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AbruptSLR

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Modelling the Anthropocene
« on: July 05, 2015, 11:24:49 PM »
With a refreshed perspective from my 6-week break from posting, I have decided to focus for a while on emphasizing the nature, reality and implications of the Anthropocene; as examining mankind's decision making processes can no longer be marginalized by science if we are to reasonably understand our increasingly dominant impact on nature.  In this light, I have made new posts to:  "The Early Anthropocene" thread (here: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,852.0.html ); and I am opening three new threads in this Science Folder, beginning with this thread on "Modelling the Anthropocene", as well as two other threads entitled: "Anthropogenic Existential Risks" (here: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1307.0.html ) and "Adapting to the Anthropocene" (here: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1308.0.html ). 
This new "Modelling the Anthropocene" thread expands beyond the hard physical science's examination of the Anthropocene, to embrace what the Germans call Geisteswissenschaften, or "human sciences"; within the rigorous, reasoned framework of coupled socioeconomic & climate change models.  This thread was inspired by the new Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) currently being developed within the IPCC's framework to interact with the Recommended Concentration Pathways (RCPs).  However, I plan to expand beyond the IPCC framework to discuss such topics as: information technology, social science, economic theory, political science, palaeoenvironmental sciences, historiography, etc. all of which help us to understand the past (also see the "Defining the Anthropocene" thread), and to model the future, Anthropocene Era. 
To put the Anthropocene into perspective, the linked article by Joe Romm, points out that in 1995 Richard Leaky warned that homo sapiens is now the greatest agent for global catastrophe and is the most likely cause of the ongoing Holocene Extinction (The Sixth Extinction), which, puts the human species at risk of extinction (also see the "Existential Risk for Mankind" thread).
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/01/3653348/sixth-extinction/
Extract: "“Homo sapiens is poised to become the greatest catastrophic agent since a giant asteroid collided with the Earth 65,000,000 years ago, wiping out half the world’s species in a geological instant.” So wrote anthropologist Richard Leakey in his 1995 book, “The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind.”
Because of the vital dependence we have on the “ecosystem services” provided by the rest of nature, Leakey warned, “unrestrained, Homo sapiens might not only be the agent of the sixth extinction, but also risks being one of its victims.”"
To add prospective to the risks that mankind is taking that it might fall victim to "The Sixth Extinction", I provide the first attached image from the World Wildlife Fund that shows that Homo sapiens already use the equivalent of 1.5 Earths to support our consumption.

(see the first attached image)

For further perspective on why such an interdisciplinary (Geisteswissenschaften) consideration of the Anthropocene is merited, I provide the following link & extracts from the Slate article by Brad Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz (January 2015), "There’s No Place Like Home: Science, information, and politics in the Anthropocene", or: "Toto, we’re not in an era of simple scientific experimentation anymore."

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/01/science_information_and_politics_in_the_anthropocene_or_the_age_of_humans.html

Extract: "First: Science ain’t what it used to be. Our ideal of science is of a highly structured activity for establishing cause-and-effect relationships that can be tested in the field and the laboratory. Now the focus is increasingly on computational models and scenarios aimed at exploring complex phenomena (such as climate change) that unfold on scales from the global to the molecular. Second: Information, which used to be scarce and closely guarded, is now everywhere, accessible to everyone. Once, the Catholic Church had a lock on what counted as knowledge and its interpretation. Then scientists took over. Today no individual or institution can ever have a monopoly on knowledge or expertise. Third: Therefore, the boundary between authoritative knowledge on one hand, and the subjective worlds of policy, ethics, and even religion on the other, grows increasingly fuzzy and meaningless. 
Taken individually, any of these changes would be a significant challenge to our current models of rational policymaking based on scientific principles; as a whole, they signal the most profound shift in social and cultural understanding of the role of science since the Scientific Revolution and the early Enlightenment, with its emphasis on formal knowledge as a basis for solving problems.

...

No one can replicate global environmental conditions in such a way as to experimentally test climate change. For such complex systems, the best we can do is create complicated computer models. But creating a model necessarily involves generating a set of rules that determines what we include in the model and what we exclude. And any set of rules that enables us to model a complex system that is coherent necessarily gives us a model that is partial and arbitrary—hence the common refrain that “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” We can use the model to generate multiple scenarios of the future that are consistent with scientific understanding, but we cannot have the underlying system itself. The complexity of the Anthropocene—in which, for example, climate change is an emergent phenomenon of 300 years of industrialism—is not subject to the sort of verifiable and predictive understanding that characterized science of the sort that Copernicus, Newton, or even Einstein practiced.
….
Does anyone out there think that radically transforming the global energy system will be easier and more predictable than turning Iraq into a democracy? Or that the evidence for doing so is more compelling than the evidence in favor of eliminating Saddam Hussein? Remember, in the Anthropocene, everything is more complicated. Our computer models can give us a thousand scenarios of how the climate may change. But remember that global warming is an unintended consequence of 300 years of industrialism—why would we think that equally momentous unintended consequences would not accompany the enormous social changes pursued in our effort to control the future behavior of the climate?
There is indeed a cruel dilemma here: In order for the science to matter, it must be heard; in order to be heard, it must be translated into catastrophic visions and simplistic policy formulations that are literally absurd abstractions of the complexity that we inhabit. Thus, the third condition of the Anthropocene: Science moves from being a mutually accepted foundation for debating action in the world to being the tool of one or another group of partisans, wielded in the settings of politics as if it were as clear and inescapable as the equations that Newton used to describe falling objects. The necessary oversimplification, urgent appeal to fear and insecurity, insistence on predictive certainty, and direct linkage to an explicit social agenda that would create huge new groups of winners and losers (and is thus inherently divisive) obliterate the boundary between science and politics.
What we will need above all to manage complexity in the Anthropocene is humility all around. We are not in Kansas anymore, where things are simple, the truth is clear, and we know what we know. Everything really is connected to everything else now, and the biggest mistake we can make is to focus too narrowly on one thing or one way of doing things. That’s the most important lesson of the abject failure of climate change policy and politics, and it’s one that we must learn if we are to effectively confront the new world that we have and will continue to create. Climate change is not a problem of our old way of doing things—it’s a symptom of our new condition."

For the end of this first post in this "Modelling the Anthropocene" thread, I note that the second attached image illustrates how risk is the product of probability (frequency) times (X) consequences (magnitude); therefore the greatest risk to society lays well to the right of the most probable climate change scenario.  I note that the scientific consensus probability density function, PDF, for global warming may likely skew to the right as: (a) we continue on an unsustainably high pathway for anthropogenic radiative forcing and (b) we learn more about the probabilities of high climate sensitivity.  Lastly, I note that the scientific consensus slope of the consequence curve may likely become steeper, particularly as more scientists acknowledge the true risks of abrupt sea level rise, ASLR.
 

« Last Edit: July 06, 2015, 12:09:15 AM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 12:20:31 AM »
The first linked reference (& associated images) discusses the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) & world hunger.  The SSPs are formulated to be used with the RCPs & the Hasegawa (2015) emphasizes that to provide more food supply, more refrigeration & transportation will be used which will further accelerate climate change:

Tomoko Hasegawa et al (2015), "Scenarios for the risk of hunger in the twenty-first century using Shared Socioeconomic Pathways", Environ. Res. Lett. 10 014010

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/10/1/014010/article
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/10/1/014010/pdf/1748-9326_10_1_014010.pdf

Abstract: "Shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) are being developed internationally for cross-sectoral assessments of climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation. These are five scenarios that include both qualitative and quantitative information for mitigation and adaptation challenges to climate change. In this study, we quantified scenarios for the risk of hunger in the 21st century using SSPs, and clarified elements that influence future hunger risk. There were two primary findings: (1) risk of hunger in the 21st-century greatly differed among five SSPs; and (2) population growth, improvement in the equality of food distribution within a country, and increases in food consumption mainly driven by income growth greatly influenced future hunger risk and were important elements in its long-term assessment."

See also:
http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/news/60936#
https://www2.cgd.ucar.edu/research/iconics/publications/ssps


Extract: "SSP1, a scenario of "sustainability" assumes low population growth, high economic growth, and good education and governance, as well as high levels of international cooperation, technological development and environmental awareness. The "fragmentation" scenario SSP3, on the other hand, shows a world where population growth is high but economic growth is low and there are regionalization, low levels of education and governance, and low environmental awareness. SSP2 lies midway between SSP1 and SSP3, while SSP4 is a scenario of inequality and assumes high-income countries have an SSP1 type-outlook whilst low-income countries experience SSP3. Finally, SSP5 sees low population growth, high economic growth and high human development but low environmental awareness and great dependence on fossil fuels.
"Scenarios for the risk of hunger in this study were more optimistic than those in existing research," said Hasegawa. "One reason was the incorporation of improved equality of food distribution, which was not previously considered. This indicates that inequality of food distribution greatly influences long-term assessments of hunger risk."

The SSPs do not include climate change but can be combined with representative concentration pathways (RCPs) to account for differences in climate change and climate policy. Other researchers have combined models of climate with agricultural and economic models to assess how climate change is likely to affect food supply; this approach does not allow for social welfare, political and institutional factors, however."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2015, 12:31:12 AM »
For more background on the IPCC's Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, SSPs, I provide the following linked information:
http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/yournews/61208
Extract: "Climate experts will meet near Vienna, Austria, on 18-20 May 2015 at an Expert Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to discuss and further develop new socioeconomic scenarios as shared tools for climate research.
Experts from the climate change research community will meet with representatives of the IPCC at the meeting hosted by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria."
Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP):
https://secure.iiasa.ac.at/web-apps/ene/SspDb/dsd?Action=htmlpage&page=about
SSP Database, 2012 - 2015
Available at: https://tntcat.iiasa.ac.at/SspDb

See also:
http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/150518-IPCC-scenarios.html
http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/Energy/150518_IPCC_Scenarios_Expert_V2.html


Elmar Kriegler, Jae Edmonds, Stéphane Hallegatte, Kristie L. Ebi, Tom Kram, Keywan Riahi, Harald Winkler, Detlef P. van Vuuren (2014), "A new scenario framework for climate change research: the concept of shared climate policy assumptions", Climatic Change , Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 401-414, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0971-5


http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-013-0971-5

Abstract: "The new scenario framework facilitates the coupling of multiple socioeconomic reference pathways with climate model products using the representative concentration pathways. This will allow for improved assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation. Assumptions about climate policy play a major role in linking socioeconomic futures with forcing and climate outcomes. The paper presents the concept of shared climate policy assumptions as an important element of the new scenario framework. Shared climate policy assumptions capture key policy attributes such as the goals, instruments and obstacles of mitigation and adaptation measures, and introduce an important additional dimension to the scenario matrix architecture. They can be used to improve the comparability of scenarios in the scenario matrix. Shared climate policy assumptions should be designed to be policy relevant, and as a set to be broad enough to allow a comprehensive exploration of the climate change scenario space."


Also for another example of the food supply risks through 2040, see:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/society-will-collapse-by-2040-due-to-catastrophic-food-shortages-says-study-10336406.html

Extract: "A scientific model has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to catastrophic food shortages if policies do not change.
The model, developed by a team at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute, does not account for society reacting to escalating crises by changing global behaviour and policies.
However the model does show that our current way of life appears to be unsustainable and could have dramatic worldwide consequences."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2015, 12:34:09 AM »
The following two linked sources discuss other Social-Ecological System Dynamics Modeling Efforts


JA Dearing et al (31 March 2015), "Social-ecological systems in the Anthropocene: The need for integrating social and biophysical records at regional scales", The Anthropocene Review, doi:10.1177/2053019615579128.

http://anr.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/04/24/2053019615579128.abstract

Abstract: "Understanding social-ecological system dynamics is a major research priority for sustainable management of landscapes, ecosystems and resources. But the lack of multi-decadal records represents an important gap in information that hinders the development of the research agenda. Without improved information on the long-term and complex interactions between causal factors and responses, it will be difficult to answer key questions about trends, rates of change, tipping points, safe operating spaces and pre-impact conditions. Where available long-term monitored records are too short or lacking, palaeoenvironmental sciences may provide continuous multi-decadal records for an array of ecosystem states, processes and services. Combining these records with conventional sources of historical information from instrumental monitoring records, official statistics and enumerations, remote sensing, archival documents, cartography and archaeology produces an evolutionary framework for reconstructing integrated regional histories. We demonstrate the integrated approach with published case studies from Australia, China, Europe and North America."


http://geographical.co.uk/opinion/item/490-neoliberal-nightmare

Extract: "This is where ‘geography’ can make a difference by envisioning new political systems of governance, enabling collective action and with more equal distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2015, 12:48:34 AM »
Research shows that while people may enjoy uncertainties in their various pursuits; they do not like uncertainty in the things that they pay for.  Therefore, when modeling the Anthropocene Era it is critical identify the ever-growing probability of clear indisputable climate change consequence signal.

For decades the main climate change debate has focused on the modeling how much the global mean surface temperature will rise by either 2050 or 2100 (see discussion in the following to linked threads: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1053.0.html & http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1020.0.html ).  However, most people do not think globally on a 100-yr scale, they think locally on no-better than an annual scale; which translated into meaning that people care about local weather events that have relatively high variability/uncertainties when forecasting over any given year (let alone over decades).

However, extreme local temperature events appear to increase exponentially with increasing global mean surface temperature, so that the probability of an extreme heat event doubles when GMT increases from 1.5C to 2C.  Furthermore, I note that while currently extreme climate change influenced increases water cycle events (droughts, floods, etc) are harder to separate from the natural variability; if solar radiation management is implemented after 2050, then one can expect the anthropogenic water cycle signal to accelerate in the same manner that steam builds-up in a covered pot even though one reduced the flame beneath the pot when one put the lid on the pot.

Furthermore, the linked reference indicates that sea level rise will provide the earliest time of emergence of the climate change signal from natural variability.

Shuang Yi, Wenke Sun, Kosuke Heki and An Qian (2015), "An increase in the rate of global mean sea level rise since 2010", Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/2015GL063902

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL063902/abstract?utm_content=buffer63d49&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Abstract: "The global mean sea level (GMSL) was reported to have dropped 5 mm due to the 2010/11 La Niña and have recovered in one year. With longer observations, it is shown that the GMSL went further up to a total amount of 11.6 mm by the end of 2012, excluding the 3.0 mm/yr background trend. A reconciled sea level budget, based on observations by Argo project, altimeter and gravity satellites, reveals that the true GMSL rise has been masked by ENSO-related fluctuations and its rate has increased since 2010. After extracting the influence of land water storage, it is shown that the GMSL have been rising at a rate of 4.4 ± 0.5 mm/yr for more than three years, due to an increase in the rate of both land ice loss and steric change."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2015, 12:54:38 AM »
The following reference (& associated image) provides an example of modelling the media "echo chamber" effect on the US climate policy networks:

Lorien Jasny, Joseph Waggle & Dana R. Fisher (2015), "An empirical examination of echo chambers in US climate policy networks", Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2666

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2666.html
or
http://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2666.epdf?referrer_access_token=nSYWIAIgXTg3SbgGS9WZOtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PyFjo3Oq2nQJln5FjBLk0cwwBSR3GffbfkzQczShetpWKobpiby_EuBhzqCbuXAf2VXNvLQ4qdtNGJnANCRSzb5hDqnE5efrOaMd3NOBGFoYtRDnHeavDrzovnm-AsiWWT36Bd5pgxuQ_-S3_qFKWOHB35fECpX0r63NswrymhDBgcpBNpIG3lDm7YbACIzkY%3D&tracking_referrer=thinkprogress.org

Abstract: "Diverse methods have been applied to understand why science continues to be debated within the climate policy domain. A number of studies have presented the notion of the ‘echo chamber’ to model and explain information flows across an array of social settings, finding disproportionate connections among ideologically similar political communicators. This paper builds on these findings to provide a more formal operationalization of the components of echo chambers. We then empirically test their utility using survey data collected from the community of political elites engaged in the contentious issue of climate politics in the United States. Our survey period coincides with the most active and contentious period in the history of US climate policy, when legislation regulating carbon dioxide emissions had passed through the House of Representatives and was being considered in the Senate. We use exponential random graph (ERG) modelling to demonstrate that both the homogeneity of information (the echo) and multi-path information transmission (the chamber) play significant roles in policy communication. We demonstrate that the intersection of these components creates echo chambers in the climate policy network. These results lead to some important conclusions about climate politics, as well as the relationship between science communication and policymaking at the elite level more generally."



See also:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/27/3662739/climate-change-echo-chambers/
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 12:54:05 AM »
The following linked reference has relatively cheery findings with regard to the stability of marine methane hydrates for the next 100-years; unless, Wallmann et al. (2012) proves to be too conservative w.r.t. projected methane emissions:

Kerstin Kretschmer, Arne Biastoch, Lars Rüpke & Ewa Burwicz (May 2015), "Modeling the fate of methane hydrates under global warming", Global Biogeochemical Cycles, DOI: 10.1002/2014GB005011

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GB005011/abstract

Abstract: "Large amounts of methane hydrate locked up within marine sediments are vulnerable to climate change. Changes in bottom water temperatures may lead to their destabilization and the release of methane into the water column or even the atmosphere. In a multimodel approach, the possible impact of destabilizing methane hydrates onto global climate within the next century is evaluated. The focus is set on changing bottom water temperatures to infer the response of the global methane hydrate inventory to future climate change. Present and future bottom water temperatures are evaluated by the combined use of hindcast high-resolution ocean circulation simulations and climate modeling for the next century. The changing global hydrate inventory is computed using the parameterized transfer function recently proposed by Wallmann et al. (2012). We find that the present-day world's total marine methane hydrate inventory is estimated to be 1146 Gt of methane carbon. Within the next 100 years this global inventory may be reduced by ∼0.03% (releasing ∼473 Mt methane from the seafloor). Compared to the present-day annual emissions of anthropogenic methane, the amount of methane released from melting hydrates by 2100 is small and will not have a major impact on the global climate. On a regional scale, ocean bottom warming over the next 100 years will result in a relatively large decrease in the methane hydrate deposits, with the Arctic and Blake Ridge region, offshore South Carolina, being most affected."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2015, 01:12:23 PM »
The linked article illustrates the value that social scientists bring to the table for critiquing potential approaches to addressing our current anthropogenic driven situation:

Frank W. Geels, Andy McMeekin, Josephine Mylan & Dale Southerton (September 2015), "A critical appraisal of Sustainable Consumption and Production research: The reformist, revolutionary and reconfiguration positions", Global Environmental Change, Volume 34, Pages 1–12, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.04.013

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000813

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0959378015000813/1-s2.0-S0959378015000813-main.pdf?_tid=6ca2c534-27bb-11e5-b0b8-00000aacb362&acdnat=1436612344_fec7fe12dfeb222fdbb8ec7165ba3f63

Abstract: "This conceptual review article provides a critical appraisal of Sustainable Consumption and Production research, which is currently framed by two generic positions. First, the ‘reformist’ position, which focuses on firms pursuing green eco-innovations and consumers buying eco-efficient products, represents the political and academic orthodoxy. Second, the ‘revolutionary’ position, which is a radical critique of the mainstream, advocates the abolishment of capitalism, materialism, and consumerism, and promotes values such as frugality, sufficiency, and localism. We find this dichotomous debate problematic, because it is intellectually stifling and politically conservative (in its outcomes). To move beyond this dichotomy, we propose a third position, ‘reconfiguration’, which focuses on transitions in socio-technical systems and daily life practices and accommodates new conceptual frameworks. For each of the three positions, we discuss: (1) the scale and type of change, (2) views on consumption and production in exemplary approaches, (3) underlying theoretical, epistemological and normative orientations, (4) policy implications, and (5) critical appraisal. The conclusion compares the three positions, provides arguments for the fruitfulness of the reconfiguration-position and offers four critical reflections about future Sustainable Consumption and Production research agendas."

Extract: "The reconfiguration position accords with Urry’s (2010) call for social scientists to articulate a middle way between approaches that focus either on macro-contexts (the nature of capitalism, nature-society interactions, modernity) or on individuals (choices, attitudes, motivations). Instead, Urry (2010) suggests that that a sociology of climate change (and sustainable consumption and production more broadly) ‘‘is not a question of changing what individuals do or do not do but changing whole systems of economic, technological and social practice. Systems are crucial here and not individual behaviour’’ (Urry, 2010). In line with this call, the reconfiguration position argues that SCP-research and policy should focus on the transformation of socio-technical systems and daily life practices in domains such as mobility, food, and energy provision and use (Shove, 2003; Elzen et al., 2004; Tukker et al., 2007). This unit of analysis is important, because mobility (automobile and air transport), food (meat and dairy), and domestic energy consumption (heating/cooling, lighting, washing, showering, appliances) account for 70–80% of lifecycle impacts in industrialized countries (Tukker et al., 2010)."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2015, 01:31:21 PM »
The linked article applies systems analysis using historical elasticities to estimate what life expectancies, & life styles, that can be achieved in Africa, Centrally Planned Asia & South Asia; while remaining within the AR5 stated carbon budgets (which probably err on the side of reduced public safety):

William F. Lamb & Narasimha D. Rao (July 2015), "Human development in a climate-constrained world: What the past says about the future", Global Environmental Change, Volume 33, Pages 14–22, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.03.010


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000473


Abstract: "Energy consumption is necessary for the delivery of human development by supporting access to basic needs, services and infrastructure. Given prevailing technologies and the high degree of inertia in practical rates of decarbonisation, growth in energy consumption from rising global living standards may drive consequent greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In this paper the ‘development as usual’ GHG emissions impact of achieving high levels of life expectancy, access to basic needs and continued economic growth are projected to the mid-century using historical elasticities of development and energy consumption in 3 regions – Africa, Centrally Planned Asia, and South Asia. The results suggest that long life expectancy and high levels of access to basic needs are achievable at lower levels of emissions than continued economic growth, but will consume a substantial share of the global budget associated with a 2 °C climate goal."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2015, 01:50:04 PM »
The linked article discusses extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) for sub-national impacts, adaption and vulnerability studies:

Syeda Mariya Absar & Benjamin L. Preston (July 2015), "Extending the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for sub-national impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability studies", Global Environmental Change, Volume 33, Pages 83–96, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.04.004

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000564

Abstract: "The exploration of alternative socioeconomic futures is an important aspect of understanding the potential consequences of climate change. While socioeconomic scenarios are common and, at times essential, tools for the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and integrated assessment modeling research communities, their approaches to scenario development have historically been quite distinct. However, increasing convergence of impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and integrated assessment modeling research in terms of scales of analysis suggests there may be value in the development of a common framework for socioeconomic scenarios. The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways represents an opportunity for the development of such a common framework. However, the scales at which these global storylines have been developed are largely incommensurate with the sub-national scales at which impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and, increasingly, integrated assessment modeling studies are conducted. The objective of this study was to develop sub-national and sectoral extensions of the global SSP storylines in order to identify future socioeconomic challenges for adaptation for the U.S. Southeast. A set of nested qualitative socioeconomic storyline elements, integrated storylines, and accompanying quantitative indicators were developed through an application of the Factor–Actor–Sector framework. In addition to revealing challenges and opportunities associated with the use of the SSPs as a basis for more refined scenario development, this study generated sub-national storyline elements and storylines that can subsequently be used to explore the implications of alternative sub-national socioeconomic futures for the assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2015, 02:01:00 PM »
The linked article uses systems analysis to discuss how difficult, and how important, it is to reduce the contributions of non-carbon dioxide gases to achieving deep mitigation scenarios:

David E.H.J. Gernaat, Katherine Calvin, Paul L. Lucas, Gunnar Luderer, Sander A.C. Otto, Shilpa Rao, Jessica Strefler & Detlef P. van Vuuren (July 2015), "Understanding the contribution of non-carbon dioxide gases in deep mitigation scenarios", Global Environmental Change, Volume 33, Pages 142–153, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.04.010


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000709

Abstract: "In 2010, the combined emissions of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and the fluorinated gasses (F-gas) accounted for 20–30% of Kyoto emissions and about 30% of radiative forcing. Current scenario studies conclude that in order to reach deep climate targets (radiative forcing of 2.8 W/m2) in 2100, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will need to be reduced to zero or negative. However, studies indicated that non-CO2 emissions seem to be have less mitigation potential. To support effective climate policy strategies, an in-depth assessment was made of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emission and their sources in achieving an ambitious climate target. Emission scenarios were assessed that had been produced by six integrated assessments models, which contributed to the scenario database for the fifth IPCC report. All model scenarios reduced emissions from energy-related sectors, largely resulting from structural changes and end-of-pipe abatement technologies. However, emission reductions were much less in the agricultural sectors. Furthermore, there were considerable differences in abatement potential between the model scenarios, and most notably in the agricultural sectors. The paper shows that better exploration of long-term abatement potential of non-CO2 emissions is critical for the feasibility of deep climate targets."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2015, 02:21:03 PM »
The linked open access reference uses systems analysis to discuss potentially more effective pathways to help conserve biodiversity through 2020:

R. Hill, G.A. Dyer, L.-M. Lozada-Ellison, A. Gimona, J. Martin-Ortega, J. Munoz-Rojas & I.J. Gordon (September 2015), "A social–ecological systems analysis of impediments to delivery of the Aichi 2020 Targets and potentially more effective pathways to the conservation of biodiversity", Global Environmental Change, Volume 34, Pages 22–34, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.04.005


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000576

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0959378015000576/1-s2.0-S0959378015000576-main.pdf?_tid=f0f837e2-27c5-11e5-be84-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1436616861_407c9f5f9a39ca46c19c0fb21f79cc33

Abstract: "The Aichi 2020 Targets, under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), aim to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020, in order to ensure that ecosystems continue to provide essential services. Here we apply a social–ecological systems analysis to provide insight into the diverse system interactions that pose impediments to delivery of the Aichi Targets. We applied an analytical framework of pair-wise exchanges along six axes between the social, economic, environmental and political loci of the global social–ecological system. The analysis identified that many impediments result from partial decoupling in the system through phenomena including delayed feedbacks and insufficient information flows. It suggests 15 of the Aichi Targets are unlikely to be delivered; 3 are likely to be delivered in part; and 2 in full. We considered how interventions at leverage points may overcome the impediments, and compared these to actions included within the Implementation Decision for the Aichi Targets, to find gaps. These new leverage points to fill identified gaps involve many aspects of system re-coupling: co-production of knowledge and more equitable food systems governance (environmental–social axis); support for social change movements (social–political axis); an appropriate financial target for biodiversity conservation investment, with a clear means of implementation such as a currency transaction tax (economic–political axis); and co-governance of natural resources (environmental–political axis). The recently released Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 shows that 18 of the 20 Aichi Targets are tracking in accordance with our analysis; and that current efforts are unlikely to result in an improvement in the base state of biodiversity by 2020, confirming some of our results. We argue that attention to the interactions within, and the partial decoupling of, the global social–ecological system provides new insights, and is worthy of further attention both for delivery of the Aichi Targets and for guiding longer term actions for the conservation of biodiversity."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2015, 11:09:34 PM »
The linked open access reference uses systems analysis to discuss potentially more effective pathways to help conserve biodiversity through 2020:

R. Hill, G.A. Dyer, L.-M. Lozada-Ellison, A. Gimona, J. Martin-Ortega, J. Munoz-Rojas & I.J. Gordon (September 2015), "A social–ecological systems analysis of impediments to delivery of the Aichi 2020 Targets and potentially more effective pathways to the conservation of biodiversity", Global Environmental Change, Volume 34, Pages 22–34, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.04.005


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000576

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0959378015000576/1-s2.0-S0959378015000576-main.pdf?_tid=f0f837e2-27c5-11e5-be84-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1436616861_407c9f5f9a39ca46c19c0fb21f79cc33

Abstract: "The Aichi 2020 Targets, under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), aim to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020, in order to ensure that ecosystems continue to provide essential services. Here we apply a social–ecological systems analysis to provide insight into the diverse system interactions that pose impediments to delivery of the Aichi Targets. We applied an analytical framework of pair-wise exchanges along six axes between the social, economic, environmental and political loci of the global social–ecological system. The analysis identified that many impediments result from partial decoupling in the system through phenomena including delayed feedbacks and insufficient information flows. It suggests 15 of the Aichi Targets are unlikely to be delivered; 3 are likely to be delivered in part; and 2 in full. We considered how interventions at leverage points may overcome the impediments, and compared these to actions included within the Implementation Decision for the Aichi Targets, to find gaps. These new leverage points to fill identified gaps involve many aspects of system re-coupling: co-production of knowledge and more equitable food systems governance (environmental–social axis); support for social change movements (social–political axis); an appropriate financial target for biodiversity conservation investment, with a clear means of implementation such as a currency transaction tax (economic–political axis); and co-governance of natural resources (environmental–political axis). The recently released Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 shows that 18 of the 20 Aichi Targets are tracking in accordance with our analysis; and that current efforts are unlikely to result in an improvement in the base state of biodiversity by 2020, confirming some of our results. We argue that attention to the interactions within, and the partial decoupling of, the global social–ecological system provides new insights, and is worthy of further attention both for delivery of the Aichi Targets and for guiding longer term actions for the conservation of biodiversity."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2015, 06:23:47 PM »
The linked article discusses the interdisciplinary role that all the different sciences will have in modeling the Anthropocene (see the attached associated image):

Matthew Nisbet (2015), "In the Anthropocene, Every Discipline Has a Role"


http://www.socialsciencespace.com/2015/01/in-the-anthropocene-every-discipline-has-a-role/

Extract: "In charting a hopeful path forward in the Anthropocene, universities and colleges will play a central role by sponsoring interdisciplinary courses, degree programs and related initiatives."

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2015, 10:01:48 PM »
The linked reference (with an open access pdf) discusses the very significant limitations of current integrated assessment model (IAM) projections.  Indeed, the paper indicates that we do not even know whether some kinds of mitigating efforts will result in positive or negative impacts on climate change.  The paper concludes that even in the face of such large uncertainties about IAM projections; nevertheless, policy makers should try to fight climate change as efficiently and effectively as possible (however, I suspect that denialists will likely twist the findings of the paper to conclude that the uncertainties are too high to take effective action, so we should do nothing):

Richard A. Rosen, Author Vitae & Edeltraud Guenther (February 2015), "The economics of mitigating climate change: What can we know?", Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 91, Pages 93–106, doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.01.013


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162514000468

Abstract: "The long-term economics of mitigating climate change over the long run has played a high profile role in the most important analyses of climate change in the last decade, namely the Stern Report and the IPCC's Fourth Assessment. However, the various kinds of uncertainties that affect these economic results raise serious questions about whether or not the net costs and benefits of mitigating climate change over periods as long as 50 to 100 years can be known to such a level of accuracy that they should be reported to policymakers and the public. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the derivation of these estimates of the long-term economic costs and benefits of mitigation. It particularly focuses on the role of technological change, especially for energy efficiency technologies, in making the net economic results of mitigating climate change unknowable over the long run.
Because of these serious technical problems, policymakers should not base climate change mitigation policy on the estimated net economic impacts computed by integrated assessment models. Rather, mitigation policies must be forcefully implemented anyway given the actual physical climate change crisis, in spite of the many uncertainties involved in trying to predict the net economics of doing so."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2015, 10:08:47 PM »
The linked reference (with an open access pdf) examines many of the uncertainties associated with modeling the economic impacts of climate change on agriculture.  For example the paper identifies that differences in local (smaller spatial scales) agricultural practices can complicate policies to promote food production and that research on how to adapt agriculture to climate change impacts (say by improving food storage systems) is limited funding restrictions:

Francisco J. Fernández and Maria Blanco (2015), "Modelling the Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Global and European Agriculture. Review of Economic Structural Approaches", Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 9 (2015-10): 1—53. http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2015-10

http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/journalarticles/2015-10

Abstract: "The economic effects of climate change on agriculture have been widely assessed in the last two decades. Many of these assessments are based on the integration of biophysical and agro-economic models, allowing to understand the physical and socio-economic responses of the agricultural sector to future climate change scenarios. The evolution of the bio-economic approach has gone through different stages. This review analyses its evolution: firstly, framing the bio-economic approach into the context of the assessments of climate change impacts, and secondly, by reviewing empirical studies at the global and European level. Based on this review, common findings emerge in both global and regional assessments. Among them, the authors show that overall results tend to hide significant disparities on smaller spatial scales. Furthermore, due to the effects of crop prices over yield changes, several authors highlight the need to consider endogenous price models to assess production impacts of climate change. Further, major developments are discussed: the progress made since the last two decades and the recent methods used to provide insights into modeling uncertainties. However, there are still challenges to be met. On this matter, the authors take these unresolved challenges as guidelines for future research."

Extract: "Finally, another important issue encompassed by the structural approach and their methods is the assessment of climate change adaptations. One particular dimension of the adaptation question is related to adaptation policies. Several studies have assessed the effects of trade liberalisation as a tool for adapting to climate change (e.g., Randhir and Hertel, 2000). However, it is still necessary to assess a wider range of adaptation policies in modelling frameworks (Easterling et al., 2007). An interesting aim of future research could be to determine the effects of adaptation policies that increase public spending on research and technology. On-going efforts in this direction have been reported in Ignaciuk and Mason-D’Croz (2014). By contrast, several potential adaptation options extend beyond in food production adaptations. For instance, storage policies have not been analysed although they largely influence food prices."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2015, 10:15:47 PM »
It is my belief that the socio-economic systems in the Pakistan-Northern India- Bangladesh area (characterized by the Gange-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) river basins, which holds over 650 million people, see attached map) is particularly sensitive to climate change impacts (such as heatwaves, droughts, floods, and changes in the monsoon behavior).  In this regards the linked reference highlights the socio-economic impacts of the flow rates and water quality of the GBM river systems, and concludes that this impacts are large:

P. G. Whitehead,   E. Barbour,   M. N. Futter,   S. Sarkar,   H. Rodda,   J. Caesar,  D. Butterfield,   L. Jin,   R. Sinha,   R. Nicholls and   M. Salehin  (2015) "Impacts of climate change and socio-economic scenarios on flow and water quality of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna (GBM) river systems: low flow and flood statistics", Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 17, 1057-1069, DOI: 10.1039/C4EM00619D


http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2015/EM/C4EM00619D#!divAbstract

Abstract: "The potential impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on flow and water quality in rivers worldwide is a key area of interest. The Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna (GBM) is one of the largest river basins in the world serving a population of over 650 million, and is of vital concern to India and Bangladesh as it provides fresh water for people, agriculture, industry, conservation and for the delta system downstream. This paper seeks to assess future changes in flow and water quality utilising a modelling approach as a means of assessment in a very complex system. The INCA-N model has been applied to the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna river systems to simulate flow and water quality along the rivers under a range of future climate conditions. Three model realisations of the Met Office Hadley Centre global and regional climate models were selected from 17 perturbed model runs to evaluate a range of potential futures in climate. In addition, the models have also been evaluated using socio-economic scenarios, comprising (1) a business as usual future, (2) a more sustainable future, and (3) a less sustainable future. Model results for the 2050s and the 2090s indicate a significant increase in monsoon flows under the future climates, with enhanced flood potential. Low flows are predicted to fall with extended drought periods, which could have impacts on water and sediment supply, irrigated agriculture and saline intrusion. In contrast, the socio-economic changes had relatively little impact on flows, except under the low flow regimes where increased irrigation could further reduce water availability. However, should large scale water transfers upstream of Bangladesh be constructed, these have the potential to reduce flows and divert water away from the delta region depending on the volume and timing of the transfers. This could have significant implications for the delta in terms of saline intrusion, water supply, agriculture and maintaining crucial ecosystems such as the mangrove forests, with serious implications for people's livelihoods in the area. The socio-economic scenarios have a significant impact on water quality, altering nutrient fluxes being transported into the delta region."
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 11:09:32 PM by AbruptSLR »
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2015, 04:39:43 PM »
The linked Nature article emphasizes that farmer's focus on near-term profit/survivability; and that if our food supply is to become climate proofed then planners will need to model environmental and socio-economic conditions several decades in the future so that we can move in a more thought manner into an uncertain future:

http://www.nature.com/news/quest-for-climate-proof-farms-1.18015

Extract: "“It is utterly important that planners in each region and each locality will have all the knowledge in place that they need,” she says. “There are no dumb farmers, but farmers focus on present realities. We must leave no stone unturned to help them plan for a hotter future.”"
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2015, 06:22:40 PM »
The linked reference points out that a holistic approach to modeling & planning will be needed to address future food security requirements, for feed a growing world population (see attached image):

Paul R. Ehrlich & John Harte (July 2015), "Food security requires a new revolution", International Journal of Environmental Studies, DOI:10.1080/00207233.2015.1067468


http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207233.2015.1067468#.VcI1jqPn_mR


Abstract: "A central responsibility of societies should be supplying adequate nourishment to all. For roughly a third of the global human population, that goal is not met today. More ominously, that population is projected to increase some 30% by 2050. The intertwined natural and social systems, that must meet the challenge of producing and equitably distributing much more food without wrecking humanity’s life-support systems, face a daunting array of challenges and uncertainties. These have roots in the agricultural revolution that transformed our species and created civilization. Profound and multifaceted changes, revising closely-held cultural traditions and penetrating most of civilization will be required, if an unprecedented famine is to be avoided."

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2015/aug/food-security-planet-planetary-boundaries-climate-change-agriculture-farming-organic-solutions-revolution

Extract: "“Some people say the whole problem is too many people and other people say it’s misdistribution of the crops we grow,” Ehrlich said in an interview. “They’re both right but this can’t be fixed by dealing with only one end of the problem.”
Scientists for too long have been looking at how to feed the world in “fragments,” Ehrlich said.
“Some look at solving food problems with crops grown in higher temperatures; some look at reducing waste,” he said. “It’s crystal clear that none of the things that need to be done are being done on a scale that would be helpful.”
It’s not just about pumping out more crops or reducing the amount of people. “Planning for a sustainable and effective food production system will surely require heeding constraints from nature,” Ehrlich and Harte wrote.
They argue that economic equality, population growth and environmental health are all linked. Governments must address the whole system to avoid future famine."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2015, 08:06:53 PM »
The linked reference highlights the challenges of the Anthropocene on the biosphere:

Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz, PK Haff, Christian Schwägerl, Anthony D Barnosky & Erle C Ellis (June 18, 2015), "The Anthropocene biosphere", The Anthropocene Review, doi: 10.1177/2053019615591020

http://anr.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/06/17/2053019615591020.abstract

Abstract: "The geological record preserves evidence for two fundamental stages in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere, a microbial stage from ~3.5 to 0.65 Ga, and a metazoan stage evident by c. 650 Ma. We suggest that the modern biosphere differs significantly from these previous stages and shows early signs of a new, third stage of biosphere evolution characterised by: (1) global homogenisation of flora and fauna; (2) a single species (Homo sapiens) commandeering 25–40% of net primary production and also mining fossil net primary production (fossil fuels) to break through the photosynthetic energy barrier; (3) human-directed evolution of other species; and (4) increasing interaction of the biosphere with the technosphere (the global emergent system that includes humans, technological artefacts, and associated social and technological networks). These unique features of today’s biosphere may herald a new era in the planet’s history that could persist over geological timescales."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2015, 04:07:42 PM »
The linked document from the Institute for Policy Studies, IPS, clearly demonstrates how bonus plans for fossil fuel executives encourages them to accelerate climate change.  If this is so easy to document, why don't any of the IPCC forcing scenarios consider this positive feedback mechanism (is it because the IPCC process is biased)?

http://www.ips-dc.org/executive-excess-2015/
http://www.ips-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/EE2015-Money-To-Burn-Upd.pdf


Extract: "This report reveals how our CEO pay system rewards executives for deepening the global climate crisis, based on in-depth analysis of the 30 largest publicly held U.S. oil, gas, and coal companies."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2015, 08:19:26 PM »
The linked document (with an open access pdf) proposes to define the beginning of the Anthropocene by the on-set of simulated climate extremes and the attached image provides simulated output that if this criteria were to be adopted then the early 1980's might be a candidate for defining the beginning of the Anthropocene:

Andrew D King, Markus G Donat, Erich M Fischer, Ed Hawkins, Lisa V Alexander, David J Karoly, Andrea J Dittus, Sophie C Lewis and Sarah E Perkins (10 September 2015), "The timing of anthropogenic emergence in simulated climate extremes", Environmental Research Letters, Volume 10, Number 9


http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/9/094015/meta

Abstract: "Determining the time of emergence of climates altered from their natural state by anthropogenic influences can help inform the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change. Previous studies have examined the time of emergence of climate averages. However, at the global scale, the emergence of changes in extreme events, which have the greatest societal impacts, has not been investigated before. Based on state-of-the-art climate models, we show that temperature extremes generally emerge slightly later from their quasi-natural climate state than seasonal means, due to greater variability in extremes. Nevertheless, according to model evidence, both hot and cold extremes have already emerged across many areas. Remarkably, even precipitation extremes that have very large variability are projected to emerge in the coming decades in Northern Hemisphere winters associated with a wettening trend. Based on our findings we expect local temperature and precipitation extremes to already differ significantly from their previous quasi-natural state at many locations or to do so in the near future. Our findings have implications for climate impacts and detection and attribution studies assessing observed changes in regional climate extremes by showing whether they will likely find a fingerprint of anthropogenic climate change."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2015, 04:27:35 PM »
To add to my thoughts on my immediate prior post about King et al. (2015):

The acceleration of extreme weather events beginning in the early 1980's may be partially linked to the US Clean Air Act which reduced the negative forcing associate with US aerosols; possibly working synergistically with the positive phase of the PDO cycle (beginning at that time) and possibly the 82-83 Super El Nino event as a trigger.
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2015, 11:10:07 PM »
Integrated assessment models, or IAMs, have historically been very poor at including non-linear effects in their projections, so in the past they projected only minor climate change impacts on wealthy countries.  However, the first linked reference, Burke et al. (2015), shows that when non-linear effects are included in macro assessments even rich countries suffer from climate change; while the second linked Vox article indicates the uncertainty loop (shown in the first image) and the risks from "fat-tailed" climate sensitivity pdfs; which could make the impacts of climate change to be far worse that that indicated by Burke et al. (2015):

Marshall Burke, Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel (2015), "Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production", Nature, doi:10.1038/nature15725


http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature15725.html#ref5


Abstract: "Growing evidence demonstrates that climatic conditions can have a profound impact on the functioning of modern human societies, but effects on economic activity appear inconsistent. Fundamental productive elements of modern economies, such as workers and crops, exhibit highly non-linear responses to local temperature even in wealthy countries. In contrast, aggregate macroeconomic productivity of entire wealthy countries is reported not to respond to temperature, while poor countries respond only linearly. Resolving this conflict between micro and macro observations is critical to understanding the role of wealth in coupled human–natural systems and to anticipating the global impact of climate change. Here we unify these seemingly contradictory results by accounting for non-linearity at the macro scale. We show that overall economic productivity is non-linear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13 °C and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries. These results provide the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate and establish a new empirical foundation for modelling economic loss in response to climate change, with important implications. If future adaptation mimics past adaptation, unmitigated warming is expected to reshape the global economy by reducing average global incomes roughly 23% by 2100 and widening global income inequality, relative to scenarios without climate change. In contrast to prior estimates, expected global losses are approximately linear in global mean temperature, with median losses many times larger than leading models indicate."

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/23/9604120/climate-models-uncertainty
Extract: "For most variables, model uncertainty represents less than a quarter of overall uncertainty. Most of the uncertainty in IAMs is parametric uncertainty. (The only variable for which model uncertainty is the majority is the social cost of carbon, probably because it's powerfully affected by choice of discount rate.)
The authors conclude that "relying upon ensembles as a technique for determining the uncertainty of future outcomes is (at least for the major climate change variables) highly deficient. Ensemble uncertainty tends to underestimate overall uncertainty by a significant amount."


The point about "catastrophic climate outcomes" is important, and the basis for another common critique of IAMs. The charge is that IAMs can only model continuous damage functions — that is, damages that rise smoothly and continuously. They are incapable of dealing with discontinuities, with sudden, nonlinear changes. These are the "tipping points" people are always worrying about, wherein some natural or social system, subjected to continuous stress, experiences a rapid, lurching phase shift to a different state. Some argue that cost-benefit analysis — of which IAMs are an elaborate form — are intrinsically incapable of dealing with such catastrophes.

A Harvard climate economist named Martin Weitzman has, for several years now, been mounting a counterargument to the use of IAMs (and conventional cost-benefit generally) to assess climate policy. The best expression of the argument remains his influential 2009 paper "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change." (See also last year's "Fat Tails and the Social Cost of Carbon" and his new book with economist Gernot Wagner, Climate Shock.)
In a nutshell, Weitzman argues that climate risks have "fat tail" distributions. In a normal bell-shaped probability curve, the sides drop off quickly — the risks of more extreme outcomes (the tails on either end) fall quickly to zero. But in a fat-tail distribution, risks fall off more slowly at the tails. There are small but non-negligible risks of very extreme outcomes."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2015, 12:14:53 AM »
Per the linked reference, theory and experiments indicate that if scientists were able/willing to identify an upcoming tipping point with catastrophic damage [such as that identified by Hansen et al. (2015)] that this would simplify collective action to control GHG emissions.  Unfortunately, the research also indicates that the higher degree of strategic reasoning used by current policy elites increase the risk for climate catastrophe:

Vilhelm Verendel, Daniel J. A. Johansson & Kristian Lindgren (2015), "Strategic reasoning and bargaining in catastrophic climate change games", Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2849

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2849.html


Abstract: "Two decades of international negotiations show that agreeing on emission levels for climate change mitigation is a hard challenge. However, if early warning signals were to show an upcoming tipping point with catastrophic damage, theory and experiments suggest this could simplify collective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the actual threshold, no country would have a free-ride incentive to increase emissions over the tipping point, but it remains for countries to negotiate their emission levels to reach these agreements. We model agents bargaining for emission levels using strategic reasoning to predict emission bids by others and ask how this affects the possibility of reaching agreements that avoid catastrophic damage. It is known that policy elites often use a higher degree of strategic reasoning, and in our model this increases the risk for climate catastrophe. Moreover, some forms of higher strategic reasoning make agreements to reduce greenhouse gases unstable. We use empirically informed levels of strategic reasoning when simulating the model."
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2015, 04:49:03 PM »
As a follow-up to my last post about "Strategic reasoning and bargaining in catastrophic climate change games", I offer the following observations about the transition from the Kyoto Protocol to CoP21 coming to Paris:

1. After Kyoto the policy elite (in the developed world) found both that the developing world (including China) were all to willing to follow the developed world's fossil fuel path to prosperity; and that in the global capitalist market place nations (including Australia, Canada and Japan) decided that maintaining their market share was more important than the climate change risks indicated by science.

2. Following the Kyoto Protocol failure, the policy elite (the IPCC representatives from the developed world) decided to set the 2C limit high enough so that the developing countries (who want a 1.5C limit) would start to experience the pain of climate change damage, and thus would submit INDCs to CoP21; and so that the policy elite could wait to the last possible moment to offer any payment for "loss and damages" to the developing world caused by their past history of emissions.

3.  Unfortunately, the policy elite are assuming that even if they go past the 2C limit that future efforts (both emission limitations and geoengineering) will allow them to roll-back the worst impacts of climate change; however, in my opinion they very clearly misjudged the tipping point for abrupt ice mass loss from the WAIS, and also of the rate of acceleration of ESS with warming; which will likely nullify most of their future emissions and geoengineering efforts, resulting in a continuing acceleration of climate change damage.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2015, 05:21:53 PM »
To further expand on my last two posts, the linked SkS article for Nov. 5 2015, notes that 50-years ago today the US present Lyndon Johnson was adequately warned (in writing as verbally he was informed a year or two earlier) that following the emissions path that we have followed in the ensuing years would lead to the climate consequences that we are now experiencing, and that at this point geoengineering (the introduction of sulfates into the upper atmosphere) would be needed to limit those consequence.  This is a clear example of policy elite playing brinksmanship and relying on the optimistic assumption that geoengineering will save the world from the consequences of that brinksmanship; while in true all that they have really been doing is inviting global catastrophe (see attached image).

https://www.skepticalscience.com/scientists-warned-president-global-warming-50-years-ago-today.html

Extract: "Fifty years ago today, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science highlighted, US president Lyndon Johnson’s science advisory committee sent him a report entitled Restoring the Quality of Our Environment. The introduction to the report noted:
Pollutants have altered on a global scale the carbon dioxide content of the air and the lead concentrations in ocean waters and human populations.
The report included a section on atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate change, written by prominent climate scientists Roger Revelle, Wallace Broecker, Charles Keeling, Harmon Craig, and J Smagorisnky. Reviewing the document today, one can’t help but be struck by how well these scientists understood the mechanisms of Earth’s climate change 50 years ago.
The report noted that within a few years, climate models would be able to reasonably project future global surface temperature changes. In 1974, one of its authors, Wallace Broecker did just that in a paper titled Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?.



In addition to rising temperatures, the report discussed a variety of “other possible effects of an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide”, including melting of the Antarctic ice cap, rise of sea level, warming of sea water, increased acidity of fresh waters (which also applies to the danger of ocean acidification, global warming’s evil twin), and an increase in plant photosynthesis.
These climate scientists warned President Johnson in 1965 not just of the dangers associated with human-caused global warming, but also that we might eventually have to consider geoengineering the climate to offset that warming and the risks that we’re causing by inadvertently running a dangerous experiment with the Earth’s climate."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2015, 05:38:13 PM »
As a further following on my last three posts about modeling the consequences of the "higher level" of gamesmanship/brinksmanship that policy elite engage in, the linked Robert Scribbler article discusses the on-going witch hunt by US House Republicans who are targeting NOAA's most recent scientific findings (see the attached plot):

http://robertscribbler.com/2015/11/04/elephant-tears-over-lost-climate-cherries-house-republicans-most-recent-witch-hunt-targets-noaa/

Extract: "Elephant Tears Over Lost Climate Cherries — House Republicans’ Most Recent Witch Hunt Targets NOAA

We live in dark times.
Dark times of rampant, media-supported climate change doubt and denial mongering. Dark times when global temperatures are hitting new all-time record highs and extreme weather and climate change related events are growing in scope, scale, and danger. Dark times when it is becoming all-too-obvious that the fossil fuel companies of the world are committed to continue burning their dangerous and heat amplifying fuels regardless of the cost or pain or devastation inflicted upon others. Inflicted on persons, communities and the very nations of this world. Dark times when public officials level unfounded and baseless attacks against the very science upon which we depend to track the dangerous and growing crisis that is human-forced warming of the globe.

House Republicans and the fossil fuel companies they serve are therefore complicit in a heinous act. And their actions over the past month in their leveling of trumped up charges against NOAA, is a stark proof for what they’re doing — committing themselves to inflicting climate atrocities upon the public for the benefit of fossil fuel companies which they represent."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2015, 10:22:15 PM »
The linked (open access) reference studies the math of early warning signals of tipping points in periodically forced systems (like Earth Systems subject to climate change).  When they applied their process to Arctic sea ice they did not find any signs of local bifurcation; however, they also note that due to the particularly of Arctic sea ice one would not expect to find such a signal until just before it tips:

Williamson, M. S., Bathiany, S., and Lenton, T. M.: Early warning signals of tipping points in periodically forced systems, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 6, 2243-2272, doi:10.5194/esdd-6-2243-2015, 2015.


http://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/6/2243/2015/esdd-6-2243-2015.html


Abstract. The prospect of finding generic early warning signals of an approaching tipping point in a complex system has generated much recent interest. Existing methods are predicated on a separation of timescales between the system studied and its forcing. However, many systems, including several candidate tipping elements in the climate system, are forced periodically at a timescale comparable to their internal dynamics. Here we find alternative early warning signals of tipping points due to local bifurcations in systems subjected to periodic forcing whose time scale is similar to the period of the forcing. These systems are not in, or close to, a fixed point. Instead their steady state is described by a periodic attractor. We show that the phase lag and amplification of the system response provide early warning signals, based on a linear dynamics approximation. Furthermore, the power spectrum of the system's time series reveals the generation of harmonics of the forcing period, the size of which are proportional to how nonlinear the system's response is becoming with nonlinear effects becoming more prominent closer to a bifurcation. We apply these indicators to a simple conceptual system and satellite observations of Arctic sea ice area, the latter conjectured to have a bifurcation type tipping point. We find no detectable signal of the Arctic sea ice approaching a local bifurcation.


 
Extract: "We did not find any detectable critical slowing down and therefore signs of this bifurcation. It should be noted however simple models of the sea ice suggest critical slowing down only occurs very close to the bifurcation making it very hard to detect."

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2015, 08:24:18 PM »
The linked (open access) reference uses a probabilistic analysis and findings that the low GHG emission scenarios are dependent upon both high carbon pricing and low renewable energy costs:

Jeremy Fyke and H Damon Matthews (16 November 2015), "A probabilistic analysis of cumulative carbon emissions and long-term planetary warming", Environmental Research Letters, Volume 10, Number 11, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/115007

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/115007/meta


Abstract: "Efforts to mitigate and adapt to long-term climate change could benefit greatly from probabilistic estimates of cumulative carbon emissions due to fossil fuel burning and resulting CO2-induced planetary warming. Here we demonstrate the use of a reduced-form model to project these variables. We performed simulations using a large-ensemble framework with parametric uncertainty sampled to produce distributions of future cumulative emissions and consequent planetary warming. A hind-cast ensemble of simulations captured 1980–2012 historical CO2 emissions trends and an ensemble of future projection simulations generated a distribution of emission scenarios that qualitatively resembled the suite of Representative and Extended Concentration Pathways. The resulting cumulative carbon emission and temperature change distributions are characterized by 5–95th percentile ranges of 0.96–4.9 teratonnes C (Tt C) and 1.4 °C–8.5 °C, respectively, with 50th percentiles at 3.1 Tt C and 4.7 °C. Within the wide range of policy-related parameter combinations that produced these distributions, we found that low-emission simulations were characterized by both high carbon prices and low costs of non-fossil fuel energy sources, suggesting the importance of these two policy levers in particular for avoiding dangerous levels of climate warming. With this analysis we demonstrate a probabilistic approach to the challenge of identifying strategies for limiting cumulative carbon emissions and assessing likelihoods of surpassing dangerous temperature thresholds."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2016, 11:52:04 PM »
The linked reference offer a game theory framework for better modeling human cooperation, which then could help to better model the Anthropocene:

Adam Bear and David G. Rand (January 11 2016), "Intuition, deliberation, and the evolution of cooperation", PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517780113

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/01/05/1517780113

Abstract: "Humans often cooperate with strangers, despite the costs involved. A long tradition of theoretical modeling has sought ultimate evolutionary explanations for this seemingly altruistic behavior. More recently, an entirely separate body of experimental work has begun to investigate cooperation’s proximate cognitive underpinnings using a dual-process framework: Is deliberative self-control necessary to reign in selfish impulses, or does self-interested deliberation restrain an intuitive desire to cooperate? Integrating these ultimate and proximate approaches, we introduce dual-process cognition into a formal game-theoretic model of the evolution of cooperation. Agents play prisoner’s dilemma games, some of which are one-shot and others of which involve reciprocity. They can either respond by using a generalized intuition, which is not sensitive to whether the game is one-shot or reciprocal, or pay a (stochastically varying) cost to deliberate and tailor their strategy to the type of game they are facing. We find that, depending on the level of reciprocity and assortment, selection favors one of two strategies: intuitive defectors who never deliberate, or dual-process agents who intuitively cooperate but sometimes use deliberation to defect in one-shot games. Critically, selection never favors agents who use deliberation to override selfish impulses: Deliberation only serves to undermine cooperation with strangers. Thus, by introducing a formal theoretical framework for exploring cooperation through a dual-process lens, we provide a clear answer regarding the role of deliberation in cooperation based on evolutionary modeling, help to organize a growing body of sometimes-conflicting empirical results, and shed light on the nature of human cognition and social decision making."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2016, 12:14:07 AM »
The linked research indicates that observing weekly cycles of global fires can help separate natural from anthropogenic signals, thus allowing for improved modeling of the Anthropocene:

Nick Earl, Ian Simmonds & Nigel Tapper (2015): "Weekly cycles of global fires—Associations with religion, wealth and culture, and insights into anthropogenic influences on global climate" Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066383


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL066383/full

Abstract: "One approach to quantifying anthropogenic influences on the environment and the consequences of those is to examine weekly cycles (WCs). No long-term natural process occurs on a WC so any such signal can be considered anthropogenic. There is much ongoing scientific debate as to whether regional-scale WCs exist above the statistical noise level, with most significant studies claiming that anthropogenic aerosols and their interaction with solar radiation and clouds (direct/indirect effect) is the controlling factor. A major source of anthropogenic aerosol, underrepresented in the literature, is active fire (AF) from anthropogenic burning for land clearance/management. WCs in AF have not been analyzed heretofore, and these can provide a mechanism for observed regional-scale WCs in several meteorological variables. We show that WCs in AFs are highly pronounced for many parts of the world, strongly influenced by the working week and particularly the day(s) of rest, associated with religious practices."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2016, 12:27:48 AM »
The linked open access reference discusses a methodology based on the use of a KS-test that was used to determine the timing of the anthropogenic emergence in simulated climate extremes, and determines that the extreme event anthropogenic signal has already emerged.

Andrew D King, Markus G Donat, Erich M Fischer, Ed Hawkins, Lisa V Alexander, David J Karoly, Andrea J Dittus, Sophie C Lewis and Sarah E Perkins (10 September 2015) "The timing of anthropogenic emergence in simulated climate extremes", Environmental Research Letters, Volume 10, Number 9


http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/9/094015/meta

Abstract: "Determining the time of emergence of climates altered from their natural state by anthropogenic influences can help inform the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change. Previous studies have examined the time of emergence of climate averages. However, at the global scale, the emergence of changes in extreme events, which have the greatest societal impacts, has not been investigated before. Based on state-of-the-art climate models, we show that temperature extremes generally emerge slightly later from their quasi-natural climate state than seasonal means, due to greater variability in extremes. Nevertheless, according to model evidence, both hot and cold extremes have already emerged across many areas. Remarkably, even precipitation extremes that have very large variability are projected to emerge in the coming decades in Northern Hemisphere winters associated with a wettening trend. Based on our findings we expect local temperature and precipitation extremes to already differ significantly from their previous quasi-natural state at many locations or to do so in the near future. Our findings have implications for climate impacts and detection and attribution studies assessing observed changes in regional climate extremes by showing whether they will likely find a fingerprint of anthropogenic climate change."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2016, 05:50:07 PM »
The linked reference looks at CMIP5 RCP 4.5 projection results to try to better understand the various mechanisms contributing to Arctic Amplification (AA):

Alexandre Laîné, Masakazu Yoshimori, and Ayako Abe-Ouchi (2016), "Surface Arctic Amplification Factors in CMIP5 Models: Land and Oceanic Surfaces, Seasonality", Journal of Climate, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0497.1


http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0497.1

Abstract: "Arctic Amplification (AA) is a major characteristic of observed global warming, yet the different mechanisms responsible for it and their quantification are still under investigation. In this study, we quantify the role of different factors contributing to local surface warming using the radiative kernel method applied at the surface, after 100 years of global warming under rcp4.5 scenario simulated by 32 climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5. We investigate the warming factors and their seasonality for land and oceanic surfaces separately, and for different domains within each surface type where mechanisms differ.
Common factors contribute to both land and oceanic surface warming: tropospheric-mean atmospheric warming and greenhouse gas increases (mostly through water vapor feedback) for both tropical and Arctic regions, non-barotropic warming and surface warming sensitivity effects (negative in the tropics, positive in the Arctic), and warming cloud feedback in the Arctic in winter. Some mechanisms differ between land and oceanic surfaces: sensible and latent heat flux in the tropics, albedo feedback peaking at different times of the year in the Arctic due to different mean latitudes, a very large summer energy uptake and winter release by the Arctic Ocean, and a large evaporation enhancement in winter over the Arctic Ocean, whereas the peak occurs in summer over the ice-free Arctic land. The oceanic anomalous energy uptake/release is further studied, suggesting the primary role of seasonal variation of oceanic mixed layer temperature changes."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2016, 04:29:15 PM »
New Evidence Shows Global Climate Change Began Way Back in 1610
The impressively named Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy of the International Union of Geological Sciences is a group that’s expected to decide later this year on whether the Anthropocene exists and when exactly it began. In anticipation, the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has prepared a new exhibit designed to highlight Earth’s new reality, placing human activity alongside triceratops fossils in a showcase of the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history.

Right now they’re leaning toward sometime around the year 1800—the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Europe—but to declare a new geological epoch, scientists must find a “sufficiently large, clear and distinctive” transitional layer in rocks and sediments themselves. That’s tricky with the relatively slow growth of pollution that resulted from the Industrial Revolution: It took decades for the changes in atmospheric chemistry to be reflected in rock samples worldwide after coal burning began to take off. For this and other reasons, some argue that it’s hubris to suggest that humanity’s influence on the Earth will linger on for geologic timescales—that we’re more likely to be a blip in history, especially considering how hell-bent we seem to be toward self-destructive behavior.

On the other hand, others argue that we’ve already been shaping the planet on a vast scale for much longer. Last year, a controversial study identified a surprisingly early date—1610—as a possible start for the Anthropocene for a truly haunting reason: That’s roughly when depopulation of Native Americans began reached its peak after initial prolonged contact with European missionaries. Depending on how many people were already here before the Europeans arrived with their guns, germs, and steel, as many as 50 to 90 percent of Native Americans perished over a span of little more than 100 years—that’s tens of millions of people.

That paper, and others, assert that this happened so suddenly that a continent’s worth of forests regrew, shifting weather patterns and reducing global carbon dioxide levels to the point of possibly triggering the “Little Ice Age”—a period of cooler temperatures concentrated in Europe that began around 1550 and lasted for about 300 years, though other dates are also used to define it—not long after Europeans first arrived in 1492. The resulting decline in carbon dioxide from the regrowth of America’s forests was detectable as far away as ice cores in Antarctica.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2016/02/17/the_anthropocene_began_in_1610_with_the_little_ice_age.html
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2016, 05:39:34 PM »
New Evidence Shows Global Climate Change Began Way Back in 1610


See also the information on the Early Anthropocene here:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,852.0.html
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2016, 05:55:24 PM »
Now that scientists finally understand why people will willingly harm others when following orders (because they feel genuinely less responsible); theoretically the IPCC scientists who develop the radiative forcing scenarios will adjust their projections accordingly (under the assumption that they will not feel relieved of responsibility due to pressure from policymakers to continue developing Pollyanna projections):

Alison Abbott (18 February 2016), "Modern Milgram experiment sheds light on power of authority: People obeying commands feel less responsibility for their actions", Nature, doi:10.1038/nature.2016.19408

http://www.nature.com/news/modern-milgram-experiment-sheds-light-on-power-of-authority-1.19408

Extract: "More than 50 years after a controversial psychologist shocked the world with studies that revealed people’s willingness to harm others on order, a team of cognitive scientists has carried out an updated version of the iconic ‘Milgram experiments’.

Their findings may offer some explanation for Stanley Milgram's uncomfortable revelations: when following commands, they say, people genuinely feel less responsibility for their actions — whether they are told to do something evil or benign."
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 06:03:46 PM by AbruptSLR »
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2016, 07:18:32 PM »
As a follow-up to my last post, I re-post the following regarding how the RCP scenarios developed for AR5 intentionally and knowingly erred on the side of least drama (as compared to AR4 methodology):

The linked, open access, reference indicates that if the AR5 global mean surface temperature, GMST, projections had not adopted procedures (w.r.t. carbon cycles) that err on the side of least drama, they would have projected higher values of GMST, with wider ranges of uncertainty, as illustrated by the attached plot with the caption cited below:

Bodman, R. W., Rayner, P. J. and Jones, R. N. (2016), "How do carbon cycle uncertainties affect IPCC temperature projections?",  Atmosph. Sci. Lett., doi: 10.1002/asl.648

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asl.648/abstract

Abstract: "Carbon cycle uncertainties associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change temperature-change projections were treated differently between the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports as the latter focused on concentration- rather than emission-driven experiments. Carbon cycle feedbacks then relate to the emissions consistent with a particular concentration. A valuable alternative is to include all uncertainties in a single step from emissions to temperatures. We use a simple climate model with an observationally constrained parameter distribution to explore the carbon cycle and temperature-change projections, simulating the emission-driven Representative Concentration Pathways. The resulting range of uncertainty is a somewhat wider and asymmetric likely range (biased high)."

Caption: "Plume plots for ΔGMT change projections 2000–2100, ∘C relative to 1986–2005. MAGICC results with carbon cycle temperature feedbacks on (CC-on) and switched off (CC-off) (a) RCP2.6, (b) RCP4.5, (c) RCP6.0 and (d) RCP8.5. Shaded regions indicate the 67% confidence interval for CC-on (green) and CC-off (blue), with median results as solid green and dashed blue lines, respectively."

As one example of the ESLD approach used by the RCP developers, they assumed that regulators would improved control of anthropogenic methane leaks (as it only seemed like a rational thing to do); while in actuality anthropogenic methane leaks have been growing rapidly since the RCP scenarios were developed, and as the GWP10 for methane is 130 this fact has had a major impact of recent global warming, and has made scenarios like RCP 4.5 seem particularly Pollyannaish).

Edit: Note that I am restraining myself from pointing-out other ESLD assumptions such as using somewhat low (and linear) climate sensitivity values for calculating GMST changes for the various scenarios, as I find that when I talk about more than one thing at a time, very little of the message is conveyed, and I hope that when the preliminary ACME projections are published before AR6 that they adopted less Pollyannaish assumptions and reasonably account for the multiple non-linear feedback mechanisms).
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 07:30:12 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2016, 06:25:46 PM »
The linked article indicates that not all CMIP5 model projections are equal and those that inhomogeneities in homogeneous greenhouse gas (HGG) perform better and that correctly account for such inhomogeneities can account for 90% of the variance in radiative forcing.  Hopefully, state-of-the-art ESMs (like ACME) will get this accounting correct:

Yi Huang, Xiaoxiao Tan & Yan Xia (18 February 2016), "Inhomogeneous radiative forcing of homogeneous greenhouse gases", Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1002/2015JD024569

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JD024569/abstract

Abstract: "Radiative forcing of a homogeneous greenhouse gas (HGG) can be very inhomogeneous because the forcing is dependent on other atmospheric and surface variables. In the case of doubling CO2, the monthly mean instantaneous forcing at the top of the atmosphere is found to vary geographically and temporally from positive to negative values, with the range (−2.5 – 5.1 W m−2) being more than three times the magnitude of the global mean value (2.3 W m−2). The vertical temperature change across the atmospheric column (temperature lapse rate) is found to be the best single predictor for explaining forcing variation. In addition, the masking effects of clouds and water vapor also contribute to forcing inhomogeneity. A regression model that predicts forcing from geophysical variables is constructed. This model can explain more than 90% of the variance of the forcing. Applying this model to analyzing the forcing variation in the CMIP5 models, we find that inter-model discrepancy in CO2 forcing caused by model climatology leads to considerable discrepancy in their projected change in poleward energy transport."
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2016, 06:36:48 PM »
The linked (open access) reference cites yet another example of inhomogeneity in atmospheric CO₂ distribution, in this case a 2009-2010 step (see image & caption) in atmospheric CO₂ difference between the Northern & Southern Hemispheres.  This difference appears to be due to a sustained (at least until 2015) change in atmospheric circulation; which must also be modeled by future state of the art ESMs:

Francey, R. J. and Frederiksen, J. S.: The 2009–2010 step in atmospheric CO2 interhemispheric difference, Biogeosciences, 13, 873-885, doi:10.5194/bg-13-873-2016, 2016.

http://www.biogeosciences.net/13/873/2016/

Abstract. The annual average CO2 difference between baseline data from Mauna Loa and the Southern Hemisphere increased by  ∼  0.8 µmol mol−1 (0.8 ppm) between 2009 and 2010, a step unprecedented in over 50 years of reliable data. We find no evidence for coinciding, sufficiently large source and sink changes. A statistical anomaly is unlikely due to the highly systematic nature of the variation in observations. An explanation for the step, and the subsequent 5-year stability in this north–south difference, involves interhemispheric atmospheric exchange variation. The selected data describing this episode provide a critical test for studies that employ atmospheric transport models to interpret global carbon budgets and inform management of anthropogenic emissions.


Caption: "Figure 1. North–south differences and growth rates in CO2 since 1990. Panel (a) shows, on the left axis, annual average (January–December) 1C (ppm) from three programs – CSIRO, NOAA (mlo–cgo), and SIO (mlo–spo) – plotted mid-year. On the right axis are reported anthropogenic emissions (dashed line), with the correction suggested by Francey et al. (2013) (shaded), scaled so that the overall slope is similar to that from the long-term mlo–spo SIO record. Panel (b): CSIRO (mlo, cgo, spo) and NOAA (mlo) growth rates, dC / dt , plotted mid- month."
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2016, 07:28:14 PM »
The linked (open access) reference indicates that uncertainty with warming related microbial drive soil CO₂ efflux, is limiting ESMs projection capabilities.  The paper compares to possible nonlinear microbial models and finds that one results in more positive feedback than the other, and it makes projections that may allow researchers to determine which microbial model is more correct:

Wang, Y. P., Jiang, J., Chen-Charpentier, B., Agusto, F. B., Hastings, A., Hoffman, F., Rasmussen, M., Smith, M. J., Todd-Brown, K., Wang, Y., Xu, X., and Luo, Y. Q.: Responses of two nonlinear microbial models to warming and increased carbon input, Biogeosciences, 13, 887-902, doi:10.5194/bg-13-887-2016, 2016

http://www.biogeosciences.net/13/887/2016/

Abstract. A number of nonlinear microbial models of soil carbon decomposition have been developed. Some of them have been applied globally but have yet to be shown to realistically represent soil carbon dynamics in the field. A thorough analysis of their key differences is needed to inform future model developments. Here we compare two nonlinear microbial models of soil carbon decomposition: one based on reverse Michaelis–Menten kinetics (model A) and the other on regular Michaelis–Menten kinetics (model B). Using analytic approximations and numerical solutions, we find that the oscillatory responses of carbon pools to a small perturbation in their initial pool sizes dampen faster in model A than in model B. Soil warming always decreases carbon storage in model A, but in model B it predominantly decreases carbon storage in cool regions and increases carbon storage in warm regions. For both models, the CO2 efflux from soil carbon decomposition reaches a maximum value some time after increased carbon input (as in priming experiments). This maximum CO2 efflux (Fmax) decreases with an increase in soil temperature in both models. However, the sensitivity of Fmax to the increased amount of carbon input increases with soil temperature in model A but decreases monotonically with an increase in soil temperature in model B. These differences in the responses to soil warming and carbon input between the two nonlinear models can be used to discern which model is more realistic when compared to results from field or laboratory experiments. These insights will contribute to an improved understanding of the significance of soil microbial processes in soil carbon responses to future climate change.
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2016, 09:42:14 PM »
We have discussed Sugihara's technique for cross convergent mapping in another thread, and I came across a related and possibly more powerful method by Liang, with a climate example worked out explicitly for the ElNino/Indian ocean dipole data, and now by Stips. The references are open access

Liang(2015) doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.90.052150
Stips(2016) doi:10.1038/srep21691

There may be a way to apply this to detect coupled variables, as opposed to detecting coupling after being presented a pair or group of variables, and there are applications to Francis' self organizing maps method also. But I have not thought it through, yet. Comments ?

sidd

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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2016, 10:01:48 PM »
sidd,

Thanks for the Stips et al (2016) open source reference.  The paper points-out the sometimes forgotten issue that paleo cases of global warming were all driven by solar induced radiative forcing with subsequent warming the produced GHG feedback; while today's global warming is driven by GHG induced radiative forcing.  Furthermore, the paper makes it clear that the lag time associated with our current GHG radiative forcing is longer than the paleo cases.  This indicates to me that we have collectively entered into a "Faustian Bargain", and soon we will have hell to pay as all of the feedbacks from decades of GHG emissions are finally coming home to roost:

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep21691

Best,
ASLR
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2016, 11:50:09 PM »
The linked reference indicates numerous studies have been conducted that indicate the positive feedback of soil respiration to single global climate change factor; however, the linked reference one of the first to example the influence of multiple concurrent factors.  They find that when multiple climate change factors are applied concurrently, the associated soil respiration feedback becomes still more positive.  Hopefully future ESM projects will consider such synergistic effects:

Lingyan Zhou, Xuhui Zhou, Junjiong Shao, Yuanyuan Nie, Yanghui He, Liling Jiang, Zhuoting Wu & Shahla Hosseini Bai (19 February 2016), "Interactive effects of global change factors on soil respiration and its components: a meta-analysis", Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13253


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13253/abstract


Abstract: "As the second largest carbon (C) flux between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, soil respiration (Rs) plays vital roles in regulating atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) and climatic dynamics in the Earth system. Although numerous manipulative studies and a few meta-analyses have been conducted to determine the responses of Rs and its two components (i.e., autotrophic [Ra] and heterotrophic [Rh] respiration) to single global change factors, the interactive effects of the multiple factors are still unclear. In this study, we performed a meta-analysis of 150 multiple-factor (≥ 2) studies to examine the main and interactive effects of global change factors on Rs and its two components. Our results showed that elevated [CO2] (E), nitrogen addition (N), irrigation (I), and warming (W) induced significant increases in Rs by 28.6%, 8.8%, 9.7%, and 7.1%, respectively. The combined effects of the multiple factors: EN, EW, DE, IE, IN, IW, IEW and DEW, were also significantly positive on Rs to a greater extent than those of the single-factor ones. For all the individual studies, the additive interactions were predominant on Rs (90.6%) and its components (≈70.0%) relative to synergistic and antagonistic ones. However, the different combinations of global-change factors (e.g., EN, NW, EW, IW) indicated that the three types of interactions were all important, with two combinations for synergistic effects, two for antagonistic, and five for additive when at least eight independent experiments were considered. In addition, the interactions of elevated [CO2] and warming had opposite effects on Ra and Rh, suggesting that different processes may influence their responses to the multi-factor interactions. Our study highlights the crucial importance of the interactive effects among the multiple factors on Rs and its components, which could inform regional and global models to assess the climate-biosphere feedbacks and improve predictions of the future states of the ecological and climate systems."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2016, 04:19:46 PM »
The linked paper emphasizes the importance of continued observation of the oceans, not only with regards to heat uptake but also with regards to salinity & the water cycle:
Paul J. Durack, Tong Lee, Nadya T. Vinogradova & Detlef Stammer (2016), "Keeping the lights on for global ocean salinity observation", Nature Climate Change, Volume: 6, Pages: 228–231, doi:10.1038/nclimate2946


http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n3/full/nclimate2946.html


Summary: "Insights about climate are being uncovered thanks to improved capacities to observe ocean salinity, an essential climate variable. However, cracks are beginning to appear in the ocean observing system that require prompt attention if we are to maintain the existing, hard-won capacity into the near future."

See also:
http://phys.org/news/2016-02-ocean.html

Extract: "Oceanographer Paul Durack of the Laboratory's Program for Climate Modeling and Intercomparison (PCMDI) recently opined about the importance of ocean salinity observations and needed urgent attention for the ocean observing system in the journal, Nature Climate Change.

The global water cycle—where, when and how it rains, and the corresponding changes to water availability—are as pressing an issue as any when it comes to climate change.
The global ocean is a great place to ascertain observed water cycle changes, as it contains 97 percent of the Earth's water and is where 80 percent of fluxes—water exchanges at the Earth's surface—occur."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #45 on: February 29, 2016, 07:07:57 PM »
The linked reference discusses a new framework for defining and calibrating climate sensitivity, from a modelling perspective, that would allow for both linear and nonlinear consideration of changes in climate sensitivity at decadal timescales:

Francesco Ragone, Valerio Lucarini & Frank Lunkeit (2016), "A new framework for climate sensitivity and prediction: a modelling perspective", Climate Dynamics, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 1459-1471, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-015-2657-3


http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-015-2657-3


Abstract: "The sensitivity of climate models to increasing CO2 concentration and the climate response at decadal time-scales are still major factors of uncertainty for the assessment of the long and short term effects of anthropogenic climate change. While the relative slow progress on these issues is partly due to the inherent inaccuracies of numerical climate models, this also hints at the need for stronger theoretical foundations to the problem of studying climate sensitivity and performing climate change predictions with numerical models. Here we demonstrate that it is possible to use Ruelle’s response theory to predict the impact of an arbitrary CO2 forcing scenario on the global surface temperature of a general circulation model. Response theory puts the concept of climate sensitivity on firm theoretical grounds, and addresses rigorously the problem of predictability at different time-scales. Conceptually, these results show that performing climate change experiments with general circulation models is a well defined problem from a physical and mathematical point of view. Practically, these results show that considering one single CO2 forcing scenario is enough to construct operators able to predict the response of climatic observables to any other CO2 forcing scenario, without the need to perform additional numerical simulations. We also introduce a general relationship between climate sensitivity and climate response at different time scales, thus providing an explicit definition of the inertia of the system at different time scales. This technique allows also for studying systematically, for a large variety of forcing scenarios, the time horizon at which the climate change signal (in an ensemble sense) becomes statistically significant. While what we report here refers to the linear response, the general theory allows for treating nonlinear effects as well. These results pave the way for redesigning and interpreting climate change experiments from a radically new perspective."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2016, 07:50:19 PM »
The linked presentation provides a nice overview of Earth System Modeling through about 2013:


Understanding the Earth System through Numerical Modeling: Crossing the Disciplinary Frontiers (Invited Presentation)
Monday, 11 January 2016: 1:30 PM
V. Ramaswamy

https://ams.confex.com/ams/96Annual/webprogram/Paper291505.html

https://ams.confex.com/ams/96Annual/videogateway.cgi/id/31518?recordingid=31518


Abstract: "Mathematical modeling based on fundamental scientific principles has been the core analytical tool for the understanding and prediction of changes in the Earth's climate system due to natural and human-influenced drivers e.g., aerosols from volcanic eruptions, changes in solar irradiance, greenhouse gases, and pollution aerosols. Beginning about the middle of the last century, and with advances in computing over the decades, numerical modeling investigations have expanded from the very first examination of the changes in the planetary radiation balance to incorporating systematically more and more of the factors affecting climate and examining the resulting influences. Steady advances in theoretical basis and modeling have led to the development and coupling of the atmosphere to land, ocean, and ice components, permitting a more comprehensive assessment of the impacts. With inclusion in more recent decades of atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem science, models can increasingly capture more of the “Earth System” response to the drivers. The evolution in modeling, combined with advances in observations, has enabled increasingly challenging scientific questions about environmental changes to be better addressed, including the what, why, and how are the changes manifest in different regions, and what lies ahead in the future. In this presentation, we examine the evolution in the modeling of the Earth System response to the drivers, the current state of understanding including the uncertainties, and future projections and predictions. We also explore how the growth in knowledge of the intersections among the various disciplines constituting the Earth System has, through observations and modeling, yielded inputs into decision-making relevant for vulnerabilities, mitigation and adaptation."

See also:
https://ams.confex.com/ams/96Annual/webprogram/8AEROSOL.html
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2016, 05:13:44 PM »
The linked reference uses near-term computer models to evaluate the role of different areas of the ocean on driving climate variability.  Among other conclusions, the reference finds: (a) the state of the ocean is always important for climate projections; (b) the deep ocean state has a pronounced impact on ocean circulation; and (c) the state of the ocean at the poles and the Equator are more dominate on climate response than is the state of the ocean at mid-latitudes.  I note that the AR5 projections poorly account for initial ocean states, and I hope that AR6 projections will do a better job of including the important influence of these ocean initial states (like the PDO/IPO and ENSO cycles, as well as hosing from ice sheet melting):

A. Carrassi , V. Guemas, F. J. Doblas-Reyes, D. Volpi & M. Asif (03 March 2016), "Sources of skill in near-term climate prediction: generating initial conditions", Climate Dynamics, pp 1-20, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-016-3036-4


http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-016-3036-4


Abstract: "This study investigates the role of different areas of the ocean in driving the climate variability. The impact of both global and regional ocean nudging on the climate reconstruction obtained with the climate model EC-Earth v2.3 is studied over the period 1960–2012. Ocean temperature and salinity below the mixed layer are relaxed toward the monthly averages from the ORAS4 ocean reanalysis. Three coupled ocean–atmosphere simulations are considered: (1) global ocean nudging, (2) nudging in the global upper ocean (above 2000 m) and (3) nudging in the mid-latitude ocean and at full ocean depth. The experimental setup allows for identifying local and remote effects of nudging on different geographical areas. The validation is based on the correlation coefficients and the root mean square error skill score and concerns the following variables: ocean heat content, ocean barotropic streamfunction, intensity of the ocean gyres and indexes of convection, sea ice extension, near-surface air and sea surface temperature, and El Niño–Southern Oscillation 3.4 index. The results can be summarized as follows: (1) the positive impact on the reconstruction of the ocean state is found almost everywhere and for most of the analyzed variables, including unconstrained variables and/or regions, (2) deep-ocean nudging shows low impact on sea-surface temperature but a significant impact on the ocean circulation, (3) mid-latitude ocean nudging shows systematically the worst performance pointing at the importance of the poles and tropics in reconstructing the global ocean."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2016, 05:40:03 PM »
The linked (open access) reference uses a planned program of large dam construction in the Red River Basin, Southeast Asia, to study the impacts of such large storage operations on model uncertainties under climate change conditions.  They find that without adequately planning for future climate conditions such large storage operations will increase the uncertainties of climate change impacts, and they call for policy makers to adopt appropriate strategies for adaptation for such large storage systems:

Matteo Giuliani, Daniela Anghileri, Andrea Castelletti, Phuong Nam Vu and Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa (2 March 2016), "Large storage operations under climate change: expanding uncertainties and evolving tradeoffs", Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 3

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/035009/meta

Abstract: "In a changing climate and society, large storage systems can play a key role for securing water, energy, and food, and rebalancing their cross-dependencies. In this letter, we study the role of large storage operations as flexible means of adaptation to climate change. In particular, we explore the impacts of different climate projections for different future time horizons on the multi-purpose operations of the existing system of large dams in the Red River basin (China–Laos–Vietnam). We identify the main vulnerabilities of current system operations, understand the risk of failure across sectors by exploring the evolution of the system tradeoffs, quantify how the uncertainty associated to climate scenarios is expanded by the storage operations, and assess the expected costs if no adaptation is implemented. Results show that, depending on the climate scenario and the time horizon considered, the existing operations are predicted to change on average from -7 to +5% in hydropower production, +35 to +520% in flood damages, and +15 to +160% in water supply deficit. These negative impacts can be partially mitigated by adapting the existing operations to future climate, reducing the loss of hydropower to 5%, potentially saving around 34.4 million US$ year-1 at the national scale. Since the Red River is paradigmatic of many river basins across southeast Asia, where new large dams are under construction or are planned to support fast growing economies, our results can support policy makers in prioritizing responses and adaptation strategies to the changing climate."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2016, 06:01:08 PM »
The linked (open access) reference studies recent (after 1997) changes in winter Arctic clouds & their relationships with sea ice and atmospheric conditions; which should be of assistance in improving future model projections:

SANG-YOON JUN, CHANG-HOI HO, JEE-HOON JEONG, YONG-SANG CHOI and BAEK-MIN KIM (2016), "Recent changes in winter Arctic clouds and their relationships with sea ice and atmospheric conditions", Tellus A, 68, 29130, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/tellusa.v68.29130

http://www.tellusa.net/index.php/tellusa/article/view/29130

Abstract: "Changes in Arctic clouds during boreal winter (December through February) and their relationship with sea ice and atmospheric conditions in recent decades have been examined using satellite and reanalysis data, and they are compared with output data from atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) experiments. All the datasets used in this study consistently show that cloud amount over the Arctic Ocean (north of 67°N) decreased until the late 1990s but rapidly increased thereafter. Cloud increase in recent decade was a salient feature in the lower troposphere over a large part of the Arctic Sea, in association with obvious increase of lower tropospheric temperature and moisture. The comparison between the two periods before and after 1997 indicates that interannual covariability of Arctic clouds and lower tropospheric temperature and moisture was significantly enhanced after the late 1990s. Large reduction of sea ice cover during boreal winter decreased lower tropospheric static stability and deepened the planetary boundary layer. These changes led to an enhanced upward moisture transport and cloud formation, which led to considerable longwave radiative forcing and, as a result, strengthened the cloud–moisture–temperature relationship in the lower troposphere. AGCM experiments under reduced sea ice conditions support those results obtained by satellite and reanalysis datasets reproducing the increases in cloud amount and lower tropospheric temperature and their enhanced covariability."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson