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Unforced variations: May 2012

Filed under: — group @ 1 May 2012

401 Responses to “Unforced variations: May 2012”

  1. 251
    flxible says:

    Tom Scharf is arguing Dr. Hansen does not know the answers to the degree he himself states
    As indicated in the Wiki article linked above, The scientific consensus in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is:
    “Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change. There is medium confidence that approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5-2.5 °C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 °C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.”

    Sounds like Mr Hanson is more familiar with the science than Tom?

  2. 252
    john byatt says:

    Sou, I asked the editor of WSJ (email) about that crap paper before posting here, no response as yet. I was not very polite,


  3. 253
    john byatt says:

    sorry the journal is TSWJ not WSJ . sent off Tamino’s response, to the editor as a peer review,

    claims to be peer reviewed

  4. 254
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Tom Scharf,
    For policy decisions, it is customary to use an upper bound for Cost or Loss. That is what Hansen did, is it not? He is following pretty standard procedure or risk analysis. Don’t like the upper bound? Great. Produce a better one and get it through peer review.

  5. 255
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    Gavin, Joseph and Others,
    Thanks for the pointers to where informed citizens can actively assist scientific progress in this area. I’ve been digging through the links you all provided. I am trying to spend less of my time behind a desk or at a computer these days, so personally I think I’ll pass on the data digitization/rescue, which is cool but I can’t sit in a chair this much. I was hoping there was an activity I could combine with wildlife photography which I am trying to learn, and helping with phenology looks to be a perfect fit. I’ll be moving to another part of the country this Summer, which gives me time to start learning what species of plants and animals native to that area need data. Hopefully by the Fall I can be providing data on at least a calibration species in my new locale. This is a perfect activity to layer: photography for fun, exploring my new home and added on top of that I get to contribute to distributed data collection from a small town.

  6. 256
    Paul K2 says:

    Questions about severe weather events:
    Today Andy Revkin put up a Dot Earth post entitled “Varied Views on Extreme Weather in a Warming Climate”, quoting from Dr. Martin Hoerling, Dr. Kerry Emanuel, and excerpting from Dr. Hansen’s Op Ed in the NY Times.

    Looking at coverage of some prior work from Hoerling related to the Russian heat wave, NOAA scientist: natural phenomenon principal cause; no link found to global warming, I was struck by his differentiating between the “atmospheric block” that he claimed responsible for the heat wave, and climate change impact, which he claimed was limited to a small underlying temperature rise.

    Here are some of Hoerling’s comments in an excerpt from the link:
    What is this blocking phenomenon?

    “It puts the kabosh on the normal west to east movement of storms,” Hoerling said. In summer, those storms typically bring cool air to western Russian. With an atmospheric block, the storms become less frequent. “So the air becomes stagnant. If you’re underneath the block, it progressively becomes drier and warmer.”

    Typically, a block like this last 10 days or so. But this one lasted much longer — basically from early July until middle of August. “It was very unusual for its persistence,” Hoerling said. “On top of it, it was strong, so it was very effective in shunting storms away.”

    The CSI group reached its conclusions about the principal role of the block in causing the Russian heat wave by examining weather data going back 100 years. With this data they were able to establish a relationship between the intensity of blocks and temperature. And with that relationship in turn, they could ask a simple question: Given the observed intensity of the block that formed over Russia, what temperature does the relationship predict?It turns out that this number concurs quite closely to what actually happened.

    In other words, what Hoerling and his CSI colleagues found is that the relationship actually predicted almost all of the heating that occurred. And that means no other possible cause was needed to explain most of what actually happened in Russia.

    “The blocking explains a significant fraction of the temperature conditions that occurred consistent with the historical relationship of blocks and warm temperatures over this region,” Hoerling concluded.

    But could global warming have made such an event more likely or more intense? Here was Hoerling’s answer:

    The short answer is we actual don’t know whether blocks are expected to increase in their frequency in concert with the increasing burden of CO2. But what we do have are time series of blocking for the last 100 years. And constructing those times series like we have done reveals no evident trend in the frequency or intensity of blocks.

    In other words, the 2010 situation isn’t following on the heels of a progression of more and more of these things happening ether over Russia, or frankly over any other place that we can see over the Northern Hemisphere. So it stands out as a . . . black swan. It comes out of the blue in terms of its severity. It does not follow on the heels of a progressive increased frequency.

    Recently Peter Sinclair had a video up talking about a connection between sea ice and jet stream patterns. In essence, polar amplification effects caused by climate change is reducing Arctic ice cover, which in turn causes a weakening of the jet stream, leading to a meandering jet stream, that in turn is more susceptible to stalling into a blocking pattern.

    My questions: Do climate scientists (or meterologists) track severe blocking pattern events? How many severe blocking events have occurred since the summer ice minimum in 2007? And how does this compare with previous historical records on severe blocking events?

    Hoerling states the blocking event in Russia was the longest summer block in the records for that region. Since then, it seems we have had several severe blocking events in Europe, a blocking event last summer in the US, and the March blocking event this year. And likely I missed some severe blocking events in the NH. So in only 4+ years since the 2007 ice pack melt, we have had at least five severe, and unlikely unprecedented, regional blocking events in the NH.

    Is this historically unusual?

  7. 257
    Edward Greisch says:

    A possible plan?
    “entering fictional worlds “radically alters the way information is processed.””

  8. 258
  9. 259
    Wipneus says:

    The Mauna Loa CO2 measurements exceed 396 ppm for the first time:

    April 2012: 396.18 ppm

    Why 396?
    396.0 = 280 sqrt(2)

    280 ppm is often quoted as the pre-industrial CO2 level.

    CO2 forcing is now half-way the amount of that of a CO2 doubling, compared to pre-industrial.

  10. 260
    Mertonian Norm says:

    Request for an updating thread on the topic of geoengineering — there’s a good summary article by Michael Specter in current New Yorker. Should the social engineering fail, which it has for the most part even as the wind and solar power (the artificial leaf!) creep into the mix, it might be a good RealClimate discussion to explore climate scientists’ thoughts on the issue these days.

  11. 261
    Joseph O'Sullivan says:

    Unsettled Scientist (#255)

    If you want to combine wildlife photography and helping with phenology, you might want to check out ebird. Ebird is a citizen science project where you enter your bird watching results into an online database.

    If you have an unusual sighting of a bird, like an early spring arrival or a species outside it normal range, you are requested to enter extra information to confirm your unusual sighting. The ideal information is photographs of the bird.

  12. 262
    Hank Roberts says:

    “… global model simulations predict that nucleation in photo-chemically aging fire plumes produces dramatically higher CCN concentrations over widespread areas of the southern hemisphere during the dry, burning season (Sept.–Oct.), improving model predictions of surface CCN concentrations. The annual indirect forcing from CCN resulting from nucleation and growth in biomass burning plumes is predicted to be −0.2 W m−2, demonstrating that this effect has a significant impact on climate that has not been previously considered.”

  13. 263
    Hank Roberts says:

    and more — local not hemispheric, quite large numbers:

    Strong radiative heating due to wintertime black carbon aerosols in the Brahmaputra River Valley

    “The Brahmaputra River Valley (BRV) of Southeast Asia recently has been experiencing extreme regional climate change. A week-long study using a micro-Aethalometer was conducted during January–February 2011 to measure black carbon (BC) aerosol mass concentrations in Guwahati (India), the largest city in the BRV region. Daily median values of BC mass concentration were 9–41 μgm−3, with maxima over 50 μgm−3 during evenings and early mornings. Median BC concentrations were higher than in mega cities of India and China, and significantly higher than in urban locations of Europe and USA. The corresponding mean cloud-free aerosol radiative forcing is −63.4 Wm−2 at the surface and +11.1 Wm−2 at the top of the atmosphere with the difference giving the net atmospheric BC solar absorption, which translates to a lower atmospheric heating rate of ∼2 K/d. Potential regional climatic impacts associated with large surface cooling and high lower-atmospheric heating are discussed.

  14. 264
    Andreas says:

    La Niña seems to be over. Global temperatures are at record level now and are likely to stay there for the next week.

    Daily global temperature, Reanalysis 2 (blue: mean 1979–2011, green: mean of last 6 years; more recent years darker, 2012 thick line)

    GFS forecast (past values are based 6h-forecasts of previous runs)

    During the next week the heat will also reach the Arctic (particulary the Pacific side) that has been very cold recently (the North Pole reached a daily record low since 1979 this week, but may reach 0 °C next week).

  15. 265
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Daily global temperature, Reanalysis 2
    > What’s the original source for those pictures?

    I don’t know how to decode the ‘tiny url’ short forms, sorry.

  16. 266
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mertonian Norm, Great! So we opt not to control temperature by the knob we understand best (CO2) and opt to try and control it via the knob we understand least (aerosols). Methinks somebody out there doesn’t understand control theory.

  17. 267
    Mertonian Norm says:

    Ray Ladbury, the article is about getting that least-understood knob ready just in case, eh, hoping not to have to use it? Convincing people to use the right knob, to change their lifestyles in deference to future generations, is a laudable goal, but a tough sell in the U.S. I love the article’s conclusion from the point of view of the Maldives!

  18. 268

    Mertonian Norm, I don’t know of any real alternatives to aerosols (probably of the stratospheric sort) other than drawing down carbon dioxide or orbiting mirrors, each of which seems even less likely, so looking at aerosols…

    They wouldn’t cancel out the effects of greenhouse gases, but, in the attempt to cancel them out as nearly as we could, would involve significant side effects. At a time when the global population is increasing we would be decreasing the amount of solar radiation that would be reaching the surface, and therefore decreasing photosynthesis and thus adversely affecting the food supply. We would be shifting weather patterns, bringing drought to some areas, flooding to others so that people living in still other areas would be able to continue to pollute. Those who pay the price would not be those who would reaping the benefits or making the decisions. And who is to say that different countries wouldn’t choose to geoengineer the world differently, that is, in a way that would benefit their nations at the expense of the rest?

    Furthermore, as we continue to increasing the level of greenhouse gases we would have to increase the level of aerosols to compensate, making those side effects ever more severe. And what happens if at some point, perhaps due to some economic downturn, our deliberate emission of aerosols is unable to keep up with the cumulative effect of carbon emissions? Tropospheric aerosols stay in the atmosphere for a couple of weeks. Stratospheric aerosols stay in the atmosphere for a few years. But much of the carbon dioxide we emit will still be there thousands of years from now. All of the warming that we had been avoiding like so many unpaid bills would suddenly come due and would condemn countless generations to a nightmarish existence.

    In my view, if we start down that path, it may very well be game over. If not for the species, then at least for modern civilization. I would prefer to see the global warming such geoengineering is intended to avoid, since at some point the effects of such warming on the global economy would be self-limiting.

  19. 269
    MalcolmT says:

    @244 etc re TSWJ: searching for info on the author is … informative? The *best* I could find was!search/profile/person?personId=376860529&targetid=profile
    Searching the ANU site for “Tim Curtin” or “Timothy Curtin” got me “No ANU Phone Directory Listing has been found to match Name: Timothy Curtin”
    Go figure.

  20. 270
    Andreas says:

    Re #265, Hank Roberts:

    I made the pictures myself, using data from and

  21. 271
    Mertonian Norm says:

    Timothy Chase, thanks and you make good sense, though I would add to the mix that we are already geoengineering the heck out of the atmosphere with our emissions. I surmise taht you are not of the catastrophic school, that you aren’t worried warming alone will tip us into an unrecoverable state, whereas an over-engineered response might?

  22. 272
    SecularAnimist says:

    Timothy Chase wrote: “… other than drawing down carbon dioxide or orbiting mirrors, each of which seems even less likely …”

    We can draw down the already dangerous anthropogenic excess of CO2 with organic agriculture and reforestation.

    And given the effects that we are already seeing from that excess, it is urgent that we do so in addition to ending all anthropogenic GHG emissions as quickly as possible.

    I am more than skeptical of techno-fantasy smoke & mirrors “geoengineering” schemes — and more than optimistic about the potential of working with natural processes using organic agriculture and reforestation to restore the health of the biosphere and draw down GHGs.

    But whatever anyone thinks of any of those approaches, it must always be emphasized that they are NOT an alternative to rapidly phasing out GHG emissions, and should not be thought of as “buying time” to do so. Rather, drawing down excess CO2 is needed in addition to eliminating emissions.

  23. 273
    Snapple says:

    The FBI has reportedly issued a statement about Dr. Gleick:

    “No arrests have been made nor have any criminal charges been filed in the Northern District of Illinois against Peter Gleick,” Chicago FBI Special Agent Ross Rice reportedly told Big City Lib (5-10-12).

    Hopefully, that’s the end of it, but who knows from the way it is worded. I also wrote to ask for a first-hand statement.

    That lunatic John O’Sullivan put Steve McIntyre’s words in S.A. Rice’s mouth a few months ago.

    According to Heartland, the FBI are like terrorists. After all, they belong to the National Intelligence Council, which writes about the national security dangers of climate change.

  24. 274

    Mertonian Norm wrote:

    I surmise taht you are not of the catastrophic school, that you aren’t worried warming alone will tip us into an unrecoverable state, whereas an over-engineered response might?

    I am of the view that what we do in the next decade or two will have consequences for the next 100,000 years. That is more than ten times the length of time that anything we might choose to call human civilization has existed on the face of the Earth. This would not be the direct result of what we do. But if we choose to invest in non-traditional fossil fuels we will put in place an infrastructure that will make it politically and economically almost impossible to switch away from fossil fuel due to vested interests.

    Without geoengineering we stand a very good chance of crippling modern civilization for the foreseeable future. With geoengineering we might very well destroy it altogether.

    We need to heavily invest in a variety of renewable energy sources, but at the very top of the list I would put solar and wind. And we need to do so while we still have the means. With sufficient energy you can power desalinization, recycling, the production of chemicals for agriculture, what have you. Rapid development of renewables would make this possible.
    But continuing along our current path will result in extensive severe endemic drought and consequent food shortages. It will destabilize the climate system and result in widespread war. What resources we would otherwise have will be eaten up dealing with the consequences, including a densely populated coastline that recedes from encroaching waters for centuries, with all the costs that that would entail, long after the temperature ceases to rise.

  25. 275
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mertonian Norm,
    The problem I have with this approach is that it gives the illusion that “a solution exists” that allows BAU to continue. BAU cannot continue. We will run out of fossil fuels and destroy our environment trying to suck the last, little sips out of straws stuck into 2 miles of water, spending the last of our aquifers to suck petroleum out of shale and tar sands and generally trying to preserve an inherently unsustainable lifestyle.

    It is time to face reality–long past time, really.

  26. 276

    #264 Andreas, Naa, North Pole area was at or is near the Cold Temperature North Pole, the coldest place in the Northern Hemisphere which always moves around during fall to spring.,,, But really:

    It was a quite warm winter up here in the Arctic.

  27. 277
    Mertonian Norm says:

    to the illusion that “a solution exists”, it’s a bind all right. If it’s long past time to face the obvious reality, it’s approaching past time to acknowledge the other, attached reality that societies haven’t responded to what is, after all, accepted climate science. As the average Joe inaccurately but insistently notes that despite the drumbeat of alarm nothing bad has happened yet, he grows increasingly difficult to convince. It may become easier for governments (the Maldives’ in the extreme example) to engineer the atmosphere than its citizens’ behavior.

  28. 278
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mertonian Norm,
    Climate engineering will have unintended and undesirable consequences–and we will not even be able to adequately model these. At the very least, the solutions I’ve seen proposed are short-term fixes that I would want to see tried only to buy time when the situation became dire.

    Most important, they do not address the root problem–humans must learn to live withing the resources of their own tiny planet without depleting, degrading or destroying them. Until we learn that skill, extinction is a probable outcome.

  29. 279
    Susan Anderson says:

    Paul Krugman meets Michael Tobis:
    (Tobis schematic of media coverage vs. scientific understanding which Krugman found on at ClimateProgress)

    Tobis has a few good items at:

    Apparently before knowing his work was going to be featured by Krugman, Tobis pointed out this cogent article about Solyndra and Chase bank:
    (and as long as I’m there, there was a nice tweak in one of the comments:

    Silly you: he’s filthy rich so obviously he’s very, very smart. This ignorance comes from your Econ program wasting its time studying Keynes while neglecting Darwin

    Krugman’s attention seems helpful to me, despite the hatred he attracts – or perhaps because of it.

  30. 280
    Brian Dodge says:

    “And who is to say that different countries wouldn’t choose to geoengineer the world differently, that is, in a way that would benefit their nations at the expense of the rest?”
    “With geoengineering we might very well destroy it altogether.”

    There are no doubt politicians who are taking those two statements to mean that with the “right” geoengineering, “we” will be able to selectively destroy certain other nations; of course, some of “them” are thinking exactly the same thing. Others no doubt will claim we need to proceed with geoengineering apace, not because we plan to use it, but to keep others from using it against us – protection by Mutually Assured Destruction. Plus, there’s all those nuclear weapons that “we”, uhm, “they”, uhm, some of “us” and some of “them” have, making the world such a safer and more peaceful place.

  31. 281
    Jim Larsen says:

    Please read the following as a request for further information and correction. (In other words, I’ve got just enough information to point down what is probably the wrong path):

    Geoengineering doesn’t completely solve the temperature issue either. Greenhouse gases affect the poles more than the equator while sulphur aerosols affect the equator more. Thus, if you want to keep the poles from melting, you’d have to drop temperatures elsewhere as compared to pre-industrial. Since the rule of thumb is triple the effect at the poles, to counter a 6 degree polar warming, you’d end up with a planet perhaps 4 degrees cooler than you began with, that is outside the polar regions.

  32. 282

    “280”–Yes; Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars” looks at couple of ways in which geo-engineering can go badly wrong, geopolitically speaking. There’s clearly a lot of potential for it to do so.

  33. 283
    ozajh says:

    Wipneus @ 259,

    That appears to be a relatively large jump from both April 2011 and March 2012, enough so that a reading starting with a 4 now looks entirely possible on current trends for April 2014 (and almost certain for April 2015).

    Humans are known to react disproportionately to the first significant digit of numerical values (which is why so many prices have 9’s as second/third/etc digits). So folks, is there any chance that 400+ ppm is going to be a wake-up call?

  34. 284
    MalcolmT says:

    @255 Unsettled Scientist: If you want to get a bit more leverage and a bit more fun out of your photography/phenology/exploration activities, you could consider a writing a blog like mine, , which is a wildlife photo diary plus gleanings from environmentally-related daily news and blogs, etc.

  35. 285
    Hank Roberts says:

    > … agriculture and reforestation.

    “Woody agriculture is an intensive system of production that establishes permanent stands of the woody crop through coppicing. Nuts are gathered annually, and the wood is typically harvested for biofuel or charcoal production once every 5-10 years. The plant regenerates from the roots and returns to food production the following year.

    Woody agriculture has many benefits over traditional annual-based agriculture, including:

    == Reduced erosion. Once the stand of trees or shrubs is established, no tillage is necessary, greatly reducing wind and water erosion. The deep root systems of woody perennials also help hold the soil in place.
    == Reduced agricultural runoff. The deep root system of perennial woody crops uses soil nutrients more effectively, requiring less fertilizer, and utilizes fertilizer more efficiently when it is applied, reducing runoff. Herbicide and pesticide needs are also reduced.
    == Reduced water needs. Established perennial crops are also far more drought-resistant than annual crops and require little or no extra water in most regions.
    == Improved wildlife habitat. Woody trees and shrubs provide food and shelter for many animal species in addition to the food and fuel they produce for humans.

    Contrary to popular belief, tree crops, especially improved hybrids, can produce as much or more per acre than traditional annual crops, and some hybrid varieties have been bred for precocious production, reducing the amount of time between stand establishment and income generation.

    Woody agriculture has also been gaining attention from the scientific community due to its carbon sequestration capabilities. Woody plants fix three times as much carbon dioxide as annual crops per year, and it is estimated that converting 1/4th of current agricultural land to an intensive woody agriculture system would completely counteract the excess carbon dioxide emissions produced by fossil fuel burning and other human activities, while providing large amounts of food and fuel for human consumption in the process.”

  36. 286

    Kevin McKinney wrote in 282:

    Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars” looks at couple of ways in which geo-engineering can go badly wrong, geopolitically speaking. There’s clearly a lot of potential for it to do so.

    I haven’t seen Dyer’s book yet, although I hope to soon. However, in my view, on the scale implied by the use of aerosols, ethically, geoengineering itself would represent the destruction of civilization in the sense of its corruption and almost irreversible breakdown. To control the climate system by that means would imply that some countries would be for all intents and purposes destroyed, likely due to drought. This would no doubt be something that they would be opposed to. Their sacrifice would be against their will.

    We would make a sacrifice of them precisely because we could and it would be in our interest. Might makes right, not as the deliberate destruction of their nation for its own sake, but merely as a matter of utter indifference in the pursuit of our own narrowly conceived interests. That there would be retaliation of one form or another (likely military or terrorist by those who recognized that their countries were being made sacrificial lambs on the altar to someone else’s affluent lifestyle) is simply laying bare the principle that was already in play.

    But beyond a certain point, the continuance of geoengineering would become unavoidable. At the same time, those who would have the ability as well as the will (given what would be at stake for their countries) would pursue geoengineering solutions with equal indifference to our interests. Then the big question would become how long will it be before we become obvious about our indifference to the interests of others, that our actions aren’t being guided by any principle other than that of pure self-interest.

  37. 287

    re Malcolm T at #269.

    The ANU’s Emeritus Faculty is a club for its retired academics, and I retired a long time ago, hence I have no phone number at ANU.

  38. 288
    Craig Nazor says:


    Here at (in my opinion) the premier scientific website on climate, with some of the best-credentialled climate scientists in the world, experts in climatology patiently spend hours arguing with a barrage of willfully ignorant anthropogenic global climate change deniers who, nevertheless, REFUSE TO BELIEVE the scientific information already learned about the earth’s climate system. So who really thinks that it is a viable strategy to try and convince these same people that we really know enough about climate geoengineering to safely dump millions of tons of aerosols into the atmosphere to undo what they CONTINUE TO DENY is happening in the first place?

    I am not a scientist. Still, I don’t believe we know enough about climate science to safely indulge in climate geoengineering. (Please, experts, correct me if you believe this statement is wrong!) If we can’t overcome the ignorance of AGCC deniers to make real change in human behavior soon, I think we are just stuck with the climate that we have ALREADY very ignorantly geoengineered!

    It’s kind of like weight loss = does anyone really think that surgical fat tissue removal is a viable alternative to ingesting fewer calories in the first place?

  39. 289
    Susan Anderson says:

    Timothy Chase@~274:

    Stark but true. Time to stop temporizing.

    I tend to think of it as troubles with the water supply, which is a bit broader than drought and covers almost all of earth’s geography. Flooding and poisoning of the water supply are just as bad.

  40. 290
    Dan H. says:

    I think that deniers, skeptics, warmists, alarmists, critics, dyspeptics, contrarians, believers, and most other categories that people like to call others, think that geoengineering is a bad idea. Until the time (if ever) that we can truly make well-established changes, without unintended consequences, we should avoid the potential of making a bad situation worse.

  41. 291
    SecularAnimist says:

    Craig Nazor: “… who really thinks that it is a viable strategy to try and convince these same people that we really know enough about climate geoengineering …”

    It will be very easy to convince them, as long as geoengineering can be viewed as a strategy for postponing the phaseout of fossil fuels.

    That’s the bottom line of the deniers. Always.

  42. 292
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Climate Change Believers Split from Heartland Institute

    “There is one thing that will certainly change from ending our association with Heartland: R Street will not promote climate change skepticism.”

  43. 293

    #292–Ha! Opines Mr. Bast: “The computer models upon which the United Nations’ IPCC and other climate alarmists have relied for decades don’t match observable data.”

    The unobservable data, now… ;-)

    OK, that was a cheap shot… but Mr. Bast appears not to be a very good observer.

  44. 294
    Susan Anderson says:

    Heartland Gold Sponsors:

  45. 295

    I think that deniers, skeptics, warmists, alarmists, critics, dyspeptics, contrarians, believers, and most other categories that people like to call others, think that geoengineering is a bad idea.

    I wonder what Dan H. himself thinks of geoengineering when he gets around to thinking for, himself and not claiming to think he knows what ‘others’ think.

    Oh, forget it. Who cares what Dan H. thinks? Any takers?

  46. 296
    MalcolmT says:

    Timothy Curtin re #287: Thanks for dropping in and explaining the null result. I visited your ‘cyber-home’ but I’m afraid it didn’t resolve my doubts. Can you tell us something of your qualifications in climate science? And the ‘peer review’ process at TSWJ?

  47. 297
    Craig Nazor says:


    I see your point, but the dirty carbon industry is NEVER going to want to pay for it, and if things continue the way they are, no one else will be able to afford it, either.

  48. 298
    Nick Gotts says:

    “Convincing people to use the right knob, to change their lifestyles in deference to future generations, is a laudable goal, but a tough sell in the U.S.” – Mertonian Norm

    True, reality denial is strongly entrenched in the US, where it has the enthusiastic support of a major political party, and only somewhat less so elsewhere. But geoengineering not only has the drawbacks others have already mentioned; unless it takes a form that draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it would do nothing about the acidification of the oceans, which may be as bad as rising temperatures (except perhaps reducing positive feedbacks from increased temperature that would raise carbon dioxide levels even faster).

  49. 299
    Killian says:

    242 dhogaza says: Hansen’s a bit over the top, but not nearly as over the top as those who deny what he’s saying is “obviously false”.

    No, Hansen isn’t. It’s pretty impossible to be “over the top” when the worst case scenario is an existential threat to humanity/civilization/a large percentage of all biota on the planet.

    And he’s not the only one worried:

    Please note those comments and results are from three years ago; the news has only gotten worse since then. I wish more people understood risk assessment.

    As for messaging “over the top”, hug the monster.

    While the vast majority seem to be content with a slow suicide – not hyperbole or “over the top”, so please bear with me – via nicely asking people to understand the science and to stop denying the science and “meet people where they are”, finally someone comes up with the right framing for facing the dangers we have created head on: Hug the flippin’ monster.

    “A few years ago, this reporter heard a prominent climate and environment scientist… …told us that he and most other climate scientists often simply didn’t want to speak openly about what they were learning about how disruptive and frightening the changes of manmade global warming were clearly going to be for “fear of paralyzing the public.”

    “Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”

    “‘The big damages come if the climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases turns out to be high,’ said Raymond T. Pierre-humbert, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago. ‘Then it’s not a bullet headed at us, but a thermonuclear warhead.’” (Recent scientific studies report the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases is proving to be higher than expected.)

    “Ultimately, as the climate continues warming and more data accumulate, it will become obvious how clouds are reacting. But that could take decades, scientists say, and if the answer turns out to be that catastrophe looms, it would most likely be too late.”
    “‘Even if there were no political implications, it just seems deeply unprofessional and irresponsible to look at this and say, “We’re sure it’s not a problem,” ‘ said Kerry A. Emanuel, another M.I.T. scientist. ‘It’s a special kind of risk, because it’s a risk to the collective civilization.’“

    ““Hug the monster” is a metaphor taught by U.S. Air Force trainers to those headed into harm’s way.

    The monster is your fear in a sudden crisis — as when you find yourself trapped in a downed plane or a burning house.

    If you freeze or panic — if you go into merely reactive “brainlock” — you’re lost.

    But if your mind has been prepared in advance to recognize the psychological grip of fear, focus on it, and then transform its intense energy into action — sometimes even by changing it into anger — and by also engaging the thinking part of your brain to work the problem, your chances of survival go way up.”

    It is quite literally impossible to be “over the top” with climate.

    Do the math. Don’t discount the risks. Hug the monster.

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    The objective of arguing for geoengineering isn’t necessarily geoengineering.

    You may simply want to “split the vote,” getting some of the people that are arguing for a price on carbon (South Africa, known for coal liquifaction, has implemented one and the European Union will be imposing a tax on aviation) to argue for the “more realistic” goal of putting giant mirrors into orbit while we continue to subsidize fossil fuel rather than tax it. Or the objective may be simply one of distraction. Or it may be one of postponement, simply to squeeze a few more dollars out of an industry whose time should be past, or to buy the time to put in place the infrastructure for a non-traditional fossil fuel that should be avoided. One thing it is not, though, is an attempt to impose a cost on the fossil fuel industry in the here and now as a way of moving us away from fossil fuel. For many I suspect that is a good enough reason for arguing for it.