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Unforced Variations: Oct 2016

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2016

Here’s hoping for no October climate surprises…

Carry on. Usual rules.

265 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Oct 2016”

  1. 51
    Thomas says:

    2040 projected energy use from 2012 history data
    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2016.05.12/main.png

    Coal use increases by 20%
    Oil use increases by 39%
    Gas use increases by 79%

    Such increases will make it physically impossible to hold the increasing mean rate at 0.18°C/decade since 1975 into the future.

    Which must blow a huge hole in the +2.15°C relative to 1880-1920 by 2065.

    It also makes it physically impossible to hold global temperatures to below 2C no matter what the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement says or whether it is ratified.

    Having run out of good ideas, what is needed now is a new world war. Let’s take on Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Turkey, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea all at once?

    (joking, of course, but some people do actually think like this.)

    What better distraction from the Math? C’est la real politik.

  2. 52
  3. 53
    Susan Anderson says:

    Looks like wish for no October climate surprises is not going to be granted, as Matthew heads straight for NASA Florida.

  4. 54
    Thomas says:

    The Associated PressThursday, 6 October 2016

    The landmark Paris agreement on climate change will enter into force on Nov. 4, after a coalition of the world’s largest polluters and small island nations threatened by rising seas pushed it past a key threshold on Wednesday.

    A UN website said that as of Wednesday afternoon 73 of the 197 parties to the treaty, accounting for 56.87 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification.

    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2016/10/06/Paris-climate-agreement-to-take-effect-Nov-4.html

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/10/06/bishop-welcomes-paris-climate-deal-australia-slow-ratify

  5. 55
    Killian says:

    re #281, Sept. UV, alan2102 said, well, some pretty illogical and flat wrong stuff, but here goes:

    #257 Alfred Jones: “Our job is not to build perfection out of whole cloth, but to maintain conditions where productive weaving is still possible. It’s not our job to stop mining phosphorus et al, but to ensure that the mines don’t run out before our descendants create truly sustainable systems. We do not need sustainable systems yet. We just need to keep from going off the cliff.”

    Yes! “Sustainability”, like any other abstract value, is not achieved. It is something one moves toward in a sequence of approximations, edging ever closer, but never arriving, because the nature of the thing is not fixed.

    Both of you are clearly incorrect. Let’s take the last first. Sustainability is not abstract, it is measurable. Systems either can or cannot exist in loops indefinitely, and all of that is at the end of the day measurable changes in energy. Gents, it’s very basic thermodynamic law and physics. Nutrients cycle or they don’t. Ask any climatologist about the carbon cycle and whether or not it is abstract, for goodness’ sake.

    Alan, realizing you have a poor understanding of what sustainability even is, I’m loath to spend much time on this response.

    Alfred, there are any number of assumptions behind your comment, likely most or all of them false. You said the next generation will solve the problems, we just punt far enough downfield so they have room to operate.

    WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

    1. You are assuming we pass irreversible tipping points between now and your “future generations.”
    2. You are assuming we won’t inadvertently use up some critical resource they will need.
    2b. You have no idea what they will need.
    3. Easier to solve a problem when there are 7 billion people than when there are 9 or 10 billion.

    Given the rate of change we are seeing, some of us were warning of being out of time ten years ago, targeting now, ten years later, as pretty much the time by which drastic action had to already be starting, yet, here we sit with out thumbs largely up our butts. Now we have sober climatologists starting to sound like we have been sounding. The studies in the news the last few weeks have been the kind of things *I* might write, and that is saying a lot. I’ve been way ahead of the curve so far, but the curve is rapidly catching up to me. Your claim this stuff is for future generations to solve may be correct, but is far more likely to be sui-genocidal. Regardless, as a risk assessment, it’s ridiculous.

    You may as well say it’s not our job to clear out the sniper nest, just to clean up the hallway and entryway so the kids can go out and take it out with…. something…. while assuming more snipers either won’t be coming or will be able to be handled with this as-yet-unknown sniperoxin.

    Not great reasoning.

    #264 Killian: “Virtually every building built in the last 100 years will need to be repaired and/or replaced many times over the lifetime of humanity.”

    1. Yes, perhaps, if we assume that they will not be replaced by much superior structures made of much superior materials. But why would we assume that?

    Because no matter how clever you think you are, 1. the world is finite and 2. you almost certainly do not have time (have you not been paying attention to how fast things are changing, and have you never read over L to G, e.g., or taken time to really understand bifurcation?) even if you do discover superduperium, and 3. you never design with superduperium because 4. you may never develop superduperium.

    Tell you what, you go stand in the middle of the I-10 in, say, Santa Monica, and I’ll pay someone to drive a U-Haul from Jacksonville, FL to the end of I-10, straight over the spot you are standing on. You cannot move. Just stand there until someone creates a technology that will allow you to somehow avoid that truck without moving from that spot. No current technology allowed.

    OK?

    The better question is, why *would* you wait for superduperium when we can solve all these problems today by just using less rather than more, with simplicity rather than more technology?

    Suggest you read Joseph Tainter’s work on diminishing returns to increasing complexity.

    That would be to assume that intellectual and technical development would suddenly come to a halt.

    Uh, no. It just doesn’t assume that it won’t, or that even with great advances they will be the ones that are needed.

    Did you think about that sentence before you wrote it?

    Is there any basis for this belief? Not that I can see, barring sudden global apocalypse (which, granted, is a possibility, just not likely).

    Ah, here’s the core of the problem. You’ve got it backwards. It’s virtually certain, but likely still avoidable. I know of no logical or sane argument against collapse under BAU, or anything other than radical simplification.

    2. We don’t have to worry about “the lifetime of humanity”. We have to worry about the next several generations; say, the next 7 generations

    Says who? Your Magic 8 Ball? You cannot possibly know how many generations we have to push the can down the road for. What we DO know is we CAN fix it now, so it is incredibly foolish, bordering on sociopathic, to risk collapse when the risk is avoidable now – just so you can keep playing mad scientist.

    Worrying beyond that is Faustian over-reach — trying to do more than one can, properly, do

    And you speak of arrogance. The problem here is you have no real understanding of the issues at hand. Virtually every point you have made has been logically or factually incorrect. You are not arguing against overreach, you are arguing against simplicity. Somebody wants to keep their latte and drink it, too.

    Ain’t gonna happen. Rather, the chances of what you suggest happening are exceedingly small.

    tinged with self-importance.

    Why did you have to be a condescending jerk at the end?

    One cannot “simply multiply” because of the stunning multiplicative effects on functionality and endurance of technical developments

    Would that be superduperium or hopium? Both?

    We will have all the urban structure built that we will ever need, in terms of quantity.

    Ever? Really? ‘Cause, there is SOOOO much infrastructure from 10k, 5k, 2k, 1k even 500 years ago! Yer right! What was I thinking! Everything DOES last forever! We ARE in Kansas, Toto!

    Well, you got more time than you deserved. You need to go chat with Jaques. He’d love your rap.

  6. 56
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    32 “I just read that Gavin was quoted saying that 400ppm is “not evidence of a tipping point”.”

    The phrase “tipping point” has a physical meaning, not a psychological one.

    A tipping point is a point in state space where the system undergoes an abrupt change of state from an originating “stable” state space attractor to a new attractor.

    It is a change from which the system can not be expected to naturally recover as long as the perturbing forces persist.

    The change can be to a new chaotic attractor, or can simply be movement to a new local minimum from which escape is difficult to impossible.

    It is an abrupt change from one island of equilibrium in state space to another distinct island of equilibrium where the new state had not reachable from the old state within the natural level of instability within the originating state.

  7. 57
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Thoughts on Jim Hansen’s paper, “Young People’s Burden“?

    “All deliberate speed” will be a dominant issue for climate. Our governments have not accepted the reality dictated by the laws of physics and climate science: we must phase out fossil fuel emissions rapidly. Mother Nature will not wait for bumbling half-baked government schemes for reducing emissions. It will be essential that the Court not only demand all deliberate speed, but continually examine the reality of what the government is accomplishing, and that the government have both short-term and long-term plans of action.

    Mike Mann commented in “Planet at its hottest in 115,000 years thanks to climate change, experts say“:

    Along with the paper being publicized prior to peer review, this will certainly raise eyebrows about whether or not this breaches the firewall many feel should exist wherein policy agenda should not influence the way that science is done,” Mann told the Guardian via email.

  8. 58
    Jean-François Fleury says:

    For information. The dipole cold subpolar gyre/warm America east coast Atlantic came back. Now we will see if it will be associated with a rainy weather on west Europa. @Geoff Beacon. I judge weird the calculation asociated with the production of beef meat. The beef (and other vegetals consummers like us) consummes vegetables, extracts sugar, proteins, and mineral nutrients. They use it for their functionings and they expell methane (futur carbon dioxid) and carbon dioxid. The plants which were consummed are counting on it so that the following generation of plants will have enough carbon dioxid to grow (the one stored in the vegetable eaten). After, it depends on the way it was provided and cultivated. The better way for a farmer raising cattle is to feed his herd with what he’s producing on his farm and to manage cautiously the pastures and the crops. Ideally, the best is to make the cattles eating pastures, to provide them with dried “weeds” (grass, fodder legumes) and food supplements produced on the farm such as legumes and cereals ( corn, wheat, barley, triticale, rye…) when necessary. A further step can be accomplished by using no-till and cover crops system. In this way, the farmer can spare money on fuel consumption. And by the increase of crops, the quantity of roots in the soil increases, easing the seeding of the crops by the soil’s division. Added to the fact that there are more crop residues on the surface, it increases the carbon soil storage (thanks to earth worms), which in turn provides more porosity to the soil and improves water’s penetration in the soil. And this could improves the durability of the water storage in the soil and its disponibility for the crops, which could then reduce the necessity of irrigation. For example, in the Lot-et-Garonne (south France), there are farmers who can produce corn with a yield of 85 qx/ha without irrigation when their colleagues are forced to make some irrigation sessions because of the drier wheather during summer. They are using a combination of no-till and cover crops land management and precocious seeding to avoid to the corn to have his growth’s period during the summer. A lot of good things, then.

  9. 59

    For the (probably pretty small) number of folks for whom poetry can make a difference, you might try this haiku:

    http://s1108.photobucket.com/user/brassdoc/media/Trump%20Haiku%20Orange.png.html

  10. 60
  11. 61
    MA Rodger says:

    Kevin McKinney @37,
    You maybe are seeing the Aug & Sept plots on Spencer’s latest global temp graph as a single plot?

    The UAH v6.0beta5 rise from July to August from the numbers recorded in the text data file is +0.045ºC. (It scales on the graph to +0.040ºC.) The rise August to September is not yet posted in the text file but the rise is smaller. The Sept anomaly is actually reported as being an anomaly of +0.44ºC, exactly the same as the reported anomaly back in August +0.44ºC (which has now been given to 3 significant places +0.435ºC). Scaling the graph, the August anomaly appears to be plotted as +0.430ºC and September as +0.440ºC, suggesting a rise of +0.01ºC.
    By contrast, RSS saw a small fall July to August of -0.009ºC followed by a significant rise August to September of +0.118ºC and UAH TLT v3.3 saw a July-August rise of +0.04ºC and an August-September rise of +0.09ºC.
    Of course we should expect month-to-month wobbles to be different for these different temperature series. It’s when the differences stretch over longer periods without bouncing back that they become significant. And a couple of months is probably not yet long enough for that.

  12. 62
    Russell says:

    “Another moral principle is the polluter pays principle.

    One of Dr Johnson’s moral principles demands ranting moralists be chastised before they turn into canting bores.

  13. 63
    Alfred Jones says:

    JCH: Grass-fed bison would turn a lot of people into vegetarians.

    AJ: ahhh, too much flavor with “real” meat. not enough with vegimeat. Perhaps a merger?

    —–

    KVJ: Most American voters may want scientists to have much more influence on climate policies.

    AJ: But that’s like saying folks think specific supreme court judges should have a say in policy. Still gotta pick a side, eh?

    ——-

    Alan2102 It is also interesting to see ardent advocates of climate change action morph into deniers when the sanctity of their electoral choices (Hillary) is called into question.

    AJ: Interesting. I thought Bernie and Jill were the favorites of the climate change voting block. Last I heard, Clinton is still struggling to bring them on board even though the antichrist is the alternative.

    ——

    Mike: Does that moooove you?

    AJ: Yep, and others, too. Ruminants aren’t optimal. Insectophobia is counterproductive. 70% of the planet is hardly sutiable for non-animal food production. (seaweed?) As Scott said, cropland benefits from fallow with grazers. Demanding purity in anything, including vegeanism, is a grand path to failure. Some animal products are beneficial, but in more than limited quantities, they are harmful for both the planet and your health. (A summery, or something like that)

  14. 64
    Alfred Jones says:

    Killian: Systems either can or cannot exist in loops indefinitely,

    AJ: And we know of NO indefinitely sustainable system, nor can we fathom one using known physics. Thus far, you are advocating pure fantasy as the only option.

    And everything you attribute to me is patently false. I did not say the next generation will do any better than go extinct while completely sterilizing the ex-biosphere. I did not predict success. I did not even mention CO2 or GHGs or anything of that nature. I’ll make it clear with a hypothetical:

    You have a room with 100 units of X. X is useful. There is more X outside of the room. Let’s say 1000 units, but at a higher price. Beyond that, the ocean can be mined for X at a far higher price.

    So, According to you, we should never never never use those 100 units of X, right? We should never use the 1000 units, right? We should immediately, even though we are in an existential crisis, go with technology that doesn’t exist yet and mine the oceans for X, right?

    I think you’re wrong. We should note that we have 100 cheap units of X and plan it out so they last a good qwhile. We should also plan out using up the 1000 units. Our goal is to transition to mining the ocean for X before those 1000 units run out.

    How you got to where you thought I was is way beyond me……

  15. 65

    #61, MAR–Thanks for expanding… I think the issue was that there is ambiguity in the interpretation of ‘absent’. I thought you meant ‘a rise’, period, whereas you apparently intended ‘a rise similar to that of the previous monthly comparison.’

    The joys of natural language. Ambiguity is both a bug *and* a feature.

  16. 66
    MA Rodger says:

    Susan Anderson @53,
    Your remark that Hurricane Matthew “heads straight for NASA Florida” was not perhaps entirely correct. Matthew is not for travelling in straight lines. The storm is expected to skirt the US coast and now forecasts have it looping-the-loop, veering off into the Atlantic and perhaps from there maybe coming back to give Florida a second battering.
    This year’s Atlantic hurricane season was looking a below-average affair until Matthew strengthened so quickly. With a bit of help from Hurricane Nichole also looping-the-loop in mid-Atlantic, the Accumulative Cyclone Energy (ACE) for the Atlantic 2016 season has grown from below-average to an above-average value. 2016 ACE has now topped 100. There hasn’t been such a late spurt in a season’s ACE value since the record-breaking 2005 season.

  17. 67
    Chris O'Neill says:

    #47:

    This new bid in Abu Dhabi is less than half the price of electricity from a new natural gas plant.

    OK, so as long as humans are economically rational then it won’t be long before all the natural gas and other fossil fuel plant is phased out and replaced with solar electricity. In that case we won’t have a problem with fossil fuel burning for much longer. Laissez faire will take care of the Carbon Dioxide problem. Thanks for the good news. We can forget about all this now.

  18. 68
    SecularAnimist says:

    Highly recommended:

    On Pacifica Radio’s program Democracy Now on Thursday morning (October 6), Michael Mann engaged in an excellent discussion with hosts Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, and Guardian journalist Oliver Milman, on the influence of global warming on Hurricane Matthew, the mass media’s refusal to discuss it, the role of global warming denial in the presidential election, etc.

    A superb example of effective climate change communication.

    Link to audio and transcript below.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/6/amid_media_blackout_over_climate_change

  19. 69
    zebra says:

    @ Vendicar Decarian 56,

    “…as long as the perturbing forces persist”.

    It isn’t necessary that the perturbing forces persist, nor do they preclude a return to the original state.

    New game, new rules. Scary game.

  20. 70
    Scott Strough says:

    @ all in the debate regarding biological carbon capture and storage as an AGW mitigation strategy I would first like to say thanks. While the debate has been heated, the very fact it is being discussed so vigorously is a big improvement compared to years past when the proponents felt like they were a tiny minority crying in the wilderness to a largely deaf audience. I suspect many climate scientists felt similar in years past.

    I would like to lay a common groundwork for the discussion though, because several key points regarding BCCS seem to be being overlooked. Some of this is a repeat for some of you. I apologize for that.

    The first thing that needs to be understood is which natural biomes are a forcing for global cooling, and which biomes would stabilize at warmer temperatures. What I mean by that is, before human impact. This is key because many claim that temps are “locked” into warmer temps for a very long time even with 0 emissions. That could be correct if the majority of the terrestrial biomes currently on the planet (including artificial agricultural biomes) function in a way that most closely parallels the planet at a previous warmer age, rather than if they more closely parallel the age just prior to AGW. Turns out the biomes that contribute to global cooling are not forests at all, but rather the grassland/savanna biomes. Counter intuitive to be sure, but the evidence is there.

    “Grasslands and their soils can be considered sinks for atmospheric CO2, CH4, and water vapor, and their Cenozoic evolution a contribution to long-term global climatic cooling.
    http://blogs.uoregon.edu/gregr/files/2013/07/grasslandscooling-nhslkh.pdf

    That’s evidence from paleosoils and in the fossil record. But there is even more evidence in modern times collected by soil scientists in the last 100 years.

    “The origin of the mollic epipedon is only partially understood; however, the relation between Mollisols and grassland or steppe has been recognized for more than a century (Shantz 1923). Soils containing a mollic epipedon are among the world’s most productive soils (Liu et al. 2012). The thickness and high soil organic carbon (SOC) contents of the mollic epipedon mean that these soils have sequestered large amounts of C over long periods of time.
    http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-06668-4_5#page-1

    Notice though they use the term “relation” because although there has been correlation for over 100 years, no one really quite figured out causation. We have known those soils sequestered large amounts of C over long periods of time, far more than forest soils, but exactly how when or why was a mystery. The reason why it was a mystery is because forests hold and cycle more biomass. (that decomposition zone in soil science is called the O-horizon) So if soils are created by decomposition of biomass in the O-horizon, then forest soils should be the ones with the larger carbon content, not grasslands. Since the evidence is overwhelming that the opposite is true, soil scientists have been working on that paradox for a very long time.

    In 1996 a soil scientist working for the USDA finally unlocked the biochemical pathway that is the primary way soils are created by sequestering carbon long term deep in the soil horizon. Her name was Dr Sara Wright and her discovery was Glomalin.

    “That study showed that glomalin accounts for 27 percent of the carbon in soil and is a major component of soil organic matter. Nichols, Wright, and E. Kudjo Dzantor, a soil scientist at the University of Maryland-College Park, found that glomalin weighs 2 to 24 times more than humic acid, a product of decaying plants that up to now was thought to be the main contributor to soil carbon. But humic acid contributes only about 8 percent of the carbon.
    https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2002/sep/soil

    Further study has now unlocked the causation behind those deep fertile mollisols associated with grasslands. This biochemical pathway has been termed “the liquid carbon pathway (LCP)” because rather than originating from biomass decomposition, it flows from root exudates (analogous to sap, but flowing down from roots instead of up under the bark of a tree) that feed arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycorrhiza. Turns out that the reason grasslands store more carbon is threefold. First of all most forests instead of having primarily AMF symbiosis with endo-mycorrhizal fungi, they instead have primarily symbiosis with ecto-mycorrhyzal fungi. The second reason is because grasses send a much higher % of the products of photosynthesis on this liquid carbon pathway, rather than making a woody tree trunk. The third reason is most the C4 plants, which are far more efficient in photosynthesis, are warm season grasses. So you start with “more”, then send a higher % of that “more” into the soil, and because it is sequestered deep in the soil profile, when it finally decays a far higher % of that “more” forms humic polymers that tightly bind to the mineral substrate.

    https://web.anl.gov/PCS/acsfuel/preprint%20archive/Files/45_4_WASHINGTON%20DC_08-00_0721.pdf

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080629075404.htm

    http://amazingcarbon.com/PDF/JONES-LiquidCarbonPathway%28AFJ-July08%29.pdf

    Notice that this is completely different than soil formed by the decomposition of organic matter at the surface. (which is described by the Roth C mathematical model most climate scientists use) Most that carbon re-enters the atmosphere as it decays. That means even most organic farmers who use mulches and manures are not really optimizing soil creation, but rather minimizing soil loss. Some soils are formed, mostly from earthworms and other soil life pulling carbon down and mixing the O-horizon with the A-horizon, but nothing compared to the LCP. In order to optimize soil creation (and thus optimize carbon sequestration) you need to really concentrate on providing AMF with a living root from a deep rooted host at all times. Nothing does that better than deep rooted perennial grasses. So that’s why you see such a huge difference between pasture cropping, Alan Savory’s holistic managed grazing, and similar systems etc.; compared to both standard organic no-till and conventional no-till using herbicides. If your methods view grasses as a “weed” and try to kill them, and grasses are the primary way new soil is built via the LCP, then it becomes obvious why the new regenerative models of production are many times more effective at soil building and biological carbon capture and storage (BCCS).

    However, just looking at the biophysical which can be described roughly by the four basic ecosystem processes: the water cycle, the mineral cycle including carbon, energy flow, and community dynamics is not enough. There are socioeconomic political contexts to consider as well. I won’t delve too deeply into the whole vegetarian/vegan thing too much except to say that although I am not a vegetarian, I do believe they are close to 97% right when they discuss the negative impacts factory farming has on the environment. That would completely flip around if we replaced factory farming with ecologically sound land management though.

    Right now it isn’t a cooperative effort and we are losing, everyone. Not just the fight against AGW and reducing emissions, but soil erosion, other forms of pollution, dead zones in the waterways and oceans, financial markets, human health, ecosystem loss and extinction rates, natural disaster rates and magnitudes, civil unrest etc… You name it, it’s all bad and trending worse. Certain things like medicine technological advancement are still advancing, thankfully. But even those things are severely hampered by the rest, and could be even better. Our advancements for example in treating cancer is partly offset by an increasing rate of cancer to start with! Imagine if the basic baseline population’s health was better and we had these advancements in healthcare both at the same time? So you could claim the effects are spreading far and wide into every aspect of society, even those seemingly unrelated and seemingly improving.

    Then there is the political and economic infrastructure supporting agriculture. This may be the biggest obstical of all, ie. the current regulations and subsidies designed to manipulate the market with a huge surplus of commodity grains. Probably really only need about ~25%-50% +/- of the grain we actually grow to meet our food needs. This whole market strategy is called a “buffer stock scheme” and truth be told, without adjusting the buffer stock schemes, none of this has the slightest chance of being adopted widely enough to significantly effect AGW. You understand? At least 1/2 and up to 3/4’s of the land in grain production really needs to be rested and allowed to regenerate carbon. At least in USA. Some countries might not be so fortunate with large tracts of fertile land. The land could still be productive while resting, like, pasture cropping, switchgrass biofuel, or ordinary pastures for animal husbandry. But it needs rested so it can recover.

    “This means that switchgrass ethanol delivers 540 percent of the energy used to produce it, compared with just roughly 25 percent more energy returned by corn-based ethanol according to the most optimistic studies
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/grass-makes-better-ethanol-than-corn/

    If you did that and bypassed the inefficiencies built into the current buffer stock schemes, you’d actually be increasing end product yields and profit, but it can’t happen trying to do both over-producing grains and also these more efficient alternative production models. Best way to reduce the negative impact of a cornfield is not grow corn there at all. That’s why BTW there is still pressure to cut down forests etc…. They want to keep over-producing grain while adding better systems like pasture cropping. One system has to replace the other, not try doing both at the same time. If we are stuck with continuing with what we have now, then BCCS instead of being capable of mitigating an estimated 62%-250%+ of emissions, would be limited to maybe 20-25% at best and likely lower. That’s why we have 2 sets of numbers floating about. One uses the Roth C mathematical model to estimate improving the systems we have now, and the other uses cases studies optimizing the LCP to estimate potential should we replace the inefficient systems we have now.

    Because if this before anyone can make any progress, we must first dispel the myth that our system is efficient or required to “feed the world”. It couldn’t be further from the truth. It is literally designed to be efficient at inefficiency, and it is not designed to “feed the world” it is designed to make a stable price in the commodity markets by “destroying” the surpluses in the most profitable way possible; so we can continue to overproduce without crashing the price below cost to produce.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffer_stock_scheme

    In a normal economic market, overproduction drives the price down. There is no way the entire world could possibly eat all the corn soy and wheat we produce. So to keep the price up, we must destroy it. However, that also has ethical issues involved with purposely destroying food when there are hungry people on the planet. So to avoid this a myth was created that we are “feeding the world” and all these creative ways to “destroy” the surplus are the most efficient at doing so. They are not. Making corn ethanol or corn fed animals in confinement is only efficient at destroying grain surpluses, not at actually producing final product in terms of yields per acre or energy spent per calorie returned.

    I actually think we should be taking a 3 pronged approach. BCCS in agriculture, conversion to non fossil fuel based energy, restoration of natural ecosystems worldwide. Theoretically all 3 potentially could work by themselves given enough time, but each has reasons why none can be done 100% at current technology levels. Also we may not have enough time.

    Right now we can’t rewild the whole planet because we do not currently have a way to feed ourselves without farmland. That technology is in its infancy with certain hydroponics systems and lab grown synthetic meat. And currently much more energy intensive, energy we currently get from fossil fuels! And it’s cost prohibitive as well. Not to mention many species are completely extinct already and restoring those ecosystems given the trophic cascade effect will be costly and difficult. So we can’t rewild everything. But there are large tracts of land we can rewild.

    Same goes for eliminating fossil fuels. The current energy systems world wide can largely be replaced by renewables and nuclear, but each has it’s own limitations and/or is cost prohibitive at current technology levels. This is more feasible than rewilding the whole planet, but still by itself very unlikely to be accomplished 100%. 0% emissions might also not be fast enough due to reinforcing feedbacks and climate inertia. But we certainly can dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

    BCCS is the most feasible and fastest of all at current technology levels, but alone also unlikely to be enough. I estimate at best if practiced perfectly on 100% of all 5 Giga Hectares of agricultural land around the world; it could offset between 62% and 250% of all annual fossil fuel emissions worldwide and would take a minimum of 3-10 years to reach even that rate, based on case studies of farmers in the field already doing it. That assumes a 100% agreement by all farmers governments and consumers and a high learning curve that allows new farmers to learn all in 1 season. Reality of course is much less on all those points. Took our brightest minds 100 years to figure it out. Simple farmers, though often much smarter than given credit, will take time to teach. So even that is unlikely to be enough alone. We can however start changing agriculture to these more profitable regenerative models of production.

    So in my opinion none of these strategies is likely to work alone, but if all 3 are done to the best of our current ability; ecosystem restoration projects, fossil fuel reductions and biological carbon capture and storage in agriculture; I do contend the problem is very solvable even at this late date.

  21. 71
    Mal Adapted says:

    BPL:kirjoitti?
    Finnish for “wrote”. Perhaps the blog’s commenting routine was written by a Finn?

  22. 72
    Thomas says:

    A military view on climate change:

    We called for “a robust agenda to both prevent and prepare for climate change risks,” and warned that “inaction is not an option.”

    The “change” part of climate change is critical: The more ability we have to adapt to and manage changes and the rate of change in our climate, the greater our chances are to avoid catastrophic chaos and instability.

    http://theconversation.com/a-military-view-on-climate-change-its-eroding-our-national-security-and-we-should-prepare-for-it-65535

    and

    Simultaneously with the NIC report on Sept. 21, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum, or PM, on climate change and national security. This document formally states the administration’s position that climate change impacts national security.
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/21/presidential-memorandum-climate-change-and-national-security

    This memorandum was prepared by the National Intelligence Council and was coordinated with the US Intelligence Community. 21 September 2016 NIC WP 2016-01
    http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Reports%20and%20Pubs/Implications_for_US_National_Security_of_Anticipated_Climate_Change.pdf

    eg Climate change affects our security in two ways. First, it causes stresses such as water shortages and crop failures (Syria, Africa), which can exacerbate or inflame existing tensions within or between states (ISIS, Iraq, Syria, Gulf States.)

    These problems can lead to state failure (Libya, Syria, Iraq, Africa), uncontrolled migration (Turkey, Eurozone) and ungoverned spaces (ISIL, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Sudan.)

  23. 73
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Had a bit of an Ah ha! moment the other day. Wondering why people are not getting passionate about the changing climate they see all around them. I believe the main issue is that we still take the world for granted. It’s such an ingrained belief that the world will always be there for us as it’s done for countless generations. We still seem to be unable to fathom an inhospitable world to life as we know it. Scientists and scientifically minded people alike ie. us can perceive what lies before us but the vast majority of the world’s people cannot or will not. Even though they know that they should respect what scientists are saying, something deep inside revolts against that notion. The truth still seems just too unbelievable to comprehend and accept. Democracy is not going to help us in the least. Maybe a strong market driven approach is the best, (if you can’t beat them…join them). As long as saving the planet is profitable for the mega corporations…so be it! It’s not my favoured approach. A more spiritually and wholist global mind set I would regard as the ideal..but that would be like getting a polar bears to urinate in a lavatory.

  24. 74
    sidd says:

    “At least 1/2 and up to 3/4’s of the land in grain production really needs to be rested and allowed to regenerate carbon. At least in USA. Some countries might not be so fortunate with large tracts of fertile land. The land could still be productive while resting, like, pasture cropping, switchgrass biofuel, or ordinary pastures for animal husbandry. But it needs rested so it can recover.”

    Sing it, brother.

    sidd

  25. 75
    patrick says:

    Russell, 62: Or self-styled satirists–or wannabes–who are canting bores.

  26. 76
    patrick says:

    Scott Strough, 70 >BCCS is the most feasible and fastest…at current technology levels.

    I don’t think so. Peter Thiel doesn’t either. That’s why he’s a backer of Stem (the company). The most feasible and fastest at current levels of technology is peak-demand-shaving by software solutions integrated with advanced storage–whether grid-edge (at the customer–includes residential, commercial, or industrial) or on the grid. A close second at current technology levels is solar- and wind-energy build–which is shown worldwide (worldwide, please) by the actual pace of adoption and decline of prices.

  27. 77

    Posted a couple of Hurricane Matthew footage videos, some got a lot of views. https://www.youtube.com/user/ClimateState/videos

    However, desperately seeking some scientists explaining what makes Hurricanes more intense and such. PBS posted a segment with Gavin http://www.pbs.org/newshour/episode/pbs-newshour-full-episode-oct-6-2016/ but my email for usage rights is still unanswered.

    If you have something scientific in regards to Matthew please email to climatestate at gmail com

  28. 78

    @Scott #70
    Not the latest but interesting (albeit not entirely on point in regards to neg emissions) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpF88lcZeak Also important https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycorrhizal_fungi_and_soil_carbon_storage

  29. 79
    zebra says:

    @ Chris O’Neil 67,

    “…Laissez Faire will take care of the CO2 problem”

    No, “as long as humans are economically rational”…

    …a Free Market, which is the antithesis of Laissez Faire, and requires strong government intervention, will best allocate resources among the choices for generating electricity and transportation.

    If you combine a Free Market with disincentives for producing CO2, you will begin to mitigate the problem. You need both.

    Currently, we have neither in much of the world. Please try to escape the influence of right-wing language distortion.

  30. 80

    NASA’s Gavin Schmidt on Hurricane Matthew and Climate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KZUaktAtvE

  31. 81
    Hank Roberts says:

    > switchgrass ethanol delivers 540 percent of the energy used to produce it

    I think that’s making two unsupported assumptions — ignoring the fire protection required, and assuming a market for that volume of ethanol

    Same challenge for anything — count the externalized costs. A prairie or a barn full of dry switchgrass requires significant investment in fire control.

  32. 82

    Hurricane Matthew Footage Wrap-up (Oct 8 2016) Featuring GaviN Schmidt and Michael Mann

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sH7wo4Egv0

  33. 83

    Upward revision of global fossil fuel methane emissions based on isotope database http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v538/n7623/full/nature19797.html

  34. 84
    Bob Loblaw says:

    “kirjoitti? Finnish for “wrote”. Perhaps the blog’s commenting routine was written by a Finn?”

    I see that from time to time. Just as, from time to time the RC web server seems to decide that the browser I use on my desktop computer has suddenly become a mobile device and should be served a mobile view. Or it decides that the list under “Recent Comments” should be an apparently randomly-selected list that changes depending on which page I am looking at.

    My guess is that something deep inside the web server software thinks it is really smart and is making decisions on how to display stuff (and what to display) based on something it thinks it knows about my browser. It does not appear to be a deterministic algorithm, given that it changes its mind at quite frequent intervals. It could be that my browser (firefox 38.8 on linux at the moment) is giving the server inconsistent information, but I also see it at work from more recent firefox on Windows.

    It has been this way for quite a long time now (a year or more?). Seems to go in cycles, although I haven’t tried to correlate it with sunspots or ENSO or PDO or stadium waves.

  35. 85
    Timothy J Hansen says:

    Thomas: I gave your references a good going over and I have to say, nothing you cite nor anything that is cited in your references can be linked to Anthropocentric Climate change. Everything you cite has happened with regularity throughout history. You cite the strange an mysterious Droughts as though they just aren’t supposed to happen in the desert, for instance,

    The Defense report is a contingency report and nothing more. To put it into perspective, The Defense Department has no end of pencil necked geeks laying out thousands of scenarios, from Thermo-nuclear war with Easter Island, To coming up with the money to provide James Hansen’s family with a full day of balloon Animals and pony rides at six-flags.

    Finally, and this a question you can answer for me. How does the Modeling work, and how many models do you have to run until you get to the one you are satisfied with? Thanks for your time……

  36. 86

    CHris, #67–

    This new bid in Abu Dhabi is less than half the price of electricity from a new natural gas plant.

    OK, so as long as humans are economically rational then it won’t be long before all the natural gas and other fossil fuel plant is phased out and replaced with solar electricity. In that case we won’t have a problem with fossil fuel burning for much longer. Laissez faire will take care of the Carbon Dioxide problem. Thanks for the good news. We can forget about all this now.

    Not sure to what extent I’m responding earnestly to an ironic comment, but, just to say:

    –The Abu Dhabi bid is a new record, and as such an outlier. New wind and solar projects are increasingly bidding in at ‘parity’ levels, or better, but it does depend a lot on local conditions: quality of the resource (Abu Dhabi gets great sun, and the conditions for financing are apparently excellent, too).

    –It’s almost always cheaper to use what you’ve got–ie., a new solar farm, no matter how favorable the conditions, is still probably going to cost more than using an existing fossil fuel plant with a remaining service life of 20 years. Of course, the latter doesn’t help emissions to decline.

    –There are clear signs of economic irrationality in the system, notably the enormous subsidies for fossil fuel use existing at the global level.

    A Trump administration, should such an unfortunate eventuality come about, might double down on such:

    We will use our vast coal, shale gas, and other American energy sources in a clean and appropriate manner to benefit American families and workers, not for the economic benefit of the politically-connected. Support coal jobs, safe fracking, energy from offshore and public lands and the Keystone Pipeline, which can be done responsibly.

    That would not be economically rational, nor scientifically rational, but it is, from his political perspective, relatively rational–though I use the term in this connection with some reservations.

  37. 87
    mike says:

    September 2016

    401.03 ppm 401.01 ppm

    September 2015

    397.63 ppm 397.50 ppm

    NOAA and ESRL numbers from co2.earth. about 3.4ish ppm increase Terrible number. This is where the rubber meets the road. You can chant or rant about the various human agreements and commitments to addressing the problem of global warming, the scorecard says we are still getting our asses kicked.

    Warm regards

    Mike

  38. 88

    Thanks, Scott Strough, for a very readable summary of what you have been advocating. Much appreciated. I look forward to delving into your links a bit.

  39. 89
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Scott Strough #70

    [In] the age just prior to AGW. Turns out the biomes that contribute to global cooling are not forests at all, but rather the grassland/savanna biomes. Counter intuitive to be sure, but the evidence is there

    Interesting – but we aren’t in an age “prior to AGW” and should looking at ways that can capture and store carbon now. This should be secondary to food production because there is plenty of food in the world, if were it shared equitably but that may mean eating less beef and lamb and other luxury foods wasteful of food growing capacity. (See It’s the poor that starve)

    Has anyone compared the net greenhouse impact for alternative uses of lanf such as

    — Pasture for cattle
    — Short rotation willow
    — Sustainable timber production

    Scott, I guess your “grassland/savanna biomes” would have it’s modern equivalent as pasture for cattle. This may increase soil carbon. In Challenges and opportunities for carbon sequestration in grassland systems the FAO say

    Implementing grassland management practices that increase carbon uptake by increasing productivity or reducing carbon losses (e.g. through high rates of offtake) can lead to net accumulation of carbon in grassland soils – sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ).

    They also say in Tackling Climate Change through Livestock

    With emissions [of CO2], representing 14.5 per-cent of human-induced GHG emissions, the livestock sector plays an important role in climate change.
    Beef and cattle milk production account for the majority of emissions, respectively contributing 41 and 20 percent of the sector’s emissions. While pig meat and poultry meat and eggs contribute respectively 9 percent and 8 percent to the sector’s emissions

    I would be very interested to see how the carbon budget of pasture land raising grass fed cattle, compares to the budgets of short-rotation willow coppice used for BECCS.

    Wood from sustainable forests seems a good option as wood in houses stores carbon and building with bricks, cement and steel is an environmental disaster. (See Embodied carbon recognised at last)

    P.S. Does the FAO underestimate the impact of livestock by assuming an outdated GWP(100) for methane rather than an updated GWP(20)? (See Now CO2 is short lived, cows really are bad )

    P.P.S. How can policymakers make rational judgements without this sort of information?

  40. 90
    Deb O'Dell says:

    Great NY Times article yesterday by economist, Paul Krugman, “What about the Planet” at:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/07/opinion/what-about-the-planet.html?action=click&register=google

    where he says referring to climate change coverage in this elecction,

    “There is, quite simply, no other issue this important, and letting it slide would be almost criminally irresponsible.”

  41. 91

    Hurricane Matthew Carolina Footage Compilation (Oct 9, 16) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFspaFImcTw

    … featuring Gavin and Mike.

  42. 92
    Mal Adapted says:

    Timothy J. Hansen:

    Thomas: I gave your references a good going over and I have to say, nothing you cite nor anything that is cited in your references can be linked to Anthropocentric Climate change. Everything you cite has happened with regularity throughout history. You cite the strange an mysterious Droughts as though they just aren’t supposed to happen in the desert, for instance,

    The Defense report is a contingency report and nothing more. To put it into perspective, The Defense Department has no end of pencil necked geeks laying out thousands of scenarios, from Thermo-nuclear war with Easter Island, To coming up with the money to provide James Hansen’s family with a full day of balloon Animals and pony rides at six-flags.

    Finally, and this a question you can answer for me. How does the Modeling work, and how many models do you have to run until you get to the one you are satisfied with? Thanks for your time……

    seems not to have posted on RC before. From his comment, he apparently harbors some curious misapprehensions about science, as well as a certain amount of hostility toward “pencil-necked geeks” (hey, I resemble that!), James Hansen’s family if not Jim himself, and “the Modeling”. It would probably be a waste of time to respond, especially as he’s likely to be a drive-by. That probably won’t stop some of you, though ;^).

  43. 93
    TTT says:

    Question. Speaking of Hurricane Matthew.
    Hurricane category is defined by its maximum sustained wind speeds. Cat 4 is like 140 pmh, cat 3 is like 120 mph, something like that.
    I was wondering if how much water it could hold matter also? If the winds hold more rain in it the kinetic energy of these winds should be more / stronger than the drier,less rain winds, wouldn’t it?
    So when Gavin said it’s get more intense, is that what he meant? Even if the same Cat 3 hurricanes it is getting more intense because it holds more rain in it because the atmosphere is getting warmer?

  44. 94
    Scott Strough says:

    @ Geoff,
    Short rotation willow coppacing yields 8 to 18 tonnes of dry woodchip per hectare per year. That is then used as fuel, generally for heating homes. It’s a great idea and I am all in favor of it where willow grows well without irrigation. Puts the entire fuel load to heat homes in the short carbon cycle. So net is nearly a zero carbon footprint. What you burn in winter is immediately taken back up again by the regrowing willow the next growing season. Combine that with passive solar and well insulated homes and you got something. But not anything like sequestering carbon long term in the soil. I would call it something to fill some of the gaps between the larger projects though.

    As far as sustainable timber production goes, while not really a long term AGW mitigation strategy, it does help. Using the bucket analogy for the stocks and flow problem, reforesting does give you a bigger bucket, but still a bucket with no drain into the long cycle. It will help until your new bigger bucket gets full. We call that saturation. So yet another thing that fills a gap in the larger picture.

    I actually see switchgrass ethanol in a similar way too. By using a similar “buffer stock scheme” as is used for commodity grains, but instead used to even out highs and lows in yields of grasses being used for animal husbandry. It is exactly parallel to what has been done for generations, putting up hay in peak production months when the animals can’t keep up, and storing it for periods when grasses are growing slower. But just expanding it on larger scale, so that surpluses on a whole year (nets after considering animal husbandry for the year) would be converted to ethanol and stored however long is necessary. A cow is after all one big biomass harvester and biological fermentation plant and nutrient recycler, self propelled and self guiding with 4 legs to walk around! Any surpluses from that could be managed by the commodities markets for ethanol and you’d still be sequestering the 5-20 tCO2e/ha/year via the LCP. This way we would be using the commodities markets’ buffer stock schemes to positively effect AGW instead of negatively as now. The markets like that steady price range instead of boom and bust, which is why the schemes caught on so well. We would just need to adjust them away from grains and towards different agricultural production models. Still even have them for grains too, but based on what we need instead of overproduction. Also I would model carbon in the soil this way too, as a buffer stock scheme to manage a carbon cap and trade. We would be using a proven effective economic model to effect change in agriculture. So ethanol would be another fill for a few gaps in the larger picture just like willow coppicing and timber. The main BCCS though is the LCP into the soil where it can be stored thousands of years and where the saturation point is much more than all the carbon in the atmosphere and all the above ground biomass of the planet combined.

    A few people mentioned methane. Chris @83 provided a good source from Nature. Here is another good reference http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GB005406/abstract

    and here is a good article in understandable layman terminology:
    https://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2016/09/27/new-research-explores-wetlands-agriculture-causing-global-rise-methane/

    Claimed in the above link:

    “It is possible the natural processes that remove methane from the atmosphere have slowed down, but it is more likely that there’s been an increase of methane emission instead, especially from the hot wet tropics, according to the authors.”

    In my opinion both are happening. Agriculture as it is most widely practiced now is both reducing the natural processes that remove methane, and in some cases increasing methane emissions. So the net component of increasing atmospheric methane that agriculture is responsible for is dramatically rising due to the effect agriculture has on both sides of the methane cycle.

    You asked how can we make a case for policy makers that BCCS make a significant contribution to mitigating this contribution to manmade climate change? Well starting with wetlands emissions, the primary agricultural component to that portion of the methane cycle is paddy rice production. So in the case of rice, a shift to SRI would be a significant improvement.

    “• Reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from paddy soils

    o Methane (CH4) is reduced by between 22%
    and 64%, as soils are maintained under mostly
    aerobic conditions [10,11,3]
    o Nitrous oxide (N2O) is only slightly increased
    or sometimes reduced as use of N fertilizers is
    reduced; N20 increases do not offset CH4
    reductions, so GWP is reduced [9,10,11,12]
    oTotal global warming potential (GWP) from
    flooded rice paddies is reduced 20-30%
    [10,12,3], even up to 73% [11]”

    The System of Rice Intensification (SRI)… … is climate-smart rice production
    http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu/conferences/IRC2014/booth/SRI_climate_smart_rice_production_%20handout_2014.pdf

    SRI has over 700 published journal articles which can be found here: JOURNAL ARTICLES ABOUT THE SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI), http://sri.cals.cornell.edu/research/JournalArticles.html

    Please note that yields per hectare are increased at the same time as the impact to AGW is reduced. You will also find that many of the outliers mentioned in the above quote are also the same outliers in yields too. In other words, the farmers that reduce emissions the most are also the same farmers yielding the most. (and the farmers sequestering the most carbon in the soil) And the farmers producing the record yields have little to no impact on AGW any longer at all. It can not be emphasized enough how important this breakthrough is, as the methane signature from rice cultivation goes back thousands of years according to the Ruddiman Early Anthropocene Hypothesis. http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=3519#118731

    The next biggest agricultural component to methane increases is related to the way we currently practice animal husbandry. This component is primarily driven by reducing the natural processes that remove methane from the atmosphere. Since ruminants and other animals have been passing gas since the beginning of time, it is less an emissions problem but rather a symptom of soil degradation caused by the way we currently raise grains (largely to feed animals in confinement).

    In my opinion methane is an animal husbandry problem primarily because of CAFO’s. It is not a problem in a properly managed grassland/savanna biome. After all those biomes supported many millions and millions of grazers who were extirpated. The methane levels before they were extirpated were actually lower than now! According to the following studies those biomes actually reduce atmospheric methane due to the action of Methanotrophic microorganisms that use methane as their only source of energy and carbon. Even more carbon being pumped into the soil! Nitrogen too, as they are also free living nitrogen fixers.

    “Grasslands and their soils can be considered sinks for atmospheric CO2, CH4, and water vapor, and their Cenozoic evolution a contribution to long-term global climatic cooling.” Cenozoic Expansion of Grasslands and Climatic Cooling, http://blogs.uoregon.edu/gregr/files/2013/07/grasslandscooling-nhslkh.pdf

    “The subsurface location of methanotrophs means that energy
    requirements for maintenance and growth are obtained from
    CH4 concentrations that are lower than atmospheric. Soil Microorganisms as Controllers of Atmospheric Trace Gases
    (H2, CO, CH4, OCS, N2O, and NO)”, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC239458/pdf/600609.pdf

    “Upland (i.e., well-drained, oxic) soils are a net sink for atmospheric methane; as methane diffuses from the atmosphere into these soils, methane consuming (i.e., methanotrophic) bacteria oxidize it.” IMPACT OF METHANOTROPH ECOLOGY ON UPLAND METHANE BIOGEOCHEMISTRY IN GRASSLAND SOILS, https://dspace.library.colostate.edu/bitstream/handle/10217/47280/Judd_colostate_0053N_10443.pdf?sequence=1

    “Nevertheless, no CH4 was released when soil surface CH4 fluxes were measured simultaneously. The results thus demonstrate the high CH4 oxidation potential of the thin aerobic topsoil horizon in a non-aquatic ecosystem.” Methane fluxes from deferentially managed grassland study plots: the important role of CH4 oxidation in grassland with a high potential for CH4 production, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11706799

    “Of all the CH4 sources and sinks, the biotic sink strength is the most responsive to variation in human activities.” Environmental impacts on the diversity of methane-cycling microbes and their resultant function, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743065/

    “The CH4 uptake rate was only 20% of that in the woodland in an adjacent area that had been uncultivated for the same period but kept as rough grassland by the annual removal of trees and shrubs and, since 1960, grazed during the summer by sheep. It is suggested that the continuous input of urea through animal excreta was mainly responsible for this difference. Another undisturbed woodland area with an acidic soil reaction (pH 4.1) did not oxidize any CH4.” Methane oxidation in soil as affected by land use, soil pH and N fertilization, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0038071794903131

    I pulled a few quotes out to make my case, but I highly recommend you read the sources in their entirety and even find further educational materials, since this is a highly complex subject.

    The main summary being, the current system used to raise animals in confinement has removed them from the farmland, where when managed properly their methane emissions are part of a larger agricultural system that oxidizes more methane than the animals emit. Since this biological oxidation of methane occurs below the soil surface where that carbon enters the soil food web, actually animals improve the BCCS systems even more than without them. This actually has been known for decades and is well vetted, but was never quantified for climate scientists. Sir Albert Howard, father of organic agriculture https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Howard, noted this effect of reducing soil biology (resulting from removing farm animals from the land and replacing their impact with synthetic fertilizers) way back in the 1940’s.

    “As the small trickle of results grows into an avalanche — as is now happening overseas — it will soon be realized that the animal is our farming partner and no practice and no knowledge which ignores this fact will contribute anything to human welfare or indeed will have any chance either of usefulness or of survival.” Sir Albert Howard

    In my honest opinion one reason for the recent spike in atmospheric methane is simply one aspect of the fruition of Sir Albert Howard’s prediction, since we continue to ignore the biological function of the animals in a ecosystem, including artificial agricultural ecosystems.

    The third part of the link above talks about increased emissions from natural wetlands. I am less familiar with this portion of their claims, but I can hypothesize that it could potentially be related in part to agricultural runoff causing anaerobic conditions (dead zones), since most decomposition under anaerobic conditions does produce large quantities of methane.

    Fertilizer Runoff Overwhelms Streams and Rivers–Creating Vast “Dead Zones”, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fertilizer-runoff-overwhelms-streams/

    Ironically the “King Corn” lobby is so huge, that even though the above article from Scientific American admits the primary cause cropland runoff of synthetic nitrogen, they actually propose:

    “the only way to increase ethanol production from corn and reduce nitrogen runoff would be for Americans to stop eating meat, thereby freeing up corn used as livestock feed for other uses.”

    While also stating:

    “That [also] means not utilizing all the land to grow crops.”

    Apparently they don’t see the irony in these two statements. If you are not going to grow crops, and let it rest as grassland instead, then you can both produce ethanol and feed animals. So the solution of course is not to grow corn for ruminants at all and dramatically reduce its usage for other livestock. And not to use corn for ethanol production at all. (excepting a nice corn whiskey) There are other ways to feed animals and distill ethanol more efficiently than using “king corn” surpluses. So step one is to stop subsidizing the over production of corn and soy and changing our production models to more efficient regenerative models of production that don’t cause AGW. I believe this would positively effect BOTH atmospheric CO2 and CH4 without reducing end product to the consumer.

  45. 95
    Nick O. says:

    Re. hurricanes generally and climate change, there was an interesting contribution by James Baldini (Durham University, UK) on BBC local radio last weekend, which is worth listening to. I appreciate that not everyone can get access to the link but here it is, start at 4 mins along the time line:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p048s3vy

    James leads the ‘HURRICANE’ project, investigating cyclonic activity in the Nth Atlantic, main link is here:

    https://www.dur.ac.uk/earth.sciences/research/projects/hurricane/

    In rough summary – apologies for any over simplification – for the Nth Atlantic, warming world *may* lead to fewer hurricanes overall in the Nth Atlantic, but when they do manage to form, getting over wind shear and Saharan sand/dust etc., they are likely to be bigger and more damaging, potentially much more damaging. Damage need not be wind strength, as increased moisture will be a serious problem for those areas not prepared for increased rain and flooding.

    The problems in the Carolinas at the moment, post Matthew, would appear to be a case in point.

  46. 96
    Chris O'Neill says:

    #86:

    an ironic comment

    No it wasn’t irony, it was reductio ad absurdum – using logical deductions from the original premises to reach an absurd conclusion thus showing that at least some of the original premises or implications were absurd.

    The Abu Dhabi bid is a new record, and as such an outlier.

    OK so the picture isn’t quite as rosy as painted in #47. I’m glad I’m not the only person who realises that and thanks for responding more to #47 than to my comment by the way.

  47. 97
    Chris O'Neill says:

    #79 zebra:

    a Free Market, which is the antithesis of Laissez Faire

    OK. The Free Market will take care of the Carbon Dioxide problem. Thanks for the good news. We can forget about all this now.

    Happy now?

    By the way laissez-faire: abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the FREE MARKET.

  48. 98
    MA Rodger says:

    TTT @93.
    You seem to be asking whether the rain/humidity would make the wind’s kinetic energy greater & thus more destructive. Ignoring the dynamics of raindrops, the effect of adding humidity to a hurricane would be a small reduction of the density of the air being thrown about, although the air will probably be at 100% relative humidity so specific humidity would be just a product of temperature.
    There are proposed measures for the destructive power of a hurricane which attempt to improve on the standard Cat 1-to-5 of the Saffir–Simpson scale (eg see this Wiki-coverage.) Some talk of using Integrated Kinetic Energy at landfall (when the destruction mainly occurs) but the side-swipe of Matthew along the US east coast has also suggested the length of the effective coast should be a factor (eg see here for a proposed “Andrew Unit”)

  49. 99
    David Dougherty says:

    10−6 g µg microgram
    10−9 g ng nanogram
    10−12 g pg picogram

    No need to introduce mcg or pcg

  50. 100
    zebra says:

    @ Chris O’Neill,

    As I said– try to escape the influence of right-wing re-definition of terms in economics.

    There is no such thing as a laissez-faire Free Market, because without government intervention, capitalism results in monopolies. (As the most obvious form of market distortion.)

    These people have been working ever since the end of WWII to create this Orwellian language inversion.

    The more less-educated people on the Left fall for this conflation, the more difficult it is to make progress. What do you think it should be called when the government engages in anti-trust activity? Socialism?

    See you you play into their hands?