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Unforced Variations: Apr 2016

Filed under: — group @ 2 April 2016

This month’s open thread. Standard rules apply…

519 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Apr 2016”

  1. 101
    Edward Greisch says:

    67 Omega Centauri: Yes. But a bomb can’t be made of just U238. Nor will a reactor start with just U238. After U235 or Pu239 creates the conditions to start hydrogen fusion, Lithium 6 and 7 will also take part. But you would never expect lithium to be a nuclear fuel otherwise.

    Protesters have caused many unnecessary precautions.

  2. 102
    Edward Greisch says:

    67 Omega Centauri: The question is: “How do people get the completely irrational idea that DU would be dangerous, or even a low yield nuclear bomb?”

    Can anybody answer that?

  3. 103
    Edward Greisch says:

    Weird weather: Elm and maple trees have been blooming for a week and it snowed twice today and it is going down to 23 degrees F tonight. Those trees have never bloomed before the last freeze until now. It was too warm for the snow to stick this afternoon.

  4. 104
    Edward Greisch says:

    82 zebra: The US is a net importer of food now. We do not have surpluses. Americans will be among the starving in larger numbers. The US is the most overcrowded country if you include the 60 equivalent energy slaves that each of us uses.

    Since we humans are living on mined water [aquifers are running dry], there is no excess land anywhere to grow more food.

  5. 105
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Little has been mentioned about the fall of atmospheric oxygen levels as a result of global warming. In this case it mainly deals with the oceanic release of O2 by phytoplankton by photosynthesis as these plants produce 2/3 of the world’s O2. With rising ocean temps some say as little as 5C above the normal and ocean acidification this could wipe out whole regions of phytoplankton. Couple this with extreme heating and you are left with a rather bleak picture. Burning forests due to extreme dryness and temp also suck O2 from the air and produce CO and CO2. To me a fall in bio- available O2 is very worrisome indeed.

  6. 106
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    I heard yet another reason why the arctic is warming so rapidly. That huge slow moving weather systems bringing anomalously high temps into the arctic region is now the main reason apparently. This is ALL part of the big complex system that’s happening. As the arctic warms faster relative to the tropics the S-N air pressure grad’ decreases thus jetstream slows and meanders thus bringing huge pools of warm air from the south to the arctic for lengthy periods. It’s a chicken and the egg scenario. Because of a fall in ice albedo due to ocean/air warming and the fact that in summer the arctic atmosphere is thinner than the tropics and thus requires less solar energy to heat it the arctic warms, as it warms the S-N pressure grad thins and this causes hot air masses to move over the arctic thus melting more ice and further decreasing ice albedo…you get the picture. So to now say that the main cause for high arctic temps is weather patterns I regard is a furphy. It’s a multi-stage simultaneous positive feedback system at work. It is clearly a breached tipping point whether the IPCC want to admit that or not!

  7. 107
    Jim Hunt says:

    @Theo #85 – That’s an extremely terse abstract of the NSIDC’s latest missive! For a somewhat more verbose overview please see:

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/04/more-of-the-usual-hype-about-arctic-sea-ice/#comment-214149

    Amongst numerous other things we take some of the usual “skeptical” suspects to task over their recent evidence free assertions about Arctic sea ice age:

    The oldest ice, or ice at least 5 years or older, is at its smallest level in the satellite record, representing only 3 percent of the total ice cover. Some of this very old ice is found in the western Beaufort Sea and extending towards the Chukchi Sea regions where we have seen large summer ice losses in recent years.

  8. 108
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    just did a little research..NASA reports that in the north pacific ocean phytoplankton concentrations are 30% lower than what they were in the 1980’s. That coupled with the percentage of boreal forest and rain forest loss over the last century and you could probably say we are also in an oxygen crisis.
    Just finished watching the thought provoking movie ‘Intersteller’. We might need a new planet before too long..let’s hope there’s a race of friendly aliens to bail us out.

  9. 109
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    83: robin, yep! I implore all humans to STOP MULTIPLYING!!! and whoever argues with that is blinder than a mole.

  10. 110

    #85–“co·ter·mi·nous”
    kōˈtərmənəs/
    adjective
    having the same boundaries or extent in space, time, or meaning.
    “the southern frontier was coterminous with the French Congo colony”

  11. 111
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    8: JesusR. See Gavin. If you were in any doubt about the absolute worth of your little blog then that reader I believe speaks for all of us.
    We live on the same earth, we breath the same air, all feel the sun’s heat on our shoulders so climate and what is happening to it should have interest to all. I personally have learned a lot from Gavin’s cool headed and reasoned approach and he can teach researchers and scientists alike a methodical and appropriate way to approach issues. I also send a heartfelt thanks to Gavin and all RC other contributing editors for an invaluable and incredibly informative blog. Keep up the great work guys!!!

  12. 112
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    WOW! has anyone seen the latest view of the low lat pacific temp anomaly from nullschool.net…almost no el-nino!. That disappeared within a week..amazing! I was expecting it to hang around for quite some time.

  13. 113
    Eric Swanson says:

    Zebra, Mike et al., I’ve been doing some catch up reading, going back to Fagan’s “Little Ice Age” (2000). His focus in on the area around the North Atlantic, as in Europe, from around 1000 thru 1850 CE. Fagan’s background is Archaeology, not atmospheric science, thus his interpretation of climate history leaves much to be desired, IMHO. However, his description of conditions offers considerable insight into the lives of the peoples in Europe, pointing out how most folks were in the period were living at basic subsistence levels where there was a constant battle to provide enough food for survival. His contrast between the agriculture in England and France in the 17th and 18th centuries is quite stunning, as the English had begun to take advantage of some newer agricultural techniques while the French did not. The increased productivity of the newer methods allowed the English peasant populations to move away from the land and into cities, setting a course for later industrial development. The French had not made this transition before the Revolution (1789) and Fagan claims that this was a contributing factor in those events. Fagan points out how sensitive the peasant society was to weather and climate variation, with malnutrition and starvation being a constant worry, exacerbated by limited trade between regions with good harvests and those regions stressed by weather extremes. It’s an interesting read from a historical perspective.

    Our present mechanized agriculture is highly dependent on transport which can offset shortages as may occur in local areas and move fertilizers, etc, to the local farmers. If the transport system can no longer function, due to conflict or lack of fuels, the distribution of food to stressed areas would collapse. In such a situation, it’s a long way back down to subsistence level farming and many of the people living in cities would surely find it impossible to adapt rapidly enough to survive. The US remains a rather special situation, as our agriculture produces more basic foods, such as corn, wheat and soy beans, than needed to feed us, especially if we were to stop making ethanol with the corn crop and reverted to eating less meat in our diets. Other nations not so blessed might not make it past a severe crisis, a problem which could then cross the US boarder(s) with very negative results…

  14. 114
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Robin Johnson: And we may decide to let them starve.

    Richard: So lets assume that option is on the table. We’re actually, really, considering this. Well, people only live so long and the cost of feeding a person a legume-based diet in a planet-enriching way is minimal, so I’d say ramping things down to, “We’ll feed the sterilized”. might be prudent?

  15. 115
    zebra says:

    For the Post-Apocalypse Study Group:

    Let me repeat the definition:

    A “modern” civilization would be one that has a diverse expression of the genome and a culture that includes things like electricity, antibiotics, flush toilets.

    If there were 100 million humans left, and half lived on the US West coast and half on the East, that would qualify as “global” because– that’s all of humanity. Get it?

    I consider current culture “robust” because we are a long way from even what I describe above– I don’t consider having copper-wire land-line telephones to be “Dark Ages”, nor being limited to the computers that landed men on the moon. If I really have to have strawberries in January, I can build a greenhouse. But I will not feel “uncivilized” if I don’t.

    No, we know what can be done, and there are books and designs and people with fundamental educations that can work things out to fit whatever local resources are available. (Books– you know, those things made out of paper? More words than pictures, and the pictures don’t even move?)

    And this is very important: You have to really let go of the is/ought(or “must be”) fallacy. With a reduced population, everything becomes more efficient.

    If there’s nobody living downstream, you don’t have to build a sewage treatment plant. If you want hydro electricity, you can still have untouched salmon streams, and you don’t need eminent domain to build transmission lines. If you want to eat meat… let the buffalo roam on all the uninhabited land. And so on. Much more effort can be put into advancing more important development.

    But I think people are most uncomfortable with what will be involved during the transition. Technological civilization does not require nice liberal Western values. If there’s this big crisis you guys are talking about, it’s just as easy to sink boatloads of refugees as to rescue them– easier in fact. And if they try to storm the razor wire in Macedonia, machine guns will do the trick. If that’s not enough, there will be gas and cluster bombs. Let’s not forget our history; when things got tough, the most cosmopolitan values have melted down faster than that arctic ice.

    And note to Kevin: I tend to agree that as bad stuff happens locally in the near term, it will restrict total population growth. So the “super-overshoot destroying carrying capacity” is highly unlikely.

  16. 116
    SecularAnimist says:

    Edward Greisch wrote: “The US is a net importer of food now.”

    Not true, according to USDA data:

    “U.S. exports grew at a faster pace than imports, generating a surplus in agricultural trade every year since September 2006.”

  17. 117
    Hank Roberts says:

    just did a little research … oxygen crisis …

    I recommend doing a little more research.
    The article you’re thinking of is from 2008.
    Much has been written since.

    This for example:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=87465

    There’s plenty to worry about. Citing sources and checking the dates and following up by reading citing papers adds focus.

  18. 118
  19. 119

    #98–“I have it on good authority that there is nothing wrong with the climate models. I heard it right here last month when I opined that the models might need some work.”

    No, Mike, that’s not what you were told. (Can’t speak to what you thought you heard, though.)

    What was said was that short-term acceleration of warming didn’t give any indication that models were significantly underestimating warming. No-one has ever claimed that models were either perfect or ‘complete’.

  20. 120
    Richard Caldwell says:

    BPL: “Hebrew infusion”

    Richard: A grand artful and dissonance-forming turn of phrase, Barton. Well done.

    Perhaps the essence of the “War/invasion” versus “refugee” thing is really about “Technologically robust” versus “agrarian”. Assuming that vision, the “Hebrew infusion” followed traditional patterns. In fact, it’s a relatively close fit to what happened in the United States, with the native population shoved into ghettos which remain to this day, (1/2 of Palestinians live is squalid refugee camps today) with the huge disconnect being that Jews had a spiritual and historical link to Palestine, while we were just expanding to a new area.

    Basically, the choice lies with the more technologically advanced, so huge, displacing inflows are the result if the immigrants are tech dominant, while smaller inflows that are limited to what is tolerable to the dominant natives result from the converse. Thus, even though the Jews wee fleeing from genocide in Europe, they were the Strong Invaders when they got to Palestine. Once they started arriving en mass after WW2, there was never the slightest doubt about the result.

  21. 121

    The idea that the US can remain untouched by climate change ignores the fact that our own coasts will be underwater and our own agricultural regions will be in drought. We will not survive the climate apocalypse unscathed. There is no magic protection because we’re Americans.

    And there are third world countries with nuclear weapons, some of which can reach the US (e.g. China).

  22. 122
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Mike … Some folks … drivel. Do they … Have they … we will fight …?

    Mike, are you fighting with invisible people?

  23. 123

    RC 120, I was talking about the Hebrew infusion into the middle east several thousand years ago, not Israel.

  24. 124
    Mike says:

    for Kev at 119. I said last month:

    “I understand a scientist being defensive when the data hits them in the face and they have to recognize that their models and predictions are not sound in some significant ways.”

    I said last month and I continue to believe that the climate models that are considered “mainstream” are not sound in significant ways.

    you answered at 256:

    Mike, are you of the impression that that is what happened here? ‘Cause it isn’t. As Ray L. said, it’s a warming spike, and not entirely unexpected.

    and “Given that observations had been running on the cool side of the model ensemble envelope, I very seriously doubt that we’re anywhere near data that would suggest a problem with the models underestimating warming.”

    Since that exchange, we have Hansen’s study suggesting that melt rates and slr has been underestimated.

    Now, there is the cloud study suggesting that ice to water mix of clouds is not as high as the ratio used in many models and that problem will cause those models to underestimate global warming.

    We can split hairs over how we characterize that exchange, do you agree that I am on the record saying the models are not sound in some significant ways, and you are on record saying that is not the case?

    I would love to be wrong about this and have Gavin and others turn out to be right that these mavericks have it wrong. In good time, all will be made clear on these questions.

    I am willing to go out on a limb here and predict that within 12 months we will be talking about studies and science that indicate the the release of carbon (and CH4, but let’s pick CO2 since it’s the big dog) from the arctic (really the global north in general, permafrost, etc) has been underestimated.

    I predict that Dr. Mann will have to walk back from this March 22, 2016 position on Hansen’s melt rates: “I’m unconvinced that we could see melting rates over the next few decades anywhere near his exponential predictions, and everything else is contingent upon those melting rates being reasonable.”

    I would love to be wrong.

  25. 125
    Nemesis says:

    @121, Barton Paul Levinson

    ” The idea that the US can remain untouched by climate change…”

    Europe and some other countries had/have the same idea. A funny idea. An ignorant idea. It’s the idea of a decadent Empire, that thinks, it can exploit and destroy the planet without bad results for itself. A suicidal idea, finally.

    Why not let’s go to the next planet, somewhere, out there and then just go on with BAU? I mean, anything can happen… no?

    Will all the weappons of mass destruction and all the money help, to win the war again Mother Nature? I don’t think so. It was a bad idea right from the beginning, to mess with Mother Nature.

    Who feels it, knows it.

  26. 126

    Richard Lindzen, “ … he … believes that decreasing tropical cirrus clouds in a warmer world will allow more longwave radiation to escape the atmosphere, counteracting the warming.”

    Such an unbelievable flawed understanding of meteorology. Cirrus clouds are a product of CCN’s, more cloud
    nuclei are evaporated from oceans in a warmer world. I can’t understand how this “Iris” theory works. Furthermore
    in the middle of a summer very hot day, observed the cirrus clouds, they are where winter is, fortunately well above, but up there ice crystals exist, further cooling of the high troposphere can be conducive to more clouds, not less, especially carried over by cumulonimbus. This iris theory got it backwards.

  27. 127
    Theo says:

    To Lawrence Coleman et al: In Aus is there any research on what happens when SST increases by 2 or more degrees. Tropical Cyclones do not visit me very often, but they only need 26.5 degrees to form, which will bring them well South of Coffs Harbour = Lat -30.3

  28. 128
    Robin Johnson says:

    @Edward Greisch – Don’t be silly. The US Exports by weight (and caloric content) are mostly bulk commodity products – 103 MILLION metric tons. We generally only import expensive luxury foods like coffee, chocolate, beer, etc which is less than 40 million metric tons. We also export luxury foods as well that results in a very high net dollar surplus in agriculture products.

    The US exports enough grains to supply the cereal portion [50% of a typical diet in most of the world – we will ignore the health consequences of such a diet] of 600 million people. And a typical American consumes many more calories than advisable and wastes huge quantities of food. The US can easily feed 750 to 1000 million people with existing production and methods.

    A major disruption of food trade or distribution, whatever the cause, would create mass starvation in a number of countries – mostly in Southwest and South Asia.

  29. 129
    Theo says:

    Sensitive question?

    Why does NASA involve itself in the analysis and publishing of global temperature data?

    Understand historically first to see and wow the data.
    Understand that they may have the better computers and brains to analyse the data.
    Surely NASA is there to facilitate state of the art collection of any data including temperature data.
    But like supermarkets should be limited to the distribution of goods, not the creation and marketing of their own brands.

    Why have to wait for global surface measurements, when a form of the data is at your fingertips almost on an hourly basis?

    Oops, I must be getting impatient. The weather/climate.gov dashboard doesn’t do it for me. The world changes so much in each of its cycles, that they probably need to rewrite/update it each time it changes. Maybe that answers my question?

  30. 130
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    In regard to the ice extent blip that’s appearing in virtually every chart…is this an erroneous reading or for real? If so it’s the biggest departure from the norm I’ve ever seen.

  31. 131
    Chris Dudley says:

    Six Degrees author Mark Lynas is accused of scientific misrepresentation here. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/11/pro-nuclear-environmentalists-and-the-chernobyl-death-toll/

  32. 132
    Richard Caldwell says:

    EG, I wonder how well the early-blooming trees will do. Since it used to be such a rare occurrence, perhaps the trees will go through a genetic bottleneck. I can see a glass world, where ever so may iconic species barely survive. Release the bulls.

    Barton: The idea that the US can remain untouched by climate change ignores the fact that our own coasts will be underwater and our own agricultural regions will be in drought.

    Richard: True. From a species-standpoint, it is fortunate that we wrestled Florida from Spain.

    Here in Nebraska, we’re immune to most climate change. Sea level is far away, and we’re on top of the deepest portion of the Ogallala aquifer, which is naturally recharged. So if it gets tapped out everywhere else, those everywheres will repurpose to recharging Nebraska’s water. Talk about competitive advantage!

    We’ve got solar and wind combined. Plus, corn stover abounds for cellulosic ethanol. And corn is unbalanced nutritionally. There’s too little protein and too many carbs. Somehow, some of the carbs should be stripped before feeding it to livestock… …ahh, turn some carbs to ethanol.

    Our big gotcha, and this anecdote speaks the language of glass systems, is heatwaves. Who knows how hot it can get before killing the glassiest corn we can create?

  33. 133
    Jim Hunt says:

    @Lawrence #130 – The Arctic sea ice extent “blip” you refer to would seem to be some sort of problem with the SSMIS instrument on the DMSP F-17 satellite. JAXA use AMSR2 on Shizuku instead, and their data shows no such aberration:

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/03/nsidc-announce-the-2016-arctic-sea-ice-maximum-extent/#comment-214213

  34. 134
    Richard Caldwell says:

    Barton: I was talking about the Hebrew infusion into the middle east several thousand years ago, not Israel.

    Richard: Another interesting topic I’d love to explore, but either period is for another forum. If you want any final words here, feel free. I’ll listen and absorb silently. Anyway, your phrase inspired me to write a poem. It’s of a genre I invented, which I call “Heisenberg scripture”. It’s a bit difficult because it has to contain a hidden message from God. (Kind of like the old Mad Magazine fold-ins.) The piece has four parts: the poem, a clue, an analysis, and the solution. I call it “Jerusalem”. If you’d care to read it, tell me how to get it to you.

  35. 135
    mike says:

    Lawrence at 130: link(s) please?

    I scanned a bit and could not find what you are looking at.

    I did find this from 2014:

    “Climate models generally do a poor job of capturing how rising temperatures in the Arctic are affecting sea ice. Most underestimate the rapid pace at which sea ice is diminishing.”

    and

    “Reliable forecasts of how warming will affect sea ice are important for decision making, Professor Julienne Stroeve from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre told the AGU conference. This includes questions like when the Arctic is likely to be sea ice free in summer.

    But only a quarter of models simulate a rate of sea ice loss comparable with that observed by satellites since 1979, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/why-arent-climate-models-better-at-predicting-arctic-sea-ice-loss

    I cite this: apparently 75% of climate models are not sound in a significant way because they produce sea ice loss that is not comparable with the observed loss.

    Kev says: “Given that observations had been running on the cool side of the model ensemble envelope, I very seriously doubt that we’re anywhere near data that would suggest a problem with the models underestimating warming.”

    One of us can clarify, change position or we can agree to disagree. I hope we see less warming concentrated in the arctic for 2016 because I think the concentrated warming in the arctic is really not good news in terms of carbon release from “natural” sources in that part of the planet.

    I am glad that Dr. Mann told me not to worry about the CO2, but instead to follow the reports of carbon emissions. If not for that advice, the daily readings from MLO would cause me concern:

    Daily CO2

    April 10, 2016: 409.34 ppm*

    April 10, 2015: 403.19 ppm

    *all time high for daily CO2

  36. 136
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Chris Dudley says [nukeees]
    Wrong blog, followups should go to BraveNewClimate, but see:
    https://bravenewclimate.com/about/comments-policy/

  37. 137
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I predict that Dr. Mann will have to walk back from this March 22, 2016 position on Hansen’s melt rates: “I’m unconvinced that we could see melting rates over the next few decades anywhere near his exponential predictions, and everything else is contingent upon those melting rates being reasonable.”

    I would love to be wrong.

    Comment by Mike — 9 Apr 2016 @

    I have noticed that Climate Study involves many different trends and trend lines i.e. SLR, GAT, ice melt, CO2 etc. The one trend line nobody puts on a graph is how frequently scientific estimates are having to be recalculated due to the fact that things are changing more rapidly than expected.

    Someone needs to come up with a graph for it. I think it might be very revealing and helpful in determining where we’ll be in a few more decades. We could call it “The Rose Colored Glasses Effect” or “The H0ly S**t Curve!”

  38. 138
  39. 139
    S.B. Ripman says:

    Mike 88, 98 and 100:
    Dude, love your writing. Subtle and brilliant.
    Honestly, bro, it’s a relief to have a chuckle amidst all the bad news.
    BTW, thanks for the reference to the article on South American population migrations and growth. It shows the adaptability of our species. When sea levels rise 10 feet and the folks of Bangladesh and coastal China take to the road, they should head for the rain forests of the Amazon. They can learn to live like the indigenous folks there. No problem.

  40. 140
    SecularAnimist says:

    Mike wrote (#124): “I am willing to go out on a limb here and predict that within 12 months we will be talking about studies and science that indicate the the release of carbon (and CH4, but let’s pick CO2 since it’s the big dog) from the arctic (really the global north in general, permafrost, etc) has been underestimated.”

    A month ago, I posted a link to a recent study which found that post-2006 increases in methane concentrations are probably agricultural in origin, rather than from the arctic or from the fossil fuel industry. No one has seemed interested in talking about that.

    A 21st century shift from fossil-fuel to biogenic methane emissions indicated by 13CH4
    Science 10 Mar 2016:
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2705

    Abstract:

    Between 1999 and 2006, a plateau interrupted the otherwise continuous increase of atmospheric methane concentration [CH4] since pre-industrial times. Causes could be sink variability or a temporary reduction in industrial or climate sensitive sources. We reconstruct the global history of [CH4] and its stable carbon isotopes from ice cores, archived air and a global network of monitoring stations. A box-model analysis suggests that diminishing thermogenic emissions, probably from the fossil-fuel industry, and/or variations in the hydroxyl CH4-sink caused the [CH4]-plateau. Thermogenic emissions didn’t resume to cause the renewed [CH4]-rise after 2006, which contradicts emission inventories. Post-2006 source increases are predominantly biogenic, outside the Arctic, and arguably more consistent with agriculture than wetlands. If so, mitigating CH4-emissions must be balanced with the need for food production.

  41. 141
    MartinJB says:

    Mike (#124 and #135),

    there’s a great saying: “All models are wrong; some models are useful.” This certainly applies to GCMs and underlies any claim that the models are useful: despite their utility, they are still wrong. But they are also always being improved. To point out areas where they don’t perform as well as we would like does not suggest to me that they are not, as you put it, “sound.” This is an expected feature of any complex model!

    Also, keep in mind the context in which you originally introduced your contention about the model: a likely short-term spike in temperatures. But as was pointed out, the models are useful for long-term trends not short-term volatility, In addition, temperatures had been towards the lower end of the ensemble of model results. So, in terms of what one might call the principal output of GCMs, the global temperature, they really haven’t demonstrated a tendency to underestimate results.

    Finally, do you keep showing the YoY change in CO2 for a lark or do you think this is significant? In case it’s the latter, you have to keep in mind that point to point changes of a series that shows substantial day-to-day noise are doubly noisy. Better to use a moving average or some other kind of smoothing technique to get a genuine idea of changes. And my apologies if it’s the former and I’m telling you something you already know!

  42. 142
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I am glad that Dr. Mann told me not to worry about the CO2, but instead to follow the reports of carbon emissions. If not for that advice, the daily readings from MLO would cause me concern:

    Daily CO2

    April 10, 2016: 409.34 ppm*

    April 10, 2015: 403.19 ppm

    *all time high for daily CO2

    Comment by mike — 11 Apr 2016 @

    H0ly S**T Curve!

    What was it that Killian said a month or two ago about ‘if we hit 409ppm that he might get excited’ or words to that effect?

    I’m no expert and I’m no scientist. I’m sure everyone here understands that by now but isn’t this just a little bit alarming? Is this not a strong indication that existential forces have taken over? At what point do we declare a “runaway situation”?

    I cannot envision a scenario in which humans come to their collective senses and decide en mass that we have to do something NOW. I can’t see Donald J. Trump taking the reins and steering us toward a successful outcome. Dr. James Hansen is right about super storms and his latest video should go viral. We need explicit language coming from the scientific community about what lies ahead. Read Tamino’s latest post: https://tamino.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/tell-me/

    And let’s start changing our methods of communication about this.

  43. 143

    With respect to the Arctic….

    “Mike, are you of the impression that that is what happened here? ‘Cause it isn’t. As Ray L. said, it’s a warming spike, and not entirely unexpected.”

    Over the recent years It was a permanent warming state of the Arctic, whereas the ice-scape pack at minima varies according to dynamical meteorological reasons. Notice from year to year that the sea ice melts more in differing various regions, Sea ice extent geometry at minima is a mere “footprint” on how the Arctic Ocean general circulation was. The melting is largely the same, but is in itself altered by circulation effects, the best example is 2013 melt season, the Arctic Ocean gyre circulation was cancelled by contrarian winds from near stagnant cyclones at about the North Pole. The over all extra cloud extent in 2013 cooled the Arctic, but it was not because the chemistry of the atmosphere has changed or there is a natural cycle of warming or cooling in the Arctic.

    At every melt season, there is a huge possibility or potential of a repeat or worse melt than 2007 or 2012.

    Why the sea ice models fail is a great mystery which would be solved rather quickly if we would be able to see the projected animated runs for the past 10 years.

  44. 144
    Edward Greisch says:

    131 Chris Dudley: Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter. Dr Jim Green’s counterpunch article is wrong and Chris Dudley is trying to sucker me into making an off-topic comment. Jim Green made the scientific misrepresentation. “Hormesis” is the word you were looking for.

  45. 145
    zebra says:

    @Robin Johnson 128,

    Yes, the numbers simply don’t support the florid doomsday language. Near-term worst case scenarios may be disturbing to think about in terms of human loss and suffering, but hardly “the end of modern technological civilization”.

    Even if some disruption in food production created a causal chain leading to a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan (my guess at the most likely really bad bad), things would continue as before, with perhaps some inconvenience from the fallout.

    Sad but true. Consider how many died in WWII when the global population was appreciably smaller. Lots of people see the following years as a Golden Age of progress.

  46. 146
    Richard Caldwell says:

    SA: A month ago, I posted a link to a recent study which found that post-2006 increases in methane concentrations are probably agricultural in origin, rather than from the arctic or from the fossil fuel industry. No one has seemed interested in talking about that.

    Richard: There are varieties of rice that work with without flooding, and of course, there’s no law that says Asia must grow rice. Animal husbandry is already generally indoors, so methane capture shouldn’t be terribly difficult. I’m not sure where those efforts are at the moment, but all in all, agricultural emissions sound solvable.

  47. 147
  48. 148
    mike says:

    Thanks for the CH4 link, SA – sounds like an interesting read, but behind paywall and as you note, it has not produced buzz like the Hansen slr study.

    I remember reading “the oil we eat” in Harpers in 2004 (hard to believe it was that long ago) and that piece made a strong argument that our agricultural system was essentially an extension of the petro-chemical industry. I have read (and I believe) that our species cannot afford a diet that consists of so many critters that are higher on the food chain. But tell that to a person who has a bbq in their backyard and see how it goes over.

    I am feeling pretty good about stuff generally. Installed more planter beds at daughter’s home yesterday and ordered strawberries to put in the beds. I am tired of watching the grandkids eat all my strawberries and I hope to make them watch me eat their strawberries later this year.

    Warm regards

    Mike

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    mike, #124 & 135–Since being forced or provoked or intrigued into thinking more about climate-related stuff is one of the main reasons I hang out here, I thought hard about your comments.

    I think the crux is the meaning of “sound”. For you, it appears that climate models are ‘unsound’ if they get anything wrong about anything at any timescale. (I’m basing that on the observation that you have spoken without differentiation about ‘unsoundness’ in things as diverse as rate of Arctic sea ice loss, current global temps and possible rates of sea level rise by the end of this century.)

    I don’t understand the situation that way. It’s a matter of performance and specification: is a Model T, or a Prius for that matter, ‘unsound’ because it can’t compete at Daytona? There are all manner of climate-related models, designed and used for different purposes. None are perfect, and efforts to upgrade and/or replace are ongoing at any given time.

    But: if any given model does a reasonably good job of simulating the physical processes that it is set up to emulate, then to me it is ‘sound.’ That doesn’t mean that it will always return the ‘right’ answer about What Will Happen; even with good representation of process, you need to specify forcings correctly–technically impossible for at least some *future* forcings, actually, though with luck our guesses will be reasonably close–and you still have the issue of variability. Models are not crystal balls, much as we might wish otherwise.

    Why does that matter? Well, for one thing, your formulation tends toward the meme–beloved by a certain kind of denialist–that if we don’t know everything, we know nothing. It’s certainly true, of course, that we don’t know everything. (Honestly, it’s unlikely that we ever will, in this matter as in others.) But we know enough to know that the road we are on doesn’t lead where we want to go. I don’t want to offer rhetorical support to those who would argue that in ignorance ‘must’ lie safety, or that complete certainty is a necessary prerequisite for action.

    Which translates in this context to not saying that the models are ‘broken’ or ‘unsound’, simply because we don’t have the SI loss rates as tightly constrained yet as we would like, or that we don’t yet know with certainty the sign of precipitation change in this or that particular corner of the world. And that’s not because those questions are unimportant; it’s just that they are not *all*-important. However much we might desire (or even need) those answers, we do have other useful knowledge that needs to be considered.

    Babies, bath water, et cetera.