Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Shared Humanity

Pages: 1 ... 78 79 [80] 81
Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 19, 2013, 07:56:35 PM »
I get heartburn whenever the discussion turns to geoengineering. This is not because I have the ability to assess the effectiveness of any specific suggestion.

I have had a 30 year career in electronics manufacturing, responsible for building very sophisticated electronic assemblies in large quantities. Business success is dependent on process control. Small drops in yield can drive a company out of business. There are four states that any process can be in:

1.)  In control, in spec (preferred)
2.)  In control, out of spec (2nd best)
3.)  Out of control, out of spec (3rd best)
4.)  Out of control, in spec (worst)

All processes have inputs and outputs. By controlling inputs and process parameters while having a deep understanding of process behavior you can achieve the desired output. If some input or process parameter shifts, you begin to see a rise in out of spec product. This one time change leaves the process in control but it is now delivering product that is out of spec. Studying the inputs and processes will allow you to identify the change and correct the input to bring this in control process back in spec. Companies pay very high salaries to engineers who are able to control complex processes.

When faced with out of spec product, poorly run companies will start monkeying with a variety of inputs and process parameters to deliver in spec product without understanding what they are doing. This will drive a process into the third state (out of control, out of spec) with wild swings in the quality of the product. If they are temporarily successful with all of the ill advised attempts to deliver good product, they arrive at the worst possible state (out of control, in spec). This is worse than the 3rd state because management (I was one of those) will develop a false sense of security that everything is OK.

As complicated as electronic processes are, they pale in comparison to the complexity of climate. People on this blog always talk about the difficulties in modeling climate. We simply do not have sufficient knowledge of how the various inputs (e.g. CO2) contribute to outputs (storms, heat waves, floods).

The earth was arguably "in control, in spec" before humans started increasing an input (CO2) into the climate process. We are beginning to see the effects in the form of "out of spec" results (drought/floods anyone?). The climate system is now "in control, out of spec". Our focus should be to bring this input back to previous levels. If the geoengineering suggestions focus on this, I think we are looking at the right things. Anything that enhances CO2 uptake would be fine. We see the planet do this with the seasonal cycling of CO2 levels. This is why I am attracted to ideas like accelerated weathering.

If we instead start changing other inputs or process parameters to accommodate for rising CO2 levels we will quickly move to "out of control, out of spec". Because we do not understand the climate process well enough, nothing good will come of this.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 17, 2013, 07:43:12 PM »
I expect we will transition to some form of authoritarian/command structure resembling a modern version of a feudal society.  It would be interesting to read your thoughts on what you think our economic structure might be like in 40-50 years.

You are likely right.

I think the movement away from Democracy (or other forms of governance) and the ascendency of the marketplace has been occurring for some time. Whether cloaked as neoliberal or neoconservate, both worship at the altar of the market. Instruments of government are increasingly at the beck and call of wealth which, as a result of free markets, now spans political boundaries. When government (expressing the will of the governed) seeks to institute policy at odds with the market, enormous capital outflows punish the transgression. The power of the market place has contributed to the increasingly dysfunctional behavior in U.S. politics. As the official organs of governance quit responding to Americans, we see a dramatic increase in populist movements on the right (Tea Party) and on the left (Occupy Wall Street) Both see "big" (banks, corporations, government as the servant of market etc.) as the enemy. Keep in mind the existence of "big" is a natural outcome of the accumulation of capital.

This does not mean to suggest that populism will be our salvation. Riots are occurring across Europe (increasingly violent) driven by the same hopelessness that fueled the Arab spring. The tyranny of the masses may prove to be every bit as onerous as the tyranny of the market. The natural response of government will be to defend the status quo and suppress any popular opposition.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 15, 2013, 06:39:59 AM »
Do you have any thoughts re. the fragility of the transportation maze when looking at a future that may require large infrastructure expenses just to keep port structures functional?


I am certainly not an expert with regards to the infrastructure (primarily ports and associated rail and river traffic) that supports world trade. I can say that, as this infrastructure becomes threatened by the effects of AGW (sea level rise, damaging storms, drought effecting barge traffic etc.) the effects will not be uniform. The decisions will again be driven by the margins. Some ports will simply be abandoned ( due to cost of mitigation or the value of the products moving through a port) while others that deliver critical items will require large repetitive expenditures. In 2007, the U.S. imported 10.5 million barrels of oil per day. 60% of these imports came through Gulf port facilities. Of the 13 major Gulf ports, 6 are in Texas and 5 are in Louisiana. I am sure each port is unique regarding vulnerabilities to sea level rise and hurricanes. It took nearly a year to repair the damage caused by hurricane Katrina. U.S. refineries struggled with shortages for months.

In the U.S. Midwest last summer, there was a fierce battle regarding the release of water from Missouri river dams. Lower Mississippi barge traffic had come to a virtual halt due to low water levels. A release of water would have allowed barge traffic carrying wheat, corn and soybeans to New Orleans for export. The alternative is highly expensive rail traffic. Meanwhile, the agricultural industry in states bordering the Missouri River fought to prevent the release because they needed the water for irrigation. As these kinds of droughts continue to occur, dredging the lower Mississippi becomes an expensive ongoing task.

While the upper Mississippi has rebounded with a lot of winter and spring moisture, the drought for the Missouri River watershed is forecast to worsen.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: May 12, 2013, 07:52:22 PM »

There are many areas of farm around Phoenix where my daughter lives.  But this is marginal land.  It exists as farm land due to human intervention with nature.  That is part of the definition of being marginal.

I have been thoroughly enjoying this discussion and have not commented because I do not have a great deal of knowledge about farming (disregarding 30 years of organic gardening, producing hundreds of pounds of produce annually). I would just point out this definition of marginal farmland applies to every acre of land ever put into agriculture by any human society.

I also would like to point out the nature and behavior of margins as it plays a critical function in economics where I do consider myself fairly well informed. I have a degree in economics and MBA from the University of Chicago. Margins exist everywhere and every actionable decision made by individuals and businesses (any organization actually) is made at these margins. As individual consumers we adjust our purchases, make every choice, based on them.

Farmland is marginal, not because of its productive capacity, but due to its relationship to the markets it serves. Consumers buy beef if the prices, relative to substitutes (chicken, pork, beans and rice) are priced in a way that consumers choose beef. Ranchers reduce herds when the cost of feed causes the price to climb, driving increases in beef prices and driving consumers to substitutes. The effect of rising beef prices on consumption are well understood and are based on marginal (that word) rates of substitution.

One other observation on the conversation here and in a couple of other threads.....

Many have expressed a faith in the "markets" ability to solve the impacts of warming. This faith in "markets" is not unlike the faith that evangelicals place in God. Neither God nor the magical operation of markets will protect us from the worst effects of warming. Fortunately, while God's actions are inscrutable, the behavior of markets have been well studied and are fairly predictable when the system is operating within normal bounds. Within these normal bounds and without interventions outside of normal market behavior, poor people starve to death. They live on the margins (that word again) and the magical market is simply not responsive to their need for food. In wealthy societies, these interventions are subsidies for food (food stamps in the U.S.). In poor regions of the earth, wealthy nations ship foodstuffs to keep deaths by starvation at acceptable levels (66 million in 2011 with another 975 million suffering from chronic malnutrition, a U.N. euphemism for slowly starving)

All systems (e.g. markets, capitalism) behave in predictable ways when operating within normal limits. All systems become highly unpredictable and are prone to failure when they are forced to operate on the margins (there it is again). AGW will be forcing our system (capitalism) to operate well outside the normal conditions in which the system developed. We should not be surprised when it behaves unpredictably, even irrationally. The markets will fail us (humanity). This system failure will require massive interventions from outside the markets. It will require a high degree of coordination across the planet, this coordination being an expression of our collective wisdom.

I remain skeptical of our ability to have wisdom drive our responses to the challenges presented by AGW. Nothing regarding our response to date would suggest my skepticism is unwarranted. To a large extent, this is due to our misplaced faith in the market.

What is interesting to me is , after reaching a summer ice free Arctic, will the SIE maximums drop in an accelerating fashion and begin to reduce the spread between a fixed minimum (summer ice free) and a declining maximum or will the spread actually stabilize for a while as SIE maximums continue to reach or nearly reach their current levels. This stabilized spread between min and max might be a tenuous equilibrium in the state of the Cryosphere until AGW begins to really punch the hell out of the Arctic winter and we see a transition towards a perennially ice free arctic.

I still think the reductions in SIE maximum will be slow and a temporarily stable Cryosphere, captured by the min/max spread, will appear. After all....BICOT! "Baby it's cold out there!"

SATire.....actually, my original question was whether we might see some of the MYI remaining in the Beaufort when we reach the annual minimum in September. This is what I meant by rebound in minimum SIE in the Beaufort. I realize I did not write this very clearly.

The second comment where I pointed out Lawrence's stupid suggestion that sea ice had rebounded followed by this ";-)" was to let you know that I got your joke.  :D

The simple retort to Lawrence's suggestion is that water freezes when it gets cold. For the time being, the Arctic temperatures drop sufficiently to cause water to freeze. My half in jest suggestion of a new measure, BICOT, is to capture this rather obvious fact and then poke fun at those who suggest a winter freeze is in any way a rebound. In fact, an increasing spread between min and max is evidence of a rapidly deteriorating arctic. If you go back to the posted graph from NSIDC, in the first ten years (the 1980's) the spread increases very little, if at all. This spread begins to grow at a fairly healthy clip after the 1980's. As new minimums are reached, it will continue to do so. When we reach a summer ice free arctic, the increase in spread will slow or stop and then (perhaps?) reverse and begin to shrink as the winter max shrinking begins to close this spread.

BICOT (Baby it's cold out there!) was a humorous jab at any purported scientist who points to the winter freeze as evidence of a rebound. I have a mental image of some real climate scientist on a lonely Greenland research post coming into his station and rubbing his hands in the middle of the dark arctic winter and saying "Baby, it's cold out there!" to his fellow scientist. Once I decided that BICOT was the name of the new measure, I spent a lot of time trying to find some real scientific terms that could be used to explain BICOT.

After a lot of trials, I came up with "Bifurcated Intra-annual Cryosphere Oscillation Trend". I am actually quite proud of this one.  ;)

"Bifurcated" captures the fact that the links between min and max SIE (a stable historic spread) have been severed due to AGW.

"Intra-annual" explains that the measure tracks the spread between min and max for each year.

"Cryosphere" is self explanatory.

"Oscillation" is the natural movement between min and max that occurs annually.

The "Trend" is the change in this spread between min and max over time.

Is there any chance that we could see a rebound in the Beaufort at the end of the melt season?
I guess you are not questioning that after the end of the melt season it will start to freeze in the Beaufort sea, are you? ;-)

But Lawrence clearly demonstrates the ice has recovered to levels not seen since the 1980's! ;-)

Months ago, I actually proposed a new metric (partially in jest) to track the relationship between the annual min and max of SIE, SIA and Piomass. This measure (BICOT) would look at the trend of the spread between the min and max for each year.

For example, this graph shows the annual spread between min/max for SIE. While there is annual variability, we see a trend as the spread between min/max is growing. This is obviously due to an accelerating melt in the summer as we rapidly approach an ice free summer arctic. The winter rebound results in SIE maximums declining less rapidly and, thus,  the spread is growing. There will be a tipping point which should occur as SIE minimums bottom out and SIE maximum drops accelerate as we move to a perennially ice free arctic.

I am not sure what this measure might actually track but it may indicate a phase state change or be totally useless.

I did work hard to come up with the measurement name {the in jest part ;-) }. BICOT stands for

"Bifurcated Intra-annual Cryosphere Oscillation Trend" or "Baby It's Cold Out There"

Looking at the various maps posted and listening to the discussion it seems ironic that the transport of ice into the Beaufort and the fractures in February as evidence of this transport due to the strong Beaufort gyre could cause this area of ice to hold up better early in the melt season. Is there any chance that we could see a rebound in the Beaufort at the end of the melt season?

Thank you for the picture of jet stream. The jet stream aligns exactly with the stalled front along the Mississippi. I've updated the status on this front on another thread. Here is copied update.

There has been a stationary front across the Mississippi River in the U.S. for the past 3 days delivering record breaking snowfalls across Iowa and Minnesota. These kinds of stalled fronts are unusual but have been occurring more and more frequently over the past few years. Normally a front like this would have already moved across the eastern half of the U.S. and entered the Atlantic.

In the last 12 hours it has begun to move slowly to the northwest! This is not simply unusual but very weird. What does the northern hemisphere jet stream look like?

Consequences / Re: Arctic Amplification and Extreme Weather
« on: May 03, 2013, 05:54:01 PM »
Meanwhile a mass of heavy rain and thunderstorms has been planted over Florida for the same three days causing flooding across the state.

Consequences / Re: Arctic Amplification and Extreme Weather
« on: May 03, 2013, 05:50:56 PM »
There has been a stationary front across the Mississippi River in the U.S. for the past 3 days delivering record breaking snowfalls across Iowa and Minnesota. These kinds of stalled fronts are unusual but have been occurring more and more frequently over the past few years. Normally a front like this would have already moved across the eastern half of the U.S. and entered the Atlantic.

In the last 12 hours it has begun to move slowly to the northwest! This is not simply unusual but very weird. What does the northern hemisphere jet stream look like?

I'm not sure how permanently people have to be displaced from their homes to be considered refugees. Certainly many refugees from wars do or intend to eventually return to their homes (if there is anything left of them).

Your comments on Phoenix made me think about how they might adapt to such conditions. In an energy constrained world, I imagine it would mean living mostly underground--so do refugees from the surface of the planet into caves or under-ground dwellings count?


Meanwhile, we seem to be having climate whiplash here in MN--snow fall records for this time of year have just been smashed in many places--up to 15 inches of heavy snow in a few hours. Could there be an Arctic connection?

That front hitting Minnesota was suppose to have moved through Chicago today bringing heavy rain. If you look at weather radar, the front has been stationary over southeast Minnesota for the last 2 days. Blocking pattern anyone? We had one of those a couple of weeks ago. It rained for days with a lot of flooding.

Chicago, by the way is sunny, cool and breezy.

How we define "climate refugees" is an interesting conundrum although, in the long run, essentially irrelevant.

Are the 200,000 people who left New Orleans after hurricane Katrina climate refugees or were they simply displaced by a severe hurricane that struck head-on a vulnerable city? What of the 100,000 who have since moved there and replaced them? How should we classify them?

My feeling is climate refugees would have to be permanent displacements of populations as the result of persistent climate changes that deliver conditions unsuitable for permanent human inhabitants. What about adaptations? What if the residents of Phoenix are able to adapt to temperatures of greater than 100F which will occur for 6 months out of the year and periods of peak temperatures in excess of 140F? I certainly would not want to live in such an environment.

I actually think the first U.S. climate refugees will come from the southwest as heat and desertification render large areas of arid land uninhabitable. It is ironic that many of the cities in the southwest are the most rapidly growing metropolitan areas in the country.

<i> it would help to have thicker lines around the land features.</i>

I agree that a more visible outline of the land would help. I've lurked here for about a year and have a very difficult time picking out features.

Pacific side SIA, Bering and Okhotsk (OK...Hot...SKedaddle) Seas, is shrinking fast.....

What's driving this?

Arctic sea ice / Re: IJIS/JAXA
« on: April 21, 2013, 09:53:31 PM »
Yes, certainly Okhotsk :

And southeastern Barents Sea.

Also Bering.

Arctic sea ice / Re: IJIS/JAXA
« on: April 21, 2013, 09:26:16 PM »

Maybe fickle but the graph sure shows a steep downward trend despite the recent slight uptick.

There is something to be said for NSIDC displaying the 5 day rolling average on their graph. Much softer curves and easier to rectify.

I agree the graph seems to suggest the possibility of a steep plunge, well past the early melts of previous years. The next couple of weeks should either confirm or assuage my fears.

Consequences / Re: Best case scenarios - Be optimistic!
« on: April 20, 2013, 12:21:39 AM »

Some already mother worked for the Canadian Government for over 20 years in Environmental Impact Assessment until she retired 10 years ago.  She's also a fundamentalist Christian belonging to a particular sect (read 'cult') that is expecting the second coming in her lifetime.  This is a woman with a degree in microbiology and a 35 year federal science career behind her.  She entirely believes in the end of the world.

Did she ever consider the possibility that the rapture already occurred and past her by?

Maybe all the really good people flew off without telling us. :-[


This would explain the bosses I have had throughout my career.

Another GIS vulcanism question.......

We know that thick sea ice insulates the water beneath it so it does not freeze despite bitterly cold air temperatures. The GIS is generally more than 2 km thick. Would this thick ice actually serve to insulate the crust to the extent that hot magma could collect under the crust and serve to weaken or thin the crust, making it even more prone to vulcanism?

Arctic sea ice / Re: IJIS/JAXA
« on: April 19, 2013, 11:16:54 PM »
If extent is dropping while SIA is holding up, does this mean the pack is spreading out? Is this a result of fracturing and refreeze?

Arctic sea ice / Re: IJIS/JAXA
« on: April 19, 2013, 11:15:07 PM »
Still very fickle, that IJIS, eh? Just like last year: lots of century breaks, followed by days of increases.

Maybe fickle but the graph sure shows a steep downward trend despite the recent slight uptick.

Why do you expect it?  Just the general trend to warmer, drier conditions in Siberian summers?  That seems reasonable, but some experts considered the 2012 fires to be unusually extreme.

Just the new normal, and the progressive warming/thawing of the permafrostmelt.

What I actually expect is for the fires to get worse and peat to get involved. Probably methane too.  :(

Over the last couple of decades, Florida has had enormous peat fires due to drought, caused by lightning strikes. In some cases the smoke from these fires have nearly transected the central part of Florida, shutting down interstates. I'm not sure whether drought in Siberia is a near term risk from global warming but, if it is, I would expect fires to get worse.

And I draw little comfort by the fact that "some experts considered the 2012 fires to be unusually extreme." After all, some experts consider the loss of sea ice in 2010 to be unusually extreme. Oh, and some experts consider the drought in the plains states to be unusually extreme. Isn't "unusually extreme" what we are expecting from AGW?

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 11, 2013, 08:04:55 PM »
Jim D, you talk a lot of sense. But there are some points where I take issue. While the prosperous west will be insulated from fluctuations in land fertility and food prices, that won't be the case everywhere.  In the rich west we can afford to import food to make up for a poor harvest. But bad weather and poor harvests have the power to impoverish people on marginal lands, and they will either migrate or starve. We neglect them at their peril, and ours.

The peril you speak of is a common concern and definitely something that will occur. Humans are hardwired in our DNA to respond to threats and countless times our ancestors came into conflict with other humans (and animals) over scare resources.  Our response has always been violence and not reasoned cooperation.

The rich and powerful will not share equitably nor will they give up their advantages except in death. So what is most likely to happen when the poor and downtrodden run out of resources and want us to share ours?  Violence, both overt and by neglect.  The rich and powerful (whether countries, corporations or individuals) are already locking down essential resources pending this coming conflict.  Look for example to the world wide rush to control arable land.  China and India are locking up land in Africa by leveraging corrupt local governments to cede them control of land currently in the hands of the poor citizens of those countries.  They will not give it back unless they lose control by violence.  The wealthy and corporations are buying large amounts of farmland all over the world as well.  Especially in the Americas.  they do not intend to relinquish this control and will take steps to protect their interests. Are they going to give up what they have to people they do not know?  Are they going to give up (in the case of the USA) 80% of their lifestyle for someone in Africa? As the old quote goes, "Civilization is 3 meals deep."

But the scenario you describe will not precipitate general collapse in any case as you are talking about the poorest and least powerful in our global community.  It sounds cruel, but these areas are largely places where the rich and powerful come to obtain resources as needed.  And they will continue to take what they need until it is gone.  The local inhabitants are not one of their concerns.  Mass starvation in many parts of the world would have no substantial impact on how the rest of the world functioned.  Civilizational collapse comes when the rich and powerful can no longer obtain the resources to maintain themselves.

Jim....I really appreciate your description regarding human behavior. I think it a plausible argument for why conflict is such a resilient feature in human history. I believe that all modern wars are essentially economic in nature, a battle for resources.

Having said this, your description of how you believe it will play out seems naive and replete with cognitive dissonance.

"Civilization is 3 meals deep."

It certainly is. Why, then, would you think that a people faced with mass starvation will honor the rules of civilization and respect a deed of ownership of agricultural land in their nation? Any nation that thinks they will be able to import food stuffs from a nation that is starving because they own the land or have some useless currency (an artifact of civilization) is foolish. In fact, don't expect to import anything from such a nation, including oil. Attempts to do this will get you killed. While a wealthy nation may have an impressive military, there is no force, short of total genocide that will keep those exports flowing.

As for the wealthy individual...they will discover they can be brought down by a single bullet, just like any of the hundreds of millions of starving people. The only difference will be they may find themselves on the menu.

"Mass starvation in many parts of the world would have no substantial impact on how the rest of the world functioned."

Ludicrous! Mass starvation in any part of the world will create a space where no assumptions held by civilization will be tenable. The U.S. or any other wealthy nation cannot reasonably expect to have access to any of the resources in any area of the world where mass starvation is a reality, not simply foodstuffs but any resource.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 11, 2013, 07:20:38 PM »
It is certainly valid to criticize opinions that are not backed up with research. I thought a link to the most recent (2012) research by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) might help inform this discussion.

It estimates that 870 million people or 12.3 % of the world population are "food insecure". The U.N. definition of food insecurity is when a person suffers from "chronic undernourishment". An estimated 66 million died from malnutrition in 2012. These current numbers are occurring in the face of fully functioning markets, substantial efforts on the part of wealthy nations to eliminate hunger and minimal impact on global agriculture by AGW.

While I would prefer to maintain an optimistic outlook (I sleep better when I can do this), it is difficult for me to imagine that these numbers won't get worse when the impacts of AGW really start to kick in.

I know there are those who argue that global agriculture will benefit from AGW. I do not count myself among those who subscribe to this. I think they are whistling past the graveyard.

As a businessman, I would like to believe that the markets (the invisible hand of Adam Smith) will overcome the challenges presented by AGW but markets are often inefficient and always amoral. After all, where is the profit in providing food to those who cannot afford it.

Well, certainly the wealthy nations will step in to prevent the approaching calamity. As was clearly demonstrated by Russia's response to a poor harvest, wealthy nations will lose the will to help others when it imposes a hardship on its citizens.

But science has always found a way. Our brightest scientists who are doing breakthrough research will certainly mitigate or eliminate entirely this problem. Hell, it's science that has gotten us in this dilemma in the first place.

Since I would like to remain gleefully optimistic, for those on this thread who are, could you please direct me to the research to support such optimism?

STERN REVIEW: The Economics of Climate Change

This report, from the UK, indicates that without mitigation, the global economic impact of AGW/CC will be an annual 5% reduction in GDP (best case), with a worst-case outlook of an annual GDP decline of 20%.  I don't think we are prepared to face a world with economic declines that severe.  Whereas, mitigating actions to reduce dependence on  fossil fuels will only result in an annual GDP decline of 1% annually.

Full pdf report:

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global
threat, and it demands an urgent global response.

Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world –
access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions
of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world

Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t
act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least
5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts
is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.
In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the
worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each

To provide context for this review, in 2008 and for the following 18 months the U.S. fell into a severe recession with a dramatic drop in GDP. Attached is a chart that captures this.

At the height of the recession (the 4th quarter of 2008) the U.S. economy shrunk by 8.9%. During this recession the U.S. unemployment rate more than doubled.

Currently in the U.S., 61 million people are at or below the poverty level. This is 19.8% of the total population. This jumped by 10 million or 2.8% as a result of the recession. 75% of the U.S. poor or 46 million people suffer from food insecurity. By definition, they don't always know where there next meal is coming from.

These are the brutal statistics in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We must keep in mind that this deterioration was caused by a one time event, an 18 month long recession. In the 2nd half of 2009, the U.S. economy entered into a period of sustained growth.

If this report is accurate, the best case scenario (annual decline in GDP of 5%) will be devastating, far worse than the recession of 2008. In the worst case scenario, the effect will be................ Well, hell, I don't want to consider this, lack both the imagination to conceive it and the words to express it.

.....rapid mass loss will result in increased seismic activity on Greenland.

I am sure I've read a couple of articles addressing the issue of rebound of the underlying ground as the mass of the GIS is reduced. As this pressure is reduced, the authors argued that seismic activity was bound to increase. If there are weak spots in the crust that are prone to vulcanism, shouldn't we expect them to become active?


Fascinating excerpt from article. I will have to read it.

This is not to say that nations like Cuba with few connections to the larger system of capitalism will not be affected. This lack of connectedness, however, and resultant self-sufficiency does provide it a resiliency or robustness that does not exist in a nation like the U.S.

In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost access to most of the oil it needed to fuel (pun intended) its economy. It is not that oil became more expensive. Due to the embargo, the oil was simply unavailable. The two years following the collapse of the Soviet Union is called the "Special Period" by Cubans.

(Link to article attached)

It is estimated that the average weight loss for residents of Havana was 15 pounds over this period. In the following two years, the city of Havana became self-sufficient in food production. Given the current life styles (relatively non-materialistic) of the average Cuban, the long term effect has been to further reduce the interconnectedness with the larger system and an increase in resilience and robustness.

Now, imagine a similar or even lesser disruption of the supply of oil to the U.S. Because of our (yes, I live in the U.S.) embeddedness in the system (dependent on trade to maintain our standard of living) our economy will suffer far more seriously.

This reality is what causes our obsessive attempts to sustain oil production and trade by maintaining a huge military presence throughout the world. If oil trade were to collapse, Cuba would be essentially unaffected. We would be devastated. The U.S. would have a "Special Period" far worse than Cuba's because of our interconnectedness.

What would be the cause of such a disruption? Why should we expect that this would occur? Since the 1980's Iraq has had three dramatic drops in oil production and export. The first occurred during the Iran/Iraq war. The second during the first Gulf War in the early 90's and the most recent during the U.S. ill advised invasion in 2003. Each time exports declined by more than 50% and it took about a decade for exports to rebound to previous levels. In fact, Iraq's peak oil production occurred in the late 70's, even though they have large proven reserves.

Imagine food pressures in areas like the Middle East where nations depend on imports to feed their citizens. The Arab Spring gave the world a taste of what this might look like. Good luck sustaining oil exports from the Middle East when a large portion of the exporting nations citizens become food insecure (a euphemism for starving) as a result of AGW.

ritter....... "I just don't see how it can be done in a fashion that in any way resembles life as we know it (at least in the developed world)."

I could not agree with you more.

There is an optimistic outlook that runs through much of this discussion and other threads on this amazing website. The optimism focuses on the wealth and resilience of the western world. Surely, we are in a better position to sustain ourselves in the face of the pressures that will result from AGW effects on capitalism. The 3rd world will certainly suffer the most. It will surprise you that this is exactly the opposite of what will happen as the capitalist system declines and/or retrenches.

Over the past 30 years, there has been some amazing research on networks and their behavior. Professor Brian Uzzi at Northwestern University in Chicago is one of many prominent researchers who have advanced this area of knowledge. He began his studies looking at ecological and biological networks and now, as a business professor, focuses on business (transaction) networks. What these researchers have proven is that all networks behave similarly (ecological, computer, business, websites etc) and the statistics that describe these network behaviors are identical.

I've attached links to two pieces of research that you might find interesting. The 2nd link is only the abstract.

"The sources and consequences of embeddedness for the economic performance of organizations: The network effect."

"Asymmetric disassembly and robustness in declining networks"

Two essential conclusions about network behavior are this:

In a growing network, (think of the expansion of capitalism over the past, say, 400 years) organizations (nodes) that are more embedded in this network (a higher number of connections or interconnectedness) benefit the most by the growth. In the case of capitalism, those nations who have the most trade links with other nations (Western Europe and North America) benefit the most by the expansion of capitalism and trade. Those nations least connected benefit the least (Cuba, North Korea, Marshall Islands, Ecuador etc.)

The second article looks at the way networks behave when declining. This process of disassembly is asymmetric. The organization (nodes) that have the highest number of connections within the network suffer the most by this decline. Just as the western world has benefited the most by the growth of capitalism, they will suffer the most by its decline. Those organizations with fewer interconnections in the system demonstrate a much higher degree of resilience or robustness. In the business world, these organizations have a much higher rate of survival while the interconnected businesses are far more likely to go bankrupt.

As you have pointed out, the developed world's way of life will suffer greater disruptions than say Cuba which, because of trade sanctions, is relatively disconnected from the network.

Consequences / Re: When and how bad?
« on: April 05, 2013, 05:39:01 AM »
To provide context as to whether the rapid changes we are seeing could result in massive loss of life, near term, due to disruptions in food production, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated in 2010 that there were 925 million hungry people in the world. The definition for hungry is difficult to pin down but it is intended to capture people who are malnourished, showing signs of physical breakdown. This is 13% of the world's population.

We can talk about how the problem is distribution or the use of crops to produce meat when it would be put to better use to feed humans but this is the system we've got and no one should expect the system to suddenly develop a lot of empathy. I would not be surprised to see 1.5 billion people starve to death in the next 20 years.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic sea ice free (extent)
« on: April 04, 2013, 01:01:57 AM »
I have some questions about using ice age as evidence of health. Does 5 YO ice mean the same thing that it did 20 years ago or even 10 years ago? Sure the ice has hung around for a while but has it been able to thicken as in the past?

If not, is this rebound since 2007 really as dramatic as the chart suggests?

Arctic sea ice / Re: Stupid Questions :o
« on: March 31, 2013, 03:50:40 PM »
A simple request from a simple person.....

Given the title of this post and recognizing I am a source of stupid questions, I think this topic is intended to allow those of us who know very little (I am certainly one of them.) to ask questions that may not make sense. I hope it will encourage new visitors to begin to develop some understanding. As such, it would help if responses to people who post here are not dismissive and derogatory. The effect will to discourage new people from visiting and asking questions.

Consequences / Re: Venus Syndrome Possibility
« on: March 28, 2013, 05:00:34 PM »
 <i>Also methane is released and quickly breaks down. </i>

Methane does break down but the process is one of oxidation resulting in one CO2 molecule and two water molecules. How does this figure in?

Consequences / Re: Venus Syndrome Possibility
« on: March 25, 2013, 04:10:01 PM »
There is another (perhaps more enlightening) way to look at the 80,000 year time frame for the Permian extinction event.

Humanity is focused on a very short time frame when compared to geologic time. We live our lives primarily in units of time marked by generations. The average human lifespan is three generations. As adults, we worry about the fates of our children and grandchildren. The more introspective may have concerns that embrace longer time frames but their are precious few of these. The least enlightened are preoccupied with whether they dine out at Applebees or Chi-Chi's this Friday.

Interestingly, Native Americans had expanded this sense of responsibility. They had a well established "seventh generation" concept that informed their decisions and choices. Every decision was made with a sense of respect of the seven generations that preceded them and a concern for the impact of the seven generations that would follow. We would be well served if we could consider such a philosophy.

Back to the 80,000 year long extinction event. Given humanity's impact on other life forms which have been documented by science, it could be argued that we are a good 20,000 years into this event, perhaps 30,000. We cannot see this because we live our lives on such a limited time frame. 200 years is history. 5000 years is ancient history. There is really no true natural environment (untouched by man) left on this planet. Wherever we have gone, other life forms have suffered and many have been driven to extinction. The pace of this extinction event is accelerating rapidly and, with the exception of some well publicized extinctions or approaching extinctions which capture our imagination (Pandas, leopards etc.), goes largely unnoticed. For example, how many of us are aware of the dramatic drops in phytoplankton levels across the planet's seas and oceans?

Early in humanity's history, our impact was regional. In North America, large mammals were driven to extinction through hunting over several thousand years after we got here. The Aborigine caused a similar extinction in Australia. We now have begun to drive extinction globally as we cut down forests, cause the acidification of the oceans and dump CO2 into our atmosphere. We are like the Siberian Traps. The only real difference is that humanity's ingenuity is bringing this extinction event more rapidly.

Consequences / Re: Venus Syndrome Possibility
« on: March 25, 2013, 03:29:29 PM »
@ Shared Humanity (post #5), with all due respect, knowing that "the entire extinction event took 80,000 years," 250 million years ago tends to lend me LESS comfort, as some of the changes, such as the recent shattering of the Arctic ice, are happening all within my lifetime.

Hi, Anonymouse......I guess I was not as clear as I wanted to be and my sense of the ironic did not come through. I believe we are speeding towards a disaster. I am not certain we can now avoid a runaway greenhouse effect. The effect might not be as severe as the Permian extinction event which wiped out maybe 98% of all life on the planet but it will be a large extinction event which will be far more destructive of large life forms than say, bacteria. Mammals will be decimated. Will humans avoid this fate? I'm not sure. We will certainly last longer then the elephant or other majestic mammals. Our technology will allow us to, perhaps, burrow underground. If we do survive (I have my doubts due to the simple fact that we are so dependent on this complex web of life which we generally ignore at our own risk.) there will be far fewer of us.

My optimism about a Venus type end result rests in the way the planet rebounded from this Permian extinction event which was triggered by the million year long Siberian traps volcanic activity. All life was not extinguished. The experiment with life on this planet will continue. It will take tens of millions of years for life to rebound. Hopefully, earth will have learned a lesson and avoid previous mistakes with this experiment. Clearly, intelligent (????) life forms can be destructive. Either avoid that altogether or get them smarter, faster. (Perhaps just don't give them thumbs.)

I feel good that while we are delivering an amazing gut punch to mother earth, she can take it. Our (humanity's) fear that we could destroy all of life is fueled by the same hubris that has gotten us into this predicament in the first place. It is a pity that humanity's crowning accomplishment will be the first mass extinction event caused by a life form.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Cryosphere Today 2013 Arctic SIA maximum
« on: March 24, 2013, 02:01:55 PM »
Isn't this early for a SIA max?

Arctic sea ice / Re: Cryosphere Today 2013 Arctic SIA maximum
« on: March 23, 2013, 03:36:17 PM »
I think that's a great graph! It provides a visual which suggests confidence intervals going out into the future for the year.

Consequences / Re: Venus Syndrome Possibility
« on: March 22, 2013, 07:57:04 PM »
I am also optimistic that earth will not suffer such a fate. I think that earth's abundant atmosphere and water causes the planet to be more resilient and able to bounce back from dramatic warming events. There is actual evidence in the geological record to support this but it is not necessarily good news for humans.

250 million years ago there was a dramatic warming on earth. Geologists have been able to prove that CO2 and methane levels rose catastrophically. They've finally been able to identify the triggering event, a huge volcanic eruption in Siberia (the Siberian traps) This flood basalt eruption lasted 1 million years.

The warming was so severe that it resulted in the extinction of between 90% and 95% of all life forms. This extinction event was far more severe than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The fossil records even have served to explain how the extinction event played out. The initial impact of the eruption was to kill a substantial portion of plant life due to a rapid cooling (volcanic winter). This extinction of plants occurred on both land and sea. The CO2 uptake was reduced and CO2 levels began to rise followed by a huge increase of methane as methane clathrate thawed. The rapidly rising temperatures due to the greenhouse effect caused a 2nd major extinction on land and sea. We may take some comfort in knowing the entire extinction event took 80,000 years.

This doesn't mean this is our fate but it does show that runaway global warming can happen.

they can't get beyond their fundamental, and deeply visceral attachment to the current system and it's seeming advantages.

When in reality we need to recognize that our current economic system is broken. And always has been.

At it's heart is the need the system has for growth. And it is truly a need, not just greed...

Sound idealistic, utopian? Actually it is desperately needed brutal practicality. Utopia may be our only chance.

We need to decouple all human psychology from material things. Anyone have a good idea of how to do that?

I have no idea how to do this but agree with your analysis. Capitalism is a "growth system". It's underlying logic demands it. As with all growth systems (think of the way compounding interest works) the result is exponential growth.

One other example that helps drive home the point that growth is absolutely essential to the system is when capitalist countries have drops in fertility rates such that they fall below the replacement rate. These countries worry and fret and always pass laws that seek to increase the fertility rates. A growing population is a requirement.

The behavior of growth systems are well understood and there are countless ecological studies. A predator population will expand rapidly when faced with a seemingly endless prey. The population will expand beyond the ability of the prey population to support it. The prey population collapses, quickly followed by the predator population.

Our dilemma is this.....

Growth systems (capitalism) constrained by a finite resource (mother earth) with significant lags in feedback loops (AGW) generally crash. Efforts to delay the crash can be effective. For example, technological advances can serve to sustain capitalism. The Green Revolution would be an excellent example. These advances only serve to perpetuate the exponential growth (Look at the current population trends to understand this.) The result is the inevitable crash is even more severe.

Imagine a lab experiment with a liter container of food available for bacteria. The lab tech places a single bacteria into the container and it begins to multiply exponentially, doubling its population in each reproductive cycle. The population of bacteria has grown until it has consumed exactly half of the available food and everything seems fine. It however has only one last reproductive cycle available before all food is depleted and the entire population dies. Now, suppose there are some real smart bacteria that suddenly realize their near term fate. They look outside their liter bottle and discover another liter bottle filled with food. They announce the discovery to the masses. Have no fear we have doubled the resources available to our civilization. We are saved. Seems logical until you realize that they have only postponed the crash by one reproductive cycle and that crash is even more severe.

Will the likely inevitable crash completely wipe out humanity? Not likely. Examples in nature generally show that these types of systems cycle through booms and busts. We'll survive but it will not be pretty.

There is an alternative fate for these growth systems and the preferable fate for ours is to arrive at a "dynamic equilibrium". We better get working on this.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Stupid Questions :o
« on: March 22, 2013, 12:24:12 AM »
Donna.....Goat's head is a floe of MYI that has been hanging out in the CAB for several years??? Someone posted an animation of the ice moving and it looked like this MYI was moving quickly towards Fram.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:50:11 PM »
Are there any scientists or groups that are tracking the trends in permafrost extent? I have seen snapshots of the current extent of permafrost and read reserach here indicating that the boundaries are moving north. Is there an historical record? Could this trend north be recreated to get an annual or by decade retreat picture? This would allow us to measure the square kilometers of melted permafrost that has and is being made available for CO2 and methane release.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Stupid Questions :o
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:37:45 PM »

Don't know if the basin is filling (I would think not) but is that needed for the Atlantic water that sinks into the Arctic Basin to impact melt? Could the ridges, especially the Lomonosov Ridge cause this warm salty water to upswell and cause melt under the icecap? I have been unintelligently luking here for about a year. There is a thin ice feature in the CAB (I think it is called the Laptev bite) which seems to parallel this ridge. Could this ridge be forcing the warm salty water up and be the engine behind the Laptev bite?

Again a question for the better informed.

Neven, would it be possible for some of the resident experts to visit here and scan our stupid questions? All of these "fresh eyes" may stumble onto something (besides our tongues) that is worth a more thorough discussion on an expert thread.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Stupid Questions :o
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:26:36 PM »

As an uninformed lurker myself, this is an interesting question. The cracks (seeming to originate near the coasts) have been occurring over the past month, since Feb10. It would seem to be not that difficult to determine if a correlation exists between the moon's location and tidal impact with the crack formation. I think only one of resident experts could look at this. It is certainly beyond me.

The Fram express is now a bullet train?

Arctic sea ice / Re: Stupid Questions :o
« on: March 19, 2013, 06:23:12 PM »
OLN.....Absolutely agree. I have been facilitating problem solving groups for nearly 15 years in manufacturing. We always want several pairs of "fresh eyes" on the teams. These are people that know nothing about the process.

Old Leatherneck....

Can't be sure but I believe 2013 will be much like 2012. England will suffer torrential rains. The drought will spread in the western U.S. and crop failures will be widespread. The eastern half of the U.S., particularly the Northeast will be wet and relatively mild.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: March 16, 2013, 06:21:42 AM »
Dromicosuchus....  How can such a clever species be so stupid?

It isn't easy. There is a lot of collective effort that goes into this.

Consequences / Re: Phoenix may not survive climate change
« on: March 14, 2013, 11:42:33 PM »
Phoenix will not survive climate change. The question is not whether Phoenix fails as an American city, it is when. My guess is the city will fail completely by 2040.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: March 13, 2013, 04:31:49 PM »
Well, looking at the ESAS.jpg image, you don't need to be a rocket scientist (and I'm not) to observe that elevated concentrations of methane occur along the coasts and wherever the seas are relatively shallow in stark contrast to the deep water found in the center of CAB and other deep trenches.

Question. Does methane have the same blanketing effect in water that it has in the atmosphere? Does supersaturated water retain heat more readily?

And if the answer to this question is yes, (I hope it isn't) could releases of methane in the shallow seas result in regional runaway situations where methane releases accelerate the warming of the seas which then, in turn, trigger more methane releases?

Thank you Benjamin for posting this topic. It speaks directly to my need to "do something".

Unfortunately, I do not believe that appeals to individuals to alter their choices is an effective approach, certainly not in the U.S. where, as Neven mentioned, our sense of personal freedom "has caused everyone to want to do as they please and not let anyone tell them anything about what they should do." I also believe that individuals approaching others, even if effective, will not cause the rapid changes in behavior needed.

I actually feel that causing the public to enter into conversations about the very real and deleterious impacts of AGW, occurring right now, as well as the causes and potential solutions would be far more effective. We should use existing channels (ie. traditional media) to accomplish this. How can we help the media to play this role and create an environment that creates and sustains these conversations?

One of the obstacles is we are simply struggling to establish solid "cause/effect" links between global warming and changing weather. A second obstacle is directing local media to research that is establishing these links.

The scientific community is working on the first of these. Three climate scientists, Charles H. Greene, Jennifer Francis and Bruce C. Monger wrote an article in the scientific journal "Oceanography" that stated a "warming global climate that melts sea ice in the Arctic is driving changes to the jet stream — upper atmospheric winds that shape weather across North America — and helped create the conditions that mutated Hurricane Sandy into a hybrid storm".

Truly encouraging is the fact that mainstream media picked this up and is reporting it. It is not by accident that a New Jersey newspaper picked this one up.

I am sure that any media whose audience is directly affected by weather changes would do the same if they had the research in front of them. Would it make sense for there to be an active effort here to steer local media to relevant research? Any research speaking about drought impacts in the plains would likely get reported in newspapers in this region. We could build political and policy momentum by doing this.

I do not believe ASI Forum should be involved in anything that resembles advocacy. It would open up this site to criticism and undermine its current role and impact. Besides, efforts to link media to research would be far more effective if the person doing this resided in the impacted region.

What do you think? I want to get this started and yet I do not have the skills to identify the relevant research.

Neven.....could this site start a new category where summary topics address "cause/effect" links between AGW and changing weather in a region. These summary topics could then be used to capture relevant research which establishes these links and serve to support targeted media campaigns in specific regions.


If midwest farmers understood the direct link between AGW and failing crops....WOW!

If Arizona residents understood the direct link between global warming and the worsening water crisis....WOW!

If New England residents understood the direct link between global warming and the propagation of Nor'easters.....WOW!

You would have a dramatic shift in political and policy pressure and trigger changes in consumer behavior.

Pages: 1 ... 78 79 [80] 81