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Unforced Variations: Feb 2013

Filed under: — group @ 4 February 2013

This month’s open thread on climate science…

421 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Feb 2013”

  1. 401
    Killian says:

    Re: 396

    Yet, when I do, and have, made this same argument…

    Science doesn’t provide policy, and policy is virtually never made from certainty. Those that understand this are more likely to accept supportable, but non-mainstream problem-solving. As changes come faster than either science or technology can keep up with, this will become even more germane.

  2. 402
    Ray Ladbury says:

    The problem with conventional market driven approaches is that they rely on the opposing forces of supply and demand to reach an equilibrium–a price. Unfortunately, while truth is always valuable, it is not always valued. And as long as you can sell your comforting lie to a bigger fool than you down the road, there can be a profitable market in lies.

    Eventually, though, the lies evaporate like the dew in the sun, and that is when the waiter presents the check. It is at times like that when glibertarians suddenly remember their Uncle Sam.

  3. 403
    Jim Larsen says:

    “the Market is the superior information processor par excellence.”

    The market is the superior eliminator of information processing with regard to anything except profit and the “lowest common denominator”. For example, common sense says that clouds cool the planet, and the Market would reinforce that, as most consumers feel that’s common sense. However, science is often anti-common-sensical, and so the Market could never answer such a question (or any other scientific question) correctly.

    Then we have the problem of Profit VS Truth. We all know that we can’t extract all the fossil fuels which are already counted by the Market as future Profit, but here we are, with the Market creating its own version of reality, one which simply can’t come to pass.

  4. 404
    Hank Roberts says:

    Yeah, obviously — the superior information was: those weren’t real dollars yet if ever, and were increasingly unlikely ever to ever exist.

    Snark was a boojum events in the marketplace followed at increasing frequency.

  5. 405
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Oh, no, Hank. Those dollars existed as soon as the ebil gummint printed them up and paid off the folks who created the mess. I’m sure they were laughing all the way to the bank, but then it was a short walk.

  6. 406
    Hank Roberts says:

    Now I’m wondering — wasn’t there something four years ago from the Administration about making those holding leases for possible energy extraction on public lands either give up their options, or exercise them? Is that why there’s this frantic wasteful effort to drill all the natural gas sources available in the greatest hurry?

    I still say we need to call the fossil fuel leases premature carbon sequestration, and pay them off with some of those printed dollars, and leave them in the ground until we find a way to get the hydrogen out in clean form, to burn that and leave the carbon behind. Kind of instant coal …..

  7. 407
    David B. Benson says:

    Saharan and Asian Dust, Biological Particles End Global Journey in California
    Dust and micro-organisms good; man caused aerosols bad.

  8. 408

    I never get the time to pop over here these days, so apologies if this is being discussed elsewhere.

    There is some very interesting fracturing occurring in the Beaufort Sea (Arctic) at present. This can be seen in this graphic using ASCAT scatterometer images, also at Environment Canada.

    Cyclonic winds have dragged the whole pack clockwise which has lead to stress fractures throughout the Beaufort Sea. This is not uncommon however using QuikScat and ASCAT I’ve been unable to find a similar event between day 300 and day 100 over winters since 1999. It seems to me that as well as being bounded by the Alaskan coast and Banks Island, the arc fractures were being bounded by the remnant of multi year ice (the white central region in the ASCAT images). Now the fracturing has spread into the multi year ice pack. As far as we can see the original arc fracturing is very unusual at this time of year and could be indicative of the parlous state of the pack.

    Comparison of ASCAT, PIOMAS and the Drift Age Model can be seen here to get an idea of the current state of the ice.

    This is being discussed over at the Sea Ice Forum, an offshoot of the Sea Ice Blog. See here and here for more discussion and information.

  9. 409
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    I read probably the same article about Equatorial -polar wave trapping in science daily and would also agree that there would be more factors at play. However I believe that they have indeed identified the main player. Their computer model tracks what is occurring and has ocurred with 90% stat correlation and ties in very well with the plethora of scientifically measured results and anectdotal evidence. Another anectdotal is this..we here on the SE corner of queensland Aust. have just officially had our wettest summer on record and that came directly after our worst and longest drought on record. Again greatly extended periods of climatic stagnation where huge weather systems just do not seem to budge for weeks on end. The central to central north of the state has had it’s longest period of extreme high temps in recorded history. So I for one would probably agree with the potsdamm study. If it quacks like a duck….

  10. 410

    #403–“…it was a short walk limousine ride.” See:

    “One minor detail that might be interesting is that the organisers put on luxury SUVs for the participants to get to the restaurant – 5 blocks away. None of our side used them (preferring to walk), but all of the other side did.”


  11. 411
    Hank Roberts says:

    “… this consensus has seemed impenetrable to counterarguments, no matter how well grounded in evidence. And now, as then, leaders of the consensus continue to be regarded as credible even though they’ve been wrong about everything (why do people keep treating Alan Simpson as a wise man?), while critics of the consensus are regarded as foolish hippies even though all their predictions — about interest rates, about inflation, about the dire effects of austerity — have come true….”

  12. 412
    Hank Roberts says:

    Friday afternoon bombshell: N.Y. Times shuts its Green Blog. Mar 02
    When the New York Times shuttered its Environment Desk in January, the paper’s Managing Editor promised that environmental reporting would remain strong. In a surprise Friday afternoon announcement, the Times announced it was also shutting its popular Green Blog. Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism review called the move an act of “cowardice.”
    that’s from

  13. 413
    David B. Benson says:

    Volcanic Aerosols, Not Pollutants, Tamped Down Recent Earth Warming
    Nonetheless I can detect the junk from east Asia in the atmosphere above me.

  14. 414
    Vincent van der Goes says:

    Dear real climate community,

    Currently I am writing a story that is set in the 25th century. Now I would love to paint a picture of this point in the future under a BUA emission scenario. So I am trying to get an accurate idea of what the planet would look like (preferably using conservative estimates, as that would be grim enough). From sources I found so far, it seems 5-6 meter sea level rise is highly likely and I am guessing that part of Greenland might be free of ice. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  15. 415
    Killian says:

    Re: 412

    At least Revkin’s fence-sitting, pseudo-denialist false equivalence will no longer be on display. That sort of equivocating, which comes off to most as legitimate moderate voice, is in some ways more dangerous than outright denial because it is so much harder to sort out from real support for climate action and sustainability.

    He was tweeting an excellent example of false equivalence tonight that compares “left” extremes with extreme “right” views. Examples? GMOs, fracking, flouride, etc., as equal to denial of climate, evolution and general science. As if fracking, GMO’s and flouride don’t have legit concerns!

    I suggested he read The Authoritarians for a better take on left vs. right extreme ideation.

  16. 416
    Killian says:

    414 Vincent van der Goes

    I suspect you’d be hitting “wet bulb” conditions regularly over much of the globe which might be reflected in a global shift to a split shift schedule, at least for outside laborers. Given possible resource constraints, maybe for everyone.

    Agriculture would have become semi-subterranean – think a greenhouse that is built with the floor 5+ feet below ground level to take advantage of the year-round temps at around 50F for much of the planet. (This is an idea I came up with, and shared with people, back in 2009 or ’10 and recently ran across an example of, so it’s already a reality.)

    Food production would have been hit hard by extreme weather and population might be significantly lower. Ocean acidification could be an important contributor to hunger.

    People might be paler on average due to less time in direct or midday sun.

    Resource constraints will either have led to a more a cooperative society or a highly dystopian one. Or perhaps a struggle between the two. If the third option, the dystopian would be winning at the time period you are writing about given speed of change and the number of resources that are non-renewable. A highly cooperative society would already have achieved, or be close to achieving, sustainability, so if the cooperatists are winning, the dyst0pians are a small, but dangerous, minority.

    Weather extremes would be the norm with long, hot summers and long, mild winters in temperate zones. Winter could be the prime growing season. “Night soil” might well again be a valuable commodity.

    Biodiversity would be limited, potentially severely so such that for most people the diet would have limited variance and even everyday animals today might only be seen in zoos or breeding programs for most.

    Snipe hunting becomes a real thing after a genetically modified rodent escapes a lab and proliferates all around the globe, like rats did on sailing ships, and is nicknamed a Snipe.

    Dang, maybe I should write my own book… “Snipe Humting.” Put me in the credits, but don’t use the Snipe Hunting title or idea without checking with me first in case I take my considerable lack of writing talent and apply myself to becoming a really poor novelist! I do have time on my hands at present…

  17. 417
    Charles says:

    Any idea of what the planet would be like in four centuries would be pure speculation. Parts of Greenland are currently ice-free, but there would likely be more. Sea level rise would depend on the actual temperature rise. Conservateively, we are currently on pace for about one meter over that entire time frame, but that could change significantly. You may just want to alter the climate to fit your story. It has just as much chance as being accurate.

  18. 418
    David B. Benson says:

    Vincent van der Goes @414 — Read about the Pliocene. I suspect your SLR estimate is much too low.

  19. 419
    ozajh says:


    Firstly, I am assuming your acronym should actually be BAU (Business As Usual) instead of BUA.

    I am not a climate scientist, just a horrified layman, but I have read enough to know that under the BAU scenario most (if not all) of the Greenland Ice Sheet will have melted out long before your timeframe. There will of course be SOME remaining mountain glaciers, and probably still seasonal sea ice in the Greenland interior (some of the Ice Sheet is grounded below sea level).

    I am not competent to give you an estimate of sea-level rise.

  20. 420
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    414: Vincent..umm! I don’t think anyone knows accurately what will happen as nearly all of the conservative models incorporate varying degrees of greenhouse gas limiting. Under a BAU scenario assuming all the remaining oil reserves will have been pumped dry and coal under ration status. It would be impossible to have a BAU up to the 25th century as conditions will be inhospitable to life well before that so a natural limiting will have taken place. We really have no past referance for that scenario. As the temperature gets too hot even before 2200 the majority of those living in the third world will probably have perished so that will limit any further forest destruction.
    To cut it quite bluntly under a BAU scenario the world would be destroyed as we know it. The oceans would be choked with acid resistant algal blooms depriving any life that may be more acid tolerant of vital oxygen. Imagine what hell might look like and you would be close to the mark, this is what occurs with a runaway greenhouse effect. If I were you I would bring your time frame back around 350-400 years and your will get a more interesting picture as life as we know it will be trying desperatly to adapt to the rapidly changing world around them.

  21. 421
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Here’s a link that describes what we in Australia have endured over the last summer ending Feb28 and are still enduring, where I am situated on the sunshine coast we have just had our monthy ave rainfall in the first 2 days of march. Here’s the link: