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Unforced Variations: June 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2013

June’s open thread…


389 Responses to “Unforced Variations: June 2013”

  1. 51
    sidd says:

    For obscure reasons related to my shameful interests in taxonomy, I came across this

    http://ceoe.udel.edu/cms/moliver/pubs/mix.pdf

    From the abstract:
    “We suggest that climate determines the equator-to-pole and continent-to-land thermal gradients that provide energy for the wind-driven turbulent mixing in the upper ocean. This mixing, in turn, controls the nutrient fluxes that determine cell size and taxa-level distributions.”

    And from the body:

    ” … throughout most of the open ocean, the increase in stratification will probably result in a decrease in the average nutrient availability and, therefore, a reduction in the abundance of large cells and a low export production. The ‘winners’ in such a situation would potentially be the coccolithophorids, small eukaryotic phytoplankton and the ubiquitous cyanobacteria. Indeed, these outcomes can be predicted with some certainty by analyses of the relevant taxa-level parameters shown in Equation 3.”

    I am in pursuit of a fascinating chain of citations both ways in time, but not being a professional marine biologist, I ask: Is the prediction of smaller cell size and increased predominance of the indicated taxa with climate change robust and well accepted in the community ?

    sidd

  2. 52
    patrick says:

    The dismantling of pure science in Canada and the muzzling of scientists is cause for concern. The notion–put forward by some officials–that it’s about intellectual property or managing proprietary information seems to me a flagrant pretense.

    I wondered if I might be crazy until I heard Margaret Atwood:

    “This issue gets less attention than most…perhaps due to the fact that people don’t understand how research science works, and how it is related to our own health and well-being,” she said. “But it is a crucial issue and the way our scientists are being treated, and the way our basic research facilities are being torched, especially those that monitor such things as air and water quality, go to the heart of what we are still pleased to call a democracy.”

    “…Real science is relentlessly self-critical…and self-criticism can only operate where there is freedom of expression. We must allow our scientists to speak freely. And very importantly in a democracy, it is our right to hear what our scientists have discovered. Taxpayers paid for this knowledge. Give us what we paid for.

    http://www.cbc.ca/books/2013/05/margaret-atwood-speaks-out-for-scientists.html

    http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/ID/2337443785/

  3. 53
    jgnfld says:

    One thing that confuses me about ocean acidification is why, for example, there are clearly corals and and other shells in the Ordovician limestone near my location when the carbon dioxide levels were extremely high–an order of magnitude greater than today.

    What mechanism was at work to deal with the acidification?

  4. 54
    Jerry Toman says:

    @46

    The potential of upward convection is often left out of the renewable energy resources/flows equation.

    http://vortexengine.ca/index.shtml

    “The average upward convective heat flux at the bottom atmosphere is 150 W/m2, one sixth of this heat could be converted to work while it is carried upward by convection. The heat to work conversion efficiency of the process is approximately 15% because the heat is received at an average temperature of 15 C and given up at an average temperature of -15 C. The average work that could be produced in the atmosphere is therefore 25 W/m2. The total mechanical energy produced in the atmosphere is 12000 TW (25 W/m2 x 510 x 1012 m2) whereas the total work produced by humans is 2 TW. The quantity of mechanical energy which could be produced in the atmosphere is 6000 times greater than the mechanical energy produced by humans.”

    Ways in which the deployment of the above technology in a UHI environment, such as Phoenix, AZ is discussed here:

    http://greeneconomypost.com/?s=toman+UHI&x=0&y=0

  5. 55
    Jerry Toman says:

    The renewable energy potential of upward convection is often left out of the discussion of renewable energy resources/flows. See

    http://vortexengine.ca/index.shtml

    “The average upward convective heat flux at the bottom atmosphere is 150 W/m2, one sixth of this heat could be converted to work while it is carried upward by convection. The heat to work conversion efficiency of the process is approximately 15% because the heat is received at an average temperature of 15 C and given up at an average temperature of -15 C. The average work that could be produced in the atmosphere is therefore 25 W/m2. The total mechanical energy produced in the atmosphere is 12000 TW (25 W/m2 x 510 x 1012 m2) whereas the total work produced by humans is 2 TW. The quantity of mechanical energy which could be produced in the atmosphere is 6000 times greater than the mechanical energy produced by humans.”

    For discussion on how it can mitigate adverse health effects when widely deployed in urban heat islands, such as Phoenix, AZ, see

    http://greeneconomypost.com/?s=toman+UHI&x=0&y=0

  6. 56
    Jerry Toman says:

    The potential of upward convection is almost never included in the discussion of renewable energy resources/flows:

    http://vortexengine.ca/index.shtml

    “The average upward convective heat flux at the bottom atmosphere is 150 W/m2, one sixth of this heat could be converted to work while it is carried upward by convection. The heat to work conversion efficiency of the process is approximately 15% because the heat is received at an average temperature of 15 C and given up at an average temperature of -15 C. The average work that could be produced in the atmosphere is therefore 25 W/m2. The total mechanical energy produced in the atmosphere is 12000 TW (25 W/m2 x 510 x 1012 m2) whereas the total work produced by humans is 2 TW. The quantity of mechanical energy which could be produced in the atmosphere is 6000 times greater than the mechanical energy produced by humans.”

    The potential of the AVE technology to mitigate adverse health effects in a severe UHI environment is discussed in:

    http://greeneconomypost.com/atmospheric-vortex-engine-how-to-recover-hidden-energy-urban-heat-island-7468.htm

  7. 57
    Mal Adapted says:

    This just appeared on a list I take:

    PNW Climate Science Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the 4th annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference will be held in Portland 5-6 September 2013. The conference provides a forum for researchers and practitioners to convene and exchange scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. The conference attracts a wide range of participants including policy- and decision-makers, resource managers, and scientists, from public agencies, sovereign tribal nations, non-governmental organizations, and more. As such, the conference emphasizes oral presentations that are comprehensible to a wide audience and on topics of broad interest. This conference is an opportunity to stimulate and showcase decision-relevant climate science in the Pacific Northwest.

    Previous conferences were held in Portland in 2010, Seattle in 2011, and Boise in 2012. This conference will feature a keynote address by US Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and invited plenary talks by several other distinguished speakers.

    The conference will transcend the typical, discipline-based science conference to stimulate and develop a place-based understanding of the connections between climate and decisions that affect the people and resources in the region. We seek presentations, either oral or poster, that describe the region’s climate variability and change over time; connections between climate and forest, water, fish, and wildlife resources; climate-related natural hazards such as wildfire, drought, flooding, invasive species and shoreline change; and the emerging science of ocean acidification.

    We also seek case studies of efforts to incorporate science into planning, policy, and resource management programs and decisions; new approaches to data mining or data development; decision support tools and services related to climate adaptation; and fresh approaches or new understanding of the challenges of communicating climate science. We invite you to suggest or organize a cluster of abstracts around a theme that might be used to design a special session.

    Abstract submission is now open. Registration and lodging information will be available soon. See

    http://pnwclimateconference.org/

    On behalf of the organizing committee,

    Philip Mote
    Director, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331-2209 t (541) 737-5694 f (541) 737-2540 c (541) 913-CCRIpmote@coas.oregonstate.edu occri.net pnwclimate.org twitter @pwmote

    University Director, DoI Northwest Climate Science Center Director, NOAA Climate Impacts Research Consortium Adjunct Professor, OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences Affiliate Professor, UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences

    Heh – ReCAPTCHA: “increase chumtst”. Let’s get a feeding frenzy going.

  8. 58
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by jgnfld — 4 Jun 2013 @ 7:10 AM

    I believe that you are asking an evolutionary question. Currently many marine animals are adapted to the current ocean pH and if acidification (pH reduction) were to occur over thousands of years the animals could adapt to the change. The current very rapid rate of change will affect a variety of factors such as metabolic, behavioral, and immune responses as well as biogenic calcium carbonate formation too quickly for the critters to adapt.

    Steve

  9. 59
    Radge Havers says:

    @53

    Evolution, (and different temperature, reef ecology [sponges] perhaps?)…

    But this looked interesting :
    http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/what-is-ocean-acidification/faq.html

    “…Present conditions differ from the past largely because the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 does not match the rate of mitigating geological processes. If CO2 is added slowly over hundreds of thousands of years, as it was during the Ordovician by volcanic and plate tectonic activity, the CO2 that enters the ocean has time to mix throughout the ocean from top to bottom. As a result, even though the amount of CO2 that is taken up by the ocean is large, it is spread out over a very great volume of water and the resulting decrease in pH is small. At the same time, as the CO2 level in deep oceans increases over millennia, carbonate sediments lying on the seafloor begin to dissolve and release carbonate ions that neutralize some of the acidity, further minimizing the decrease in pH. Past oceans also contained higher calcium and magnesium ion concentrations, which helped stabilize calcium carbonate minerals in marine animals’ skeletons. Today, the CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing much faster than the ocean mixes. …”

  10. 60
    David B. Benson says:

    Life-Producing Phosphorus Carried to Earth by Meteorites
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604153520.htm
    Climate was very different 3.5 bya. Claims of fossilized life forms from earlier than that are highly suspect.

  11. 61
    Dave123 says:

    @48- I have downloaded and read Lu’s latest. He makes the unsupported claim that water vapor and CO2 have no signficance as green house gases because they are saturated. This misunderstanding goes back to Arrhenius vs Angstrom and is covered in reasonable depth by Spencer Weart. You can’t treat the atmosphere as a solid block, you need to work in slabs.

    This is such a basic error that it raises concerns about overall scholastic competence.

  12. 62
    Sean says:

    A new study from the University of Waterloo claims that Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and not carbon dioxide have been driving global warming since the 1970s.

    According to Quing-Bin Lu, professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry, at Waterloo’s Faculty of Science, in a paper titled: “Cosmic-ray-driven reaction and greenhouse effect of halogenated molecules: Culprits for atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change,” published this week in the International Journal of Modern Physics B, CFCs, already known to deplete ozone, have been found after an in-depth analysis of statistical data from 1850 to the present time, to be the primary cause of global climate change phenomenon.
    Quing-Bin Lu said: “Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong. In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming.”

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/351298#ixzz2VJIpq3Wd

    May 30, 2013 — Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide, according to a researcher from the University of Waterloo in a controversial new study published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week.

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/351298

    Anyone have some good science perspectives, context, or knowledge on this latest “study” hitting the media now?

  13. 63
    patrick says:

    @ 54, 55, 56 There are a few tower technologies. Here’s one that is active/passive, continually cycling. The downdraft cycle is activated by the injection of water at the top:

    http://www.cleanwindenergytower.com/the-tower.html#towervid

    http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130217/ARTICLES/130219848/1177?Title=Meteorologist-George-Elliott-a-key-player-in-wind-energy-effort

    The water adds an active step, but it adds predictability too.

    I like those global calculations that say: the energy is all around you, it’s more than enough. Now just figure out how to connect with it.

  14. 64
    prokaryotes says:

    Now SkepticalScience covered the latest Lu, too.

    Lu Blames Global Warming on CFCs (Curve Fitting Correlations) http://www.skepticalscience.com/lu-2013-cfcs.html

  15. 65
    Killian says:

    flxible nattered: This nattering about ‘sustainability’ is getting tiresome

    the only pressing sustainability problem humans face is over-population

    False, prima facie. While over-population potentially makes even truly naturally sustainable resources such as water and soil unsustainable by exceeding limits to rates of use, even a small population will eventually run through all non-renewable resources over time if a decision is not made to design nested, regenerative environments.

    Killian is experiencing first hand the results of the ‘population collapse’ that eventually will occur in every major metropolis. Maybe when he fixes Detroit we can consider his theories further

    Logical fallacy much, or did you make me King of Detroit when I wasn’t looking and thus able to tell every resident what to do every minute and every day of their lives?

    meanwhile please stop feeding the troll.

    Now there is some irony for ya.

  16. 66
    Flakmeister says:

    In case anyone has access to HBO on demand:

    There was pretty good story on GW featuring Venice and the Maldives on the new telejournalism show VICE (episode #8), be also sure to check the xtra clip…

    CAPTCHA: Benedictine tilater (is that an omen?)

  17. 67
    Jerry Toman says:

    @63-patrick

    The Atmospheric Vortex Engine is not a *tower technology*. These involves large structures subject to wind damage. IMO, that’s one reason, among others, why none, including the much ballyhooed Enviromission project, have ever been built–no one is willing to insure them against wind damage.

    The only prototype for this, a 200 m *stack* in Manzanares, Spain was blown down in a windstorm. It could only produce 50 kw.

    The Atmospheric Vortex Engine involves a much more compact, low-profile structure, and mimics a waterspout in its *wet version*. The buoyancy of the rising column is preserved from the advection of surrounding air (as occurs in a thunderstorm), by rotation. This allows the “density-difference” to exist for up to five miles of altitude–10 times that of Enviromission, and 20 times the altitude of the structure which you have referenced.

    Comments as to the potential of upward convection as a renewable energy source continue to be invited.

  18. 68
    SecularAnimist says:

    Sean quoted:

    Quing-Bin Lu said: “ … CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming.”

    Now there’s a conspiracy theory for you. Although he forgot to mention Al Gore and the United Nations.

  19. 69
    Andy says:

    I recently read a comment by James Annan basically saying “I told you so” in regards to the increase in deep ocean heat uptake and subsequent slow down in atmospheric temperature increase. Caused, as I understand it, but increased wind speed in the tropics (prevalence of La Nina phase in Pacific). Annan has argued for a 2C climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling and I guess he’s found a negative feedback mechanism to explain how it would work (increased wind speed resulting in greater ocean mixing).

    But I’ve read that AGW could increase the likelihood of El Ninos, and that the trade winds around Hawaii have decreased, and you’d think a lower temp gradient between the equator and poles would decrease wind speed, but again some models predict greater wind shear in the region of tropical cyclone formation.

    The ocean has the capacity to either greatly increase or decrease climate sensitivity and past ice age climates may not be a good guide due to the potential for ocean mixing rates not observed during the Pleistocene.
    Positive and negative ocean mixing feedback mechanisms would be interesting to me if anyone wants to pontificate.

  20. 70
    john byatt says:

    #69

    James Annan said…
    Yeah, I should probably have had a tl;dr version, which is that sensitivity is still about 3C.

    The discerning reader will already have noted that my previous posts on the matter actually point to a value more likely on the low side of this rather than higher, and were I pressed for a more precise value, 2.5 might have been a better choice even then. But I’d rather be a little conservative than risk being too Pollyanna-ish about it.

  21. 71
    David B. Benson says:

    Irish Cold Spells Linked to Volcanic Eruptions, Via Old Writings
    http://www.livescience.com/37209-volcanoes-cold-weather-ireland.html
    There is a claim that these records are good enough to start tweaking climate models.

  22. 72
    David B. Benson says:

    Where Trash Accumulates in the Deep Sea
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144328.htm
    The distribution is a bit of a surprise.

  23. 73
    David B. Benson says:

    Glaciers Cracking in the Presence of Carbon Dioxide
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010191749.htm
    A small but nonetheless interesting effect.

  24. 74
    David B. Benson says:

    Ancient Trapped Water Explains Earth’s First Ice Age
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605133510.htm
    Expected but it is good to have actual evidence.

  25. 75
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    jgnfld, also check this:
    “Secular oscillations in the carbonate mineralogy of reef-building and sediment-producing organisms driven by tectonically forced shifts in seawater chemistry”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018298001096

  26. 76
    Hank Roberts says:

    For those who’ve paid the basic AGU dues, this article in a recent EOS is worth a look:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EO200005/abstract

    The Future of Marine Biogeochemistry, Ecosystems, and Societies
    IMBER IMBIZO III, Goa, India; 28–31 January 2013
    Alida Bundy1,
    Kon-Kee Liu2,
    Helmuth Thomas3
    Article first published online: 14 MAY 2013

    Short version: ocean microbes determine the carbon pump, and relatively small changes in the ocean can have large effects on the ocean food chain based on those microbes.

    In other words, the part of the carbon biogeochemical cycling that nobody seems to talk much about — the part that has conveniently stayed on average zeroed out, huge amount of carbon in motion but no trend, year after year — could go cattywampus.

    If you think humans are smart enough not to screw the oceans up beyond belief, any worse than we already have, you haven’t been watching.

    Try this, from the same issue of EOS, but it happens to be free to the public:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EO200002/pdf
    and read down to this bit:
    —-quote—-
    “… Steve Carmel, senior vice president for
    Maersk Line, Limited, a maritime company,
    outlined two definitions of sustainability. The
    first, which he labeled the weak form and
    which he tends to favor, “says there is some
    aggregate stock of capital, both natural and
    manmade, that must be maintained to
    advance humanity’s march forward. That
    recognizes that there are trade-offs that can
    be made.” Carmel noted that the “strong”
    form of sustainability says that there are
    certain ecological principles that cannot be
    violated under any circumstances. “That
    obviously leads to a very different set of
    decision criteria and obviously conflict in the
    way we view sustainability,” he said. “The
    question is, How do we come to agreement
    outside of that?”
    — end quote—

    Oops.

    Ocean Sustainability Issues Are Focus of Industry Gathering (pages 182–183)
    Article first published online: 14 MAY 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/2013EO200002

  27. 77
    PatrickF says:

    Here is a video of a person, Guy McPherson, presented as a “climate scientist” (although I have never heard of him), giving a presentation in which he claims humanity is going to “go extinct by 2030″, because of runaway climate change. I am no expert myself, but I’d like to hear the opinions of some people who are more informed on the science than I am, although I am quite sceptical of his claims.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sF83kgZ-gWA

    [Response: I think you are right to be wary. He is over-interpreting and exaggerating many of the climate claims he makes, and on his blog references complete nonsense (on sea level, arctic methane, 9/11 etc.) as if it were unquestionable fact. I too have never heard of him until now. - gavin]

  28. 78
    prokaryotes says:

    It appears to be the same talk he gave last November (better sound quality)…

    Guy McPherson: The Twin Sides of the Fossil Fuel Coin http://climatestate.com/2013/05/03/guy-mcpherson-the-twin-sides-of-the-fossil-fuel-coin/

  29. 79
    jgnfld says:

    re. Guy Mcpherson. Apparently professor emeritus, University of Arizona.

    http://ag.arizona.edu/~grm/

  30. 80
    Brooks Bridges says:

    @31 perwis had questions about Arctic Sea Ice.

    I’ve just been looking into this and find the PIOMASS ice volume plots and extrapolations so consistent and inexorable that it’s hard to believe we won’t see zero ice in September in 2015, or at the latest, 2016.
    https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas/grf/piomas-trnd2.png
    Another version of this plot has 95% confidence boundaries that are slightly over 1 year.

    In addition, I plotted a 0 extent in 2015 on a plot of minimum Arctic Sea Ice Extent versus time and it made for a believable plot.

    I made a crude estimate from this ice extent extrapolation to the zero point giving 2.7 million square kilometers for minimum this year and 1.2 for next year. I really should plot the data points and get more accurate estimates but probably not worth the effort.

    Also, note the ice volume plots show ice free in Oct, Aug, etc., following quickly.

  31. 81
    Hank Roberts says:

    I recognize Dr. McPherson’s name from some range/grassland/wildfire management reading some years ago; he’s emeritus at U. Arizona. His more recent publications are essays, I think:

    McPherson, G.R. 2011. Going back to the land in the Age of Entitlement. Conservation Biology 25:855-857.

    McPherson, G.R. 2012. Choosing an alternative path. Conservation Biology 26:383-384.

    His journal publications, work on range management and invasive species and fire, looks to be mainstream ecology by now (it may well have been ahead of its time when he published it). He coauthored a good book on fire management recently (tho’ not a revolutionary one, despite the cover blurb on it)

    His blog, regrettably, is chock full of, well, you likely already know them. The ozone lady, the cold fusion PR machine, the economic collapse crowd, and lots of links to all sorts of billions-will-die articles.

    Well, yeah, DUH! billions -are- going to die, seven billion people or so will definitely die in the current century. That’s happening regardless, unless you were planning to live forever.

    Climate change is not all about us. The commenters he’s attracted are all about themselves. They, at best, are a lot of people just catching on to what Aldo Leopold tried to explain decades ago — but interpreting everything in terms of their own personal “environment” (which is what distinguishes “environmentalists” from ecologists, often enough).

  32. 82
    Mal Adapted says:

    Hank Roberts quotes Steve Carmel, senior vice president for Maersk Line, Limited, a maritime company, on two definitions of sustainability: “The first, which he labeled the weak form and which he tends to favor”:

    there is some aggregate stock of capital, both natural and manmade, that must be maintained to advance humanity’s march forward.

    That’s what we call the Whig view of history. Whereas AFAICT, “humanity” doesn’t march in a particular direction any more than Evolution does. Is that equivalent to Carmel’s “strong” definition of sustainability?

  33. 83
    Hank Roberts says:

    Ah, Stoat and commenters had some of that nonsense nailed for a while back, e.g. this on the Beckwith video claiming “six degrees C” change in a decade:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/03/18/when-will-the-summer-arctic-be-nearly-sea-ice-free/#comment-29102
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/03/18/when-will-the-summer-arctic-be-nearly-sea-ice-free/#comment-29556

  34. 84
    Killian says:

    Re Guy McPherson, I have met him and have known of him for years. He’s actually quite knowledgeable in terms of facts, but definitely has his own interpretation. I would caution against dismissing the possibility of extreme climate shifts. We all know they happen. There were papers not long ago that stated changes of as much as 7- 10 degree changes on decade time scales – though that may have been localized, or at least local within a larger context of change. Something to do with the time around the Dryas events and such, iirc.

    What is maddening for me about Guy is his misuse of some data even after being corrected. I do have to mention it’s not so much a misuse as a rejection of the possibility of any meaningful action. That is, regarding the paper on CO2 residence times and the finding elevated temps will persist at least 1,500 years or so, he treats this as an absolute finding. While it seems a valid finding, that paper includes pretty much nothing about artificially drawing down carbon. (I include such human plans as reforestation here.) So, yes, if we don’t do anything at all, temps and CO2 will be elevated long enough to pretty much melt civilization away.

    But what kind of idiot would just sit and boil? (I realize that sounds rhetorical, but it really wasn’t! At least, not as I was writing it.) Guy’s great caveat is, “We won’t do it! It’s not politically feasible!”

    Well, heck, that may be true, but ain’t none of us got a crystal ball, and it sure as pancakes ain’t gonna get done by not trying. Guy sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy: We can’t , so we won’t because we won’t so we can’t.

    Nice work if you can get it.

    Irrationally, Guy thinks we *can* get our butts in gear for a global bit of demolition derby. I’ve not quite figured out if this is figurative or literal or both, but he goes on and on about dismantling industrial civilization.

    I do, too, but I call it simplification and localization. There’s no way we have a globally violent or semi-violent ending to industrialization and leave ourselves with the organization and resources we need to create an entirely different pattern of living on this planet. The time lost anarchic conditions alone would likely deprive us of the means to avoid any in-process or just beginning irreversible tipping points.

    But, Guy is definitely having fun. He’s extremely personable and likeable and has an excellent sense of humor.

    He’s still wrong, but, hey, nobody is perfect!

    ;-)

  35. 85
    Radge Havers says:

    Because design–even though these kinds of things are often flawed.

    GHG Emission Flow Chart
    http://www.ecofys.com/files/files/asn-ecofys-2013-world-ghg-emissions-flow-chart-2010.pdf

  36. 86
    Hank Roberts says:

    I questioned one story/link in a climate summary thread at McPherson’s blog; backscrolling in comments, I see one of his readers has questioned most of them. As noted, they’re not to the science, they’re to other blogs.

    My guess is he’s trying to educate people who don’t know and don’t want to know about the problems and won’t listen to any qualified and careful explanation.

    But he fell into linking and quoting blog-and-newspaper claims that need debunking, the kind of scary stuff that sells newspapers.

    Reality is plenty scary.

    Knowing what’s really known, and explaining what’s really known — to become a trusted source for people who aren’t going to understand the science first hand — is terribly hard.

    http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2013/02/scientific-meta-literacy/

    “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
    ― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

  37. 87
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS, McPherson’s been citing the journal article by Tim Garrett, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, that was published in Climatic Change, mentioned here a few years back; it’s Catton’s “Overshoot” but with equations:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-009-9717-9
    DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9717-9

    Hey, maybe it’s true and people are like the mushroom wasp.

    But ‘work as if you live in the early days of a better world’.

  38. 88
    prokaryotes says:

    It would be helpful if people would directly address claims, instead of generalization and vague pointers. I feature his talk because his overall sentiment and strong rhetoric seems helpful.

    Re Hank Roberts: “But he fell into linking and quoting blog-and-newspaper claims that need debunking, the kind of scary stuff that sells newspapers.”

    Which are? Link please, thanks.

  39. 89
    Hank Roberts says:

    for prokaryotes, see his summary, what Gavin remarked on earlier.

    If you think “strong rhetoric seems helpful” you’ll like his stuff. I find it terribly tempting, but not smart PR nor good science.
    Stuff like
    —- quote—-
    “… atmospheric oxygen levels are dropping to levels considered dangerous for humans.
    An increasing number of scientists agree that warming of 4 to 6 C causes a dead planet.”
    —end quote—
    (links at his page) — those are scary claims not cited to good science. Check out his links. Look for the scientific basis, not what he claims the source says, but what’s actually written at the sources he gives.

    Then see John N-G’s piece for what seems to me a wiser approach: scientific-meta-literacy:
    He writes there: “… what it comes down to is this: climate science is enormously complex. Whatever the American public’s climate literacy level, it will always be possible to make a believable but incorrect scientific statement….
    “… Those of us who are trained scientists but who do not have enough personal literacy to independently evaluate a particular statement do not throw up our hands in despair. Instead, we evaluate the source and the context….
    “… enable the public to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of scientific information.”

    That’s the best hope. Help people distinguish good science from unreliable claims, don’t echo the unreliable stuff without giving it a good thorough assessment. Don’t exaggerate.

    Reality is terrifying, as it is now.

    You can’t make rhetoric, tempting as it is, move people to action. Rhetoric won’t save us. The exploiters and idiots have much more rhetoric.

  40. 90
    patrick says:

    @59 The questions-and-answers on ocean acidification which you have linked are invaluable, and so is the website:

    Produced by EPOCA (European Project on Ocean Acidification), the Q&A is one of the best things I have seen on any topic.

    I especially like the 8th section: Ocean Acidification in Geological History.

    The Q&A helps with particular questions, as in your comment.

    Plus: these pages are a manual on what’s deficient, defective, and oblivious in the think-not tank notion that global CO2 levels don’t matter now because they’ve “been higher in the past.”

  41. 91
    Hank Roberts says:

    For the sake of punctilious correctness, the original reads,

    And best of all is finding a place to be
    in the early days of a better civilization.

    The thing to remember is, history is going to be written by the
    offspring of the survivors, who will, as people do, see all the past
    as mere prologue to their glorious present, no matter who died back then.

    We’re back then right now.

    If we, all seven billion of us in the 2100s, can manage to die with some grace and generosity, life will continue to be more or less livable on Earth and — we can hope — around and off Earth — despite the last few centuries of utterly stupid stripmining, bottom-trolling, polluting, waste.

    If instead we take that Maersk guy’s approach, what MalAdapted identifies above as the Whig view, what I’d call Business As Usual — that would be abysmally stupid and the next generations will remember us as a dead end.

    Yes, there will be next generations, to some extent. We’re not headed for a “dead planet” — that’s rhetoric, and not helpful.

  42. 92
    Killian says:

    Hank Roberts said Yes, there will be next generations, to some extent. We’re not headed for a “dead planet” — that’s rhetoric, and not helpful.

    It’s hard to be certain of what you mean here. Fungi? Ferns? If people, and being punctiliously accurate, it is not helpful to dismiss one end of the spectrum of possibilities. A dead planet to humans and many other species is entirely possible. It is not rhetoric. We have had 95% die-offs before and are pushing the planet harder than it has ever been. Lopping off the long tail of the distribution is not wise. Unlikely and impossible are not synonyms.

    Intimating we should design without consideration of the long tail event makes little sense to me. Doing so is more understandable when you are talking about, say, a 10.5 earthquake in LA, but not for an existential threat to global biota.

    reCAPTCHA now advocating for exercise of religion? confensi even

  43. 93
    SecularAnimist says:

    Of course, we are eventually headed for a dead planet, since in the normal course of stellar evolution, the Sun will burn the Earth to a cinder in a billion years or so.

    In the long run, nothing is sustainable.

  44. 94
    Corey Barcus says:

    RE: the Political Confusion Surrounding Global Warming

    Within the political sphere, it would seem that a particular outlook with regard to climate is synonymous with a policy to increase the cost of energy. As I have indicated before, this confusion has led to a popular questioning of the legitimacy of climate science. Within the scientific community, this questioning looks totally absurd, especially when there is no coherent scientific opposition to well-established understanding. Still, this confusion could be somewhat addressed if the climate community would respond to concerns over the rising cost energy by saying,

    “It has been suggested within the scientific community that a new generation of nuclear technology based on molten salts should have sufficient capability to address issues related to both climate and the economy. And while it is not generally the case that authorities within climate science would comment on possible responses to this dilemma as economic and political questions fall far outside the field, other disciplines have been working out the details between physics, technology, energy production, and the economy. Producing a globally relevant and broadly accepted response to our predicament will likely require an unprecedented level of political cooperation.”

    The basic facts of the situation:

    - current global energy consumption is on the order of 17 TW
    - our global population is expected to grow to between 9 and 10 billion by 2050
    - energy use will likely grow with population growth, and rising expectations for increasing the quality of life (energy-per-capita) will ensure that affordable energy gets used, regardless of source
    - it is not assured that billions of humans can survive without an industry fueled by cheap energy
    - while “renewable fuel” is free, the overall system costs are very high (even while being heavily subsidized), leading to a much lower return on investment
    - renewable systems do not necessarily get cheaper with scaling: high material demands, copious land use, very low power density for larger wind farms (to less than 1 watt/square meter suggested by meso-scale simulation), material limitations for conventional PVs; the dependency upon high levels of redundancy, storage, long distance transmission, etc.
    - some nations (like China) are pursuing a nuclear solution (we have given them molten salt technology which has already been demonstrated to work to a high degree of reliability), so nations that implement a comparatively poor energy policy should be particularly disadvantaged and dependent
    - not having adequate technology to address both climate and the economy puts civilization in a very precarious position

    In the United States we have a special opportunity to participate in the development of this promising technology. We have a competent home-grown technical community devoted to the promotion of this energy source. We have the resources and cheap energy to make rapid progress and the manufacturing experience to realize the large scale production of reactors (tens of thousands). It would seem a matter of national security to push for the development of viable sources of cheap clean energy. What hinders us now is political confusion over energy, technology, and its relationship with the economy.

    Others have seen this challenge and have already given up, instead trying to paint a pleasing picture of certain tragedy (the “soft landing”). If the strongest voices on climate were to even mention a viable technology for this situation, it should go some ways towards raising real hope. Once people come to understand what is at stake and what the technical possibilities are, they should be out in the street, not demonstrating directly over an issue of social justice, but trying to usher in a new industrial era of cheap and clean energy. If consciousness and scientific understanding move you, then it is imperative that you support the economic conditions that allow this evolutionary adaptation to thrive. Many of the things we value in civilization, whether scientific understanding, the arts, leisure time, etc., become jeopardized as proportionally more of our resources must be orientated towards securing adequate energy for mere survival. This is the “energy trap” that threatens us, and it is why we should fight so hard for the ability to alter our future.

  45. 95
    prokaryotes says:

    Corey Barcus, how do you want to account for SLR (i guess molton plants need to be near water too) and more seismic activity is one response from ice melt (crust rebound).

    And then you have long build time and during this nuclear plant construction is a major source for CO2 (mainly cement).

    Nuclear plants will probably rendered useless in the mid term – become a heavy burden, because of cooling issues (as we can observe since a decade).

  46. 96

    #94–Corey, some of your ‘basic facts’ seem not to be.

    - while “renewable fuel” is free, the overall system costs are very high (even while being heavily subsidized), leading to a much lower return on investment

    Outdated:

    http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/strong-growth-for-renewables-expected-through-to-2030/

    (Among numerous other sources.)

    - renewable systems do not necessarily get cheaper with scaling: high material demands, copious land use, very low power density for larger wind farms (to less than 1 watt/square meter suggested by meso-scale simulation), material limitations for conventional PVs; the dependency upon high levels of redundancy, storage, long distance transmission, etc.

    Not what IRENA says: “The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) is declining for wind, solar PV, CSP and some biomass technologies, while hydropower produced at good sites is still the cheapest way to generate electricity. These technologies, excluding hydropower, have high learning rates. This means that capital costs decline by a fixed, average percentage for every doubling of installed capacity; for solar PV modules, this can be up to 22%.”
    http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/Renewable_Power_Generation_Costs.pdf

    - some nations (like China) are pursuing a nuclear solution (we have given them molten salt technology which has already been demonstrated to work to a high degree of reliability), so nations that implement a comparatively poor energy policy should be particularly disadvantaged and dependent

    And what about China’s renewables initiatives?

    http://insights.wri.org/news/2013/06/china-invests-billions-international-renewable-energy-projects

  47. 97
    Hank Roberts says:

    The New Face of War — Orion Magazine

    … Like the insurance industry, the military recognizes that it cannot afford the luxury of remaining skeptical about climate change, the effects of which, the QDR notes, “are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters.” The military is thus “developing policies and plans to manage the effects of climate change on its operating environment, missions, and facilities.”

  48. 98
    Hank Roberts says:

    for Corey Barcus, see the extensive discussion at <a href="http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/06/04/advanced-fission-and-fusion-technologies-for-sustainable-nuclear-energy/&quot; Bravenewclimate on that material.
    It goes offtopic here real fast if people respond to it, from experience.

  49. 99
    Jim Larsen says:

    91 Hank said, “Yes, there will be next generations, to some extent.”

    For sure. We can sulphate the sky enough to bring just about any scenario down to “merely catastrophic”. For a species, that’s just an evolutionary opportunity.

  50. 100
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Jim Larsen — 7 Jun 2013 @ 8:39 PM

    You say- ” For a species, that’s just an evolutionary opportunity.”

    Please elaborate on specific evolutionary opportunities that you see as likely resulting from your stated context.

    Steve


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