Global Cooling will kill us all!

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by williaty » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:04 am

LowKey wrote:Somewhat of a follow up to the previous question (also not a sarcastic dig)-
In the past it had been belived that the onset of glacation was gradual, and this theory persisted for decades until further research and discoveries displaced it with the present theory thprocessestion is much more rapid, occurring over a few decades.
What evidence do we have that supports that a natural post glaciation return to the "normal" hotter baseline temperature is a gradual change rather than a rapid one? There have been mass extinction events in the past....could they not in some cases been caused by rapid warming of the climate? One I am thinking of is the sie off of mega fauna at the end of a previous period of glaciation....
One of the biggies? The ice cores at the Byrd Polar Research Center. Which I have actually helped carry in a panic when their freezers died one day.

To rebut your main point: Rapid climate change is absolutely not "proven to be the norm. Neither is it entirely unprecedented, it is just very rare.

Anyway, yes, there are periods of rapid climate change in the geological record, though not quite as rapid as the impression that you've been given. However, the OVERWHELMING number of climate change cycles have been EXTREMELY slow by human terms, on the order of hundreds of thousands of years. Here's the kicker: every single one of the fast ones was accompanied by a mass extinction event to a greater or lesser degree. When rate of climate change exceeds the ability of the species to evolve in lockstep, we tend to lose a significant fraction of the total species of life on earth. So, while there are a few examples of climate change in the past approaching the rate at which it's happening now (though usually in the other direction, strangely), it still means we're going to get our asses kicked.

Also, you really need to be careful when you hear a geologist or a climate scientist use words like "rapid" or phrases like "relatively brief". They don't always use words the same way you do. I've actually had a geologist use the phrase "a relatively brief 200,000 year period" to describe a particular glaciation event in casual conversation. Another paper I'm reading right now is referring to "rapid cold and hot phases resulting in significant changes to glaciation". Those "rapid phases" are 1,500 years long.
Not that the answer would change the conditions humanity to which humanity would need to rapidly adapt, but if rapid climate change in both warming and cooling are proven to be the norm then perhaps people would stop wasting time blaming themselves and others for a natural process that can't be stopped and direct their energies and resources to adapting to the change.
Finally, as far as "stop wasting our time blaming ourselves" the problem is that no one except the talking heads on TV are doing that. We know beyond doubt that many of the byproducts of the industrial age (CO2, methane, etc) are forces in the overall climate that increase heating. It really doesn't matter if the current upswing in temperatures is solely the result of that or if it's just bad luck that we did bad things at the same time we hit a bad phase of the cycle. What matters is that, for whatever reason, the system is heading in a direction that's very bad for us and we are doing things we know make it worse. Step one to surviving is to stop making it worse by reducing the amount that we're doing to force the system hotter.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:21 am

Tater Raider wrote:
dogbane wrote:
We'reWolf wrote:also someone said that the last ice age was 10,000 years ago which i think didn't take into account the mini ice age that happened from 1400-1800/1900's.
Geologically speaking, we are still in an ice age, albeit an interglacial period. Maybe not for much longer, though.
The following is a legit question and not a sarcastic dig: Would that mean that global warming would be the climate returning to its correct baseline and that the main problem with global warming is the issues it causes homo sapiens?
There is no "correct" baseline for climate in any meaningful sense, apart from radiative equilibrium (i.e. incoming and outgoing radiation in balance). Just like there is no one "correct" balance for a bank account. The climate is either in approximate equilibrium or it's not.

The "problem" of global warming is that we have jacked up radiative forcing necessitating a warming to a higher equilibrium temperature. There's nothing inherently good or bad or correct or not correct about doing this per se- if Earth was lifeless there wouldn't be much to worry about. Rather, as you say, it's the knock on consequences to us and other facets of the biosphere that are what make things problematic.
Last edited by ghostface on Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by williaty » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:34 am

I re-read the thread and realized I needed to add some to my reply to you.
Tater Raider wrote:The following is a legit question and not a sarcastic dig: Would that mean that global warming would be the climate returning to its correct baseline and that the main problem with global warming is the issues it causes homo sapiens?
First, there's insufficient justification for calling hotter temperatures "correct baseline" largely due to the fallacy of the idea of there being a "correct" value. If you look at the entirety of all the global temperature data we have from all different sources, what you'll find is a overall long term (long term meaning hundreds of millions to billions of years) cooling trend through basically the entire history of the earth. When you think about the fact that we started as a molten ball of rock and went through a bunch of phases where the atmosphere was damned near made of greenhouse gasses, this makes sense. That would lead pundits with a insufficient grasp of statistics, geophysics, and thermodynamics to assume that "normal" was hotter than now since the mean temperature, taken over huge spans of time in the far, far distant past, was higher. What that fails to acknowledge is that there are basic physical processes at work that aren't right or wrong, correct or incorrect, they just are the universe happening. The trend of those processes is gradually downwards if you use a big enough average. In fact, a better analysis is to look at the average change of the average temperature (1st derivative of temperature). Over the entire geologic record, this value is negative (getting colder) more often than it's positive.

But all of that is completely irrelevant.

What the climate was 100,000 years ago doesn't matter to any living thing on earth. What the climate will be 100,000 years from now doesn't matter to any living thing on earth. The only thing that matters to any living thing on earth is "Is the climate changing faster than I can keep up?". This applies to us, to deer, to mosquitoes, to pine trees, to phytoplankton, and to mold. So, scientists are alarmed about climate change due to the fact that the data shows the climate is changing at a rate faster than rates historically shown to cause mass extinctions. If the climate changes too rapidly, all the species on earth are at risk of dying out due to not being able to thrive in the new conditions. When this happens slowly, it produces evolution. When it happens rapidly, it produces mass extinction. In theory, we humans, as tool using, brain thinking, learning, adaptable animals, should be able to out technological-ify the rate of climate change. In reality, there's a whole lot of inertia to societies and they generally are reluctant to admit to changes and react to them. Further, we set near the top of a whole massive pyramid of other species that are absolutely required for our survival. We can "afford" to lose a few species along the way. It's like a big tent. You can pop a few guy lines or crack a pole or two without the whole thing coming down. The sticking point for us is that we have no real clue which species represent safety-factor guy lines and which species are the ones that represent the center support poles. Since all those species are at risk to climate change and they don't have the ability to (in theory) tool-use themselves to safety, one of them could die and pull the necessary support right out from underneath us. And of course, that's in addition to the civilization challenges I mentioned in my first reply to you.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:39 am

LowKey wrote:Somewhat of a follow up to the previous question (also not a sarcastic dig)-
In the past it had been belived that the onset of glacation was gradual, and this theory persisted for decades until further research and discoveries displaced it with the present theory thprocessestion is much more rapid, occurring over a few decades.
This sounds like you're confusing/conflating actual glaciation onset with perhaps something like the Younger Dryas.
What evidence do we have that supports that a natural post glaciation return to the "normal" hotter baseline temperature is a gradual change rather than a rapid one?
See my earlier comment about the fallacy of "normal". Ice cores, for example, clearly illustrate the sawtooth behavior of gradual cooling and rapid warming.

Image
There have been mass extinction events in the past....could they not in some cases been caused by rapid warming of the climate?
Absolutely. The End Permian and the End Triassic mass extinctions were examples of greenhouse warming driven (plus other stuff) mass extinction.
One I am thinking of is the sie off of mega fauna at the end of a previous period of glaciation....
Biodiversity loss at the end of the LGM doesn't arise to the level of one of the larger mass extinction events. The loss of Pleistocene megafauna you're probably thinking of preceded warming and coincided with human hunting in many areas, although a climatological component probably contributed.
Not that the answer would change the conditions humanity to which humanity would need to rapidly adapt, but if rapid climate change in both warming and cooling are proven to be the norm then perhaps people would stop wasting time blaming themselves and others for a natural process that can't be stopped and direct their energies and resources to adapting to the change.
Cause and effect have meaning. The existence of past episodes of non-anthropogenic warming no more preclude anthropogenic warming than the existence of forest fires prior to human evolution precludes that any may be started by arson. Moreover identifying the cause is hugely important to our options of what to do about it. If the sun was magically getting hotter, that might point to a different response (e.g. shortwave radiation management) than reigning in GHG emissions in terms of efficacy. That we're driving the present warming via GHGs is a nontrivial fact that informs our policy options.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by LowKey » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:40 am

ghostface wrote: Cause and effect have meaning. The existence of past episodes of non-anthropogenic warming no more precludef anthropogenic warming than the existence of forest fires prior to human evolution precludes that any may be started by arson. Moreover identifying the cause is hugely important to our options of what to do about it. If the sun was magically getting hotter, that might point to a different response (e.g. shortwave radiation management) than reigning in GHG emissions in terms of efficacy. That we're driving the present warming via GHGs is a nontrivial fact that informs our policy options.

How much of the GHG are caused by present day human activity vs natural sources, and at what level would we reach a point of diminishing returns in regard to cutting human GHG emmisions to reduce the rate of change?
If we managed to do so, how much addtional time to adapt would that gain us, and is the addtional time that might be gained (as this is apparently an inevitable natural process) worth the reduction in net productivity that could be focused on adapting to the change faster than we are currently.

Simple (perhaps flawed) analogy*-
Your ship has been hulled by an iceburg and the hole is too large to repair and will inevitably cause you to sink.
Your crew has lower cargo doors open at the waterline to deploy lifeboats, and addtional water leaks onboard through those doors. You can reduce this addtional flooding at the cost of increasing the time needed to get the lifeboats in the water. Closing all of them delays your ship sinking the longest but you wont have any lifeboats in the water when it inevitably does so.
Where do you draw the line, and what hard numbers are being used?

Has anyone credible done serious projections on the real world effects based on differing levels of reductions in emmisions combined with said reductions effect on industry and infrastructure's ability to help us adapt to the inevitable change?

I.E. "X" ammount of reduction gives us climatary changes of "y" at 10 years, "z" at 20, but will result in max production levels and resources we can direct to adapting below what is needed to achieve that goal prior to year 20.
Reductions of "X-10%" result in "y" in 8 years and "z" in 16, but leave production at levels high enough to achieve adaptation prior to year 16.

If so, they should be dumbed down to a laymans level and all published, as it seems the only version put out there for public consumption is the senario that justifies "zero emmisions is the only way".

Code: Select all

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(Appologies for a slightly disjointed post,  my phone isn't cooperating today)

*Yes, I know lifeboats are not suposes to be stored below decks.[/size]
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:21 am

LowKey wrote:How much of the GHG are caused by present day human activity vs natural sources
Absent human sources of GHGs, carbon sources and sinks are in rough equilibrium- i.e. the amount of GHGs produced by natural processes is balanced by the amount taken up by the terrestrial biosphere, the ocean, and weathering. Thus, anthro GHGs are not the only GHGs, but they comprise essentially the entirety of the change in GHG concentrations.
and at what level would we reach a point of diminishing returns in regard to cutting human GHG emmisions to reduce the rate of change?
The goal is to stabilize emissions in a way that causes the least amount of damage to the environment and human society, especially in consideration of human development. There is no desire to reduce GHG emissions to zero. That would be impossible. The goal is to stabilize our emissions trajectory so that we end up with less than a doubling of preindustrial CO2. This is a sort of half political, half economic guesstimate of what is both technologically feasible and will result in the least amount of restriction to human development while minimizing harm. There are some pretty convincing reasons to suspect that this is actually too much warming (e.g. the long term stability of the Greenland and West and East Antarctic Ice Sheets), but that is what the current international negotiations are shooting for.

So there is a definite focus on not trying to do too much, to the point where the solution is more harmful than the problem.
If we managed to do so, how much addtional time to adapt would that gain us, and is the addtional time that might be gained (as this is apparently an inevitable natural process) worth the reduction in net productivity that could be focused on adapting to the change faster than we are currently.
I'm not really sure what you're asking here. What is going to happen is a mix of three outcomes: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. Mitigation means preventing future change. Adaptation means (hopefully preemptively) preparing for future change that we cannot prevent. Suffering refers to harms we have and will endure due to change that is not prevented nor sufficiently adapted against.

Paraphrasing John Holdren, our future will be some combination of mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. How much of each we do is up to us. We have locked in some amount of suffering and the necessity of some amount of adaptation. How much more suffering and adaptation we will need has to do with how much mitigation and adaptation we pursue now. The more we mitigate, the less adaptation we'll need. The more mitigation and adaptation we pursue, the smaller the amount of future suffering. Mitigating is, in the long run, the cheapest option. But the short term incentives, absent some sort of price signal, are perversely all against it.

We have the technological capability to stabilize emissions anywhere from "not at all" (i.e. burning all the available fossil fuels) to actually reducing levels below their current value. As I mentioned, the current plan is to reduce emissions until we stabilize at roughly doubled preindustrial CO2 levels. That will still result in significant climatic change, necessitating a great deal of adaptation and entailing some unavoidable suffering.

I guess what I am not clear on is the time component to your question.
Simple (perhaps flawed) analogy*-
Your ship has been hulled by an iceburg and the hole is too large to repair and will inevitably cause you to sink.
Your crew has lower cargo doors open at the waterline to deploy lifeboats, and addtional water leaks onboard through those doors. You can reduce this addtional flooding at the cost of increasing the time needed to get the lifeboats in the water. Closing all of them delays your ship sinking the longest but you wont have any lifeboats in the water when it inevitably does so.
Where do you draw the line, and what hard numbers are being used?
Okay, I sort of think I get where you're coming from. Think of it this way, though:

How do you adapt to rising sea level? That question seems pretty straightforward, if you have a finite quantity of sea level rise (SLR) in mind. At ~0.5m of SLR over the next 100 years, the problem is pretty manageable with traditional engineering schemes. At ~1m over the next 100 years, it's a lot less manageable. So the amount and rate surely matter. But here's the kicker: SLR doesn't just stop at a given amount if GHGs aren't stabilized. Water keeps expanding and ice sheets keep decaying.

How do you adapt to SLR that has no effective upper bound? What sort of policymaker is going to spend funds for adaptation to meters and meters of sea level rise hundreds of years from now? But if no one does, what happens to a coastal city like Miami?

This is why the cost effective option is to mitigate as much as we can and adapt to the rest.
Has anyone credible done serious projections on the real world effects based on differing levels of reductions in emmisions combined with said reductions effect on industry and infrastructure's ability to help us adapt to the inevitable change?
There is a good deal of economic modeling being done, but let's be clear, here: what is "the inevitable change" you're referring to?
If so, they should be dumbed down to a laymans level and all published, as it seems the only version put out there for public consumption is the senario that justifies "zero emmisions is the only way".
I don't agree at all that this is "the only version put out there for public consumption". In fact, the plan, as I mentioned, is to slowly ramp down until we stabilize, but at higher GHG levels than present. Can you explain how you got this impression?
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Tater Raider » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:52 pm

ghostface wrote:
LowKey wrote:How much of the GHG are caused by present day human activity vs natural sources
Absent human sources of GHGs, carbon sources and sinks are in rough equilibrium- i.e. the amount of GHGs produced by natural processes is balanced by the amount taken up by the terrestrial biosphere, the ocean, and weathering. Thus, anthro GHGs are not the only GHGs, but they comprise essentially the entirety of the change in GHG concentrations.
I completely disagree with this statement, and here's why: part of the carbon cycle consists of volcanic eruptions and you can't predict those. You can do an average over decades on how much they emit but all it takes to throw that out of whack is a VEI 8 - geologists have found 10 of those in the entirity of Earth's history.

1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption was a VEI 5 and released 0.003 km³ of ash containing 0.01 billion metric tons (Gigaton or Gt) of carbon dioxide. Using math the Huckleberry Ridge eruption, estimated at 2,500 km³ would have released 8,300+ Gt of carbon dioxide, dwarfing the 35 Gt from anthropogenic sources. The thing is Yellowstone is a hot spot volcano while Mt. St. Helens is a subduction zone volcano (48.9% v. 1.44% carbon dioxide content) so if we correct for that you end up with 282,000+ Gt of carbon dioxide. On average it's balanced but that's an average, not a specific decade or century.

What you have pointed out though is that the system is self-correcting if given enough time and that I can agree with. I'll further that and say that this includes anthropogenic greenhouse gasses. Again, long-term.

Additionally, the GHG with the largest impact is water vapor. Here's a link to a 2010 NOAA article on the drop in water vapor.

While we know quite a bit about GHG's and there is a lot of scientific study ongoing I'm not convinced we have a grip on what is going on when they don't know what caused a reduction in the largest (by volume) greenhouse gas out there in a region where it would have the largest impact and why the water vapor feedback loop didn't apply in the 00's.

Note: I'm not saying the climate isn't changing. It is. It always is, because that's what it does (geologically speaking - long term). That we might happen to be living during an event when the climate may be rapidly changing is just luck of the draw and mankind has had an effect on this but then again everything, as far as I can tell, does and that's the part where it gets tricky. I mean we have a good grip on volcanism but predicting an eruption is difficult and we have a good understanding of plate tectonics but accurately predicting earthquakes is beyond us.

That doesn't mean I shouldn't bother with conservation efforts for myself, but it does mean every single claim made I view skeptically bedcause I've been around just long enough to see climate forecasts made that didn't come to pass.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:35 pm

Tater Raider wrote:I completely disagree with this statement, and here's why: part of the carbon cycle consists of volcanic eruptions and you can't predict those. You can do an average over decades on how much they emit but all it takes to throw that out of whack is a VEI 8 - geologists have found 10 of those in the entirity of Earth's history.
A couple things:

* There are more than 10 VEI 8 eruptions known throughout Earth's history.

* VEI is not a measure of volatiles (i.e. what we're interested in, GHGs) output. Flood basalts aren't particularly explosive but put out a tremendous amount of GHGs.

* If supervolcanic eruptions are the source of such a tremendous amount of CO2, you can point out the uptick in CO2 due to the Mt. Toba eruption here?

Image

Or the Oruanui eruption?

Image

Both were VEI 8s. So where are the spikes?
1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption was a VEI 5 and released 0.003 km³ of ash containing 0.01 billion metric tons (Gigaton or Gt) of carbon dioxide. Using math the Huckleberry Ridge eruption, estimated at 2,500 km³ would have released 8,300+ Gt of carbon dioxide, dwarfing the 35 Gt from anthropogenic sources. The thing is Yellowstone is a hot spot volcano while Mt. St. Helens is a subduction zone volcano (48.9% v. 1.44% carbon dioxide content) so if we correct for that you end up with 282,000+ Gt of carbon dioxide.
I'm not going to check your math, but your purported CO2 release doesn't sound remotely correct. If it were, there should be a spike for the Yellowstone eruption here:

Image

Where is it?

Keep in mind, the spike from anthro emissions is clearly visible as a dramatic increase above preindustrial levels for the past 800,000 years:

Image
On average it's balanced but that's an average, not a specific decade or century.
I'm not sure what you're arguing here. You seem to acknowledge that volcanic CO2 gets reabsorbed, so that the system is in relative equilibrium, at least over longer timescales. That's correct. But you also seem to be implying that volcanism dwarfs anthro emissions, which is demonstrably not correct.
What you have pointed out though is that the system is self-correcting if given enough time and that I can agree with. I'll further that and say that this includes anthropogenic greenhouse gasses. Again, long-term.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Yes, eventually terrestrial silicate weathering and ocean carbonate buffering will bring CO2 concentrations back down to levels approaching what they were prior to human emission, but that's over timescales of thousands of years. That's effectively indefinite in terms of formulating policy responses to changes that we are choosing to force or not.
Additionally, the GHG with the largest impact is water vapor.


In the troposphere, yes. However, water vapor isn't a really a forcing per se, but rather functions as a feedback to other radiative forcings. If you could magically suck all of the water vapor out of the atmosphere instantaneously, it would evaporate back within a week; similarly, a huge increase in water vapor will precipitate out over a similar timeframe.

By contrast, if you drew down all of the CO2, Earth would become an iceball, with almost no atmospheric water vapor.
While we know quite a bit about GHG's


That's an enormous understatement. The physics of greenhouse gases have been well-described for more than a century and are completely uncontroversial.
I'm not convinced


Your personal level of being convinced isn't really at issue, is it? Surely you would recognize that what is known in the relevant scientific community is going to far exceed what someone is exposed to passively, right?
we have a grip on what is going on when they don't know what caused a reduction in the largest (by volume) greenhouse gas out there in a region where it would have the largest impact and why the water vapor feedback loop didn't apply in the 00's.
You're conflating two very different phenomena. Water vapor is a meaningful greenhouse gas in the troposphere, but it is a very minor player in the stratosphere. The effect discussed in the NOAA article you linked to refers to the latter and has little relevance to the issue of long term GHG emissions. I am happy to go into greater depth about that if need be, but it is a distraction rather than something of great significance.
Note: I'm not saying the climate isn't changing. It is. It always is, because that's what it does (geologically speaking - long term).
This sounds like an evasion of the fact that humans are responsible for the measured increase in GHGs, or else that the source of the change matters in terms of policy response.
That we might happen to be living during an event when the climate may be rapidly changing is just luck of the draw
This is simply not true. The present climatic change is not "luck", it is the consequence of our actions.
mankind has had an effect on this but then again everything, as far as I can tell, does and that's the part where it gets tricky.


I don't understand what you mean here. If you are somehow confused as to the relative influence of anthro GHGs vs. other drivers (volcanic, solar, orbital, etc.) of climatic change over timescales of relevance to policy-making, I am happy to go over what each is, but anthro has been larger for decades and will continue to grow relatively larger as long as we increase our emissions.
I mean we have a good grip on volcanism but predicting an eruption is difficult
Individual eruptions have a short term cooling effect, provided they are significantly large (and capable of lofting aerosols into the stratosphere) and situated near the tropics (to ensure widespread dispersion). As I mentioned, their contribution to radiative forcing in the other direction (i.e. warming) is negligible.
and we have a good understanding of plate tectonics but accurately predicting earthquakes is beyond us.
Earthquakes have zero relevance to climatic change induced by changes to radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere. Our ability to forecast them even less so.
That doesn't mean I shouldn't bother with conservation efforts for myself, but it does mean every single claim made I view skeptically


The default position of skepticism is to defer to the scientific mainstream, absent some sort of compelling evidence to do otherwise. Is that the position that you believe you are taking with respect to this issue?
bedcause I've been around just long enough to see climate forecasts made that didn't come to pass.
I'm not sure what you're referring to here, and I'm not sure what relevance it's supposed to have to this discussion. Can you clarify?

Cheers.
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Tater Raider » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:40 pm

Data was extrapolated from the USGS website's measurements as found here and here and I was obviously incorrect in using simple proportional math.

I was trying to demonstrate that short term (and anthroprogenic global warming is, goelogically speaking, short term) that natural greenhouse emissions can spike larger than anything man has done. I failed and admit to as much.

I'm not sure why you took part of one sentance and declared I understated the matter. (EtA: that would be like me quoting you saying, "terrestrial silicate weathering and ocean carbonate buffering will bring CO2 concentrations back down to levels approaching what they were prior to human emission," and using that to declare, "See? I told you so." Context matters.)

As for evasion, yes and no. Humans cannot hold the climate stable over time, period. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do something to reduce what we as individuals cause. Discussing policy matters would be political and we don't do that here.

As for luck, you or I could have been born 2,000 years earlier or later than we happened to be born in addition to other factors which include the effects of human activity.

I disagree with the default position of skepicism. The default possition is to air your views and let them be knocked down if they can be or stand on their own merit. In other words, "My family is from Missouri. Show me." To accept what someone says, scientist or no, at face value is the default possition of someone who doesn't think for themselves, skeptic or no. You are obviously my better on this topic and I'm glad to admit it and to change my views as a result of your response and I'll continue to change them as more evidence comes in but if scientist tells me the sky is falling expect me to say, "Hang on just a damned minute there..." and argue, politely and respectfully, with them and then make up my own mind as to if it's falling or not.

To clarify my statement on climate forecasts not coming to pass, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper global cooling was the rage. Before then it was warming. Before that was cooling, and so on back to the turn of the century. It's going to change weather patterns, cause massive droughts in the grain belt, flood out deserts, etc. I've seen exactly none of this. I've seen weather, but I've seen no short-term predictions made by climatologists actually happen that weren't just plain old weather.

If I ruffled your feathers a bit I'm sorry that it happened as that wasn't my intent.

I have a question for you on ice core samples. How year-specific can you get on those? Again, not trying to nit-pick, I'm trying to see what's what.


EtA: Just to be clear, I'm an idiot with too much time on his hands in desperate need of a hobby and not in any way, shape, or form something resembling an expert. That doesn't mean I don't want to see the man behind the curtain though.
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Nutpantz » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:50 pm

I look at it like the weather report for next week.
The weather man might be right, he might be wrong, but really every one else is just guessing,the weather man is trying to predict with a scientific model at least..
My plans for that week will show that.
But come next week I deal with the day as it happens.

As for global warming, cooling etc.
Thankfully I'll be dead before it's a serious issue either way. The children will suffer for the sins of the father. But that is the way it always is.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by williaty » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:55 pm

Nutpantz wrote:Thankfully I'll be dead before it's a serious issue either way.
Unless you are in your 90s or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this is likely not true.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:10 pm

ghostface wrote:
That doesn't mean I shouldn't bother with conservation efforts for myself, but it does mean every single claim made I view skeptically


The default position of skepticism is to defer to the scientific mainstream, absent some sort of compelling evidence to do otherwise. Is that the position that you believe you are taking with respect to this issue?
Who was it that defined "skepticism" that way? I can see how advantageous it would be to say "No, you're not a skeptic, because the definition of 'skeptic' is to agree with us in absence of you finding out otherwise." Changing the definitions of words and terms, and broadcasting your preferred interpretation enough so that anyone questioning you is no longer valid is very common, and total bullshit.

I don't know if you can see it that way or not.

Thanks for keeping this thread going Andy and Ghostface.
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Tater Raider » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:31 pm

williaty wrote:
Nutpantz wrote:Thankfully I'll be dead before it's a serious issue either way.
Unless you are in your 90s or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this is likely not true.
So we have, what, six months? :awesome:

More seriously, what effects do you forsee in the next 5 years (ignoring the diagnosis of terminal illness rule-of-thumb of less than a year or the length of the average hospice stay of 69 days).

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by williaty » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:52 pm

Tater Raider wrote:More seriously, what effects do you forsee in the next 5 years?
Keep in mind that we're talking about probabilities and trends, so it's not like we're going to wake up one day and the world is going to be different. I'm sure a lot of this is stuff we're going to bitch about at the time but won't really understand what happened until we're looking backwards at 10 year averages, at least.

-Coastal flooding from storm surge seems likely to be worse than it has been
-We're going to fight about water more (combination both of droughts of longer duration than typical and also of time and type of precipitation changing, leading to not having enough water when we want it)
-Increase in utility problems, specifically electricity. If you look at current data, the nighttime lows are increasing with surprising rapidity. That actually is a big part of why people are claiming that it doesn't feel like it's getting hotter. They don't notice that summer nights are several degrees warmer than the historical average, what with being asleep at the time. This is going to manifest as more air conditioners running more often overnight, with obvious implications. This also changes equilibrium temperatures in large infrastructure that has enough heat capacitance to lag behind daytime heating.

Is any of that end of the world stuff? Absolutely not. But it does have a social and economic cost associated with it.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:08 pm

Vicarious_Lee wrote:Who was it that defined "skepticism" that way?
It's a pretty standard view in actual skeptic circles, e.g. here.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:16 pm

Tater Raider wrote:More seriously, what effects do you forsee in the next 5 years
On interannual timescales, the effect of natural variability, particularly related to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, is going to have a larger impact on metrics like global average temps, precip, tropical cyclones, etc. than greenhouse gas emissions will. We will almost certainly see the hottest year on record within the next five years, coinciding with the next moderate to strong El Niño. Year to year, "weather" is important. Over decadal and longer timescales, changes to the boundary conditions of the climate, like our increase in greenhouse gases, have a more noticeable impact.

So in the example of the hottest year, which specific year breaks the new record will be a result of internal variability in the climate system resulting in a positive ENSO. The fact that even La Niña years are now among the hottest on record and much weaker El Niños result in record breaking years is a result of the greenhouse warming of the background climate.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by phil_in_cs » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:08 am

ghostface wrote:The default position of skepticism is to defer to the scientific mainstream, absent some sort of compelling evidence to do otherwise. Is that the position that you believe you are taking with respect to this issue?
Skeptics agreed with the Church versus Galileo and Copernicus? I am not disputing AGW, I just see this as an odd definition of skepticism.

In any event, with Russia withdrawing from Kyoto (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_31/Russi ... -Protocol/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) and the lack of adoption of any meaningful measures by other nations, we will find out over the next few decades what the results are.
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:52 am

I always thought of it as this:
skep·tic
/ˈskeptik/
Noun
1.A person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.
Emphasis added and entirely mine.


On topic:

I appreciate the trends and probabilities disclaimer (not sarcasm, I really do appreciate it - it's honest).

So what I'm watching for is bigger storm surges, longer droughts, and the hottest year since we started keeping weather records, all globally averaged. If we get 2 out of 3 I can accept that we are in the midst of a climate change. It could be business as usual but I have a forecast based of predictive models so probably it isn't. I'm a skeptic but when I can see the hand writing on the wall I have to cop to it.

I am going to discount the increase in utility issues as I think you cannot seperate what's caused by climate change from what's caused by an ever increasing population and an aging infrastructure. Keep in mind I used the words "I am" and "I think" - too many things can affect the data and I'm not sure modern science, as it stands at this time, can seperate the wheat from the chaff. I'll stipulate that we will be able to look back on things and possibly see the trend well after the fact, as williaty stated.

I'm a bit confused on the El Niño/La Niña thing ghostface. Are you saying that the currents will become stronger, weaker, or one stronger and the other weaker?

The other thing is the ice core samples: how easily can you isolate a single year/decade/century/milenia 10,000 years ago on one of those? 100,000 years? 500,000 years? How far back do they go? How does melt/compression (and resulting heating)/sublimation affect older ice core samples?

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:20 am

phil_in_cs wrote:Skeptics agreed with the Church versus Galileo and Copernicus? I am not disputing AGW, I just see this as an odd definition of skepticism.
I am not making claims about what the word might have meant to different groups hundreds of years ago. I am simply discussing its modern usage in the skeptic movement.
In any event, with Russia withdrawing from Kyoto (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_31/Russi ... -Protocol/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)


Russia's a bad example, because they're well below their emissions targets and have no need to participate in order to do so (a result of the collapse of the USSR, mostly).
and the lack of adoption of any meaningful measures by other nations, we will find out over the next few decades what the results are.
Climatic changes over the next few decades will be strongly influenced by emissions already in the atmosphere, as there is a significant lag in the climate system due to the thermal inertia of the ocean. If everyone froze emissions at present levels tomorrow, we would continue to warm for quite some time.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:12 am

Tater Raider wrote:So what I'm watching for is bigger storm surges, longer droughts, and the hottest year since we started keeping weather records, all globally averaged.
The hottest year (absent a significant low latitude volcanic cooling) is very strong bet. But it would be foolish to believe that we must necessarily see any sort of record breaking drought length or storm surge within the next five years purely on the basis of greenhouse warming. We very well might, but it will be due to a combination of changes in background conditions and internal variability within the climate system. It's entirely possible for the latter to offset the former over such short timescales.
If we get 2 out of 3 I can accept that we are in the midst of a climate change.
You should accept that we are in the midst of a climatic change due to our changes in the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere and ocean and the multidecadal changes in climatic indices that we've observed as a result- not any two or three examples over a five year stretch. The next five years being particularly bad or mild will not be particularly informative about the state of the climate.
I am going to discount the increase in utility issues as I think you cannot seperate what's caused by climate change from what's caused by an ever increasing population and an aging infrastructure.
That's a good point. Increase in population and especially the location of populations, failure to upkeep infrastructure, etc. can all exacerbate problems caused by climatic fluctuations and even create them in the absence of any. Best way to judge climate is on climate.
I'm a bit confused on the El Niño/La Niña thing ghostface. Are you saying that the currents will become stronger, weaker, or one stronger and the other weaker?
El Niño and La Niña are the positive and negative phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation respectively. El Niños tend to make it globally hotter, while La Niñas tend to make it globally cooler, as warm water piled up in the Tropical Pacific ocean gets smeared around (or not). These aren't changes in the total energy in the climate system, but rather are just redistribution of what's already there. In a stationary climate, the net effect of ENSO is neutral, the warming from El Niños and cooling from La Niñas don't amount to any long term trend. We're not in a stationary climate, however, and the ups and downs from ENSO are superimposed on a longer term warming trend.

This can have the effect of making short slices of time seem to have trends that are greater or much lower than what they actually are, if one cherry-picks the start and end points to take advantage of the bumps and dips. The next significant bump we get will break the globally averaged temperature record (again), but this doesn't have anything to do with ENSO getting stronger or weaker.

I don't know if that actually answered your question.
The other thing is the ice core samples: how easily can you isolate a single year/decade/century/milenia 10,000 years ago on one of those? 100,000 years? 500,000 years?
It depends on which cores we're talking about. Some cores for specific locations have resolution fine enough to pick out individual events (like significant volcanism) that lasted a year or so. For the very long term ice core record created by stitching together multiple cores from different locations, the effective resolution may drop off significantly, but that's also a matter of the resolution of the layers themselves in combination with the dominance of local weather over global change on such short timescales. So, it depends on what you're looking for and where you're looking for it. For global changes, millennial (1,000 yr) scale resolution is generally a safe bet. Decadal scale resolution is reasonable for some cores (particularly in Greenland). Individual events would be special cases. For local/regional change, seasonal records exist for some cores.
How far back do they go?
At present, ice cores go back 800,000 years, but we have proxy records for things like temp and CO2 that go much further back. The nice thing about the ice cores, though, is that they're trapping the actual atmosphere, giving us direct rather than indirect data for atmospheric chemistry.
How does melt/compression (and resulting heating)/sublimation affect older ice core samples?
Such processes can reduce the resolution of the record, but there are ways to minimize their effects, e.g. here, etc.
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by LowKey » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:31 am

ghostface wrote:
LowKey wrote:How much of the GHG are caused by present day human activity vs natural sources
Absent human sources of GHGs, carbon sources and sinks are in rough equilibrium- i.e. the amount of GHGs produced by natural processes is balanced by the amount taken up by the terrestrial biosphere, the ocean, and weathering. Thus, anthro GHGs are not the only GHGs, but they comprise essentially the entirety of the change in GHG concentrations.
Again this isn't intended to be sarcastic or disparaging in any way, just an atemmpt to get as definative an answer as possible....

I may be reading too much into your statement above, but it seems that what you said is that absent mankind and the GHG we have produced there would be no warming trend on the global climate.....is that a valid understanding of your statement?

If so, what trends/changes would have occured (based of modeling) if mankinds GHG emmisions were removed from the equation?

Would there still be a warming trend, and if so at what rate, and how much would/does said rate vary from the trend calculated based on current studies (which include mankinds GHG emmisions)?


An drastic oversimplification would be:
Average temperature increase per century w/o mankinds contribution to GHG: +1 deg
Average temperature increase per century with mankinds contribution to GHG: + 2 deg
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:02 am

ghostface wrote:
Vicarious_Lee wrote:Who was it that defined "skepticism" that way?
It's a pretty standard view in actual skeptic circles, e.g. here.
Already been usurped, I see. I guess people that don't blindly accept a highly politicized and emotionally charged topic sold by folks with a lot of profit and control at stake will have to pick another word to describe why they would be distrustful of a group trying to sell something.

It's a shame, but not really anything new that I've noticed. Maybe they could be called "butt-liars" or "wrongturds", or a similar completely neutral identifier.
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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by dogbane » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:10 am

Skepticism and incredulity are not the same. I think the definition of a "skeptic" as someone who accepts the scientific consensus without compelling evidence to the contrary is a good one. I don't see why anyone has a problem with that. It's not a new concept.

Popular definitions of words aren't always the most appropriate for a given conversation, especially if the conversation is about the scientific method. If you can't even agree on the meanings of words, you are talking past each other, and the conversation is probably pointless. This is why I essentially abandoned this thread long ago.

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Re: Global Cooling will kill us all!

Post by ghostface » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:40 am

LowKey wrote:I may be reading too much into your statement above, but it seems that what you said is that absent mankind and the GHG we have produced there would be no warming trend on the global climate.....is that a valid understanding of your statement?
The exact answer depends on the time scale in question. Different drivers of climate operate over different periods. But, broadly, yes, we wouldn't be warming (i.e. no warming since mid-20th century) at the moment absent GHG emissions- let me be a little more specific down post.
If so, what trends/changes would have occured (based of modeling) if mankinds GHG emmisions were removed from the equation?
Even in the absence of human GHGs, we'd still have solar variability, ocean-atmosphere couplings like ENSO and the AMO, volcanism, and longer term processes like orbital forcing and tectonic changes.

From about 1800-1950, there would have been a modest warming due to an increase in solar activity (and a rebound from intense volcanism), with no warming or slight cooling thereafter.

The net effect of natural drivers of climate change since 1850 is a small amount of warming (please note, the values presented below are from this paper):

Image

With basically no warming after around mid-20th century:

Image

Overall, the natural vs. anthro drivers of temperature evolution over the instrumental record look like this:

Image

That we are responsible for the majority of the warming since ~1850 and basically all of the warming since ~1950 is a pretty robust finding across a number of studies (Lean and Rind, 2008; Huber and Knutti, 2012; Wigley and Santer, 2012).

Over the longer term (thousands of years), the high latitude Northern Hemisphere would be cooling in response to declining orbital forcing, though the global effect would be small. If we had not increased GHGs above preindustrial levels, we would- over the longer term- eventually begin a new glaciation onset, though it would likely have taken tens of thousands of years.
The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own...

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