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Messages - Agres

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1
Consequences / Re: Melting Arctic an "economic time bomb"
« on: July 26, 2013, 08:05:06 AM »
In 2002, I used Deming's methods on CT data to calculate  that there would be a major loss of Arctic Sea ice within a decade.  Gavin Schmidt called me an "Alarmist" for that, even after 2007.

In 2010 and again this year, it rained on the high snow fields, above the glaciers in the Himalaya.   That rain should have all been snow.  At this point, I fear the 2035 date is one of the best forecasts ever published by the IPCC.  It was claimed that that data was not "peer reviewed".  In fact, it came from a bunch of ice climbers that know as much about those glaciers as anyone in the world. I think the 2010 floods on the Indus and the 2013 floods on the Ganges point to coming problems in those watersheds caused by rain on the snow fields.  Those guys got it exactly correct.

There is enough methane in various forms under Arctic region that successive burps of that size are possible, with each making the next more likely.  And, each would carry its own price tag. 

The less CO2 that people put into the atmosphere, the fewer burps of  methane that are likely to be charged to our account.  Each burp will be a huge expense.  When all feed backs are included, reducing human CO2 emissions really is cost effective at any discount rate and on any time frame. Any kind of end of pipe treatment such as carbon capture is always more expensive than avoiding generation of the waste.  The reason people advocate for things like carbon capture is that they think they can make a profit on the process.






2
Arctic sea ice / Re: What the Buoys are telling
« on: July 02, 2013, 09:36:17 PM »
With increasing warmth and moisture north of the Arctic Circle, we should be seeing more fresh water flowing into, and condensing on to the Arctic seas, and thus the fresh water lens floating between the AW and the sea ice should be getting thicker.  I think the freshwater budget of the Arctic basin has changed in the last couple of years.  Do we see that in the buoy data??

If not, where is that fresh water going?

3
Policy and solutions / Re: Collapse scenarios & mitigating strategies
« on: June 29, 2013, 11:45:02 PM »
I started thinking about sea level rise and the industries affected.  Top of the list was textiles. Synthetic fibers are mostly made at sea level, cotton is mostly grown at sea level, and much of our global textile processing is near sea level.

I thought, no problem, we can grow wool, there are hand spinners around and a lot of  hand knitters.

Until circa 1840, professional hand knitters could knit fabrics that would keep a working fisherman warm.  However, those skills have been lost. Most modern hand knitters do not even believe that such fabrics can be hand knit.  What they call “warm woolens” is simply not nearly as warm as the weatherproof  fabrics that protected generations of sea men including Shackleton's men wintering on the Antarctic ice.  Modern hand spinners have forgotten the skills of industrial scale spinning. Certainly these skills can be reinvented, but that may not happen in time to have warm clothes by the next time snow flies.  My point is not about cloth, it is about sets of skills that have been lost.

The bottom line is always food.  The first causality of  climate change will be industrial agriculture. Today all of our food production is subsidized by low cost energy. The skills required to run an energy efficient, integrated farm have been lost.  Even the Amish farms are now depended on industrial products.  How many people do you know that have actually caught, butchered, cleaned, cooked, and eaten a chicken?  “Catching” a chicken is not as easy as you might think.  It is a skill that is mostly lost.  Can you butcher and  cook a cow without wasting most of it through spoilage/

If food production collapses as a result of poor weather, then industrial workers will leave their jobs, seeking food.  Then, industrial production fails, and because those industrial workers have limited food production skills, they starve.  When farmers cannot get the spare parts for their farm equipment because the factories can not get the microprocessors to repair their machine tools because the chip makers cannot get the gray plastic used to make the chip carriers, because all of the gray plastic is made at sea level, then the price of  food goes up so that none of the workers in any of the supply chains can afford food for their families.  If the wages for the workers goes up, then nobody can afford the end product, and it cannot be sold because everybody is spending all of their money on food. The bottom line is food. And we have lost much of our gardening/food production skills.  It is a branch of economics that has been neglected  while cheap oil subsidized food production, and weather risks were minimized by production on different continents.  However, now AGW puts food production on all continents at simultaneous risk.

4
Science / Re: Permafrost Melt, Perhaps Not As Bad As We Feared...
« on: June 01, 2013, 12:00:46 AM »
Seems not to address themokarst as in:  http://www.lternet.edu/research/keyfindings/critical-permafrost

Recently there have  been several posts of photos with "mud flows" .  Those mud flows likely include permafrost materials.

5
More than a year ago, I calculated that large Arctic spring cyclones would become a regular weather pattern and predicted major ice losses last year, and substantial loss of sea ice this year.

This year I would be surprised not to see deep storm mixing, setting up the potential for a halocline/Atlantic Water turnover, particularly in the Amundsen Basin.

I think that part of the slow melting over the last few weeks was the result the break up of pressure ridges and other ice structures that in past years would have formed solid  multi-year ice, but this year the ice was too warm for them to freeze solid into competent structures. Then, sunlight warmed films of water within the ice, and the loose piles of ice broke up and spread out.  I think we have seen the end of multi-year ice formation.  (The remains of some large multi-year ice structures will carry over to next year.)

6
Science / What drives wind, including the Jet Stream?
« on: May 27, 2013, 06:11:53 PM »
Why does this group accept differential heating as a driver for wind and reject condensation induced atmospheric dynamics?

The conventional differential heating have failed to adequately predict ice melt in the Arctic and seasonal changes in the jet stream.  And yet, when Makarieva  et al offer up a model that suggests heat transport into the Arctic is at least an order of magnitude greater than the old theory forecast, Makarieva et al is ignored.

In the comments in the discussion paper, it is clear that Makarieva et al do not consider the case of condensation onto a cold surface as in a moist wind flowing over the GIS or sea ice.  I assert, that consideration of the surface condensation case generates meridional winds that better explain seasonal changes in the NH circulation than, say the Rossby wave modeling by  Dr. Francis.

I am sorry,  but I see convention weather theory as deeply flawed in its ability to quantitatively account for the effects of latent heat. Makarieva et al is not a finished product.  My copy is covered with notes in red and purple.  These out number my notes in green. However, when it has been folded into weather theory and well baked, we will have something that is better.

See:
Makarieva, A. M., Gorshkov, V. G., Sheil, D., Nobre, A. D., and Li, B.-L.: Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapor condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 1039-1056, doi:10.5194/acp-13-1039-2013, 2013. offer

7
Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 09, 2013, 05:55:38 PM »
It will take hundreds of years for the full impacts of carbon feedback(s) to propagate through the entire climate system.

Over that period of hundreds of years, Earth will likely lose most of its species.  We have set this in motion.  Now, we need to take action to survive it.
 
Within a decade, industrial agriculture will become unstable, resulting in repeated short or even failed crops, and wide spread famine. Workers will leave jobs/cities to look for food. Without workers, the industrial products that support industrial agriculture will not be available and thus within 2 decades, industrial agriculture, as we know it, will collapse.  The bottom line is always food. 

A key problem is that today all farm equipment use computer chips. (And computer chips have long supply lines.)    That means the whole system starts to fail when factory workers in Asia cannot afford food. Then, a soybean farmer in Brazil or the US cannot get the parts to fix their tractors to produce food for factory workers in Asia. If those tractor parts are not available, then corn, wheat, cotton, rice and other crops are also affected.  If we are to maintain industrial agricultural production, we need to feed all the workers in all the supply lines that make farm equipment, farm chemicals, and all the things that a farmer needs to be productive.  Economics assumes that rising food prices will always result increased  food production.   Drought and flood make that a bad assumption in a time of global warming. Sometimes a food shortage merely leads to runaway inflation.

Since WWII, global food production has increased as a result of a subsidy from cheap energy.  Cheap energy allowed lavish use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and irrigation. (Most of the full life cycle energy cost used to grow lettuce in California and serve it in NYC, goes to pump irrigation water.  Second largest energy cost goes to manufacture of chemicals and fertilizer used on the lettuce.)  Since WWII, global food production has also increased as a result putting increasing amounts of land under cultivation.  Today, the land  most suitable for cultivation is being cultivated. At this point, cultivating additional land would result in very little additional crop production, but would require large outlays of energy for fertilizer, chemicals, infrastructure, and irrigation.  This year, farmers are planting land that has not been planted since the Dust Bowel.  Yes, there is vacant land, but the most productive land is in use, and the vacant land for some reason is less productive.  Greenhouse/high tunnel technology changes the crop mix, it does not bring new land into production or reduce energy use. Some land in the US in 2013 is being planted more in the expectation of government crop insurance payments, than for the value of the crop. The increased production by use of marginal land has a high cost, thereby raising the average price of food. 

By and large, we have over-fished our oceans.  Today, our catches are supported by computer technology  that find the last few fish, squid, and krill.  Increased fishing is not going to replace short or failed agricultural crops caused by drought or flood. And, the price of fish protein is higher than the cost of soybean protein.  Without the supply chains that produce computer chips, fishing will collapse.  With Ocean Acidification, fishing is likely to collapse, anyway. 

Today, much of our fish comes from aquaculture. Modern aquaculture requires crop products from industrial agriculture. If the soybean or corn crop fails, then the fish crop also fails.

Within 30 years, we are likely going to be back to substance agriculture, with crops that have not widely cultivated in the US and Europe for a long time. Without the subsidies of fossil guano and cheap fossil fuels, the economics of food production will change. Most human effort will go into food production.  Civilization as we have known it for the last 200 years will no longer be tenable.  We might be back to something more like Homer's description of life, with each family dependent on the food that they grow, and most human effort going to food production (and the occasional war).

Solar might provide the energy to produce pesticides and fertilizer, but all solar technologies require huge industrial supply chains, and we are not planning to secure those supply chains in a time of social turmoil as the reality of climate change rapidly unfolds.   Large supply chains mean that somebody much produce a large surplus of food to feed the supply chain.

I would love to be proved wrong on all of the above points.  However, most rebuttals start by ignoring the physics of sea floor clathrates and the behavior of clathrates in some Arctic permafrost structures.  Rebuttals also ignore current rates of deep  ocean warming, the melting point depression of ice under pressure, and the structural changes that occur as permafrost melts. Melting permafrost tends to release carbon into the Earth's atmosphere.

Any climate model that does not include carbon feedback is best suited to teaching climate science to second graders. By the time students get to 5th grade, they need to know the truth  - carbon feedback is a long steep curve. All policy and planning  need to include risk factors such as carbon feedbacks.  It may not be too late to survive, but the situation is more dire than most admit, and urgent, aggressive action will be required just to survive.

8
Several snow events - increase albedo, but indicative of WV/ latent heat transport into Arctic.

In the next 10 days we will see rain events on sea ice.  Then, area, extent, and volume will start to fall.

9
Arctic sea ice / Re: Volume Predictions.
« on: April 26, 2013, 04:04:59 AM »
The volume of ice is going to fall off the charts.

These days, what really counts is the total surface area of the ice (e.g., is it fractured into little pieces) and how much heat can be transported into the Arctic.  With Eurasia, North America, North Pacific, and the North Atlantic all acting as solar collectors for the Arctic basin, local incident radiation is not the most important factor.  And, ice export (to the south) is really heat import from the south, as warm water (from the south) flows in to replace the exported ice.  Some of that warm water from the south is sun warmed runoff from Eurasia and North America, and some is North Atlantic Drift flowing in under the fresher surface water. 

These days, plumes of water vapor, from the equatorial Pacific, hitting the south coast of Alaska and Western BC, are now warmer and wetter.  More heat is getting over the mountains and into the Arctic proper.  There were days last winter when Fairbanks Alaska was warmer than the Napa Valley in California.

10
For more than a year, I have expected the 2013 Arctic sea ice curves to fall off the charts. This summer we start saline intrusions and storm mixing. Come next fall, all that we will have for seed is some "bergy bits". 

Last year, the Barents barely froze, and next season, I expect the Kara to join that barely frozen category.  Thus, in 2014, I expect significant melt by 21 June.

11
Permafrost / Re: What is Happening under a Cloud of Methane?
« on: March 13, 2013, 12:38:14 AM »
While average concentrations are ~2ppm, local concentrations at the sources are above 5%. That means on a local basis there are enough hydrocarbons for the atmospheric chemistry that we think of as "urban smog."  Locally, concentrations of ethane, propane, formaldehyde, NOx, and PAN will be detectable. This will broaden and smear the absorption curves. This is all part of a "methane plume" in the real world. We live in the real world.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320150032.htm

One can reasonably say that NOx does not form under natural conditions, e.g. that NOx is produced in auto engines and steam boilers.  In that same reasonable, natural world, the Arctic Ocean is covered with ice and huge plumes of methane do not billow out of it. 

The volume of methane released is a function of the pressure/temperature at the formations holding the clathrates.  When a formation gets to the decomposition point of clathrates, the clathrates in the formation are going to decompose.  Under some conditions, the process can go rather quickly. Claathrate decomposition causes oil well blow outs such as Deep Horizon. The next time somebody shows you a picture of a piece of clathrate sitting on a lab bench gently burning, remember Deep Horizon.  Three hundred million dollars of equipment and some of the smartest oil men on Earth could not control the decomposition of some clathrates trapped in a drill pipe.  The clathrates in the Arctic sea floor are not trapped in anything.  We are not likely to control them. 

Urban smog is ephemeral and will be gone shortly after dark. 

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