 139
    John Nissen says:

    @ Wili #132

    Wili: Wow, John. Do you really have the clout to implement something like that?

    John: No, but I’m hoping the workshop will give credibility and an impetus for action.

    Wili: Some questions/clarifications (not meant to be criticisms):
    1. Wouldn’t aerosols quickly leave the area of the Arctic?

    John: Not very quickly as latitudinal (north-south) circulation in stratosphere is relatively slow.

    2. Is there enough of a water column for the methane to be effectively managed underwater? Much of the continental shelf up there is just a few meters deep.

    John: Yes. This is a real problem for ESAS – the East Siberian shelf, where average depth is 40-50 metres.

    3. What exactly do you mean by “capturing or destroying methane in the atmosphere”? Combustion?

    John: If you can get to the methane as it bursts into the atmosphere, you can flare it. Otherwise you are forced to try and capture it or get it to react in the atmosphere. Both approaches are problematical.

    Wili: Perhaps that’s why you need a brainstorming session, to see what if anything can be reasonably done?

    John: Yes, exactly. But we’ve got some very capable scientists and engineers on the problem.

    Wili: If things are proceeding in as scary a direction as they seem to be, I wish you luck.

    John: Thanks. We all need it. But I’m posting on this RealClimate list, so that a few more people can understand what a heck of a mess we are in – regardless of how we came to be in this mess.

  40. 140
  41. 141

    Arctic seaice *volume* sets new record low; area about as low as 2007, but thinner: http://bit.ly/PioAug

  42. 142

    Serious question: If all Greenland’s ice would melt, how much would the oceans rise? Same question for Antartica.

    Robert Henson’s “Rough Guide to Climate Change” says (page 127) that the answer to a 5 degree warming would melt enough of both areas to make MSL rise by 80 feet.

    Is there any consensus on this issue?

  43. 143
    Hank Roberts says:

    Older journal references becoming available without paywall:

    http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early-journal-content-faqs

    “Beginning September 6, 2011, the Early Journal Content will be made available in batches, over the course of 1 week, in discipline groupings.

    Users may chose to browse …(journal content published in the U.S. before 1923 and before 1870 elsewhere) or use the Advanced Search to search across all content and limit results to “Only content I can access.”

  44. 144
  45. 145
    Edward Greisch says:

    109 John Nissen and several others: Thanks for the discussion on methane at the bottom of the Arctic ocean.

    115 David Miller: “10,000 square kilometer piece of ice 4 meters thick being driven by the wind”
    Roger that.
    “26 W/m-2″ or “total forcing of at least 4 W/m-2″ The lower figure is bad enough.

    I saw somewhere something about somebody wanting to drill into the methane hydrates to make a gas well. A slant well from land would have to be very long. Is drilling from a submarine possible? Would the well be a possible trigger for releasing a lot of methane?

    “And how can we stop the drilling?” Good question. Trying to run for US Congress has a lot of problems. For example, as an independent, I would need 5000 signatures on a nominating petition but a “major party” candidate needs only 600. Online signatures are not allowed. I think it takes a lot of social skill, or money, to get signatures.

    If we did stop the drilling, refrigerating the arctic ocean would be the problem. It seems to me that stopping BAU is easier.

    130 John Nissen: Please keep us posted on that workshop in London, October 15-16, specifically to address the Arctic methane.

  46. 146
    Richard bird says:

    Pete Dunkelberg: I have now found time to check out the SOD site. Very useful and informative. Thanks. Getting to grips with the details is a route towards fully understanding the ‘big picture’.

    Questions arising. The models derive from calculation based on analysis using accepted and well tested physics. However it is seemingly impossible to carry out experimental verification of the derived Co2 forcing model in the field without eliminating all other factors such as water vapour, other gases, etc. In this regard CLOUD currently seems to have the advantage in terms of potential for experimental verification. Are any plans in progress to overcome this difficulty wrt co2 forcing models?

    Please note to anyone who is interested that I have no ‘agenda’ and am not employed by any oil or call company! My reason for my interest in GW arises from my role as chairman of the Environment Working Group of a major snowsports organisation. it behoves me to understand as much as possible about environmental issues, within limits. Apart from that, I enjoy the intellectual exercise of getting to grips with the physics.

  47. 147
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Richard Bird,
    Huh? Dude, the greenhouse nature of CO2 has been known since the 1850s. It presents no difficulty to estimate the energy trapped by added CO2. Feedbacks are a bit more difficult to estimate from first princoples, but are well constrained by several independent lines of evidence. Do you realize you are arguing about physics that was well established when Einstein published his Special Relativity paper in 1905?

  48. 148
    Jim Petrie says:

    I am all for a carbon tax. Carbon is soot. Dirty stuff.
    Carbon dioxide however is a life giving gas. It makes plants grow. Lets have more of it

    [Response: Well, your post is a gas as well, but I’d think twice about asking for more…-Jim]

  49. 149
    Joe Cushley says:

    I’ve checked your bona fides, Richard, and it seems you do what you say you do. What shocks me is that the Ski Club of UK couldn’t come up with someone who has a least a basic level of knowledge of the arguments on both sides (*cough* false balance alert *cough*) as the chairman of their Environmental Working Group, rather than someone who seems to have read a few denialist blogs… After all the winter sports industry has been worried about the effects of climate change for several years now, as a simple Google search will attest.

    This, for example, is a simply insane statement on so many levels…

    “In this regard CLOUD currently seems to have the advantage in terms of potential for experimental verification. Are any plans in progress to overcome this difficulty wrt co2 forcing models?”

    As I said, I’d advise the Start Here button and then come back with questions when you’ve got the *very basics*…

  50. 150
    Radge Havers says:

    In some cases it’s obvious that people come loaded, willfully or otherwise, with denialist propaganda while pleading agenda-free curiosity and concern. OTOH, one of the things that makes the propaganda so intractable is that it’s tailored to fit into people’s already existing blind spots and faulty thinking. Much of it is the kind of stuff that occurs naturally to the uninformed. Propaganda only serves to solidify it and cement it into place.

    I can sympathize with Richard Bird if he’s just found himself tossed in over his head– maybe the benefit of the doubt for the time being?

    Richard, really, it’s good advice: Go to the “start here” button. If you’re sincere, you’ve got A LOT of reading to do.


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