MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters 
Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 70.0° F  Overcast
Collapse Photo Bar

Climate change

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

Re: Climate change

Postby Sandi » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:29 am

Mad Howler wrote:I am kind of confused. I thought you were trying argue that the notion of anthropomorphic influence is fantasy?


Not fantasy, and probably exists to some point, but extremely difficult to measure and separate from natural climate warming.
Sandi
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1234
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby Mad Howler » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 am

I am inclined to actively engage the potential rather than actively dismiss. I noticed that you did not explain why you picked a brand. I'm not so much into brands, although I am definetly into a decent product.
MH
Mad Howler
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1162
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby Sandi » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:52 am

Well I an naturally skeptical. UFOs may exist, and some credible people relate fascinating experiences, but I am not going to subscribe to it until compelling evidence shows they do.

Same with AGW. Until more compelling evidence shows some amount separate from solar activity and the erratic swings in natural climate change, for me, it will remain in the possible but unproven category.
Sandi
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1234
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby Mad Howler » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:13 am

I am not seeing the connection from A to B there, but it is sweet to have the broad right to hold our respective views.
Mad Howler
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1162
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:42 am

gargantua wrote:Anyone know if the oceans and biosphere can continue to store 50% of increased CO2? If we reach a limit of the ocean's carrying capacity, atmospheric CO2 would increase even more rapidly, right?


and on a similar note:

Mad Howler wrote:At what point can we predict that the dissolution of CO2 in the oceans of the planet will [cease] to have a role in negative feedback and turn to positive?


Throughout the past half century, the oceans plus biosphere have taken up about half the anthropogenic CO2 pulse. So far there doesn't seem to be any sign of a decrease in the globally integrated rate of uptake (e.g., Ballentyne 2012). There is general agreement that "at some point" the ocean/biosphere CO2 sinks will begin to saturate, but no one has convincing projections for when this will occur.

Also, what is the current thinking regarding these changes and the potential release of less soluble but more potent gases such as CH4 or hydrogen sulfide?


A few years back there was a fair bit of interest in the possibility that a rapid buildup of H2S contributed to the end-Permian mass extinction (e.g., here). That is not a particularly likely scenario for the near future.

More plausible is the concern about a positive feedback in which rapid warming would release stored CH4 which in turn would lead to more warming. The early speculation about this mostly involved clathrates on the continental shelves. The foreseeable rate of warming of the ocean floor doesn't seem to be rapid enough to cause that. There have been anecdotal observations of rapid outgassing of CH4 from locations in the Arctic, but it doesn't seem to be widespread or systematic. I think there is more concern now about boreal peatlands as a source for a positive CH4 feedback. If you look at the atmospheric concentrations, CH4 was rising rapidly in the 70s and 80s, then slowed down and appeared to stabilize. Since about 2007 it may have begun slowly increasing again but at a much slower rate than pre-1985, and there's no real sign of a runaway CH4 flux from the oceans or biosphere yet.

You can see up-to-date graphs of CO2 and CH4 here.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:49 am

green union terrace chair wrote:Kurt, I especially appreciate your attention to the importance of sample size. Two dumb comments I equally hate to hear:
  • When it's an unusually warm winter day:
    -- "OMG, GLOBAL WARMING!!! :shock: "
  • When it's a particularly cold winter day:
    -- "LOL, GLOBAL WARMING :lol: "
A single data point does not an argument make.


Yes.

People naturally tend to want to draw inferences about the world based on space/time scales that are meaningful to them -- in other words, what's happening right now in the area right around them. This is not a good way to think about long-term, global scale phenomena.

It's silly to cite a hot/cold day as proof/disproof of global warming. Scientists generally understand this -- and note that the first big predictive papers about global warming came out in the 1976-1981 period, after several decades when the earth had mostly not been warming. Hansen, Broecker, etc. were not basing their predictions of global warming on recent observed warm temperatures, they were basing their predictions on physics.

On the other hand, I do think that individual warm days/weeks/months are useful as illustrations of what to expect in the future. In other words, don't think of the abnormally warm US summer of 2012 as "proof" of global warming, think of it as a preview of the kind of conditions that will be more or less normal at some point down the road. It's like a movie trailer that's been released a couple of decades early.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:04 am

Sandi wrote:
snoqueen wrote:Is there anyone else in the readership who doesn't already accept the reality of climate change?


The question isn't one of climate change. It never has been, and I don't think there is anyone is the world would argue any different. The question is whether we as humans are responsible for any of it, and if so, how much.

Actually, one frequently sees arguments that imply that the earth isn't warming, not just that humans aren't responsible for it. It's a bit annoying, because the same wrong claims keep getting repeated.

Sandi wrote:If the earth has warmed in the last century, is that because of industry, or because of normal climate cycles? Models are fine, but they can only put so much of the overwhelming data that affects climate into them. Sun activity is one piece of data left out of most models.


All climate models include solar irradiance. Over the past few decades, while the temperature has been rising, solar irradiance has been flat or slightly decreasing.

Image

Right now, natural climate forcings should be more or less stable or negative (i.e., cooling). Thus, I'd say that humans are responsible for more than 100% of the observed warming since the 1970s.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:29 am

Sandi wrote:The United Nations IPCC publishes a report on the subject of climate change, which the United Nations contends is “authored” by about 600 scientists. However unlike as the custom in other ordinarily science, these scientists are not permitted power of approval or disapproval of the final drafts of their work. They can comment on the draft text, but are useless because those comments are not included in the final text. What the final text does conform to is UN's objective of garnering support for world taxation and rationing of energy. Hence we have opposing groups of scientists with opposing views on anthropogenic global warming.


Sorry ... but no, this really is not how this works at all. The bulk of the material (the reports of the working groups) is very much the product of the scientists involved in writing the reports. Most of the contentious editing is in the Summary for Policymakers ... and the "outside interference" there is generally in the opposite direction from the one you suggest. There is pressure from many governments to minimize the conclusions in the SPM. Typically, scientists have to fight on a line-by-line basis to keep it from being dumbed down by people who don't want to see anything that could be cited as justification for action. There is no UN conspiracy to impose "world taxation and rationing of energy". I can't begin to explain how hilarious that sounds to anyone who's actually familiar with the work of the IPCC.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:05 am

Sandi wrote:Here are some excerpts from an article of a summary of peer-reviewed research ( pdf ). Information cited in this linked article is referenced at the end by 132 references.


That's a really, really bad source to go to.

It was published in a medical journal, not a climate journal. Worse, it was published in a crank medical journal, not a serious medical journal. The first two authors are a father-and-son team with no expertise in climate science. The other author is an astrophysicist whose previous expedition into climate science turned out to be a disaster.

Pretty much everything in the "paper" is wrong, one way or another. For example, this:

First lets take a look at surface temperatures over a 3000 year period in a two million square mile region of the Atlantic Ocean in the Sargasso Sea.

Image


That's a modeled estimate of sea surface temperature for one point in the Atlantic ocean based on a single sediment core. The original work was done by Lloyd Keigwin, who used oxygen isotopes in the remains of plankton from the core to infer water temperatures.

Robinson and his fellow crackpots have completely screwed up Keigwin's work. Here's the abstract of a 2010 talk from the Geological Society of America, co-authored by Keigwin himself:

    Boslough, MB and Keigwin, LD. 2010. Misrepresentations of Sargasso Sea temperatures by Arthur D. Robinson, et al. Paper no. 154-4, GSA Denver Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.

    Keigwin (Science 274:1504–1508, 1996) reconstructed the SST record in the northern Sargasso Sea to document natural climate variability in recent millennia. The annual average SST proxy used δ18O in planktonic foraminifera in a radiocarbon-dated 1990 Bermuda Rise box core. Keigwin’s Fig. 4B (K4B) shows a 50-year-averaged time series along with four decades of SST measurements from Station S near Bermuda, demonstrating that the Sargasso Sea is now at its warmest in more than 400 years, and well above the most recent box-core temperature. Taken together, Station S and paleo-temperatures suggest there was an acceleration of warming in the 20th century, though this was not an explicit conclusion of the paper. Keigwin concluded that anthropogenic warming may be superposed on a natural warming trend.

    In an unpublished paper circulated with the anti-Kyoto “Oregon Petition,” Robinson et al. (“Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide,” 1998) reproduced K4B but (1) omitted Station S data, (2) incorrectly stated that the time series ended in 1975, (3) conflated Sargasso Sea data with global temperature, and (4) falsely claimed that Keigwin showed global temperatures “are still a little below the average for the past 3,000 years.” Keigwin’s Fig. 2 showed that δ18O has increased over the past 6000 years, so SSTs calculated from those data would have a long term decrease. Thus, it is inappropriate to compare present-day SST to a long term mean unless the trend is removed. Slight variations of Robinson et al. (1998) have been repeatedly published with different author rotations. Various mislabeled, improperly-drawn, and distorted versions of K4B have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, in weblogs, and even as an editorial cartoon—all supporting baseless claims that current temperatures are lower than the long-term mean, and traceable to Robinson’s misrepresentation with Station S data removed. In 2007, Robinson added a fictitious 2006 temperature that is significantly lower than the measured data. This doctored version of K4B with fabricated data was reprinted in a 2008 Heartland Institute advocacy report, “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate.”

That's not normal language for a scientific abstract; it's what you get when a scientist is really pissed off about his work being misused for political purposes.

More boring detail here. The bottom line is that a bunch of anti-GW activists took a graph from an actual scientist's paper out of context, manipulated the data incorrectly, and then drew a series of wrong conclusions from it.

I don't really have time to dissect the rest of the graphs from the Robinson & Robinson "paper", but they're equally misleading, albeit in different ways.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:18 am

Almost done with this series of replies. Sorry to be monopolizing the thread like this.

Sandi wrote:Well I an naturally skeptical. UFOs may exist, and some credible people relate fascinating experiences, but I am not going to subscribe to it until compelling evidence shows they do.

Same with AGW.

That is a ridiculous analogy, and one that could only be made from a position of great ignorance about science.

Until more compelling evidence shows some amount separate from solar activity and the erratic swings in natural climate change, for me, it will remain in the possible but unproven category.


Please look back at my posts on page 1 of this thread. What you refer to as "AGW" is, fundamentally, the product of the following line of reasoning:

1. Humans are burning fossil fuels
2. When burned, fossil fuels release stored CO2
3. Over time, CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere
4. In the atmosphere, CO2 molecules increase the absorption of long-wavelength infrared radiation
5. This process raises the height at which the earth loses heat to space, warms the atmosphere, and warms the surface

All five of those principles are pretty much incontrovertible. Which one do you disbelieve?

Once people understand those five principles, it's just about the details -- how much warming, what feedbacks, how the warming will be distributed spatially and temporally, what its effects will be, etc. That's where all the scientific action is ... not on whether "AGW is real". At this point, that's like asking whether "plate tectonics is real" or "evolution is real" or "electromagnetism is real".

Then, finally, there are the non-scientific questions of what (if anything) should be done, whether changing the earth's climate is "good" or "bad", etc. Plus the engineering questions of what can be done to address the problem, if one decides that changing the earth's climate is a problem that should be addressed.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:26 am

Two other points.

The first is to note that there is a fundamental conflict between the following two arguments:

(1) "There are natural negative feedbacks (from clouds, etc.) that will counteract the CO2 forcing from human activity and keep the climate stable"

and

(2) "The climate changes naturally all the time -- look at the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, etc."

If someone is arguing that past climate variability was high, then they're implicitly accepting that the climate system is not dominated by negative feedbacks. That, in turn, means that we should expect large impacts from increasing CO2.

You can't have it both ways. The climate can't be highly sensitive to natural forcings but magically insensitive to anthropogenic forcings.

The other point I'd like to make is in response to all the comments about research funding. But I guess I'll do that in yet another comment.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby wack wack » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:29 am

kurt_w wrote:Almost done with this series of replies. Sorry to be monopolizing the thread like this.


Please don't apologize, your very real schooling of the bag o' horseshit named Sandi is the best thing I've seen here in a long time.
wack wack
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2997
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2003 5:32 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:47 am

Stebben84 wrote:
pjbogart wrote:
Sandi wrote:Another problem is the politicizing of the grant system, and that goes for all fields of science, and it is even worse in medical science. If you want a grant, your research needs to find this or that political view. Bring in the wrong results, and you can forget about future grants.


That's quite an assertion, Sandi. I'd be curious to see your evidence. What kinds of political considerations do you mean?


I'd like to know as well. I know people who write grants in various fields of science(including computer science) and I really have no idea what you're talking about. And yes, boring as it sounds, we do talk about grant writing. Sure it might occur sometimes, but I'd like to see some evidence that this is a widespread problem.

Over the past decade or so, I've served on a number of scientific grant review panels, for NASA and the National Science Foundation. If people are curious about what this involves, or what the experience is like, I'd be happy to talk about it.

But for now, just some comments on whether the process is "politicized":

* I don't know about medical research, but I think Detritus's comment is probably right. The major concerns with how biomedical research is funded, conducted, and reported mostly revolve around financial pressures from the private sector, not what we'd ordinarily think of as "politics".

* When people in the natural/physical sciences bemoan "politics" in how various people are funded or published or whatever, it's again not typically in a "left-right" or ideological sense. It's more like "office politics", a perception that this or that research group is too invested in self-promotion and is getting papers/grants that they don't deserve, while other more worthy researchers aren't getting the same traction because they're not playing the game right.

But actually, in my experience, NSF review panels are very dedicated to weeding out poor-quality proposals and only funding the best of the best. If someone thinks they're going to get an NSF proposal funded by using a bunch of fashionable buzzwords or by playing to the review panel's imagined biases, their proposal will end up in the trash.

My last experience at NSF was on a panel that evaluated 50-60 proposals. Of those, only about 3 could be selected for funding. Any proposal that wasn't basically ironclad would get tossed. It's painful, seeing how much effort gets put into writing scientific grant proposals and knowing that we have to throw out over 90% of them.

It is a really, really tough world out there, especially for new-career researchers.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4818
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby rabble » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:19 pm

Sandi wrote:Well I an naturally skeptical.

It seems more like "selectively skeptical" to me. You're very skeptical of those theories you've always disliked. No matter how much evidence is put before you, you're not buying it.

But of the sources for your refuting evidence, not so much. You really seem to trust those guys.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Climate change

Postby Sandi » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:11 pm

rabble wrote:
Sandi wrote:Well I an naturally skeptical.

It seems more like "selectively skeptical" to me. You're very skeptical of those theories you've always disliked. No matter how much evidence is put before you, you're not buying it.

But of the sources for your refuting evidence, not so much. You really seem to trust those guys.


Totally wrong. I trust no one except my mother, and not always her.
Sandi
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1234
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:31 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Headlines

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


FacebookcommentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar