Unforced variations: Oct 2012

This month’s open thread. Try to keep it at least vaguely focused on climate science…!

782 comments on this post.
  1. Chris Dudley:

    Patrick (#299),

    Had a look at your link. It starts out by criticizing Rio, not a Kyoto mechanism forum, and declaring it failed without examination. Yet, what 350.org most wanted from that conference, an end to fossil fuel subsidies, is now being called for by influential candidates from both big political parties in the US. That counts as some success I’d say.

    I doubt your link is a useful place to discuss mitigation methods. It seems to prefer ignorance to knowledge on first impression.

  2. Chris Dudley:

    Chris (#298),

    You can read the forcing in 2035 right off the chart next to the one you annotated at your original link. http://www.c2sm.ethz.ch/news/scen_workshop/presentations/c2sm_ws10_plattner.pdf

    Saves some effort.

  3. wayne davidson:

    At midnight it was -15 C outside in light winds in a small High Arctic Barrow Strait bay ( 74 43 North) and larger patches of grey ice were forming amongst open water with a star light night with ice crystals columns, it looks like my -11 C surface temperature refreeze setting may need to be revised to a cooler number. I seriously wonder if sea ice models incorporate this phenomenal observation. I highly doubt that they do, it seems rather a complex calculation. For those who need confirmation or repetition of this, need simply to look at Cryosphere Today slow rate of sea ice recovery and the air surface temperatures over the wide open water. There appears to be no ice (could be some grey ice) over a vast area but NOAA makes the temperature about -15 C or colder. Which is a staggering concept of reality, but ssts are about -1 C. in the western quadrant of the North Pole (90 West to 90 East). So now any one can realize that open water during the long night is possible in a not so distant future.

  4. Jim Larsen:

    Chris D,

    This is off-topic so I’ll keep it short.

    You mentioned a punitive fee against China which attributes 100% of all global carbon emissions and the resulting damage to China alone. Great! Now, China might do the math differently, by taking total historical emissions per capita, resulting in attribution to the USA, Europe, and Japan of 90%(?), and so install a counter-punitive-fee far higher than the one you proposed.

    Your statement about current emissions compared to historical emissions is silly. We knew 30 years ago (or more) the threat of GHGs, so emissions over the last 30+ years MUST be considered the same as current emissions.

    So, tell me where your suggestion leads, other than a trade war between folks who don’t share the same definitions? There is little chance that China won’t counter any fee with one of their own of equal or higher magnitude.

  5. Jim Larsen:

    294 Ray L said, “I agree that the countries that embrace renewables–if, indeed any do–will have an advantage…eventually.”

    The truth is that the countries that embrace the INSTALLATION of renewables will have a tremendous disadvantage. Those that build their renewable industries and fund them through other governments’ tax policies might have an advantage. The best example of this is China, which is constructing a huge renewable production system based on exporting and slurping up other countries’ rebates. Given that so far even this is wildly unprofitable, there’s no reason to assume that waiting until the systems mature is a bad decision.

    If in 10 years solar PV drops to way cheap, then installing solar PV today is a bad decision. Germany WILL do it. Governments WILL support research. That day 10 years from now WILL happen regardless of whether we buy a single watt today. Smart money will avoid renewables (unless the vast majority of the cost is socialized) for the next 4 to 8 years. Countries which don’t install renewables, but increase research and to a small extent production will have the best results.

  6. Chris Korda:

    Chris Dudley @302: “You can read the forcing in 2035 right off the chart next to the one you annotated at your original link”

    But exactly that’s what I did. In my post at @298, see the fifth line of the second paragraph:

    forcing increase if we follow RCP8.5 from 2009 to 2035: 1.5 W/m2 (see my annotated AR5 forcing chart)

    Sorry but I’m not sure what your point is here. I’m not trying to calculate the forcing, that’s an input to my calculation. The question I’m trying to answer @298 is: If we follow the IEO2011 scenario, i.e. if we add 1,000 Gt of CO2 between 2009 and 2035, what is the resulting global average temperature likely to be in 2035? None of the AR5 scenarios I have access to show temperature, only forcing or emissions.

    Or are you suggesting I can just convert the forcing for a given year directly to global average temperature change? For example if I multiply the 2009 forcing (2.2 W/m2) by the climate sensitivity (0.8), I get 1.76 ºC, which considerably exceeds the estimated total global warming so far (~1ºC), so that can’t be what you mean. Presumably the reason this doesn’t work is because the forcing isn’t changing instantaneously, it’s gradating over time.

    Side point: Suppose the forcing did change instantaneously. So in 2009, out of nowhere, our forcing snaps from zero to 2.2 W/m2 and stays there. Climate sensitivity tells me that eventually the temperature will increase by 1.76 ºC, but it doesn’t tell me the trajectory of the change. That’s much more complicated due to climate inertia. Right?

    “Climate Change, Lines of Evidence” gives the forcing resulting from the period 1750 to 2005 as 1.66 W/m2 (ch. 5, at 2:50). I take this to mean that if we had stabilized our forcing in 2005, eventually the global average temperature would stabilize at a level 1.3ºC higher than it was in 1750. But again it doesn’t tell me the trajectory. To accurately estimate the temperature increase by 2005, I have to account for a) the gradual nature of the forcing increase, and possibly also b) climate inertia. Does this sound correct?

  7. Chris Dudley:

    Re-insurer Munich Re is claiming that North America is a particular target of climate change related extreme weather disasters.


  8. wili:

    Nicely put, wayne.

    The area anomaly is getting to be quite… stunning:


  9. wili:

    Oh, and we just blew past 120 consecutive days of the area being below (or, briefly, equal to) previous daily record lows.


    (reCaptcha is talking to me again, with bad spelling, of course: “ask miteley”–so I guess I mite have to come up with a mity question?)

  10. Hank Roberts:

    An example of bad press release drafting about a “divergence” issue:

    From http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20110309.html

    “… The researchers found that the uncorrected temperature data correlated strongly with data on movements of Earth’s core and Earth’s length of day until about 1930. They then began to diverge substantially: that is, global surface air temperatures continued to increase, but without corresponding changes in Earth’s length of day or movements of Earth’s core. This divergence corresponds with a well-documented, robust global warming trend that has been widely attributed to increased levels of human-produced greenhouse gases.

    “But an examination of the corrected temperature record yielded a different result: the corrected temperature record remained strongly correlated with both Earth’s length of day and movements of Earth’s core throughout the entire temperature data series.”

    My quick rewriting of that second paragraph:

    After subtracting the warming trend attributed to greenhouse gases since the 1930s from the longterm temperature record, the small temperature variations correlated with Earth’s length of day and movements of Earth’s core remain detectable throughout the entire time span.

  11. Hank Roberts:

    The recent shift in early summer Arctic atmospheric circulation
    Overland, J. E., J. A. Francis, E. Hanna, and M. Wang
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L19804, doi:10.1029/2012GL053268
    Publication Date: 10 October 2012

    Key Points
    There is an apparent sustained shift in early summer Arctic winds since 2007
    Such Arctic changes are linked to increased North American atmospheric blocking
    Highlights potential connectivity of Arctic climate and mid-latitude weather

  12. wili:

    The last sentence in the abstract reads:

    “The North American location of increased 700 hPa positive anomalies suggests that a regional atmospheric blocking mechanism is responsible for the presence of the AD pattern, consistent with observations of unprecedented high pressure anomalies over Greenland since 2007.”

    Can the ‘unprecedented high pressure anomalies over Greenland since 2007’ be reasonably attributed to the fact the the GIS is now the only consistently cold large mass in the Arctic–that the ‘cold pole’ has shifted and greatly focused around Greenland? And does that imply that the Arctic Dipole will now be a permanent feature during the summer?

  13. SecularAnimist:

    The utter wrong-headedness of Jim Larsen’s comment (currently #305) is just the sort of thing that inspires me to lengthy, well-documented and thoroughly off-topic posts on the realities of the renewable energy industries today.

    I have promised the moderators, other commenters, and myself to resist such temptations here. And I will.

    To Jim, I will simply and respectfully say, go to CleanTechnica, ClimateProgress and other sites where well-informed discussion of these issues is appropriate. Try your stuff out there. Have fun watching it get smacked down for the nonsense it is.

  14. Chris Dudley:

    Chris (#306),

    You are right, I misread what you were doing. One approach you might take is to note that the change in forcing still seems to look like a power-law. Self-similarity might then tell you to divide the calculated temperature based on the fast feedback sensitivity by about 2 as one would now.

  15. Kevin McKinney:

    #307–Thanks for that link, Chris. I note the quote:

    “Thirty years is not an appropriate length of time for a climate analysis, much less finding causal factors like climate change,” says Roger Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado.

    Is that statement as stunningly fatuous as I think it is?

  16. Kevin McKinney:

    #313–SA, I commend you on your restraint–not a comment on the specifics of the issues, or on Jim’s comment for that matter–but as a (recent) sometime OT yapper, and one who sometimes finds ‘restraint of reply’ quite challenging, I can relate.

  17. David B. Benson:

    It seems the way ice decomposes is rather complex:

    Glaciers Cracking in the Presence of Carbon Dioxide

  18. Jim Larsen:

    SecularA, I’ve noticed that those I respect have welcomed my ideas here and elsewhere; often repeating or referencing them, including the commenter who is probably the most respected on this blog. That makes me feel good about contributing to “the world”. That you haven’t noticed it surprises me, though given your beyond extreme views, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Here’s one company, the BIGGEST solar factory in the nation, that’s taking my advice to heart:


    Remember, fiberglass insulation alone saves far more CO2 than all renewables combined, and at a fraction of the cost.

    You like sexy. I like effective. Thus, we come to different conclusions. Pick a venue of your choice, and I’ll engage there, and we’ll see who gets their opinions knocked down. Deal?

  19. Chris Dudley:

    Jim (#304),

    This is just to remind you that my previous answer was so eloquent and persuasive that you should have dropped everything and started immediately to work on getting carbon tariffs going.

    As you wrote earlier, you have not been arguing sincerely. Perhaps it would help your understanding, if you are so facile, to do an honest job of recapping my argument concerning recent and past emissions and how they bear on thresholds.

  20. wayne Davidon:

    Wili, Yes, fascinating in as much as this NSIDC Lebedev 1938 formla i:

    Thickness (cm) = 1.33 * FDD (°C)^0.58

    FDD =-1.8 – (average daily temperature)


    Not so, there is a small partial grey ice cover.

    There should be about 5 cm ice cover from the last 24 hours activity favourable for ice formation.
    This with average temperature of -10 C.

    ” Formulas such as this are empirical, meaning they are calculated only with observed data, so they really are simplifications of the ice growth processes. The formulas assume that the ice growth occurs in calm water and is reasonably consistent, and they do not take into account sea ice motion, snow cover, and other surface conditions. ”

    wonder if the models give the same result?

    This is better for mean temperature:


    it shows current ice growing at the edge of the ice pack with surface temperatures between -10 to -15 C. -11 C looks not so bad.

  21. Chris Dudley:

    Chris (#306),

    On your side note, figs. 7 through 10 in this paper give some climate response functions (percentage full temperature response to an instantaneous doubling of CO2 which is then held steady as a function of time) http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha06510a.html

  22. Chris Dudley:

    Kevin (#315),

    Don’t indulge that pielkadillo.

  23. Chris Korda:

    I think a found a much easier way to answer both of my questions @289. Here goes:

    1 ppm CO2 = 2.12 Gt C (CDIAC)
    2.12 Gt C = 7.76 Gt CO2 (C to CO2 ratio of 3.67, ThinkProgress)
    thus 1 ppm CO2 = 7.76 Gt CO2
    “1 trillion metric tons of additional cumulative energy-related carbon dioxide emissions between 2009 and 2035” (IEO2011, p. 143) = 129 ppm of additional CO2 (divide 1,000 Gt CO2 by 7.76)

    preindustrial CO2 = 280 ppm (How sensitive is our climate?)

    2009 CO2 = 387 ppm (Annual Data Atmospheric CO2)

    387 ppm (in 2009) + 129 ppm (IEO2011 scenario) = 516 ppm (by 2035)

    doubling pre-industrial CO2 (to 560 ppm) would increase average global by 3ºC (How sensitive is our climate?)

    516 ppm is 92% of 560 ppm, and 92% of 3ºC is 2.76ºC, therefore following the IEO2011 scenario until 2035 would increase average global temperature by 2.76ºC.

    [Response: not really. You need to take into account the fraction of the emissions taken up by land and ocean very quickly (about 50%) and the thermal inertia of the oceans which slows the response in temperature. – gavin]

  24. Paolo C.:

    What do you think about this new method of geongineering?


    Is it a good Plan B?

  25. wili:

    David (at #317), thank for that link. So was that weakening of CO2-infected ice figured in to the SLR models. I’m guessing not. So probably we are in for sea level rise of more than a meter by the end of the century, more in the Hansen range, or worse?

    I also commend SA at #313 for his restraint as one who sometimes lacks it. I hope he will also find the inner strength to restrain from telling people not to discuss climate science blog, even when the climate science is rather grim. Of course, no matter how grim, the answer should always be to reduce our carbon footprints as fast as possible. But if that is a reason not to discuss the latest science and its implications, we might as well just fold the site up or turn it over to purely policy discussions.

    So, enjoined by a recent reCatcha to “ask mitely,” I will try at least one more time to ask if dashed line on graph #3 in the recent Nature Geoscience article (by MacDougall, Avis and Weaver) on permafrost melt–taken together with the known fact that there are other carbon (and other) positive feedbacks–mean that, even if we stop all anthropogenic CO2 emissions next year, atmospheric CO2 levels will continue to rise indefinitely?

    I’m hoping that one of the learned posters or mods will be able to point out some basic flaw in my reasoning or in the article. I will take silence to be the unwished-for affirmative.

    Here’s the link to the abstract and graphs:


  26. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    #324 Solar L1 Occultation

    Using an asteroid as source material for an occulting cloud of dust at Solar L1 is of course quite ridiculous, but the concept is sound except that it does nothing to reduce ocean acidification. The concept is referred to as a variable transmissivity occulting disk at Solar L1, and clearly experiments to model and measure the effect could easily be performed. A more permanent solution would be an array of two dimensional thin film panels of variable tranmissivity, which when the concept is fully modeled and understood could also be used to drive storm fronts to produce precipitation for drought plauged regions on the Earth, and modify solar irradiance in real time over variable areas of the Earth.

    Science fiction? No. But you’re going to need reusable launch vehicles with airline like efficiency and eventually lunar and asteroidal materials to pull it off, plus some badly needed breakthroughs in material science and condensed matter physics. And it would just be a life saver until we can produce the carbon drawdown technology to reduce carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. At that point we should be able to move most people off planet anyways, which would be the only way to prevent planetary catastrophe and the major extinction event that is sure to come.

    I hope that clears it up for you a bit. I suggest starting simple experiments with rocket exhaust, which will dissipate quickly.

  27. SecularAnimist:

    Re: Jim Larsen #318:

    Regarding that Forbes article, I am well aware of the difficulties that developers of innovative thin-film photovoltaics are facing due to the rapidly plummeting costs and rapidly improving efficiency of conventional silicon PV panels.

    The Forbes article notes that costs of conventional silicon PV fell 50 percent in the first half of 2012 alone — obviously that presents a challenge to manufacturers trying to develop cost-competitive technologies.

    Why you think that supports your views is beyond me. I’ve said this before, but based on your “argument” there is NEVER a good time to invest in ANY technology that is rapidly improving, and if we had followed such advice with regard to personal computers, we’d all still be banging away on IBM Selectric typewriters waiting for PCs to get better.

    If you really think that PV today is such a terrible investment, I suggest you present your arguments to Walmart (65,000 KW installed PV capacity on their private facilities), Costco (38,900 KW installed), Kohl’s (36,474 KW), Ikea (21,495 KW), Macy’s (16,163 KW), McGraw Hill (14,113 KW), Johnson & Johnson (11,619 KW), Staples (10,776 KW) and the 34 other major corporations who have already installed a combined total of more than 320 Megawatts of PV capacity at more than 750 locations across the USA.

    Sorry to give in to temptation again.

  28. Hank Roberts:

    > CO2 … ice … cracking….
    Here ya go:
    Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics Volume 45 Number 44
    Zhao Qin and Markus J Buehler 2012 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 45 445302
    Carbon dioxide enhances fragility of ice crystals

    Wili’s link goes to a rewritten press release, not an abstract.

    The original press release is:

    IOP has blogged it:
    Oct 11, 2012 Carbon dioxide is ‘corroding’ ice

    I wonder if the described mechanism — CO2 making a hydrogen bond at a surface, then flipping along a fracture plane penetrating deeper into a crystalline material — also works on calcite and aragonite?

    Global Change Biology
    Technical Advance
    Description and quantification of pteropod shell dissolution: a sensitive bioindicator of ocean acidification
    26 MAR 2012
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02668.x

  29. Hank Roberts:

    Do consider the source of the excitement — MIT’s press release writers. That press office puts out reports of MIT faculty’s very exciting and potentially world-changing discoveries routinely. Nothing they do is below average there. So — it might be wise to wait and see what’s in the actual article.

    The article is available free, supposedly. The DOI link isn’t working as I type this but it should fairly soon:

  30. Hank Roberts:

    oh, and when you do click for the PDF, it’ll tell you:

    Access options
    Carbon dioxide enhances fragility of ice crystals

    2012 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 45 445302

    “The full text of this article is currently available for free, as it was published in the last 30 days. As a service to our authors and to the international physics community, all papers published in our journals are made freely available online for 30 days from the date of online publication.

    You will need to login to IOPscience to access the full text of this article, or create an account if you don’t yet have one.”

  31. Dan H.:

    I have been reading your posts about China and green energy, and was wondering if you would care to comment on this article? Thanks.


  32. SecularAnimist:

    wili wrote: “I hope he will also find the inner strength to restrain from telling people not to discuss climate science blog, even when the climate science is rather grim”

    I don’t think I have told people not to discuss climate science — that was certainly not my intent, and would certainly be a silly thing to suggest here, since that is the whole purpose of this site.

    What I have said, or meant to say, is that as far as I can tell, what we have every reason to expect from climate science going forward is study upon study upon study telling us that the AGW problem is worse than scientists thought, and is getting worse more rapidly than they ever imagined possible.

    That is certainly my layman’s take on this year’s Arctic sea ice melt, and the permafrost study that you have been encouraging people to discuss — and really, on pretty much every new development in climate science that I’ve read about here or elsewhere over the last few years.

    As I have tried to say, I feel that our debt to climate scientists — including the hosts of this site in particular — for bringing this problem to the world’s attention is literally infinite.

    And it is likewise crucial that they “keep a cool head” as they continue to carefully, methodically and dispassionately study the climate system and the effects of AGW with ever-greater understanding, in ever more refined detail, because that’s the only way that we — ordinary citizens as well as policy-makers in both the public and private sectors — are going to become aware of the rapidly increasing seriousness and urgency of the problem.

    Having said that, writing as a person who — thanks to the work of climate scientists — already “gets it”, and already understands the urgent need for action, it does seem to me that developments like the permafrost study are telling us what we already know:

    We need to act. On a large scale. Fast. Now.

    I do appreciate that discussion of how to act is not what this venue is for, and I’ll try (and sometimes fail) to take my advocacy for action to more appropriate venues.

    What I don’t see much value in, is “discussion of the science” by laymen like many of the commenters here (including me), that simply leads people to retreat into despair and hopelessness and a sense that “it’s too late” to do anything.

  33. Hank Roberts:

    > one company … that’s taking my advice

    You work for GE, or you’re advising them?
    You’re an economist?

    Hard to tell. The stuff above sounds like PR for a business.

  34. Hank Roberts:

    Ok, this is promising:

    (Screening many different chemicals/mixes for improved heat storage with molten salt)

    I trust they’re also considering what happens when the heat exchanger pipe cracks inside the molten salt (think hot liquid glass, basically) and the stuff goes up in a big steam explosion and rains out downwind — if they have a fairly innocuous material that can be hosed off a neighborhood, this would be nice to have around any place there’s waste high temperature heat being thrown away that could be captured.

  35. Chris Dudley:

    Hank (#334)

    Waste high temperature heat?

  36. Thomas Lee Elifritz:


    Hank, I can only suggest that you might want to familiarize yourself with the concept of Mottness and electronic and lattice frustration. Besides back yard solar concentrators and water heaters, I am of the opinion that widespread small scale use of solar energy and electricity storage will require microscopic solutions and not macroscopic solutions. Thanks.

  37. Chris Korda:

    Gavin @323: Thank you for your response. I just want to be sure I understand. So if atmospheric CO2 is 387 in 2009, and we add another 129 ppm over the next 25 years, the concentration doesn’t actually get up to 516 ppm because we’re adding it slowly enough for much of our addition to be reabsorbed. Is half a workable approximation? Is it fair to say that CO2 would get up to 452 ppm? Or do I also need to account for the reabsorption rate declining over time as carbon sinks saturate?

    Another way to pose the question: Suppose atmospheric CO2 doubles between 1750 and 2100 (hopefully not!): how much CO2 would we have to emit to achieve that result?

    I should explain what I’m trying to do. I have the data for the AR5 RCP scenarios. My original goal was to make a chart with temperature in the y-axis, like the ones for AR4. That turned out to be harder than I realized. A reasonable first step might be a series of charts that show the trajectory of cumulative atmospheric CO2 concentration for each scenario. That seems more doable, but still non-trivial.

  38. SecularAnimist:

    Dan H wrote: “I have been reading your posts about China and green energy, and was wondering if you would care to comment on this article?”

    The website you linked to — “The Resilient Earth” — is a purveyor of global warming denialist propaganda, and as is often the case with such sites, is also a purveyor of anti-renewable energy propaganda.

    The article you specifically linked to is a perfect example of that — it is full of blatant falsehoods about the wind power industry, and dishonest political attacks on the Obama administration’s support for renewable energy.

    Of course, I expect that you are already well aware of that.

  39. Ric Merritt:

    Re Jim Larsen urging us all to wait on PV (with others disagreeing):

    Jim, your argument depends right down to the ground on a whole world-view’s worth of assumptions about “free” markets etc. The assumptions are sometimes useful, but certainly fail in the real world. Just how they fail is the interesting part.

    Jim, and all, please, please read physicist Tom Murphy’s blog Do The Math from cover to cover (or whatever delimits blogs these days). Tom is on topic (which we aren’t quite here), unimpeachable in his background, but doesn’t stretch speculation further than plausible, courteous to all but holding the line on nonsense, and writes well.

    Repeat your reading until enlightenment increases to a useful level. Pay special attention to the trap/bind of needing energy to invest in renewable infrastructure. There’s no magic, and no single obvious path to riches and/or happiness, but Tom illuminates many necessary areas to ponder.

  40. Chris Korda:

    Thomas Lee Elifritz @326: “At that point we should be able to move most people off planet anyways, which would be the only way to prevent planetary catastrophe and the major extinction event that is sure to come.”

    How many people, and where are they going? Do you have any evidence for this assertion?

  41. Chris Korda:

    @332, 327, 318, etc.: Sorry but could you guys please try harder to resist your temptations? The rules were spelled out clearly @ 222 and we all need to abide by them no?

  42. Hank Roberts:

    for Chris Dudley:
    finds among others on the first page of results

    Waste Heat to Power Systems – US Environmental Protection Agency

    May 30, 2012 – … economically feasible power generation from waste heat has been limited primarily to medium- to high-temperature waste heat …

  43. wili:

    SA at 332–Thanks you for your thoughtful post.

    But when you write:

    “What I don’t see much value in, is “discussion of the science” by laymen like many of the commenters here (including me), that simply leads people to retreat into despair and hopelessness and a sense that “it’s too late” to do anything.”

    You do realize that you are asking posters to self-censor their posts on science so that people whom they don’t know won’t react in ways that no one can, in fact, predict. Denialists want to ignore or deny science that they think might lead to reactions they don’t like. You seem to be proposing a similar approach, even if it be for rather laudable ends.

    My understanding is that this is exactly the place for ‘laymen’ to interact with scientists in order to get as clear an understanding as possible of what the latest, best science telling us about the state of the climate at this point, no matter how grim it gets. If I am wrong about the intent of the the blog, I will desist from further posts and questions and go in search of blogs that _are_ devoted to communicating the latest climate science to other scientists and layfolk.

    Anyway, I would rather not spend any more time talking about whether we should be talking about the latest climate science and its consequences, and start spending time actually discussing the science and its consequences.


    By the way, I intended to give the link to the abstract for the permafrost feedback abstract at the end of the last post, and instead posted a link to the article that discussed the CO2 in ice issue that I was also discussing there–oops.

    Anyway here (I hope) is the link to the permafrost feedback abstract, about which I hope we can still have an informative and civil conversation here:


    Thanks ahead of time for any discussion of this piece and of its consequences.

  44. Hank Roberts:

    > Paolo C.
    > geoengineering … dust

    First, it does nothing to reduce ocean pH change; reducing one symptom (warming) of the CO2 excess while letting the faster-developing and more damaging symptom (ocean acidification) isn’t going to be progress; it’d also result in cutting the yield of solar energy systems on the planet, making them less competitive. All in all it favors continusing fossil fuel use and the damage from that.

    Second, it assumes things not yet doable.

    There’s an old cookbook with a recipe for rabbit stew that begins “First, shoot your rabbit.”

    The recipe for capturing dust requires first capturing a rather large asteroid.

    I’d guess that by the time we have done that, we’ll have other technology that may help actually solve the problem rather than just reducing one symptom while letting the other worsen.

  45. SecularAnimist:

    ClimateProgress has a good article today on the AGW-driven increase in extreme weather:

    We appear to have a perfect storm: Detailed observations of more extreme weather in North America in recent years are now coming at the same time as new scientific analyses that can explain why manmade climate change is boosting extreme weather in our continent.

  46. Thomas Lee Elifritz:


    At the risk of being repetitive, you too should try and familiarize yourself with Mottness and electronic and lattice frustration because Tom Murphy, while his goals and approach to the problems may be admirable, he doesn’t actually do ANY math on that blog. None at all, rendering his results useless. On the other hand the arxiv repository of condensed matter physics is rife with people who ‘do the math’ as well as ‘doing the experiments’ to verify the math, and if you follow it faithfully you might ‘see the light’.

  47. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    it’d also result in cutting the yield of solar energy systems on the planet, making them less competitive

    Mechanical solar L1 occultation scenarios involve extremely small, regional, transient, temporary and reversible attenuation of solar irradiance, which would be insignificant for solar energy systems that would be modeled and tested to high order before implemented. This is a radical solution to an extreme problem which would propel human progress into realms only previously dreamed of. It’s a direction, not a goal. The goal is to get people to think about these things, so that we have the time, the science and the technology to develop atmospheric drawdown and sequestration systems and indeed, the technology to eliminate fossil fuel combustion in the open atmosphere entirely. This technique is not a brute force method except for small scale experiments necessery for the models.

  48. Hank Roberts:

    > Mottness and electronic and lattice frustration

    Wonderful in theory.
    No hardware available.
    Not even guidelines for home builders.

    If you want to build it now, Tom Murphy’s approach — using off the shelf commercially avaliable parts — is the way to go.

    If you want to install what might be the best theoretically possible, wait for the “Mottness and electronic and lattice frustration” documentation to improve a bit.

  49. Jim Larsen:

    327 SecularA,

    Um, you suggested and I accepted your invitation to take the discussion elsewhere, yet you responded here with more than “Let’s go to site X”. Why?

    If a product currently costs $10 and will cost $5 next year, but will produce $20 in value over the next year, then waiting a year is unwise. If you can’t take that logic and apply it to various industries, then, well, that means you ain’t even interested in a discussion.

    331 Dan H,

    I’m waiting for SecularA to pick a venue. Once he does, I’ll be happy to comment.

  50. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    Wonderful in theory.

    And in experiment as well, from my reading and participation in them.

    I prefer Elon Musk’s approach – vertical integration and in house design and manufacture. That seems to be working out well enough for him. If you want to build it yourself you can do that already with just some concrete and polystyrene foam, and a couple of computer fans, some LEDs, a lead acid battery and a small silicon solar panel. The problem is that very few people are willing to do those kinds of things and the people who are certainly aren’t getting their information from Tom Murphy’s blog.

    We live in an industrial scale world now, Hank, we need industrial scale solutions. Local solutions are already available to everybody who cares.