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Anonymouse

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #50 on: April 05, 2013, 08:08:37 AM »
ggelsrinc (#49)
Do you have another Earth to compare ours to?  If you do, please share your data, you sexy alien Roger, you.  Otherwise, please give us all a break with your tired old denier comments. We have heard them all, they have all been conclusively thrown out (really, you are bringing up the Milankovitch cycles AGAIN? gee, you are so original...)  SPEED of change over Earth's history and the ability of life-forms to adapt in that time is what is important here, not the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere at any given time. 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 08:30:52 AM by Anonymouse »

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #51 on: April 05, 2013, 08:24:43 AM »
ggelsrinc (#49)
Do you have another Earth to compare ours to?  If you do, please share your data, you sexy alien Roger, you.  Otherwise, please give us all a break with your tired old denier comments. We have heard them all, they have all been conclusively thrown out (really, you are bringing up the Milankovitch cycles AGAIN? gee, you are so original...)  Go away, please.

Just because someone doesn't buy doomsday scenarios doesn't make them a denier. You can find past climate data in a simple encyclopedia, so look it up! When was the last time the Earth's atmosphere had 400 ppm CO2 and what was the thermohaline circulation like at that time?

Would an Earth with a circum-equatorial current be more prone to ice ages than our present Earth and if so why isn't there evidence of them? A major change in thermohaline circulation is a major change in the Earth's sensitivity. Denialistas like to claim the past Earth behaves the same as the present Earth even with continents in totally different places. The isolation and cooling of the Atlantic was a major event changer for our present Earth.

If you don't like what I say, don't read it!

Anonymouse

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #52 on: April 05, 2013, 08:41:10 AM »
Hi ggelsrinc (#50),
I did modify my comment at around the same time you posted.  But with your next comment i am not sure where you are going. Of course I can find past climate knowledge pretty much anywhere, there is so much research being done now! 

"Would an Earth with a circum-equatorial current be more prone to ice ages than our present Earth and if so why isn't there evidence of them? A major change in thermohaline circulation is a major change in the Earth's sensitivity. Denialistas like to claim the past Earth behaves the same as the present Earth even with continents in totally different places. The isolation and cooling of the Atlantic was a major event changer for our present Earth"

I am not sure what you are saying here.  Could you please clarify?

P.S. You have one chance, then I will stop feeding you.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2013, 08:53:39 AM »
Quote
but it's easy to use past paleoclimatology data and shoot down a doomsday theory. If it's going to give us a doomsday, why didn't it happen in the past?
May I request that you expand upon this point, ideally with a reasonably solid reference to a paleoclimatic episode that accurately reflects both our initial starting condition and the rate of change we are imposing? I'm assuming it should be quite straight-forward to provide the paleoclimatic data you refer to to shoot down said doomsday theory.

With respect to methane clathrate - yes, I am well aware it is stabilised by both temperature and pressure. My primary concern is the ESAS area of the Arctic where even with a truly dramatic rise in sea level I would still expect heat to mix down to the seabed (which was established to be already thawed by an almost entirely unreported Shakova/Semiletov expedition). The ESAS will always be relatively shallow, contains immense amounts of clathrate (and likely considerable amounts of free gas trapped under pressure). I'd prefer to set the methane debate to one side versus paleoclimate though as I can agree methane is more speculative, even if there are some damning quotes from Shakhova floating around out there (for those who dig hard enough). Except for ESAS the depth of most clathrates is sufficient that the usual rise and fall in sea level is academic as they are pressure stabilised either way - and some good news came out recently when it was determined that some level of release had been ongoing for centuries off Svalbard (though it doesn't entirely rule out an increase in the rate of release).

With respect to heat, I appreciate that it takes time for the planet to warm up. That really doesn't alter my argument about the completely different distribution of incoming energy once the Arctic melts, does it? Or the speed with which that distribution change happens? Isn't it fair to say atmospheric circulation patterns are determined mostly by what happens near the surface and in the atmosphere and not so much by the deep cold oceans? Is it reasonable to suppose thermohaline circulation necessarily continues unaffected once you remove the ice that cools the water? (being a major driver of the climate we experience that it is)

If you can shoot down the whole thing on the basis of solid paleoclimatic evidence that would be very helpful though. I couldn't find an email I received from a paleoclimatologist admonishing me for my assumption that I could use paleoclimate to extrapolate a worst case scenario, and cautioning me my premise was flawed due to the lack of analogue (he was really a rather pessimistic fellow, I must say), but I did find this (oh, and incidentally I think paleoclimatology does say abrupt transition events are possible, as are climatically driven mass extinction events like the PETM and end Permian):

Anyway, I quote:
"There is little point in looking for quantitative  estimates of the outcome at any particular point in time of intertwined non-linear stochastic processes, the precise  parallel of which has never occurred earlier (although similarities exist with the PETM 55 Ma ago)."

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2013, 10:10:59 AM »
Hi ggelsrinc (#50),
I did modify my comment at around the same time you posted.  But with your next comment i am not sure where you are going. Of course I can find past climate knowledge pretty much anywhere, there is so much research being done now! 

"Would an Earth with a circum-equatorial current be more prone to ice ages than our present Earth and if so why isn't there evidence of them? A major change in thermohaline circulation is a major change in the Earth's sensitivity. Denialistas like to claim the past Earth behaves the same as the present Earth even with continents in totally different places. The isolation and cooling of the Atlantic was a major event changer for our present Earth"

I am not sure what you are saying here.  Could you please clarify?

P.S. You have one chance, then I will stop feeding you.

Quote
Continents continued to drift, moving from positions possibly as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current locations. South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene, making possible the Great American Interchange and bringing a nearly complete end to South America's distinctive large marsupial predator and native ungulate faunas. The formation of the Isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, since warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off and an Atlantic cooling cycle began, with cold Arctic and Antarctic waters dropping temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliocene

Let's just deal with the basic knowledge of the Pliocene and how the remnant of a circum-equatorial current was stopped with the Isthmus of Panama forming and our modern Gulf Stream being born. The Pliocene is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch, which you can call the age of ice ages. These are major changes in thermohaline circulation and that changes the Earth's sensitivity.

I think a past Earth with similar CO2 concentrations and continental drift is a good model, but the model requires adjusting for thermohaline circulation. I haven't seen evidence of a 400 ppm CO2 Earth being sensitive to ice ages like our present Earth is in my opinion and thermohaline circulation is the only major thing I see that is different. It isn't wise to make these CO2 chances so quickly, but I think it would take more than 400 ppm CO2 to avoid ice ages like the Earth once did. I see the obvious bad consequences that have been done and they will be worse. That doesn't mean I see doomsday for mankind's societies.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #55 on: April 05, 2013, 10:29:09 AM »
Quote
but I think it would take more than 400 ppm CO2
We're already pretty much at 400ppm!

If you were right and our golden age continues indefinitely, carbon dioxide rises substantially further in any credible emissions scenario you can provide.

If I were right and civilisation folds and natural feedbacks dominate, they will still add far more carbon dioxide into the system (some of it as methane in the first instance, which doesn't really help).

So even just thinking in "steady state" terms I don't see the value of a 400ppm analogue for future gazing.

Now if we could focus on the small detail of rate of change, I would be very interested to know if I was misinformed by aforementioned paleoclimatologist and there is in fact a good analogue for both our initial conditions and rate of change?

Other than the PETM! It's a mass extinction event, so would tend to support my argument I would think...

Anne

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #56 on: April 05, 2013, 11:09:16 AM »
Rate of change seems to be key here. Also that the change doesn't need to be very big to be enormously disruptive.

We are looking at sociology, politics and psychology as much as climate sciences to work out when and how bad. It's going to be bad long before Manhattan is regularly swamped in tidal surges. We can expect more food hikes this year. The UN warned last year that food stocks are dangerously low.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/oct/14/un-global-food-crisis-warning

We are already seeing societal disruption caused by the banking crisis, high cost of fuel (which is arguably a driver for the former) and consequent unemployment. A lot of people in the developed world are experiencing the sort of poverty they never expected. It doesn't have to reach anything like destitution level to become a huge source of political anger. Too many people are relying on food banks. They can't afford to heat their homes. Many of them feel ignored by government. They are getting angry.

What worries me most is that these social instabilities will increase, reducing the ability of communities to deal with the structural changes to things like agriculture and supply, needed to make the best of the changing climate. Stable, united communities are needed to build things like sea defences, to relocate vulnerable populations and industries, and to rescue those displaced. And those who are displaced will not go quietly.

retiredbill

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #57 on: April 05, 2013, 12:00:05 PM »
( beginning of posting deleted)

I've spectulated that humans will be reduced to hunter/gatherer status
in around 200 years. Technology will vanish when the abundant food, energy
and natural resources required to sustain it disappear. By the time people
get around to seriously replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy, it will
be too late to prevent a dystopia.

That is quite a conservative timescale.

200 may be too long, but I don't think it will be less than 100. It will take that long for
oceans to rise 10 feet, which will be necessary to stifle international trade.

Changing tact slightly, 'doomsday' is mentioned in various posts. Is doomsday the extinction
of the human race? Or only starvation of 6 or 7 billion people? I think humans will survive in
a few scattered pockets, but I don't consider that outcome to be doomsday. Doomsday to
me would be the extinction of the human race.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #58 on: April 05, 2013, 02:48:36 PM »
( beginning of posting deleted)

I've spectulated that humans will be reduced to hunter/gatherer status
in around 200 years. Technology will vanish when the abundant food, energy
and natural resources required to sustain it disappear. By the time people
get around to seriously replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy, it will
be too late to prevent a dystopia.

That is quite a conservative timescale.

200 may be too long, but I don't think it will be less than 100. It will take that long for
oceans to rise 10 feet, which will be necessary to stifle international trade.

Changing tact slightly, 'doomsday' is mentioned in various posts. Is doomsday the extinction
of the human race? Or only starvation of 6 or 7 billion people? I think humans will survive in
a few scattered pockets, but I don't consider that outcome to be doomsday. Doomsday to
me would be the extinction of the human race.

You might still be too conservative with that prediction, but after reading about the theory of doomsday as shown in the second paragraph of your post I am inclined to agree.

But at this point it seems as though the whole doomsday thing may as well be a large proportion of the population being lost to cataclysmic events with the remainder either struggling to survive or just dropping like flies, leaving this planet barren.

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #59 on: April 05, 2013, 11:51:50 PM »
Quote
but it's easy to use past paleoclimatology data and shoot down a doomsday theory. If it's going to give us a doomsday, why didn't it happen in the past?
May I request that you expand upon this point, ideally with a reasonably solid reference to a paleoclimatic episode that accurately reflects both our initial starting condition and the rate of change we are imposing? I'm assuming it should be quite straight-forward to provide the paleoclimatic data you refer to to shoot down said doomsday theory.

With respect to methane clathrate - yes, I am well aware it is stabilised by both temperature and pressure. My primary concern is the ESAS area of the Arctic where even with a truly dramatic rise in sea level I would still expect heat to mix down to the seabed (which was established to be already thawed by an almost entirely unreported Shakova/Semiletov expedition). The ESAS will always be relatively shallow, contains immense amounts of clathrate (and likely considerable amounts of free gas trapped under pressure). I'd prefer to set the methane debate to one side versus paleoclimate though as I can agree methane is more speculative, even if there are some damning quotes from Shakhova floating around out there (for those who dig hard enough). Except for ESAS the depth of most clathrates is sufficient that the usual rise and fall in sea level is academic as they are pressure stabilised either way - and some good news came out recently when it was determined that some level of release had been ongoing for centuries off Svalbard (though it doesn't entirely rule out an increase in the rate of release).

With respect to heat, I appreciate that it takes time for the planet to warm up. That really doesn't alter my argument about the completely different distribution of incoming energy once the Arctic melts, does it? Or the speed with which that distribution change happens? Isn't it fair to say atmospheric circulation patterns are determined mostly by what happens near the surface and in the atmosphere and not so much by the deep cold oceans? Is it reasonable to suppose thermohaline circulation necessarily continues unaffected once you remove the ice that cools the water? (being a major driver of the climate we experience that it is)

If you can shoot down the whole thing on the basis of solid paleoclimatic evidence that would be very helpful though. I couldn't find an email I received from a paleoclimatologist admonishing me for my assumption that I could use paleoclimate to extrapolate a worst case scenario, and cautioning me my premise was flawed due to the lack of analogue (he was really a rather pessimistic fellow, I must say), but I did find this (oh, and incidentally I think paleoclimatology does say abrupt transition events are possible, as are climatically driven mass extinction events like the PETM and end Permian):

Anyway, I quote:
"There is little point in looking for quantitative  estimates of the outcome at any particular point in time of intertwined non-linear stochastic processes, the precise  parallel of which has never occurred earlier (although similarities exist with the PETM 55 Ma ago)."

Quote
May I request that you expand upon this point, ideally with a reasonably solid reference to a paleoclimatic episode that accurately reflects both our initial starting condition and the rate of change we are imposing? I'm assuming it should be quite straight-forward to provide the paleoclimatic data you refer to to shoot down said doomsday theory.

That request isn't genuine because we all should know the paleoclimatological data isn't accurate enough to identify such an event. We do have data that can reflect on the conditions of a 400 ppm CO2 Earth with some degree of accuracy. You are making the claim that doomsday is already built into the future and I'm saying the past paleoclimatological data doesn't support that claim. We can safely say the data shows a global temperature maxing out at 22 degrees C over a wide range of CO2 levels and those levels are above 400 ppm CO2. We know our present Earth is prone to cooling because it has an isolated continental mass at one pole and an isolated ocean at the other. The last time the Earth had 400 ppm CO2, it was caused by the slow process of CO2 being removed by weathering, so the global temperature at that time should reflect an equalibrium state. Our present 400 ppm CO2, when we get there, isn't at an equilibrium state, because it's happened too fast, but I see nothing in the data to suggest a higher global temperature than the past and the data should suggest a global temperature being lower than it was before.

I would certainly think any scientist would be concerned about global warming and they are therefore reluctant to admonish someone stating a warning as dire as yours. To me, doomsday is total surrender to hopelessness, because functioning societies are going to be necessary to avoid the risk of disaster. I'd say we've already done what's required to melt the arctic sea ice and will be plagued with the consequences of extreme weather. Society offers the only chance to fix it.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 02:24:09 AM by ggelsrinc »

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #60 on: April 06, 2013, 01:52:13 AM »
I am sorry to have to place another question here, but as of now is there any real point in trying to go for the survivalist strategy with regards whatever cataclysm is coming whether it occurs in the coming decades or in June.

The reason I ask is because of how the earth will turn from the beautiful blue globe that supported life to a grey desolate wasteland. How can one strive to attempt to survive in this kind of world where nothing is likely to grow, where one is likely to be constantly hounded by the desperate, the group they form eventually becoming unstable as resources become depleted.

From what I know whenever a calamity caused by climate change occurs it takes the earth millions of years to recover and thus I feel that the people who are left on the earth following the cataclysm will drop like flies with no new generations flourishing until earth flourishes with nature again.

One can argue that its best to make most of life even if such an event occurs, but I question as to what can be achieved by doing so, when one will descend into permanent oblivion having achieved nothing for the new generation and having upheld no legacy at all.

At the moment I am distracted the majority of the time by this subject, seeing if I can get some confirmation to my suspicions, should one continue studying for education or will the world end before it is of any importance. A ridiculous question to ask and I hope it remains so.

The timescale is something of great concern, if it was something that was to occur in a number of years time I would worry somewhat, but not quite as much for I feel that whatever is to happen is to happen over the course of the next few months.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 01:58:35 AM by fishmahboi »

ccgwebmaster

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #61 on: April 06, 2013, 02:52:40 AM »
Changing tact slightly, 'doomsday' is mentioned in various posts. Is doomsday the extinction
of the human race? Or only starvation of 6 or 7 billion people? I think humans will survive in
a few scattered pockets, but I don't consider that outcome to be doomsday. Doomsday to
me would be the extinction of the human race.
I'm curious - if the vast majority of humanity is to die off within the coming decades (and in my projection a majority within half a decade or less) - if you are one of the ones who dies, do you care whether the species is extinct or not? Isn't it your personal doomsday anyway?

I consider total extinction an outlier scenario only likely to be triggered by something like truly apocalyptic methane feedback. I am not aware of any good science giving me a clear picture on how likely this is, and also lack any other information to try to infer from. I'm assuming it to be an essentially unlikely scenario on that basis - but this link seems to have quite a lot of stuff (arguably a bit speculative in places) about it:

http://killerinourmidst.com/

So very worst case is loss of the ozone layer, large releases of hydrogen sulphide (as toxic as hydrogen cyanide) from anoxic oceans, and a question about the oxygen content of the atmosphere. Theoretically there might be paleoclimatic precedent to get the world to a state where survival is literally impossible everywhere - but - I have no reasons to expect it to be a likely out come - and even if it was - so what? It's a contradiction in terms to plan for extinction.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #62 on: April 06, 2013, 02:56:05 AM »
At the moment I am distracted the majority of the time by this subject, seeing if I can get some confirmation to my suspicions, should one continue studying for education or will the world end before it is of any importance. A ridiculous question to ask and I hope it remains so.

The timescale is something of great concern, if it was something that was to occur in a number of years time I would worry somewhat, but not quite as much for I feel that whatever is to happen is to happen over the course of the next few months.

No matter how rapidly the sea ice disappears or how severe the global weather related disasters are this year, life on earth will continue on.  Even under the most dire scenarios, the most calamitous results will not be occurring within the next decade (hopefully).  Climatologically, the earth should still be a livable biosphere for at least the  next century, if not longer.

There is still time to take some action, although things will continue to get worse for the next 3-5 decades.  If no meaningful  action is taken, then within a few centuries humankind will be severely threatened.

Keep learning, keep trying to make a difference.  Enjoy life to the fullest extent possible without destroying the earth that remains for future generations.
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #63 on: April 06, 2013, 03:12:52 AM »
Quote
That request isn't genuine because we all should know the paleoclimatological data isn't accurate enough to identify such an event.
Whoa!

But you said:
Quote
but it's easy to use past paleoclimatology data and shoot down a doomsday theory. If it's going to give us a doomsday, why didn't it happen in the past?
Now you appear to be saying the paleoclimatic data isn't accurate enough to identify such an event? What happened to it being so easy to "shoot down the doomsday theory" with it?

It has happened in the past. Paleoclimate contains precedents for some truly abrupt shifts in the earth system and some brutal mass extinctions (and yes, we don't know exactly how abruptly conditions changed, and we have no precise analogue, but we do know we are potentially changing them much faster!).
Quote
I would certainly think any scientist would be concerned about global warming and they are therefore reluctant to admonish someone stating a warning as dire as yours.
Huh. Have you spoken to many scientists and tried to explore their world a little? In my experience they're the first people to correct what they see as mistakes, and fortunately usually with good reasons why they think they're mistakes.
Quote
To me, doomsday is total surrender to hopelessness, because functioning societies are going to be necessary to avoid the risk of disaster.
If you looked at the stuff I've written - and looked a bit deeper - and didn't just fixate on the stuff you see as doomsday stuff - you might find a slightly more nuanced angle to my arguments. Yes - I'm saying reality seems to be that the sky is indeed falling. I am also stating things people can do to deal with it and making positive statements of a hopeful future (in the long term - and it's damn selfish to only consider your own self, which is how this thing came to pass really).

There are good psychological reasons why people are unable to assimilate negative information. There is an optimism bias in most individuals - usually probably a useful mental tool for survival. Furthermore there is normalcy bias - the tendency to assume upon past experience to infer the future. Plus quite frankly when it comes to this particular scenario there is a lot of ignorance and failure to understand it slopping around out there.

Anyway, as far as I can see you don't have any paleoclimatic data to prove my assessment wrong with. I will grant I have no solid data with which to prove it right either - but it would take arguments more persuasive than those you've made so far. Your final conclusion seems to be that it's pointless to consider doomsday because existing civilisation offers the only hope of "fixing" it (rather different from saying paleoclimatic data easily disproves the argument).

Therefore you should be trying to persuade as many people as fast as possible to fix it. My tuppence.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #64 on: April 06, 2013, 03:32:19 AM »
I am sorry to have to place another question here, but as of now is there any real point in trying to go for the survivalist strategy with regards whatever cataclysm is coming whether it occurs in the coming decades or in June.
I think one should ask whatever questions one cares to - it's better than just arguing the toss all the while (while I do think the "when and how bad" debate is a very important one).
Quote
From what I know whenever a calamity caused by climate change occurs it takes the earth millions of years to recover and thus I feel that the people who are left on the earth following the cataclysm will drop like flies with no new generations flourishing until earth flourishes with nature again.
Disagree. You need to look at the worst case episodes from paleoclimate to see recovery times in the millions of years. We can't rule those out - but we can't rule them in either. I'm cautiously optimistic the climatic shift won't ultimately be so bad if we can avoid triggering all the potential feedbacks with the human pressure largely removed from the system. We lack sufficient understanding of the earth system to know how far this will run, but it takes pretty low probability scenarios to turn literally the whole planet into the absolute wasteland you describe.
Quote
One can argue that its best to make most of life even if such an event occurs, but I question as to what can be achieved by doing so, when one will descend into permanent oblivion having achieved nothing for the new generation and having upheld no legacy at all.
Even if collapse caught one entirely unprepared, people can be capable of much more than you might imagine. A lot of it's in the mind, less so in the body or the equipment.
Quote
At the moment I am distracted the majority of the time by this subject, seeing if I can get some confirmation to my suspicions, should one continue studying for education or will the world end before it is of any importance. A ridiculous question to ask and I hope it remains so.
My advice, a little trite though it may be: Worry only about that which you can control.
Quote
The timescale is something of great concern, if it was something that was to occur in a number of years time I would worry somewhat, but not quite as much for I feel that whatever is to happen is to happen over the course of the next few months.
But there may well be years for you? Even if you went with my analysis which plenty of people are saying is too extreme and doom filled - it takes several years for collapse to spread everywhere. You don't live in a poor food importing nation? Why do you think collapse can reach your doorstep in only months? Despite the difficulties of predicting the precise nature and timing of the spark that lights the fire once the fuel is in place (and I don't think it is all there - yet...) I do not expect to see collapse in developed nations this year. Social unrest - perhaps - but driven as much by the onset of deepening poverty and deprivation rather than a direct struggle to survive. And by social unrest, I don't mean more than the riots in the UK a couple of years back - at this stage.

Modern media may have a lot to answer for - but all things take time. That's why I emphasise watching for key events and triggers rather than obsessing over a precise timescale.

There is no reason to let this issue dominate or destroy your life. I am still working (when I can find customers - I freelance) to pay the bills. I'm still making plans for the future with my girlfriend (even though I don't think they'll all happen). I'm not living on a boat just because it's my preparation scenario for doomsday - I actually started living on a boat because I was too poor to afford to rent or buy a house (in the UK) and was about to run out of options. The much bigger vessel I have now can be used just as easily to cruise around and see the world if I were somehow wrong - and I assure you it would be a preferable lifestyle.

retiredbill

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #65 on: April 06, 2013, 07:53:18 AM »

I'm curious - if the vast majority of humanity is to die off within the coming decades (and in my projection a majority within half a decade or less) - if you are one of the ones who dies, do you care whether the species is extinct or not? Isn't it your personal doomsday anyway?

I consider total extinction an outlier scenario only likely to be triggered by something like truly apocalyptic methane feedback. I am not aware of any good science giving me a clear picture on how likely this is, and also lack any other information to try to infer from. I'm assuming it to be an essentially unlikely scenario on that basis - but this link seems to have quite a lot of stuff (arguably a bit speculative in places) about it:

http://killerinourmidst.com/

So very worst case is loss of the ozone layer, large releases of hydrogen sulphide (as toxic as hydrogen cyanide) from anoxic oceans, and a question about the oxygen content of the atmosphere. Theoretically there might be paleoclimatic precedent to get the world to a state where survival is literally impossible everywhere - but - I have no reasons to expect it to be a likely out come - and even if it was - so what? It's a contradiction in terms to plan for extinction.

I'm 65 so I likely have only 20 +/- 5 years left. I certainly don't expect to be around the 40
years until the dire effects of climate change begin to become evident. If I was only 20, I'd
seriously have to plan my life with change in mind. And I don't know what my mindset would
be facing a future of adversity instead of betterment.

I don't expect humans to go extinct. But to those who are used to a technologically comfortable
life, living a subsistance lifestyle might seem to be a doomsday scenario.

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #66 on: April 06, 2013, 10:22:53 AM »
Quote
That request isn't genuine because we all should know the paleoclimatological data isn't accurate enough to identify such an event.
Whoa!

But you said:
Quote
but it's easy to use past paleoclimatology data and shoot down a doomsday theory. If it's going to give us a doomsday, why didn't it happen in the past?
Now you appear to be saying the paleoclimatic data isn't accurate enough to identify such an event? What happened to it being so easy to "shoot down the doomsday theory" with it?

It has happened in the past. Paleoclimate contains precedents for some truly abrupt shifts in the earth system and some brutal mass extinctions (and yes, we don't know exactly how abruptly conditions changed, and we have no precise analogue, but we do know we are potentially changing them much faster!).
Quote
I would certainly think any scientist would be concerned about global warming and they are therefore reluctant to admonish someone stating a warning as dire as yours.
Huh. Have you spoken to many scientists and tried to explore their world a little? In my experience they're the first people to correct what they see as mistakes, and fortunately usually with good reasons why they think they're mistakes.
Quote
To me, doomsday is total surrender to hopelessness, because functioning societies are going to be necessary to avoid the risk of disaster.
If you looked at the stuff I've written - and looked a bit deeper - and didn't just fixate on the stuff you see as doomsday stuff - you might find a slightly more nuanced angle to my arguments. Yes - I'm saying reality seems to be that the sky is indeed falling. I am also stating things people can do to deal with it and making positive statements of a hopeful future (in the long term - and it's damn selfish to only consider your own self, which is how this thing came to pass really).

There are good psychological reasons why people are unable to assimilate negative information. There is an optimism bias in most individuals - usually probably a useful mental tool for survival. Furthermore there is normalcy bias - the tendency to assume upon past experience to infer the future. Plus quite frankly when it comes to this particular scenario there is a lot of ignorance and failure to understand it slopping around out there.

Anyway, as far as I can see you don't have any paleoclimatic data to prove my assessment wrong with. I will grant I have no solid data with which to prove it right either - but it would take arguments more persuasive than those you've made so far. Your final conclusion seems to be that it's pointless to consider doomsday because existing civilisation offers the only hope of "fixing" it (rather different from saying paleoclimatic data easily disproves the argument).

Therefore you should be trying to persuade as many people as fast as possible to fix it. My tuppence.

Since when can data be dated that accurately to show the Earth contributing CO2 at the same level man did? Even if events mimicked exactly what man did, you wouldn't be able to prove it with data. The data shows if you put 7000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere you are going to get a 22 degree Earth. A 22 degree Earth isn't a room temperature and you don't want go there, but you can get there with a lot less than 7000 ppm CO2. There is no data that 400 ppm CO2 will get you there.

I've talked with scientists because I've worked with scientists, so let's stop playing the kid's games of quoting every sentence and trying to refute it. Ideas come in paragraphs, so stick with the idea of proving that our present emissions are doomsday, like you said. Why haven't you posted a paleoclimatological temperature for when the Earth had 400 ppm CO2 and make your case? Since I know the majority of scientists don't agree with your case, why do we want to pretend they do? By far, the majority of scientists would look at the evidence and say there are definitely signs of problems on planet Earth, in fact, I can't think of any who I've known (and not know of) who would think otherwise. Besides greed, I can't imagine what reasoning a scientist would use to dismiss AGW and the potential consequences, but risks aren't certainties. Scientists are conservative in the way they assess things and in the United States their views aren't getting translated to politics and policy. The risk doesn't involve a negative result in one of the test tubes, but the whole enchilada.

Hyperbole isn't going to cut it as a scientist and consider Hansen as an example. I've read where he said the seas would boil and some reference to becoming another Venus, but I never checked into it, because my common sense told me, he didn't mean it to be taken literally. The example brings up three interesting points from different perspectives and the first involves people taught in science to understand the universe in which they live. Science requires a discipline of the mind and often hard work to accomplish it, so it's easy to be so involved that you forget the rest of the world doesn't think that way. It often occupies your mind so much that you aren't paying much attention to other things. The second point involves the rest of the world not being a scientist so in order to communicate you have to speak their language and don't expect them to learn yours. The third point involves froward resistance and that involves the contrary nature of humanity. I find it hard to believe a credible source would make a case against Hansen and believe any scientist who has studied paleoclimatology doesn't know about the 22 degree C ceiling. When someone is being froward, they are doing it intentionally and there a reason for it. In Hansen's case the reason is to disprove AGW and the motive is industrial greed. The fact that it has penetrated media to influence people without scientific training is telling. In my assessment of the United States, way too much is propagandized through the media and politics by so-called think tanks.

As for me like OldLeatherneck I've been a Marine. I've drawn my line in the sand. I'm too old to gather my family around a farm in West Virginia with plenty of guns and food stored to fight off humanity, even with it is provided by my older brother thinking the world would collapse with the Great Recession. I'm old enough not to fear death as long as someone can take care of my dog. If the Hun hoards were attacking, I'd put my family up and meet them on the battlefield, even if it's face to face against impossible odds, because that society nurtured me like my long lost mom and they deserve that much respect. To a warrior, impossible odds mean nothing and death is a reality of life. I've put my genes on this planet with my six kids and many grandchildren, these end of the world fantasies aren't erotic to me, like the old movies I grew up with as a child. I grew up in an era when everything was going to be destroyed, so what else is new?

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #67 on: April 06, 2013, 05:33:29 PM »
Since when can data be dated that accurately to show the Earth contributing CO2 at the same level man did? Even if events mimicked exactly what man did, you wouldn't be able to prove it with data. The data shows if you put 7000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere you are going to get a 22 degree Earth. A 22 degree Earth isn't a room temperature and you don't want go there, but you can get there with a lot less than 7000 ppm CO2. There is no data that 400 ppm CO2 will get you there.
I have no expectation that we end up anywhere near 7000ppm (barring a truly exceptional level of methane feedback). In the absence of proven analogues from paleoclimate can you demonstrate natural processes capable of doing what we have, with good reasons to suppose they have done so before?

In any case, I think you're missing part of my argument. We're conflating two different issues:

1 - ultimate end of century (and beyond) projections for where climate change puts us
2 - the vulnerability of global civilisation to even a fairly mild shock (mild compared to the longer term future waiting for us)

While I can point at some very rapid and significant changes being possible in the earth system, I cannot provide a good analogue for current conditions. So logically, doesn't that leave us with paleoclimate not able to settle the debate?
I've talked with scientists because I've worked with scientists, so let's stop playing the kid's games of quoting every sentence and trying to refute it. Ideas come in paragraphs, so stick with the idea of proving that our present emissions are doomsday, like you said. Why haven't you posted a paleoclimatological temperature for when the Earth had 400 ppm CO2 and make your case? Since I know the majority of scientists don't agree with your case, why do we want to pretend they do? By far, the majority of scientists would look at the evidence and say there are definitely signs of problems on planet Earth, in fact, I can't think of any who I've known (and not know of) who would think otherwise. Besides greed, I can't imagine what reasoning a scientist would use to dismiss AGW and the potential consequences, but risks aren't certainties. Scientists are conservative in the way they assess things and in the United States their views aren't getting translated to politics and policy. The risk doesn't involve a negative result in one of the test tubes, but the whole enchilada.
Wasn't intended to be a kid's game, was intended to simplify the debate and avoid massive amounts of verbiage. I'm not clear where I claimed a majority of scientists did agree with my case. I'm certain most of them would not agree with it, but it is nonetheless from as much scientific information as I have been able to get access to that it has been constructed, along with a healthy dose of opinion(!) and generally thinking about the problem for some years. Most scientists are rather optimistic I find actually, I suspect partly because they're affluent enough not to be already be scrabbling to survive. If you're living in a way that leaves you vulnerable to even a small rise in food prices (as an increasing number of people are), I think you'll find your perspective changes a bit.

Hyperbole isn't going to cut it as a scientist and consider Hansen as an example. I've read where he said the seas would boil and some reference to becoming another Venus, but I never checked into it, because my common sense told me, he didn't mean it to be taken literally. The example brings up three interesting points from different perspectives and the first involves people taught in science to understand the universe in which they live. Science requires a discipline of the mind and often hard work to accomplish it, so it's easy to be so involved that you forget the rest of the world doesn't think that way. It often occupies your mind so much that you aren't paying much attention to other things. The second point involves the rest of the world not being a scientist so in order to communicate you have to speak their language and don't expect them to learn yours. The third point involves froward resistance and that involves the contrary nature of humanity. I find it hard to believe a credible source would make a case against Hansen and believe any scientist who has studied paleoclimatology doesn't know about the 22 degree C ceiling. When someone is being froward, they are doing it intentionally and there a reason for it. In Hansen's case the reason is to disprove AGW and the motive is industrial greed. The fact that it has penetrated media to influence people without scientific training is telling. In my assessment of the United States, way too much is propagandized through the media and politics by so-called think tanks.
I don't regard the Venus scenario as a serious threat. How did the debate even get over here though?

Any chance we examine my arguments about the fundamental change in how the earth system operates as the Arctic melts out? The extra energy entering the system and the specific distribution of that energy in time and space (versus the globally subtler effect of well mixed greenhouse gases)?

Or the question of global interdependence and vulnerabilities arising from this? Or the idea of thresholds past which societies start to disintegrate and experience cohesion problems? Or the idea that a lot of this sort of decay is a positive feedback process as problems arising in one region can have knock on effects (often complex and unexpected until they happen) in other regions?

I don't see the need to accuse me of hyperbole if we're just trying to focus on a very small section of the debate presented (paleoclimate and scientists opinions in general). The overall debate is a much wider and more complex case than any single element.
As for me like OldLeatherneck I've been a Marine. I've drawn my line in the sand. I'm too old to gather my family around a farm in West Virginia with plenty of guns and food stored to fight off humanity, even with it is provided by my older brother thinking the world would collapse with the Great Recession. I'm old enough not to fear death as long as someone can take care of my dog. If the Hun hoards were attacking, I'd put my family up and meet them on the battlefield, even if it's face to face against impossible odds, because that society nurtured me like my long lost mom and they deserve that much respect. To a warrior, impossible odds mean nothing and death is a reality of life. I've put my genes on this planet with my six kids and many grandchildren, these end of the world fantasies aren't erotic to me, like the old movies I grew up with as a child. I grew up in an era when everything was going to be destroyed, so what else is new?
Huh. Anyone who can hold the idea of nearly 7 billion people dying in their mind and find it erotic has pretty serious problems, so I hope you're not trying to imply I do find end of the world scenarios erotic. Do you think I'd look at the Holomodor and see things like this (warning potentially disturbing images):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GolodomorKharkiv.jpg
or this...
http://all-history.org/images2/413/Holodomor10.jpg

You think?

The Holomodor is arguably an appropriate case study for sudden decline in food supply. It's also rather grim reading and highlights some of the darker side of the range in behaviour of which humanity is capable (and no, we didn't evolve much since then).

I'm young enough to face a terrible future even if climate change happened slowly and it took decades for serious effects, please be more considerate - before you accuse me of harbouring erotic fantasies about "end of the world" scenarios.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #68 on: April 06, 2013, 08:10:28 PM »
Changing tact slightly, 'doomsday' is mentioned in various posts. Is doomsday the extinction
of the human race? Or only starvation of 6 or 7 billion people? I think humans will survive in
a few scattered pockets, but I don't consider that outcome to be doomsday. Doomsday to
me would be the extinction of the human race.
I'm curious - if the vast majority of humanity is to die off within the coming decades (and in my projection a majority within half a decade or less) - if you are one of the ones who dies, do you care whether the species is extinct or not? Isn't it your personal doomsday anyway?

I consider total extinction an outlier scenario only likely to be triggered by something like truly apocalyptic methane feedback. I am not aware of any good science giving me a clear picture on how likely this is, and also lack any other information to try to infer from. I'm assuming it to be an essentially unlikely scenario on that basis - but this link seems to have quite a lot of stuff (arguably a bit speculative in places) about it:

http://killerinourmidst.com/

So very worst case is loss of the ozone layer, large releases of hydrogen sulphide (as toxic as hydrogen cyanide) from anoxic oceans, and a question about the oxygen content of the atmosphere. Theoretically there might be paleoclimatic precedent to get the world to a state where survival is literally impossible everywhere - but - I have no reasons to expect it to be a likely out come - and even if it was - so what? It's a contradiction in terms to plan for extinction.

With regards the Apocalyptic Methane Feedback along with what is described in the link you have just posted I fail to see how those are unlikely in the sense that Methane is already a record high in the Arctic.

https://sites.google.com/site/a4r2013metop2iasich4co2/home/2011-airs-ch4-359-hpa-vs-iasi-ch4-970-600-mb

Also something which the Arctic Ice Blog tends toe emphasize quite frequently is the whole idea of a mass Methane Expulsion from the Arctic in the sense that once the Arctic Ice is gone (let's say it happens this year) then the heat travels down to the hydrates, causes destabilisation and finally causing the hydrates to degass resulting in a large amount of methane heading into the atmosphere and causing the scenario that is proposed by the link to occur.

I am not saying it will happen, but with the amounts of methane already at record amounts and the dismal state of the Arctic it could be a distinct possibility.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 08:21:02 PM by fishmahboi »

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #69 on: April 06, 2013, 09:01:46 PM »
With regards the Apocalyptic Methane Feedback along with what is described in the link you have just posted I fail to see how those are unlikely in the sense that Methane is already a record high in the Arctic.
The current levels of methane in the atmosphere are not necessarily a concern - the half life is fairly short (8-12 years?) and they could fall quickly if the human contribution was eliminated. While it seems very likely more methane is going to be released, provided it isn't released in such large quantities it overwhelms the breakdown mechanism in the atmosphere, it is a long term chronic problem (over thousands of years) rather than an truly catastrophic scenario.

It is of course possible (in the absence of sufficient scientific information) to speculate end Permian scenarios based on truly abrupt release and self sustaining positive feedback, but just because it's a theoretical possibility certainly doesn't make the two scenarios equally likely.

For me, I take the view that whatever happened in the end Permian was by definition a 1 in quarter billion year event (if not less frequent than that). That represents something truly exceptional and remarkably unlikely in terms of the earth system (and even so - we know the earth and life on earth both made it through in the end). Even if you include things like the PETM - the frequency of true mass extinctions on earth still isn't that high - they are all very exceptional events (at which point it ought to be concerning that our species is causing one just by acting as a super predator!).

I think the threshold of our vulnerability to change is low enough that it's a little irrational to be too concerned by the prospect of a PETM or end Permian scenario vs much more likely ones (that are still really rather serious for us).
Also something which the Arctic Ice Blog tends toe emphasize quite frequently is the whole idea of a mass Methane Expulsion from the Arctic in the sense that once the Arctic Ice is gone (let's say it happens this year) then the heat travels down to the hydrates, causes destabilisation and finally causing the hydrates to degass resulting in a large amount of methane heading into the atmosphere and causing the scenario that is proposed by the link to occur.
In my opinion the biggest concern is the reservoirs of methane as free gas thought to be trapped under the subsea permafrost (or is that permaslush now?). If I remember right, Shakova estimated gigatonnes of methane free gas to be available for release over decadal timescales (Shakhova and Semiletov tend to be very conservative, incidentally). A large earthquake, or submarine landslide, or gas under pressure rupturing bigger pathways to escape all present theoretical concerns here - but are highly speculative.

Even if gigatonnes of free gas was vented into the system, I don't think it's a given that clathrates join in to provide truly unstoppable feedback - it still takes energy to melt them and time for heat to transport down to them. A one off abrupt shock from such release would be - well, very serious, like the change in Arctic albedo that's already underway. Not necessarily much worse?

I do think methane research should be a much higher priority as even the chronic effects of significantly increased methane release are serious long term. Shakova and Semiletov will correctly caution that they don't know if they found new sites (or if the process has always been happening). I know in the deeper deposits off Svalbard it was determined recently that at least some (if not most or even all) of the methane venting was a process that has been running for a long time - longer than we've been adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere potentially.

It is that sort of answer that we really need from sites like the massive emission sites discovered several years ago in ESAS (the geography of ESAS gives cause for concern - shallow water plus warmer river run off and removal of ice cover).

It doesn't take such an extreme scenario to cause issues though - if you look at Toba, the Younger Dryas - even relatively trivial climatic shocks such as 1816 (the year without a summer).
I am not saying it will happen, but with the amounts of methane already at record amounts and the dismal state of the Arctic it could be a distinct possibility.
Definitely maybe?

But I find it easier to focus on what we do know - and complain about the lack of urgent research into key areas that we don't.

Don't forget, there are always low probability threats with serious consequences - whether manmade (nuclear warfare, malthusian collapse) or universal (large rocks from space, pandemics, etc etc). Whether we perceive it or not, we have lived with existential threats for a long time now and the probability of the threat is key in considering how much time and effort it is worth?

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #70 on: April 06, 2013, 09:13:19 PM »
I am sorry, but I still can't put aside the thought that the catastrophic Methane Release is almost a direct certainty, the reasons for that the same as I had outlined in my previous post.

The abrupt release due to albedo loss and amplified heating as a result of the excess Carbon Dioxide and Methane in our atmosphere seems certain to me...

It is this scenario that negates the meaning of trying to survive for the world continues to deteriorate and everyone's world ends. 

What makes me lean towards this scenario being definite is the uncertainty surrounding it, the temperature of the earth now and the inevitable melt out of the Arctic Ice.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #71 on: April 06, 2013, 09:46:38 PM »
I am sorry, but I still can't put aside the thought that the catastrophic Methane Release is almost a direct certainty, the reasons for that the same as I had outlined in my previous post.

The abrupt release due to albedo loss and amplified heating as a result of the excess Carbon Dioxide and Methane in our atmosphere seems certain to me...

It is this scenario that negates the meaning of trying to survive for the world continues to deteriorate and everyone's world ends. 

What makes me lean towards this scenario being definite is the uncertainty surrounding it, the temperature of the earth now and the inevitable melt out of the Arctic Ice.
How can the uncertainty make it definite? That's a contradiction.

The earth has had no ice in the Arctic many more times than it might have had methane catastrophes. The global average temperature isn't that high currently compared to previous climates. I regard a true methane catastrophe as highly speculative and low probability because there there isn't any strong evidence supporting it as a concern.

My arguments about the threat to civilisation stem from the relative vulnerability of modern civilisation to even a much milder climatic shock (as I think we do face - and still a very serious shock in human terms - to transit away from a year round iced Arctic). I don't see any reason why eventually (decades to centuries) the climate won't settle into a new regime that still contains space for humanity. The transition period is the biggest problem...

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #72 on: April 06, 2013, 10:10:44 PM »
@ ccgwebmaster: I was reading about the Holomodor just the other day. Totally horrendous.

The Wikipedia entry on famine is worth study, if you have the stomach for it. Correction: humanity demands you have the stomach for it. Your discomfiture on reading is as nothing compared to what people have suffered and will suffer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine

Even in my lifetime there have been famines in Biafra, the horn of Africa (more than once), North Korea, Haiti - I lose count. It is appalling. The impact of famine refugees on neighbouring societies and the environment itself is hugely challenging. 

This sort of disaster isn't predicated on climate change. It is just what happens. Climate change will make it happen a lot more and a lot worse. Is there anything we can do to stop it happening, or to mitigate its effects?

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #73 on: April 06, 2013, 10:17:49 PM »
I am sorry, but I still can't put aside the thought that the catastrophic Methane Release is almost a direct certainty, the reasons for that the same as I had outlined in my previous post.

The abrupt release due to albedo loss and amplified heating as a result of the excess Carbon Dioxide and Methane in our atmosphere seems certain to me...

It is this scenario that negates the meaning of trying to survive for the world continues to deteriorate and everyone's world ends. 

What makes me lean towards this scenario being definite is the uncertainty surrounding it, the temperature of the earth now and the inevitable melt out of the Arctic Ice.
How can the uncertainty make it definite? That's a contradiction.

The earth has had no ice in the Arctic many more times than it might have had methane catastrophes. The global average temperature isn't that high currently compared to previous climates. I regard a true methane catastrophe as highly speculative and low probability because there there isn't any strong evidence supporting it as a concern.

My arguments about the threat to civilisation stem from the relative vulnerability of modern civilisation to even a much milder climatic shock (as I think we do face - and still a very serious shock in human terms - to transit away from a year round iced Arctic). I don't see any reason why eventually (decades to centuries) the climate won't settle into a new regime that still contains space for humanity. The transition period is the biggest problem...

Sorry, its just the fact that the chance exists and the fact that there is such a poor understanding as to how the catastrophic event occurs that makes me think that it is one of those catastrophes that no one knows about, poor knowledge of the conditions that will set it off for it could either take a warmer, perhaps a six or four degrees Celsius earth, to set off the methane release or it could take as little as the albedo of the Arctic Basin going into freefall to set it off. 

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #74 on: April 06, 2013, 10:40:34 PM »
or it could take as little as the albedo of the Arctic Basin going into freefall to set it off.
Well - that's exactly what I'm saying isn't usually sufficient to trigger it? (according to paleoclimate)

I think that much at least is safe to say. I don't think we do know exactly what conditions it took to trigger the end Permian (or even beyond doubt that the key driver was methane), but we do know ice albedo feedback alone shouldn't be enough.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #75 on: April 06, 2013, 10:52:03 PM »
This sort of disaster isn't predicated on climate change. It is just what happens. Climate change will make it happen a lot more and a lot worse. Is there anything we can do to stop it happening, or to mitigate its effects?
I don't think shortage of ideas or theoretical solutions is the key problem. The key problem is rather how can one achieve or implement those solutions?

We - humans - are our own worst enemy. Most of the direct damage I think that will be done to the infrastructure of civilisation will be done by ourselves. If on a global scale we had the right cultural attitude to the problem - I think we'd stand a much better chance.

That would entail a much fairer society and a greater willingness to self sacrifice. It is by no means impossible that such things exist or arise - look how few social problems the Japanese had after their tsunami? They pulled together and accepted their lot. Compare and contrast with New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. There are also nations that achieve notable social fairness.

The question really to me would be - how does one get those new memes to dominate? Societies that move away from the widening gap between rich and poor, and encourage the quiet acceptance shown by cultures like the Japanese? How do you do that before time runs out from the Arctic and against the opposition of the existing socioeconomic elites? And preferably without resorting to widespread conflict in order to achieve the change, as this in itself would potentially also undermine civilisation?

I really wish I had those answers - if I did, I probably wouldn't be working on a plan that assumes upon global failure.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #76 on: April 06, 2013, 11:24:31 PM »
or it could take as little as the albedo of the Arctic Basin going into freefall to set it off.
Well - that's exactly what I'm saying isn't usually sufficient to trigger it? (according to paleoclimate)

I think that much at least is safe to say. I don't think we do know exactly what conditions it took to trigger the end Permian (or even beyond doubt that the key driver was methane), but we do know ice albedo feedback alone shouldn't be enough.

I do with there was more reason to push this concern aside rather than just the fact that it is made from pure speculation for the world that this paper describes is in line with the world that I have been describing when it comes to the chances of survival.

The fact that this is left to probability is all too worrying in my opinion for the recent developments with our current positive feedbacks just keep pushing the chances up.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #77 on: April 07, 2013, 12:29:28 AM »
ccgwebmaster

When you mentioned ESAS I forgot to put my two cents in about areas of rebound that could potentially have permafrost melt. Those are the areas I'd expect having the potential of methane clathrate release, but like I stated I assess the probability of a large release of methane to be a low probability. On a geological timescale, the probability of a large release of methane from methane clathrate by meteror/asteroid/comet impact or earthquake would have a very high probablity. Rapid CO2 releases from trap volcanism would also be highly probable and both have been theorized to have caused mass extinctions, including a one two punch of both occuring within a short time span. It's the evidence of past mass extinctions that motivate concern of man imitating the past with our emissions.

We obviously have different points of view about the fragility and resilience of society. If you check around with the Sputnik Children, you'll find they were raised on end of the world movies where somehow only the beautiful women survived. My generation was raised on nuclear attack drills in elementary school. Perhaps such threats are a source of apathy in some people, but it's a source of optimism for me.

 

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #78 on: April 07, 2013, 12:54:11 AM »
ccgwebmaster

When you mentioned ESAS I forgot to put my two cents in about areas of rebound that could potentially have permafrost melt. Those are the areas I'd expect having the potential of methane clathrate release, but like I stated I assess the probability of a large release of methane to be a low probability. On a geological timescale, the probability of a large release of methane from methane clathrate by meteror/asteroid/comet impact or earthquake would have a very high probablity. Rapid CO2 releases from trap volcanism would also be highly probable and both have been theorized to have caused mass extinctions, including a one two punch of both occuring within a short time span. It's the evidence of past mass extinctions that motivate concern of man imitating the past with our emissions.

We obviously have different points of view about the fragility and resilience of society. If you check around with the Sputnik Children, you'll find they were raised on end of the world movies where somehow only the beautiful women survived. My generation was raised on nuclear attack drills in elementary school. Perhaps such threats are a source of apathy in some people, but it's a source of optimism for me.

On a geological timescale? What would that suggest?

A large methane clathrate release isn't even something one can shake off and survive either. How can one be inspired to think of survival with these prospects with the last thing people do is just stare at reports about the Arctic in hope that no catastrophic methane release is imminent.




« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 01:08:00 AM by fishmahboi »

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #79 on: April 07, 2013, 01:51:23 AM »
ccgwebmaster

When you mentioned ESAS I forgot to put my two cents in about areas of rebound that could potentially have permafrost melt. Those are the areas I'd expect having the potential of methane clathrate release, but like I stated I assess the probability of a large release of methane to be a low probability. On a geological timescale, the probability of a large release of methane from methane clathrate by meteror/asteroid/comet impact or earthquake would have a very high probablity. Rapid CO2 releases from trap volcanism would also be highly probable and both have been theorized to have caused mass extinctions, including a one two punch of both occuring within a short time span. It's the evidence of past mass extinctions that motivate concern of man imitating the past with our emissions.

We obviously have different points of view about the fragility and resilience of society. If you check around with the Sputnik Children, you'll find they were raised on end of the world movies where somehow only the beautiful women survived. My generation was raised on nuclear attack drills in elementary school. Perhaps such threats are a source of apathy in some people, but it's a source of optimism for me.

On a geological timescale? What would that suggest?

A large methane clathrate release isn't even something one can shake off and survive either. How can one be inspired to think of survival with these prospects with the last thing people do is just stare at reports about the Arctic in hope that no catastrophic methane release is imminent.

It suggests in millions of years, the Earth certainly had hugh methane clathrate releases and life did survive. Since the recent Earth has had periodic sea level rises and falls, I'd say the probabilities of near surface methane clathrates are less now than in the past pre-Pleistocene times. There is evidence of the Siberian tree line being in the Arctic Ocean sometime during the Holocene Thermal Optimum. That tells me that area had enough open ocean to cause erosion. As I said, I'd expect near surface methane clathrates to be limited to areas still experiencing glacial rebound which have permafrost subject to melting. Some of that permafrost can be quite thick and there is nothing to suggest all areas would leak methane at the same time. Reduction of pressure from a fall in sea level can also destabilize methane clathrates so I would have expected most near surface methane clathrates to have formed since the last glaciation reduced sea level. That's why I don't consider a massive methane release to be a major risk, but any release of methane isn't helpful with our present and past emissions of CO2.

We don't really know how much methane clathrates our oceans contain, but most should be in the <2000 meter areas and there is a maximum depth limit too.

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #80 on: April 07, 2013, 02:19:37 AM »
How can one be inspired to think of survival with these prospects with the last thing people do is just stare at reports about the Arctic in hope that no catastrophic methane release is imminent.
I am not the sort of person to give up. That means even the situation seemed hopeless I'd go down fighting as best I could. In the end it really is that simple for me. There is no more certain route to failure than not to try. Having said that I don't perceive either that a methane catastrophe is a likely outcome, or that one is automatically unsurvivable.

It's ultimately just a question of attitude? Wallow in despair, or get up and do something? I know which I usually find works best...

ccgwebmaster
When you mentioned ESAS I forgot to put my two cents in about areas of rebound that could potentially have permafrost melt. Those are the areas I'd expect having the potential of methane clathrate release, but like I stated I assess the probability of a large release of methane to be a low probability. On a geological timescale, the probability of a large release of methane from methane clathrate by meteror/asteroid/comet impact or earthquake would have a very high probablity. Rapid CO2 releases from trap volcanism would also be highly probable and both have been theorized to have caused mass extinctions, including a one two punch of both occuring within a short time span. It's the evidence of past mass extinctions that motivate concern of man imitating the past with our emissions.

We obviously have different points of view about the fragility and resilience of society. If you check around with the Sputnik Children, you'll find they were raised on end of the world movies where somehow only the beautiful women survived. My generation was raised on nuclear attack drills in elementary school. Perhaps such threats are a source of apathy in some people, but it's a source of optimism for me.
I think the difference in perspective accounts for more of the difference in outlook we have than the input facts. I grew up without a television (and never got into the habit of watching television, though I do occasionally watch films), so I reached adulthood without any meaningful input from the media into my thought processes (lest you think I have any preconceived ideas from that source).

Growing up as an outsider to ones society I think gives one a very different perspective. As a child it wasn't unusual for me to sleep in damp and below freezing conditions. I understood how plants grow and that you kill animals for food. I didn't have much "stuff". Meat was expensive and tightly rationed and new clothes only a last resort.

Then later - I worked in an office for a while - filled with people who think they should wear light clothing in the winter and demand more heat, and warm clothing in the summer and demand more air conditioning. People who have no real concept of where food comes from and how it is produced (their idea of food necessarily involves a supermarket). These people cannot fathom how to live any other way than the way they do. They'll openly admit this, and do not think it an issue.

So yes, my opinion is that these people are vulnerable - they are locked into complete dependency upon the existing system. If it it falters, so must they. They don't have the intellectual framework to live any other way. I think I also rate the vulnerabilities caused by interdependence between nations more highly than you.

I overgeneralise, so please don't take offence with my sweeping statements (especially with respect to food production, air conditioning, etc.).

Regarding methane - I think the ESAS is a concern because the clathrates there are likely temperature stabilised - not pressure stabilised (like the deeper water regions). However, I would agree there is no certainty that that large problems will necessarily come from that source, while arguing we ought to be concerned until our understanding of the area is greater.

Trap vulcanism is a good point to make in relation to triggering a methane catastrophe (being a possible mechanism involved for end Permian extinction). It's a good argument to suggest we shouldn't worry too much about abrupt release of truly massive methane volume unless any new information emerges:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Traps

My primary concern climatically is with the albedo feedback - and the implied change in terms of distribution of energy entering the earth system.

I think in human terms (as opposed to paleoclimatic) it's going to be a big deal. I also wouldn't say the threat of total nuclear warfare (entirely within human control) correlates well to the threat of abrupt climate shift (most likely determined by the earth system at this point).

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #81 on: April 07, 2013, 02:27:55 AM »
fishmahboi

Talking about methane gave me the idea of looking up methane analysis from ice cores to pinpoint thermal maximums of interglacial periods. Here is a link from EPICA showing a maximum methane analysis at 10,036 BP:

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/epica_domec/edc-ch4-2008.txt

Here is a quick link to other ice cores and some have methane analysis:

http://hurricane.ncdc.noaa.gov/pls/paleox/f?p=517:1:1944883929832364:::APP:PROXYDATASETLIST:7:

Quote
NOTE: PLEASE CITE ORIGINAL REFERENCE WHEN USING THIS DATA!!!!!


NAME OF DATA SET: EPICA Dome C Ice Core 800KYr Methane Data
LAST UPDATE: 6/2008 (Original receipt by WDC Paleo)
CONTRIBUTORS: Laetitia Loulergue, et al.
IGBP PAGES/WDCA CONTRIBUTION SERIES NUMBER: 2008-054

WDC PALEO CONTRIBUTION SERIES CITATION:
Loulergue, L., et al.. 2008.
EPICA Dome C Ice Core 800KYr Methane Data.
IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology
Data Contribution Series # 2008-054.   
NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder CO, USA.

We can thank these people for some very fine work.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #82 on: April 07, 2013, 02:42:50 AM »
How can one be inspired to think of survival with these prospects with the last thing people do is just stare at reports about the Arctic in hope that no catastrophic methane release is imminent.

One would have a few years to prepare for the initial scenario, but with this it's like an assignment that a student is cramming in at the last minute.

I am not the sort of person to give up. That means even the situation seemed hopeless I'd go down fighting as best I could. In the end it really is that simple for me. There is no more certain route to failure than not to try. Having said that I don't perceive either that a methane catastrophe is a likely outcome, or that one is automatically unsurvivable.

It's ultimately just a question of attitude? Wallow in despair, or get up and do something? I know which I usually find works best...

ccgwebmaster
When you mentioned ESAS I forgot to put my two cents in about areas of rebound that could potentially have permafrost melt. Those are the areas I'd expect having the potential of methane clathrate release, but like I stated I assess the probability of a large release of methane to be a low probability. On a geological timescale, the probability of a large release of methane from methane clathrate by meteror/asteroid/comet impact or earthquake would have a very high probablity. Rapid CO2 releases from trap volcanism would also be highly probable and both have been theorized to have caused mass extinctions, including a one two punch of both occuring within a short time span. It's the evidence of past mass extinctions that motivate concern of man imitating the past with our emissions.

We obviously have different points of view about the fragility and resilience of society. If you check around with the Sputnik Children, you'll find they were raised on end of the world movies where somehow only the beautiful women survived. My generation was raised on nuclear attack drills in elementary school. Perhaps such threats are a source of apathy in some people, but it's a source of optimism for me.
I think the difference in perspective accounts for more of the difference in outlook we have than the input facts. I grew up without a television (and never got into the habit of watching television, though I do occasionally watch films), so I reached adulthood without any meaningful input from the media into my thought processes (lest you think I have any preconceived ideas from that source).

Growing up as an outsider to ones society I think gives one a very different perspective. As a child it wasn't unusual for me to sleep in damp and below freezing conditions. I understood how plants grow and that you kill animals for food. I didn't have much "stuff". Meat was expensive and tightly rationed and new clothes only a last resort.

Then later - I worked in an office for a while - filled with people who think they should wear light clothing in the winter and demand more heat, and warm clothing in the summer and demand more air conditioning. People who have no real concept of where food comes from and how it is produced (their idea of food necessarily involves a supermarket). These people cannot fathom how to live any other way than the way they do. They'll openly admit this, and do not think it an issue.

So yes, my opinion is that these people are vulnerable - they are locked into complete dependency upon the existing system. If it it falters, so must they. They don't have the intellectual framework to live any other way. I think I also rate the vulnerabilities caused by interdependence between nations more highly than you.

I overgeneralise, so please don't take offence with my sweeping statements (especially with respect to food production, air conditioning, etc.).

Regarding methane - I think the ESAS is a concern because the clathrates there are likely temperature stabilised - not pressure stabilised (like the deeper water regions). However, I would agree there is no certainty that that large problems will necessarily come from that source, while arguing we ought to be concerned until our understanding of the area is greater.

Trap vulcanism is a good point to make in relation to triggering a methane catastrophe (being a possible mechanism involved for end Permian extinction). It's a good argument to suggest we shouldn't worry too much about abrupt release of truly massive methane volume unless any new information emerges:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Traps

My primary concern climatically is with the albedo feedback - and the implied change in terms of distribution of energy entering the earth system.

I think in human terms (as opposed to paleoclimatic) it's going to be a big deal. I also wouldn't say the threat of total nuclear warfare (entirely within human control) correlates well to the threat of abrupt climate shift (most likely determined by the earth system at this point).

Your mental attitude is amazing with regards this subject.

I have to ask though, how can the methane release situation be survivable if emissions of hydrogen sulphide comes about shortly after the climate chaos.

Quote
With the warming of the world ocean, its chemical balance and biological composition will change. The ocean will become stratified, with mixing between its surface and the deep ocean becoming increasingly restricted. If the deep ocean becomes fully anoxic (devoid of oxygen), it will also become toxic, as the remaining anaerobic organisms pump out the deadly gas hydrogen sulfide. In sufficient quantities, that gas could escape oceanic confinement to poison the atmosphere and, combining with the iron in the blood's hemoglobin, kill terrestrial organisms, including us.


ccgwebmaster

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #83 on: April 07, 2013, 03:05:31 AM »
Quote
I have to ask though, how can the methane release situation be survivable if emissions of hydrogen sulphide comes about shortly after the climate chaos.

Well, 2 notes:

One from this story (a good news story as it happens):
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924144054.htm

Quoting from above story:
Quote
"We were able to detect high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide, which is an indication of methane consuming microbes in the sea bed, and, with the help of JAGO, discovered typical biocoenoses that we recognised from other, older methane outlets" explained microbiologist Professor Dr. Tina Treude from GEOMAR, who also took part in the expedition. "Methane consuming microbes grow only slowly in the sea bed, thus their high activity indicates that the methane has not just recently begun effervescing."

I imagine the main reasons for the slow growth of the organisms are:
1. It's cold down there
2. The solubility of methane in water is actually rather low

The second note is that one wouldn't expect global releases of hydrogen sulphide to atmosphere even after enough time had passed for the microbial communities to establish. Some process would be needed to do this, which would be unlikely to occur over the whole planet.

This comment from another thread helps illustrate that:
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,12.msg473.html#msg473

So you'd need lots of time (probably decades to centuries but anyone who knows better please correct me) and the specific circumstances for the sulphide rich water to be circulated such that it would vent to the atmosphere? And then to be close enough to the release site to be poisoned by the gas before it diffused to survivable concentrations. A nasty event if you're in the wrong place to be sure, but plenty of things come under that category.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #84 on: April 07, 2013, 03:18:45 AM »
Thanks, I appreciate you putting up with these questions.  ;D

Also it seems like Ireland and Britain might be knocked out of the climatically viable countries for the future as Ireland is heading into a drought and Britain is becoming a Net Importer.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-britain-running-out-of-wheat-as-cold-weather-crisis-hits-farmers-8562648.html
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 03:24:41 AM by fishmahboi »

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #85 on: April 07, 2013, 03:37:51 AM »
ccgwebmaster

I find adversity can be a great teacher. I remember my Grandmother saying how I could always find a silver lining and I believe it came from adversity. I remember the times before television and even after we had television many other people didn't. Radio was a big thing back then and the songwriters had plenty of work.

I have spent a lot of time on political sites arguing with Denialistas and even spent some time on WUWT arguing the pure hard heads until they thru me off for saying I believe in free speech, but someone being paid to post misinformation isn't free speech and they could be liable. They moderate that site and will edit out what you say to make themselves look good. Spending so much time arguing politics is why I have a tendency to focus on what I don't agree with. I'm lucky though because I spent a few years on a Q&A site before going to political sites and it taught me to find information quickly on the internet. It comes in very handy for setting up proofs.

Getting back on subject, I'm not trying to downplay risks, because this is the only Earth we have and we need to get it right. I don't find any risk to humanity's wellbeing acceptable and anyone's problems are my problems. I'm just speaking against dispair and like you I'm going to fight for what is right until the end of my existence on Earth. I believe global warming is the greatest threat mankind has ever faced. At least with nuclear weapons the enemy is more visible.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #86 on: April 07, 2013, 04:38:55 AM »
Thanks, I appreciate you putting up with these questions.  ;D

Also it seems like Ireland and Britain might be knocked out of the climatically viable countries for the future as Ireland is heading into a drought and Britain is becoming a Net Importer.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-britain-running-out-of-wheat-as-cold-weather-crisis-hits-farmers-8562648.html
Takes a bit more than that not to be "climatically viable"  :)

By definition any country where people live today is viable. If you consider countries in Africa where drought comes every 2-3 years now and people still live - there's a long way to go before New Zealand or Ireland would come anywhere those conditions (in fact, there's no reason to suppose they would be that bad even in the worst case scenarios - I'm just using Africa as a place where people survive in the face of frequent and severe droughts). As long as you get some rain - even just a little for a short period - there are low tech answers:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2013/0222/Sand-dams-store-water-for-dry-season-in-semi-arid-Kenya

By storing the water in the ground you remove most of the issue of evaporation that would occur with a reservoir as people usually think of them (the large surface of water boosts evaporation considerably).

Being a net food importer is a slightly different issue - it makes no statement about climatic viability, but rather about the existing population (and their behaviour) being in excess of local carrying capacity. To the best of my knowledge the UK has relied upon food imports since before the second world war - and indeed came very close to losing the war at one point due to submarine attacks on merchant shipping in the Atlantic. I believe only a weeks of food were left in the country at one point. Net food importers have a unique vulnerability in terms of social instability - lots of other import dependencies you can cut back on or make do without (up to a point at least) - food is a rather inelastic commodity.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #87 on: April 07, 2013, 05:03:19 AM »
I have spent a lot of time on political sites arguing with Denialistas and even spent some time on WUWT arguing the pure hard heads until they thru me off for saying I believe in free speech, but someone being paid to post misinformation isn't free speech and they could be liable. They moderate that site and will edit out what you say to make themselves look good. Spending so much time arguing politics is why I have a tendency to focus on what I don't agree with. I'm lucky though because I spent a few years on a Q&A site before going to political sites and it taught me to find information quickly on the internet. It comes in very handy for setting up proofs.
Never touched WUWT, have done Guardian CIF - only so many times you can answer "We don't know carbon dioxide causes warming" with "Svante Arrhenius" before it gets old (though sometimes deniers provide opportunity for cheap amusement). It isn't a proper debate though - more of a propaganda war with rich and powerful vested interests.

Credit due to the architects (Neven?) of these forums, and indeed to all participants - for being able to agree on facts and hold intelligent debate around them. Very refreshing to be able to hold meaningful discussions on this whole subject (never felt I had enough specific knowledge about sea ice to say anything on the blog).

If I were being pedantic I'd wonder if Toba might have been the worst catastrophe to befall mankind (taking the long view) but I guess that remains to be seen - "When and how bad?" indeed!

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #88 on: April 07, 2013, 05:26:50 AM »
Quote
I have to ask though, how can the methane release situation be survivable if emissions of hydrogen sulphide comes about shortly after the climate chaos.

Well, 2 notes:

One from this story (a good news story as it happens):
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924144054.htm

Quoting from above story:
Quote
"We were able to detect high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide, which is an indication of methane consuming microbes in the sea bed, and, with the help of JAGO, discovered typical biocoenoses that we recognised from other, older methane outlets" explained microbiologist Professor Dr. Tina Treude from GEOMAR, who also took part in the expedition. "Methane consuming microbes grow only slowly in the sea bed, thus their high activity indicates that the methane has not just recently begun effervescing."

I imagine the main reasons for the slow growth of the organisms are:
1. It's cold down there
2. The solubility of methane in water is actually rather low

The second note is that one wouldn't expect global releases of hydrogen sulphide to atmosphere even after enough time had passed for the microbial communities to establish. Some process would be needed to do this, which would be unlikely to occur over the whole planet.

This comment from another thread helps illustrate that:
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,12.msg473.html#msg473

So you'd need lots of time (probably decades to centuries but anyone who knows better please correct me) and the specific circumstances for the sulphide rich water to be circulated such that it would vent to the atmosphere? And then to be close enough to the release site to be poisoned by the gas before it diffused to survivable concentrations. A nasty event if you're in the wrong place to be sure, but plenty of things come under that category.

The chemistry works out like this. Hydrogen sulfide is produced by bacteria in anoxic conditions at depths in the oceans. Hydrogen sulfide is only slightly soluble in water, but there is plenty of water, so it gets converted to a weak acid. If it's transported to an area with oxygen, it will form elemental sulfur, but it's very reactive and will react with metal ions to form metal sulfides or pyrites in the case of iron. I recall reading about these pyrite deposits off the coast of Italy being considered evidence of anoxic ocean conditions during one of the mass extinction events and I think it was the Permian-Triassic extinction event, but I'm not positive. Considering it's behavior, it's not likely to have much hydrogen sulfide escape to the atmosphere unless some event triggered a quick release, such as an earthquake, which surely has happened. The same chemistry applies in the atmosphere where water vapor is present so being highly reactive means the hydrogen sulfide wouldn't stick around for long. The atmosphere has plenty of oxygen.

Bruce Steele

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #89 on: April 07, 2013, 08:09:16 AM »
The science daily article described hydrogen sulfide associated with methane seeps at depth but the large and currently unique hydrogen sulfide outbreaks referenced in my prior post were created by nutrients and very productive phytoplankton blooms off the coast of Namibia. Although models project a 8.6 % decrease in oceans  primary productivity worldwide by 2100 there will be areas where the shoaling of the oxygen minimum zone , increased nutrients and currents which hold waters on the shelf combine to create hypoxic or anaerobic conditions. If there is a large enough buildup of biogenic bottom sediments then other areas may also produce hydrogen sulfide but these will be limited to eastern boundary currents if I may guess.  Where these conditions do occur they can result in large fish kills as stated in the Namibia article. We also have had fish kills in Oregon 2006 from similar drivers( anoxia but not hydrogen sulfide blooms )As an aside nutrient supplies from municipal wastewater  in the Southern California Bight are estimated to equal the nutrients naturally supplied by upwelling. The changes taking place in the oceans are a direct result of anthropogenic nutrients + Co2 . The coast of Namibia is very remote but if anything like the Hydrogen Sulfide there were to show up off the coast of Oregon it at the very least will stink. The rate of change is nuts and it's hard to think of what it means when the oxygen minima shoals 90 meters in a couple decades off the coast locally as it has here in southern Calif.  I am not looking forward to the entire water column going undersaturated within the next 30 years, which it will along the calif. coast. As I said earlier this won't happen everywhere but the eastern boundary currents support some of the most productive fisheries worldwide. The arctic and antarctic waters will also go undersaturated in the same 30 -50 year horizon.  These are not issues that will immediately tear down the walls of civilization but they damn sure portend our fate should we chose to ignore them.       

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #90 on: April 07, 2013, 10:41:43 AM »
In terms of the abrupt Methane Release situation, either through the clathrate gun hypothesis triggered by an earthquake or a landslide or through volcanoes how much time would one have to prepare for the more abrupt situation should it come into play. I suppose it would be considerably less than your initial outlook as to when things are going to go sideways, perhaps making my initial timescales quite logical depending on how everything plays out from this upcoming extreme methane release.

Even if one can at least try to survive, what is there to survive on when this release occurs, if one follows the link that was posted by CCGWebmaster it shows how environmental conditions get worse (although it also states in what seems to be a geological blink of an eye, but I highly doubt that the author is making reference to the effects occurring over a geological timescale) and thus it can turn regions that might be seen as climatically viable into a landmass where the soil is unable to produce anything. 

Whatever fight for existence might occur, it seems pretty one sided and the duration of the fight looks to be very short.

It is this factor that gives me the defeatist opinion, if there is any reason why I am wrong I would like to know.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 01:41:12 PM by fishmahboi »

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #91 on: April 08, 2013, 01:35:26 AM »
In terms of the abrupt Methane Release situation, either through the clathrate gun hypothesis triggered by an earthquake or a landslide or through volcanoes how much time would one have to prepare for the more abrupt situation should it come into play. I suppose it would be considerably less than your initial outlook as to when things are going to go sideways, perhaps making my initial timescales quite logical depending on how everything plays out from this upcoming extreme methane release.

Even if one can at least try to survive, what is there to survive on when this release occurs, if one follows the link that was posted by CCGWebmaster it shows how environmental conditions get worse (although it also states in what seems to be a geological blink of an eye, but I highly doubt that the author is making reference to the effects occurring over a geological timescale) and thus it can turn regions that might be seen as climatically viable into a landmass where the soil is unable to produce anything. 

Whatever fight for existence might occur, it seems pretty one sided and the duration of the fight looks to be very short.

It is this factor that gives me the defeatist opinion, if there is any reason why I am wrong I would like to know.

I think your assessment of present risk by massive methane clathrate release is exaggerated when we evaluate our present Earth with it's past. A warmer Earth in the distant past had to have oceans with more of a tendency to produce methane, because warmer water should contain less oxygen. Now we have oceans that have experienced periodic sea level changes including a recent thermal maximum and methane clathrate is pressure sensitive. That tells me a drop in sea level during glaciation should release methane clathrates near the surface. The ice core data shows methane increasing during interglacials, so I would expect a terrestrial source for those increases as glaciers retreat. Methane is one of the ways the Earth sinks carbon so the Earth should have a very long history of it's production and release. I'm sure there is some area that never rebounded enough during interglacials to release methane before it was weighed down again during the next glaciation, but the source of that methane would be the original organic decay and it isn't like bacteria can keep making methane once the organic material is exhausted. A destructive methane release is destructive to life in general, so an event should be small and local like that volcanic lake burbing CO2 which will remain in high concentration for a period of time and cause local destruction. I think a massive methane release would require a large extraterrestial impact and earthquakes and landslides would only produce small events.

Where I see a methane danger is it's contribution as the third most important greenhouse gas. If Hansen is right about his 350 ppm CO2, then we are already well above that and any added contribution to the greenhouse effect makes it more difficult to get back there. Hansen talks about growing trees to sequester CO2, but I wonder how much bio-char could be produced from sources like Lake Erie algae or invasive species like the water hyacinth? Menhaden used to be used for fertilizer and some believe their reduction has had an impact on the food chain. I think they just use the algae eater Menhaden now to make Omega 3 suppliments in the US, but they can use flax seed oil for that.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #92 on: April 08, 2013, 10:04:20 PM »
Some good news from the writer of the KillersInOurMidst website from an email.

Quote
Even with a serious submarine slump, the amount of methane in the atmosphere is likely only to increase gradually.  A serious submarine slump could cause a tsunami -- of unknown size -- and could pose a threat to those on nearby shores, but the amount of methane that would be released would make just a small contribution to the amount that is already in the atmosphere. More dangerous, in the long run, is the slow melting of permafrost. Recent work suggests that even a minor increase in global temperatures could cause substantial permafrost melting.  But temperature rise is also a gradual process.

Since writing my book -- which is in serious need of an updating -- some things have become more clear, such as the sensitivity of climate to the increase of carbon dioxide, but others, such as the amount of methane in the ocean floor, are (surprisingly) less well known now than when I wrote.  At that time I chose one of the lower estimates for the amount of methane in hydrate; more recent work suggests that the amount may be lower, and that the estimate I used may be among what are now the higher likely estimates -- still dangerous, but possibly in the longer rather than the shorter run.

Submarine landslides (slumps) do occur rapidly, and the release of most of their methane from hydrate would occur quite rapidly, with some release more gradually over time.  But, as I say, their contribution to the atmosphere's total methane inventory would be minor, and major submarine landslides are rare.  Of much greater concern to me is the daily burning of 400 million gallons of gasoline in the car engines of the US.  This steadily increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the temperature of the planet, and thereby the possibility of a gradual but substantial methane release -- not tomorrow, but over time.

ggelsrinc

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #93 on: April 09, 2013, 10:17:57 AM »
I've tried to recently examine the arctic more based on what I know about science, instead of what I've been told. My field is Chemistry, but I've always had an interest is all science and just about everything.

I'm going to try to illustrate what I'm saying using the tools I use on other sites, but let's see if it works.

Let me qualify first off, I have great concerns about how fast we are changing the Earth, so don't take what I say as denying the importance of global warming. I'm only trying to assess the risk.

Recent discussions have brought several things to mind that I haven't seen good research involved. I would think we should know enough about Milankovitch Cycles to have a good idea about past interglacials, but I've never seen reports on it. Shouldn't Astronomy be precise enough to show us a picture in the past that matches our ice cores? I look at the bathymetry of the poles and compare it to methane analysis from EPICA.

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/epica_domec/edc-ch4-2008.txt



I've looked at the bathymetry around Antarctica and I can't see how those methane results during interglacials could be just locale events, but keep in mind that Antarctica is isolated by both winds and currents. What I see in the arctic is areas that would be totally covered in ice except for a narrow area around the Fram Strait during the glacial maximum and certainly both sides of the max. During glaciation, sea ice must have a different meaning up there, but that ice has to go all the way to bottom of the ocean in many places. The area hasn't been explored much, but I would think there is a way to determine from sediment cores if an area has been loaded with ice during an ice age. You may have to measure something like tensile strength and I doubt if it's been done, but you should be able to find the areas of sea floor that were also covered in glaciers.

I picture the Arctic Ocean as repeatedly having it's sea floor covered in glacier ice that could have been very thick with the exceptions of interglacial periods where it totally thawed and perhaps been an active marine environment long enough to sequester large amounts of organic material. There had to be nearly 25 periods of this happening every 110 thousand years or so and with the duration of interglacials naturally changing as ice ages progressed due to the Earth's sensitivity to Milankovitch Cycles and a cooling down of the planet, I'd expect the seasons of the Earth, meaning sequester time in the arctic to become shorter. When I look at the evidence of EPICA methane analysis, I see evidence of methane release, more than normal production by adding on addition areas of natural production. I think there is definitive evidence in past methane analysis to conclude the Earth increased atmospheric methane by releasing it and it wasn't the result of adding biological areas that could produce it.

Personally, I don't think it takes long time to make a hydrocarbon when bacteria can do it quickly, but to sequester it in the Earth and recover it takes an effort, so it takes time, but not that much time. I'd expect an area having it's organics pounded into the seafloor over many periods of 110 thousand years or so to be rich in hydrocarbons. I'd expect some to be leaked out during the process of making more organics to get pounded in it again, it's simple carbon science. Where we are right now if we continue to warm the Earth is hard to say, so how much could leak out from the oceans or land? We have a few interglacials to look back on and knowledge of where we are in time.

Let me see if I can post YouTube!

[youtube][/youtube]



Well that second one works, so  for images and nothing for youtube. Some places require YouTube inserts.

I found the same information about carbon in the tundra interesting. I would think the carbon would be stored by peat in the tundra and warming the area slowiy would cause a re(peat), but that should cause carbon leaking for a period of time. I do have concerns about warming the world too quickly as we are presently doing. Peat has been suggested as a way to geo engineer the Earth because it's fast growing. I would expect the earlier areas to lose organics during the process of glaciation and now approaching glaciation, which should have happened every glacial cycle, with the remaining terrestrial organics mostly frozen in time.

Edit, YouTube didn't last the winds of time on the internet. It was an illusion or did it?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 10:25:20 AM by ggelsrinc »

fred

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #94 on: April 10, 2013, 12:24:49 PM »
I say rapidly and very bad.

I think arctic seaice will go this summer or the next. That is the first structural failure of our equilibrium. Shallow sea methane is next, permafrost following. All of these will happen unless there is some massive CO2 storage scheme, which won't happen. I'd say roughly 10 years for that.

After that I have no predictions but that is enough. That isn't enough time to adapt, to shift populations, etc. I'd guess minimum 10% casualty rate in the next 15 years, more if war, etc are involved.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 05:19:58 PM by fred »

JimD

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #95 on: April 10, 2013, 10:30:45 PM »
As AndrewP said a few days ago.  "Most of what has been said in this thread is not supportable by rational argument or peer-reviewed literature. The tendency of posters on this forum to throw peer-reviewed literature out the window because scientists are too "conservative" is unfortunate."

I think it would be wise to step back a bit from some of the speculations here and reset the baseline of where many posters are starting their thought processes from.  The scope of the problems we are facing is extremely complex and no one human has the capability to understand in depth the myriad aspects of all the factors which will determine the final outcome or its timing.  After all, the problem set runs the gamut of many different fields of physics, chemistry, and other sciences, the full range of human emotions, psychology, and our evolved nature, and the finite nature of the resources we have to work with.  But we need to be a little more cautious in our assumptions and statements.

For instance, it is not difficult to find posters here and on other blogs who are making comments about collapse occurring within a very short timeframe and that you must take affirmative action to deal with it now, or, conversely, that it is too late to do anything.  Are these tyle of statements based upon rational thought or real possibilities?  I think not.  While collapse within the next 10 years is certainly not impossible there appears to be no logical path to this assumed quick collapse in the known possible issues of climate change and energy supplies/usage.  Let's look at a few of the common issues.

Methane emissions. While it is certainly true that having a significant percentage of the methane clathrates stored in the arctic and on the shallow continental shelves of the oceans vaporize and enter the atmosphere rapidly would be catastrophic how likely is that to happen any time in the next century?  Now it is easy to find those who are terribly frightened by this possibility I note that I have yet to find any PhD physicist who is an expert in this subject who has shown great alarm of it happening any time soon.  Every one I have ever read is of the opinion that we need to keep our eyes on CO2 emissions as that is what is far more important in the near and medium timeframes.  So, while the 1 km wide methane seeps bubbling up in the ESAS are kind of scary it is worth keeping in mind that we do not know yet if they are a result of AGW, how fast they are growing and a lot of other important details.  One of the moderators of Real Climate (a real expert) stated that the ESAS seeps would need to be 1000 times bigger to be considered alarming. 

Food production.   (Full disclosure.  Besides being an engineer I owned and operated an organic farm before I retired)  While having knowledge and experience in doing a little home gardening is good knowledge it does not mean that one understands the global food system or how large scale farming is performed.  It is certainly true that industrial agriculture (or any agriculture that is not fundamentally subsistence) is extremely dependent on the use of fossil fuels and our industrial infrastructure.  But what makes anyone think that agriculture is going to lose access to those inputs in any near term scenario.  It defies logic.  There are 7+ billion people on earth who are mostly fed by agriculture which uses fossil powered machinery to grow the food and ship it.  Farmers and shippers are just about the last folks who are going to have their access to fossil fuels curtailed. Them and the military.  Now the status of the climate and use of available fossil energy supplies are certain to reach a state where BAU will be completely unacceptable and also impossible.  But when will that occur?  In the next 10 years?  Not a  chance.  Big problems are coming in this area due to changing climate, declining fresh water supplies, loss of top soil to name a few.  The numbers indicate that the real crunch time for global food production is likely somewhere out towards mid-century.  This is not to say that there will be no issues for those who cannot afford to buy food or those in near subsistence situations who feel the impact of climate changes.  Please keep in mind that there is enormous slack in our food production system.  Just one example, if we stopped feeding corn, soybeans, etc to livestock and switched to natural meat production think how much more food we would have available for human consumption.  Not to mention stopping using food crops to make fuel.  Not that it will work that way of course.  The rich countries will do as they please and will not change their ways for the poor.  Eventually they get kicked off the bus as we ramp down towards eventual collapse.  There will be no sharing across the board and we will work our way slowly up the totem pole until we get back to a semblance of carrying capacity.

CO2 levels.  I think we all know what is happening and likely to happen.  Levels are going to rise with no check until the climate seriously changes.  By serious I mean that BAU is no longer possible.  In this area we fight human nature.  We evolved to deal with short-term threats and the vast majority of people (even the highly intelligent) are not capable of dealing with a long-term threat.  We will fight to keep what we have and to live as we see fit until we can no longer do it.  then we won't do it anymore.  This will happen for different people at different times.  If you are born in the wrong country or place or poor your time will come sooner than some others.  It will not happen for everyone at the same time.  We are a selfish species and we do not really care about those who are not close to us.  Let alone someone half way across the world. the rich and powerful will not give to save the poor and weak. 

I participated in the first Earth Day when I was young because I thought we could not continue on our path at the time for long before disaster overtook us.  We are not all going to die in the next few years and there is still reason to have hope and work towards having a future.  If you're young educate yourself and fight for your future.  If you have resources do your part, if you are old help the young. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Anne

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #96 on: April 10, 2013, 10:40:50 PM »
Jim D, you talk a lot of sense. But there are some points where I take issue. While the prosperous west will be insulated from fluctuations in land fertility and food prices, that won't be the case everywhere.  In the rich west we can afford to import food to make up for a poor harvest. But bad weather and poor harvests have the power to impoverish people on marginal lands, and they will either migrate or starve. We neglect them at their peril, and ours.

fishmahboi

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #97 on: April 11, 2013, 09:34:13 AM »
Just to bring something up about the Methane Feedback, it seems quite worrying that earth appears to be on the edge of a Runaway Global Warming according to this site: http://arctic-news.blogspot.ie/2013/04/earth-is-on-the-edge-of-runaway-warming.html#comment-form

A comment by the author kind of puts aside the chances of the transition to the Venus Syndrome being gradual.

Quote
In the past, methane has been released gradually, over many years, whereas the danger now is that huge amounts of methane will soon be released within a short time-span, driving up temperatures beyond a tipping point where the combined effect of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, water vapor, etc. will make the atmosphere very humid and warm, with water continuously evaporating from oceans, while hydrogen and oxygen is lost into space, until all water is gone, as happened in the case of Venus.

With another one stating that the earth is ready to snap to the extinction line.

Quote
The abstract says there is no clear difference between runaway and limit of habitable zone below approximately 5,000 Kelvin effective temperature for K and M planets..
But Earth, type M, had to be below this when life first started and there was liquid water at least till the time life created the Oxygen rich atmosphere..
Then a gap began to appear as the sun matured and enlarged and heated up while life became mature too.
But we have thrown a wrench in the system and touched off a huge problem. Carbonate balance destabilization by the swamping of atmosphere with Carbon Dioxide from fossil fuel use. Swamping that also causing temperature forcing upward which is now decaying water ice form which holds methane..
Vast amounts of methane rising into an inversion area where it is stable at approximately 30 to 47 kilometers altitude. Methane primarily from decay of Arctic methane hydrate in sea floor..
Time is short to reverse this if there time at all to say the least. -yet Assad bombs his people and eyes are on finance. Korea looks set to war.
What are people thinking? Earth is ready to snap to extinction line outside of habitable zone now
.

fred

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #98 on: April 11, 2013, 09:59:30 AM »
@JimD  « on: April 10, 2013, 10:30:45 PM »

LOL: "For instance, it is not difficult to find posters here and on other blogs who are making comments about collapse occurring within a very short timeframe and that you must take affirmative action to deal with it now, or, conversely, that it is too late to do anything.  Are these tyle of statements based upon rational thought or real possibilities?  I think not.  "

So your thoughts are sage but everyone else who disagrees with you is not?

The entire post is content-less, unless you consider that a real expert at Real Climate was not worried about one part of methane release....on the other hand, a lot of experts are worried. AMEG.me et al for a few.

As you pointed out, it is a complex system. So where do you get off saying because we don't have the capacity to predict it, therefore we have time?


fred

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Re: When and how bad?
« Reply #99 on: April 11, 2013, 10:09:49 AM »
Most of what has been said in this thread is not supportable by rational argument or peer-reviewed literature. The tendency of posters on this forum to throw peer-reviewed literature out the window because scientists are too "conservative" is unfortunate.

Potential food production on earth is FAR greater than actual food production. Market-based national food-exporting economies will never issue blanket bans on exports. Russia's grain yields that year were not large enough to export grain regardless of the ban. Food is an international commodity. Say a major food exporter, like the U.S. has a bad year. So we export less food than normal. We don't ban exporters unless the yield is so bad that we cannot meet domestic demand (we wouldn't even issue a ban in such a case, market forces would simply lead to zero exports). Breaking things down on a country by country basis is irrelevant. As long as global food production approximately equals global caloric demand in any given year, market forces will distribute the food. Given global food production is not even close to its potential, there is little need for concern. There is unused and under-utilized land. In addition, the use of land for feeding and raising meat is incredibly wasteful calorically. This land will gradually be converted to feeding people directly, as prices rise.

The real issue is that portions of the world (primarily Africa) currently and will likely continue to have economies that are unable of producing enough food to meet domestic demand, or producing enough value to import sufficient quantities of food. This situation may gradually and slightly exacerbated by any negative effects of climate change on global food production.

And yet your entire post is not supported by rational argument, science or peer review. I defy you to find one peer reviewed publication that says, "oh don't worry about it". You will find lots that project a trend within 95% certainty, etc.. When was the last time you let you kid play on a train track based on 95% certainty schedules of a train coming? I'll bet even a few percent is too much for you.

The rest of your post shows a stunning lack of understanding about anything outside a nice cozy little first world market. For example, no one is starving right now in Africa, yeah? Or ever have? Because the magical market fairy supplies food to them under cost.

Jesus effing Christ.