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Author Topic: Challenging Misconceptions about the Potential Abrupt Collapse of the WAIS  (Read 28007 times)

AbruptSLR

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Many people have the misconception that the consequences of SLR is a secondary issue, and that that issues like drought and wildfires are more critical.  However, the linked The Guardian article (and associated attached images) indicates that currently flood and storm damage is by far the most serious consequence of climate change, and with increasing SLR the future flood and storm damage will be much worse:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/jul/14/8-charts-climate-change-world-more-dangerous

Key for the first attached image: Dark blue = floods. Light blue = mass movement wet. Green = storms. Yellow = drought. Magenta = extreme temperature. Orange = Wildfires
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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One of the denialist's favorite misconceptions to propagate is that if the public accepts that society should take appropriate measures to limit climate change, then the public will need to give-up on the efforts to solve other problems that are also priorities to the public, such as: health care, terrorist control, border security, etc.  If one thinks in a zero-sum "Ponzi scheme" type of mentality, that is rife throughout wall street and government planning, that requires the expensive development of a technological fix (such as carbon capture & sequestration, fusion, geoengineering, etc.) then this may be correct.  However, if one realizes that the root of the problem is that the market price of fossil fuels do not currently internalize the true costs of their impacts on the climate, then one realizes that by applying a carbon fee to fossil fuels and then to distribute these fees back to the public to spend on the other issues that they view as priorities then by simply using a carbon fee to prevent the "Ponzi scheme" of allowing the fossil fuel industry to sell carbon at an artificially low price and to pass the true burden on to future generations, then the associated distributed dividends could be applied through the free market system to satisfy the public's demands.  Some may say that rouge states (e.g. China) will circumvent this carbon-fee/dividend system; however, the participating states can impose trade tariffs (on high carbon footprint products) against any such rouge states, with the understanding that if these rouge states adopt suitable carbon fee/dividend systems, then the trade tariffs will be removed (see Hansen 2014).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Climate Strain, Climate Stress, Climate Shock:

The Big Crunch, the Big Rip, the Final Period, Ragnarok, Kingdom Come, Alpha and Omega, Armageddon or Clime Apocalypse; whatever you want to call it, denialists are playing a con game with the public in order to down-play the importance of abrupt climate change (climate shock), so that they can continue to reap benefits from their Ponzi scheme while leaving the youth of today to "pay The Piper", possibly leaving billions of people dead, and thousands of species extinct, over the coming decades and centuries.  The following briefly discusses two public misconceptions that allow this con game to continue (note that when the public wakes-up the con game will be over; but until then the con-artists will: " … let the good times roll"):

The first myth: "The risks (probability multiplied by consequences) from the fat-tailed PDF for abrupt climate change (or climate shock) are about the same as, and can be ranked against, other thin-tailed PDF disasters such as: Peak Oil, crime, disease, financial market busts, terrorist acts, etc.; and that due to the relatively long-development time for climate shock, it can be discounted into a secondary, or tertiary, ranking against these thin-tailed PDF disasters."

This first myth is wrong for many reasons, including: (a) Discounting the fat-tail of climate shock (to make room in people's limited attention spans in order to focus on current problems) only serves to increase the thickness of the fat-tail, and to accelerate the timeframe for the climate reckoning; (b) Climate strain/stress increases the thickness of virtually all of the thin-tailed PDF disasters, as is clearly recognized by all advanced military organizations/planners. Thus discounting climate change increases the probability that not only will climate shock occur, but that it will occur simultaneously with other postponed disasters such as: pandemics, wars, famine, and a collapse of biodiversity; and (c) Many decision makers assume that using geoengineering they will never need to face the consequences of fat-tail of climate shock; which is obviously incorrect because Earth's climatic system is too complex to be effectively geoengineered.

The second myth: "Acknowledging climate change risks will add to the problem by creating public dis-comfort (not to mention exposing some decision makers to liability for not taking action on a recognized problem).

This second myth is also wrong for many different reasons including: (a) Until the general public recognizes the true extent of the risks associated with abrupt climate change, many/most policy makers and scientists will continue choosing to err on the side of least drama in order to avoid making tough choices/decisions; (b) By instituting a carbon fee with a public dividend (together with trade tariffs against countries that do not adopt a comparable carbon fee system), the general public will benefit from a re-distribution of wealth from the con-artists into their pockets, thus allowing them to make decisions about various paths forward while taking into account the true costs of fossil fuel emissions (due to the carbon fee) while they are empowered by the divided; and (c) Any actions taken without publically acknowledging the true risks of climate shock are likely to be ineffective, if not counter-productive.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth"
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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It has been said that: "In religion faith is a virtue.  In science faith is a vice."  Thus as estimating anthropogenic radiative forcing is a "value", or "faith", based exercise, when the RCP (Recommended Concentration Pathway) scenarios were developed scientist out-sourced this exercise to the "dismal-science" run by economists, who in-turn turned to policy makers for guidance.  Therefore, from a scientific point of view the various RCP scenarios are just calibrated (by economists and policy makers) radiative forcing functions to allow scientists to conveniently compare outputs of different GCM runs (ensemble members).  While this may absolve scientists from having faith that mankind will appropriately regulate: fossil fuels, methane and black carbon emissions/leaks, refrigerant leaks [eg chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)], forest management, emissions related to food production & wastes, etc.; it clearly confuses the public who think that the GCM projections are based on science rather than on the "dark-arts" of economists and policy makers.  Perhaps the public would require that public servants take a more precautionary stance if they appreciated that no matter how much effort scientists make to improve their measurements, and models, the validity of their climate change projections are limited by the input provided to them by the "faith-based" dark arts.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Wikipedia offers the following extract about survivorship bias (or survival bias, or survivor bias):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

Extract: "Survivorship bias, or survival bias, is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that "survived" some process and inadvertently overlooking those that did not because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. The survivors may be actual people, as in a medical study, or could be companies or research subjects or applicants for a job, or anything that must make it past some selection process to be considered further.

Survivorship bias can lead to overly optimistic beliefs because failures are ignored, such as when companies that no longer exist are excluded from analyses of financial performance. It can also lead to the false belief that the successes in a group have some special property, rather than just coincidence."

The human mind differentiates us from the rest of nature by allowing us to better abstract (to model, to project, and to interact in complex social structures) the environment around us, no matter how complex, chaotic, or anthropogenic. However, with regard to the mind's ability to abstract the truth: it has been said that: "All models are wrong but some models are useful".  In this regard, evolutionarily, for the sake of efficiency in the face of model uncertainty; for decision making the human mind has relied on preconceived notions based on experiences that are rife with "survivorship bias", where failures, at the right tail of a consequence PDF, are ignored.  While using decision making rife with "survivorship bias" might be functional in a stationary world where actions are free from significant consequences (such as when children are building the models in their minds by playing).  However, in the current non-stationary world of abrupt climate change, actions can have severe consequences, and one must open one's eyes to a holistic worldview, and work hard to minimize true uncertainty, rather than by accepting the "survivorship bias" inherent by basing decisions/actions on truncated PDFs.
 
The public, and most scientists, are guilty of "survivorship bias", with regard to abrupt climate changes, including the risks of abrupt sea level rise from the probable partial collapse of the WAIS this century.  This bias allows them to be overly optimistic, which they feel good about.   However, freedom without responsibility, or consequences, for ones actions; is no freedom at all.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Challenging Misconceptions about the Potential Abrupt Collapse of the WAIS
« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2014, 02:14:26 AM »
Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP, 8.5, is typically called a Business as Usual, BAU, case; however, there is nothing "Usual" about the situation that the Earth is heading into on this pathway, not only with regard to, w.r.t., climate change, but also w.r.t. societal responses to stress in the near future (next few decades).  In the "Forcing" thread, I have presented considerable evidence that:
(a) Near-term Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, ECS, is higher now (and soon will be higher still) than assumed in current General Circulation Models, GCM, projections; and
(b) Ocean/atmospheric oscillations, such as the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), that will shortly be headed into warming phases (and probably synergistic warming phases). 

In this post, I briefly discuss some of the anthropogenic forcing inputs (that are likely to accelerate global warming) that were not fully included within the RCP 8.5 scenario, as follows:

(a) Warfare (Ukraine, Middle East, etc.)/police actions (guerrillas, terrorists, etc.), and their associated radiative forcing mechanisms, are likely to increase;
(b) The need to increase investments, with associated carbon footprints, w.r.t.: (i) food production / distribution / preservation, (ii) water supply/distribution, (iii) replacing / defending coastal infrastructure subject to (or exposed to) inundation, (iv) replacing aging infrastructure that has not been adequately maintained and/or that will leak methane, (v) infrastructure damaged by (or exposed to) storm damage, (vi) non-conventional fossil fuel energy (fracking, synfuel, etc.), (vii) sustainable energy, (viii) expanding infrastructure to improve health (including increased disease and heat) and longevity, and (ix) infrastructure to deal with human migration resulting from climate change.
(c) Human behavior, with carbon footprint implications, such as: (i) waste associated with hoarding of supplies, (ii) accelerated concentration of wealth, and associated individual opportunism, at the expense of the common good, (iii) economic inefficiencies associated with climate change related disruptions, and (iv) irrational human action/inaction in the face of a clear and present danger.

Unfortunately, radiative forcing scenarios (such as RCP 8.5) are heavily influenced by economists and policy makers, who prefer to heavily discount both the ECS and the anthropogenic radiative forcing, inputs; therefore, I have little expectation that future scenarios will be significantly more realistic than our current, and past, scenarios.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Challenging Misconceptions about the Potential Abrupt Collapse of the WAIS
« Reply #56 on: October 06, 2014, 04:12:31 AM »
While 99.8% of climate scientists may believe that climate change is anthropogenic; nevertheless, when I google (or use any other search engine) any related climate change term, or phase, I never only get 2% denialist links.  Most of the time I get closer to 25 to 50% denialist links, and currently when I search "climate sensitivity" on Google News, I get closer to 85 to 95% denialist links.  Clearly, search engines are being gamed by denialist (in order to unfairly influence the public); and I  suggest that search engine programmers should write some algorithms to counter balance this very clear gaming by denialist.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 01:06:56 PM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Challenging Misconceptions about the Potential Abrupt Collapse of the WAIS
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2014, 01:07:23 PM »
The following link leads to a Huffington Post article the uses 21 numbers (many of which err on the side of least drama) to remind the public that climate change is real, and demands action:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/07/climate-change-statistics_n_5923908.html

Nevertheless, with regard to my last post in this thread (Reply #56), I would also like to note that may denialists like to intimidate both policy makers and the public, by saying that it is immoral/illegal to express ones freedom of speech by shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theater (when talking about climate hawks).  However, I point-out that it is even more immoral/illegal to express ones freedom of speech by taking over the theater's public announcement system and to tell the crowd to say seated, when one knows that the theater is actually on fire (and here I am talking about the denialist gaming the media to disproportionately put-out the message that the risk of climate change should be ignored).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Challenging Misconceptions about the Potential Abrupt Collapse of the WAIS
« Reply #58 on: November 18, 2014, 03:44:29 PM »
I have a few minutes while I am traveling so I thought that I would post the following link & long extract discussing the psychological aspects of the current discourse about climate change.  However, I will say that I am participating in this discourse more to learn than to convince conservatives that their position in damaging America, the world and future generations, and that if they would just get their representatives in Congress to vote for a carbon fee & dividend  bill that they could be part of a system that is not broken but that is something that they can have pride-in; because no matter what the following article says conservatives exhibit more than their fair share of "survivorship bias" that encourages them to ignore the fat-tail of the climate change risk probability distribution function, PDF.  Evolutionarily decision making in the human mind has relied on preconceived notions based on experiences that are rife with "survivorship bias", where failures, at the right tail of a consequence PDF, are ignored.  While using decision making rife with "survivorship bias" might be functional in a stationary world where actions are free from significant consequences.  However, in the current non-stationary world of abrupt climate change, actions can have severe consequences, and one must open one's eyes to a larger worldview, and work hard to minimize true uncertainty, rather than by accepting the "survivorship bias" inherent by basing decisions/actions on truncated PDFs.  The public, including many scientists, is guilty of "survivorship bias" (including discounting the risks of the probably collapse of the WAIS this century), as this bias allows them to be overly optimistic, which they feel good about.   However, freedom without responsibility, or consequences for ones actions; is no freedom at all.
 
http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/09/how-to-convince-conservatives-on-climate-change.html

It’s worth pointing out, of course, that for many conservatives (and liberals), the current debate about climate change isn’t really about competing piles of evidence or about facts at all — it’s about identity. Climate change has come to serve as shorthand for which side you’re on, and conservatives tend to be deeply averse to what climate crusaders represent (or what they think they represent). “The thing most likely to make it hard to sway somebody is that you’re trying to sway them,” said Kahan.
But in practical, apolitical contexts, many conservatives already recognize and are willing to respond to the realities of climate change. “There’s a climate change people reject,” Kahan explained. “That’s the one they use if they have to be a member of one or another of those groups. But there’s the climate change information they accept that’s just of a piece with all the information and science that gets used in their lives.” A farmer approached by a local USDA official with whom he’s worked before, for example, isn’t going to start complaining about hockey-stick graphs or biased scientists when that official tells him what he needs to do to account for climate-change-induced shifts to local weather patterns.
In a larger context, social scientists have shown in laboratory settings that there are ways to discuss climate change that nudge conservatives toward recognizing the issue. Research is proceeding along a few different tracks. One of them involves moral foundations theory, a hot idea in political psychology that basically argues that people holding different political beliefs arrive at those beliefs because they have different moral values (even if there’s plenty of overlap). Liberals tend to be more moved by the idea of innocent people being harmed than conservatives, for example, while conservatives are more likely to react to notions of disgust (some of the conservative rhetoric over immigration reflects this difference).
In a study they published in Psychological Science in 2013, Willer and a colleague, the Stanford social psychologist Matthew Feinberg, tested the effectiveness of framing environmental issues in a way that takes into account conservatives’ moral foundations. After completing a questionnaire that included items about their political beliefs, respondents were asked to read one of three excerpts. The unfortunate control group “read an apolitical message on the history of neckties.” For the other two groups, though, what followed was an op-ed-like block of text designed to stoke either “care/harm” (innocents suffering) or “purity/sanctity” (disgust) concerns — one excerpt “described the harm and destruction humans are causing to their environment and emphasized how important it is for people to care about and protect the environment,” while the other touched on “how polluted and contaminated the environment has become and how important it is for people to clean and purify the environment.”
Afterwards, respondents were gauged on their pro-environmental attitudes and belief in global warming. In the care/harm group, there was a sizable gap between liberals and conservatives on both measures. In the disgust group, however, there was no statistically significant difference in general environmental attitudes, and the gap on belief in global warming had been cut significantly.
Another promising route that researchers are exploring involves the concept of “system justification.” Put simply, system justification arises from the deep-seated psychological need for humans to feel like the broad systems they are a part of are working correctly. It doesn’t feel good to know you attend a broken school or inhabit a deeply corrupt country — or that your planet’s entire ecology may be on the brink of collapse.
People tend to deal with major threats to their systems in one of two ways: taking a threat so seriously that they seek out ways to neutralize it, or “finding ways to justify away problems in order to maintain the sense of legitimacy and well-being of the system,” explained Irina Feygina, a social psychologist at New York University. This latter route is system justification.
Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on system justification, but there’s strong evidence they do it more than liberals. “There’s a lot of research that just goes out and asks people what their opinions and preferences are, and pretty consistently — I don’t actually know of any examples to the contrary — people who tend to report being further on the conservative end of the spectrum also report having greater confidence in the system and greater motivation to justify it,” said Feygina.
She and two colleagues looked into the connection between system justification and environmental beliefs for a series of studies published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2009. They found that, among an undergraduate sample at least, there was a strong correlation between system justification (as measured by reactions to items like “In general, the American political system operates as it should”) and denial of environmental problems.
In a follow-up study designed to test whether this relationship was causal or simply correlational, students read a rather vanilla statement about how researchers have been tracking, with interest, changes to the environment. Some of the students also read two extra sentences: “Being pro-environmental allows us to protect and preserve the American way of life. It is patriotic to conserve the country’s natural resources.” This final bit was designed specifically to “reframe pro-environmental change as consistent with system preservation” by emphasizing not a threat to a beleaguered system, but rather an opportunity to help protect an established, robust one.
After reading the passage, students rated their agreement with ten statements about whether and to what extent they planned on engaging in pro-environmental activities, and were asked if they would like to sign various pro-environmental petitions. In the control condition, those who felt a stronger urge to justify the system expressed weaker pro-environmental intentions and signed fewer petitions. In the experimental group, though, the researchers effectively defused the effects of system justification: there was no difference in attitudes and numbers of petition signed between strong and weak system justifiers.
So how would this translate to a real-world message? “What you need to do is put the system first,” said Feygina. “Instead of saying, ‘Let’s deal with climate change, let’s be pro-environmental, let’s protect the oceans,’ what you need to do is come in and say, ‘If we want to preserve our system, if we want to be patriotic, if we want our children to have the life that we have, then we have to take these actions that allow us to maintain those things that we care about.’” The starting point can’t be about averting catastrophe, in other words — it has to be about pride in the current system and the need to maintain it."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Challenging Misconceptions about the Potential Abrupt Collapse of the WAIS
« Reply #59 on: February 26, 2015, 10:17:22 PM »
The linked reference discusses the causes of the recent faux hiatus:

Byron A. Steinman, Michael E. Mann & Sonya K. Miller, (2015), "Atlantic and Pacific multidecadal oscillations and Northern Hemisphere temperatures", Science 27, Vol. 347 no. 6225 pp. 988-991, DOI: 10.1126/science.1257856


http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6225/988.abstract


Abstract: "The recent slowdown in global warming has brought into question the reliability of climate model projections of future temperature change and has led to a vigorous debate over whether this slowdown is the result of naturally occurring, internal variability or forcing external to Earth’s climate system. To address these issues, we applied a semi-empirical approach that combines climate observations and model simulations to estimate Atlantic- and Pacific-based internal multidecadal variability (termed “AMO” and “PMO,” respectively). Using this method, the AMO and PMO are found to explain a large proportion of internal variability in Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures. Competition between a modest positive peak in the AMO and a substantially negative-trending PMO are seen to produce a slowdown or “false pause” in warming of the past decade."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson