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Unforced Variations: Dec 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 December 2013

This month’s open thread. It’s coming to the end of the year and that means updates to the annual time series of observations and models relatively soon. Suggestions for what you’d like to see assessed are welcome… or any other climate science related topic.


354 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Dec 2013”

  1. 101
    Sean says:

    Article quote: Still time to change Earth’s long-term forecast
    We also need to introduce systems of governance that place more emphasis on long-term effects. Global society needs structural long-termism to counter current short-termism: for example, a world climate bank for greenhouse gas emissions rights.
    Concretely, in order to create a better world for our grandchildren, we should:
    have fewer children, especially in the rich world
    reduce the ecological footprint, first by slowing the use of coal, oil and gas in the rich world
    construct a low-carbon energy system in the poor world, paid for by the rich
    create institutions that counter national short-termism.
    But most importantly, the coming crisis should be used to develop new goals for modern society – to remind us all that the purpose of society is to increase a total life satisfaction, not only to have each person contribute to the gross domestic product.
    Jorgen Randers is one of the key speakers at a full day symposium and evening Q&A discussion at UNSW on Limits to Growth on 11 and 12 December. The Q&A discussion will be streamed live through Google Hangouts and YouTube. https://theconversation.com/still-time-to-change-earths-long-term-forecast-21283

    Jorgen Randers is professor at the Norwegian Business School BI and co-author of The Limits to Growth in 1972,and its two sequels.
    His most recent book, published in May 2012, is 2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, also a report to The Club of Rome. http://www.2052.info/a-5000-word-summary/ Maybe 4950 words too many for some, but many more others will really enjoy the read. oh, imho only.

  2. 102
    John Mashey says:

    re: jon #89
    I also got a copy of Earth Transformed via an Amazon reseller, so with two data points, I’d say go ahead and use that route if it seems cheaper.

  3. 103
    Steven Blaisdell says:

    Re: #86
    While I understand the negative reaction, I think Sean’s main points (or at least what I think his main points…) are well taken. It’s exactly what I’ve started doing (without the scientific expertise), and I’ve noticed others as well relentlessly responding to denialist b.s., pretty much as Sean describes. I personally know many, way too many folks who still see AGW as a “debate”; that’s because outside fora such as this that’s what it is – a debate, and must be treated as such. Sean is essentially correct – the only way to turn opinion at this point is to “win,” to publicly face and ‘destroy’ the very powerful and persistent meme(s) that threaten humanity. I don’t think it’s fair to ask professional working scientists to take this on; so I don’t have the answer. But many, too many people derive their ideas about this issue from ignorance polluted comment boards, from far too many essentially unchallenged liars and rank sophists. One man’s opinion.

  4. 104

    I have a thought in regards to communicating land warming versus ocean warming.

    Why do they call the larger land warming as land amplification rather then ocean suppression?

    It seems clear to me that the ocean surface warming is being suppressed by its large heat capacity, while the land has very little heat capacity and is not being suppressed (rather than amplified).

  5. 105
    prokaryotes says:

    Steven Blaisdell: “But many, too many people derive their ideas about this issue from ignorance polluted comment boards, from far too many essentially unchallenged liars and rank sophists.”

    Maybe the people who browse the Internet are more wary about comment spam (if they read it at all)? Comments only represent an impression and random data and maybe give the illusion of winning an argument if your bias grants each single comment as valid. Actually most comments contain very little information and are often just noise. And there are so many different comments it’s hard to generalize them.

    The key arguments are within the science paper and my impression is that the key data is better communicated to a broader audience in recent month. And to help speed up the process experts have to repeat the message till we met our climate target. That’s why good video lectures are so important.

  6. 106
    Susan Anderson says:

    Steven Blaisdell @101, that is so well and gently put, thank you.

    However, having put myself out for five years to answer nonsense in some more neutral locations, I have found that the overwhelmingly professional (and amateur) denial generation machine, ever refining its techniques, and with vast money and politics at its command, is so relentless and so without conscience that the only thing to do was to move on and go elsewhere. It gets very personal, with precision distortion, bullying, and all.

    “A lie can run a mile while the truth is putting its shoes on.”

  7. 107

    #105–I, too, am trying to do just what Steve is. I cope with the ‘machine’ Susan identifies (rightly, I’m quite sure) in two ways:

    1) I limit the fora in which I respond to just one (primarily.)
    2) I try to view each repetition of the same old nonsense as an opportunity to present correct information–preferably in an engaging way (and a novel way, if one occurs to me.)
    3) I try to have fun with it. As the Indigo Girls said, “It’s only life, after all.”

  8. 108
    Sean says:

    @103 Steven Blaisdell, Hi. The “reaction” was expected Steven and was planned for ahead of time. I could have written the piece @86 in 100 different ways, but intentionally chose to write it exactly as it was presented for good reasons.
    The main one being that I did not want the “resident critics” here to read it. And they didn’t. There is clear proof of that fact already given by those that responded. That outcome is defined as “effective communication” because my specific intent and goals were successful. I wanted to hear back from people like you Steven. Your response confirms that 100+ other readers who have not replied here have also got it.
    Words are mightier than the sword. It is also provably true that one can put words and ideas in plain view to everyone and yet already know that most of it will be hidden from the eyes of some. Those whose reactionary biased opinions of the “content” presented I really had no interest in hearing.
    With 15 years of “social media” interactions on the Internet I am an expert at this. I know all the tricks, and I know exactly how it is that the Blogosphere and others has gone about destroying the credibility of Climate Science worldwide in the public consciousness and bent the will of Politicians. When I started on Usenet there was not even 300 million on the Internet globally. I along with a a few thousand others of my ilk were pioneers in online “discussions”. When I began I didn’t even know what the word sophistry was let alone what it meant or how it worked upon people (like on myself a victim of it) nor how self-delusion worked psychologically.
    For the last 5 plus years I have been active in doing what I can to teach other Victims how to defend themselves and learn to improve their critical thinking skills. A major project ended with more time on hands now I wanted to know if I should redirect my energies to Climate Science in similar ways. My time here and on several other venues has been a ‘test’ in a way to help decide if it is worth the strain and effort. I have concluded it is not.
    So I am going to other things like go fishing and spend quality time at the beach and nature instead. All I am doing through 2014 now is supporting and helping produce and improve the videos/texts as best I am able at Prokaryotes website Climate State. As well as do what I can to promote it online. Should be fun and rewarding. Anything else would be a waste of my time, experience and knowledge. This will now free me up to write a History and Biographical work, and take my time writing up several other matters of personal interest for publication in due course.
    The Climate stuff I will leave to others and have already turned my back on it (except Climate State as a hobby activity). In my best interests.
    Thanks so much for your comments and taking the time to read what I had written. Especially being able to grasp the nettle of it despite the ‘landmines’ I placed there to keep the riff raff away. and very happy and content. Thank you.

  9. 109
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2013 @ 3:14 PM

    Your comment about more efficient solar panels- “because the payback for replacing them will be an issue as efficiency of new ones goes up” doesn’t make sense. I have panels that cost $5/watt while the most recent were $1/watt. The old ones will stay up until they die (long after I do) because they are paid for, maintenance free and producing power. There are 30 year old panels around here that are still in use that were very expensive. There is no efficiency in removing the old ones. Steve

  10. 110
    Steven Blaisdell says:

    To follow on my non-science based comment, Real Climate (and it’s commenters) have been invaluable to me in understanding the most important issue of our time. Thanks for that. Re-reading “The Long Thaw,” this time carefully; “Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum” is next, along w/Hansen et al’s latest paper.
    And #107/Kevin – that’s it exactly. As Sean said, it’s more about a) talking to the largely silent ‘undecideds’ than changing unchangeable minds, and b) shifting the narrative, which is just repetition, repetition, repetition, but with relentless presentation of the facts in a rhetorically persuasive manner. Which, as again Sean pointed out, means understanding that the other side has NO interest good faith argument. So be it.

  11. 111
    prokaryotes says:

    Sulfur isotopes track the global extent and dynamics of euxinia during Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2

    Significance

    Oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean rose dramatically about 600 Mya, coinciding with the first proliferation of animals. However, numerous biotic events followed when oxygen concentrations in the younger ocean dipped episodically. The Cretaceous is famous for such episodes, and the most extensive of these oceanic anoxic events occurred 93.9 Mya. Our combined carbon- and sulfur-isotope data indicate that oxygen-free and hydrogen sulfide-rich waters extended across roughly 5% of the global ocean, compared to smaller 1% today, but with the likelihood that much broader regions were also oxygen challenged. These conditions must have impacted nutrient availability in the ocean and ultimately the spatial and temporal distribution of marine life across a major climatic perturbation.

    Abstract
    The Mesozoic Era is characterized by numerous oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) that are diagnostically expressed by widespread marine organic-carbon burial and coeval carbon-isotope excursions. Here we present coupled high-resolution carbon- and sulfur-isotope data from four European OAE 2 sections spanning the Cenomanian–Turonian boundary that show roughly parallel positive excursions. Significantly, however, the interval of peak magnitude for carbon isotopes precedes that of sulfur isotopes with an estimated offset of a few hundred thousand years. Based on geochemical box modeling of organic-carbon and pyrite burial, the sulfur-isotope excursion can be generated by transiently increasing the marine burial rate of pyrite precipitated under euxinic (i.e., anoxic and sulfidic) water-column conditions. To replicate the observed isotopic offset, the model requires that enhanced levels of organic-carbon and pyrite burial continued a few hundred thousand years after peak organic-carbon burial, but that their isotope records responded differently due to dramatically different residence times for dissolved inorganic carbon and sulfate in seawater. The significant inference is that euxinia persisted post-OAE, but with its global extent dwindling over this time period. The model further suggests that only ∼5% of the global seafloor area was overlain by euxinic bottom waters during OAE 2. Although this figure is ∼30× greater than the small euxinic fraction present today (∼0.15%), the result challenges previous suggestions that one of the best-documented OAEs was defined by globally pervasive euxinic deep waters. Our results place important controls instead on local conditions and point to the difficulty in sustaining whole-ocean euxinia. Link

  12. 112
    prokaryotes says:

    Nitrogen cycle feedbacks as a control on euxinia in the mid-Proterozoic ocean

    Abstract
    Geochemical evidence invokes anoxic deep oceans until the terminal Neoproterozoic ~0.55 Ma, despite oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere nearly 2 Gyr earlier. Marine sediments from the intervening period suggest predominantly ferruginous (anoxic Fe(II)-rich) waters, interspersed with euxinia (anoxic H(2)S-rich conditions) along productive continental margins. Today, sustained biotic H(2)S production requires NO(3)(-) depletion because denitrifiers outcompete sulphate reducers. Thus, euxinia is rare, only occurring concurrently with (steady state) organic carbon availability when N(2)-fixers dominate the production in the photic zone. Here we use a simple box model of a generic Proterozoic coastal upwelling zone to show how these feedbacks caused the mid-Proterozoic ocean to exhibit a spatial/temporal separation between two states: photic zone NO(3)(-) with denitrification in lower anoxic waters, and N(2)-fixation-driven production overlying euxinia. Interchange between these states likely explains the varying H(2)S concentration implied by existing data, which persisted until the Neoproterozoic oxygenation event gave rise to modern marine biogeochemistry. Link

  13. 113
    Paul S says:

    WebHubTelescope – That’s part of the picture but it is commonly stressed, with good reason, that land-sea warming contrast is a feature of equilibrium simulations as well as transient.

    There was a paper published last month (Joshi et al. 2013; pdf link) which looks like it provides a good introduction to some of the issues and contains this quote:

    ‘Somewhat counter-intuitively, a land–sea surface warming ratio greater than unity during transient climate change is actually not mainly a result of the differing thermal inertias of land and ocean, but primarily originates in the differing properties of the surface and boundary layer (henceforth BL) over land and ocean (Manabe et al. 1991; Sutton et al. 2007; Joshi et al. 2008 (henceforth JGW08), Dong et al. 2009) as well as differing cloud feedbacks (Fasullo 2010; Andrews et al. 2010).’

    Vegetation responses to climate and rising CO2 are often cited as causal factors for differential temperature increase near the surface.

    Differential regional warming due to internal variability can also play a substantial role over periods of a few decades due to unequal distribution of land area and the ability for ocean warming to influence adjacent land. The extreme land warming amplification of the past three decades is probably partly related to contemporaneous large (relative to global) SST warming trends in the Northern Hemisphere Extra-tropics, where land area is greatest.

  14. 114
    prokaryotes says:

    Nutrients as the dominant control on the spread of anoxia and euxinia across the Cenomanian-Turonian oceanic anoxic event (OAE2): Model-data comparison

    The Cenomanian-Turonian oceanic anoxic event (OAE2) is characterized by large perturbations in the oxygen and sulfur cycles of the ocean, potentially resulting from changes in oxygen supply (via oxygen solubility and ocean circulation) and in marine productivity. We assess the relative impact of these mechanisms, comparing model experiments with a new compilation of observations for seafloor dysoxia/anoxia and photic zone euxinia. The model employed is an intermediate-complexity Earth system model which accounts for the main ocean dynamics and biogeochemistry of the Cretaceous climate.

    The impact of higher temperature and marine productivity is evaluated in the model as a result of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide and oceanic nutrient concentrations. The model shows that temperature is not alone able to reproduce the observed patterns of oceanic redox changes associated with OAE2. Observations are reproduced in the model mainly via enhanced marine productivity due to higher nutrient content (responsible for 85% of the change).

    Higher phosphate content could have been sustained by increased chemical weathering and phosphorus regeneration from anoxic sediments, which in turn induced an enhanced nitrogen nutrient content of the ocean via nitrogen fixation. The model also shows that the presence of seafloor anoxia, as suggested by black-shale deposition in the proto-North Atlantic Ocean before the event, might be the result of the silled shape and lack of deep-water formation of this basin at the Late Cretaceous. Overall our model-data comparison shows that OAE2 anoxia was quasi-global spreading from 5% of the ocean volume before the event to at least 50% during OAE2. Link

  15. 115
    prokaryotes says:

    Reconstructing the history of euxinia in a coastal sea

    Areas of the coastal ocean where oxygen is low or absent in bottom waters, so-called dead zones, are expanding worldwide (Diaz and Rosenberg, 2008). Increased inputs of nutrients from land are enhancing algal blooms, and the sinking of this organic matter to the seafloor and subsequent decay leads to a high oxygen demand in bottom waters. Depending on the physical characteristics of the coastal system, this may initiate periodic or permanent water column anoxia and euxinia, with the latter term implying the presence of free sulfide (Kemp et al., 2009). Global warming is expected to exacerbate the situation, through its effects on oxygen solubility and water column stratification. In many modern coastal systems, anthropogenic changes are superimposed on natural variation and lack of knowledge of such variation makes the prediction of future changes in water column oxygen challenging (e.g., Grantham et al., 2004). That natural drivers alone can be the cause of widespread coastal anoxia is evident from studies of greenhouse periods in Earth’s past, including the oceanic anoxic events of the Cretaceous and Toarcian (Jenkyns, 2010).

    Sediment proxy records are essential to any reconstruction of variations in anoxia and euxinia on time scales beyond several decades to a century. A variety of biological and geochemical indicators can be used for this purpose, such as the presence of the remains of benthic and pelagic organisms, laminations, biomarkers for eukaryotes or prokaryotes, and inorganic geochemical and mineralogical signatures in the sediment, and ideally, these methods are combined. Sediments that are deposited below a euxinic water column are, for example, typically enriched in organic carbon, sulfur, iron, and trace metals such as rhenium and molybdenum (Gooday et al., 2009). Recent additions to this paleo-redox toolbox are the isotope systems of Fe and Mo (Lyons et al., 2009). Reconstruction of the temporal changes in the oxic-anoxic interface (chemocline) in the water column forms a key step in the identification of the external drivers and internal feedbacks that contribute to anoxia and euxinia in a given system. In their study of sediments from the Black Sea, Eckert et al. (2013, p. 431 in this issue of Geology), make this step by providing, for the first time, a basin-wide reconstruction of the evolution of the chemocline in this silled coastal basin over the Holocene.

    Silled basins in humid areas such as Kau Bay (Indonesia), the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea, are particularly sensitive to low oxygen conditions because of salinity stratification and associated reduced vertical mixing (Kemp et al., 2009). All these inland seas have an intriguing history and were originally coastal lakes that were transformed to marine basins due to postglacial sea-level rise. Kau Bay is only semi-euxinic, and is subject to incursions of low-oxygen non-sulfidic bottom waters that alternate with periods of anoxic, sulfidic bottom waters (Middelburg et al., 1991). The Baltic Sea also alternates between redox states: it experienced various periods of low oxygen over the Holocene, but is currently subject to a human-induced period of anoxia, with its bottom waters largely oxic around 1900 CE (Conley et al., 2009). The Black Sea is the largest euxinic basin in the world and differs in being permanently euxinic. This is the result of the strong stratification that developed after its fore-runner fresh water lake became connected to the Mediterranean Sea through the narrow, shallow Straits of the Bosporus at ca. 9 kyr B.P. Water column anoxia developed across the deep basin from ca. 7.5 kyr B.P. onward (Degens and Ross, 1974), and the chemocline is presently located at ∼100 m depth.

    Strong variations in the geochemical and paleo-ecological composition and genetic signature of the sediments in the Black Sea provide testimony that the conditions in the water column have been far from constant over the past ∼7.5 kyr. Two phases of deposition are generally distinguished based on visual characteristics of the sediments. Following the onset of anoxia, a finely laminated, dark, organic-rich sediment layer formed first (Unit II), followed by deposition of alternating microlaminae of calcareous (white) and organic- and clay-rich material (black) from ca. 2.6 kyr B.P. to the present (Unit I). The shift from Unit II to Unit I was originally attributed to the invasion of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi when salinity rose above 11 (Arthur and Dean, 1998). However, genetic analyses show that this calcifying haptophyte colonized the photic zone of the Black Sea shortly after the connection to the Bosporus, and the Unit I–II transition marks the moment that coccoliths began to be preserved in the sediments (Coolen et al., 2009).

    The delayed appearance of Unit II on the slopes of the basin has been taken as an indicator of a slow rise of the chemocline following the onset of anoxia (Degens and Ross, 1974). The rise was fast enough, however, for the chemocline to reach the photic zone by the time of deposition of the lower part of Unit II, as indicated by the presence of biomarkers for photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria (Sinnighe Damsté et al., 1993; Repeta, 1993). Results of similar analyses for the upper part of Unit II suggested a subsequent descent of the chemocline followed by re-establishment in the photic zone during deposition of Unit I. At the time, controversy remained about the temporal and spatial variability in the position of the chemocline, and the extent to which the water column and photic zone remained euxinic throughout deposition of Units I and II. This debate was partially resolved when Wilkin et al. (1997) showed that the size of the pyrite framboids in Units I and II were in line with a continuously euxinic water column. Using a composite record of sediment Fe, Mo, and Fe-isotopes derived from data for nine sites throughout the basin, Eckert et al. (2013) now confirm the evolution of Black Sea euxinia, as suggested in these earlier studies, and provide a more consistent and basin-wide timing for the series of events.

    The variation in strength of the ‘Fe shuttle’ forms the heart of their reconstruction. This term is used to describe the lateral transfer of Fe released from suboxic shelf sediments to the deep basin. The authors use their Fe/Al record as a direct indicator of the position of the chemocline, where low Fe/Al indicates a weak shuttle with a chemocline impinging on the slope. A high Fe/Al, in contrast, indicates a chemocline allowing suboxic water to spread over part of the shelf and supporting an intense Fe shuttle. The authors also make use of the fact that Mo data can be used to reconstruct the hydrography of a basin, which for the Black Sea allows an estimate of the inflow of Mediterranean seawater. Fe isotope analyses bolster the argument for the shelf-source of Fe. The emerging timeline is as follows (Unit II): (1) a gradual rise of the chemocline over a period of ∼2 kyr following the onset of anoxia at ca. 7.6 kyr B.P., (2) fully developed euxinic conditions with an ascent of the chemocline onto the shelf at ca. 5.3 kyr B.P., (3) a subsequent descent of the chemocline, and (Unit I) (4) establishment of the chemocline in its present-day position at the shelf break from 2.7 kyr B.P. onward.

    But this is not the full story. Besides a good timeline for euxinia in the Black Sea, we need to understand the hydrographic and biogeochemical processes that drove these changes in redox conditions, and there much work still needs to be done. The evolution of the salinity in the basin, for example, is not well constrained. Recent qualitative reconstructions of salinity based on various proxies suggest that values of surface water salinity in the Black Sea rose until ca. 3 kyr B.P., followed by a gradual freshening to present-day values (van der Meer et al., 2008; Coolen, 2011). Possible causes for the freshening include an increase in fluvial discharge and decreased evaporation (Giosan et al., 2012). An associated increase in stratification may have contributed to the shallowing of the chemocline at the onset of the deposition of Unit I. Also, the processes leading to the increased total organic carbon (TOC) in Unit II as compared to the overlying and underlying units are not well understood. The high TOC is frequently interpreted as an indicator of enhanced nutrient availability and productivity following the inflow of Mediterranean seawater, and transition of limnic (oxic) to marine (anoxic and euxinic) conditions (also see Eckert et al., 2013). However, the sources of the nutrients fuelling this productivity have not been identified and whether, for example, phosphorus release from sediments or river water is more important is still an open question. Finally, the cause of the descent of the chemocline after ca. 5.3 kyr B.P. remains unknown. While Eckert et al. (2013) propose a decreased seawater input or increased river input as potential causes, van der Meer et al. (2008), in contrast, suggest that the absence of a shallow chemocline can be best explained by the high sea-surface salinity at the time.

    Despite the open questions, the Eckert et al. (2013) study is important because it provides a more solid timeline and integrated view of the evolution of euxinia in the Black Sea, which is highly useful for assessments of climatic and other drivers of temporal change. The tools used can also be applied to better interpret sediment records from other marine systems, both modern and ancient, and can thereby aid in the assessment of the time scales of a possible decline into, and recovery from, wide-scale anoxia and euxinia. Such knowledge is important in a warming world where water column deoxygenation in the coastal zone is becoming more and more common.Link

  16. 116
    prokaryotes says:

    Pan-Arctic distributions of continental runoff in the Arctic Ocean

    Continental runoff is a major source of freshwater, nutrients and terrigenous material to the Arctic Ocean. As such, it influences water column stratification, light attenuation, surface heating, gas exchange, biological productivity and carbon sequestration. Increasing river discharge and thawing permafrost suggest that the impacts of continental runoff on these processes are changing.

    Here, a new optical proxy was developed and implemented with remote sensing to determine the first pan-Arctic distribution of terrigenous dissolved organic matter (tDOM) and continental runoff in the surface Arctic Ocean. Retrospective analyses revealed connections between the routing of North American runoff and the recent freshening of the Canada Basin, and indicated a correspondence between climate-driven changes in river discharge and tDOM inventories in the Kara Sea. By facilitating the real-time, synoptic monitoring of tDOM and freshwater runoff in surface polar waters, this novel approach will help understand the manifestations of climate change in this remote region.

    Climate-driven changes in runoff distribution have been linked to large inter-annual and decadal variations in the freshwater content of the Arctic Ocean, and these fluctuations have important ramifications for North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation9. Furthermore, changes in runoff routing through the Arctic Ocean can regulate the extent to which Arctic tDOM is incorporated into North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and distributed in the global ocean.

    The routing of Mackenzie River outflow since 2006 coincides with observations of a rapid accumulation of freshwater in the Canada Basin. Freshening began in the 1990s and accelerated in the late 2000s18, 19, 20, 21. The realization that a large accumulation of freshwater in the Canada Basin could impact global ocean circulation stimulated research to identify the freshwater sources and climatic forcing responsible for observed changes in salinity. Pacific water, ice-melt, precipitation and river runoff are distinct sources of freshwater to the Canada Basin.
    New capabilities to monitor surface tDOM distributions will prove valuable for understanding future climate-driven changes in the biogeochemistry of the Arctic. Permafrost thawing and precipitation in drainage basins of Arctic rivers are projected to intensify with escalating atmospheric temperatures and thereby enhance the mobilization of soil organic matter to the Arctic Ocean32, 33, 34, 35, 36. The fate of this material and its effects on biogeochemical cycles will depend on its routing and residence time in polar surface waters4. Furthermore, processing of organic matter in surface waters is influenced by factors that are currently being altered by climate change (e.g., ice cover, water temperature). Multiyear records of remotely sensed tDOM distributions provide direct evidence of how the routing, inventory, storage and residence time of tDOM in surface polar waters change in response to climatic forcing. Such applications will thus provide crucial information for understanding the fate of immobilized soil organic matter and its impacts on biogeochemical cycles in this rapidly changing Arctic environment.

    Finally, remote sensing of continental runoff provides useful insights about the sources of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean. Ice melt, precipitation and runoff are all increasing under the current climatic trends31, 37, and are altering the freshwater budget of the Arctic Ocean. Remotely sensed runoff distributions provide direct evidence of continental runoff contributions to specific regions of the surface Arctic Ocean, and will thereby help understand the mechanisms responsible for future changes in the Arctic freshwater budget. It is important to remember, however, that the uncoupling of river water from its tDOM component during the winter freeze-thaw cycle38 hampers the use of this approach to assess year-to-year changes in freshwater runoff storage. Future applications will also likely include studying the influence of continental runoff on biological processes, such as primary production, in polar surface waters.Link

    Significance of euxinic condition in the middle Eocene paleo-Arctic basin: A geochemical study on the IODP Arctic Coring Expedition 302 sediments

    Eocene Arctic basin. The main purpose of this study is to reconstruct paleoceanographic conditions including the extent of saline (seawater) mass presence. To attain this goal we performed geochemical analyses of total sulfur (%TS), total organic carbon (%TOC) and stable sulfur isotopic composition (δ34S) on the early to middle Eocene section of the ACEX cores. The %TS were high in all the examined intervals and the sedimentary sulfur occurred mainly as framboidal pyrite, indicating that sufficient sulfate, indicative of seawater, was present in the deep layer of the paleo-Arctic basin and that the pyrite was formed in the sediments under sufficient iron input. The high %TS values with low δ34S values also indicate the continuous existence and supply of seawater. The high accumulation of sulfide in Unit 1/6 was due to a significant increase of TOC supply which increased sulfate reduction rates by bacteria. The %TOC–%TS diagram shows excess sulfur content relative to the TOC, suggesting euxinic condition of the bottom water during the studied period. Such an oxygen depleted environment was brought about by salinity stratification and restricted water circulation. Link

    Role of the changing river runoff in the Arctic ocean stratification

    We find that while the surface stratification strengthens with the increasing runoff, the surface mixed layer thins and warmer water is found closer to the surface.

    However, there is little change in the force needed to mechanically mix the warm waters toward the surface, against the stronger stratification. This is seen in Figure 3 as just below the surface mixed layer temperature contours mostly followthe isolines of the force needed to mix the waters to the surface. As a result the effect on the sea ice thickness remains small in the 1D simulations (Figure 1).

    The column model reproduces previous theoretical considerations (Rudels, 2010) on the Arctic freshwater content and outflow: freshwater content increases as the surface salinity decrease dominates over the thinning of surface mixed layer. In the 3D simulations we find similar warming of the subsurface layers as in the 1D simulations (Figure 6).

    In addition we find changes in the cold halocline as the increasing runoff alters shelf convection processes (Figures 4-6). Doubling the river runoff results to very fresh waters at the shelves restricting the convection to shallow surface layer. Consequently the Arctic halocline is degrading and the temperatures just below the surface mixed layer increase over 0.5 °CLink

    The initiated deglaciation charges the Arctic Basin with organic matter (enhanced marine productivity) and causes at least surface stratification, which will likely slow ocean currents and causes oxygen depletion. Development can be abrupt and spread.

  17. 117
  18. 118
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Sean: “The main one being that I did not want the “resident critics” here to read it.”

    Yeah, everyone fell right into your trap by ignoring your disjointed drivel.

    Dude, I’m starting to worry about you. You’re having delusions of adequacy.

  19. 119
    prokaryotes says:

    Arctic Cyclones More Common Than Previously Thought

    Dec. 11, 2013 — From 2000 to 2010, about 1,900 cyclones churned across the top of the world each year, leaving warm water and air in their wakes — and melting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

  20. 120
    Dave Peters says:

    For those of us who see humanity confronting CO2, sans fission, as akin to being “up the creek, with a broken paddle”, or perhaps, a handful of mere toothpicks, this year brought some dispiriting developments in the US. A generation has passed, and in real time, our overall architecture is still placing zero value upon the contributions to climate mitigation, for the several power-plants retired this year. I contemplated beginning a comment to Unforced V in late October, to note this sad fact, with the phrase: “I have no wish to ignite a sand-box war. . .”, but decided for silence. Some weeks later, RAMader commented upon one such spat, labeling it as “puerile”.

    Agreed. But, would a complete banishment of the topic from this forum, be mature? For those of us around in the late seventies, there was an element of the “for want of a simple nail for a messenger’s horse, the whole war was lost” to the American experience, in the wake of TMI. Without that one stuck valve, the Rainbow Regs, and the mid-gestation design recalibrations, all within the context of a near-infinite spike in the real cost of bond debt, our story might have been closer to that of France. (Right now, residential power there costs two-thirds the average of UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands & Denmark. Or, carbon free modernity for no monetary cost, on the electric side.) As with the “hiatus,” perception being a good bit of the battle, today one wonders whether Fukushima may also wield a horseshoe-nail effect, recapitulating the TMI-sequence, but on a global scale. If so, it will be climatically world-shaping.

    For those who do…this recent post by blogging oceanographer Dr. Kim Martini may be of interest.

    http://deepseanews.com/2013/11/true-facts-about-ocean-radiation-and-the-fukushima-disaster/

    In it, she addresses some of the wild commentary about strontium pollution of the Pacific. The comment thread also includes a back-&-forth peek at the mess in containment wells, with offerings in the paranoid style contrasted with those of an engineer claiming experience. While lighting up half the planet is certainly not something you yearn to write home to Ma about (Dr. Martini cites models claiming a maximum enhancement @ Hawaii of 30 becquerels per cubic meter of the seas), by my reckoning this would be about 2.3 tenths of a percent of the potassium-40 shine, or very roughly, nearly the rate at which we annually reduce alkalinity, via BAU combustion.

  21. 121
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Sean is a “victim” in the “War on Climate Change”. He is fighting a one man battle against those who would impugn his honor and demean his character. Sean has boldly stood up to all the scientists by telling them how to improve public relations by merely telling the truth to those who refuse to listen. Take heed all who visit here. Follow His example. BUT!!! If you doubt your courage, come no further because death awaits you all with sharp pointy teeth!!

  22. 122
    Jon Kirwan says:

    To Dave Peters:

    I want to know how we set up checks and balances. What we have doesn’t work well, in my opinion. Technical issues should be vetted through the heat of effective and knowledgeable debate. But I’ve seen how the walls go up and the protective ring of moats get placed to form battlements against such meaningful discourse in the US.

    Years back, during the congressional hearings over the FPO (full power operation) permit for the Seabrook power plant on the east coast, I found out about a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) between the US NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations), which is a private corporation that can be hired by nuclear power operators for tasks such as investigating nuclear power plant safety deficiencies.

    To cope in their own way with laws making it a public right here in the US to know about safety issues, a revised MOA was dated in October of 1988 and was a modification of a 1985 MOA, signed by Victor Stello, Jr, then the NRC’s Executive Director for Operations. It effectively transferred the NRC regulatory responsibilities to INPO, because the NRC agreed not to duplicate safety investigations that INPO had performed and to rely upon those reports, instead. This was touted to “lessen the burden” on the NRC. But the effect of it was to cause nuclear power operators, upon notification by the NRC of some intended safety evaluation per their responsibilities, to immediately hire INPO, instead, to perform exactly the same required safety deficiency investigations that the NRC was expected to perform. Since INPO documents were private between INPO and the licensed Operator of the plant, and since the NRC would then refuse to duplicate the efforts, this MOA effectively sealed out of public view any safety information.

    In my opinion, this was why the MOA was constructed. And the Seabrook hearings in Congress demonstrated how the MOA operates to bypass Congressional intent when it ordered that NRC safety inspections in fact be a matter of public record. The MOA “fixed” this “problem” for the nuclear power operators.

    Separately, the newer rules from the NRC on advanced reactors standardize the licensing, providing early site approval, certification of plant designs by rule (avoiding the lengthy public hearings for each plant), and simultaneous issuances of both a construction permit and an operating license (a “one-stop licensing called “combined licenses”.) I’m not opposed to some aspects of this, as I understand the need for efficient processes to get the job done. But the rules have/had all the appearances of just more of the same, similar to the NRC MOA with INPO.

    Under the provisions, nuclear power plan designs can be simply certified by rule. The cert is valid for 15 years from the date of trissuance. An application can be renewed for another 10-15 years. If a utility takes full advantage of the procedures, securing an early site permit in advance and referencing a certified standard design in its combined license application, the issues available for consideration in any public hearing is severely limited. Neither the suitability issues nor the reactor design issues can be litigated or discussed. (The suitability is decided simply by the issuance of the early site permit and the reactor design issues decided by the existing certification.) The effect is to eliminate any safety siting issues in combined license hearings, even if there is new material information discovered after the issuance of the early site permit.

    Here in Oregon, I was supportive of our own Trojan nuclear power plant, as I had confidence in the staff operating the system and a fair degree of confidence in the corporation, as well. But I also got a first-hand chance to see, because I attended the public hearing where this happened in front of me, how they would pile hundreds of boxes of material in response to a court order to provide a short, specific report, and only said, “We have provided the requested document. It is in those boxes. We’ve complied with the law by providing it.” But with tens of thousands of pages of useless writings to pour through, it was very time consuming to track down the report.

    I am personally very very concerned about climate change, species loss, and human impacts on Earth. But I’m still not willing to allow my fears on that score to blind me to past behaviors. The NRC and the nuclear industry, washing each others’ hands, is not acceptable. That has to change. Then we’ll see, depending on what it changes into.

    I don’t see a way out of this, yet. But I’ll be hide-bound before I accept the current nuclear regulatory design. It has to change.

  23. 123
    Jon Kirwan says:

    correction to previous reply to Dave Peters — the word “trissuance” should be “issuance.” Wish I’d noticed the spell check when writing.

  24. 124
    SecularAnimist says:

    Dave Peters wrote: “But, would a complete banishment of the topic from this forum, be mature?”

    First of all, this is a climate science site, not a site about energy technologies, and the moderators — who are climate scientists with no particular expertise in energy technology or economics — quite wisely and “maturely” want to keep this “forum” focused on climate science, where they have HUGE value to contribute.

    Secondly, discussions of nuclear power on this site have unfortunately tended to degenerate into repetitive and angry arguments, with some commenters engaging in insults and name-calling.

    I myself have been accused of being a paid shill for the coal industry, because I argued that rapidly deploying solar and wind energy technologies, along with efficiency and smart grid technologies, is a much faster and much more cost effective way of reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation than building new nuclear power plants.

    There are plenty of other sites, like Brave New Climate, where proponents of expanding nuclear power can discuss the topic to their heart’s content.

  25. 125
    wili says:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/South-Scores-11th-Hour-Win-on-Climate-Loss-and-Damage_IPS.html

    “To have a good chance at staying under two degrees C, industrialised countries need to crash their CO2 emissions 10 percent per year starting in 2014, said Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester.”

    I don’t think there should be any trouble convincing the industrialized countries of the world to essentially start immediately shrinking their economies by over 10% every year for as long as it takes to get completely off of fossil carbon, do you?

    (I say “over 10%”) since 2 degrees C is clearly too high of a threshold.

  26. 126
    DP says:

    Re 125 I am puzzled by the idea we can keep temperatures below a 2C increase. According to the charts of greenhouse gas concentrations we have a warming of more than 2C in the pipeline already. Can somebody explain?

  27. 127

    The resistance in persuading by reason always has opponents who are sometimes hysterical.

    Does anybody think that this hidden mysterious contrarian scientist in minute 9:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp0Mp1KxPOM

    Might be doctor Tim Ball?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO08Hhjes_0

    At least Dr Lindzen seems quite obstinately amused as usual. I admire his frankness not his interpretation of AGW science.

    Environmentalists love animals, we are animals :), we convince by reason or fail with pride that we have at least tried to emancipate the minds of our fellow humans.

  28. 128
    Edward Greisch says:

    125 wili: NOBODY, not even the wind turbine salesmen, are advocating “shrinking their economies by over 10% every year.” There is clearly no reason to do so. We need to quit burning carbon, not shrink an economy.

    Biting tongue on energy sources. I note that the renewables salesmen are out heavy.

  29. 129
    pete best says:

    RE #125 – yes James Hansen in his 26 page recent collaboration papers says essentially the same but calls for 6%.

    Take a look at what 6-10% actually means for us all and you will see that its not possible unless it is forced upon us. greater than 1% means a depression/recession on a large scale and our systems just are not designed to cope with. We only know growth with some occasional dips lasting 5 years or so of 1-2%.

    Even if we can replace via demand or supply side economics 6 to 10% a year for 50 years the world will be so very different as during the final analysis it will be revealed that everyone expects everyone else to change their lifestyle and cut back on energy consumption so nobody has or will.

    Doomed

  30. 130
    prokaryotes says:

    Re economic impact from climate action

    “Don’t assume that tackling climate costs will make all your costs go up and that there are no good options,” Kim said at a panel discussion that marked the opening of the World Bank Group’s week of Annual Meetings in Washington. “The innovations that are happening in other parts of the world are not always apparent to ministers of finance. We would be very happy to play the role of bringing those options to the table and letting them see that they can create a better world for their grandchildren, but that it makes economic sense as well.”

    IMF: Fuel subsidies and “right pricing” go a long way

    Lagarde pointed to a just-released study by the IMF showing that national subsidies for gasoline and other fossil fuel subsidies now top $485 billion annually. By removing such subsidies, financially pressed countries would generate a significant new revenue stream needed for services such as health and education, while at the same time addressing climate change, the report found.

    The IMF can also help country finance ministers get the pricing right as they look to carbon taxes and other fiscal instruments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lagarde said. Link

  31. 131
    prokaryotes says:

    Earth ‘may be doubly sensitive’ to CO2

    The sensitivity of the Earth system to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be twice as great as scientists had thought, new climate records from the distant past suggest.

    LONDON, 11 December – You may think the prospect of climate change is alarming, a call to action to slow down our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

    You’re almost certainly right. But some scientists are now suggesting you should be much more concerned than you are, because they think we may be seriously underestimating the problem.

    The Geological Society of London (GSL) says the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to CO2 could be double earlier estimates.

    The Society has published an addition to a report by a GSL working party in 2010, which was entitled Climate change: Evidence from the Geological Record.
    The addition says many climate models typically look at short term, rapid factors when calculating the Earth’s climate sensitivity, which is defined as the average global temperature increase brought about by a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Scientists agree that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels could result in temperature increases of between 1.5 and 4.5°C, caused by rapid changes such as snow and ice melt, and the behaviour of clouds and water vapour.

    But what the GSL now says is that geological evidence from palaeoclimatology (studies of past climate change) suggests that if longer-term factors are taken into account, such as the decay of large ice sheets, the Earth’s sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 could itself be double that predicted by most climate models. Link

  32. 132
    prokaryotes says:

    Quote from above,

    The new GSL statement outlines evidence that a relatively modest rise in atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature leads to significant sea level rise, with oceans more acidic and less oxygenated. Previous such events caused marine crises and extinctions, with the Earth system taking around 100,000 years to recover.

  33. 133
    prokaryotes says:

    The fate of bioavailable iron in Antarctic coastal seas

    Bioavailable iron limits biological production and also affects the composition of the phytoplankton community.
    The availability of iron, therefore, can limit uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide, with important implications for the climate. Understanding iron cycling in Antarctic phytoplankton is crucial for determining whether iron fertilization can be an effective strategy for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
    In the Ross Sea, bioavailable iron enters the area through snow melt and dust deposition. Iron removal is calculated to be about equal to iron input. Fertilizing the surface ocean with iron increases biological productivity, but the resulting carbon dioxide removal will be much less than expected due to the increased productivity of diatoms, which incorporate and remove the bioavailable iron.
    The resultant decrease in iron favors plankton communities with lower iron requirements. Phaeocystis antarctica, a non-siliceous prymnesiophyte, dominates some Southern Ocean phytoplankton communities, but loses out to diatoms when bioavailable iron is low. P. antarctica assimilates more carbon dioxide than diatoms, so a shift to a diatom-rich phytoplankton community may reduce carbon dioxide sequestration, the opposite of the desired effect. Link

  34. 134
    Hank Roberts says:

    > due to the increased productivity of diatoms,
    > which incorporate and remove the bioavailable iron.
    > The resultant decrease in iron favors plankton communities
    > with lower iron requirements.

    Think this through.

    What are the implications?

    Well, how does it work in nature? The diatoms capture the iron. The krill eats the diatoms. The filter-feeders eat the krill — and that includes the biggest animals on Earth. Whale poop, rich in iron, fertilizes the surface waters of the ocean.

    Natural cycling at work. Yeah, we [*] that cycle up badly.

    What this linked paper about diatoms misses — that should be pointed out — is what it tells us about whaling.

    Want to do effective “geoengineering”?
    I recommend whales.

    How? Be quieter (ocean noise interferes with communication). Avoid the areas they use for feeding and mating and birthing and nurseries.

    Stop vacuuming up the krill wholesale.

    Don’t compete with the remaining whales. We need them to recover.

  35. 135
    prokaryotes says:

    Climate change is causing the North Pole’s location to drift, owing to subtle changes in Earth’s rotation that result from the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. The finding suggests that monitoring the position of the pole could become a new tool for tracking global warming. Link

  36. 136
    Hank Roberts says:

    More on that:

    … populations of both ice-loving Adélie and ice-avoiding chinstrap penguins have declined significantly…. attributes both increases and decreases in penguin populations to changes in the abundance of their main prey, Antarctic krill. …

    Adélie and chinstrap penguins were never directly harvested by man; thus, their population trajectories track the impacts of biological and environmental changes in this ecosystem.
    Linking trends in penguin abundance with trends in krill biomass explains why populations of Adélie and chinstrap penguins increased after competitors (fur seals, baleen whales, and some fishes) were nearly extirpated in the 19th to mid-20th centuries and currently are decreasing in response to climate change.

    Variability in krill biomass links harvesting and climate warming to penguin population changes in Antarctica
    Trivelpiecea et al., PNAS May 3, 2011 vol. 108 no. 18 7625-7628
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016560108

    C’mon, geoengineering fans. Isn’t it obvious by now that we can reverse the damage we’re doing, by letting the natural cycling recover? Instead we keep chewing it up, and proposing more of us and what we build as “improvements.”

    Help the whales recover, restoring the natural iron fertilization part of the cycle. The plankton and krill will recover, taking more methane and CO2 out of the surface ocean waters.

    This message from the Cassandra Society …..

  37. 137
    Hank Roberts says:

    Also recommended along the same line, more work making clear how damn easy it can be to cut back on stupidity by putting a little more attention toward longterm consequences of the choices we make:

    Azimuth’s link on The End of Energy Obesity: Breaking Today’s Energy Addiction for a Prosperous and Secure Tomorrow is a book by Peter Tertzakian

    … outlines the unsustainable nature of current global energy demand growth and identifies potential solutions, many of which come unexpectedly from outside of the energy sector

    http://grist.org/food/al-gore-is-a-vegan-now-and-we-think-we-know-why/

    Hint: It has four legs and might be contributing as much to climate change as all our cars and trucks combined.

    burial at sea

  38. 138
    Dave Peters says:

    In my comment of two days back, I erroneously stated that Dr. Martini reported on “strontium pollution” in the Pacific, from Fukushima. It was cesium-37. Apologies to the thread. I also roughly (top of me head) equated a ratio of the cited maximum expected cesium-37 becquerel enhancement (@ Hawaii), to background potassium-40 in seawater (viz. 0.23%), to annual BAU reduction in ocean alkalinity. Working from the recent Hansen paper’s assertion that we have achieved a 26% increase in hydrogen ions from pre-industrial, a better notion would equate a quarter-percent acidification to each ppm enhancement of air, or ~six months of combustion.

    Susan A. OK, the crack about toothpicks was untoward of me, and my regret for making it here is sincere. I wish to push back a bit, though. I have deeply loved science all of my life. The two most hateful sentences I ever wrote were in an essay of 1988, during my effort to save a nuclear plant on climate grounds: “Moreover, almost everything which science can tell us about this problem has already been conveyed. The discovery of the basic circumstance, that we are in deep trouble here, is of far greater informative consequence, than any sharpening of understanding of particular aspects of the climate system we can hope for from continued research.” At the time (1988, & PPM 345), Ramanathan’s comprehensive assessment of “other” gases was only a couple years old, telescoping the “relevance” of carbon from beyond one’s lifetime, to the practical. Vostock drills did not make it to the Eemian until 1985, finally explaining the Pleistocene. (For those young enough to have been given Milankovcih as received wisdom, words cannot convey what a wondrous mystery it was, to have glacial causality rattling one’s curiosity–How did this world DO that?) The point I was attempting, was that these two insights ought suffice as a basis for summary judgement, regarding both the need to act in the here and now, and nuclear.

    I still believe the gist of that. Take the mysteries of the “staircase” 20th Century. Did the PDO do that? Or, when are we going to wrestle clouds to within ten percent? What are our prospects for narrowing the uncertainty of indirect aerosols? I have immense appreciation for the political difficulty of prying humanity away from fire. But the scientists are well within the purview of their expertise, to opine about the reasonableness of expectations of future insight. I have very strong inclinations, that viewed from a century from now, much of our contemporary argument about the science will be regarded as naval-gazing. In the here and now, we can only turn to them for guidance about what is reasonable to expect to ever know, before we are compelled to ACT.

  39. 139
    DP says:

    Re 125 I often here about keeping warming below 2 degrees C. Surely with present accumilations of greenhouse gases we have more than that in the pipeline already.

  40. 140
    Hank Roberts says:

    Among the benefits of paying the AGU associate membership even if you’re not a climate scientist — prompt notice of new papers, some about climate, e.g. how do surface meltwater lakes contribute to ice sheet collapse. First, they press the ice down, so the bottom of the ice melts a bit more; then, they drain through cracks and the ice rebounds as the weight of the water goes down; the ice rebounding was thinned by bottom melting so it bounces up higher than the surrounding ice, causing cracks around the edge of the uplift; then, ice cubes!

    Now, is this happening up above sea level, where the ice sheets flex as subglacial lakes fill and empty over time?
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/2013GL057694/asset/image_n/grl51129-fig-0001.png?v=1&s=00414572346fd10123a557d728ad88dd57a80509

    Breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf triggered by chain reaction drainage of supraglacial lakes (pages 5872–5876)
    Alison F. Banwell, Douglas R. MacAyeal and Olga V. Sergienko
    Article first published online: 27 NOV 2013
    DOI: 10.1002/2013GL057694
    Key Points
    Larsen B Ice Shelf rapidly broke‐up by chain‐reaction drainage of surface lakes
    Lake‐induced stress set fracture spacing small enough for capsize‐driven breakup
    Lake interaction by flexural stress defines an ice‐shelf stability tipping point
    (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013GL057694/abstract)

  41. 141
    SecularAnimist says:

    wili wrote: “I don’t think there should be any trouble convincing the industrialized countries of the world to essentially start immediately shrinking their economies by over 10% every year for as long as it takes to get completely off of fossil carbon, do you?”

    Kevin Anderson said “industrialised countries need to crash their CO2 emissions 10 percent per year”.

    He said NOTHING about “shrinking their economies”.

    The fossil fuel corporations fund a lot of propaganda which equates fossil fuel use with “the economy” and equates reducing fossil fuel use with “shrinking the economy”, all of which is nonsense.

    Why in the world would you want to promote that bogus idea?

    Reducing fossil fuel use won’t “shrink the economy” — quite the opposite — but it will result in the transfer of trillions of dollars in investments, capital and profits from the fossil fuel corporations to other sectors of the industrial economy.

  42. 142
    SecularAnimist says:

    [edit - please stay substantive]

  43. 143
    wili says:

    Hi SA. Sorry, I thought folks here would be familiar with Kevin Anderson’s general take on this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RInrvSjW90U

    He is quite clear here and elsewhere that, while a big supporter (as am I) of alternative energies, at this point he can see no way that production of the same can be ramped up at the requisite speed. Demand reduction, on the other hand, can be reduced immediately. And that is what we desperately need: an immediate drop in CO2 emissions from wherever we can get it.

    Thanks for your perspectives, DP and pete. I agree that even Anderson’s dire sounding forecast is likely optimistic.

  44. 144
    wili says:

    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/radical-emission-reduction-conference-10-11-december-2013

    http://www.trust.org/item/20131212172405-jmar4/?source=hptop

    “Scientists explore paths to ‘radical’ emissions reductions”

    What among these or other initiatives seem like the best way forward?

  45. 145
    Hank Roberts says:

    John Baez’s Azimuth on how to help readers find papers:

    … use a doi link like this

    whose target is: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo102
    and the general format is: http://dx.doi.org/doi

    Most journals list the doi for their articles on the article’s website; however,

    you can use crossref as a doi lookup tool if you can’t find the doi for a given article.

    One reason for using these links is that they are more likely to be stable than the direct journal website links.

  46. 146
    Edward Greisch says:

    122 Jon Kirwan: Coal fired power plants are killing over a million people each year. Nuclear power is killing nobody. Coal burning is also causing the global warming that can make the human race extinct by 2060. Coal contains uranium.

    Your choices are: Coal or nuclear. There are no other realistic choices. Renewables require energy storage that would cost the US $500 Trillion. So which is it? Coal or nuclear?

    They had to “pile hundreds of boxes of material in response to a court order to provide a short, specific report.” Sorry, but the anti-nuclear activists have forced the situation. Please also read “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Finally a truthful book about nuclear power. Gwyneth Cravens is a former anti-nuclear activist. Or, buy the movie “Pandora’s Promise” from iTunes and watch it.

  47. 147
    James Newberry says:

    Concerning the “bio” in biogeochemical response, how are the oxygen suppliers including forest and phytoplankton ecosystems doing? What is the oxygen level (atmospheric) doing?

  48. 148
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Edward Greisch — 14 Dec 2013 @ 6:18 PM

    You have one very large blind spot that you exhibit repeatedly. That is- the claim that renewables are not able to provide base power. For the sake of argument we can completely ignore the various means for providing electricity when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, and wake up to the fact that there is a very simple solution. All we all have to do is accept that full electrical power, 24 hr/day, every day, isn’t really that important, and find ways to adapt. I know many well educated and relatively ordinary U.S. citizens that have no problem with the intermittent power provided by their solar panels. I would be willing to bet that the standard of living of these folks, and my own as well, is much higher than your own, or what you think might be optimal for the average Joe/Jane public.

    Steve

  49. 149
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2013 @ 12:15 PM

    The Ben Adler piece is an example of the bull that gives a bad name to those of us who are concerned about the environment and good science.

    Steve

  50. 150
    Jon Kirwan says:

    To Edward Greisch:

    I don’t disagree with the difficulties if we are incapable of self control regarding energy use. The answer is to reduce energy use. It won’t happen. But it is the only answer, just the same.

    I spent some serious effort calculating just how many of the new NRC reactors we’d need to produce to effectively move away from fossil fuels. And how long it would take, even with unachievably short construction cycles. It’s just not doable.

    Fossil fuels are the ONLY possible answer if we insist on being no smarter than bacteria in a petri dish and refuse to significantly reduce our energy use. Moving to fission isn’t an answer. It’s a distraction. And worse than that; for reasons I already mentioned.

    An old textbook on history I read some 40 years ago while in school showed a ‘liberated’ gas chamber in WW II Germany, where the bodies were piled up in a pyramid in the middle of the room. The caption explained that there was a vent in the ceiling and that some of those in the room climbed onto the backs of others, trying to get closer to that vent and survive just a little longer. They all died, of course. But some got a few more seconds.

    Humans and domesticated animals already occupy almost all of the land based vertebrate mass on this planet. And like that frozen image I saw many years ago, humans will yet climb onto the backs of all remaining life on earth, killing it all the faster in a vain attempt at survival, and unwilling to do the only thing that would actually save themselves and everything else.

    Fission won’t solve the energy problem, which is a symptom. No time to do it, let alone do it well or right. And it won’t address the underlying problem, either.

    My points remain. You didn’t address yourself to any of them.

    But I think my responses on this topic are done. I feel I’ve already used up too much of what little welcome this topic may have. You can have the last word.


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