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Unforced variations: July 2019

Filed under: — group @ 2 July 2019

This month’s open thread for climate science discussions.

166 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2019”

  1. 151
    Nemesis says:

    I watched the documentary “Ice on fire” in the name of Leo DiCaprio today. And I’ m not quite amused. It’s all about symptoms and tech solutions for meddling with symptoms of climate heating, tech solutions like iron fertilization of the ocean (again? Yawn) and direct air capture ect ect.
    But not a single word about the US military being the biggest oil sucker, the biggest fossil fool of all, no word about the suicidal oil industry nor the suicidal car industry, no word about reducing consumption, less cars, less flights, less meat, less material shit and more sharing. And:

    Not a single word about the completely flawed and injust/corrupt system we live in. Com on, this multi million dollar guy acted in movies like “Wolf of Wall Street”, but, in the face of the 6th global mass extinction, Leo can’t tell a single word about how that funny money and power gamez on the way to (climate) hell work? Com on, that documentary is like telling bedtime stories for little kids on their way to the slaughterhouse. I remember “After the flood” by Leo DiCaprio and I’m curios about part 3, 4, 5, 6… of Leo’s climate documentary series already. Let’s make another documentary, let’s make another bedtime story.

    Not quite amused, but somewhat amused,
    Nemesis

  2. 152
    Nemesis says:

    Correction of my recent comment:

    I said “After the flood”, but that documentary was titled “Before the flood”, hehe. There will be no documentary anymore after the flood I bet.

  3. 153
    John Kelly says:

    This is my current opinion on climate change and uncertainty, as an educated layperson. I understand the value of knowing the components underlying a value, but ultimately there are a few way stations of knowledge that make the uncertainty that comes before them irrelevant. These are my proof is in the pudding values:

    1. CO2 concentration. Emissions reports are estimates, and potentially politically influenced. Our understanding of the various feedbacks is growing but incomplete, as there isn’t yet much to actually measure as they largely haven’t kicked in yet. However, ultimately, the CO2 concentration, a well-understood number, takes it all into account. No matter how flawed the emissions reports, whether feedbacks have begun spilling CO2 into the atmosphere, or to what degree the various carbon sinks have become more or less effective, the CO2 concentration is what is forcing the climate.

    2. Air temperature, ocean heat content, and sea level rise. We understand the GHG forcing well, and we have varying degrees of understanding of the many other forcings and feedbacks, but however the uncertainties regarding aerosols or clouds, for example (including even whether some of them are positive or negative feedbacks), are ultimately resolved, and whatever climate sensitivity ends up being, the net effect of it all will be evident in the temperature of the air and ocean, and in how much ice melts. Those are well-measured.

    There’s one more step in the climate change chain, but it’s unfortunately not subject to easy measurement as the two way stations above are. To summarize: Man burns FFs, causing CO2 concentration to skyrocket (in the million-year chart sense). GHG concentrations and related feedbacks result in higher temperatures and melted ice, also on skyrockety trajectories. What we don’t know is how the biosphere, including humanity, adapts to it all. I guess we have species extinction rates that are somewhat measurable, but that seems not well constrained. There are sure to be winners and losers, however it gets there.

    An observer of the last major climate adjustment, the move to the current interglacial, may not have had much of a guess what North American flora and fauna would look like when the ice melted, revealing a blank canvas for life to invade. The guess now is that the current change will be too fast for many species, so there will be more losers, but my impression is that we actually have little idea how the biosphere adapts to a higher temperature world. If you include humans in the equation, they, on the one hand, are endlessly adaptable and creative, and on the other, have built a civilization that seems highly interdependent, and a failure of one element could cascade through the system.

  4. 154
    Nemesis says:

    @O., #150:

    It’s all about the profit of the few at the cost of the many:

    https://www.agrarheute.com/management/betriebsfuehrung/europa-extreme-duerre-2018-koennte-norm-554546

    https://www.lobbycontrol.de/tag/landwirtschaft/

    http://agrarlobby.de/

    “Die Macht der Bauernlobby Doku HD Deutsch”
    https://youtu.be/l2C443iRaI4

    “Julia Klöckner – Die Lobby-Glucke von der Bauerntruppe – Song für Julia Klöckner | extra 3 | NDR”
    https://youtu.be/fN0HQELqHuw

    https://www.presseportal.de/pm/6347/4234856

    The economic system is a killer. Want to see real hell? Just let em go on with the system. And they will go on (for a little while) and they will see real Hell quickly.

  5. 155
    Killian says:

    #151

    BRIGHT green. Technocopian greenwasher, par excellence. One of the most dangerous men on the planet.

    Yes, folks, it’s not longer the deniers; they have been named. It’s the resource limits denialists, the greenwashers, the have-my-lattes-and-drink-em-too’s that are going to finish us off, that are going to be responsible for the final nails being put in the coffin.

  6. 156
    Chuck says:

    So what happens after forest collapse? I’m assuming extinction?

    https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-forests-on-the-verge-of-collapse-experts-report/a-49659810

    Add the Amazon Rain forest to that list as it’s about 3% away from being unsalvageable:

    https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/it-too-late-save-amazon-rainforest-scientists-say-it-reaching-point-no-return-1663575

    I’m thinking Professor James Lovelock was right on the money:

    https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

  7. 157
    Killian says:

    FYI:
    Helga Ingeborg Vierich
    July 29 at 1:02 AM ·
    Inequality causes food shortages. There are no traditional subsistence economies prone to starvation.

    Find Helga, anthropologist, on Facebook.

  8. 158
    Fred Magyar says:

    Nemesis @ 148

    You might enjoy this joke ;-)
    https://renaissancehombre.com/2018/01/07/a-priest-a-lawyer-and-an-engineer/

    There may be technical fixes to our problems…

    Cheers!

  9. 159
    Nemesis says:

    @Fred Magyar, #158

    ” There may be technical fixes to our problems…”

    Said the engineer while fixing the guillotine. The guillotine I were talking about always works (especially for priests and lawyers, hehe), it never jams, it never fails. It’s not about escaping methane nor escaping death, but one’s own shortcomings. Death is certain, there is no escape from death, but there is escape from one’s own shortcomings. Death is not the enemy, the climate is not the enemy, extinction is not the enemy, oil, coal, gas are not the enemy, technical failure is not the enemy, but greed and ignorance are the enemy.

    Face up I watched that blade moving all my life, guillotine me finally face down, I’m not striving for the heavens, I prefer to face Mother Earth as I go home, she will harbor and recover me well.

    ” When compared to the ranks
    of warriors’ stalwart hearts;
    I cannot enter into their number,
    despite this body of mine.”

    Nakano Takeko

  10. 160
    Nemesis says:

    @Killian, #155

    “… the have-my-lattes-and-drink-em-too’s that are going to finish us off, that are going to be responsible for the final nails being put in the coffin.”

    But hey, these are nice bright green nails and the coffin seems quite comfy for some sheep in wolf costume, doesn’t it?

    Although I prefer more darkish green, that blackish green, that concrete jungle green.

  11. 161
    nigelj says:

    John Kelly says “The guess now is that the current change will be too fast for many species, so there will be more losers, but my impression is that we actually have little idea how the biosphere adapts to a higher temperature world. ”

    True we dont know for sure, but several past mass extinction events correlate well with warming periods . This is easily enough googled. I can’t see why our warming period would be different in outcome, for some animal and plant species at least. Why would it? We cant do much to intervene on a massive scale. We might be able to genetically modify crops, and have conservation programmes for some selected species, but our resources are not endless so I fully expect mass extinctions.

    “If you include humans in the equation, they, on the one hand, are endlessly adaptable and creative, and on the other, have built a civilization that seems highly interdependent, and a failure of one element could cascade through the system.”

    Contries like America are complex and interdependent, but its countries like Africa that are simpler in structure that struggle most with natural disasters like droughts, disease outbreaks, earthquakes etcetera. You might want to consider why. One issue is complexity also means systems are designed to deal effectively with natural disasters. I think our instincts tell us complexity is fragile but our instincts might sometimes be wrong, for these reasons. Links in chains do break, but chains generally have backup plans.

    Of course none of this changes the fact climate change brings huge problems such as sea level rise, worsening weather on the whole, refugee problems etc which will be very damaging for virtually ALL countries.

  12. 162
    Nemesis says:

    @John Kelly, #153

    ” I guess we have species extinction rates that are somewhat measurable, but that seems not well constrained. There are sure to be winners and losers, however it gets there.”

    I love that meme:

    “There are sure to be winners and losers.”

    I’m a winner as I decided not to procreate a long time ago and I got nothing to lose at all. Ah, climate heating feels wonderful for winners like me. And the bark beetle is a winner too. Go bark beetle, this is the time for winners of climate heating, take your chance, the winner takes it all. And the grim reaper is the biggest winner of all, it will be the ultimate harvest for the grim reaper. So let’s look at the bright side of climate heating and the 6th global mess extinction.

  13. 163
    mike says:

    sound reasoning and analysis from JK at 153

    I follow CO2 readings for exactly the reasons you include.

    Nigel: you mentioned that you track sea level rise. What measurement stations exist? Which one are you following? How exactly do you track SLR?

    Mike

  14. 164
    Al Bundy says:

    Chuck’s link: Germany’s forests are undoubtedly suffering as a result of climate change, with millions of seedlings planted in the hope of diversifying and restoring forests dying, warns Ulrich Dohle, chairman of the 10,000-member Bunds Deutscher Forstleute (BDF) forestry trade union.

    AB: That supports Killian’s recent post (one of his best). Trees are like people. The young need care. The adults thrive with companionship and diversity. So, perhaps plant a few adolescents (as opposed to seedlings) each of diverse species and care for them as needed. Those trees will become seed trees that will build a forest (or help an existing forest expand).
    ____

    Nemesis: Face up I watched that blade moving all my life, guillotine me finally face down, I’m not striving for the heavens, I prefer to face Mother Earth as I go home, she will harbor and recover me well.

    AB: Excellent.

  15. 165
    Al Bundy says:

    Moved Chernobyl from “Trees” to “UV”

    Note especially that when Brown and team did the grunt work most of the time they were the FIRST people to have checked out an archive (you have to sign them out). This proves that all the stuff you’re quoting was created out of thin air. If somebody didn’t even pretend to look at the actual data, but used the esentially irrelevant Japanese bomb data to create an axiom that poo-poos the actual data so conclusively that even glancing at the data is pointless then I’d say said person was not interested in finding the truth. Victorization! “I know the answer and I refuse to question my absolute knowledge”. Note that 10 out of 10 haulers are dead and 288 out of 298 washers at the Chernihiv wool plant are dead or disabled. Hmm, which validates Ray’s point, that intelligent folks can be stupid in a D-K sort of way. EP swapped definitions (“disabled” = “retired”; “gamma” = “alpha”) instead of wondering what it is that the data actually says! (Damn you, Ray. How dare you prove me wr…wr….wr….. uh, not entirely correct)

    EP, I like you so far. Sorry for being blunt. I figure you can take it and I suspect that you may grow because of it (that’s a compliment).

    And here’s the BBC’s take. They got significant (but not all of their) data from Kate Brown’s book:

    “Even now the Ukrainian government is paying benefits to 36,525 women who are considered to be widows of men who suffered as a result of the Chernobyl accident.”

    “Mortality rates in radiation contaminated areas have been growing progressively higher than the rest of the Ukraine. They peaked in 2007 when more than 26 people out of every 1,000 died compared to the national average of 16 for every 1,000.”

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190725-will-we-ever-know-chernobyls-true-death-toll

    A thought experiment:

    Say you get a cut. Once first aid is finished the most important thing is to not re-damage the area. Gamma radiation zings through you and a bit hits various random cells on its way through. The damage is diffuse and each area generally only gets hit once. You endured a lot of microscopic “cuts”.

    Now, place a bit of fallout in your intestine. A single spot in the single layer of cells lining your gut gets damaged repeatedly, as if you cut yourself in the same place every day because instead of missing the neighboring cells most of the time (or getting blocked by the dead and dying cells in your skin) they whack the cells most of the time. So though the gamma may have been a larger dose it is way way way less dangerous. Repeated damage in the same spot is the enemy. EP, think of alpha and beta like thermal neutrons and gamma like non-moderated neutrons. Which is gonna “chain-reaction” you into a wheelchair, a bed, or a grave?

  16. 166
    Nemesis says:

    @Al Bundy, #164

    ” The adults thrive with companionship and diversity. So, perhaps plant a few adolescents (as opposed to seedlings) each of diverse species and care for them as needed. Those trees will become seed trees that will build a forest (or help an existing forest expand).”

    Old, young and adolescent trees, none can live without water. The main killer is the lack of rain and groundwater. You can seed as much trees as you like, but without sufficient water, forget about it. The drought we see in Europe is a desaster never seen before. Sure, there were droughts before, but there are other factors that add up to a real GAU that doesn’t compare to the past. The gap between water and consumption is growing ever more. Soil compression prevents the soil from sucking up water sufficiently to fill up the groundwater table. The precipitation patterns changed completely. Last year record temperatures were burning the leaves, this year again. Fine particles from ever growing traffic aerosol emissions cover the leaves and constipate the stomata of the leaves, the photosynthesis can’t work properly anymore. The ecosystem as a whole can’t cope with the pace of change and multitude of factors. It’s a vicous cycle.