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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. 201
    Chris Dudley says:

    Doug (#191),

    Humans are much more like beavers, an ecosystem creating species. Just as beavers provide a situation for ducks to fear snapping turtles, humans favor certain grass and animal species leading to broad dominance of wheat, maize and rice along with hooved species and chickens. Like beavers, there is much more biomass in what we foster than in our own bodies.

  2. 202
    Chris Dudley says:

    Rick (#187),

    “Progress in taking the PV output, plus other true renewables, and turning it back into roads, mines, heavy equipment, factories, ocean transport, and on and on, all of which is needed to produce and maintain the PV infrastructure, would be even greater.”

    You have badly misunderstood the situation. A train load of solar panels carries more energy that 200 train loads of coal. Use of PV shrivels all those things you are assuming are needed.

  3. 203
    wili says:

    Thanks, hank and rick. I guess I need a new browser, or a better brain.

    Mal Adapted: I very carefully chose the word ‘many’ to mean ‘considerably more than one’ and not ‘nearly all.’ You mention ‘since we left Africa’ but not all of humanity left Africa. As far as I can tell, while they may have altered their environment in various ways over the millennia, traditional peoples such as those speaking the Khoisan group of languages, and many of the peoples, such as the Aka, Mbuti and others traditionally grouped under the term “Pygmy,” have not been responsible for mass extinctions in their areas.

    Certainly most others, as they spread out from Africa probably did help bring about the extinction of many species. But even there, once established, many of the small scale communities found a way to live more or less in balance with their local environments–I’m thinking here especially of the indigenous peoples of Australia.

    The point is that many human cultures have found ways to limit their negative effects on their environment. We don’t have to posit perfect ‘savage’ to take some solace and instruction from those examples, and to use it as a counter balance that humans are, have always been, and must always be a ‘plague species’ on the earth, as strong as the evidence for that hypothesis looks at this point.

    But yes, agriculture and fire certainly wreaked a lot of ecological damage. (IIRC, though, the claim that ag has had a warming effect on the climate for thousands of years is still controversial; the globe, after all, had been cooling by about .1 degrees C per millennium since about the start of the agricultural revolution.)

    And again, I never said all traditional societies were ‘blameless,’ but the relative degree of blame and consequence are certainly outsized, as you suggest.

    Yet again, the main point, somehow lost in all of this, is that many human societies DO have strong cultural traditions of limiting their own behavior, specifically wrt overusing resources. That is hopeful because it suggests that culture (including, for modern culture, laws, policies..) CAN be part of the solution, or at least be part of what could lessen the extent of the damage.

    I hope we can agree, at least that none of these groups had the globally negative effects on world life support systems and species that modern industrial culture has had.

    Doug and Lawrence: Well put. Though I would say that the ‘religion’ of limitlessness that created the greatest damage was that of the industrialists, capitalist and otherwise, and especially the ‘religion’ of neo-classical economics, wedded as it is to the insane, geo-cidal notion of limitless growth. (Sorry for the long post. I’ll try to be more parsimonious with my words next time.)

  4. 204
    Mal Adapted says:

    Lawrence Coleman:

    181 Wili: I think it’s also because various religious affiliations have over the centuries regarded the earth as a free infinate commodity to exploit however we wished with no future thought to possible ramifications. Humans were placed on this ego contrived pedestal as being the guardians of everything. Man has dominion over the beasts etc.

    There’s prior work on this 8^): The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis. It made quite a splash at the time, and is still being cited.

  5. 205

    #190–”I’m sorry, but there’s plenty of evidence that humans have been impacting their environments at least since we left Africa.”

    (See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/07/unforced-variations-july-2014/comment-page-4/#comment-573106)

    Mal, I had the same immediate reaction. But on re-reading, will specified “global” as the spatial frame, so I’d say his statement was probably true, despite the correctness of the points you raise.

  6. 206

    #200, SA–Oh, I don’t know that it’s quite that bad; we got through the first half of July before this one came up, and it wasn’t one of the ‘regulars.’

    Ric (#187), I’m biting my tongue a bit in light of the OTness of mitigation. But perhaps you might like to expand your thoughts a bit at this current conversation:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/7245/

  7. 207
    Mal Adapted says:

    Chris Dudley:

    Conifers produce volatile organic carbon and this can produce ground level ozone.

    Heh. Even Ronald Reagan knew that 8^D!

  8. 208
    James@CAN says:

    My comment did not go through yesterday (Captcha :-/) so here goes again.
    Comments are closed for ‘Unforced variations June 2014′ so I am responding here. Sorry for my long delay. Re: my post in June (#189, firstly thank you to Lawrence Coleman for your interesting reply (#222). I believe I have found more or less what I have been looking for ( a global picture of the various warming forces at play and how they connect to each other). Here is the link to the British Met Office site: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide/climate-change/impacts/human-dynamics
    My hope is that this type of global gauge of the various forces at play becomes more interactive, live and self-updating so that we all can observe the changes and perhaps notice patterns that we might not have otherwise. It really helps to get the big picture in this case. Our planet is one giant ecosystem and everything is connected in one way or another.
    Thanks to all for your hard work. To those who are being bullied or worse please share you experiences with all of us so that we may know and support you better. Your work is much appreciated.
    Thanks. James in Canada.

  9. 209
    Gogon Zola says:

    #189 DIOGENES

    I’m pretty sure sites like these are not going to attract that part of the populace that is potentially going to make a difference. Besides, as I’m sure you will agree, historically these groups have only ever achieved evolutionary changes in comparatively small aspects of the human circumstance like women’s rights or (more) equal civil liberties. Nothing like what we are up against here.

    Where in tribes ordinary folk were listening to whoever they felt had the most power (chiefs, medicine men, priests) today it’s the ones who buy their authority though a mixture of implemented ignorance and multi-level marketing schemes.

    The metrics of the effectiveness of this blog in that regard, are meaningless. As you so aptly pointed out, writing here and elsewhere is simply the right thing to do. But that’s where the story ends.

    If polls show that GW isn’t even on the radar screen of most Americans (not sure if that is a accurate reflection of global figures, though I’m quite sure it is) when asked about the current dangers to their way of life, I’d say this is race lost before it even began.

    It’s relativism, thoroughly embedded in our thinking, that got us here. Now it’s going to be our demise. Yesterday, close to 200 of my countrymen were killed because some moron mistook a civilian plane for a military one. I’d say that’s perfectly in line with the response the Global Warning is getting concerning Global Warming.

  10. 210
    Gorgon Zola says:

    #200 SecularAnimist

    Perhaps they are just genuinely concerned and/or disheartened by the response of those we call our leaders and our fellow humans..

    Curious, what on Earth gives you any hope these various forms of RE are in any way shape or form going to make a difference when they are 1. So hugely depended on fossil fuels and 2. The very fact that we got ourselves into this ridiculous, avoidable, suicidal mess in the first place?

  11. 211
  12. 212
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    200: I for one am trying to avoid mitigation topics. Besides I believe we are beyond the effective use for mitigation. Invest instead in adaptation for as long as we’ve got.

  13. 213
    Pete Best says:

    Re #193

    The average person is too stupid to get it.

    Turned me off so Gavin has it right as far as I see it. The IPCC casts its language in a politically and scientifically neutral tone. Whilst the world wakes up to the possibility of a warmer world with its associated new mean of weather we need to make sure that everyone will be affected (not saying equally mind) and that everyone might have a part to play but the west and China more so for current and historical reasons. Politically lots of people are rejecting the science and progress is slow but that’s the way it is. Keep on speaking the message of mitigation, new tech and energy improvement but don’t mention life style changes yet – lets see if the former can work however unlikely it is.

    On other subjects related to climate emissions lots of things said here are very good and have merit but its a massive tanker and turning it away from a system so ingrained that all other systems are reliant on it is a daunting task and presently emissions are growing albeit more slowly presently. So lets redefine the argument here: 2C is becoming less and less likely to the point that its very doubtful to be achieved but 3-4C are still a target worth aiming for.

  14. 214
    Chuck Hughes says:

    How do you counter this sort of propaganda when people don’t have a fundamental understanding of the science?

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/13/3459584/rupert-murdoch-climate-change-rubbish/

  15. 215
    DIOGENES says:

    THE ARCTIC METHANE MONSTER

    RobertScribbler has an interesting column on Arctic Methane (http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/tracking-the-footprints-of-the-arctic-methane-monster-black-craters-in-the-siberian-tundra-methane-lacing-2500-mile-wide-smoke-plumes-over-gigantic-arctic-wildfires/#comments). In his comments, and those of his posters, there are a number of references to RC. Some of the more interesting include:

    “Real climate covered methane in a 2012 entitled “much ado about methane”. I think it’s worth reading that post, as well as all the comments from the scientists in the comment’s thread.”

    “You have one group that argues there will be no response to a powerful Arctic warming from methane sources for thousands of years. You have another group that argues that instant catastrophe is nigh. There appears to be no middle ground and neither group is really talking to the other. Each has retreated into their respective corners.”

    “The position Archer takes on Methane is similar to the position some scientists took some decades back regarding ice sheet response — that it would take many centuries for even a moderate sea level rise due to ice sheet melt despite the evidence plainly available in the immediate paleoclimate science at the end of the last ice age showing periods that, even under the moderate pace of warming seen then, where sea level rise hit ten feet per century. Nor did it take into account the fact that even under the ‘slow’ pace of current warming we will see temperature increases in the range of what was seen during the end of the last ice age in less than two centuries (not 10,000 years).”

    “The notion that there would not even be a moderate methane feedback this century under a regime of warming in the range of 2-7 C and 5-15 C in the Arctic is quite outlandish once you consider the actual physical processes involved and the fact that heat transfer finds a way to take place in nature even if it doesn’t in simulation.”

    “Schmidt was one of the scientists that together with Archer have consistently said that large methane releases are not a problem at least in the near term (geologically) and has been at odds with S&S and other scientists who have said it is a potential problem…..So the issue of methane has been quitely pushed into the background, nothwithstanding earlier observations and science indicating methane releases well above what IPCC indicated should be happening and that there was serious under-reporting in USA.”

    “Not a good state for the science to be in. There’s a kind of trench warfare going on over methane. I honestly don’t understand the Schmidt/Archer stance and hope it hasn’t colored the NASA focus.”

    I have pointed out these inconsistencies between major science groups in a number of posts. Why don’t we get a multi-perspective article posted on Arctic methane, with contributions from Archer, Schmidt, Wadhams, Semiletov, and Shakova? Let’s get a fuller picture.

  16. 216
    Chuck Hughes says:

    @215 – The problem I have with Mr. Scribbler and the subject of methane, is his tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence and halt the research on the subject without having any direct proof that such a thing is really taking place. If I remember correctly, either in the article itself or in follow up comments, he attempts to implicate RC, insofar as implying that Gavin Schmidt/NASA et al, are ignoring evidence and are relying solely on climate models. What he seems to have not considered is that people may have left the topic because of the relatively short shelf life of methane. As I understand it, we have a CO2 problem no matter how you slice it. Even Dr. Peter Ward has said as much.

    If I remember correctly, the Methane, or “Clathrate Gun hypothesis” was dealt with directly here by Dr. David Archer himself and at least for now, put aside after a pretty thorough examination.

    Mr. Scribbler is entertaining reading and can be very informative but I think he and his readers would be better served if they avoided the conspiracy talk…. unless there is direct evidence. As I recall, he hasn’t been able to produce any, or at least anything convincing. And dramatizing the situation probably isn’t a wise thing to do, as per Gavin’s advice.

    Also Dr. Schmidt… thank you for your response to me earlier post.

  17. 217
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025322714001480
    DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.05.014

    Multiple failure styles related to shallow gas and fluid venting, upper slope Canadian Beaufort Sea, northern Canada
    Marine Geology, Volume 355, 1 September 2014, Pages 136–149

    • Water column backscatter shows active gas vents near the subsea permafrost limit.
    • Creep with growth faults occurs over a gas-charged decollement zone.
    • Creep evolves to translational slides where thick, debris flows were thin.
    • A major [greater than] 1 ka retrogressive slump is the largest failure in the area.

    The continental slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea presents an exceptional opportunity to study the relationship between the fluid venting and the formation of mass-transport deposits. The continental shelf was emergent and partially ice-free during the last glaciation and is underlain by widespread permafrost.

    Water-column backscatter has shown the locations of more than 40 active gas vents along seaward margin of the subsea permafrost at the shelf break and upper slope. New multibeam bathymetry and subbottom profiler data show shallow potentially late Holocene failures and mass-transport deposits on the upper slope. Upslope from a prominent headscarp, undulating seabed with apparent growth faults overlies an acoustically incoherent to stratified horizon at 50 m sub-bottom interpreted as a decollement surface over which progressive creep has occurred.

    Similar creep is present in places on the upper slope and in places seems to have evolved into small translational slides, involving more compacted sediment buried > 25 m, or into muddy debris flows where sediments buried < 25 m have failed. Much of the slope failed during a regional retrogressive event, the Ikit slump, likely initiated on steep channel walls on the lower slope. Characteristic ridge and trough morphology resulting from retrogressive spreading or rotational slumping are preserved on gradients < 2° on the upper slope, but appear to have been completely evacuated on gradients of 3° on the mid slope, where muddy debris-flow deposits are found.

    Correlations between radiocarbon dated cores and sub-bottom profiles show that the retrogressive failure occurred in the last 1000 years. This study implies that Holocene shelf break and upper slope stability in the Beaufort Sea are strongly linked to the dynamics of the permafrost and the presence of weak, gas-rich sediments. It demonstrates that creep deformation evolves into either muddy debris flows or translational slides, dependent on sediment strength.

  18. 218
    James@CAN says:

    #215 DIOGENES says “You have one group that argues there will be no response to a powerful Arctic warming from methane sources for thousands of years. You have another group that argues that instant catastrophe is nigh. There appears to be no middle ground and neither group is really talking to the other. Each has retreated into their respective corners.” AND “I have pointed out these inconsistencies between major science groups in a number of posts. Why don’t we get a multi-perspective article posted on Arctic methane, with contributions from Archer, Schmidt, Wadhams, Semiletov, and Shakova? Let’s get a fuller picture.”
    This is precisely what I am observing as well DIOGENES in a broader sense not related only to CH4 but to the entire science of AGW.
    If we have somewhere one interactive, self-updating (fairly peer reviewed) global model of all the data, we can allow the full spectrum of ideas (from fairly peer reviewed deniers to fairly peer reviewed alarmists) to chart and gauge the health of our planet. The data will speak for itself and smooth out the natural differences of data and opinion over time.
    Scientists are naturally focused on their own work, as they must be. It is painstaking work. Other people are focused on solely on their own “idea”.
    I have been studying AGW for almost 10 years now from home by personal research.
    I really like EHN http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/archives.jsp?sm=fr13%3Bcurrentissues15%3B5Climate_change14%3BClimate+change because this site is a “publishers clearing house” for all things related to AGW. By studying everything from “climate science from climate scientists” to local anecdotal reports in the local paper in some small town one gets over time a good perspective on trends. By not focusing my brain energy too much on any one item or perspective, my brain can smooth out the divergences and over time give me a greater perspective of all the forces at work. A computer could do this much more effectively with greater accuracy and reliability. A global computer model of all climate data, scientific and anecdotal.
    For example, I live on the Pacific Coast of Canada. I read a few years ago in a scientific report that a possible outcome of AGW might be an increase in cloud cover here in the Pacific Northwest at certain times of the year. Noted. Sometime later I read very locally that greenhouse growers are reporting an approximate 10% increase in energy use which they attribute to increased cloud cover. These examples go on and on. One of the most successful real estate moguls in all of Canada has mentioned that his wealthy clients from the all over the world are perhaps buying property here to hedge against climate change in their own homelands.
    My point is that the very precise focused work of all the worlds climate scientist of all stripes is vitally important. Anecdotal evidence which can corroborate the science is also important.
    We should allow all opinions and data (fairly peer reviewed for relevance)to populate this global model. Over time the true picture of the health of our planet will filter through.

  19. 219
    Chris Dudley says:

    MA,

    I’m obviously pretty dismissive of Gail’s claims but since we are controlling VOC and NOX perhaps there has been a shift which allows forests to get more ozone while everyone else is getting less. Another thing that has changed is that forests are warmer than they were. So, I speculate.

  20. 220
    Hank Roberts says:

    I see the “… no middle ground” notion as as an exaggeration by the methane monster theorists.

    They pretend not to hear the the simple advice by the climate scientists, which comes down to: whatever the details, stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere and ocean, and turn the process around.

    Or, they push the drill-it-and-burn-it “depressurize” claim as an excuse for the drilling and burning in the Arctic that’s already underway. Duh.

    The exact details — how this excursion will thrash out, which particular horn or claw or tooth of the awakened angry climate beast will gore which particular favorite — won’t matter much after the fact.

    Methane oxidizes to CO2 fast; CO2 persists for centuries in the air and water; committed warming will happen, somewhat faster or slower, regardless.

  21. 221
    Mal Adapted says:

    wili:

    Yet again, the main point, somehow lost in all of this, is that many human societies DO have strong cultural traditions of limiting their own behavior, specifically wrt overusing resources. That is hopeful because it suggests that culture (including, for modern culture, laws, policies..) CAN be part of the solution, or at least be part of what could lessen the extent of the damage.

    Well said, and it’s what I pin my faint remaining hope on. But what voluntarily-sustainable societies haven’t been swept away by the tide of modernity, retreated to habitats no one else wants, or been arbitrarily conserved by their conquerors in de facto dioramas? To a neo-darwinian like myself, sustainability looks like an evolutionarily unstable strategy. I’m sufficiently pessimistic that I’ve declined to leave descendants (hence my ‘nym). Ironically, that leaves me less motivated to work toward a solution. Sigh. Perhaps the long view is most salutary: in the eons after our own extinction, “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful” will evolve by the adaptive radiation of whatever species we leave extant.

  22. 222
    Thomas says:

    About the whole plague species thing. Anyone willing to put on an ecologist’s whole-system thinking cap will understand and agree with it. Anyone who strongly thinks humans are special creations unlike animals/plants etc. will be turned off by it, and reject dismiss the rest of the argument. The first group almost certainly consists (if I may use a religious term) of the already converted. It is the later group that needs to hear the message, and thats just the group that will turn away from it. How to make the message ego-friendly enough that some progress can be made converting the difficult cases is the real issue.

  23. 223
    DIOGENES says:

    Chuck Hughes #216,

    “The problem I have with Mr. Scribbler and the subject of methane, is his tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence and halt the research on the subject without having any direct proof that such a thing is really taking place.”

    There are myriad ways to suppress evidence. There is the overt/explicit approach of Watergate, which comes closer to the textbook definition of conspiracy. But, there is a more subtle and insidious form, sans conspiracy, where many different groups don’t present necessary evidence, or the full context. I believe this is happening throughout the climate change community. Here are three simple examples.

    1. Positive Feedback Potential

    The major feedback mechanisms are consistently underemphasized, including the serious potential of the methane large release problem. What do we get from RC: Archer’s soothing words! Where’s the balanced view from those who are less sanguine?

    The only blog that really treats the positive feedback mechanisms seriously and comprehensively is McPherson’s. Given his overzealousness, he can be easily discounted by those who benefit from discounting him. In his case, the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater!

    One serious consequence of underemphasizing/suppressing the seriousness of the potential of positive feedback mechanisms is that adaptation to higher temperatures can be treated as realistic. We see many articles in the peer-reviewed literature and the serious press about resigning ourselves to a 3 C or 4 C world. Does anyone seriously believe that when temperature increases to those levels occur, or maybe even to 2 C (what Hansen/Anderson call Dangerous/Extremely Dangerous), they would stabilize? With the types of positive feedback mechanisms we are seeing today at 0.8 C, as documented extensively by McPherson, I don’t see how such temperatures can be stabilized. The importance of this feedback under-emphasis is reflected in potential mitigation. Any scheme that proposes to keep us under 2 C may, for all practical purposes, lead to uninhabitable temperatures before too long, and an uninhabitable planet.

    2. Required Temperature Ceiling

    All the major reports and studies focus on the, in their words, internationally agreed-upon temperature ceiling target of 2 C. Notice these reports rarely, if ever, discuss any scientific rationale for this target. But, as I have pointed out repeatedly, the leading climate scientists believe the real target should be 1 C or less. This has been known for at least two decades, but effectively suppressed by all the literatures in favor of 2 C. Emphasizing the necessity of the 1 C target would eliminate many of the popular mitigation options being proposed presently, and would present the global populace with the really harsh choices necessary to insure our survival.

    3. Fallacy of Low Carbon Mitigation

    Tied in with the above is the fiction being promulgated by all forms of the media that low carbon technologies will make a significant contribution toward climate change amelioration. What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition. To RC’s credit, in the past couple of months, it has allowed articles by myself, Greisch, Barcus, and others showing the tip of the iceberg of the adverse effects from renewables to be posted. Other leading blogs have yet to take this step of presenting the full truth about renewables.

    In summary, the extreme direness of our climate change situation has been radically downplayed by the full spectrum of media, and the extreme harshness of measures required to extricate ourselves from this situation (if still possible) has been radically downplayed as well. We need to turn this situation around, and fast! A journey of 2000 miles begins with one small step. This step could be the proposal I made in #215 to have RC post a seminar-type article on methane including Schmidt, Archer, Wadhams, Semiletov, and Shakova.

  24. 224
    pete best says:

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctic-methane-emissions-certain-to-trigger-warming-17374

    Gavin is very sensible on methane and has a far greater scientific input on the subject so what he says contains gravitas

  25. 225

    “What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition.”

    [See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/07/unforced-variations-july-2014/comment-page-5/#comment-573873

    More off-topic baloney, validating SA’s prediction at #200.

  26. 226
    wili says:

    Hank, when you say of ‘methane monster theorists’ (and I note that you, eternal foe of all things rhetorical, are using subtle word choice to dismiss and denigrate those you disagree with–only naive children believe in monsters, after all):

    “They pretend not to hear the the simple advice by the climate scientists, which comes down to: whatever the details, stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere and ocean, and turn the process around.”

    Do you have any evidence that any of them actually hold such a view? Particularly do you see anywhere that RobertScribbler (or myself, for that matter) holds such a view? If not…well, I would expect better from someone who is always (rightly) chiding the rest of us for not tracking down evidence on line when it is so easily and readily available.

    I would ask the same of Chuck when he claims of RS that he has a “tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence.” Quote where you have seen what you take to be such a tendency so we can all judge for ourselves whether you are being accurate in your assessment. Otherwise, while it might not rise to the level of slander or libel, it is certainly just baseless accusation.

    MD: Well put.

  27. 227
    Chris Dudley says:

    Thomas (#222),

    It is very hard to find support for your claim. Humans have been pretty hard on megafauna and species adapted to predator free regions like island ecosystems, but we have also greatly expanded the range of horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, wheat, maize, rice and rats, which, on continents, probably increased bio-diversity. We are certainly increasing biological productivity with our manipulation of the nitrogen cycle though with over activity in estuaries. We don’t occupy a parasitic niche as plague does but rather construct our own niche the way beavers and ants do. It seems to me that the “plague species” meme can only lead to misconceptions and hinder finding effective ways to avoid ecological damage. At this point we cause vast damage out of clumsiness. The solution is not an inoculation but rather more adroit niche building with greater awareness of how our actions may impact biodiversity. You can find many many examples of habitat preservation and restoration which indicate that we are capable of being adroit.

  28. 228
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #225,

    “What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition.”

    “More off-topic baloney,”

    As usual, your meaningless comments have missed the main point of #223. And, as usual, I will spell it out for you.

    Climate change science and mitigation are inextricably bound together; they cannot be separated! The media presentation of climate change, and especially the component that is suppressed by non-reporting or skewed reporting, is driven by mitigation. In other words, the desired mitigation is driving the science presented, not the converse!

    In the right-wing media, the desired mitigation is none at all: business as usual is the goal. Therefore, there is a combination on non-reporting of what’s happening in climate change, selective reporting, or skewed reporting where deniers are given equal weight with experts. The resulting science is that there is either no climate change, or any climate change that appears to be happening is from natural variability.

    In the progressive media, the desired mitigation is low carbon and energy efficient technologies that will allow life and commerce to proceed as usual. No sacrifices required, and unlimited prosperity for all! In order for this technology-based approach to be effective, there is a floor on the science targets (temperature, GHG concentration, etc) that can be achieved. So, this media emphasizes contrived targets like staying under 2 C with 1/2 or even 4/5 chance, emphasizes that e.g. massive methane releases in the Arctic are extremely unlikely, and presents the pure fiction that renewables are harmless and can contribute substantially to climate change amelioration.

    Both of these media presentations of climate change are perversions of the science to make it subservient to mitigation desired, and, while seemingly very different, will result in modestly differing effects on the final biosphere survival outcome.

  29. 229
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #226,

    “I would ask the same of Chuck when he claims of RS that he has a “tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence.” Quote where you have seen what you take to be such a tendency so we can all judge for ourselves whether you are being accurate in your assessment. Otherwise, while it might not rise to the level of slander or libel, it is certainly just baseless accusation.”

    On the specific methane discussion, one could draw the implication from all the comments on the RS blog that various people believed not all the methane data was being presented publically. Is that so difficult to accept? There have been countless underwater vehicles, manned and unmanned, exploring the Seven Seas for decades. They have gathered massive amounts of data, among which I assume would be extensive methane data. How much of this data do you believe has been presented publically? 1%? Maybe.

    We will never really know what data have been gathered, and what are its implications, until a Snowden of Methane comes along and reveals the findings. But, in the absence of such a person(s), I would place heavy weighting on the comments of those who actually were involved with this massive data gathering. That’s why Wadhams’ comments rank high on my list. He has been going to the Arctic on these subs for decades, and I suspect he understands quite well the implications of the data reported in the literature and that not reported. Same for Semiletov. In Nick Breeze’s interview of Shakova, when asked when a significant methane eruption could occur, Shakova hemmed and hawed, while Semiletov could be clearly heard in the background saying ‘it could happen anytime’. At that point, Shakova frowned strongly.

    Finally, one needs to reason backwards on this issue; who benefits from suppression of the real potential impacts of strong methane release? It is the same groups that benefit from under-reporting of the direness of our situation, and I have addressed these in #223 and elsewhere. We know very little about the climate tinderbox on which we are sitting; I suspect the real situation is far far worse than reported.

  30. 230

    NCDC has finally weighed in on the June anomaly: it was the warmest June ever, WRT combined land and sea anomalies. Warm ocean surface waters were the main driver: “…the June global sea surface temperature was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), the highest for June on record and the highest departure from average for any month. (Emphasis mine.)

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/6

  31. 231
  32. 232
    catman306 says:

    Billions of tons of methane are frozen into methane hydrates and permafrost in the Arctic. When methane decomposes in the atmosphere it forms carbon dioxide and water vapor. Has that water modeled into projected sea level rise?

    [Response: It is tiny. The impact of even 4000 ppb CH4 (more than twice present) would add 16 ppm of water vapour over a decade, which would be ~0.02 mm of ocean SLR. - gavin]

  33. 233
    catman306 says:

    This is my THIRD try to get these three sentences posted. Why?

    Billions of tons of methane are frozen into methane hydrates and permafrost in the Arctic. When methane decomposes in the atmosphere it forms carbon dioxide and water vapor. Has that water modeled into projected sea level rise?

  34. 234
    BojanD says:

    @waxliberty #192

    I’ve seen similar claims on climate4you and traced it down to ISSCP. IPCC report is a good way to start, but this blog entry (check the second part, too) gives you more context.

  35. 235
    Chuck Hughes says:

    First of all, I read Robert Scribblers piece and commented based on what I’d read. I LIKE Robert Scribbler very much and am a fan of his blog. What I said was strictly MY opinion. (I assume that’s legal). Mr. Scribbler is a great writer and communicator and very informative. Like most open blogs I see though, the subject at had can veer off into the realm of speculation and fascinating possibilities. It’s human nature to do that. Not being a scientist myself I don’t have the background or authority to determine whether or not someone is correct. I was voicing an “opinion”. Like most folks I have to continue to look and read. My apologies to Mr.Scribbler or any of his readers who may have been offended by what I said.

    We certainly don’t need the Indians fighting the Indians. We’re all on the same side trying to do good things and make a difference. Mr. Scribbler is doing excellent work in my OPINION and I will continue to read his blog with an open mind and a civil tongue.

    Sorry for the interruption.

  36. 236
    Meow says:

    Howarth, in light of studies published since his 2011 work, concludes that methane leakage makes natural gas worse than coal for GHG emissions.

    http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/publications/Howarth_2014_ESE_methane_emissions.pdf

  37. 237
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #225,

    “What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition.”

    “More off-topic baloney,”

    As usual, your meaningless comments have missed the main point of #223. And, as usual, I will spell it out for you.

    Climate change science and mitigation are inextricably bound together in what the media presents; they cannot be separated! The media presentation of climate change, and especially the component that is suppressed by non-reporting or skewed reporting, is driven by mitigation. In other words, the desired mitigation is driving the science presented, not the converse!

    In the right-wing media, the desired mitigation is none at all: business as usual is the goal. Therefore, there is a combination on non-reporting of what’s happening in climate change, selective reporting, or skewed reporting where deniers are given equal weight with experts. The resulting science is that there is either no climate change, or any climate change that appears to be happening is from natural variability.

    In the progressive media, the desired mitigation is low carbon and energy efficient technologies that will allow life and commerce to proceed as usual. No sacrifices required, and unlimited prosperity for all! In order for this technology-based approach to be effective, there is a floor on the science targets (temperature, GHG concentration, etc) that can be achieved. So, this media emphasizes contrived targets like staying under 2 C with 1/2 or even 4/5 chance, emphasizes that e.g. massive methane releases in the Arctic are extremely unlikely, and presents the pure fiction that renewables are harmless and can contribute substantially to climate change amelioration.

    Both of these media presentations of climate change are perversions of the science to make it subservient to mitigation desired, and, while seemingly very different, will result in modestly differing effects on the final biosphere survival outcome.

  38. 238
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #226,

    “I would ask the same of Chuck when he claims of RS that he has a “tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence.” Quote where you have seen what you take to be such a tendency so we can all judge for ourselves whether you are being accurate in your assessment. Otherwise, while it might not rise to the level of slander or libel, it is certainly just baseless accusation.”

    On the specific methane discussion, one could draw the implication from all the comments on the RS blog that various people believed not all the methane data was being presented publically. Is that so difficult for you to accept? There have been countless underwater vehicles, manned and unmanned, exploring the Seven Seas for decades, along with surface vehicles. They have gathered massive amounts of data, among which I assume would be extensive methane data. How much of this data do you believe has been presented publically? 1%? Maybe.

    We will never really know what data have been gathered, and what are its implications, until a Snowden of Methane comes along and reveals the findings. But, in the absence of such a person(s), I would place heavy weighting on the comments of those who actually were involved with this massive data gathering. That’s why Wadhams’ comments rank high on my list. He has been going to the Arctic on these subs for decades, and I suspect he understands quite well the implications of the data reported in the literature and that not reported. Same for Semiletov. In Nick Breeze’s interview of Shakova, when asked when a significant methane eruption could occur, Shakova hemmed and hawed, while Semiletov could be clearly heard in the background saying ‘it could happen anytime’. At that point, Shakova frowned strongly.

    Finally, one needs to reason backwards on this issue; who benefits from suppression of the real potential impacts of strong methane release? It is the same groups that benefit from under-reporting of the direness of our situation, and I have addressed these in #223 and elsewhere. We know very little about the climate tinderbox on which we are sitting; I suspect the real situation is substantially worse than reported.

  39. 239
    Gorgon Zola says:

    #215

    Doom is Nigh, or so says Bill. Tundra’s armed, set to kill. No more research, keeping score, slay us quickly, CH4..

  40. 240
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Dr. Peter Ward:

    “Methane is four times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The good news is that, once released, it only lasts about 15 years. The bad news is that it breaks down into CO2! Great. A very lethal poison that turns into a less lethal poison. The thing is that it’s a slow, creeping death, and that is what is so horrible about the situation. Talking about methane is boring, so some have been thinking, “Well, maybe we’d have a big methane catastrophe. That’s a good hook!” You know, maybe all the methane locked down at the bottom of the Baltic Sea — and there’s a lot — comes up in a massive bubble, is struck by lightning and burns away all of China. That’s a cool story, and vaguely scientifically plausible, but the much more important story is that the methane is just popping out and isn’t burning like that.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-thill/weve-entered-the-age-of-m_b_924940.html

  41. 241

    #237–Of course mitigation and climate change are ‘bound up’. And of course they can be separated for purposes of discussion. We have been asked to avoid mitigation topics again, in large part because of your repetitious and often erroneous screeds.

    And you can’t even comply with the moderators’ stated request, but continue to post unsupported and deeply illogical hooha. It’s as deeply disrespectful to them as your tone frequently is to other posters.

    Thanks for nothing.

  42. 242
    Radge Havers says:

    d @ ~ 237

    Policy and science are different by definition and function. They do go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean (if I guess where you’re going with this) that the science is well served by unmodulated public speech from scientists. There are good reasons, which any thoughtful person should be able to identify, for firewalling science from policy. The point that target goals are scientifically soft is trivial. Policy negotiations necessarily involve terms of art.

    As to the motivations of the media, they are myriad and indeed are so very worthy of criticism that there’s no need to warp them into a narrative of a renewables conspiracy. The simpler explanation is that the benefits of renewables have been boiled down to a talking point (albeit a thought stopping one). This is also a term of political art which can be fairly criticized without recourse to histrionic and grandiose conspiracy theories and accusations that only serve to muck up the discourse.

  43. 243
    prokaryotes says:

    Everything you need to know about Mass Extinction, Sea Level Rise and Amplification

    Professor Peter Ward (University of Washington) explains the interconnections of rising carbon dioxide levels and flood basalt, and how it leads to anoxic oceans

  44. 244
    Hank Roberts says:

    The Golden Horseshoe – Climate BS of the Year award goes into extra innings.
    A reminder worth considering, a list of candidates, not yet exhaustive.

    “… a masterpiece of self-parody, so self-righteous and florid and over the top, that I found myself enjoying it. Whether was despite its frank lunacy or in part because of it, is hard to say.

  45. 245
    DIOGENES says:

    Chuck Hughes # 235,

    “We’re all on the same side trying to do good things and make a difference.”

    No need to apologize for your RS comments. As I pointed out in #238, your interpretation of all the comments in the RS blog on methane was reasonable. Where I do take issue with you is in your statement quoted above. If you mean by ‘we’ the posters on the RC blog, I am not convinced ‘we’ are on the same side, and I am not convinced ‘we’ are trying to do good things. I am convinced that some of ‘us’ are trying to make every buck out of this climate crisis that ‘we’ can, while others of ‘us’ are trying ‘our’ best to come up with real solutions to the crisis. Until ‘we’ all get on the same side, and start reading from the same sheet of music, ‘we’ will remain in the present stasis that has characterized climate ‘advocacy’ for the past decade.

  46. 246
    Ric Merritt says:

    Chris Dudley, #202, says “A train load of solar panels carries more energy that 200 train loads of coal. Use of PV shrivels all those things you are assuming are needed.”

    A train load of solar panels is nice. What is needed to make it not just nice but really great? What is needed is to make and maintain the panels, the train, the tracks, the stations, the tunnels, grade crossings, roads and trucks (trains will never go everywhere) and all the stuff they are connected to, in short, industrial civilization, without using any FF to speak of. Right now we have nice, and we don’t have great.

    To imply that we are moving toward great because solar panels are getting cheap is off the mark. If storage, transmission, and conversion of energy were getting cheap as fast as panels, we’d be well on our way to great. Your example doesn’t address that. Don’t you think we all have to consider where all that stuff comes from now while working our way through all the feedbacks in the system and its desired or likely future(s)? If you don’t think those feedbacks are complex and hard to deal with, you should reconsider. I’m not claiming any special expertise about answers, but I’d at least like to see the key questions addressed.

    I make this point from time to time (once a year??) in this forum, when I feel distress because it is being ignored, but I try to avoid fruitless repetition and tl;dr, so I’ll sign off unless there is a genuinely new angle.

  47. 247
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Finally, one needs to reason backwards on this issue; who benefits from suppression of the real potential impacts of strong methane release? It is the same groups that benefit from under-reporting of the direness of our situation, and I have addressed these in #223 and elsewhere. We know very little about the climate tinderbox on which we are sitting; I suspect the real situation is far far worse than reported.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014

    Reasoning Backwards???? Okay…

    I believe this is exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned “Conspiracy Theories”. As much as I hate to use that term, I think it applies. It’s hearsay evidence.

    People attempted to suppress Dr. Hansen and he wouldn’t tolerate it. Neither did Michael Mann. I think that when scientists KNOW something that’s potentially dangerous most will speak out regardless of the consequences. You have to put some faith somewhere or all is lost. Peer Review occurred when other scientists here and elsewhere weighed in on the information Professor Wadhams and others presented. ALL of these people have spoken to each other, either directly or indirectly and each side has examined the other. Where’s the suppression? I read about it in the media and even saw a show about it on The Weather Channel. Not to mention others like Dr. Tyson on “Cosmos” has devoted and entire episode to Climate Change…. On the FOX channel. I think he mentioned methane. Maybe he didn’t. I’ll have to go back and look. I know for a fact that President Obama is in on the information because I watched the news conference where he pointed to his scientific advisers on camera and said that’s who he trusts and listens to.

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong about this. Please.

  48. 248
    MartinJB says:

    #227 CD
    I think you need to rethink your assessment of human impacts on the biosphere. It is unarguable (honestly, I no more feel a need to support this with references than I do to say that CO2 is a greenhouse gas) that human beings have drastically reduced biodiversity and continue to do so. They don’t call the decline in species diversity we’re causing the “sixth great extinction event” for nothing! Spreading the ranges of domesticated animals has decimated biodiversity.

    As for productivity, it is possible that we have increased terrestrial production. Nitrification is a plus to gross productivity, but does that outweigh the losses due to deforestation and paving? On the other hand, marine productivity has gone down substantially. Note the dangerous overfishing of, I think, most fisheries worldwide — starting with the whales!

    I don’t go for the “plague species” rhetoric myself, but to describe the dominion of human beings as anything but a profound negative for the biosphere is really hard to argue.

  49. 249
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I don’t mean to get personal with my criticism DIO. You have some very salient points and you’re very good at driving the message home. I agree with much of what you’re saying. We’re basically on the same page but probably disagree on the details. Then again, what do I know? If you don’t like what I say just blow it off and carry on. I’m a nobody in the field of Climate Science. Just trying to learn.

  50. 250
    Jim Eaton says:

    On Tuesday the Sacramento Bee reprinted an article by Henry Fountain of the New York Times, “Plant’s CO2 slated for burial.” It was about a dirty coal fired power plant in Saskatchewan that was rebuilding part of the facility to capture 90 percent of the CO2 for burial. Short on details, but interesting.

    Rather alarming, however, was the following: “The challenge is even more stark overseas. Worldwide, coal consumption in 2020 will be about twice what it was in 2000, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and will continue to grow.”

    Considering how we already are seeing disturbing climate change, this and the probable massive release of CH4 makes it hard to be an optimist that our world’s humans can do much to adapt to, let alone mitigate, a rather horrendous future.


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