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Unforced Variations: May 2013

Filed under: — group @ 3 May 2013

This month’s open thread.


551 Responses to “Unforced Variations: May 2013”

  1. 401
    Killian says:

    385 Corey Barcus said: I think there would be a lot less friction with regards to denialists questioning the legitimacy of climate science if the scientific community were to collectively present a viable economic response to the emission problem.

    Asking scientists to be more active about climate science is one thing, asking them to be economists is absurd (not that some couldn’t or wouldn’t, but expecting them to makes no sense.)

    We could use a new industrial revolution anyway

    We need the exact opposite of an industrial revolution. Sustainable systems are the result of creating processes that do not use up resources rather than simplistically labeling increased nominal efficiency as a solution.

    so why not tout molten salt reactors as the path forward?

    Because they are no more sustainable than any other kind of reactor, more more to the point here at RealClimate, discussion of nuclear energy is considered off-topic and is not allowed.

    This old essay answers all your questions. Massively distributed vs. Utility-Scale electricity

  2. 402
    sidd says:

    I had previously commented on Sistla et al. study of carbon store in moist acidic tussock ecosystem in Alaska, showing stablity, for now

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12129.html

    and the Vonk et al. study showing high lability of dissolved inorganic carbon leached from yedoma in the Kolyma peninsula in Siberia:

    http://www.thepolarisproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Vonk_2013.pdf

    I see now another study from the Amazon, showing that a almost all the lignin and lignin phenols sequestered and transported by the Amazon river is degraded in two to three weeks.

    DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1817

    “We estimate that approximately 80 Tg C of lignin is fixed in the Amazonian terrestrial biosphere annually … we estimate that roughly 40% of this lignin is degraded into smaller components in soils, 55% is degraded into smaller components within the river continuum, and the remaining 5% of intact macromolecules are either stored within the river continuum or delivered to the ocean (Fig. 3). We propose that the breakdown of terrestrially derived macromolecules (including lignin, celluloses and hemicelluloses) fuels the small rapidly cycling organic matter pool described as the primary driver for evasive CO2 gas fluxes in the Amazon. The collective results from this study present strong evidence of the biodegradability of terrestrially derived macromolecules in the aquatic setting …”

    sidd

  3. 403
    sidd says:

    And how could I miss Byrd Institute denizen Leonid Polyak in Quaternary Science Reviews:

    “Quaternary history of sea ice in the western Arctic Ocean based on foraminifera”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.12.018

    (quasisci ?!)

    which is a fascinating (if you like stratigraphy) looking at the transition to 100Kyr glaciation cycle from the point of view of forams.

    A climate takeaway is

    “The latest of these events signified a complete turnover of foraminiferal fauna as well as lithological proxies at the Early-Middle Pleistocene boundary, ca 0.8 Ma, indicating the establishment of mostly perennial sea ice. This change happened at the background of a major climatic shift involving the growth of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets paced at 100-ka cycles …”

    “The subsequent evolution of foraminiferal assemblages (AZ1) indicates further increase in sea-ice coverage …Overall, AZ1 indicates that perennial sea ice was a norm during the “Glacial” Pleistocene with some degree of ice retreat occurring during major interglacial intervals. This paleoclimatic setting highlights the anomalous pattern of the current shrinkage of Arctic sea-ice cover, especially pronounced in the western Arctic (e.g., Stroeve et al., 2011) … The Early Pleistocene environments, such as explored by this study, potentially provide a better paleoclimatic analog for evaluating the modern Arctic change.”

    Very nice.

    sidd

  4. 404

    #397–”…social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport…”

    If I may be permitted an OT digression, this understates the breadth and depth of his intellect. See:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatol_Rapoport

    But I remember him as a really lovely person. I was a friend his son, a composer, and had the pleasure of visiting the Wychwood Park house a couple of time. Music and chess were family passions.

    The advice Hank quotes seems at once characteristic in its simplicity, generosity of spirit, and likely effectiveness–and perhaps not so easy for many of us to implement, though well worth the effort of trying.

  5. 405
    Chris Korda says:

    I thought I’d never live to see the day: a United States Senator told the truth about climate science denial, right there on the senate floor. This speech should be front page news. I’m going to send a copy of it to my representatives. Time to wake up indeed.

  6. 406
    tokodave says:

    Just a heads up. Ira Glass will be covering Climate Change on This American Life this week: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/495/hot-in-my-backyard It could be an interesting program.

  7. 407
    jgnfld says:

    I see a lot about a warming climate reducing wind shear and therefore tornado probabilities (possibly). I have seen nothing on Rossby waves which would (qualitatively) seem to increase the probabilities as they can increase the cold dry polar air coming south and at the same time direct the jet stream in the E/NE direction that increases wind shear.

    scholar.google.com and the IPCC consequences report are no help. Any theory/data out there on this point?

  8. 408
    John Mashey says:

    re: 391, Patrick
    RE Happer (or others you may encounter in the press):
    DeSmogBlog keeps a convenient database, see the Happer entry</a. You mgi8ht alkso want to read about him in the Daily Princetonian. One paragraph is a good start.

    From 2006 onward, Happer has been the Chairman of the George Marshall Institute (GMI), the focus of Merchants of Doubt.

    GMI was (with Competitive Enterprise Institute plus Fred Singer/SEPP) the organizing force behind the attack on the hockey stick. There is much evidence that the May 11 2005 talk for GMI+CEI (transcript later annotated) effectively was the “blueprint” for the 2006 Wegman Report, given to Wegman by Joe Barton(R-TX) staffer Peter Spencer in September 2005.

    As it happens, the “pro bono” Wegman Report wasn’t: Wegman and Said claimed credit for it as work for Federal grants. See FOIA Facts 1 and FOIA Facts 2.

    So, when Happer iwrites about climate, there is no connection with his research in atomic physics at Princeton (which physicists I know say is good), but entirely with his role as Chairman of GMI, although oddly the WSJ doesn’t mention that fact.

  9. 409

    #404–Senator Whitehouse has a considerable history of speaking truth to the senate on this issue; I believe you can find some video of past addresses.

    Clearly, most of ‘em aren’t listening to him. :-(

  10. 410
    SecularAnimist says:

    Joe Romm reviews the science on “tornadoes, extreme weather and climate change” here:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/21/2040221/tornadoes-extreme-weather-and-climate-change-revisited

  11. 411
    SecularAnimist says:

    Killian wrote: “We need the exact opposite of an industrial revolution. Sustainable systems are the result of creating processes that do not use up resources rather than simplistically labeling increased nominal efficiency as a solution.”

    Um, how is developing, building and deploying the technologies needed to implement those sustainable systems (e.g. “massively distributed” electricity generation) NOT a new industrial revolution?

    The “old essay” you linked to talks about creating a “localized, household-based renewable infrastructure” and building out “the new backbone” for this infrastructure, as well as “all the windmills, heat pumps, solar panels, retrofitting materials for homes/apartments/businesses, etc” that will be needed.

    That sure sounds like a new industrial revolution to me.

  12. 412
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Has anyone any comments on the letter Energy budget constraints on climate response in Nature Geoscience by Otto et. al.? They say

    The energy budget of the most recent decade does, however, indicate a lower range of values for the more policy-relevant transient climate response (the temperature increase at the point of doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration following a linear ramp of increasing greenhouse gas forcing) than the range obtained by either analysing the energy budget of earlier decades or current climate model simulations.

    How does this fit with Foster and Ramsdorf’s Global temperature evolution 1979–2010?

    Otto et.al. seem to maintain that there has been a slowing of global temperature rise. Foster and Ramsdorf seem to tell a different story.

  13. 413
    Hank Roberts says:

    jgnfid, would “Rossby wave … air coming south” in your terms show on a picture as the jet stream going deeper south? If so NOAA had something quite recently on tornado frequency/size/ and year to year variability mentioning that.

  14. 414
    prokaryotes says:

    Humid air and the Jet Stream help to fuel more intense thunderstorms/tornadoes http://climatestate.com/2013/05/21/humid-air-and-the-jet-stream-help-to-fuel-more-intense-thunderstormstornadoes/

    A quick collection of some findings …

  15. 415
    David B. Benson says:

    Geoff Beacon @411 — Stick with Foster and Ramsdorf. Grant Foster is a most highly capable statistician.

  16. 416
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Geoff Bacon #411: the Foster & Rahmstorf question is a good one.

    You may want to read this (h/t SkS/Dana N).

  17. 417
    sidd says:

    I think I may have asked this before: Do any of the long range West Antarctic Ice Sheet/ice shelf (WAIS) models include the effect of sea level rise(SLR) from Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and other sources ? For example:

    Last year Greenland shed about a millimeter and a half of SLR. If it does that for a hundred years 15cm(6″). If it goes twice as fast, that’s a foot. Has anyone calculated what a foot increase in sea level stand will do to WAIS all by itself ? Especially since Mitrovica shows that SLR from GRIS will exhibit especially around Antarctica. Beyond the rather trivial observation that stable grounding lines will move inland by 1.1 foot/tan(phi) where phi is the slope of the bed, (and much further if the bed slope is retrograde, as Weertman showed long ago) is there more to be considered, perhaps a more sophisticated treatment exists ?

    Hellmer(2012) doi:10.1038/nature11064

    does not seem to do so, but given the some other limitations of their calculations, I do not find that surprising.

    “Owing to our assumption of fixed ice-shelf thicknesses, we cannot accurately predict basal mass losses for long periods of high melting. However, if we assume that grounding lines retreat into deeper basins, our melt rates have to be considered as lower bounds.”

    I see a notice of CLIVAR workshop that supposedly occurred in February and might be relevant, but, alas, no trace of the presentations.

    sidd

  18. 418
    Patrick says:

    Here are two different data images of the 300 mb Jet Stream at noon on the 20th of May about three hours before the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma:

    http://virga.sfsu.edu/pub/jetstream/jetstream/big/1305/13052012_jetstream_anal.gif

    http://virga.sfsu.edu/pub/jetstream/jetsat/www/1305/13052012_jetsat_www.gif

    You couldn’t get a more definitive dip from an ice-cream scoop.

    These are archived as “Jet Stream Analyses” and “Composite Analyses (with IR Satellite Images)” here:

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/archive/jetstream_archive.html

    You can view them built into animated loops here:

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/namjetstream_model.html

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/namjetsat_model.html

    Loops for dates more than a week prior are in the archive.

  19. 419
    sidd says:

    I just realize that the formula i gave comes from the formula for coastline migration inland for liquid water scaled by 1.1, which cannot be correct. The amount of migration inland of grounding line of marine terminating ice must also depend on the ice surface slope in addition to the ice bed slope, so a better formula might be 1.1 foot/(0.1*tan(phi)+tan(theta)) for (positive) ice surface slope theta and (positive) bed slope phi and a 1 foot rise in sea level. Negative slopes lead to instabilities a la Weertman. And a bunch of other things come into play like circumpolar deep water, which others have dealt with, such as Jacobs and Sergienko. I realize I ought consult Schoof and refinements, but my question remains: Is there a good, treatment of SLR effect on WAIS ? Is there nothing more to it than static stability criterion governing the grounding line ?

    sidd

  20. 420
    Patrick says:

    Vehicle emissions (internal combustion engine/diesel) trigger change of high-density lipoprotein (HDL/”good”) cholesterol to low-density lipoprotein (LDL/”bad”) cholesterol and activate other factors of oxidation and inflammation, leading to hardening of the arteries.

    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/turning-jekyll-into-hyde-breathing-246026.aspx

    “This is the first study showing that air pollutants promote the development of dysfunctional, pro-oxidative HDL cholesterol and the activation of an internal oxidation pathway, which may be one of the mechanisms in how air pollution can exacerbate clogged arteries that lead to heart disease and stroke…”

    For abstract, see link to online edition in article.

    The study builds on a previous one: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-study-reports-how-air-pollution-42993.aspx

    For about the last 100 comments on this thread I have been thinking about Sir Bob Watson’s remark at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting: Every challenge we face is multidisciplinary.

  21. 421
    Killian says:

    410 SecularAnimist says: Killian wrote: “We need the exact opposite of an industrial revolution. Sustainable systems are the result of creating processes that do not use up resources rather than simplistically labeling increased nominal efficiency as a solution.”

    Um, how is developing, building and deploying the technologies needed to implement those sustainable systems (e.g. “massively distributed” electricity generation) NOT a new industrial revolution?… technologies

    You didn’t read quite carefully enough. First, we need no new technologies to achieve a sustainable global system. If you had gone through Tainter’s work, which I have repeatedly mentioned and linked to, you would understand the error of depending on continually developing more technology to solve problems created by new technology. (I use technology here literally and as a proxy for complexity.)

    Second, you appear to have completely missed what resource base I suggested for this distributed system of community-scale and home micro-scale energy deployment. It does not involve new resources. I leave it to you to go find.

    Third, the key to limiting consumption of resource lies in simply not using them. To that end, reducing consumption would make getting to an all-”renewables” a very easy thing to do. It means living much more simply, though no less comfortably. If we only need to meet 1/10th of current demand, that is really quite easy and would allow us to transition in a very short period of time.

    The problem is people want to maintain current, massively unsustainable consumption of resources but paint it green with renewables. That is a recipe for slightly slower collapse, and is a massive societal FAIL if we continue to choose it. The resources simply are not there.

    The “old essay” you linked to

    Why quotes? Is it not an old essay? Are you trying to make a pejorative point? If so, just make it.

    talks about creating a “localized, household-based renewable infrastructure” and building out “the new backbone” for this infrastructure, as well as “all the windmills, heat pumps, solar panels, retrofitting materials for homes/apartments/businesses, etc” that will be needed.

    That sure sounds like a new industrial revolution to me.

    No. It would require far less resources than we use now because the energy requirements overall would be much smaller than current use. It’s a diminishing use of resources over a transition period, not a ramping up or maintenance of consumption levels. And, it is all existing technology. No new R&D, no increase in resource use, no increase in energy use. A sort of anti-industrial revolution. Very much a DIY process.

    Importantly, the most interesting aspect of that plan would be revolutionary: localization of energy supplies and localization of the building and maintenance of them, helping to ramp up localization efforts while offering a direct stimulus into every local economy in the nation – the exact opposite of the supposed TARP and stimulus programs of the past five years. Add int he community-building involved in communities building out and/or co-operatively owning and running their own local utilities… this is a powerful plan of action that would move us significantly toward sustainable energy systems and sustainable community design.

  22. 422

    I have reformatted the temperature series on my web site in a much more readable format. Sorry for the earlier version. I used Excel’s automated conversion to HTML, which is for the birds. Then I ran into a couple of months where I couldn’t ftp to my web site thanks to Yahoo going through corporate changes, or some damn thing. The URL is: http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Mean%20Annual%20Global%20Temperature%20Anomalies.html

  23. 423
    toxymoron says:

    Does anybody know what happened to Tamino? His site is silent for over a month now, with comments disabled.
    Thanks,

  24. 424
    perwis says:

    Sidd #416, 418

    The “tipping point” papers by Kriegler et al 2009 & Levermann et al 2011 show a positive feedback between SLR from Greenland and WAIS. No references though.

    Alley et al (2007) “Effect of Sedimentation on Ice-Sheet Grounding-Line Stability”, Science 315 finds that “Sedimentation filling space beneath ice shelves helps to stabilize ice sheets against grounding-line retreat in response to a rise in relative sea level of at least several meters.”

    Related is the recent paper by Gomez et al (2012) that simulates ice sheet mass loss and finds that “the sea level fall at the grounding line associated with a retreating ice sheet acts to slow the retreat”. Of course, that is due to SLR from the very same ice sheet.

  25. 425
    Hank Roberts says:

    > you appear to have completely missed …
    > I leave it to you to go find.

    I love the smell of blog science in the morning.
    The self-esteem, it almost glows, there’s so much of it.

    Science — where they cite sources, publish their work, and get it appropriately battered and beaten up in the journals — is so uncertain by comparison.

    Killian may be entirely correct about everything.
    But how could you tell?

    Publish. Build a reputation. Do science with it.

  26. 426
    SecularAnimist says:

    Killian wrote: “To that end, reducing consumption would make getting to an all-’renewables’ a very easy thing to do … If we only need to meet 1/10th of current demand, that is really quite easy and would allow us to transition in a very short period of time.”

    I’m not sure who you are arguing with.

    I have repeatedly pointed out that, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, “more than half (58%) of the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies, such as waste heat from power plants, vehicles, and light bulbs.”

    So nearly 60 percent of the USA’s primary energy consumption actually delivers NO VALUE WHATSOEVER to end-users. It is just outright WASTED. Simply eliminating that pointless, useless waste of energy could reduce “energy consumption” without requiring ANY reduction in the amount of energy that consumers actually put to use.

    Just for one example, I have read an estimate that simply capturing the waste heat that is uselessly vented from industrial smokestacks and using it for onsite co-generation could produce more electricity than all the nuclear power plants in the country — from energy that is currently wasted.

    Certainly there is plenty of “low-hanging fruit” when it comes to eliminating outright waste and drastically increasing the efficiency with which we use the energy that we really do use.

    And in many cases, what is needed to achieve those results is new technology — replacing the wasteful “power plants, vehicles and light bulbs” that the LLNL mentions with new and better technology that delivers the same actual utility to consumers, but with a tiny fraction of the resource consumption.

    Killian wrote: “The problem is people want to maintain current, massively unsustainable consumption of resources but paint it green with renewables.”

    Again, I’m not sure which “people” you are referring to, but that is certainly not something that I “want” nor have I advocated any such thing.

    Moreover, “renewables” are, in fact, “greener” than fossil fuels, and they drastically reduce the amount of “resources” that must be “consumed” to provide any given amount of energy to end-users.

    As the LLNL notes, the overwhelming majority of the USA’s energy today comes from fossil fuels — “petroleum (37%), natural gas (25%), and coal (21%).” I don’t see how it can be argued that replacing those fossil fuels with technologies that completely eliminate ALL need to extract, refine, distribute and burn fuel and instead harvest free energy from the sun and wind is a bad thing.

    And again, consumers don’t “want” to “consume resources”. They want the goods and services that “resources” provide. And those goods and services can and must be provided with a fraction of the “resource consumption” that currently goes into them.

    I wrote: “That sure sounds like a new industrial revolution to me.”

    Killian replied: “No. It would require far less resources than we use now …”

    And how is that NOT a “new industrial revolution”?

    That’s the WHOLE POINT of what I am calling a “new industrial revolution” — replacing the essentially 19th century energy technology that is dominant today, with new technology that uses VASTLY less resources to provide the energy (and goods and services) that we actually consume, that is based on harvesting endless supplies of free energy rather than burning a dwindling, limited supply of fuel, that enables us to use that energy with VASTLY greater efficiency, and emits ZERO POLLUTION while doing so.

  27. 427
    Patrick says:

    The proposal of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (at minute 36:15 of the audio posted @405 by tokodave) is not too terribly different from the proposal of James Hansen, stated by him in his acceptance of the Ridenhour Courage Prize, which is at minute 2:30 of this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt3D1aE4Sug

    (with transcript) http://www.ridenhour.org/prizes_courage_2013.html

    The Energy and Enterprise Initiative is trying to create a conservative coalition for climate change action.
    The two proposals are fundamentally similar, to my mind. Yes there are obvious differences in the suggested
    ‘offsets’ phases of the proposals.

  28. 428
    sidd says:

    Mr. Perwis: Thanks for the references. Alley(2007) had completely slipped my mind, but on rereading, it clears up the questions I had.

    “Penck’s hypothesis that Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet melting drove Antarctic ice-sheet retreat at the end of the ice age (4) may be accurate [also see (30)], with the delay in Antarctic retreat after the onset of sea-level rise being linked to sedimentary dynamics. Although our results indicate that sea-level changes of a few meters are unlikely to substantially affect ice-sheet behavior, 100-m changes should have considerable effects.However, sea level may exert the primary control on the ice sheet only if there is multimillennial stability in the other variables that affect icesheets more quickly, such as water temperature under ice shelves. Because oceanic temperature probably changed with the deglaciation, perhaps linked to the return of North Atlantic Deep Water to the Southern Ocean (31), we consider it possible that ice-shelf changes contributed to or even dominated grounding-line retreat in some sectors of the ice sheet. Regardless, our results show that synchronous behavior of ice sheets with active sedimentary systems on millennial time scales is unlikely to indicate ice-sheet teleconnections via sea level and instead probably indicates common climatic forcing, which demonstrably can have very large and rapid effects on ice sheets.”

    from Alley et al. (2007)
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1138396

  29. 429
    perwis says:

    The theory of positive feedback for SLR is intriguing. Not being an expert, this is my understanding of the situation:

    An old theory (Peck 1928) of the deglaciation is that sea level rise from the melting of the northern hemisphere ice sheets in turn cause retreat of the Antarctic ice sheets.

    This theory seemed to be vindicated by data showing that the timing between the northern-driven SLR were not simultaneously (cf. Alley et al 2007).

    However, newer data (Weber et al 2011 in Science vol. 334) indicated that actually there was a simultaneous timing of ice sheet retreat from Northern hemisphere and Antarctica!

    Weber et al (2011) argues that their data “support teleconnections involving sea-level forcing from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets”.

    Finally, Michael E. Weber has presented a new study of ocean cores (e.g., at EGU but not yet published), that shows a very nice correlation between early deglaciation meltwater pulses and Antarctic ice-bergs.

    I don’t know the implications of this, but it could also perhaps indicate an influence of a SLR feedback? This would be very important for ice sheet models and projections of future sea level rise.

  30. 430

    #422–Yes, I’ve been wondering about that, too. Hope everything’s OK–or better, that there’s a fabulous project that has been taking up his time.

  31. 431
    Tokodave says:

    422 and 429. Add me to the list. Tamino’s site has always been one of my go to sites!

  32. 432
    prokaryotes says:

    Could someone explain to me the current media meme “Global warming decreases wind shear”, in regards to tornado genesis.

    I can read a “may”, 2011 from CP:
    Dr. Kevin Trenberth in an email today, but you need “a wind shear environment that promotes rotation.” Global warming may decrease the wind shear and that may counterbalance the impact on tornado generation from the increase in thunderstorm intensity. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/21/2040221/tornadoes-extreme-weather-and-climate-change-revisited/

    But the media today
    “Climate change increases the available energy, but reduces the wind shear..” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/22/the-real-climate-change-lesson-from-the-oklahoma-tornado.html

    Harold Brooks, National Severe Storms Laboratory:
    “Trapp et al. suggest that the number of days during which meteorological conditions are favorable for severe storms may increase during latter decades of the 21st century, primarily due to increased instability, though they indicate that the projected decreases in vertical wind shear may oppose thermodynamic destabilization.

    NOAA is doing some new work on this, but Brian Soden indicated to me that ~2/3 of the CMIP runs showed an increase in CAPE and a decrease in shear over the US.v”

    Yet, only now people start to account for the Jet Stream modulation

    James B. Elsner, an atmospheric scientist at Florida State University:
    Climate change increases the available energy for tornadoes through a warmer and moister atmosphere. Wind shear decreases in the global mean, but this might be irrelevant locally when the jet stream dives southward like it did last weekend across the Plains.

    I believe there is evidence that the strongest tornadoes are getting stronger. They are certainly getting longer and wider.” http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/seeking-clarity-on-terrible-tornadoes-in-a-changing-climate/

  33. 433
    Killian says:

    Hank Roberts: I love the smell of blog science in the morning. The self-esteem, it almost glows, there’s so much of it.

    The ad hominem is the province of a weak and beaten mind, as is sarcasm when used to deflect. Sarcasm can be quite clever, but is not here. It’s insipid.

    Science — where they cite sources, publish their work, and get it appropriately battered and beaten up in the journals — is so uncertain by comparison.

    First, sources are cited. Second, you need a scientific study to tell you reducing consumption is necessary? That community-based energy generation is not only possible, but a proven approach? (See Germany, e.g.) That DIY using recycled materials is more efficient and more sustainable than building out new utility-scale and utility-owned power generation? You need a scientific study to explain how a DIY 1kW wind generator works? Or how a bio-digester works? Or a ground/water/air source heat pump works? Or how passive solar design works? You need a scientific study showing the economic benefit of direct stimunlation of $500,000,000 into the economies of all communities rather than given to banks to shut up in the vault or utility companies that will keep the investment and then ask us to pay for it, too, at an annual rate of cost increases of over 6%? Etc.?

    Killian may be entirely correct about everything. But how could you tell?

    By reading without bias so you understand what you have read and responding to the salient points raised instead of engaging in ad hominem attacks.

    Publish. Build a reputation. Do science with it.

    As if all change occurs because of a science journal. Illogical. Also illogical in that what I wrote in that essay falls into the category of policy, not scientific inquiry. Why would anybody need to see it published in a science journal? Public policy isn’t done in science journals.

    It’s unfortunate RealClimate allows you and others to very consistently engage in ad hominem attacks. They belong in the Bore Hole.

    “The first step in his strategy is to isolate and marginalize the radicals. They’re the ones who see the inherent structural problems that need remedying if indeed a particular change is to occur. To isolate them, PR firms will try to create a perception in the public mind that people advocating fundamental solutions are terrorists, extremists, fearmongers, outsiders, communists, or whatever.”–John Stauber

    “A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic. –Dresden James

    “The name-calling technique links a person, or idea, to a negative symbol. The propagandist who uses this technique hopes that the audience will reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative symbol, instead of looking at the available evidence.” http://carmen.artsci.washington.edu/propaganda/name.htm

  34. 434
    Killian says:

    425 SecularAnimist says: Killian wrote: “To that end, reducing consumption would make getting to an all-’renewables’ a very easy thing to do … If we only need to meet 1/10th of current demand, that is really quite easy and would allow us to transition in a very short period of time.”

    I’m not sure who you are arguing with.

    Nobody. I believe it’s called a discussion.

    I have repeatedly pointed out that, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, “more than half (58%) of the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies… I have read an estimate that simply capturing the waste heat that is uselessly vented from industrial smokestacks and using it for onsite co-generation…

    Certainly there is plenty of “low-hanging fruit”…

    And in many cases, what is needed to achieve those results is new technology…

    Sure, but there is more to this than numbers. If you reduce the *need* for consumption by changing the behavior of people to sustainable behaviors, you are eliminating both the need for the technology as is and the need for new technology to fix the problem. Far more efficient to simply stop using the inefficient generators than to retrofit them.

    Killian wrote: “The problem is people want to maintain current, massively unsustainable consumption of resources but paint it green with renewables.”

    Again, I’m not sure which “people” you are referring to, but that is certainly not something that I “want” nor have I advocated any such thing.

    Good thing I didn’t say “you.”

    Moreover, “renewables” are, in fact, “greener” than fossil fuels, and they drastically reduce the amount of “resources” that must be “consumed” to provide any given amount of energy to end-users.

    Did I say they weren’t? I believe I said build more, but reduce consumption so we don’t have to build too many. Not sure why you are raising this point.

    As the LLNL notes, the overwhelming majority of the USA’s energy today comes from fossil fuels — “petroleum (37%), natural gas (25%), and coal (21%).” I don’t see how it can be argued that replacing those fossil fuels with technologies that completely eliminate ALL need to extract, refine, distribute and burn fuel and instead harvest free energy from the sun and wind is a bad thing.

    I didn’t make that point in my response to you, but it’s a good thing you raise it because unsustainable is unsustainable. You are talking about greater efficiency, not sustainability. Thus, it would be a very big mistake to think wind and sun as currently being built out is sustainable and that we’re done once we do that, problem solved! That would be a huge error.

    We can make wind generators out of mostly renewable products, but not at utility scales. At home scales, yes. Caveat: I’ve never looked into the renewability of wires, and other small components. Taht needs to be done. But otherwise, wood and an old auto generator/alternator with some wiring and there you go.

    I wrote: “That sure sounds like a new industrial revolution to me.”

    Killian replied: “No. It would require far less resources than we use now …”

    And how is that NOT a “new industrial revolution”?

    “new industrial revolution” — replacing the essentially 19th century energy technology that is dominant today, with new technology that uses VASTLY less resources to provide the energy (and goods and services) that we actually consume,

    Ah, there it is. To continue to provide what we want and use now. That’s a critical flaw. We can’t keep doing that. The resource problem is not limited fossil fuels.

    that is based on harvesting endless supplies of free energy rather than burning a dwindling, limited supply of fuel

    But his is false. You are merely burning them less quickly. Solar and wind both rely on fossil fuels.

    and emits ZERO POLLUTION while doing so.

    Nope. Pollution has to be counted as full life cycle. Less pollution, certainly. No pollution? Incorrect.

  35. 435
    sidd says:

    Weber et al. in
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013EGUGA..15.3424W

    at EGU seem to ascribe more importance to hot CDW (circumpolar deep water) in meltwater pulse 1A (MWP1A)

    But the West Antarctic ice sheet was bigger in those times

    sidd

  36. 436
    perwis says:

    sidd #435,

    yes, they highlight the importance of CDW in the abstract (based on model simulations). I don’t know if they also find a sea level forcing.

    Also, I found this other paper showing a partial sea level forcing for the deglaciation: Golledge et al (2012) : “Dynamics of the last glacial maximum Antarctic ice-sheet and its response to ocean forcing” in PNAS. (other ocean forcings are also involved)

    You are right to point out that the Antarctic ice sheets were bigger during the deglaciation (extending all the way to the continental shelf-edge at the last glacial maximum), so direct analogues are not possible.

  37. 437
    Killian says:

    432 prokaryotes sad: Could someone explain to me the current media meme “Global warming decreases wind shear”, in regards to tornado genesis.

    Looks like you uncovered contradictory info. Specifically WRT wind shear, it is the movement west to east of winds at higher altitudes basically beheading storms – or creating them, apparently? – that is the issue. (I know discussions of hurricane, a cyclonic structure, speak of wind shear weakening hurricanes, so seems it might do the same to tornadoes? Maybe wind shear of the vertical type gets spin going and shearing across the top kills them? Masters covers it at weatherunderground: Wind Shear

    Regardless, with few storms moving in a relatively straight line across the continent and taking a more serpentine path due to the wacky new Jet Stream, makes sense there might be less over all wind shear.

  38. 438
    perwis says:

    Now to tornadoes:

    I also wonder about the influence of the behaviour of jet stream on tornadoes. Arctic sea ice loss seems to cause slower moving jet streams that gets a more southward path and gets “stuck” (A very nice video presentation by Prof. Francis can be found here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/22/727501/arctic-death-spiral-how-it-favors-extreme-prolonged-weather-events-such-as-drought-flooding-cold-spells-and-heat-waves/)

    Prokaryotes’ quote above (from a dotearth interview w James B. Elsner, an atmospheric scientist at Florida State University) indicates a link between the anamoulous behaviour of the jet stream and tornadoes.

    “Wind shear decreases in the global mean, but this might be irrelevant locally when the jet stream dives southward like it did last weekend across the Plains.”

    Have anyone seen anything more on this issue?

  39. 439
    Jim Larsen says:

    Killian, I agree with essentially everything you’re saying.

    But when you said, “Ah, there it is. To continue to provide what we want and use now. That’s a critical flaw. We can’t keep doing that.”,

    I think you misunderstood “want and use now”. It refers to services, so a new 8 watt DC bath fan (about $160US) would provide better service (Super quiet) and save ~90% of the energy. I encourage those in a position to to swap out for a DC fan.

    I believe you and Secular are talking different ends of the same solution. A doubling or even (like the new bath fans) order of magnitude increase in load efficiency have always been Standard Procedure for renewable systems, especially the stereotypical off the grid ones.

  40. 440
    prokaryotes says:

    Retrospective look at the Hockey Stick controversy
    http://climatestate.com/2013/05/23/retrospective-look-at-the-hockey-stick-controversy/

    You can start at 34:30 for the meat….

  41. 441
    Susan Anderson says:

    re Tamino:

    I asked a mutual acquaintance who said:

    working on fighting the proposed East West Corridor project that is supposed to bisect the town with a highway and utility/pipeline corridor that would destroy the town and most of central Maine from Calais to Coburn Gore. A bunch of us have been tasked by the town selectmen to come up with a moratorium proposal as well as strategies to educate the public on the implications of the the project.

    This is a horrible piece of the many-tentacled tar sands transportation effort, maps here:
    http://oilsandstruth.org/maps/updated

    (Their claim that tar sands releases three times the CO2 in their opening paragraph is said to be wrong (increase said to be 30%; my gut feeling is it might be more depending on how you account for all the moving parts)):
    http://planet3.org/2013/04/16/keystone-math/

    I also intuit that it might be about Tamino’s dismay at the Boston bombings, but that’s not even hearsay.

  42. 442
    Susan Anderson says:

    re tornadoes, Andrew Freedman is as usual informative and accessible. Two opposing effects have changed, more or less canceling each other out (!).

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/making-sense-of-the-moore-tornado-in-a-climate-context-16021

    While a warmer climate is likely to feature more opportunities for thunderstorms to form, studies also show a lessening of atmospheric wind shear, which would suggest a decrease in the potential for tornadoes to form. How these two trends play out — one increasing the odds of tornadoes, the other reducing them — is a subject of active scientific research.

    A fact sheet from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on tornadoes and climate change describes the counteracting trends of decreasing shear and increasing instability in a warming world as a “tug of war.”

    There also appears to be insufficient historical data.
    (DotEarth has been doing the usual – lots of good references there, along with the usual dilution of “balance” Emanuel does a good job of elucidation, and Hoerling does not seem to have a good reason to claim not, imo.)

  43. 443
    Hank Roberts says:

    What’s this then?
    ———–
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/29mar_sage3/

    “… SAGE III will get a global picture of tropospheric ozone,” says Zawodny. “I suspect there will be a few surprises in those measurements.”
    …. in the lower stratosphere over the tropics. “The recovery of ozone there is tied to changes in greenhouse gases like CO2. Given what we know about recent increases in greenhouse emissions, it is possible that ozone in the tropics will never return to 1980s levels.”

  44. 444
    SecularAnimist says:

    Killian wrote: “it would be a very big mistake to think wind and sun as currently being built out is sustainable”

    You have said that many times in your posts here, but as far as I remember, you have never said specifically and exactly what is not “sustainable” about wind turbines and solar panels “as currently being built out”.

    Keep in mind that “as currently being built out” is a VERY rapidly changing state of the art. The technology of both wind turbines and photovoltaics (as well as solar thermal and various energy storage technologies) continues to improve quickly, so that they use less material inputs, require less energy to manufacture, and generate more energy more efficiently over a longer lifetime.

    And that’s just the ongoing improvements in the mainstream technologies that are being widely deployed today. There are new technologies, proven in the lab and approaching commercialization, that will enable far more powerful and efficient wind and solar electricity generation using far less material and energy inputs to manufacture and deploy.

    With regard to sustainability, it’s a relative term. In the long run nothing is “sustainable” — after all, the sun will one day burn out. And there are plenty of human activities that may not be “sustainable” over centuries or millennia.

    However, what we are faced with right now is a very urgent, short-term, specific problem: greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, mainly for electricity generation and vehicle fuel.

    As I understand what climate science is telling us, if we are to have ANY hope of avoiding a horrific planetary catastrophe, anthropogenic GHG emissions must peak and then begin a VERY steep decline within five years, leading to near-zero emissions within at most a couple of decades, with the largest reductions occurring up front.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see how it is possible to achieve that through the deep and far-reaching economic, social, political, cultural and even spiritual transformation that may well be ultimately needed if human civilization is to achieve long-term sustainability on the Earth, in the already short and rapidly dwindling time frame within which we must eliminate GHG emissions.

    Fortunately, we do have at hand, NOW, mature and powerful wind and solar technologies that can EASILY accomplish that urgent, short-term goal — for example, eliminating ALL carbon emissions from electricity generation within a decade — IF we choose to do so. And if we can do that, then perhaps we can buy the time needed for more profound changes.

    If you wish to say that I’m proposing a short-term technical fix that doesn’t address our fundamental long-term problems, that may well be true. But that’s what we need right now. Otherwise there will soon be no organized human society capable of addressing any problems.

  45. 445
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Killian, several posts

    1. Claiming Hank’s statement is ad hominem? This suggestion is a bit silly because you don’t apparently know what “ad hominem” means.

    2. Your quote from your nonfunctional link to the carmen.artsci site is an excellent example of some of your past behavior (e.g. your misuse of the concept of “addiction”).

    3. You cannot justify your claim that utility scale wind and solar electricity are unsustainable, but if they are, then so is a little “wood and an old auto generator/alternator with some wiring,” except this will not even run an efficient refrigerator.

    4. The manner in which you reference Joseph A. Tainter indicates that you don’t understand him. You conflate his concepts of societal complexity and sustainability. Although I value Tainter’s viewpoint, he is a historian-cum-philosopher and how his concepts apply to the whole world today is just opinion.

    Steve

  46. 446

    #443–Cool science–though the bit about ozone recovery sounds a little worrying, and does beg expansion.

    But I’m also reminded about Langley’s work with atmospheric transits of moonlight; the data was critical to Arrhenius’s CO2 modeling effort back in 1896. I wrote about this in a long-form piece here:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/22/2047111/china-carbon-cap/

    Apologies to regulars who may have seen this already; it’s not new. But newer readers may be interested.

  47. 447
    Susan Anderson says:

    Kevin McKinney @~446:

    Don’t think that’s the link you meant (recent on China carbon cap by somebody else)? I promise to read it if you find it.

  48. 448
  49. 449
    perwis says:

    Skeptical Science has a handy primer on the jet stream:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/jetstream-guide.html

    This is what it says re jet streams and severe weather:

    “What this means on the ground is that if your area is near to a developing low pressure system or a convectively-unstable airmass and an upper trough is approaching, with a jetstreak heading towards the base of the trough with its Left Exit region heading straight for where you are, you have the ingredients for explosive severe weather development. The low can deepen intensively to bring a storm system with tightly-packed surface isobars giving severe gales and flooding rains. Alternatively, convection may lead to the development of severe thunderstorms, because that critical combination of mass-ascent and high shear is in place.”

  50. 450
    Mal Adapted says:

    Secular Animist #444:

    Unfortunately, I don’t see how it is possible to achieve [zero GHG emissions] through the deep and far-reaching economic, social, political, cultural and even spiritual transformation that may well be ultimately needed if human civilization is to achieve long-term sustainability on the Earth, in the already short and rapidly dwindling time frame within which we must eliminate GHG emissions.

    If you wish to say that I’m proposing a short-term technical fix that doesn’t address our fundamental long-term problems, that may well be true. But that’s what we need right now…

    That’s the stark truth. A short-term technical fix is what we who are alive now need if we are to live out our lives in any kind of peace and comfort. The alternative is that climate chaos will engulf us, up close and personal. Given that, I’m willing to let posterity (of which I have none) confront the long-term sustainability problem.


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