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Messages - wdmn

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Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: March 28, 2020, 06:50:45 AM »
In lieu of Juan:

[ADS NIPR VISHOP (JAXA)] Arctic Sea Ice Extent.

March 27th, 2020:
     13,579,397 km2, a drop of -52,667 km2.
     2020 is the 2nd lowest on record (behind 2017: 13,542,425 km2).

The rest / Re: The off topic off topic thread
« on: March 06, 2020, 07:39:47 AM »

I agree that living frugally is something we should all do. Bikes are better than cars when traveling short distances, etc.

But, in 1970 annual CO2 emissions from Europe were higher than they are currently, as were emissions per capita.

Global emissions per capita have mostly been flat, but world population has increased by over 5 billion since 1950 and 4.8 billion since 1970.

Growing population means your piece of the pie gets smaller and smaller.

March 3rd, 2020 NH snow and ice extent anomalies:
Ice:  -233,268 km^2
Snow:  -2,734,452 km^2
Total:  -2,967,720 km^2

More warm weather in North America and Eurasia on the way...

What are these numbers in relation to? What is the baseline?


The average time for peak ice on the Great Lakes is here, and cover continues to be exceptionally low. Extent for February 24th is the 4th lowest on record (back to 1973), behind 2012 (4.56%), 1998 (6.2%), 2002 (6.4%). It is only the fourth time that extent has been below 10% for this date.

February 24th
2010-2019 avg: 37.34
2018: 50.5%
2019: 57.2%
2020: 9.0%

While Lake Superior tends to peak during the first week of March, and some growth in extent is expected over the next week, Lake Erie's maximum extent is usually reached around the 18th of February. These two lakes currently show the largest divergence from the mean.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 24, 2020, 12:17:57 AM »

Since you have taught this at college, please enrich the discussion by raising it above the sophomoric rather than calling the arguments sophistic.


You seem to have a very low opinion of the ability of other people to think.

"Science: enrichment and impoverishment. One particular method elbows all the others aside. They all seem paltry by comparison, preliminary stages at best. You must go right down to the original sources so as to see them all side by side, both the neglected and the preferred (CV 61)."

That is a quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, and someone who has influenced me tremendously. Do you really think that the great philosophers are idiots? Philosophers have been undermining the "normal" and the "standard" for 2.5 thousand years!

A fundamental part of this thread is the point that our reasoning relies on unconscious presuppositions, and that they could be thought of as a kind of mythology that is inherited; i.e. we always reason within a system. As Hegel says, the unconscious attitudes that are part of these "normals" come to consciousness over time. That is the work of philosophy!

Calling fathers "unnatural" is clearly a moral judgment. Monogamous fathers are part of "living nature;" we find them in all sorts of animal species, including cranes, which are ancient. Do you now see how you've slid between using 'natural' in one way, and 'natural' as a moral category? You could probably present a compelling argument that monogamy is immoral through a consequentialist ethics. Similarly you could do the same with many of the practices of our current civilization. But you have not even made an attempt to present your reasons in this form. All you do is insult your interlocutors, assuming that they are unable to grasp something that you yourself are unable to articulate. When pressed to make yourself more clear, you lash out, calling us wetiko, and saying we just don't get it (without addressing the arguments that we've presented). It's tiresome. I will respect your views and accept that I am likely wrong in a million ways, but I will not grant you correctness before you've even been able to state clearly what you mean.

Antarctica / Re: Antarctic Ice Sheet
« on: February 22, 2020, 06:58:40 AM »
The longest tongue: Drygalski Ice Tongue

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 22, 2020, 12:25:52 AM »

Thank you for the interesting link. Just to make myself clear, nowhere did I suggest that nothing could be learned from hunter gather societies. Unfortunately nanning's solution -- a "natural" world where we don't live in communities unless we know everyone else in that community -- means the death of ~7.5 billion people.

@ nanning
"Humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don't fit their worldview" is a biological way of stating what I've been stating in various ways through this thread, and which you somehow are unable to see might also apply to you. I.e. there are unconscious attitudes that accompany our ideas, and unconscious presuppositions that our conscious ideas rest on. I have been asking people to consider their own, including you and make them fully conscious by answering questions and thinking about the logical problems that arise...

Are you also hardwired in this way nanning?

As for me, please tell me which facts you think that I am dismissing? So far our conversation has been conceptual. I've used a few empirical facts (about how virus' replicate, etc) but which facts have you presented that you feel I have dismissed due to a hardwired bias?

Interesting that you say that, as I've linked to works from two well known and influential philosophers, while referring to the work of one of the most important philosophers in the western tradition. I have also drawn on arguments from a book of philosophy on the subject, and these are topics that you will find in any philosophy of ecology text.

You seem to have completely misunderstood the ideas I've presented (both my own and those of others). No one is saying that "all is well and good in the world." Where did I say that? In fact, all it does is repeat your own attitude back to you: you've conflated "natural" as the non-human with "natural" as a moral concept. You're then assuming that the move of renaturalizing humans also means assigning a moral status (that of "good") to humans and our practices. No where have I done that, nor have the philosophers who I have referred to. Those are your own attitudes showing through. You're not reading carefully enough.

From my first post in this thread I've pointed out that there are different uses/meanings of 'natural,' including the standard one that means everything not created/made by humans and external to us. That is obvious. To see how I problematized this concept refer to pretty much any of my posts in this thread. Or to put it in a different way, as the post on Morton's lecture above discusses, ideas come bundled with attitudes, which are like unconscious ideas that we haven't thought clearly yet. So what are some of the attitudes that come with seeing nature in the standard usage? Are the problematic? Do they contradict what we've learned from the sciences since Darwin? If so what does that mean for the way we've been thinking about our problems? What are the consequences for environmentalism?

If you don't find those questions interesting then avoid the thread.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 21, 2020, 08:57:22 AM »

Limits of living nature: can be eaten by some organism. So spider webs and human faeces yes, but buildings and termite mounds no.
And what about steel structures, don't they rust away? Or wooden structures?
Even plastics break down with enough time, so that seems like a bad criterion.
Cities are part of our DNA in the sense that we are able to build them because of the creatures that we are.

I don't need to know what you mean by multiply or interact, because those are commonly used terms, whereas "living nature" is something you understand but I don't.

However, spider webs don't multiply without spiders, just as termite mounds don't multiply without termites. So it seems that your definition is not 100%... since you've also been forced to add the criterion that the thing can be eaten if it is to be considered part of living nature.

Not all animals leave areas during winter. Some animals hibernate. Others stay active throughout the winter, even in the coldest locations (penguins, caribou, arctic foxes, snowshoe hare, wolverine...).

So cities are unnatural because no one knows everyone else. And yet this "unnatural" phenomenon has been multiplied repeatedly throughout human history, and is interacted with not only by humans but by a bunch of other animals too (raccoons, squirrels, hawks, pigeons, rats, butterflies, plants, etc etc.); and it has been built by something which is part of living nature. So living nature "gives birth" to unnatural things?

I used "thing" to mean a materially existing, distinguishable object (so I pointed out that it has no "referent"). I used concept and idea interchangeably in the context.

It seems strange that you should privilege one baseline in the history of a species. Doesn't living nature change? (But of course it does, since we have changed and we are part of living nature).

If the technology humans use to "overrule living nature's constraints" were made by members of living nature, then it seems that living nature itself has provided the means to "overrule its constraints." And so maybe those aren't really "living nature's" constraints, but your own? Maybe "living nature" is itself "unnatural"? Maybe it includes in it the vary things that you want to separate off as evil?

As far as my ability to strip away my bias, I wish you would help me with it. But since language is insufficient, can you recommend some other ways? Should I move out of a city and live in a forest? (I've already done that). Should I do a bunch of hallucinogens? (I've already done that). Should I spend time with indigenous peoples? (I've already done that). Should I smoke a shit ton of weed? (I've already done that). Should I plant a garden? (I've already done that). Should I practice meditation? (I've already done that)... Am I lost cause?

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 21, 2020, 07:07:32 AM »

It's not hair splitting. I directed my post at nanning to get a better sense of what he's talking about. My follow up to you was similarly an attempt to understand your logic. Ideas matter.

Of course we agree on what should be kept. The point is that so far we've not been effective at getting the required changes, and many, many people still see environmentalism as something unattractive. So what's wrong? Is it partially due to the way we're thinking about our problems?

As for your virus claim, are you suggesting that nothing goes extinct in "living nature"? Of course not, your hypothetical rests on humans disappearing from the planet. But if we disappeared so would cows, and chickens, and racehorses. And beaver dams would stop existing if beavers disappeared, and Taenia pisiformis would disappear if canids disappeared. Realizing the severity of our situation is accepting that "living nature" is not something balanced and harmonious, but that many landscapes are literally built on the skeletons of extinguished life forms (coral reefs, for example), and our cars fuelled by organic remains. There is and never has been any guarantee of our survival. Even if we were to give up the sort of civilization nanning has problems with and all live like the tribes of the Amazon.


I'm wondering whether you consider human cities -- for example -- as a kind of ecosystem? And if they emerge out of living nature, (the work of humans), how can you exclude them? Is it simply, as kassy has suggested, that they would not exist without humans? Yet you accepted spider webs as part of living nature, even though they would not exist if spiders went extinct.

It's the appropriate thread as long as you keep in mind how what your saying relates back to the topic.

As for you not having a 100% definition, that is to be expected. Perhaps that points to the fact that "living nature" is not a thing (it doesn't actually have a referent), but rather a concept that we use, and we can use it in various ways, just as the definition of "person" has changed over time to include women (see "the persons case"). We could also call it an idea, and we can examine the attitudes we have that go with it, such as whether we still take it as something "holistic" if we are unable to identify with certainty what is part of it and what is not!

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 20, 2020, 03:11:56 PM »
Thanks Kassy.

It was not a quiz (since I don't know the answers), but an attempt to make sure I understand Nanning. I hope he will also respond, because I'm not so sure he would agree with you.

But since you answered...

Are fossils part of living nature?
Is a skeleton part of living nature?
Is a simple, human hut part of living nature? What about a condominium?

In any case, since you allow that all humans are part of living nature, then there's no problem as you'll grasp that human consciousness is also part of living nature.

Finally, you say: "a computer virus is not a good analogy because it can only live in our system..." Strange choice of words (live). Also, there are host specific viruses that can't "survive" outside of the host organism (system?).

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 20, 2020, 09:15:53 AM »

Glad you found it of interest. I was not intending to present Morton's positions as my own, but there is a lot of overlap, and he offers another way to think about some of these questions.

It's very difficult to reply to your post, because you use a lot of words as though they have an unambiguous meaning, and I would like to get you to think about them some more to help the rest of us understand, but it's difficult to know exactly where to start, and I also don't want this thread to become tedious.

I guess I would first call your attention back to the beginning of the lecture I shared in the previous post.

In Morton's lecture he discusses ideas as being coupled with attitudes. Attitudes, are, in a sense "as of yet unthought ideas," the unconscious accompaniments of our conscious thought. Once attitudes become conscious then they can be thought as ideas. This is not unlike the process of making our presuppositions conscious (which I started this thread talking about). In other words ideas that appear to be simple and straight forward rarely are.

I'd like to get a better understanding of 'living nature,' which you described in a previous post as "life + ecosystems, and nature as everything; the universe."

Life is, like most concepts, fuzzy at the edges. Morton alludes to this in the first lecture, including in the quote on viruses that you refer to. He doesn't say that a computer virus is alive (as you interpreted the quote), but rather that if you think that a virus is alive -- viruses don't reproduce themselves, but tell other cells to make copies of them -- you should probably accept that computer virus is alive (as they are replicated in a similar way). (As for your comment about computer viruses being abstract and therefore not real, we'd have to start another thread to sort out what you mean by that).

But rather than trying to address all of the proverbs in your post, let's focus on living nature, because I would like to understand it so that I can be a better human being.

Are all humans part of living nature? If not, which humans are not part, and were they born that way?
Are viruses part of living nature? (Is rabies part of living nature?)
Are spider webs part of living nature?
Are rocks part of living nature? What about rocks created by being blown up by dynamite?
Is human shit part of living nature? Does it depend on what the human ate?
Is wine part of living nature?
Is a factory farmed chicken part of living nature?
Is a racehorse part of living nature?
Is oil part of living nature?
Is carbon dioxide part of living nature?
Are asteroids part of living nature?

I guess I'll start with those and see where we get.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: February 19, 2020, 08:15:15 PM »
Beautiful Soul Syndrome: how environmentalism gets stuck in Romanticism

"...the attitude of environmentalism, that there is a world that is separate from me; that nature exists apart from human society, is not only wrong, but dangerously part of the problem..."

In this lecture, Timothy Morton discusses the dualisms embedded in the concept of nature and the attitudes that come with it (the ways of seeing built into our ideas and presuppositions; the inherited aspect of thought which doesn't emerge from within the subject). Ironically, he argues, the "naturalisms" and "environmentalisms," which claim to overcome these idealistic dualisms,  conceal from themselves the very opposite attitude. Their nature speak repeats the attitude of Cartesian dualism between subject (mind) and object (external nature), that we have touched on in this thread.

This dualism sees consciousness as something fundamentally distinct from the rest of the universe, or material world, and tends to do so by privileging human consciousness. As we have seen in this thread, this privileging can be negative as well as positive. We can distinguish ourselves from other species (or races) by appeal to our consciousness, either by elevating ourselves, or by condemning ourselves, and we should recognize these as different sides of the same intellectual trap.

"thinking that you've exited consumerism might be the most quintessentially consumerist attitude of all. In large part this is because you see the world of consumerism as an evil world. You, having exited this world, are good. Over there is the evil object, which you shun or seek to eliminate. Over here is the good subject, who feels good precisely insofar as she or he is separated from the evil world. I am now describing Hegel's beautiful soul, who claims precisely to have exited the evil world."

"The problem is that the gaze that constitutes the world as a thing over there, is evil as such."

Part 1:

"The cold virus is a... twenty sided crystal. If you think the rhinovirus is alive, then you should probably admit that a computer virus is alive for all intents and purposes."

"A beaver's DNA doesn't stop at the end of its whiskers, but at the ends of its dam. A spider's DNA is expressed in its web"

"Dark ecology realizes that we are hopelessly entangled in the mesh of interconnectedness without any possibility of extricating ourselves. Dark ecology finds itself fully responsible for all lifeforms, because like a detective in a noir movie, it has realized that it's complicit in the crime."

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 17, 2020, 10:35:15 PM »
In response to Ken Feldman's post ^^

Impacts of CH4 over 100 years are 24% of warming. This confirms my suspicion that considering a shorter timeframe CH4 could be responsible for most of the warming we see now.

This might sound crazy, but if cooling from anthro aerosols really is closer to -2W/m2 as a recent study suggests (or even if it is closer to -1.45 W/m2), then almost all of the warming from CO2 is being masked. Might this explain the hiatus? Didn't it occur during a time of flat methane emissions?

This is crazy speculation, which is why I've not said it before. But heck, here we go.

The rest / Re: Article links: drop them here!
« on: February 17, 2020, 05:43:10 PM »

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: February 13, 2020, 11:31:35 PM »
The Blue Acceleration


"Humanity has depended on the ocean for millennia. Today, however, the rush to the sea is occurring with unprecedented diversity and intensity, propelled by population growth and demand for diminishing terrestrial resources.

A study published in January in the new journal One Earth analyzed 50 years of data on 18 kinds of marine resource claims, broadly grouped as food, material and space. The authors, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, captured the results in a series of graphs showing the amount of activity since 1970 in areas such as marine aquaculture, shipping, deep hydrocarbons, and offshore windfarms. The graphs all show sharp upticks in the past 20 to 30 years.

The authors call this race for the sea the “blue acceleration.”

“The current narrative is that we are about to move into the ocean as the new frontier,” lead author Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, a Ph.D. candidate in sustainability science, told Mongabay. “However, when you look at the graphs, it has started already.”"

Zeke Hausfather (Director of Climate and Energy at Breakthrough), has written an article (see the first image) discussing many of the means (logic) that consensus climate science will likely use to reduce the range of ECS recognized by AR6 as compared to that indicated by CMIP6 (see the second image).  Nevertheless, just because consensus climate science will likely be able to achieve in AR6 what Hausfather suggests; this does not mean that Earth Systems will respond in accordance with AR6's recommendations.

Title: "Cold Water on Hot Models"

Meanwhile Patrick T. Brown posted this figure on twitter, stating:

"Is the higher climate sensitivity in the next generation of climate models credible? Our observationally-constrained ECS of the previous generation falls exactly on the ECS of the next generation. So I would vote yes, it's credible."

Referring to this paper:

As of 2017 when that paper was published it was possible to rule out an ECS lower than 2.5K based on observational data. The mean of such constrained models was ~3.8K which is the mean of the CMIP6 models.

Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: February 10, 2020, 08:15:00 PM »
It is incredible, what has happened yesterday and today.
I want to thank all the contributors with their pictures, animations and explanations.
I am pretty sure that noone outside of this forum has followed the preparation of this major calving event with such an intensity as we have done it - together.

PS: In Germany in football there is a saying "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel" - this saying can be easily transferred into "After calving is before (the next) calving".

Thanks guys for the fantastic work in this thread.

2. The icebergs in the downstream southern shear margin for the PIIS appear to be free to float into the open ocean; which, would leave adjoining portion of the PIIS susceptible to accelerated future calving events (possibly initiated a MR1 and/or MR2); which are not considered in any of the CMIP6 model projections.


Your probably already have, but could you post a link to where we might look at the CMIP6 model projections as they relate to the PIIS?

Thank you!

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 08, 2020, 04:28:14 AM »

Does it say that somewhere on the NOAA site?

My understanding from reading the site was that they're first calculating RF for each GHG using numbers from lab experiments/models, and then they convert RF to CO2eq? They are able to do this because they have ppm CO2 and RF, so going from RF to ppm COe would be pretty simple. It seems to me they don't use a GWP multiplier at all, as Ken suggested earlier...

Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: February 07, 2020, 06:28:06 PM »
Can we rename this subject "PIG hasn't calved"?

It will calve like a thief in the night.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 07, 2020, 08:52:14 AM »
Have we doubled the greenhouse effect?

The best answer comes from here:

and seems to be "no." The NOAA (IPCC) method gives us 496 ppm CO2e for 2018, so I guess somewhere around 500ppm for 2019. Growing at a rate of ~3.7 ppm/yr over the last six years, if that were to continue we would double in something like 20 years.

To understand how RF is calculated (i.e. how the constants used in table 1 above were derived), and so how the CO2eq is calculated, you would need to tackle the following:

Radiative Forcing of Climate Change, Chapter 6 in Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis

available here:

No, he's banned.

He said some very very stupid shit and Neven had enough.

It's too bad it had to be that way. He was a lot of fun at times.

Great Lakes Ice Cover Nearly a Record Low For Early January

"Ice cover throughout the Great Lakes is nearly a record low for early January because warmer than average temperatures have dominated the region so far this winter.

The total ice coverage on the five Great Lakes was 1.5% on Tuesday, or the second lowest for Jan. 7, according to NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). Ice cover on that date has averaged about 13.9% since records began in 1973.


What really stands out is Lake Erie has no ice coverage right now.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, which usually makes it freeze up fastest. The lake's ice coverage has averaged 27.7% by Jan. 7."

UPDATE: as of February 5th the ice cover for the Great Lakes is at 6.5%, meaning it is at half the average for a month ago.

Lake Erie continues to be ice free.

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: February 06, 2020, 04:54:45 AM »
Since we're talking books, I highly recommend -- in times of sickness or health -- Albert Camus' The Plague.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: February 06, 2020, 02:32:12 AM »
Re: The reason for the decrease in size is unknown

We ate 'em ?


Preposterous allegation!

Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: February 04, 2020, 10:00:33 PM »
According to the ECMWF EU Copernicus dataset, January 2020 was the warmest January ever recorded, slightly warmer than January 2016 (by 0.03C), coming in at 0.77C above the 1981-2010 baseline. It was the third warmest month in the dataset (behind Feb. and March 2016).

"Last month the global temperature was warmer than any previous January in this data record, although almost on par with January 2016 (at 0.03°C warmer). For Europe, it was the warmest January on record, about 0.2ºC warmer than the previous warmest January in 2007, and 3.1°C warmer than the average January in the period 1981-2010. Average temperatures were especially high over large parts of northeastern Europe, in some areas more than 6°C above the 1981-2010 January average."

In order to translate these temperatures to a pre-industrial baseline, we should add 0.63C, making January ~1.4C warmer than pre-industrial globally, and 3.73C in Europe.

I note that at ~1.4C above pre-industrial, this January provides a glimpse of what life will be like after 1.5C of warming: i.e. large parts of the planet will have their seasons completely disrupted. Sustained over months and years one can only presume this will have very significant consequences.

One further note on climate science and politics: our old friend James Hansen came out with a statement recently in which he reiterated his support for a carbon tax and also nuclear power. The statement is available here:

In it, he also had some less than flattering words about the IPCC:

"The ridiculous climate statement – even from politicians – goes something like: “we have 10
years, 7 months, x days until the carbon budget is used up and we are doomed!” IPCC should be
censured for initiating that nonsense, and wrongly frightening young people. We are already in
carbon overshoot, but that does not mean that the problem is unsolvable.
Instead of despair, we should celebrate how far we have come."

He also recently reiterated his belief that ECS is most likely 2.8-3C.

For those wondering, the temperature anomaly given in ASLR's post previous to this one can be converted to a pre-industrial baseline by adding 0.63C -> ~1.24C.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 04, 2020, 02:33:46 AM »
You don't actually get around the GWP20 vs GWP100 issue using Co2 equivalents.  Here is the NOAA website explaining how they calculate them:

The CO2e depends on a calculation of forcing.

Thanks, that had been my understanding.

I feel like a dog chasing his tail with this one, but I also feel that those of us making a clamour here are on to something.

Here's how I look at it: there's uncertainty attached to almost all of the numbers we're interested in. If we use RF there's a large uncertainty around aerosols.

So let's start with the things we can actually measure directly. To me that is atmospheric concentration. Yes, we have to find a way to make the different concentrations comparable and that is a problem... We can also measure GMSTA. Using those measurements we could potentially get clues about some of the areas where we lack certainty.

That's my reasoning.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 03, 2020, 10:02:55 PM »
Thanks for the explanation re. GWP Ken.

As for the cooling effect of aerosols please see my last post ^^

Thanks again for an informative and well presented reply ASLR.

Just a final point on this, since I was not clear (both you and SharedHUmanity misunderstood me): I didn't mean what policies do you put in place to avoid the risk (implementing policy is the goal, and it's an explicitly political one), my question/point was about HOW do you effectively communicate the risk so that the goal is realized?

Remember that it is not to other scientists that the risk is being communicated; and there will be those amongst whom you must persuade who will have a fundamentally different world view that may include a distrust of scientists and science, etc.

(EDIT: to attempt to put this in another way: how do you persuade the Adults within the markov blankets that are resistant to the information being presented?)

When you think in this way, you realize that RCP 8.5 was always exposed to the critique Hausfather and Peters have recently given. And if the goals for using RCP 8.5 to communicate have always been political, then perhaps we could have done a better job designing RCP 8.5?

It's been known since the 19th century -- when Heinrich Hertz wrote about it -- that scientists rely on not only both empirical evidence and logical consistency, but also the rhetorical efficacy (persuasiveness) of their models/solutions. However, there is less thought about how this applies moving between other networks and collectives (not necessarily educated as scientists). We tend to think we will convince skeptics or deniers through more information (more graphs, etc), when in reality what's not needed is more information, but a different way of presenting that information. I don't blame scientists for this, I only am trying to point out how some of our deep beliefs about science and its relation to politics get in the way of us doing a better job.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 03, 2020, 07:27:54 PM »

Not sure about the 20 year running average; as gerontocrat says it would be very misleading. I know that aerosols are included. They are also included in the numbers posted here from external sources. For example the 454ppm number in 2017.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 03, 2020, 08:27:31 AM »
I don't believe the below graph has been posted yet and seems essential to the topic of this thread.

Assuming I'm reading this graph right we are well above RCP 8.5 at this point for CO2eq, as we are already above 450ppm CO2eq according to all of the numbers presented in this thread...

Also, I still haven't figured out how you get from ppb in CH4 to ppm in CO2eq if it's not using the GWP multiplier (some posters in this thread have claimed that GWP is not for atmospheric CO2 concentrations).

Thank you for introducing me to the concept of a Markov Blanket, and for the rest of your post.

I comprehend that our actions should be informed by the extreme right tail risks. I just wonder how it is best to go about doing that?

What I tried to draw out with my comment about science (as a practice) being interwoven with political networks, is that it doesn't matter what the scientists know if they can't convince enough of the right people within the polis to act in accordance, so they had better recognize how they are meshed with politics and how best to act in light of that.

RCP 8.5 has been a useful tool for scientists, the public and policy makers to think about right tail risks, but the fact that it accounts for its emissions through direct anthro sources only, and that it has probably been misused by the media, expose it to the very type of attack we've just seen. And a public that doesn't understand how science connects with political networks and have been raised with the idea that science is some purely neutral, objective practice are easily swayed by the claims that these scientists have become "politicized" and "corrupted."

The actual piece in nature was by Zeke Hausfather who runs carbonbrief and Glen Peters, who was a contributing author to AR5. They have quite a bit of credibility and sway; much more so than Roger or Lomberg.

EDIT: For example, Gregory Flato senior research scientist for Environment and Climate Change Canada and IPCC Bureau member regularly retweets Zeke Hausfather's articles.

You make a good point about 2.5; I almost asked Glen and Zeke about that yesterday; they conveniently did not ascribe probabilities (or likelihood) to the lowest pathways... however, they did pretty much rule out 1.5C or 2C as possible at this point in their comment.

Again, my point is that if we think -- and teach -- that science as a practice is not meshed with the political, we are exposing ourselves to just this kind of outbreak. Using RCP 8.5 to inform or push for policy DOES have political consequences; that's exactly the point of doing it!

I asked Glen Peters a couple of questions based off of things in this thread. Here's how that went

1) Are you willing to say we should also do away with RCP 2.6 and SSP1-1.9 as it is highly unlikely we will follow either of those pathways?
2) Is it not the case that probabilities were not assigned to RCP 8.5 because its intention is to explore the possibility of triggering non-linear feedbacks in the range of 5C by 2100; i.e. it was never intended to represent a realistic anthro "emissions" pathway?

1) I would not do away with 1.9 or 2.6. At the end of the day, modelling groups have to decide where to put their limited computing resources.
2) RCP8.5 as an emission pathway is an outlier. Other RCP emissions may not get to RCP85 forcing. But, I would say the same as 1.

Right, so in other words, they've chosen to take RCP 8.5 as a realistic representation of how we would get to a RF of 8.5W/m^2 rather than as a scenario for thinking about what would happen if we were to reach a RF of 8.5W/m^2 through some combination of direct anthro emissions + induced emissions + RF increases from other feedbacks.

So then why do the pathways even bother stating where the emissions come from if they're not supposed to represent realistically our pathway to a certain amount of RF? Why not just create a high end scenario called "if shit really goes wrong, one way or another" (pardon my french)?

To me the linked commentary in Nature indicates that some consensus climate scientists are increasingly, and openly, wading into politics

ASLR it's really interesting that you say this, because Peters and Hausfather (and Roger Pielke Jr. who has been involved in the efforts to bring a "reckoning" to RCP 8.5) have justified their article as being against "bad science," and against the "political rationale" for RCP 8.5:

Glen Peters on Twitter:
"They, as in the EPA? Sure, no doubt.

So, should I modify my science to (try to) meet political ends in the US? Or should I do good science?

SR15 said pledges took us to 3C, & no one seemed to have issue with that. In that sense, we are not being so radical?"

Roger Pielke Jr. on Twitter:
"I am hounded on this point daily (you are not being helpful to the cause!)

The demand for "noble cause corruption" in climate science is very real"

So what happens when scientists begin to split into two camps with both sides denouncing each other as practicing bad science that is politically motivated? How do we read this event, which is exceedingly important?

For a long time we got away with pretending that our scientific practices weren't completely interwoven with the political; both shoring up political power, and being shored up by political power; both revolutionary and conservative. And now there's a return of the suppressed! The scales fall from our eyes: the scientists were political actors all along!


Do you think that if Hausfather and Peters has limited their claim to, "we are on the path to emitting xGt of CO2 through industrial activities by 2100" rather than "we are on the path to 3C" it would have been less controversial?

And a less speculative question:

Would you have found their paper less misleading and/or irresponsible?

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: February 02, 2020, 01:28:28 AM »
Sorry wdmn but I disagree your first sentence. Most natural sciences and also many other sciences are not politicised in my opinion. e.g. Physics?
Perhaps you mean that much research is starved of funding through governmental policies.

Nanning, I don't want to derail this thread too much, but I will offer up a response that I hope will be stimulating to some, while far from complete (though far too long).

Yes, not politicized means exactly that we don't think of them as political (and this is itself a political movement). We've depoliticized science for at least 4 centuries. It is a fundamental part of "modernity" that we think of economics, politics, science as separate spheres, just as we think of ourselves as both part of and separate from nature: at once subject to its laws, which we learn with science, while also free to organize ourselves as we deem fit (cultural animals), so long as we remember that the two realms must be kept distinct!

What is politics? Or, a more manageable question, "with what does politics concern itself?"

Isn't politics the way in which we organize society and the state (the polis)? The systems and methods we set up defining power relationships within the polis, which voices will be heard, who will have the right to make decisions (i.e. who is sovereign)?

When we think of science as being apolitical we usually mean that it is transcendent, absolutely sovereign, and so we want to grant it a voice that speaks with absolute authority that must be respected no matter your ideology. So then what political role do scientists have within the polis? Are they disinterested, neutral, dressed in beige, as inhuman as their facts, only concerned with Truth and nothing else? Are they priests of nature who speak for it wielding their instruments as the shaman wields a drum, and who must be obeyed; i.e. to which we are subject (political subjects)? Are they agents of the state, asked to unravel secrets of nature in order that the polis might achieve more power (as was done with the Manhattan project, for example)? Are they dangerous heretics threatening the democratic order by speaking with a voice that tramples the will of the people; are they -- as some climate deniers will insist -- corrupted agents, seeking power and money through the manipulation of data and instruments? Is RCP 8.5 just a scientific model, or is it a rhetorical device designed -- as all RCPs -- to be used as a tool of persuasion? Do scientists really not care, are they "neutral" sitting on the sidelines, with no skin in the game? Or do they hope that their work will wield power, that it will be taken seriously, as Fact?

No matter how we choose to answer these questions, the work of the scientists bears on the collective: from the way that we discuss things, to the way the our economy functions, to the way that we have sex, and so to the way that power is distributed.

I can think of no better example than the physics of greenhouse gasses to draw out this point. It turns out that there has been a great divide over whether our measurements of these gasses, and our understanding of the physics of how they work, should bear on the organization of our society. It turns out that in order to keep making the measurements and gaining insight into the physical responses of components within the climate system (such as ice sheets), the scientists need funding, that one can as easily smash the equipment by defunding the scientists as by storming their laboratories. The scientists, it turns out, are a branch of the government, and their efficacy depends on whether or not they recognize that their struggle for (the) power (of their work) is a political one. Even scientists could find their heads in the guillotine (figuratively or literally).

Does the non-human compound CO2 have a force, a political voice? Yes, but is it that of a backbencher, or that of a king? Or something else altogether?

I would suggest that right now many of our poleis have descended into a state of a cold civil war (that could warm up quite rapidly in some instances). Our social contracts are torn to pieces over a disagreement over what sort of political agents the scientists and their facts are, and to what extent the voice of the people is to be subject to them. Too much, it appears, was left out of our constitutions.

If anyone wants to read more on the subject, I recommend the book, "We Have Never Been Modern," by Bruno Latour, which is available here:

From that text:

"every ethnologist is capable of including within a single monograph the definition of the forces in play; the distribution of powers among human beings, gods, and nonhumans; the procedures for reaching agreements; the connections between religion and power; ancestors; cosmology; property rights; plant and animal taxonomies. The ethnologist will certainly not write three separate books: one dealing with knowledge, another with power, yet another
with practices. She will write a single book...


Native Americans were not mistaken when they accused the Whites of having forked tongues. By separating the relations of political power from the relations of scientific reasoning while continuing to shore up power with reason and reason with power, the moderns have always had two irons in the fire."

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: February 01, 2020, 07:48:39 AM »
I think we need to realize that all science is political. That the separation of these two realms was always an illusion.

The decision whether to emphasize RCP 8.5 or not has always been a political/social one as much as a scientific one.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: February 01, 2020, 02:33:45 AM »
Sorry Ken, I misunderstood, and it's because I am a bit mixed up as to the point of this thread.

The title asks, which pathway are we on? I believe that means, which CO2eq pathway are we on, rather than CO2, and the reason that we originally wanted to calculate CO2eq is because there are a bunch of us on this board who think that the RF from CO2eq using GWP10 is an important figure to have, and we can't find it anywhere.

But I shouldn't speak for others, I've just heard that expressed by a few people.

Personally, the reason I'm interested in CO2eq is that a recent study suggested RF from anthro aerosols in 2008 was ~ -2W/m^2. If we looked at RF from CO2eq using GWP10 instead of GWP100 could it be that we're actually masking ~1.5C of warming? That we've actually passed CO2 doubling and TCR is ~2.7C and ECS>5C? I know some of the CMIP6 models had values of ECS and TCR that are similar.

I realize this is unlikely, but I'd like to know how long ago CO2eq passed (assuming it has) a doubling of pre-industrial.

We can't use any of the IPCC models for this assuming that none of them use the GWP10 numbers when thinking about CH4 or NO2.

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 31, 2020, 08:28:15 PM »
One way to track which pathway we are on is to look at the annual change in the concentrations of each greenhouse gas and compare them to the RCPs.  This will capture both the anthropogenic and natural emissions, so would include feedbacks from climate change (such as increased ghg emissions from wetlands drying or permafrost thaw).

Ken, while it's a good idea, it's actually not true since those feedbacks are not included in CMIP5 models.

This is exactly what the debate over the article you shared from Glen Peters and Zeke Hausfather is about: Glen and Zeke are confident antrho emissions won't follow RCP 8.5; scientists like Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt have pointed out (and Glen and Zeke concede) that without RCP 8.5 there's nothing capturing higher emissions scenarios from non-anthro sources unaccounted for in the models.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: January 30, 2020, 07:52:35 PM »
Not sure if this is the best place to post this...

For those who are unaware, there's been a schism in the climate community over RCP8.5, whether it represents BAU, and whether it should even be included as a pathway anymore.

Yesterday Glen Peters and Zeke Hausfather published a comment in Nature making their case as to why RCP8.5 is not BAU and why it is extremely unlikely that we will follow it:

While this reasonable dismissal of RCP8.5 is supposed to be a positive thing, another consequence of the discussion is that both Glen and Zeke have been very candid that currently the 1.5 and 2C targets are impossible.

They couch this by pointing out that 2.5C is actually quite doable. So they suggest that we refocus our efforts on that threshold, and try to be positive that not all is lost.

In a more subdued voice they also concede that there are uncertainties within the climate system (mostly frozen GHG feedbacks). But what must we extrapolate from this?

If we are unlucky and feedbacks kick in, it is not 2C that is currently impossible, it's 3C, and it's not 2.5 that's doable, it's 3.5C (see graph, with a hat tip to ASLR)

Oh, and to make the whole thing even more messy, the BBC ran the headline, "Climate Change: worst emissions scenario 'misleading'

Which was not what Zeke and Glen were arguing (but rather that calling it BAU is misleading), but which will nevertheless be food for the deniers at this critical juncture.


Scientists Find Far Higher than Expected Rate of Underwater Glacial Melting

Tidewater glaciers, the massive rivers of ice that end in the ocean, may be melting underwater much faster than previously thought, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that used robotic kayaks.


“With the kayaks, we found a surprising signal of melting: Layers of concentrated meltwater intruding into the ocean that reveal the critical importance of a process typically neglected when modeling or estimating melt rates,” said lead author Rebecca Jackson, a physical oceanographer and assistant professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. Jackson led the study when she was at Oregon State University.


Two kinds of underwater melting occur near glaciers. Where freshwater discharge drains at the base of a glacier (from upstream melt on the glacier’s surface), vigorous plumes result in discharge-driven melting. Away from these discharge outlets, the glacier melts directly into the ocean waters in a regime called ambient melting.

The study follows one published last year in the journal Science that measured glacier melt rates by pointing sonar at the LeConte Glacier from a distant ship. The researchers found melt rates far higher than expected but couldn’t explain why. The new study found for the first time that ambient melting is a significant part of the underwater mix.


Meltwater Intrusions Reveal Mechanisms for Rapid Submarine Melt at a Tidewater Glacier

Submarine melting has been implicated as a driver of glacier retreat and sea level rise, but to date melting has been difficult to observe and quantify. As a result, melt rates have been estimated from parameterizations that are largely unconstrained by observations, particularly at the near‐vertical termini of tidewater glaciers. With standard coefficients, these melt parameterizations predict that ambient melting (the melt away from subglacial discharge outlets) is negligible compared to discharge‐driven melting for typical tidewater glaciers. Here, we present new data from LeConte Glacier, Alaska, that challenges this paradigm. Using autonomous kayaks, we observe ambient meltwater intrusions that are ubiquitous within 400 m of the terminus, and we provide the first characterization of their properties, structure, and distribution. Our results suggest that ambient melt rates are substantially higher (×100) than standard theory predicts and that ambient melting is a significant part of the total submarine melt flux. We explore modifications to the prevalent melt parameterization to provide a path forward for improved modeling of ocean‐glacier interactions.

Plain Language Summary
Tidewater glaciers discharge ice into the ocean through iceberg calving and submarine melting. Submarine melting has been implicated as a driver of glacier retreat and sea level rise, but melt rates have been difficult to directly observe and quantify. As a result, melt rates are typically estimated using a theory that has not been tested with observations at any tidewater glaciers. Two types of melting are expected at tidewater glaciers: Where subglacial discharge drains from outlets in the terminus, energetic upwelling plumes rise along the ice face, and theory predicts vigorous melting. Away from discharge outlets, weaker plumes form from ambient melting, and theory predicts that these ambient melt rates are effectively negligible compared to discharge‐driven melting. Here, we present new data from LeConte Glacier, Alaska, that challenges this paradigm. Using autonomous kayaks, we observe intrusions of meltwater—the product of ambient melt plumes—that are only found within 400 m of the terminus, and we provide the first characterization of their properties, structure, and distribution. Their ubiquity suggests that ambient melt rates are substantially higher than standard theory predicts and that ambient melting is a significant—but often neglected—part of the total submarine melt flux.

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: January 28, 2020, 09:36:53 AM »
Another visualization. This one courtesy of Robert Rohde:

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 27, 2020, 04:37:04 PM »
Well all of these measures are helpful I think it's important to consider the CO2e assuming a higher multiplier.

RF is a great measure (and reminds us to account for negative forcings), but most people have been trained to think in terms of a doubling of CO2 concentration, and all the modelling is done around ECS and TCR. We need to know how close we are to doubling, (or how long ago we doubled) to start making sense of how much risk we've already exposed ourselves too, I think... Otherwise why do we keep looking at CO2 concentration? We should just be looking at RF.

Consequences / Re: Chinese coronavirus
« on: January 27, 2020, 01:46:35 AM »
The R0 now looks to average about 2.5 rather than 4...

Not sure if this paper is more recent than your source, but:

The early outbreak data largely follows the exponential growth. We estimated that the mean R0 ranges from 3.30 (95%CI: 2.73-3.96) to 5.47 (95%CI: 4.16-7.10) associated with 0-fold to 2-fold increase in the reporting rate. With rising report rate, the mean R0 is likely to be below 5 but above 3.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: January 25, 2020, 02:21:16 PM »
no worries. I just read that we are actually below rcp 2.6 so nothing can happen...
Where did you read this?

Probably Ken Feldman's post here:,2994.msg246050.html#msg246050

Science / Re: Where are we now in CO2e , which pathway are we on?
« on: January 25, 2020, 01:33:57 PM »

and i see no reason to denigrate Mr Feldman. nowhere does he say that january numbers are the ones to compare.


He stated twice that we are below RCP 2.6 based on 411ppm
That is an inaccurate statement, and he knows it. How is it harsh to call him out on that? Ken's a smart guy, he knows what he's doing.

At this time of year the honest thing to do would be to report 2019 numbers, which would of course show that we are above RCP 2.6. I will call out such bullshit every time, and I would hope people would call me out for my bullshit too.

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