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wili

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Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« on: December 03, 2013, 11:38:30 PM »
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/gradual-climate-changes-could-cause-sudden-impacts-16792

Gradual Climate Changes Could Cause Sudden Impacts

Quote
Abrupt shifts in the climate have already begun, with more possible by the end of this century according to a report released Tuesday by the National Research Council. At the same time, even gradual changes to the climate could lead to more unforeseen, sudden impacts. The report recommends creating an early warning system, instead of simply reacting to the changes.

Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have already altered the climate. Most changes have been gradual, but the possibility of abrupt shifts concerns the scientific community. Anthony Barnosky, a paleoecologist at University of California, Berkeley, likened gradual changes to being able to see the road while driving. With unexpected changes, the “road drops out from under you,” he said at a press conference...

When they get down to enumerating impacts, Arctic sea ice loss comes up first:

Quote
...The new report highlights shifts that are of growing concern. The precipitous decline of summer Arctic sea ice since 1979, but particularly over the past decade, is one of the most notable sudden changes already occurring. That trend is likely to continue and have a cascade effect on ecosystems in the region as well as impacting shipping, oil and natural gas exploration, and national security.

While changes in the Arctic might be most visible, it’s changes in the globe’s lower latitudes and oceans that are of equal or greater concern, Alley said. Those areas are where the majority of people and animals live and most of the world’s food is produced.

The current rate of climate change is one most likely not seen in 65 million years. The rate of warming is likely to increase in the coming century, and that means some species, particularly those in mountainous regions, might not be able to adapt fast enough or they’ll simply run out of room to migrate...

“Our food is already heat stressed. If we move to unprecedented levels (of warmth), what does that do for eating?”...

...Sea level rise is also a gradual shift that could have a big consequences for coastal communities. In the U.S., coastal communities contributed $6.6 trillion to the national GDP in 2011 and population density along the coast is four times greater than inland. Globally, sea level has risen about 9 inches since 1880, but the rate of change varies based on local conditions.

Slow and steady changes in the ocean’s height can cause major damage to coastal infrastructure. Alley used New York’s subway system during Superstorm Sandy as an example....

... The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which was created in the wake of the East Africa famine in the mid-1980s, and a drought warning system in the U.S. both provide lessons of how an abrupt climate change early warning system could function.

By following these and other examples, the authors envision a tool that would give decision makers a timeframe to take proactive measures for what they call “inevitable surprises” rather than reacting to them.

Perhaps the very act of getting people prepared for the now "inevitable surprises" we are facing will help wake them up to what we've been doing to the basic functioning systems of the planet--kind of like the people who went around before major hurricanes and asked that the people who refused to leave mark their limbs with indelible markers so the parts of their dismembered body could be identified after the storm for proper burial.

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

bligh8

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 06:48:59 PM »
One point in this report about the rising sea levels affecting the NYC subway system is in my opinion a long way off and should not be included as an immediate consequence of sea level rise.  NY will take counter measures to mitigate this long before there is a devastating impact. The current admin in nyc has already set aside 10 billion $ to harden infrastructure around Manhattan, with another 10 billion to be allocated at a later date.

The profound consequences of sea level rise I see, might be the inability of seaports to address this problem. I, over the last 40 years have worked from time to time in these ports from Boston to Baltimore, mostly on ships; Chevron tankers and MAERSK bulk carriers. The knowledge I gained from observance of these facilities suggested to me that most shipping ports along the East Coast US had many things in common, but one thing they all had in common was; they were all designed and built on the now false premise of a stable sea level. It’s the complex, wide spread infrastructure surrounding the distribution of shipped goods that would be at risk. A great deal of food that’s distributed along the east coast is imported via shipping.  There-in lies one of the most immediate problem’s of sea level rise, not only on the east coast US but all over the world. The inability to distribute goods, world wide, via shipping might cripple society, as we know it today.

In this picture one can see the near sea level construction of one area of Port Elizabeth in NJ. This area is one of many that sit near sea level.







 

In some areas there might be a chance to install mitigating systems. This however precludes an understanding of the problem and the political/commercial will to invest in something so vast that until it happens, it will be ignored.



 

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 05:35:53 PM »
I just downloaded the report from the NAS website.  It is 200 pages!  Yikes!
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

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 06:06:18 PM »
I am working through the actual report right now and have found a couple of interesting conclusions so far.

One is that ASLR's work over in the Antarctic section is supported by this report which states that the collapse of the WAIS this century is "plausible" though with an unknown and probably low probability. That would seem to be a step up the risk ladder from where we were.

Two is that probability of an abrupt surge of methane from the Arctic regions (both terrestrial and oceanic) this  century has gone down and it not likely to occur this century.  But perhaps next century.  Though those very concerned about this issue can point to the report not indicating this is a robust conclusion and recommending increased study.

Three is that the probability of a significant change in the AMOC is very low and will not occur this century.  This conclusion is considered robust. 
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

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 06:56:40 PM »
It is not possible (for me anyway) to copy Table 1 from the report here.  But the info in it needs to be replicated as it should change the focus of some of our discussions and reset a couple perhaps.  I will try and summarize the Tables conclusions below.

Note that this report was the joint effort of the US intelligence community, NOAA, The National Academies, the National Science Foundation.  It was reviewed by a huge number of highly qualified researchers (detailed in report).  In terms of political influence of conclusions I think it fair to say that compared to the IPCC reports it basically has none and its conclusions are strictly science based.  And one can also conclude that, unlike the IPCC reports, this report is as current as it is possible to be.

Summary of conclusions

Key to summary
Item
A.  Current Trend
B.  Probability of abrupt change by 2100
C.  Probability of significant change post 2100
D.  Level of scientific understanding

1. Disruption to Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)
  A.  Not detectable
  B.  Low
  C.  High
  D.  Moderate

2.  Sea level rise (SLR) from ocean thermal expansion
  A.  Moderate increase
  B.  Low
  C.  High
  D.  High

3.  Sea level rise from destabilization of WAIS ice sheets
  A.  Low
  B.  Unknown, probably low but plausible
  C.  Unknown
  D.  Low

4.  Sea level rise from other ice sheets (including Greenland and all others, but not including WAIS loss)
  A.  Small trend
  B.  Low
  C.  High
  D.  Low some, high others

5.  Decrease in ocean oxygen (expansion in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs))
  A.  No trend
  B.  Moderate
  C.  High
  D.  Low to moderate

6.  Changes to patterns of climate variability (e.g., ENSO, annular modes)
  A.  Mostly undetectable
  B.  Low
  C.  Moderate
  D.  Low to moderate

7.  Increase in intensity, frequency, and duration of heat waves
  A.  Detectable
  B.  Moderate
  C.  High
  D.  High

8.  Increase in frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events (droughts/floods/ hurricanes/major storms
  A.  Floods detectable, drought/hurricanes not detectable
  B.  Moderate
  C.  Moderate to high
  D.  Low to moderate

9.  Increasing release of carbon stored in soils and permafrost
  A.  No trend to small trend
  B.  Low
  C.  High
  D.  Moderate

10.  Increasing release of methane from ocean methane hydrates
  A.  No trend detectable
  B.  Low
  C.  Moderate
  D.  Moderate

11.  Late-summer Arctic sea ice disappearance
  A.  Strong trend
  B.  High
  C.  Very High
  D.  High

12.  Winter Arctic sea ice disappearance
  A.  Small trend
  B.  Low
  C.  Moderate
  D.  High

13.  Rapid state changes in ecosystems, species range shifts, and species boundary changes
  A.  Significant to not detected
  B.  Moderate
  C.  High
  d.  Moderate

14.  Increases in extinctions of marine and terrestrial species
  A.  Accelerating
  B.  High
  C.  Very high
  D.  Moderate

Note that the above just summarizes the table and it contains much more information and detail.  As does the text of the report itself.

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

ritter

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 08:26:02 PM »
I just downloaded the report from the NAS website.  It is 200 pages!  Yikes!

Link for the lazy, please?!

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 08:34:42 PM »
I just downloaded the report from the NAS website.  It is 200 pages!  Yikes!

Link for the lazy, please?!

It is a link inside of Wili's link and then you have to download from there.  You can get a free copy to read but not save even though it says it costs money.

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18373
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

ritter

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 08:52:07 PM »
Thanks, Jim!

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 04:46:50 AM »
I also recognized many mechanisms from reading AbruptSLR's posts.

Also, in the video accompanying the report, they definitely give the impression that they fully expect acceleration of WAIS collapse, Arctic methane releases, and significant Permafrost Carbon. They just cannot see any abrupt changes in their data at the moment.

I think in the video they do a better job explaining how if we stay on our current emissions path, then the probability for Abrupt changes will probably increase fast enough to blindside us.

In short, they are urging for more research to monitor expected feedbacks, bc our curr data is fairly pathetic:

[youtube.com/watch?v=uh3auNaQbhc]



I am working through the actual report right now and have found a couple of interesting conclusions so far.

One is that ASLR's work over in the Antarctic section is supported by this report which states that the collapse of the WAIS this century is "plausible" though with an unknown and probably low probability. That would seem to be a step up the risk ladder from where we were.

Two is that probability of an abrupt surge of methane from the Arctic regions (both terrestrial and oceanic) this  century has gone down and it not likely to occur this century.  But perhaps next century.  Though those very concerned about this issue can point to the report not indicating this is a robust conclusion and recommending increased study.

Three is that the probability of a significant change in the AMOC is very low and will not occur this century.  This conclusion is considered robust.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 07:06:35 AM by TeaPotty »

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2013, 05:26:12 AM »
Thanks, TP; good points. I didn't see the link to that video. Can you copy it here? Is ASLR still posting on this forum? It would be interesting to get his assessment on the SLR section in this report.

ETA: I'm now on pages 56-58 where they talk about the possibility of steady changes poleward movement of jetstreams leading to locally abrupt changes. Unfortunately, this section makes it clear that the report seems to be flawed by the same kind of conservative and already-far-out-of-date-by-the-time-published qualities of the IPCC reports.

For example, starting on page 57, they talk about the unlikelihood of the No.Hem. mid-latitude jetstream migrating poleward very significantly before the latter part of this century. But, as I understand it, this is now already happening. Note that almost all the works cited in this section are from 2007 or earlier, a time when all models showed the Arctic sea ice to remain essentially intact till at least the 2080's or so. As we know, that's not how things have gone down in the intervening years.

That kind of puts the conclusions of the rest of this report into some...perspective; especially their essential dismissing of ESAS methane release as a likely major threat over the next century or so.

It was news to me, though, that there is (and already was in 2007, apparently) robust evidence that the Southern Hemisphere midlatitude jet stream was and would continue to move poleward. They also did say that this area was in greatly understudied and in need of much more research.

No mention of the possibility of the whole Hadley Cell system collapsing entirely--l think most people just don't want to think about those kinds of possibilities. 
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 06:36:43 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2013, 02:12:08 AM »
....
ETA: I'm now on pages 56-58 where they talk about the possibility of steady changes poleward movement of jetstreams leading to locally abrupt changes. Unfortunately, this section makes it clear that the report seems to be flawed by the same kind of conservative and already-far-out-of-date-by-the-time-published qualities of the IPCC reports.

For example, starting on page 57, they talk about the unlikelihood of the No.Hem. mid-latitude jetstream migrating poleward very significantly before the latter part of this century. But, as I understand it, this is now already happening. Note that almost all the works cited in this section are from 2007 or earlier, a time when all models showed the Arctic sea ice to remain essentially intact till at least the 2080's or so. As we know, that's not how things have gone down in the intervening years.

That kind of puts the conclusions of the rest of this report into some...perspective; especially their essential dismissing of ESAS methane release as a likely major threat over the next century or so.

It was news to me, though, that there is (and already was in 2007, apparently) robust evidence that the Southern Hemisphere midlatitude jet stream was and would continue to move poleward. They also did say that this area was in greatly understudied and in need of much more research.

No mention of the possibility of the whole Hadley Cell system collapsing entirely--l think most people just don't want to think about those kinds of possibilities.

Wili I guess we have a real disagreement on much of what you said above implying that this report is skewed by politics and out of date and that the scientists are reluctant to talk about the real data.  I think all of that is incorrect.

As to the refs I counted just the A's and B's and there were 60 refs more recent than 2007.  There are extensive amounts of refs well into 2013.  It is impossible to be more current than that.  Many drafters as well as reviewers are the folks performing the current research.  It is as to date as possible.

I think that when one considers the group that wrote this report there is not going to be any level of political downplaying towards a conservative bias on anywhere near the level most seem to see in the IPCC reports.  Check through the list of outside experts involved in the review of this report and it is clear that it was top level, extensive and voluminous.

I understand your concern about possibilities of what might happen.  But that is the point of this report.  The possibilities of all these things is exactly what the report was determining at the most expert level possible.  The folks performing and reviewing this data are the very experts performing the current research.  They know everything about this that anyone here knows and likely 10 times more.  Plus they have the expertise to better understand what is noise and what is trend.  This report has to be considered the current word at this point in time.  The consensus of a group of experts at this level has to be accepted over any individual opinion and there are not any strong opinions by individual top level researchers that clearly are in opposition to this work that I am aware of.  And anything that is out there is known by this group and was taken into account. 

That this report indicates that several specific issues, of great concern to many folks who are not deep experts, are found to be not as critical to those who are real experts on the subjects should not come as a big surprise.  It is likely to happen frequently.  Many issues with climate require some time to establish trends that are distinguished from yearly noise.  If these experts say the conclusions of what is known about circulation patterns lead to a proper conclusion which is less alarming than what some have been assuming, the greatest probability is that they are correct and the non-experts are mistaken (though well intentioned).

When it comes to the methane issues every time a group analysis is performed on this issue it lands in the same place.  Virtually all experts on this issues land individually in the same place.  There is just no rational justification for people indicating that there are near term significant possibilities of catastrophic methane releases according to the best experts we have.  And we all know that they know everything about this issue we do and much, much more.  They all essentially say the same thing.  It is the CO2 we must keep our focus on at this time for it drives the train.

I know this is something of a rant and I am not trying to attack you, but I feel your post just leaves a series of wrong impressions.   
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

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2013, 01:06:27 PM »
Jim, many good points, and I may have been too hasty in my judgments.

To be clear, I meant that, in that particular section of the study, they didn't seem to cover all the most recent relevant research. Elsewhere, they do indeed do an impressive job of including plenty of quite recent material, as I have seen as I have read further and looked over the full reference pages at the end. This may indeed be the most current summary work, but it is still, as a summary of other research, inevitably going to be a bit behind the very latest scientific findings coming out in this fast-paced and intensively researched area.

And I didn't mean to imply that the report was "skewed by politics" exactly. (When I used the term "conservative" I meant it in the sense of "hesitant to present evidence that may sound too dire,  hesitant to include some of the most cutting-edge research before it has been fully vetted, and hesitant to draw conclusion that go much beyond those already established in the literature..."--the kind of reticence that has been discussed recently by Hansen and by others. This kind of conservatism can, of course, be valuable in such works that are trying to be staid, authoritative and unassailable. But conservative they are, in this sense at least.)

Of course, no study can connect all the dots, and I think there are some relevant dots not connected here. (But again, it's a big honkin' report, and I have read some sections closely but definitely also skimmed through others, so that judgment also may be premature.) They do say pretty constantly that many of the most major developments are fairly new and still need lots of study, a point I hope all can agree on.

As to expertise, I note that two of the most important and authoritative experts--in the field of Arctic studies generally and the ESAS in particular--that they do not cite directly are Igor Semiletov and Peter Wadhams (at least as first authors; perhaps they are buried further down in some of the multi-authored studies?).

These are the two experts that have advantages over all of the authors of this overview report, afaics, and over nearly all of the other experts cited, at least when it comes to ESAS:

Semiletov because he has been working in the field since at least the '90's, and as a Russian, he has not only had better access to the area itself, but has been on top of the research in the area by other Russians, research written mostly in Russian and much of it in Russian publications not readily available to the West.

Wadhams because he worked in the Arctic with the Royal Navy since the '70's, gaining access to information and observations that few other scientists were privy to (and much of which he presumably could not share for security reasons), to my knowledge (again, always happy to be further informed, though).

Fully including the perspectives of these most authoritative voices may have altered the reports coverage of certain developments in the Arctic. So when you write "there are not any strong opinions by individual top level researchers that clearly are in opposition," I'm not sure that I can fully agree. But the report just came out, so there hasn't been much time for other experts to critique or make statements about it. (Just us a-holes spitballing from the peanut gallery. :)) At least they do cite and quote Shakhova a few times. But again, this is an area where there are clearly some differences even among the top researchers in the field. IIRC, even Michael Mann said that he didn't think a relatively quick release of large quantities of methane could be ruled out.

(I will point out that at one point they do say that emissions of methane at the 50 gigaton level are possible within a time frame of decades, which should be a bit...concerning, it seems to me. But most places they talk about time frame of centuries or more.)

There are two things (or 'dots') in particular (beyond methane matters) that I would have liked to see more discussion of:

1) Jennifer Francis' (and others') proposals connecting Arctic sea ice loss with shifts in jet stream amplitude, location and speed (though, I do see that one of her articles is in the works cited, so it must be mentioned somewhere--if anyone finds it, please let me know). If there really is a legitimate connection between Arctic ice loss and major jet-stream disruption, it would seem to me that this would qualify as a major, abrupt change of great import for humans--stuck highs and lows creating unprecedented extreme conditions throughout the Northern Hemisphere...

2) The possibility (that I mentioned at the end of my earlier post) of a collapse of the whole Hadley cell system in the Northern (and Southern?) Hemisphere(s), as has been discussed here and in these forums and on the blog, is another place that I would have liked to see some discussion. But this is perhaps asking too much, since it is as yet a relatively under-investigated area (but one where, it seems to me, things could shift quite quickly indeed, with quite enormous consequences for humans (and much else).

I should say that I do tend to trust scientific findings most when they are telling us of things to be warned about, especially if at least some of the scientists involved in said research have particularly deep and intimate acquaintance with that particular part of the field.

But at least sometimes when (some) scientists tell me not to worry about something--whether it's the dangers of nuclear power or the likelihood of total sea ice melt in the Arctic--I tend to be a bit more...skeptical; and the very existence of this forum and of neven's blog suggest that I am not alone in this kind of skepticism.

I do think that this report is likely to be viewed by many as authoritative.

But hey, if we all just accepted all science as it was presented and weren't interested in analyzing it, critiquing it, and coming up with our own (ideally carefully though through) conclusions, we wouldn't likely have this kind of blog and forum, which is devoted to doing just that afaics.

Sorry to go on a bit, here. I hope these make my positions clearer. It's fine to disagree on these things. But it's good to at least be clear about what we are or aren't disagreeing about, imo.

With great respect,
wili.

ETA: And I am very glad that the report is giving the issue of possible WAIS collapse some over-due attention. I'm assuming we can thank Richard Alley for making sure that this issue was fairly thoroughly treated.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 01:20:13 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2013, 04:27:08 PM »
Very good post Wili.  Sorry for the rant.

One thing I often react to in discussions about various aspects of science is the tendency to immediately grab new research and run with it as if it is definitive on the subject it addresses.  This often seems to just be because it is the latest research.  This is, of course, not a valid assumption that many people make.  Sometimes it is true, but other times the author has pushed his/her analysis too far and other scientists will chime in and pull them back a bit.  Or say they are just wrong and give some reasons  why, or occasionally praise the advance discovered.  It is very hard for interested amateurs to know which way it is going to fall. 

I have concerns along those lines in regard to conclusions about how circulation patterns, cells and the jet stream are changing.  Large scale weather patterns fluctuate often over periods of years and it does not seem to me that these types of subjects are really well understood yet.  I note that the report indicates on those very issues the scientific understanding of climate patterns is considered low to moderate and that trends in patterns are mostly undetectable.  The only extreme weather event that is well understood is heat waves.  Not droughts or extreme storms.  This would mean that I am probably guilty of statements that are too confident on droughts.  The circulation patterns according to this report seem to still lack enough data points to establish trends and demonstrate that the patterns have permanently changed.

I know that Semiletov and Wadhams are experts. but there are dozens of experts on the Arctic who have long experience.  While Semiletov and Wadhams  do certainly position themselves towards one end of the spectrum they do not seem to be strident nor dismissive of the general consensus on methane emissions.  I must admit when I first read about the methane issue it seemed very alarming.  Over the years as data accumulated, hosts of experts chimed in and explained the physics, additional research was performed, and I tried to evaluate the risks we face in my own mind I have come to accept what the vast majority of the experts have been telling us for some time.  And that is that big problems from methane releases are significantly further off than many other critical problems and that we need to keep our minds on those issues as they also drive the methane issue.   A giant methane release could indeed destroy civilization, but that release would  be triggered by our CO2 emissions.  CO2 all by itself will destroy us even if the methane burp never happens.  And we can do something about the CO2 as we control it.  We have no control over the methane issue as it is derivative of other factors.  I believe activists use methane as a scare tactic to try and motivate those sitting on the sidelines still.

Interesting report and discussions.  In a long-term sense it is pretty scary.  But it still offers some hope if people would just get off their rears.  I know it is likely a futile hope but I can't help myself even though I think disaster is unavoidable.

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

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2013, 06:29:28 PM »
I am very much skeptical on the whole methane subject.
I find it very difficult to understand how any scientist, with the data we have now, is capable of saying it is either imminent or dismiss it entirely.

My skepticism stems from the following:

1) Our data is crap.
2) Our climate is changing much faster than any past event.
For example, how much higher is CH4 ppm in Arctic than near equator?
3) While many "Arctic experts" who have written about methane, how many of them have actually been there themselves, observing, recording... especially the sites Wadhams, Shakhova & Semilitov speak about?
4) Like it or not, methane is going to be a problem in the coming years. Add all the renewed coal use, the permafrost melting, the escalating ice-free Arctic emissions, the escalation of cattle-raising for food, increase in wildfires, etc.
5) We have yet to see more urgency from the scientific community to come to terms with that they were WRONG. The Arctic will be ice-free in the summer soon, and they thought that was damn impossible. Methane IS coming out from ice-free waters, and IS increasing.  We don't even have a measurement of how much is coming out, what is the trend, etc.
6) Hydroxyl Radical is necessary to break down methane, and at some point may be depleted. Do we know when that is?

Doesn't anyone think we should measure all these better than the small studies we see so far, so we can have a better idea what to expect? We may decarbonize and yet methane may continue to increase in rate of emission. Or it may not. We simply don't have the data to say for sure.

I understand that part of the reason for confidence has to do with past climate records, but what we are doing to the climate is much much much faster than ever before.

I also get a feeling that our governments may know a lot more than they are telling us. I am really skeptical of conspiracies, but I see a lot of irrational silence around this subject.

So, are we supposed to be less worried of large methane releases bc they happen over 30 years, 50 years, or 100 years? We need to better understand what is happening.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 06:36:45 PM by TeaPotty »

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2013, 09:00:50 PM »
I am very much skeptical on the whole methane subject.
I find it very difficult to understand how any scientist, with the data we have now, is capable of saying it is either imminent or dismiss it entirely.

I am not aware of ANY "scientist" who falls into either the imminent or dismiss categories.  Those seem to be exclusively occupied by us amateurs and the denialists.


Quote
My skepticism stems from the following:

1) Our data is crap.

If you are saying that the data we have collected is bad data I think that is clearly not the case.  If you are trying to say that we do not have enough data I think everyone would agree.  But it is wise to keep in mind that 90% of what is going to happen with the methane is based from known physics.  As the report indicates the state of the science on this matter is in the moderate range (this is actually pretty robust).
 
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2) Our climate is changing much faster than any past event.

True.  But that does not in any way change the physics calculations.  It more impacts the paleo record of which there is not great support for the instantaneous methane burp.

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For example, how much higher is CH4 ppm in Arctic than near equator?

On average not much at all.  Just in localized areas.  CH4 is well mixed in the atmosphere.  Note that we have a very long record of CH4 levels in the atmosphere and there is no evidence at all of an exponential increase (yet) as required by the methane burp concept.  Levels are on an very steady increase of about 2ppb a year.  So every thing that has happened in the Arctic so far has not spiked levels.
 
Quote
3) While many "Arctic experts" who have written about methane, how many of them have actually been there themselves, observing, recording... especially the sites Wadhams, Shakhova & Semilitov speak about?

Certainly you know that this is not an argument.  There are dozens if not hundreds of researchers who work in the arctic collecting data.  Their expertise in the arctic does not make them better physicists it gives them greater expertise at collecting data in a harsh environment.  You don't have to have traveled to the moon to be an expert on how to get there.   Besides, those researchers you mention do not argue strongly that this is going to happen just that it is possible and a concern.  That is a big difference.

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4) Like it or not, methane is going to be a problem in the coming years. Add all the renewed coal use, the permafrost melting, the escalating ice-free Arctic emissions, the escalation of cattle-raising for food, increase in wildfires, etc.

Yes it will be.  But the destabilizing climate is being driven by CO2 emissions, not methane.  Methane is derivative from the carbon emissions.  And we can control carbon emissions and are essentially powerless over most methane emissions. 

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5) We have yet to see more urgency from the scientific community to come to terms with that they were WRONG. The Arctic will be ice-free in the summer soon, and they thought that was damn impossible. Methane IS coming out from ice-free waters, and IS increasing.  We don't even have a measurement of how much is coming out, what is the trend, etc.

We do not know when the arctic will be ice free.  It will very likely be sooner than the consensus was 5 years ago. The whole point of doing science is to improve our knowledge.  Does that mean that when we learn something new we were WRONG in the past.  In a sense yes, but Newton was incorrect on almost all aspects of physics he developed.  Was what he did worthless?  A scientist oft quoted on when the arctic was going to be ice free famously predicted 2016 +/- 3 years.  It looks pretty strongly that his prediction may be a little early at this point.  If it turns out he is wrong was his prediction worthless?  Methane I addressed above on its increase (no exponential trend yet).  But you are incorrect on us not having good measurements of the methane levels or the trend issue.  We do.
 
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6) Hydroxyl Radical is necessary to break down methane, and at some point may be depleted. Do we know when that is?

It is my understanding that depletion cannot happen in the circumstances that exist now.  In the presence of a giant methane burp the hydroxyl radical could be temporarily depleted, but as it is constantly generated by atmospheric chemical reactions as it ate up the methane the levels would rebuild.  Please read the following as it might help you understand all the issues regarding methane better.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/toward-improved-discussions-methane.html

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Doesn't anyone think we should measure all these better than the small studies we see so far, so we can have a better idea what to expect? We may decarbonize and yet methane may continue to increase in rate of emission. Or it may not. We simply don't have the data to say for sure
.

All of us here want more money spent on research. But even more than that we want action as it is already justified.  Actually way beyond justified.  If we get carbon emissions under control and reduce atmospheric CO2 levels back to 350 or lower and we do not do this in time to prevent eventual large methane releases we will just have to try and live through them.  But there is no way for us to stop methane emissions other than by reducing CO2 levels.  So we work on CO2.

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I understand that part of the reason for confidence has to do with past climate records, but what we are doing to the climate is much much much faster than ever before.

Some of the reason but not most of it.  Speed has great impacts on civilization, but its effect on these issues from a physics perspective is much less critical to what eventually transpires.

Quote
I also get a feeling that our governments may know a lot more than they are telling us. I am really skeptical of conspiracies, but I see a lot of irrational silence around this subject.

Well there is not much to say to this other than offering an insiders perspective.  I spent my entire career in the US intelligence community and am fully aware of how difficult it would be to execute such a conspiracy and find the idea out of the question.  Note that the Intelligence Community and the Pentagon were among the earliest government entities to sign on to AGW and have been preparing for it for years (from a national security perspective).

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So, are we supposed to be less worried of large methane releases bc they happen over 30 years, 50 years, or 100 years? We need to better understand what is happening.

Worry or concern is certainly warranted.  As is further research.  Action should be reserved for what can have the most impact on improving our circumstances.  CO2 reductions.
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

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2013, 11:23:49 PM »
Hey JimD,

My responses:

Quote
I am not aware of ANY "scientist" who falls into either the imminent or dismiss categories.  Those seem to be exclusively occupied by us amateurs and the denialists.

I'd rather not name names... but every time a methane report comes out, there are quite a few prominent scientists who waste no time knocking it down. We all get the point that large methane burps seem improbable now, and I would bet on that too. But long-term releases are often conflated and knocked down in the same argument.

Quote
If you are saying that the data we have collected is bad data I think that is clearly not the case.  If you are trying to say that we do not have enough data I think everyone would agree.

Sorry I wasn't clear. I was talking about lack of data, not criticizing existing data. This point was also made by scientists in the video above.

Quote
Quote
2) Our climate is changing much faster than any past event.
True.  But that does not in any way change the physics calculations.  It more impacts the paleo record of which there is not great support for the instantaneous methane burp.

To my understanding, their is a significant difference in the consequences of heating the planet at the pace we are now compared to past events. I don't recall where I have read this, but given such a short timespan, many systems cannot adopt to the change as in the past.

That said, I see no reason to object to scientists' confidence that the chance for big sudden catastrophic burps are low from what we see in paleo records. Indeed, they look stable.

But, between the increases in methane releases we do see in the Arctic, and imminent permafrost emissions, I wonder why there is no rush to quantify this.

Quote
Quote
For example, how much higher is CH4 ppm in Arctic than near equator?
On average not much at all

Sorry, this question was rhetorical. We really do lack measurements.

Quote
Quote
3) While many "Arctic experts" who have written about methane, how many of them have actually been there themselves, observing, recording... especially the sites Wadhams, Shakhova & Semilitov speak about?
Certainly you know that this is not an argument.

Sorry again, my poor communication. I did not mean to put down scientists who aren't measuring in the field. That would actually be self-depreciating ;)

To put in proper context, I see many scientists (not naming) who are making grand dismissals about methane based on our limited data, instead of approaching the subject with more caution and hesitation.

(its almost as if they don't want any research money going into the field, but this is pure speculation)

So when I see someone as esteemed as Prof Peter Wadhams calling for more research for things he observed but cant yet measure and record, I get upset when then the whole things is dismissed as "improbable" based on the same old limited data.

What is the probability for it happening in 2C? 3C? 4C?
Instead, we are given a chummy pat on the back, and a "don't worry about it". Anyone discussing methane is immediately labeled a flaming alarmist, further causing scientists to shy away.

Quote
Yes it will be.  But the destabilizing climate is being driven by CO2 emissions, not methane.

I think you should spend some time researching for atmospheric forcing of all the methane that's going to be released in the coming decades (including all the coal plants). If methane is indeed 100x as powerful as CO2 over 20 years, then its going to be a significant part of the pie.


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We do not know when the arctic will be ice free.  It will very likely be sooner than the consensus was 5 years ago

Plz don't play this game. Scientists claimed it would take till the end of the century to see what we are seeing now in the Arctic. That's way out of the margin of error for small mistakes.

To me, its obviously scientists are guilty of not looking at the big picture, as much as all us humans are susceptible to. James Hansen or Michael Mann can better lecture about Science Reticence than I:
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/2/2/024002/fulltext/

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It is my understanding that depletion cannot happen in the circumstances that exist now

I read that Sks article u linked several times before already. I don't see there or anywhere else any established science on how fast hydroxyl radical depletion can occur.

To be clear: I am not alarmed that this is "possible". I am alarmed that nobody seems to care enough yet to get better measurements so we can give more concrete answers. Where are the efforts to quantify this with CO2?


Prof James Hansen's paper this week clearly tried to address this:

Quote
"There is a possibility of rapid methane hydrate or permafrost emissions in response to warming, but that risk is largely unquantified... Smaller but still large methane hydrate amounts below shallow waters as in the Arctic Ocean are more vulnerable; the methane may oxidize to CO2 in the water, but it will still add to the long-term burden of CO2 in the carbon cycle. Terrestrial permafrost emissions of CH4 and CO2 likely can occur on a time scale of a few decades to several centuries if global warming continues. These time scales are within the lifetime of anthropogenic CO2, and thus these feedbacks must be considered in estimating the dangerous level of global warming. Because human-made warming is more rapid than natural long-term warmings in the past, there is concern that methane hydrate or peat feedbacks could be more rapid than the feedbacks that exist in the paleoclimate record.

Model studies for climate change between the Holocene and the Pliocene, when Earth was about 3°C warmer, find that slow feedbacks due to changes of ice sheets and vegetation cover amplified the fast feedback climate response by 30–50%"

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2013, 06:06:47 AM »
Well maybe it is the nuances of words and how different people can read them and get different impressions.  I read what you read and do not see the reason to be alarmed at that level. 

People are making strong efforts and gathering more data to further refine results. There is a lot of work to do and the demand for resources from all quarters never stops. 

I read your Hansen quote and I see him use the same kind of words as found in the report we are discussing.

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There is a possibility...... that risk is largely unquantified..... emissions of CH4 and CO2 likely can occur on a time scale of a few decades to several centuries if global warming continues......

I read the Hansen quote and I see him recognizing the possibilities and being concerned.  He never flat out says it is going to happen soon. But yes it will likely happen eventually.  Will it happen quicker than the paleo record? I would be yes on the basis that the warming occurring now is very fast so everything else will be too.  Bu that does not mean in 20 years but more like 100+. 

The core issue I cannot escape on this subject is that the CO2 drives the problem and it is also the only part of the problem we can directly attack.  So to me the methane issue is interesting but not the main event.
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

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2013, 08:30:50 AM »
JimD,

Interesting that u too continue to repeat your faith in this low probability, and further propagating this false methane "sideshow" meme. Nothing to see, move along.

But, you cannot make correct conclusions about how to address climate change on just CO2 without accounting for the big picture. In fact, Hansen's whole paper  proves just how foolish this reasoning is.

Ask yourself, did things seem this bad just a few years ago?
Do we really need proof of how much worse it can get?
Is a human hurt by a car crash equally as hurt by that same amount of force applied slowly over an hour or minutes time instead of seconds?

Do I have to remind again that the Arctic will be ice-free long before 2100? This is already resulting in abrupt change changes in weather patterns.

---
On a personal note, I am a Millenial, and for me this is personal. Every single Adult today helping to further propagate the false non-integrative view of the world has blood on their hands. You bet that we and our further descendants will not remember the older adults kindly for the endless "gifts" they leave us.

"Laissez Faire" Science is just as bad as "Laissez Faire" economics, in both cultivating systems that make it ok to cast aside one's humanity. The smell of scientists who have an idolatry of objectiveness can really make one vomit. No doubt a large reason for this trend is the Capitalistic (Fascist) systems running the world today, eager to turn Science into a tool to only serve its needs and shuts up otherwise.

We have every single symptom of an escalating mass-extinction, and scientists like yourself and others still find it appropriate to not be "too alarming". Look at how important it is for u to reply again and again. Stop playing risk with our future like its some stock-market gamble. The higher we raise the temp, the more surprise feedbacks are gonna start kicking in.

Every scientist that isn't communicating that our current trajectory is extinction is doing the public a great disservice of false security. Think of the Earth as a system much as a the human body, and think of how primitive a notion it is to focus on direct local damage to one of its organs without taking into account the disruption to the entire system.

A good analogy is that we as humanity have cancer. Saying "it's gonna be fine" because u did a few basic tests will not make it so. Especially when you haven't even begun treatment.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 09:00:03 AM by TeaPotty »

TerryM

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2013, 10:08:42 AM »
A good analogy is that we as humanity have cancer. Saying "it's gonna be fine" because u did a few basic tests will not make it so. Especially when you haven't even begun treatment.
This is the fact that bothers me most. If CO2 & CH4 were coming down it would be most alarming to find that the time was very short & we might not get things under control soon enough. As it is with emissions increasing every year the greater horror is that this will continue until we've assured the extinction of all sentient life.
Terry

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2013, 12:18:33 PM »
"Especially when you haven't even begun treatment."

And especially when you're still smokin' like a chimney stack, and are suckin' down more cigarettes every day.

But back to the details of this study.

One of my frustrations with this study (and there are many things I am very impressed by in it, too!) was that, even though they acknowledge that sea ice and snow cover are declining rapidly, they don't seem to see any important implications for this much beyond the immediate Arctic area.

It turns out that there is, in fact, much debate going on in the relevant scientific communities over this. We mostly hear from Jennifer Francis, but according to this article (at least), most experts in areas relevant to jetstream dynamics find it hard to see how changes in the Arctic could have enough energy to affect something that is driven by other forces that are so much greater.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/new-study-adds-to-arctic-warming-extreme-weather-debate-16811

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A new study for the first time found links between the rapid loss of snow and sea ice cover in the Arctic and a recent spate of exceptional extreme heat events in North America, Europe, and Asia. The study adds to the evidence showing that the free-fall in summer sea ice extent and even sharper decline in spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reverberating throughout the atmosphere, making extreme events more likely to occur.

The study, published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to find correlations between rapid Arctic warming and extreme summer weather events, since previous research had focused on the links between Arctic warming and fall and winter weather patterns...

There is virtually no controversy among climate scientists and meteorologists that massive changes have occurred in the Arctic environment during the past three decades, and that those changes are largely due to manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
...
It is also widely agreed that the world has seen a spate of extreme heat events in recent years, such as the 2011 Texas heat wave and drought and the deadly 2010 heat wave in Russia, and that global warming made some of these events more likely to occur and more severe.

But scientific consensus breaks down when it comes to the issue of whether Arctic warming is altering weather patterns in the northern midlatitudes, stacking the deck in favor of extreme weather events.

On one side of the issue are some meteorologists and climate scientists who in their studies have found correlations between the vanishing Arctic sea ice and snow cover (collectively known as the cryosphere) and weather patterns that can lead to extreme weather events.

On the other side are other climate scientists and meteorologists who, while convinced that manmade climate change is having profound impacts on the planet, don’t yet see clear physical science evidence showing that Arctic warming is changing the already chaotic nature of weather patterns, and leading to extreme weather events.

James Overland, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said the split in the scientific community is an unusual one.

The skeptics (of the link between Arctic warming and extreme weather events) actually tend to be some of the real top midlatitude dynamics climate scientists,” Overland said in an interview.  “They’re looking at the chaos of the long-wave atmospheric pattern and it’s really hard to see why modest additional forcing in the Arctic can overwhelm all the energy that’s in that chaotic pattern.”

...

The case for a connection between Arctic warming and summertime extreme weather events rests on the Arctic’s crucial role as a pacesetter and shapemaker of the jet stream, the powerful ribbon of upper level winds that steer weather systems from west to east across the Northern Hemisphere...

Because the temperature contrast between the frigid Arctic and the milder mid-latitudes is what drives the powerful jet stream winds that guide weather systems, what happens in the Arctic is bound to have some sort of influence on the world’s weather.

The new study, along with other previously published research, showed that the decline in sea ice and snow cover has slowed the west-to-easterly component of the jet stream, thereby enhancing the north-to-south waviness of the jet, which leads to the creation of more stagnant or “blocked” weather patterns. In addition, the new study found an association between sea ice and snow cover decline and a northward shift in the jet stream, which allows more warm air to move into the U.S. and Europe during the summer.

Paradoxically, other studies, including work by the same team of researchers, has shown that Arctic warming can actually enhance cold weather extremes in the U.S. and Europe during the winter....

But the lack of statistically significant results and, more important, the absence of evidence pointing to a smoking gun — a physical mechanism in the climate system that ties Arctic changes to extreme events — has left many top climate researchers unconvinced that rapid Arctic warming is a major player in causing extreme weather events outside of the Arctic itself.

The result, some of these scientists told Climate Central, is a series of hypotheses that have not yet been fully tested.

“I would have more confidence in the linkage being ‘real’ if there was a well-understood and proven mechanism to support the correlations,” James Screen, a climate researcher at the University of Exeter in the U.K., said in an email. “The arguments presented are plausible, but in my opinion the evidence presented is far from conclusive (to put it mildly)."...

It sounds to me as if changes are happening too rapidly for scientists to figure out what all the mechanisms behind the changes are. It would indeed be nice to know all the physical mechanisms involved here, but just because we don't know them doesn't mean they aren't operating. And I'm guessing that, since these developments are relatively recent, we don't yet have enough years to get statistically significant trend data. But by the time we do, things will likely have really deteriorated for human and much other life.

It all strikes me as showing that the real-time, uncontrolled experiment we are conducting on the climate system of the planet is proceeding too fast and is too complex for scientists to get a handle on.

Then there's this:
Quote
...many of the newest generation of climate models show that atmospheric blocking will become less common in the North Atlantic than it is now...

Exactly counter to what Francis and her team have concluded about what is going on right now! Go figure.

But perhaps help is on the way?

Quote
Overland pointed to the International Arctic Science Committee, which is making this a key focus of its research agenda during the next year...

Judah Cohen, lead seasonal weather forecaster at AER, a weather and climate consulting firm, said the possibility that Arctic climate change is leading to more extreme weather patterns has initiated a flurry of new studies. “I can tell you that I am busier now reviewing journal papers than I have ever been in my career and they are all on sea ice” he said in an email. “I think this will be a dominant area of research and discourse for years to come.”
(Until there's no more to study.  :-\)

Meanwhile, Francis isn't backing down, and I am inclined to agree with her conclusions here, but it's certainly a very complicated picture.

Quote
For her part, Francis is continuing to keep a wary eye on the weather map, convinced that the evidence for Arctic-induced weather extremes will continue to mount.

“As we continue to emit ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and as the Arctic continues to warm faster than mid-latitudes, we will see the case for the linkage strengthen,” Francis said. “I expect that with every year we will see a clearer response of weather patterns in all four seasons, and new modeling experiments will help elucidate the links in the chain, as well.”

Sorry about the long post, but I find this a fascinating glance into the complexities of this kind of science and of some of the tensions and debate within it.



« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 01:21:54 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2013, 03:29:09 PM »
So to me the methane issue is interesting but not the main event.

I think the possibility/probability of a large abrupt methane burst is worth keeping in mind though. We're still waiting on more from Shakhova and Semiletov I think to expand on the reasons they believe this to be possible/likely over decadal timescales - but I don't think the possibility can be dismissed and as per the recent Wadhams paper looking at the economic costs of such a release of methane - it would be a pretty significant event.

There are several such wildcards that nobody can confidently say will or will not happen - but I think enough that there is a reasonable chance at least one or more such event occurs, and if so, potentially rendering a multi-decade future outlook invalid (at the point such an event occurs).

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2013, 03:32:25 PM »
On a personal note, I am a Millenial, and for me this is personal. Every single Adult today helping to further propagate the false non-integrative view of the world has blood on their hands. You bet that we and our further descendants will not remember the older adults kindly for the endless "gifts" they leave us.

Of course we won't - and it isn't just "millennials" who have concerns (depending on where you draw the lines for those odd definitions, I mostly fall just before the "millennial" bracket, though it seems rather arbitrary).

As a person for whom it is assuredly personal - what are you doing about it personally? We can disown and disregard the older generations that thrust this future upon us but that doesn't remove our obligation to make the most of it and do something better for later generations, just as surely as our ancestors should have for us.

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2013, 04:09:36 PM »
Hey ccgwebmaster,

Of course, by Millenial, I meant the first generation who will really have to live with and manage the climate crisis. As opposed to most Adults today, who are confident it won't effect their lives much.

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As a person for whom it is assuredly personal - what are you doing about it personally?

Only in the last year did i start to grasp the gravity of the situation. Sandy was a slap to the face, and effected my family and I personally.

I have begun adapting my lifestyle, learning to think of everything in terms of sustainability. I've also been learning more and more about the Climate Science in detail, and how to better communicate it to others. We need to better communicate this to average ppl, and I feel I am getting better.

Also, my time is not so flexible since I manage a biz, and I have become quite a twitter activist.  ;) Of course, we need a lot more ppl to join us in actual protests. Hopefully the next Occupy will be soon, and I am trying to find how I can best add to the puzzle.


« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 04:36:06 PM by TeaPotty »

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2013, 05:15:51 PM »
Quote
On a personal note, I am a Millenial, and for me this is personal. Every single Adult today helping to further propagate the false non-integrative view of the world has blood on their hands. You bet that we and our further descendants will not remember the older adults kindly for the endless "gifts" they leave us.

Well I certainly have blood on my hands in a number of ways.  But I hardly think what I am saying about the methane issue qualifies.  It has actually been a long time since I did anything really horrible.  However, my standards might differ from yours.

BTW I can assure you that the generations which follow yours will think pretty much the same about yours as you have expressed about the ones who preceded you.  The typical Millennial is not addressing this issue in any meaningful fashion and your generation has much better information to base behavior on than mine did.   I am certain that the witting 15 year olds of today think the lot of you are pretty worthless just like they do about us. 

I think you have either not understood at all what I am trying to communicate here or your emotions are getting the better of you and preventing you from being able to understand an opinion differing from yours.  Where is the logic in assuming that everyone who differs from you has bad intentions or nefarious motives to their work.?  An awful lot of very knowledgeable people hold the position I have been trying to explain.  People who are fully witting of AGW and believe that disaster is overtaking us.  There are good reasons to take the positions they articulate.  As Wili's post shows there is a lot of uncertainty about what is happening among the best experts on the subject.  Mechanisms are still not fully understood and trends are not apparent which would demonstrate that many concerns are valid. 

When the science gives a range of possible outcomes and sets the most likely according to what is known about the physics, the current status and incoming data that is just what it is for that current state of knowledge.  Many people who are concerned about the specific issue being addressed will almost always grab ahold of the high limit of possibilities and automatically assume that is what all decisions should be based upon.  But that is nonsense.  For a host of reasons.  Not that one ignores it.  But grabbing onto the high limit is just as invalid as grabbing onto the low limit as the deniers are oft found to be doing.  I want to reemphasize that the best experts we have on these issues are witting of far more information on these subjects than we are, better able to process it than we are,  and they also share our concerns about the future.  They are hardly all members of the generation that is 65 years old and in fact a number of them are Millennials.  What you have read is their best professional opinion.

Everyone is concerned about the methane issue whether the probability we have a dramatic increase in emissions a 100+ years from now or whether they start in 30 years.  But the focus has to be on carbon emissions for very strong reasons.  This does not mean that methane issues are to be ignored but concerns about them have to be kept in perspective.  Let me state a few points which support my statement.

1.  The data we have in hand and the trends underway regarding AGW and other related issues strongly indicate that the collapse of civilization is highly likely (95%) before the end of this century.

2.  The likely outcome in no. 1 above does not assume that the methane burp is going to happen this century.  Adding in the methane burp does not change the probability in no. 1 by a significant amount.

3.  Examining the methane emission sources and current and highly likely human activities for the next 30-40 years indicates that there is no probably human behavior change that will significantly change the methane emission numbers.  On top of that the most critical methane emission issue (from the arctic land and ocean areas) cannot be managed in any way what-so-ever.  In sum, we have no ability to effect the methane emission numbers.  Not being able to do anything about them and ignoring them are different things.

4.  Carbon emissions are the prime driver of the warming climate. Those emissions are causal to the methane emissions.  Address the carbon emissions and you are automatically addressing the methane emissions.  Carbon emissions are the direct result of human actions which can theoretically be changed.  If we lower carbon emissions then we can stop heating the climate and perhaps even cool it back down.  If we do these things then we lessen the risk of the methane issue happening.  So we work at maximum effort on the carbon emissions as that is the only route to having any chance of success (which is highly unlikely at this point as we already pointed out).

The above is the basic reasoning.  We are so far into this crises that we have long passed most  of the alternate pathways which could have led to workable solutions.  Carbon emission reductions seem to be the only avenue left to us other than global genocide. I advocate the former, I expect the latter.
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

Bruce Steele

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2013, 05:24:00 PM »
Scientists warn about Abrupt climate impacts.I am not a scientist but I have  been doing my share of warning. At a local viewing of a  movie promoting fracking attended by a bunch of fracking farmers ( there was a discussion at the end) I stood up my acidification message, the weather issues associated with the melting arctic, potential food problems ahead and I was booed out of the theater. These crackers can really get a burr under their blanket, piss 'em off intentionally. There are plenty of them old enough that their hearts literally can't take the pressure. Give them no quarter. Maybe show up at the local grange, or Nascar, or the gunshow and let them know what you think. Freedom of religion should take a beating as far as I am concerned. Walls gotta fall. I am not promoting " picking up bricks " , I am willing to question keeping the peace if keeping the peace means we walk off the cliff singing cum by ya. You can go home after you pissed a few of 'em off with a smirk on your face, and maybe a knot on your head.
 I have also kindly, if persistently , told audiences with more open minds what I think the science is saying. Within this group exists more acceptance , depression, and passivity.
 These two sides need to meet with all the passion this issue deserves . Maybe a gladiatorial arena with the climate warriors verses the frackers.  Some proxy (staged) for the T.V.  Something to let the vast viewing audience feel our pain.  The earths pain , the pain of species lost, we need a little pain for sharing.
This will probably get me in trouble 
 
 
   

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2013, 06:08:27 PM »
Thanks to all for a good discussion on the article I posted at the head of this thread and this issues that relate to it.

Jim wrote: "the most critical methane emission issue (from the arctic land and ocean areas) cannot be managed in any way what-so-ever.  In sum, we have no ability to effect the methane emission numbers."

I think you have hit on the reason why some, at least, feel the need to so vociferously downplay the likelihood of these events.

But let us suppose, as many have concluded, that a major, catastrophic methane eruption is not likely in the short term.

I was once bit by a brown recluse spider. My medical friend looked up the prognosis in one of her books. The end of the section on bites from this spider was, "death is not a likely outcome."

That phrase got me to the emergency room in no time.

I feel the same way about this (and other) relatively-low-level-of-likelihood but potentially-lethal-level-of-impact issues. They should rivet all of our minds powerfully on the fact that we have to get right away to the 'emergency' room. It's a global freakin' emergency situation. Delay in rapidly powering down to zero emissions will only make the now (perhaps) "unlikely" become more and more likely.

On a related note:

US Navy predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2016:

Is conventional modelling out of pace with speed and abruptness of global warming?


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/09/us-navy-arctic-sea-ice-2016-melt

(Thanks to COBob at CP for this link.)

The question in the subtitle is really the one at issue here. Denialists have long stressed that there is uncertainty in scientific models and projections. This is of course true. But they always assumed (or implied) that the uncertainty was mostly on the side of overstatement, which was almost never true. It is the uncertainties about when and if major catastrophes may hit that would threaten our very existence that we should be most worried about. It is interesting to note that a number of qualified people consider the sudden massive methane release to be a particularly unlikely catastrophe.

But the fact that equally (at least) qualified scientists, scientists that have spent the most time most intimately with the relevant area and research, are not convinced that there could not be a relatively sudden massive release should at least give us pause. At least lead us to conclude that there could be a bit of uncertainty even in the estimates of certainty we have in this instance.

Again, (and back to the article I post here), ALL models--every single one cited by the '07 IPCC report--got the rate of sea ice loss wrong. And they didn't get it wrong by a few years. They got it wrong by decades to centuries.

These are models prognosticating on things that are mostly very visible, relatively easy to study and measure, subject to ultimately very basic physics--the melting of ice...

Yet every singly model got this wildly wrong.

Should we be more confident when, in the absence of any real, complex modeling, we now have conflicting prognoses from top experts in the field?

And when the area being discussed can not be easily observed and measured?

And when there is in fact a dearth of accurate historic and current measurements?

And when the processes involved are even more complicated than ice melt, involving geology, biology, chemistry, as well as physics, oceanography, potamology...?

And when actual methane has actually been measured coming from the actual area, apparently at greatly increased and presumably accelerating rates from the area?

(Sorry about the rhetorical tropes--I was just teaching anaphora in a writing class. ::))

In any case, whatever the eventual fate of this particular threat, I hope we can all agree with the general assessment by this expert, on the dynamics and likely consequence of them underway in the Arctic:

Quote
Last year Prof Duarte was lead author of a paper in the Royal Swedish Academy of Science's journal AMBIO warning that the Arctic was at risk of passing critical "tipping points" that could lead to a cascading "domino effect once the summer sea ice is lost." Prof Duarte said at the time:

    "If set in motion, they can generate profound climate change which places the Arctic not at the periphery but at the core of the Earth system. There is evidence that these forces are starting to be set in motion. This has major consequences for the future of human kind as climate change progresses."



"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2013, 06:50:48 PM »
Wili, Just feeling edgy lately , maybe it's just the bills but didn't JimD post one on "picking up bricks" a couple days ago? I have spent enough time in meetings and the edges of acedemia to realize everyones protecting their jobs.  When you're at an ocean acidification meeting you don't hear scientists standing up and saying this is an extinction event. Everything is guarded, reputations at risk, etc. Maybe the whole system that demands our civility isn't up to the task. Maybe a little emotion would serve science , considering the circumstance. The system abhors emotion.
 From an intellectual level I would support JimD's defending the " science " and scientists but everyone on this site would agree, I think, that the science isn't delivering politically. That pisses me off.
 No need to reply, just venting... Not an intellectual pursuit.
   

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2013, 07:09:47 PM »
Well put, Bruce. "everyones protecting their jobs" Good point to keep in mind. People can think and speculate about all sorts of things. But mostly, most of us are just getting up and going to our jobs every day, and anything that threatens that seems more real and immediate than the big threats crashing  down on us, but that don't somehow feel as immediate or personal.

Now get back to paying those bills! >:(
 ;D
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2013, 08:07:51 PM »
Scientists warn about Abrupt climate impacts.I am not a scientist but I have  been doing my share of warning. At a local viewing of a  movie promoting fracking attended by a bunch of fracking farmers ( there was a discussion at the end) I stood up my acidification message, the weather issues associated with the melting arctic, potential food problems ahead and I was booed out of the theater. These crackers can really get a burr under their blanket, piss 'em off intentionally.

Now that takes a certain bravery, to stand up in front of hostile peers.

It's also a worthwhile corollary to what JimD and TeaPotty said - this isn't really precisely an intergenerational matter in the sense that while past/older generations did indeed take us to this point - the rate of enlightenment in both old and young generations is sorely lacking.

One cannot generalise too much about other generations without noting that some members of those generations nonetheless stand out in a favourable light - and certainly my experience has been precious few people my age or younger give these issues much thought. Many of us know we are screwed and going to suffer badly - yes. Very few of us are willing to confront or engage with that, instead tending to prefer to focus on short term pleasures and the nearest future.

By being passive victims we are only sealing our fate and accepting complicity in it in precisely the same way most older people did - by meekly gliding along the ride on tracks ordained for us by society. We need to be prepared to break the system and defy it, if we are to honour our responsibility - and to hold any sort of moral high ground (this applies to young and old). I'm not inclined to criticise anyone who is willing to stand up and take the buck nobody wants to stop with them (young or old).

sidd

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2013, 03:35:09 AM »
Re: OH- depletion

I believe i raised this question at realclimate once, and David Archer was kind enuf to reply that there was a nitrogen pathway replenishing OH--

sidd

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2013, 04:05:24 PM »
Thanks sidd.

I was trying to figure out where I had learned that and now I remember it was your post and the reply.
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

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2013, 04:34:44 PM »
Hey JimD,

Well I certainly have blood on my hands in a number of ways.  But I hardly think what I am saying about the methane issue qualifies.  It has actually been a long time since I did anything really horrible.  However, my standards might differ from yours.

Must be. I wouldn't dare approve of playing risk with the planet and human livelihood like that. In fact, given proper understanding, most people wouldn't either. It is arrogant to think we understand the Earth's engineering that well.

I think you have either not understood at all what I am trying to communicate here or your emotions are getting the better of you and preventing you from being able to understand an opinion differing from yours.
No JimD, quite the opposite. Anyone opposing radical climate action, anyone who doesn't understand we are galloping towards extinction - they are the ones blindsided by their emotions and beliefs.

An awful lot of very knowledgeable people hold the position I have been trying to explain.  People who are fully witting of AGW and believe that disaster is overtaking us.  There are good reasons to take the positions they articulate.  As Wili's post shows there is a lot of uncertainty about what is happening among the best experts on the subject.  Mechanisms are still not fully understood and trends are not apparent which would demonstrate that many concerns are valid. 

Good point. Usually, I would agree with you in other fields of Science. But I am afraid Climate Science is still in a sort of infancy. We focus on how much carbon we can still emit, what max temperature we want to reach, CO2 levels etc,  instead of how do we sustain our civilization.

Earth, and more correctly our ecological habitat, has existed in a state of relatively balanced climate over a period that allowed us to develop and thrive. Like any integrated system, unbalancing can cause abrupt system-wide effects.

Again, think of the human body or even a computer. Why don't we talk about the planet in the same language of balance? This is our home. What is the tolerance for imbalance in the system before effects start to cascade? We understand this phenomena well with people who are sick and how all the body's systems are effected, and possible even collapse.

So when Scientists told political leaders that its "ok" to reach 2C, knowing full well of catastrophic consequences, then I stopped respecting that group of Scientists, who i now call "Skeptics" (not deniers). Their conservative and primitive view of the planet told them its "ok", that the Arctic wont melt till 2100, that it will warm slower than it has, that climate sensitivity would be much lower, that sea-level rise would be much slower, etc.

We have corporations today who have their own "Scientists" who are experts at creating papers that show what the corps want. Interestingly, in many ways Skeptics are motivated by their beliefs as well, which lead them to bad conclusions. Those conclusions were used to justify our current path. This is a problem in Science that "idolatry of objectiveness" will not solve, and this approach will definitely not save our future; always reacting and not thinking ahead.

Many people who are concerned about the specific issue being addressed will almost always grab ahold of the high limit of possibilities and automatically assume that is what all decisions should be based upon.  But that is nonsense.  For a host of reasons.  Not that one ignores it.  But grabbing onto the high limit is just as invalid as grabbing onto the low limit as the deniers are oft found to be doing.

Thats exactly what i described above as the wrong approach by Climate Skeptics. Or, in short:
1) Inability to imagine more complex integrated systems than in curr data
2) Inability to admit warming is happening faster than anticipated
3) Inability to admit that curr path is extinction
4) Allowing Science to be used to justify destroying our planet

The core issue I cannot escape on this subject is that the CO2 drives the problem and it is also the only part of the problem we can directly attack.  So to me the methane issue is interesting but not the main event
Everyone is concerned about the methane issue whether the probability we have a dramatic increase in emissions a 100+ years from now or whether they start in 30 years.  But the focus has to be on carbon emissions for very strong reasons.  This does not mean that methane issues are to be ignored but concerns about them have to be kept in perspective.

Sounds to me like you are quite confused JimD. There's plenty to be done about methane, and we need much more research, now. And again, methane must be considered among other feedbacks that intensify/magnify warming otherwise only from CO2.

1.  The data we have in hand and the trends underway regarding AGW and other related issues strongly indicate that the collapse of civilization is highly likely (95%) before the end of this century.

2.  The likely outcome in no. 1 above does not assume that the methane burp is going to happen this century.  Adding in the methane burp does not change the probability in no. 1 by a significant amount.

3.  Examining the methane emission sources and current and highly likely human activities for the next 30-40 years indicates that there is no probably human behavior change that will significantly change the methane emission numbers.  On top of that the most critical methane emission issue (from the arctic land and ocean areas) cannot be managed in any way what-so-ever.  In sum, we have no ability to effect the methane emission numbers.  Not being able to do anything about them and ignoring them are different things.
Just, LOL. What unscientific nonsense and hubris. Keep using data that reiterates what u believe.

4.  Carbon emissions are the prime driver of the warming climate. Those emissions are causal to the methane emissions.  Address the carbon emissions and you are automatically addressing the methane emissions.  Carbon emissions are the direct result of human actions which can theoretically be changed.  If we lower carbon emissions then we can stop heating the climate and perhaps even cool it back down.  If we do these things then we lessen the risk of the methane issue happening.  So we work at maximum effort on the carbon emissions as that is the only route to having any chance of success (which is highly unlikely at this point as we already pointed out).

The above is the basic reasoning.  We are so far into this crises that we have long passed most  of the alternate pathways which could have led to workable solutions.  Carbon emission reductions seem to be the only avenue left to us other than global genocide. I advocate the former, I expect the latter.

Now you finally make sense. So why do you and other scientists waste so much time downplaying "alarmists" and care so much to appear "moderate"? How can a Scientist go to work every day, fully aware of our march toward extinction, and not be moved humanly to take more social action? Its easy just to tell ppl:
"Hi, I am a climate scientist. You should know that unless we take radical climate action, your grandchildren will likely die. Have a nice day."

Personally, I will not have my head in the sand just to brandish objectivity. We will pass 2C, and 3C. The mainstream Scientists who aren't convinced yet will have a lot of soul-searching to do soon, as the values they held their whole lives are wrong and led them to bad Science. I can only hope that enough symptoms will show up sooner to sufficiently motivate the public and politics to avoid 4C before the 2060s-2070s. And as we know 4C is "incompatible with organized civilization". Sadly, also likely that economic depressions, resource conflict, and big natural catastrophes will also cause some mitigation.

Of course, lack of balance is a bigger part of whats wrong in our current society that has led to where we are. This extends to economic inequality, our food, hyper-consumerism, etc. (Thank you Baby Boomers for your love of blind centrism). This is why real change must be radical, social, and done consciously. If we don't exit our virus-like behavior, then we don't have a right to exist it seems. Man is not the champion of nature, at least not at it current rate of technological development.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 05:23:53 PM by TeaPotty »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2013, 06:44:40 PM »
real change must be radical, social, and done consciously.

Absolutely and this is why it is so difficult.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2013, 06:59:41 PM »
Teapotty,  I tried to back up your radicalism upthread ( your avatar is a riot btw ) but somehow your critique of JimD seems a bit like friendly fire.
 There is nothing that is going to keep all that methane under the tundra( or shallow seas ) if we lose the arctic sea ice for a substantial portion of the year. It may come at a measured pace but stopping it once the ice goes away is impossible. I have heard impossible enough times when explaining to people we need to wean ourselves from all fossil fuel use. But there it is ,40-50years, none or the planet takes a bullet. 
 Once upon a time there was the opinion that Hubert's peak, or peak oil , would slow down or reverse our emissions trajectory. I for one hoped civilization would simply run out of steam. Doesn't look that way these days. We are headed to radical solutions , JimD knows and posts regularly on potential breaking points. He is about as radical as us old farts get.
 If a majority of the consumers( humanlike forms ) simply walked away and quit their T.V's, cars, forced air heating, supermarkets, house payments and every other material comfort , the system would crash. Good for the planet but probably tough on the volunteers. That's about it from my list of nonviolent options, something like a long fast.  What do you have in mind?
 Truth is I have no idea how to transition. I have tried to think about how I might help create an option for the smaller number of humans who do end up in the post crash world , solar powered farms etc


I have just harvested my first picking from a crop grown using exclusively an electric tiller. 6 cases mini romaine lettuce ( about 200 heads ) . The freeze didn't do to much damage so
I have 
several plantings now in ...all electric. I am putting my greenhouse into a spring tomato crop, I

am going to do all the prep work , soil tilling and seed bed work with the tillie. Last year I got
40 lbs. average production per plant for about 2800 lbs on 70 plants. 
There are now solar panels from the electric tiller manufacture so soon I will be producing thousands of pounds of vegetables using solar power for powering my tiller.
 We are starting a farmers market in town. If we can get people to walk or bike to the market
maybe it will save fuel miles.
 
I have no idea how to make low carbon economically viable. Even sustained poverty would be difficult. When it all comes down I will likely lose my little farm. I hope I have made some sort of complete system that is some use to someone a couple three generation out. Our society cannot maintain for long and on that I am sure JimD would agree.   

     

Shared Humanity

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2013, 07:16:30 PM »
If a majority of the consumers( humanlike forms ) simply walked away and quit their T.V's, cars, forced air heating, supermarkets, house payments and every other material comfort , the system would crash. Good for the planet but probably tough on the volunteers. That's about it from my list of nonviolent options, something like a long fast.  What do you have in mind?
Truth is I have no idea how to transition.
 
I have no idea how to make low carbon economically viable. Even sustained poverty would be difficult.

   

The system is going to crash regardless. Our choice is to rush unconsciously headlong into a crash that includes a high likelihood of triggering mass extinction (pockets of humankind will survive) and its associated violence or to consciously make choices that trigger an orderly collapse of this growth system with an intentional effort to create a system to replace it.

We should choose the latter.

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2013, 07:54:22 PM »
Hey Bruce Steele,

Teapotty,  I tried to back up your radicalism upthread ( your avatar is a riot btw ) but somehow your critique of JimD seems a bit like friendly fire.

  ...We are headed to radical solutions , JimD knows and posts regularly on potential breaking points. He is about as radical as us old farts get.
 

Yes, thanks for backing me up. I also understand your objections, but the time for being nice about this is over.

Let me try to focus my critique on 2 points:
1) Mainstream scientists are still playing the "Alarmist" vs "Objective" game, passionately denouncing "alarmist" possibilities, instead of focusing on getting the message out that we must act urgently.

When there is a fire that has the potential to spread, do u focus on getting radical action to mitigate it, or do u start arguing about how bad its going to get? Unfortunately, there is a lot of hubris and money here involved. Denialists frequently take advantage of this.

2) Science is a tool, and once that modern capitalist hyper-consumerism systems have corrupted. Has it not sunk in yet what Naomi Klein has spoken about, how the Greens greenwashed all the corporate pollution of the past 20 years?

Instead of revolting, Scientists played nice. Even as the Arctic is in emergency beyond anything they dreamed of, we still see no sign of vulnerability from Scientists, no willingness to admit that they/we are above our heads, and that we were so wrong before, that we are likely to be so catastrophically wrong again.

Neven posted a great article about Albert A. Bartlett, with the quote:

Quote
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."
http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/11/in-memoriam-albert-a-bartlett.html

As for JimD, I think he is a bit confused between the ultra-individualistic values of the generation he grew up in, and the deeply integrated reality he sees unfolding before him. My critique is more to do with the way we are behaving as groups rather than individuals, and he is repeating the behavior and words of other Scientists whom he sees as "reasonable".

But we have many many such "reasonable" scientists, who still think 4C is a "mid-range" estimate for 2100, who think current extreme weather isn't climate-change related, who think "endless economic growth" can go on, and who think we still have plenty of time to decarbonize by 2050 and sing Kumbaya - and they brandish those foolish opinions in the name of Science.

How do u explain to someone that they don't understand something they don't understand? Without approval for funding in the right places of course, then u don't even have the data to prove it to them. You cannot separate the wrong values that got us here from the ugly crude Science published to justify it.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 08:23:28 PM by TeaPotty »

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2013, 08:52:35 PM »
As for JimD, I think he is a bit confused between the ultra-individualistic values of the generation he grew up in, and the deeply integrated reality he sees unfolding before him. My critique is more to do with the way we are behaving as groups rather than individuals, and he is repeating the behavior and words of other Scientists whom he sees as "reasonable".

I'm a little confused, maybe I haven't paid enough attention, but I generally have got the impression from JimD's posts that he was basically describing reality - not advocating adherence to business as usual or a particularly moderate mainstream view or anything (even if I do take a different view on rate of collapse). Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, I've read plenty of informative and relevant posts he's written about various factors pushing us on a collapse trajectory and describing the probable inevitability of this in the context of established human behaviour patterns. Some might describe the outlook as a little fatalist in the sense that it doesn't really express much hope that some magical change might occur in said human behaviours - but personally I think it's realistic.

For someone from his nation and age group, that's pretty sharp stuff - very controversial, liable to ridicule from peers, etc. You don't adopt those views by following the mainstream.

For the amount of time since you've taken a strong interest in these things (since Sandy if memory serves), I think you have a good grasp of various things - but yet I also think some of us have been reading around and learning about these topics for a good deal longer (and plenty no doubt much longer than me, starting in 2007 as I did).

I personally am not particularly interested in rhetoric or what people have to say, in the sense that words are empty tokens beyond the information value they may or may not convey. What I think counts for people of our age (the younger end) and what should count for all people (of any age) is action. Action that is hopefully as well informed and intelligent and focussed as possible - and pertinent to the oncoming challenges we expect in the coming years and decades (and none of us can know the precise timescale).

And that is why I asked what you were doing about it all. In the end of the day, that is what counts - for our generation above all others - as we must live through the transition and collapse and what we do will count the most in that respect (not that we wouldn't welcome any and all help from older generations).

With the wider sense of science - if you look at the mainstream, including the IPCC - I think yes - it seems disappointing. However - if you dig into the topic a bit more, you will find plenty of stuff that seems far more on track and relevant. I think there are plenty of scientists out there who are certainly not advocating 2C or that we are within safe limits - and more as time passes. Mainstream science may be playing catch up (as most of us still are) but specialists in certain fields seem pretty on point so far...

Shared Humanity

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2013, 09:00:03 PM »
I also believe that JimD is on the right side and he frequently depresses me with the gloomy, although accurate in my estimation, forecasts for the future.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2013, 09:59:08 PM »
We have some time with JimD, hours or days if you read all the links. So we stand with him.
 TeaPotty does have some valid complaints about science but from my experience scientists are plenty willing to offer good advise if you're willing to go on the point politically. I have greatest respect for close friends( scientists ) that avoid politics like the plague. If you've ever had to deal with politically motivated scientists promoting politically correct science with funding being a prime driver well you've walked in my shoes. I shouldn't bring up sea otters but if you didn't like them wiping out 90% of the virgin biomass of dozens of species you might not understand. Politics
 Anger may be a powerful motivator he just isn't a good consultant.

 I have been wondering why the right wing gets to use violence, our war department , our legal system( or crowded jails more specifically ) violently supported imperialism, the intimidation of the security apparatus, corporations as people other than no death penalty. Just wondering. We are allowing the opposition to intimidate us, and that is just where they want us. I would be careful however in testing their venom without a good snakebite kit.
   

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2013, 10:06:05 PM »
Then I have mistakenly grouped JimD with other skeptics (not deniers) for his strong rejection of methane feedback.

Still my point still stands that rejection of "alarmist" ideas is still very much a fashion trend in mainstream Climate Science, and the there is still a fundamental lack of capacity to grasp just how wrong they were in their overly-conservative and unimaginative forecasts and projections; projections based on belief systems effecting judgement, and using that to destroy the planet. A nice bit of money for them too. If the fossil-fuel companies are the babies, then mainstream scientists are the parent who led it here hand-in-hand.

I am not without hope though. I think we are finally starting to prepare for action. Awareness is growing both to climate change, as well as the global corporate systems choking everyone slowly in its iron grip of Austerity. My hope is that all the pressures on society will cause mass mobilisation against this repressive regime. Eventually, and hopefully in time to avoid 4C.

I'd also like to note the respect I have for many of the posters here, which I learn a lot from. And yes, up until Sandy I was mostly trying to start my life, and placed my hope in mainstream scientists' confidence in their 2C projections. The more I learn about the Science that led us here, the more I grow disgusted - bc it wasn't really Science, it was faith.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 10:18:45 PM by TeaPotty »

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2013, 10:16:01 PM »
I have been wondering why the right wing gets to use violence, our war department , our legal system( or crowded jails more specifically ) violently supported imperialism, the intimidation of the security apparatus, corporations as people other than no death penalty. Just wondering. We are allowing the opposition to intimidate us, and that is just where they want us. I would be careful however in testing their venom without a good snakebite kit.

Exactly. The right-wingers have learned how to paralyze the system to get the results they want. Scientists need to wake up and start yelling. Why are ppl like Michael Mann such outliers? So many objectivity idolaters never hesitate to criticize him... What corporate lackeys. Why are so many Scientists so chummy with ppl like Andy Revkin, whose NewTorkTimes' blog is all about climate and how natural gas is a "wonderful bridge" fuel?


ritter

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2013, 10:32:28 PM »
I'd also like to note the respect I have for many of the posters here, which I learn a lot from. And yes, up until Sandy I was mostly trying to start my life, and placed my hope in mainstream scientists' confidence in their 2C projections. The more I learn about the Science that led us here, the more I grow disgusted - bc it wasn't really Science, it was faith.
Tea,

Many scientists do not agree and did not agree with 2C being good for our health--that was political (in)action. A line in the sand, really.

I believe we are seeing, and will be seeing, more and more scientists sounding the alarms. Christ, the head of the conservative IPCC (Rajendra Pachauri) was quoted "we have five minutes before midnight" with regard to the state of the climate. The problem isn't that there aren't scientists sounding alarm bells. The problem is that no one is listening.

I understand your desire for action. I share it. My question to you is: what action can we take at this stage in the game that does not end in a significant depopulation? I'm frankly coming up short on answers.


wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2013, 12:33:57 AM »
"I am not without hope though."

I have to admit that I pretty much am.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2013, 01:02:00 AM »
Tea Potty

You are pretty new to this forum and clearly also to spending a lot of time on these subjects.  You have misinterpreted almost everything I wrote and made innumerable bad assumptions.  Go and read a few hundred of my posts here and then come back and tell me what you think my opinion on all this is and the positions I take and why.  If you are still confused I will fill you in.

I applaud your enthusiasm and urge you to take action as you want others to do.  It is our only chance.  And it must start now (or should have years ago).  I would recommend eliminating about 3 billion people and obliterating the capitalist economies of the rich countries to start with, but hey pick your poison and have at it.  And I am not joking.

You get all excited, because I tell you why your approach on methane will not work and that efforts need to go elsewhere, and decide that I am against radical action and not focused on a last ditch effort to stop this train wreck.  It is BECAUSE I am in favor of radical action that I tried to inform you on why your focus on methane is misplaced.  Let me try one more time on the methane issue as you are just incorrect on that matter.

Methane is derivative of carbon emissions.  This is fact.  Carbon emissions are by far the primary cause of the warming climate.  As the climate warms the rising temperature will trigger increasing methane emissions from the Arctic.  By far the quickest way to reverse the trend of rising temperatures is to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.   

It is a certainty that there is no direct action which we can take to stop methane emissions from the tundra or from under the sea.  We just do not have an ability to stop those emissions in any way.  Methane emissions are best attacked by the direct action of attacking the carbon emissions.  This is because almost all of the human caused methane sources are the direct result of activities which are part and parcel of the fossil fuel endless growth economy.  Kill the use of fossil fuels and you kill most of those methane sources as a by-product. 

In the US 97% of the sources of methane emissions are accounted for by the following activities:  Petroleum/natural gas production/systems 30%, coal mining 11%, landfill emissions 17%, manure management 9%, waste water treatment 3%, enteric fermentation 23%. 

So 41% of the methane emissions derive from our fossil fuel industry.  The false wealth provided by fossil fuels allows for CAFO operations and the demand for vast amounts of meat consumption and that accounts for 31%.  Excessive population derives from access to fossil fuels and population drives the other 20%. 

Other places in the world will have a slightly different mix of percentages but the story is pretty much the same.

If we REALLY want to fix the climate we have to get rid of most of the people because as long as they are around you have to try and feed them and build cities for them and so on and so on.  They will insist on having houses and cities and jobs and consuming things, etc.  They will refuse to live at a subsistence level.  Vast carbon emissions are inevitable and that will drive the temperatures and then methane emissions.  Even at vastly reduced lifestyles those 9 billion people we are heading toward will cause levels of carbon emissions sufficient to destroy us all.  Those people only exist because of the use of fossil fuels.  Population is the absolute driver of carbon emissions and absent fossil fuels population will plummet.  This would reduce carbon emissions by vast amounts and result in much lower methane emissions.  Kill the use of fossil fuels.  Get rid of most of the people and the problem is half solved. Half.

Will that be enough to stabilize the climate.  Probably not, but we should take the shot while it is available to us as it will not come again.  With far fewer people however it will give our descendants a fighting chance.

Do we have the courage to do this.  Not a chance.  So we will go with BAU for now and evolve to BAU-Green and let population grow, the climate heat, eventually we will not be able to feed everyone and collapse will come and start the process of getting rid of the excess people.  But it will be too little too late.  And then the methane emissions will finish the job.     

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

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #44 on: December 12, 2013, 01:25:42 AM »
By far the quickest way to reverse the trend of rising temperatures is to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.   

Just to be pedantic but actually I think the quickest initial step is to cut manmade methane - the short half life in the atmosphere means you can take away that chunk of the forcing far more rapidly than you can with carbon dioxide with it's committed effect for decades even if cut to nil immediately. One would then need to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions (including with respect to land use change, not just fossil fuels) and try to pull some back out of the atmosphere to avoid catastrophe.

There is no more sign of it happening now than there was 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. years ago though. Plus that alone wouldn't address the other components of the tangled ball of problems we have - it would be a necessary component of an overall answer though.

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #45 on: December 12, 2013, 04:18:30 AM »
Quote
   following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years

http://news.rutgers.edu/research-news/new-finding-shows-climate-change-can-happen-geological-instant/20131003#.UqjiXRZD3tU

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ritter

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #46 on: December 12, 2013, 04:24:41 AM »
Quote
   following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years

http://news.rutgers.edu/research-news/new-finding-shows-climate-change-can-happen-geological-instant/20131003#.UqjiXRZD3tU
Well shit. I hope they are wrong.

TeaPotty

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #47 on: December 12, 2013, 04:28:46 AM »
Hey JimD,

Now I better understand your position. I agree with most of your last post, except I am not sure what max population is sustainable if they work in cooperation.

Further, it appears we are now entering a full global economic depression. This may yet give us opportunities. We must connect Science with the public good once again, so that when economic protests begin, that Scientists can lead the public against the common enemy: the fossil fuel corps and their 1% friends.

True, many scientists distance themselves from messy politics and adopt a romantic idolatry of objectivity, with a bit of Laissez-Faire vanity to feel good about themselves. Just let Politics work itself out, right?

This ridiculous idea comes from some idealist nonsense, as if Politics actually work. As if Scientists haven't been inspirational public leaders in the past, helping us pave the way to a better future.

Also, I think you also misunderstood my "approach" or focus on methane. I am merely suggesting the wild idea that we include its forcing in climate models and forecasts, among all the other feedbacks (that the mainstream is ignoring) . Not to mention, that I am sick of hearing all the downplay of any potential feedbacks by any scientists. I think these conclusions are based on confidence in their own personal beliefs, rather than confidence in their data and our security.

Further is this assessing culture of risk-measuring (risk-taking) is straight out of the Capitalist orthodoxy, which I am embarrassed to see in the IPCC report. In fact, the entire IPCC report is greenwashing magic at this point, with such delicate language used so as to not upset our dear overlords.

The 2013 IPCC report will be used for years to come as a beating stick against pressures for radical change. After all, our supposedly "best" information tells us we have plenty of time for debate, kumbayas, and mitigation sometime by 2050.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 04:38:04 AM by TeaPotty »

wili

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #48 on: December 12, 2013, 06:08:10 AM »
sorry, in  a musical mood tonight:

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

domen_

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Re: Scientists Warn about Abrupt Climate Impacts
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2013, 07:26:08 PM »
JimD, aren't you a bit overemphasizing population? Most of people on planet don't emit much. 20% of the people emits 80% of excess GHGs (quoting Kevin Anderson from Tyndall Center). Overconsumption by rich is main driver of emissions.