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Unforced variations: July 2014

Filed under: — group @ 2 July 2014

This month’s open thread. Topics of potential interest: The successful OCO-2 launch, continuing likelihood of an El Niño event this fall, predictions of the September Arctic sea ice minimum, Antarctic sea ice excursions, stochastic elements in climate models etc. Just for a change, no discussion of mitigation efforts please!


373 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2014”

  1. 51
    Chris Dudley says:

    John (#34),

    That is an interesting description. Sounds like it may have stayed off the coast. My thinking is that Sandy plus Arthur might make 1.8 sigma or so on a changed season, but it would need a quantified study.

  2. 52
    Chris Dudley says:

    Steve (#30),

    “If one accepts the feasible scenario, we, the developed world, would have to make up almost all of this 70% and we are definitely not currently at a safe level as suggested by Chris Dudley.”

    Actually, you’ve got this backwards. Since the non-Annex I countries are taking over in cumulative emissions, they are also out doing us on current emissions. The Annex I countries could not produce a 70% cut, it would have to be the non-Annex I countries. However, though we are not supposed to discuss it this month, the Annex I countries could force a cut in non-Annex I counties’ emissions approaching that level using trade tariffs. The path described by the code I posted for you is indeed feasible under current trade law. And, China, at least, probably has the foreign currency reserves to weather the economic effects without starvation similar to the Great Leap Forward disaster.

  3. 53
    Chris Dudley says:

    Steve (#30),

    “If one accepts the feasible scenario, we, the developed world, would have to make up almost all of this 70% and we are definitely not currently at a safe level as suggested by Chris Dudley.”

    Actually, you’ve got this backwards. Since the non-Annex I countries are taking over in cumulative emissions, they are also out doing us on current emissions. The Annex I countries could not produce a 70% cut, it would have to be the non-Annex I countries. However, though we are not supposed to discuss it this month, the Annex I countries could force a cut in non-Annex I counties’ emissions approaching that level using trade tariffs. The path described by the code I posted for you is indeed feasible under current trade law. And, China, at least, probably has the foreign currency reserves to weather the economic effects without starvation similar to the Great Leap Forward disaster (40 million killed).

  4. 54
  5. 55
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    A new denialist “factoid”:

    “Global warming computer models confounded as Antarctic sea ice hits new record high with 2.1 million square miles more than is usual for time of year: UN computer models say Antarctic ice should be in decline, not increasing”

    See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2681829/Global-warming-latest-Amount-Antarctic-sea-ice-hits-new-record-high.html

    Can anyone here explain this as not being proof against global warming?

  6. 56
    Nigel Williams says:

    Chris #53.
    ‘..40 million killed…’

    A 70% reduction in available energy on a planet where commercial food production is supported by the cheap energy of a bygone era would suggest a reduction in available food calories sufficient to see off somewhat more than a mere 40 million souls, methinks.

    Since every scheme I have seen for producing more food from less energy is vapourware at best and criminally energy negative at worst, protecting humanity from the risk of an unlivable climate necessarily entails ‘protecting’ the climate from a goodly percentage of humanity.

    As Suzan Krumdiek says:
    “Demand Must Decline”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ5Lb_ySIEg

  7. 57
    Edward Greisch says:

    50 Chris Dudley: Greenpeace getting its members into jail in Russia and other countries by trespassing, vandalism, telling people how to run their lives, etcetera: Not clever. Gives everybody good reason to be against “environmentalists” and to not hear the science of Global Warming. Greenpeace may as well be a denialist organization. Greenpeace makes enemies everywhere it goes. The problem is that Greenpeace makes enemies for us, too.

  8. 58
    Chuck Hughes says:

    The President points out the stupidity of not trusting science.

    http://climatestate.com/2014/07/03/obamas-response-to-climate-change-is-a-hoax/

  9. 59
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    36: DIOGENES. Saw the video..Yikes! “t is no use saying: We are doing our best’. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” Winston Churchill.
    We are yet so very very far from saying ‘we are doing our best, let alone doing what is necessary.
    0.8C is now regarded as the tipping point for the arctic. The arctic runaway will cause all other tipping points to cascade in sequence…or in geological time..simultaneously. We have got to advertise to all and sundry that the 2.0C was a lie and that we have indeed busted our budget already. Very sobering video DIOGENES.

  10. 60
  11. 61
    Chris Dudley says:

    Nigel (#56),

    Read that again. Steep tariffs would sharply curtail offshore manufacturing. The point is that China could weather that using its foreign currency reserves without the level of self-inflicted damage done in a similarly large transformation there.

    To get large cuts we must cut where the emissions are largest. Our leverage with the largest emitter is through trade and tariffs on that trade.

    Also, you are making a fundamental error. You are assuming all energy use produces emissions, but that is very much not the case.

  12. 62
    Chris Dudley says:

    Edward (#57),

    I understand why you feel yourself to be an enemy of Greenpeace. But they do accomplish quite a lot in a number of areas. Keep attacking them if you like. They’ve already suffered murder at the hands of your allies and survived as a force acting in the public interest.

  13. 63
    Edward Greisch says:

    55 Lynn Vincentnathan:
    1. Don’t read the DailyMail.
    2. More ice is sliding off the continent and into the ocean.

  14. 64
    Hank Roberts says:

    Lynn, guessing — the increase in fresh meltwater from under the icecap is new since the most recent IPCC report. Fresh water floats on salt water and freezes at zero rather than at minus something temperatures Celsius. Cause of more floating ice? Just guessing. Someone looking at the ice will be able to tell if it’s produced by more snow falling or by more freezing from below.

  15. 65
    Hank Roberts says:

    Meltwater intensive glacial retreat in polar environments and investigation of associated sediments: example from Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica
    Quaternary Science Reviews
    Volume 85, 1 February 2014, Pages 99–118

    “… episodes of meltwater-intensive sedimentation in Pine Island Bay occurred at least three times in the Holocene. The most recent episode coincides with rapid retreat of the grounding line in historical time and has an order of magnitude greater flux relative to the entire unit. We note that the final phase of ice stream retreat in Marguerite Bay was marked by a similar sedimentary event and suggest that the modern Thwaites Glacier is poised for an analogous meltwater-intensive phase of retreat.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379113004642
    DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.11.021

  16. 66
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Can anyone here explain this as not being proof against global warming?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Jul 2014 @ 8:35 PM

    For starters, it’s The Daily Mail reporting it. Find a credible news source.

  17. 67
    Chuck Hughes says:

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/07/about-increasing-winter-antarctic-sea.html

    Here’s one explanation of what’s happening.

  18. 68
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://www.vims.edu/newsandevents/topstories/saba_wap.php

    Press release with links.

    A long-term study of the links between climate and marine life along the rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula reveals how changes in physical factors such as wind speed and sea-ice cover send ripples up the food chain, with impacts on everything from single-celled algae to penguins.

    The study, published in today’s issue of Nature Communications

    … the current study provides one of the few instances where marine researchers have a dataset of sufficient length and detail to reveal how climate signals can reverberate through a polar food web.

    “That’s the importance of long-term ecosystem monitoring,” says Steinberg. “It provides the data needed to separate a signal from the noise, and to determine how plants and animals interact with both their physical environment and each other. That knowledge is critical as climate warming continues to impact this polar ocean ecosystem.” The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, with annual winter temperatures increasing by 11°F during the last 50 years.

    “Projections from global climate models under ‘business-as-usual’ emission scenarios up to the year 2100 suggest a further increase in temperature and in the occurrence of positive-SAM conditions,” says Saba. “If even one positive SAM episode lasted longer than the krill lifespan—4 or 6 years with decreased phytoplankton abundance and krill recruitment—it could be catastrophic to the krill population.”

    In addition to Adélie penguins, krill are the main food source for Antarctic fur seals, macaroni and gentoo penguins, and albatross. They also feed baleen whales such as humpbacks.

  19. 69
    MARodger says:

    Lynn Vincentnathan @55.

    The simple answer is that the Daily Rail report you link to is written by David Rose who, as a journalist who writes analyses of AGW, is about as untrustworthy as they get get. Ditto, his pet climatologist, Judy Curry who decides that all other scientists (who identify the causes of the increase in Antarctic Sea Ice Area within a warming climate) are all wrong while she is correct.

    More seriously, it is known that the Antarctic Sea Ice has been increasing in area since 1979 when continuous satellite records begin. Yet earlier satellite imagery shows Antarctic Sea Ice probably had been in decline through the 1970s and possibly before. Zwally et at (1983), for instance, examines satellite images 1973-1976 from Nimbus 5 which suggests a marked Antarctic SIA decline. And if you look at the data plotted in Fig 5-13, for this time of year, it is easily a match for the highest values recorded since 1979, including the value from this year that the denialists consider so important.

    This whopping increase in Antarctic Sea Ice Area since 1979 has only been about a third the size of the Arctic decline, although with greater interannual variation.
    For the record, for the week in question here, centred on July 1, although the analysis is pretty silly given the difference in geography between North & South poles, for the week in question the ratio between Antarctic and Arctic is a little closer. Regressions yield the following linear trends from the data 1979-2014. Antarctic +0.28M sq km (+/-0.17) per decade, Arctic -0.69M sq km (+/-0.13) per decade, or two-fifths the trend rather than a third.

    The full data also shows an increase in both trends from 2007 as well as increases in interannual variability. The post-2007 annual ratio remains about three-to-one. Another measure worthy of mention is the Sea Ice Volumes. The Arctic volume decline is scary, the Antarctic increase which is less well measured appears pretty trivial.

    David Rose is simply making fools of his paper’s readership by spinning the silly myths of climate denial.

  20. 70
    Joseph O'Sullivan says:

    #55 Lynn Vincentnathan
    The Daily Mail is a tabloid and things they publish should be taken with a very large grain of salt. The Guardian put up a reply to the Daily Mail here:
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jul/07/antarctic-sea-ice-latest-global-warming-distraction

    From the Guardian article:
    “The bottom line is that while the reason behind the increase in Antarctic sea ice extent is an open and interesting scientific question, it doesn’t detract from our understanding of the climate as a whole. The planet is still warming rapidly, including the Antarctic, and Antarctica is also losing immense amounts of land-based ice that are contributing to global sea level rise.”

    #57 Edward Greisch
    Greenpeace does have a confrontational style, which I am not opposed to, but at least one incident they broke into a GMO research facility in Australia and vandalized it. That was incredibly stupid, and I personally don’t support Greenpeace any more.

  21. 71
    dhogaza says:

    Joseph Sullivan:

    “Greenpeace does have a confrontational style, which I am not opposed to, but at least one incident they broke into a GMO research facility in Australia and vandalized it. That was incredibly stupid, and I personally don’t support Greenpeace any more. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/07/unforced-variations-july-2014/comment-page-2/#comment-570523

    Greenpeace is not a monolith, so was the incident you’re speaking of done by Greenpeace Australia, or Greenpeace International? The national organizations are to some degree autonomous.

  22. 72
    Chris Dudley says:

    Like Greenpeace or hate Greenpeace, my point that they were active on the climate issue early remains. That gives them a leverage that later entrants can’t have. Like Al Gore or hate Al Gore, he has left his mark on the issue as well.

    Deciding how to conduct one’s philanthropy is a personal matter. But Colin has asked an interesting question that can’t really be answered without consideration of these, or, as Joseph points out, NRDC.

  23. 73
    Killian says:

    Ed Greisch, just for you, a tidbit on one makes change happen. Hint: Not your way.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ubeLAJjZ4wQ

    Whether or not you like their work, and one can quibble with anything destructive (have they atually done anything destructive?), they do some things right.

    1. Must last as long as it takes.
    2. Must be disruptive.
    3. Must be non-violent.
    4. Must be massive.

    The only one they miss on is #4.

    If you think change of the magnitude of change needed has ever or will ever bed done via participating politically, you are very, very badly mistaken.

    Scold all you want, but Greenpeace has created change.

    For the record, while I agree with Naomi, I think this time in history is unique and requires a unique response. Protest will have only limited usefulness. In earlier times I’d uave been all-in with Parks, Naomi, Ghandi, et al.

    Here are more important things to be doing his time around.

  24. 74
    Killian says:

    36 Diogenes said what an important video!

    Agreed! Back in 2007, maybe 8, I think, this scientist/geologist or somethig, Rutledge, maybe Jeff?, had a string of posts at The Oil Drum saying there was not nearly enough coal in the ground to worry about climate change. Energy was the problem, forget climate!

    You can probably predict my response. In fact, I’m sure I brought it up here as “ccpo.” I pointed out, correctly, obviously, there was already to much carbon in the atmosphere as evidenced by changes already occurring with no obvious hysteresis to stop them except the level of climate sensitivity, both the baseline and Earth System.

    I further argued his model runs (with World 3, maybe?) used too low a climate sensitivity, again based on changes already being seen at a supposedly low threshold. He used 3C. I argued it was much more likely to be at or above 4.5C and he should run multiple scenarios using 3, 4.5 and 6.

    He refused. The battle was furious. I was regarded as off in the weeds and ranting wildly.

    Oops.

    So, yeah, we have no carbon budget, ipso facto. We’ve known this quite a while.

    Seems Hansen keeps gettig it right: Recall their analysis about ice sheets melting as low as 400 ppm? And melt rates doubling every 10, or even 5, years? Check this, added to the recent Antarctic melt studies:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060613/suppinfo

    Systems, risk analysis. This stuff is easy if you just let the info speak. No need to try to interpret, just be a pattern recognizer.

    Cheers, all.

  25. 75
    Nigel Williams says:

    (Admin – if this is duplicate or irrelevant please ignore it)

    Chris (#61)

    This is kinda important isn’t it, because the link between emissions and production (and hence viable economies and sustenance of human life) is a key determinant of how effective avoidance of worse-than-needed climate effects will be achieved.

    Steep tariffs will bring the manufacture of the same rubbish home to the tariffer. It won’t cut emissions on the build of said rubbish, because the demand for said rubbish is still there and it will thus be satisfied by local manufacture rather than overseas ones. All tariffs do, then, is bring the jobs and accompanying climate-trashing emissions home.

    At that point:- Same volume of product; same emissions; no net change. What’s the point?

    The tariffs then create unemployment in China (in your example), the effect of which, you suggest, can be temporarily alleviated by China using its currency reserves. China won’t do that, of course – it will have surplus production capacity – the price of their manufactured product will fall, demand from somewhere else will take that product and emissions will thus increase because your country is producing its own junk, and China has found another market for the stuff you have put the tariffs on. Duh.

    To get the large climate-saving cuts we do indeed have to ‘cut where emissions are highest’. But that means Cease and Desist the PRODUCTION and the CONSUMPTION of the products. In other words you have to REDUCE THE DEMAND. Is your good President going on TV to tell y’all that there are to be no widgetts under the Christmas Tree this year?

    and

    ‘You are assuming all energy use produces emissions, but that is very much not the case.’. Very true. Oxen and humans are carbon neutral farm machinery. But western-style commercial agriculture requires tractors and trucks and infrastructure that does require and use fossil fuels (our dairy factories like locating close to coal mines – I wonder why?), and thus it is inextricably intertwined with any effort to reduce emissions.

  26. 76
    patrick says:

    Russell: Your #5 is an exact repeat of your #483, Unforced variations: June 2014.

    Stuttering?

  27. 77
    DIOGENES says:

    Lawrence Coleman #59,

    “We have got to advertise to all and sundry that the 2.0C was a lie and that we have indeed busted our budget already.”

    I suspect that, among the movers and shakers, it is well known. Here’s my unvarnished ‘take’ on the situation.

    As Spratt and others have pointed out, ‘we’ have known that 1 C was the appropriate temperature ceiling target for decades, and ‘we’ have known that the 2 C target was contrived for political purposes. Certainly, the leading climate scientists knew this, and I suspect most climate scientists today know this. The politicians, certainly at the Federal level, communicate with the leading climate scientists, and I have no doubt they know what is going on. What they say in their public pronouncements is another story. Finally, the defense and intelligence analysts who advise the politicians of all stripes know what is going on.

    Now, here’s where the situation gets sticky. Suppose you’re the President of the USA, and you realize that going much above 1 C could possibly result in the end of our civilization, and possibly our species. You also realize there is no way the electorate will take the severe actions required to achieve temperature ceilings anywhere near 1 C. What do you do?

    One option is to go on national TV, and lay out the details as Spratt does. That would be political suicide, especially in light of the recent Gallup Poll that said about half the electorate has little/no concern about climate change. The other option is to go about ‘business as usual’, and make believe the problem can be addressed by modest actions: some cuts in power plant emissions, modest improvements in gas mileage, modest conversion to low carbon technologies. Support ‘all of the above’ so that some final Windfalls are possible before the curtain comes crashing down. I believe the latter is where we’re at, and the politicians, scientists, and others I have mentioned above are playing along. In fact, the debate has been framed such that any deviations from the above modest improvement scenario is viewed as radical. There is a ripple-down effect from above such that this scenario is even played out on the climate blogs, as we see by the comments.

    Spratt is delivering a message that no one wants to hear!

  28. 78
    patrick says:

    “…we find that species are going extinct a thousand times faster than they should be.” –Stuart Pimm.

    In full: “And when we make those two comparisons [today’s rates of extinction compared to the fossil record and what we know from DNA] we find that species are going extinct a thousand times faster than they should be.” (Reuters 18 June 2014):

    http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/06/18/reuters-tv-study-says-earth-on-brink-of-mass-extinc?videoId=316465389

    It’s refreshing to find that when one really knows what one is talking about, plain words are no bother–even words associated with normative speech.
    Yes of course the study says, “about 1000 times the likely background rate of extinction.”

    Abstract:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6187/1246752.abstract

    Visualizations:

    http://www.biodiversitymapping.org/visualizations.htm

    Press:

    http://www.haaretz.com/life/nature-environment/1.599802

  29. 79
    Chris Dudley says:

    Ray (#49),

    I think there are some complexities there. Is it a hurricane if it has become extratropical? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extratropical_cyclone#Extratropical_transition

    On the other hand, Sandy got lifted to the North at strength by late season warm water and a subsequent transition is not all that important in identifying warming’s role in the disaster.

    Maybe another climate signal would be a northern shift in the tropical/extratropical transition latitude?

  30. 80

    NW: Since every scheme I have seen for producing more food from less energy is vapourware at best and criminally energy negative at worst, protecting humanity from the risk of an unlivable climate necessarily entails ‘protecting’ the climate from a goodly percentage of humanity… As Suzan Krumdiek says:
    “Demand Must Decline”

    BPL: This is the old “stop nuclear and we freeze in the dark jobless” argument, except now it’s “stop fossil fuels and we all starve?”

    It’s letting global warming go on that will starve people, Nigel. Global warming moves the rain. Continental interiors dry out, coastlines get soaked. Neither condition is good for crops. My own research indicates that unchecked global warming will eventually cause human agriculture to collapse altogether.

    Notice I didn’t give a date. [edit]

  31. 81
    wili says:

    From prok’s must-read link at #60: “dramatic acceleration in winds has invigorated the circulation of the Pacific Ocean, causing more heat to be taken out of the atmosphere and transferred into the subsurface ocean, while bringing cooler waters to the surface.”

    So how much is this likely to accelerate the already accelerated sea-level-rise projections?

    In general, given the large number of important studies on ice sheet behavior over the last few months, it would be nice to have a main post summarizing and evaluating their findings, and discussing consequences of what they mean for the range of possible slr figures for the coming decades and beyond.

    These are obviously the types of scientific issues that have a huge potential impact on cities, countries, infrastructure, planning, etc, and decision makers need help interpreting the latest science accurately, something this site excels in, at its best.

  32. 82
    J Bowers says:

    @55 Lynn Vincentnathan

    NSIDC says — “Climate model projections of Antarctic sea ice extent are in reasonable agreement with the observations to date. The dominant change in the climate pattern of Antarctica has been a gradual increase in the westerly circumpolar winds. Models suggest that both the loss of ozone (the ozone hole that occurs in September/October every year) and increases in greenhouse gases lead to an increase in this climate pattern.”

    David Rose is not well known for his “accurate” reporting, be it about climate science, or WMDs in Iraq.

  33. 83
  34. 84
    wili says:

    Something to come back to when we can again discuss solutions? http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-emissions-2-degrees-target-17744

  35. 85
    bernie1815 says:

    #69 MARodger: How does your comment square with the 1979-2014 aggregate sea ice extent?

  36. 86
    AIC says:

    I am very glad to see that OCO2 is up, will presumably be producing interesting data soon.

    How about Glory? Any thoughts about prioritizing a replacement?
    Glory was supposed to answer questions about aerosols.
    http://glory.giss.nasa.gov/APS-2_Report.pdf

    [Response: We are working on it. But it is slow going. – gavin]

  37. 87
    Hank Roberts says:

    Why is there so much Antarctic sea ice? (the original, in context, from NSIDC)

    how does warmer air and water create more sea ice? Overall warming alters the ocean heat flux, or the heat exchange between ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere, which typically regulates sea ice production.
    As deep ocean temperatures around Antarctic rise, they increase ice shelf melt, according to a study led by Richard Bintanja. This meltwater is creating a cool layer near the surface of the ocean that promotes sea ice production. In addition, the meltwater is fresh, or much less salty and dense than surrounding saline ocean layers. So fresher meltwater floats upward, mixing with the cold surface layer, lowering its density. As this fresh layer expands, it forms a stable puddle on top of the ocean that makes it easier to produce and retain sea ice.

    This growing fresh puddle changes the ocean heat flux. Zhang also studied this change, and his models showed that warming would increase sea ice, up to a point.

  38. 88
    Gorgon Zola says:

    I was just wondering, in a worst case McPherson kind of scenario: would the massive and sudden die off of billions of humans and a multitude of that of land- and sea dwelling animals in itself result in a positive feedback?

  39. 89
    Dave Peters says:

    The early-month succession of “CO2 lifetime” comments (#’s 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 19, 30 & 35) meander between two contrasting vantages, each stated with apparent heft, but leaving the matter unsettled. On the one hand, we have both Christopher Hogan’s assertion (@ # 3) that “if we omitted nothing . . . an average of 5 gigatons would still be sequestered;” as seconded by MARoger (@ # 35) who posits that this “5 GtC annual lost from the atmosphere . . . would decrease year-on-year … for a thousand years.” Steve Fish on the other (@ # 30), is emphatic that “any suggestion that the amount of CO2 taken up by the ocean is some fixed amount is wrong”, because “when fossil CO2 increases atmospheric concentrations it comes into equilibrium with that in the oceans mostly over about a year.” Although MARoger mentioned Dr. Archer as a standard reference, there is a conceptualization element offered by Dr Archer that I find most illuminating regarding this important dissonance: that of compression.

    If one were to view the topic through a metaphorical three-lens high school microscope, with the first one looking at rates in a monthly frame, the second looking at decadal rates and the final looking at geologic time, Steve’s guiding comment that, the “short term is not relevant” can let us dismiss the first lens. Similarly, Christopher Hogan’s comment, while perhaps valid within the third len’s frame, leads to the inference that flows from the atmosphere to the ocean surface are steady, or those with which we are familiar. More dangerously, it leads to the notion that such familiar flows would be unaffected by radical reduction in human combustion.

    Dr. Archer has suggested that we look upon the ocean as a spring under compression. When we combust, we push against the spring, as we have done for centuries. This aspect of the atmospheric lifetime can be highlighted by considering, not only an instantaneous cessation of combustion, but also a small anthro-sequestration program. Here the sign of our contribution to carbon flows reverses, and within a couple of years (i.e., viewed through lens two), it is my understanding, this sign of the flow from the Earth’s atmosphere follows, by reversing. That is, the ocean begins out-gassing, and opens to our awareness, that combustion exhaust from prior centuries, which heretofore seemed to have been “sequestered,” is in fact still a meaningful component of the problem, now merely lurking within the ocean surface waters. Or, when viewed perhaps from some future decade, should all out war be waged against carbon, this vantage roughly doubles the strength of the foe.

    To resolve the issue, I would invite respondents to consider an abrupt cessation of emission + an instantaneous 1% anthro-sequestration. Thus posed, does Mona Loa retrace its past half century history, only now in decline? Or, after a couple-three years, does it flat-line -— as I interpret Dr. Archer to instruct, and as I read Steve Fish to also claim?

  40. 90
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #84,

    Articles like your reference (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-emissions-2-degrees-target-17744) infuriate me because of their intrinsic hypocrisy. The article’s author focuses on the statements of “Jeff Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and one of the leaders of the new report.” Sachs makes numerous statements of the form “The basic conclusion of this report is the 2°C limit is achievable, but just barely. We’ve gone on so far with rising CO2 emissions, and greenhouse gas emissions more generally, that we’re just about out of time to meet this crucial limit,”. His main point is that it is possible to stay within 2 C.

    Here’s my problem. In December 2013, Hansen and more than a dozen co-authors published an article in Plos One that concluded the 2 C target was dangerous, and that a target of ~1 C was required. One of the co-authors of that article was none other than: Jeffrey Sachs! Since he did not offer a minority dissent in the Plos One paper, and since he was willing to sign his name to the paper, one would assume he agreed with the main conclusion of the paper. That’s what co-authors usually do. Yet, here he is, half a year later, signing on to another report that emphasizes we can achieve the 2 C target.

    Will the real Jeffrey Sachs please stand up? If you believed in a 1 C target in December, and believed, as the article concluded, that 2 C was DANGEROUS, why do you now sign on to a report that focuses solely on achieving 2 C? And, you are not alone. Where’s the consistency among the spokesmen for climate advocacy? Anderson and McKibben both state that 2 C is DANGEROUS/EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, yet, in the next breath, outline strategies that, at best, will take us to 2 C. Is it a wonder that the public at large has serious questions about the climate advocates? And, Sachs, Anderson, McKibben promulgate the myth that finite carbon budgets are consistent even with the achievement of 2 C. As Raupach has shown, for 90% chance of staying within 2 C, there is NO CARBON BUDGET REMAINING! In other words, the climate ‘advocates’ above could just as easily have stated their approaches as achieving targets of 2.5 C with small chance, or even 3 C with very small chance.

    Sachs’ participation in the recent report is a disgrace, and does not help ‘our’ cause one whit. I need a stiff drink!!

  41. 91
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Dave Peters:

    You asked what would happen — have you read this paper?
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n1/full/nclimate2060.html

    Continued global warming after CO2 emissions stoppage

    Nature Climate Change 4, 40–44 (2014)
    doi:10.1038/nclimate2060

    This will find prior discussion
    https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+“Continued+global+warming+after”
    — or search “climate change commitment”
    Short answer: no, until the radiative imbalance works out, warming continues.

  42. 92
    David B. Benson says:

    Dave Peters @88 — Still declines but very slowly.

  43. 93
    Chris Dudley says:

    Nigel (#75),

    There are some important consideration here that detract from your argument. First, the proposal is for Annex I countries to impose tariffs on non-Annex I countries. You suggest that that just leads to on-shoring of manufacturing and increased emissions in the new local. But, you forget that the Annex I countries are pledged to cutting emissions. So, the on-shoring my well happen, but it will occur in the Pacific Northwest or upstate NY where hydropower can handle the power consumption. Emissions go down not up in that transaction.

    You urge that China will find other markets. Possibly. But China won’t find large markets because those will be defended by tariffs. So, emissions stay down.

    Finally, you’ve made a typical TOD error. You think that a lot of fossil fuel is consumed in agriculture. But, it is not that large of a sector. No, when energy is not coming from fossil fuels, in is not oxen we are talking about, it is high tech sources, the hydropower which could handle on-shored manufacturing, for example.

    An immediate cut sufficient to stabilize the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 400 ppm is feasible if the cut is taken from the non-Annex I country emissions in this manner. The existence of large currency reserves means that it might be done without causing starvation, though clean development would have to accelerate rapidly to get income back to the non-Annex I countries before the money ran out. China’s solar manufacturing capacity in 2012 was 50 GW/year, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/business/global/glut-of-solar-panels-is-a-new-test-for-china.html and wind is about 38 GW/year, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/china-s-wind-turbine-makers-face-consolidation-as-glut-lingers.html so transition might be rapid.

  44. 94
    Chris Dudley says:

    Dave (#89),

    It depends on what you want to do. If you want a safe climate, then a carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm may do the job and there is no need for “negative” emissions if cuts are made sharply enough starting now. The oceans will equilibrate about there and hold the burden you are concerned about. If, like me, you consider “pack out your trash” to be the way to go, then yes, we have to clean up that burden to get to 280 ppm, though some of it is now deep owing to circulation and we get a very very long time to clean up that stuff.

    I think it is worth saying the Equation 1 of Kharecha, P.A., and Hansen, J.E. 2008 Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB3012 is not a bad way to characterize uptake of carbon dioxide. That is what is used in the code I posted. If I recall, some use was made of the way carbon-14 from nuclear tests was observed to be taken up which is a clever way to learn about the process.

  45. 95
  46. 96
    Russell says:

    Heartland’s Las Vegas extravaganza has to be seen to be disbelieved

  47. 97
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Dave Peters — 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:42 PM, ~# 89

    Dave, for understanding how CO2 dissolves in water, check out Henry’s law. From Wikipedia- “At a constant temperature, the amount of a given gas that dissolves in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid.” There is a Henry’s law constant for solubility of CO2 in water. When CO2 is added to the atmosphere its partial pressure increases and the CO2 dissolves into the ocean toward a new equilibrium in which the excess is divided between the atmosphere and the ocean. If CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, equilibrium is achieved by outgassing from the ocean.

    In reality this situation is more complicated. I mentioned the fact that the amount of water available for dissolving CO2 is restricted because the ocean mixes slowly. Another big factor is water temperature. Cold water accepts more CO2 than warm water and this changes the equation as the ocean warms up. An example- You probably have heard of the denialist claim that CO2 can’t be the cause of warming because at the end of an ice age the temperature rises in advance of CO2 concentration increase in the atmosphere. This lagged increase is due to outgassing of CO2 from the warming ocean and the warming is due to the Milankovitch cycle, and positive feedbacks, of which CO2 is one.

    In a lot of ways fossil CO2 pollution is the unwanted gift that keeps giving. Steve

  48. 98
    Edward Greisch says:

    80. Barton Paul Levenson: Notice taken seriously. Deleting dates.

    86. Gavin: Would help on Glory satellite. Keep working.

    87. Hank Roberts: I think you are right.

    89. Dave Peters: That is a very complicated mathematics problem. There are lots of equations to solve. David Archer could give a course on it that few people could pass. Nothing good ever happens quickly. Only bad things happen quickly. Plan on one hundred thousand to a million years for Earth to put the climate back where it was. If we stop making CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, things will stop getting worse sometime in the future, if we haven’t tripped too many tipping points. If we don’t stop making greenhouse gasses, we will surely go extinct.

    73 Killian: I have read at least one book by Naomi Wolf. Greenpeace is on the wrong side. In effect, Greenpeace is working for the fossil fuel industry. Greenpeace is in fantasyland. If we did it Greenpeace’s way, we would freeze in the dark. To be taken seriously, an organization has to be able to prove mathematically that their plan will work. The electric company, and therefore the politicians, know that Greenpeace’s energy plan is nonsense.
    73 Killian: Do the math. That’s all.
    Yes, Greenpeace has actually done something destructive. More than once and in more than one place. If you do the math correctly, it will dawn on you.

    73 Killian: In order for “ecology clubs” to be effective, they must all get in touch with reality. That means that non-scientists must not outvote the scientists. Some are changing. Too many are still giving us scientists a bad name by living in fantasyland. No amount of mass protest can change Nature. Nature is the ruler, not us. We are powerful, but not omnipotent. Scientists translate Nature’s laws. Scientists do not make stuff up.

    “Nature isn’t just the final authority on truth, Nature is the Only authority. There are zero human authorities. Scientists do not vote on what is the truth. There is only one vote and Nature owns it. We find out what Nature’s vote is by doing Scientific [public and replicable] experiments. Scientific [public and replicable] experiments are the only source of truth. [To be public, it has to be visible to other people in the room. What goes on inside one person’s head isn’t public unless it can be seen on an X-ray or with another instrument.]”
    Greenpeace and many other “ecology clubs” are doing wrong.

    I am on page 170 of “Overshoot” by William Catton, but I have already looked at the graphs in the back of the book. We are in deep trouble. BPL is right. There is hell to pay already, meaning that the death toll will be in the billions merely from aquifers running dry, not counting GW. Population cycles look a lot like sine squared curves, hopefully not getting all the way to zero. The “Age of Exuberance” is over. We have doubled our population 4 times since we invented the steam engine. 4 squared is 16. Divide our present population by 16: 7 billion/16= .4375 billion = 437.5 million. I don’t believe that many will survive. My best guess is seventy thousand or less.
    “Overshoot” continued: We are living on “imaginary acreage.” We are living as if we had several Earths. We can do that temporarily. Then the flood; of death. I recommend this book to everybody.

  49. 99
    doug says:

    # 88 “I was just wondering, in a worst case McPherson kind of scenario: would the massive and sudden die off of billions of humans and a multitude of that of land- and sea dwelling animals in itself result in a positive feedback”?

    Silly question. If the species who brought this calamity about were to lose billions, that would be a very very positive feedback. Very positive indeed.

  50. 100
    doug says:

    #84 Wili “Something to come back to when we can again discuss solutions? http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-emissions-2-degrees-target-17744

    Comment by wili — 8 Jul 2014 @ 12:25 PM

    I see what you did there Wili. Wink Wink.


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