Friday, March 24, 2006



Melting

This week's issue of Science is devoted to the latest news about global warming - and in particular about the state of our icecaps. And that news is bad. The West Antarctic ice sheet seems to be slowly melting. In Greenland, glaciers are rushing towards the sea faster than ever before. More generally, a study of the climate of the Eemian interglacial about 125,000 years ago suggests that the current expected level of global warming will result in significant melting - enough to produce a sea-level rise of 4-6 metres over 500 years, or about a metre a century. That's enough to put most of Bangladesh underwater, and threaten many of the world's coastal cities. Meanwhile, according to the editorial (the one part of Science not behind a paywall), CO2 levels are at the highest they've been for 10 million years.

Are we worried yet...?

20 comments:

I think the question is: are the right people worried yet? The climate change deniers are singing a tune which suits certain political and business groups very well so they'll continue to get support from influential quarters.

But as the evidence mounts, the "refuseniks" find themselves on thinner ice all the time.

So this bad news is also good news if it makes climate change denial more ridiculous.

Posted by Jarvis Pink : 3/25/2006 02:02:00 PM

Now this is interesting,you use a published paper that disproves the CO2 intensity for climate change as a minimal variable,Not withstanding the modelling errors that will no doubt be identified in the future as normal scientific discourse.(lets face reality here if Newton and Einstein can be incorrect I am certain any computer program can)

The natural phenomena identifiable is easily recognised,the better paper with more accurate data is from the GRACE project which also opens more door then it closes.

The previous commentator may be interested to note that the climate at the holocene optimum 6-8 k the temperature was warmer in the Arctic,and indeed large portions were ice free,the last mammoths living there from 3-4 k ago.

Posted by maksimovich : 3/25/2006 03:51:00 PM

Ah Maksimovich! Another chance to ask you:

What, in your opinion, are the motivations of the huge number of scientists, aided by respected scientific journals, who are behind the vast conspiracy to convince us that anthropogenic climate change is happening and that CO2 is likely implicated.

I'm genuinely curious.

Posted by Jarvis Pink : 3/25/2006 06:23:00 PM

isn't much of bangladesh ALREADY below sea level?
besides that EVEN bangladesh (despite being poor) can build a wall at 1 meter a century.
that doesn't mean you shouldn't do somthing about it - but it isn't scary.

and the right's answer to this
"CO2 levels are at the highest they've been for 10 million years."
will be - it was higher 10 million years ago??? then there can't be anythign wrong with it - lets go back to that!

Maybe the solution is to dig a hole in the sahara and fill it with water...
Might be easier than stopping climate change.

Posted by Genius : 3/25/2006 06:54:00 PM

JP Firstly lets quantify the scientific reporting.What is reported is the Amglo-Saxon journals mostly from the 4 country grouping.The primary vehicles reported on are the commercial vehicles Science and Nature.The primary focus is to sell subscription and advertising.

When reading a report go back to the source document that is normally reported in the specialist field say the Journal of geobiology.

Now most scientific papers are indeed complex and not readily understood by people outside the area of expertise.Around 80% are not published in english,in Russia and the CIS around 99%.

In Russia and the CIS after major suppression of scientific discourse under Stalin and the effects of Lysenkoism where it could by described as unwise to invoke scientific discourse against the consensus.

The years after Stalin brought great investment and a complete rennaisance of thinking and individual thought as questions of discourse became the Norm and the R&D of the scientific engineering complex increased 100 fold and the publication of innovative individual thinking reached peaks not seen since the 19Th century.
Of course the publication of a hypothesis always brought attention to problems of data assimmilation,or process indeed some arguments between academics as they review and republish updated research has been evidenced in a number of cases of over 30 years between some academics.

The reformation of the scientiifc complex allowed the independence of Research and academia and indeed the ST petersberg declaration warrning the government of policies based on Junkscience and the funding of impossibilities .As Spinoza said if it is against the rules of the universe it is not science.This is again in debate with the independence of the RAS being protected by Ginzsberg.

This has led to some intersting innovations and discoveries some that may be announced at the G8 IN spb.

Now in the west we see a different perspective,The arrival of the herd grouping in scientific and enginnering thinking.The tall poppy syndrome "a par excellence" if you stand outside the cube you are immediately condemened by rhectoric and become an academic leper with research funding possibilites zero end of career.

The stagnation of research and investment in the west,and its unsustainable social and growth policies (without growth you do neither) have stagnated the business models and indeed the national models as the inertia of micromanagement pervades the western economies.

Have you considered the risks of the failed experiment if you are wrong.

In the last 6 weeks the forward growth paths of 60% of the worlds population have been announced,and here you argue over tennis balls and meaningless micromanagemenT and petty legislation.

Look at the blogs firing rhectoric over the petty issues,not an intelligent alternative idea among them right and left.

The russian blogs always suggest innovative thoughts or ideas,not always viable or practicable but they are progressive ideas.Here they are digressive.

Posted by maksimovich : 3/25/2006 07:37:00 PM

maksimovich,

1. You say to go back to source documents as being from, eg, The Journal of Geobiology.

I'm aware of no such journal.

If the closest you've ever come to a real scientific journal studying climate change is a quick google-search for titles you may have been confused. There is a "Virtual Journal of Geobiology". But that's not a real source journal: it's a portal set up by Elservier providing on-line access to a selection of papers from other journals, in an attempt to sell subscriptions to the underlying journals.


2. You don't appear to have answered mister Pink's question. Please do so because I'm also curious.

You're claiming that a very large number of scientists (including my mother-in-law - a micropaleontologist who appears to be a paragon of integrity) are actually lying stinkweasles participating in a vast conspiracy. You still haven't said why you think they are doing this.

The climate change deniers like Fred Singer get vast amounts of industry funding, so surely it can't be for the money.

So why do you think they're doing this?

Posted by Icehawk : 3/25/2006 10:06:00 PM

Icehawk ,you do not read or comprehend English, so I would suggest that you would not recognise one of the worlds oldest scientific publications over 150 years old and from the imperial Russian era.It is an old deception to show a strength whilst disguising it.As it is google proof it shows the depth of intellectual capability of the opponent. You have proven your lack of intellectual prow ness.

Re read what I said 80% is not in english!.Lovelock learned after his publications on the bisphere that his hypothesis was bettered by 80 years by Korolenko,and by 50 years by Verdansky.

Belusov discovered morphogenesis long before Turings paper.There are many examples of which your mother in law would not know any.Yet you seem to think she is a world expert.Lets introduce perspective here in the CIS as the scientific r&D is still connected by academia,there are more people employed in r&d then all of the EC.More then the entire population of NZ and melbourne combined.Most of the leading physicists in the US are Russian.

I did not suggest there is a vast conspiracy you did ,and JP.I suggested the herd instinct of condusive thought,which ensures you get to complete your degree or ensures the continuation of funding.

In Russia we have intellectuals we call narodnik these are people who go to learn,and write and construct new ideas then return to the people with the book,the word ,and with love.Intellectual altrusim if you like.

What you need to realise is there is no global consensus in science.The world of research you describe is limited to very few countries,and in europe and indeed in the northern european countries there are serious questions being asked of the politicans.

The CC issue is not a theory,or a law,it is a hypothesis.Each area of research published is open ended showing ommissions or errors or inconclusive results.Indeed some of the IPCC publications go as far as to be against the laws of chemistry and physics.
That is why questions are asked.

Posted by maksimovich : 3/26/2006 12:25:00 AM

An important point is being consistently ignored in this discussion.

It is certainly true that global temperatures have been very different in past millenia but 10 million years ago there were no humans. Even a thousand years ago there were only a few hundred million. Currently there are 6.5 thousand million and even now many of them have barely enough to eat.

Our present day levels of global food production have been developed within the climate we have now. A few degrees rise or fall in temperature may not sound much but it will lead to dramatic reductions in available food supplies world wide.

Sea level rise is merely an inconvenience. I invite you to consider the implications of massive world-wide crop failure.

Posted by gary young : 3/26/2006 08:11:00 AM

Gary,
Think that effect might be dwarfed by the effect of the growing population.

Also I guess it depends on how people adapt - if they did so optimally then it would presumably result in a food supply increase (more storms/water, more CO2, less ice). Of course they will almost certainly not do it optimally and food supply might "drop" (this should be overshadowed by production increases) but I'd be surprised to see food supply devastated worldwide by what is on the whole a gradual change.

Posted by Genius : 3/26/2006 10:23:00 AM

Genius

To some extent I agree with you but the projected rate of human-induced change is fast compared with historic, natural rates of change.

I personally doubt that the current owners and operators of large-scale, industrialised food production are either willing or able to make the necessary changes swiftly. Are any contingency plans even being formulated? Does anyone know?

To consider just one example - how fast do you think corn production can be relocated out of America's grain belt northwards into Canada? There is a huge infrastructure of farm machinery, pesticide and herbicide production, transportation and more that has grown up over generations dedicated to producing a single crop ie. corn. It cannot simply be shut down, moved and restarted overnight. Will the Mid-west farmers even allow it all to be taken away?

Furthermore, what are the political ramifications of Canada becoming the 'bread basket of the world' instead of the USA?

Just one change - temperature - leads to endless consequences that few seem to be thinking about.

Posted by Gary Young : 3/26/2006 11:09:00 AM

yes - it would not be easy
the big problem I think is this

"Will the Mid-west farmers even allow it all to be taken away?"

It would take decades of failed crops for them to wake up to reality unless the government gave them a good slapping.

Posted by Genius : 3/26/2006 01:23:00 PM

Maksimovich,

You wanna reference a journal, you need to give its true name. Or perhaps you were unaware of that?

Certainly I agree with you that small communities of scientists tend to have their own take on things. Your adherence to the Russian party line is an obvious example of that.

But your attempt to claim that belief in anthropic climate change is an oddity of the english-speaking world is very odd. Perhaps it hadn't occurred to you that the IPCC is a UN organisation? Have you not noticed that the EU is concerned about the issue? Had you not noticed that the academies of science of the G8 all express great concern about this issue - except, of course, that of Russia.

Posted by Icehawk : 3/26/2006 02:08:00 PM

Maksimovic's analysis is a version of the "The Anthropogenic Global Warming Doctrine" which I blogged about here. Maksimovic characterises those who support the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change as the squashers of dissent, whereas the views of scientists who support the so called "doctrine" are themselves being squashed by powerful interests.

The idea that the "refusenik" climate change deniers are plucky battlers for truth fighting a powerful anglo-saxon orthodoxy seems ridiculous when you consider that their main political apologists are at the very heart of power in the "Anglo-Saxon" world. Don't complacent orthodoxies usually appease power, rather than oppose it.

Those talking truth to power are surely people like James Hansen and Rick Piltz, not the refuseniks.

Posted by Jarvis Pink : 3/26/2006 06:30:00 PM

Of course climate change isn't happening! 1.4% of climatologists can't be wrong!

Why do people not understand the conspiracy? Instead they always ask me the same questions:
- Does the atmosphere contain carbon dioxide?
- Does atmospheric carbon dioxide influence global temperatures?
- Will that influence be enhanced by the addition of more carbon dioxide?
- Have human activities led to a net emission of carbon dioxide?

*puts fingers in ears*
lalalalalala, can't hear you any more.

Posted by merrick : 3/27/2006 06:50:00 AM

Icehawk you stil do not understand the numbers,The IPCC is neither receptive to alternative hypothesis,or is indeed a consenus grouping of inernational scientists.

Having witnessed the hysterics at the IPCC climate change conference in Moscow by King the british chief scientist,and his attempt to hijack the conference and suppress the CIS papers he went against the norms of scientific discourse.

Secondly the Eurasian scientific community is huge in simple numbers as said larger then the population of NZ.Indeed Kazachastan has a larger space technology complex then ALL of europe,ie more rocket scientists.

Indeed NASA is completely reliant on Russian science technology.

There is no party line,dissent is common in science in the CIS and funding is available for both sides,how much funding do you think would be available in NZ.

What you need to remember that the RF science on climate variability is based on solar and cosmic wave differentials where it is the worlds leader.Indeed the monopoly is evidenced since Hansen stopped the Nasa research on solar variability in October 2005.

JP Go to the data release from the NOAA grace project,I think you will find some interesting statements that may put you into denial.This is important is it is a quantiative measurement and is not a model.Staying within the laws of physics and thermodynamics I see some interesting results can you?

Posted by maksimovich : 3/27/2006 08:46:00 AM

maksimovich,

Please provide a list of peer reviewed publications (not theses, commissioned reports or magazine articles) that support your argument. They can be in Russian if you like.

If you can't do that, please go and rant elsewhere. Maybe even start your own blog.

Posted by Chris : 3/27/2006 10:56:00 AM

Maksimovic - My layman's understanding of the GRACE data is that Velicogna and Wahr are reporting a rate of loss of Antarctic ice that is about double previous estimates.

Doesn't this somewhat support the hypothesis of accelerating melt and, therefore, rises in sea level? Are you indicating that you consider the actual loss rate to be insignificant?

Posted by Jarvis Pink : 3/27/2006 11:02:00 AM

Firstly Jp The intersting parts of the Grace Project were the numbers that were quantified.The total volumes, even allowing for thermal expansion of water do not come within 50% of the sealevel change.
The secondary hypothesis being constructed is for the inverse topology relationship .Eg the removal of billions of tons of ice raising localised areas of seabed.

The second part of the Grace project was the indentification of the effects of lunar(gravity tides) on the iceshelfs.The presumption was the westatlantic ice shelf which is below sealevel is incontact with the seabed.

This we can now identifiy as incorrect and twice a day areas of the Iceshelf raise in level by 15 feet areas in size of California.
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/icetide.htm.

The overall modelling of change suggests sealevel rises of 250mm in the next 500 years.

The emmersion already of the WAIS can now be removed from the equation unless someone can rewrite pascals second principle.

Having lived in a climate that has temprature variation of 65 c seasonally and variation of 40c in winter 2-3 c is not noticiable.

Solar variation and the climate changes have been measured and are identifiable.
Jevons wrote and interesting connection between the 11 year solar cycle and the effect on the price of corn in the UK since the inception of the corn exchange in the 13th century.He identified price changes of a cyclical nature across 500 years of agriculture.
I recommend you read that Chris.As the 11 year cycle is measurable against El nino La nina it is of importantance to economies in the pacific in general.

Here some references for you Chris
Hansen, J. E., Lacis, A. A., & Ruedy, R. A.: Comparison of solar and other influences on long-term climate. In: K. H. Schatten & A. Arking, Hsg.: Climate impact of solar variability. Greenbelt, NASA, 1990, 142.(james hansen)
Foukal, P. & Lean, J.: An empirical model of total solar irradiance between 1874 and 1988. Science 247 (1990), 556- 558.
Flohn, H.: Jüngste Klimaänderungen: Treibhauseffekt oder Beschleunigung des Wasserkreislaufs. In: Metzner, H., Hsg.: Globale Erwärmung - Tatsache oder Behauptung? Tübingen, Europäische Akademie für Umweltfragen, 1993, 91.
Labitzke, K, & van Loon, H.: Associations between the 11-year sunspot cycle, the quasi-biennial oscillation, and the atmosphere. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A, 330 (1990), 577.
Here is a more recent one for you http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL025539.shtml
Is that enough references for you Chris or do you require some of the 639142 papers that are available in Russia and date back to 1819!
Of course in a fair and equitable world on YOUR BLOG yo should nave supplied some references to your comments especially "On land, the most productive ecosystems are probably temperate grasslands; they're made up of fast-growing plants that fix carbon very efficiently, and they generally get good rainfall and plenty of nutrients (despite the popular image, rainforests aren't all that productive, because of the slow growth rates of trees and the high level of competition all the vegetation in a forest experiences)." of course if you showed the link to THE LIVERMORE Laboratory study you would have been burnt after midday prayers at the IPCC especially this part "In our earlier study, we found that historical conversion of forests to croplands had cooled the planet by 0.5 degrees and locally by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Livermore’s Govindasamy Bala, co-author of the study. oops

Posted by maksimovich : 3/28/2006 09:53:00 AM

Huh?

From the abstract of one of your references:

"We estimate that the sun contributed as much as 45–50% of the 1900–2000 global warming, and 25–35% of the 1980–2000 global warming. These results, while confirming that anthropogenic-added climate forcing might have progressively played a dominant role in climate change during the last century, also suggest that the solar impact on climate change during the same period is significantly stronger than what some theoretical models have predicted."

I don't think anyone has ever denied that solar input is the major driver of climate. Those authors aren't attempting to deny the existence of an anthropogenic greenhouse effect, they're attempting to put it in the context of global climate forcing. This is how good science is done; synthesising information from multiple sources to get a good understanding of how a system works.

I'm sure climate modellers incorporate everything that's known about world climate into their work, including Milankovich cycles and the regular sunspot cycle.

In a similar vein, are you familiar with the difference in albedo between different land-cover types? I assume that this is what the Livermore lab are talking about, although there is also a local greenhouse effect that occurs under forest canopy as radiated heat is trapped. Neither of these have anything to do with the relative productivity (in the ecological sense) of cropland versus forests.

You would be more convincing if you showed yourself able to follow a logical argument and actually read references.

Posted by Chris : 3/29/2006 12:40:00 PM

Chris ,I am more then aware of the scientific process having been in the field for over 25 years .

Fistly you assume the models take the form of using the best available data,as we would expect and to update as data becomes better.

The IPCC uses models based on 1977 coefficents,these have been slightly altered 3 times to incorporate the increased measurements but only by the minia not by the mean. thus showing variation to only .5 OF 1 STDV

This was identified on 9 occasions by the Russian institute of physics.The harvard-smithsonian institute of Astrophysics,The Max Plank institute,and the Hadley climate institute amongst others.

Whilst you mention the Milankovitch cycles there are the cyclical changes that are also important such as progression and the change of obliquity,the Gleissberg cycles which amplify the 11 year solar cycle and the structure of the heliosphere.

Presently if we limit our time window to the Halocene we can track the sunspot and solar variation over 11400 years.The level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional - the last period of similar magnitude occurred over 8,000 years ago. The Sun was at a similarly high level of magnetic activity for only -10% of the past 11,400 years, and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present period.

Indeed with the change in obliquity to 24 degrees the halocene optima was observed from the historical data.

The solar chages that occur have relavance to the changes in the polarity of the earths ionosphere.Indeed the record setting solar flares that occurred in Septemebr and october 2005 prompted weather warnings from Russian meterologists that inverse weather conditions could be expected for the winter months with the reversal of weather cycles from East to west and the coldest winter since 1940.

In Nz with La nina being evident and identified by the WMO,and following the Coldest summer in Antarctica for 50 years it is expected to be cold 3-5 degrees below mean values we will see the return paths of climate oscillation.Who is responsible for the high power costs over the cold winter?Who has put barriers in place for low cost rewnewable hydro small and medium that could have been built?Not the grand projects but the 3100 mw of small to medium.

Back to the Livermore paper,Whilst you are correct with Albedo refraction and reflection of different crop use and arable land usage,it is mostly the increased efficiency of carbon sequestion by plants as opposed to Growth forests and mature forests by 4-6 times.Some in part due to changes in heterotrophic respiration and autotrophic respiration in models.
Other changes in values to the microflora and processes.

Lastly I congratulate this blog on openly debating the issues here,and I notice the other side of polarity seems remiss in mentioning this area to identify methodology of opportunity.

It does not matter what side you are on in the debate both primary parties in NZ signed NZ to the Kyoto protocol.Whilst the KP is now of a finite lifespan and the beaureuacratic inertia developed by the EU has produced not one singularly measureable outcome.IT is now time to look for solutions of which technology is the only vehicle that is now deliverable!

Whilst the greens try,their solutions are either impracticable,not scalable or resolve to regulate and ban.The literature they base thier arguments is of readers digest quality and written by a child,

There are major changes at present globally for the ENTIRE world energy complex and its interconnection with the environment,economic stability,and growth.

The structures have already been identified,and signals have been sent from the 6 country agreement members,the G8,and From Blair who was here.The white noise of rhectoric from commentators seems that they have not correctly identified those signals.

The G8 energy ministers provide some insight."The joint efforts of G8 and other countries on the broader use of sustainable and alternative energy sources, and the development of innovative technologies in the energy sphere...can make a significant contribution to the solution of this strategic task,"

"Securing sufficient investment in the development of the global energy sector is only possible in a favorable investment climate and given political stability in countries that produce and consume energy resources, as well as in transit states,"

"Investment incentives include good legislation, clear tax rules, respect for contracts, reliable dispute settlement procedures, and measures to reduce red tape,boost the development of market mechanisms for pricing, competition, energy efficiency and energy saving."

Simplicity of innovation,deliverables,and execution ,those are the hints and the answers.

Posted by maksimovich : 3/30/2006 11:10:00 AM