LJWorld.com weblogs Global Warming from a Conceptual Standpoint

Where We Are Going


It has been a while since climate change was an active discussion here. I suppose people in general are more concerned about their welfare in the short term (and hence a focus on the economy) than they are about their welfare in the long term. Or, perhaps it has become too much of a polarized issue, and people avoid talking about it in polite company. In any event, it is not the case that the laws of physics have been put on hold while we try to fix our economy. I came across a post on Skeptical Science, and I thought, what the heck, I'll go there. Below is my comment on that topic, with some additional content at the end.

Let's imagine that the leading industrial nations, China, the U.S., Germany (God bless you for your self-imposed limits to growth (gaseous fuels at least) so far.), etc., decide this year to take aggressive action to shift off of fossil fuels. How long would that take without wrecking their economies, which we can assume they are unwilling to do?

I'll ballpark 2-3 decades to shift the energy infrastructure to a new paradigm. Let's assume that these leading industrials influence others to follow suit, and so we can map global emissions along the same path. As a rough estimate, we can say that for this approximately 25 years, emissions will be half of what they are now. (Just figure a steady decline from where we are now to zero.) Currently, we are increasing CO2 ppm at a rate very close to 2ppm / year, and in context. So, assuming action this year, halved CO2 output, over 25 years, leads to a ballpark of 425 CO2 ppmv by the time we could level it off, even given a strong desire to do so.

Climate sensitivity estimates are narrowing in more and more toward about 3 degrees C per doubling of CO2, based on both models and paleoclimate studies. Another source for this estimate is here, complete with about 30 peer-reviewed references.

That amount of CO2 puts us close enough to 2 degrees C of warming to make me nervous, and does not factor in any feedbacks, like melting permafrost or destabilized clathrates.

Judging by the lack of any real progress at any of the recent climate change talks, it will be some more years before we get serious about reducing CO2 emissions. So, we are likely going to hit 2 C warming, plus whatever feedbacks ensue. I'm not trying to give credence to those that say there is no point in attempting mitigation, because it is not the case that 2 C of warming will be as bad as 3 C, or 4 C, etc.

Since agriculture is a major business here in Kansas, let's talk about what is expected to happen here. Hadley cells largely determine where rain falls. (Feel free to Google up your own reading on Hadley cells and how they have already started shifting.) In addition to climate zones shifting toward generally warmer conditions, rain patterns are shifting poleward. Roughly, Texas is becoming more like northern Mexico was, Oklahoma is becoming more like Texas, and Kansas is becoming more like Oklahoma, and so on. Regardless of what some say about a warmer climate being beneficial, I don't see this as being a positive development. A drier, hotter climate will lead to more demands on an irrigation aquifer already being depleted. I have to figure that will mean it will be more difficult to make a living by farming in Kansas.

As a side note: I have an idea; let's put up a coal plant in western Kansas that will not only contribute to a degradation of our ability to produce food, but will directly compete with agriculture for water in a drying environment. Oh, but we need the electricity, never mind that most of it has already been guaranteed to go to Colorado.


eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Nobody knows if there will be any rainfall pattern changes with global warming, what they will be, or whether they will be beneficial or not. Statements that there will be detrimental pattern changes are speculative and frankly, alarmist. To save people having to "google" Hadley cells, let me point out that it is mostly theoretical and applies mainly to open ocean areas. The geography of the US will determine pattern changes, if any, under global warming. So far the data indicates that there is more rain, not less, in Kansas. See http://ks.water.usgs.gov/pubs/reports/wrir.01-4203.html#HDR9 for example.

I must also point out that canceling a coal plant will not make any measurable difference to the trend in manmade CO2, will not change the future temperature and will not change the weather patterns.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

"Nobody knows if there will be any rainfall pattern changes with global warming..."

Evaporation and wind patterns are driven by energy; so, what you are saying is that you expect no changes in what is driven by energy, even though you do expect changes in the levels of energy. Color me skeptical of your opinion.

Charlie Perry is a good man, but his is just one voice of many. An alternate conclusion can be found here: http://www.cier.umd.edu/climateadaptation/Climate%20change--KANSAS.pdf "During the last century, Kansas experienced changes in precipitation accompanied by more severe storms and higher temperatures."

"The warming climate is likely to increase precipitation in the east by up to 11 inches annually by the end of the century and to reduce it in the west."

BTW, Holcomb and most of the Ogallala is in the west.

So, these Hadley cells are only theoretical, but they mainly apply to open ocean. Yeah, mountain ranges count, which is discussed in the link I provided.

"...canceling a coal plant will not make any measurable difference to the trend in manmade CO2.." Right, and no drop of rain believes that it is responsible for the flood.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the specific reply. The energy changes you are talking about are small, the current manmade increase in CO2 causes less than 2 Watts per square meter increase in energy captured and returned to earth. That is compared to the solar energy of up to 1000 W/m2 at solar noon on a clear day. Of course the extra 2 W/m2 worldwide does make a difference in the global average temperature, increasing it by a degree or so (F), but what does that have to do with the climate in Kansas?

Very little, Kansas climate is mainly dictated by the presence of El Nino or La Nina and various other patterns (e.g. Arctic Oscillation). A minor increase in global average temperature is not going to change those patterns, and model results for future decades vary greatly (more El Nino or less, more Arctic oscillation or less, very speculative and not settled science).

Even more apropos, the local 2W/m2 increase in any given area makes no difference to evaporation, rainfall patterns, etc) in that area. That amount of energy in that area compared to sunlight, convection, etc simply has no measurable effect.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Doesn't agree with the information at your link: http://ks.water.usgs.gov/pubs/reports/wrir.01-4203.fig03.gif

El Nino/La Nina cycles have occurred several times over the last 38 years, yet I can count 15 decreasing trends and 0 increasing in the west, and 1 and 8 in the east. That seems like a pretty clear difference over a time period long enough that these cycles should have averaged out.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

The report clearly states that the streamflow gauge changes are not due to precipitation changes. See "Evaluation of Trend Causes" http://ks.water.usgs.gov/pubs/reports/wrir.01-4203.html#HDR7

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

I've been thinking about your claim that 2 W / m^2 is not enough energy to make a difference in the hydrologic cycle. I think it is. Check my math if you like.

Latent heat is about 2,270 kJ/kg

2 W/m^2 = 2 J/s / m^2

606024*365 = 31536000 s/year

2 * 31536 kJ/year / m^2 = 63072 kJ/year / m^2

Every year, every square meter on the surface receives 63072 kJ more than it used to.

63072 kJ/year / m^2 / 2,270 kJ/kg = 27.8 kg / year / m^2

That's enough energy to evaporate 28 kg of water, per year, per square meter.

Water has 1000 cm^3 / kg.

1 m^2 = 10000 cm^2.

So, 28 kg of water would cover 1 meter square to a depth of 2.8 cm (1.1 inch).

The amount of extra energy at the surface is enough to evaporate a little over 1 inch of water per year, over the entire surface of the earth. That might not sound like much, but it as an awful lot of water. Western Kansas gets about 20 inches of rain per year, on average. One inch on 20 is enough to make a difference. It isn't that simple though. It is not as though the rain will fall where it evaporates; it will go somewhere downwind before it rains out. That is plenty of energy to make the dry areas a little drier and the wet areas a lot wetter.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Your math looks good. But I thought that water needed only 600 J/g to evaporate (600 kJ/kg), not 2270. If that is the case then the 2W/m2 will evaporate about 100kg of water or 1/10 of a meter per square meter or 4 inches per year.

Your 1 inch (my 4 inches) sounds like a good portion the 20 inches of rain, but not in a farm state where irrigation can be a couple inches a week with evaporation at an inch per day or more

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Not sure, but I think you are thinking of cal/g. I used the value from here: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/water-thermal-properties-d_162.html

My point was not to say that there would be a 1 inch difference uniformly distributed, it was to say that there was plenty of extra energy available to change, where, when, and how much it rains.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

If I may cut in here, I'd like to pose another angle for a reponse from both cg and eric:

It appears that the paper from usgs written in the 1990s, while valuable in identifying trends based on the past data, also identifies its own shortcomings in that discussion section that the data collected may only represent a section of a larger cycle and therefore be misleading, and also is based on assumptions about climate that are indeed changing in quality and quantity.

While not a climatologist at all, I have been reading the research publication trendings, and these point to more climate extremes occurring, meaning both flooding and droughts becoming more common. Specifically for Kansas, here are a couple of examples: http://globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/regional-climate-change-impacts/great-plains


These papers focus on the changes in the climate models that seem to be occurring, models that not only look at statistical trending of current data, but also based on models that take forcings and attributions into account, an important step when trying to predict outcomes in a dynamic, changing situation such as is represented by today's climate.

What say ye both about this?

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

DougCounty, the first link (globalchange.gov) talks about drought but gives temperature projections. Like I said to to CG, the pattern changes are unpredictable, nobody knows whether that temperature change will actually occur in that region or whether it will be accompanied by a prevailing dry pattern. It is true that high temperatures exacerbate drought, but they do not cause drought. The current dry areas in the tropics (and elsewhere) are dry due to geography not temperature.

The second link is mostly a naive repetition of global warming mantras. For example in figure 5, they show declining solar irradiance with rising temperature implying there is no connection. However the solar influence is delayed by ocean thermal inertia (just like the warming influence of increased CO2). So we would not expect to see the effects of the solar decline of the 2000's yet.

Their section on Kansas starting around Fig 11 is pure speculation. They show the current measured rise in precipitation continuing and then abruptly turning around and then bouncing up and down. Obviously this is the models' pathetic attempt to emulate ENSO. They say "Since climate models are fairly comprehensive, their projections have a high probability of being reasonable." No, they are not comprehensive at all. They do not simulate most weather and weather controls climate. For example a pervasive upper low in the desert SW broke the Texas drought last winter. No weather models predicted it, no climate model would put any upper low anywhere other than a random location under any emissions scenario.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Eric, Regarding the geography of Kansas, this also supports periodic drought, it being influenced by being on the leeward side of the Rockies and as is evidenced by the historic record of them around here and points west. The prediction of increased frequencies of droughts AND floods would tend to be strengthened by this area's geography, not diminished. On the flooding side, our position relative to the Gulf moisture and jet stream dynamics has definitely provided us with the capacity for catastrophic flooding as well.

And regarding the delayed global temperature response to a decline in solar irradiance, when might we begin to see this? Any predictions?

You are entirely correct about the intent of current climate models not being weather predictors per se, and you are also correct that weather does drive the climate. Neither of these things decrease the probabilities that what the climate models are projecting is accurate. Attempts to project out weather modeling to climate-length periods is even more pathetic as far as accuracy of outcomes, but that is because they are really looking at different things for different reasons. It would be akin to trying to predict the outcome of an election by looking at the quantum dynamics of each candidate and the electorate. Are they related? By all means, but it's a long and winding path to get there, and not really necessary to be able to study either electoral politics or quantum thermodynamics..

I think it is every climatologist's dream to be able to have such a critter, though, i..e. a weather simulation model that can be extended out to decades, or, conversely, a climate model that resolves down to next week's weather patterns. But it ain't there yet.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Doug, you are correct that there could be drying in Kansas in a warming world or flooding or both or nothing. Saying one scenario is more likely is unfounded speculation. So far there is minor warming and precipitation increases. My prediction for the effect of solar induced cooling is roughly the black sinusoid here http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/ hitting zero around 2020 Note that Spencer has indicated that line is "entertainment" not a prediction. But I think it is adequate as a prediction give the solar changes and lag.

The idea of a less detailed model to predict world average temperature is valid, but it is not valid for regional predictions or for water vapor feedback. The climate models simply cannot deal with ENSO or any other oceanic or atmospheric weather patterns. They don't predict them as they may change in a warming world, but more fundamentally, they don't simulate them well either. That's because all such weather patterns are ultimately modulated by mesoscale weather which is too fine for climate models. Eventually computational power will overcome the restriction on climate model resolution and solve this problem for us.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Eric, Spencer is indeed wise to add the 'entertainment' caveat, as he seems to be on his own wavelength that has not held up well under peer review. In fact, he has merited his own listing in the Real Climate wiki that outlines the level of his hubris and lack of collaboration in his conclusions: http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=Roy_Spencer

Another way to put it: on the one hand, you are predicting a downturn of global temps reaching zero net increase by 2020 while at the same time, you are saying that this kind of prediction is for "entertainment" value only. Well, fine: if you want to provide a source of entertainment instead of a verifiable science-based model, then I think we are in agreement. You have no better model than that of the models put forward by the climatological community that clearly posits increased frequency of extreme events for Kansas.

Once again, we can agree that the differences between weather models used for 14, 30 and 90 day forecasts are different from the climatological backcasting and forecasting models that predict global warming and increased frequency of extreme weather. We can also agree on the goal to better calibrate the two scales, and I predict that when that time comes, the trends in the long term climate models will only be reinforced.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

The reason I pointed to the black line is an easy way to depict my testable prediction. Spencer's zero line happens to be the 30 year average (1980-2010) and it not zero net warming. I don't believe in zero net because CO2 warming is net positive and solar will return to some long term average leaving us with net positive. But short term solar cooling could exceed CO2 warming.

BTW, extreme weather is a negative feedback.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Point about the solar induced cooling is now clarified--thanks. But this is just one piece of the overall forcings at play, correct? Is it your position that the net forcings are exaggerated, and if so, in what ways?

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Solar forcing is at least two things, what your link depicted was irradiance which follows the solar cycle but doesn't represent a lot of forcing. The other potentially larger effect is solar modulation of weather. One example is low solar ultraviolet allowing more stratospheric cooling which is uneven and causes blocking patterns (like the winter of 2009/2010). There are other effects like that from solar wind decreases, etc.

The net forcing from CO2 is not exaggerated but the water vapor feedback generally is (the models not useful). Water vapor feedback really depends on weather, not on overall CO2 warming. That's because uneven water vapor is net cooling, even water vapor is net warming. Weather determines which side we land on and weather is mostly solar modulated.

Solar can't be predicted too well but seems to be in a slump for at least a decade or two. So that's what's behind my prediction for some cooling. What happens after that is some more inevitable CO2 warming, but not necessarily a corresponding amplification by water vapor.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

I find it interesting that you think that water vapor feedback really depends on weather, not on overall CO2 warming. This is not the conclusion of the NASA folks in their article that clearly identifies CO2 as 80% of the forcing in the greenhouse effect, while water vapor and clouds perform a positive feedback loop, amplifying the warming triggered by increasing CO2 levels. Here's a press release and article link put out by NASA:


So while solar forcing is certainly a significant factor, as outlined in Lean's article: http://www.agci.org/dB/PDFs/10S1_JKatzenberger_SolarIrradianceClimate.pdf

the overall trend of continued forcing by anthropogenically released CO2 and subsequent climate change continues to be on the upswing.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

The nonlinearity of water vapor can sort of justify a notion like "80%" But in a line by line model the CO2 is about 25% as they say in their article. That is the number that counts because as we add CO2 its contribution will turn 33 degrees of greenhouse into 34. Any further warming will be from water vapor feedback (an unknown amount). The 80% notion is irrelevant.

Water vapor warms by being evenly distributed. But if the weather distributes it unevenly then it will not warm as much. For example without land the world would be much warmer. Essentially land concentrates moisture, causes convection, and increases latent heat transfer from the surface to the upper atmosphere (more than a world without land). Weather is no different. The upper air and surface patterns determine the latent heat transfer and average amount of global warming or positive feedback from CO2 warming.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

None of what you are describing changes the forcing nature of CO2, which drives the greenhouse effect, even though the majority of the heat is provided through the feedback mechanisms of water vapor and clouds. So increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere is akin to turning up the thermostat. This is the essence of the Schmidt article that is referenced in the link I provided you, which identifies the 80% forcing coming from CO2, something that is relevant indeed.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

No it is not relevant, and it is misleading. The reason is that the first 20 or so ppm of CO2 are what is necessary to melt the ice and get water vapor in the air in nontrivial quantities. Any CO2 beyond that is superfluous to getting over the 0C hurdle. If water didn't freeze at O there would be no issue at all.

At current levels of CO2 and current temperatures the role of CO2 is the 25% of greenhouse effect that it contributes. Even during the ice age the role of CO2 was not 80% (don't know that number off hand, but certainly larger than today's 25%.

BTW, realclimate says 14%: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

eric, the 80% refers to the percentage of forcing, not the percentage of greenhouse effect attributed to CO2, which is around 20% by latest estimates. Check the GISS press release link I provided above for the more detailed description, and Gavin Schmidt, et. al has a very relevant 2010 article that explains in detail how the 14-25% range is there for the greenhouse attribution for CO2. The link to that article is here: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Schmidt_etal_1.pdf

Regarding the misleading-ness of the more-than-20ppm of CO2 is, well, misleading as well. Schmidt's article does a nice job of explaining what the impact of CO2 will have if it doubles. I think he is a more credible source in this matter than you, with all due respect.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Doug, 80% is the hypothetical attributed greenhouse effect due to the freezing of water and lack of water vapor at low CO2 levels. 80% would only be true if all water vapor feedback (not forcing) were added to the CO2 forcing. As your link explains, the percentage of forcing of present day CO2 is 14 to 25% depending on how one does line by line models (removing water vapor vs removing CO2).

Here's a graph of the heating of CO2 from the first 20ppm versus each subsequent 20ppm http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/heating_effect_of_co2.png Please don't conflate this forcing with water vapor feedback: the first 20 ppm of CO2 causes more than enough heating to get water vapor in the air and thus a huge amount of feedback (water vapor forcing). So the attribution of the total greenhouse effect to that first 20 ppm of CO2 is very large (probably something like your 80%)

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Eric, Yes, the first 20ppm is the lion's share of the atmospheric sensitivity to the presence of CO2, but as we all know, CO2 levels are at 390ppm, not 10 or 20ppm, and the climatologists are still predicting significant warming even at reduced sensitivities. All it means is that if the atmosphere currently had only 10ppm CO2 instead of 390, we would see much more drastic consequences than we are seeing. To say that the reduced sensitivity of the atmosphere at 390 compared to 10 or 20ppm means that we can write off the issue is to not understand the role of CO2 at its current concentrations.

Furthermore, ocean acidification is caused by the slow carbon cycle absorbing the excessive amounts of carbon into the ocean, something that is a separate process from the atmospheric warming but nevertheless quite troubling and some ways creates an even greater threat to ecosystems than the increased energy stored in the atmosphere. This process accelerates with each ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, unlike the decreasing atmospheric sensitivity to warming that you overstate the importance of.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Doug, I agree except for your last sentence (see below) and I am glad you now see the importance of the first 20 ppm of CO2 in producing that 80% or so of the GH effect. My quibble is that the sensitivity estimates are from models which don't model mesoscale weather. It doesn't mean they are wrong, but they are not well supported.

The ocean acidification doesn't accelerate with increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 since it goes by Henry's law which is linear. Also the ocean acidification is another case where we are creating (probably irreversible) consequences but those consequences are down the road (decades or centuries). Currently ocean pH is lowest in upwelling areas because bottom water has the most CO2. In those cases and many others, atmospheric CO2 doesn't matter, it won't make the surface more acidic than the natural fluctuations. But we are sending lower pH water to the bottom with some unknown consequences and one known consequence: that it will come up eventually.

The deep ocean is essentially our dumping ground for both heat and excess CO2. It won't last forever, but it will last a while.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Agreed on these points, though one could make the case that with increased surface area caused by sea level rise, the acidification rate could actually increase, and the amount of time that the absorption takes place increases with a greater amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, since the conditions favoring absorption will be in place for a longer time with higher concentrations in the atmosphere.

Sensitivity of CO2 and its role in atmospheric warming dynamics has received a considerable amount of attention in recent years, and it's worth noting that the most recent rounds of studies are coming up with increasingly narrow parameters, which means that while they are not at the gold standard of modeling, they are getting results that can they can be more and more confident about.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

I think I may have extrapolated a decline in precipitation in the SW U.S. a little too far into Kansas. But, I'm thinking that an increase in evaporation resulting from higher temperatures, and the shifting of rain patterns toward more intense downbursts would have the same effect. The stream gauge data certainly indicate a pattern change.

Otherwise, I'd consider both of them to be confirmations of my main point, that agriculture in Kansas is, and will continue to be, negatively affected by a changing climate.

Eric is a frequent poster at Skeptical Science. In my assessment, he likes to imply that because not everything is known, nothing is known.
At this point I'm going to leave it to the readers to assess the arguments for themselves.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

CG, the important details are not known. The most important detail is the response of weather in a lot of specific locations in a CO2-warmed world. Some locations are a bit easier, using your example the Pacific should see expanded Hadley cells in summer in each hemisphere. Perhaps summer will start sooner and end later. But outside of that there is very little that can be predicted.

The weather changes in a CO2-warmed world will determine the extent of positive feedback from water vapor. An increase in average absolute humidity is predictable but not constant relative humidity and not humidity at any given location (other than to some extent the more predictable locations)

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Hmm, there is this figure in the Rasmussen and Perry report which, if you look at the ups and downs, appears to agree with the pattern stated at the link I gave below.


eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

The stream gauge changes you point out are attributed to the withdrawal of ground water, not precipitation, which, as they explain, has mainly increased.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

When it rains less, farmers irrigate more. So, how exactly would you un-obfuscate the totals? I see a break-down of individual stream gauge trends, but I don't see any breakdown of precipitation trends by location, just a note that overall precipitation has increased.

Looks like drought in the west, and floods in the east; so, on the average, we'll be fine.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

From the same report that I linked above, water used for irrigation increased from 740 million gallons per day in 1950 to a peak of 5,600 in 1980 and is now down to 3,380. This very little or nothing to do with raining less or more.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Something still isn't jiving. The stream gauge data overlap the period from 1980, and you are saying the western stream gauges were going down during the period when irrigation usage was going down. Yet, you are also saying that the stream gauge declines were a result of more ground water depletion. There is a lot more farmland than people in western Kansas; so, I think farm use has more of an effect that household.

I was starting to think that maybe ground water usage could be increasing because of more extensive irrigation (or just plain more cropland rather than less rain), but you are saying that irrigation has actually declined; so, that doesn't fit ether.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Like my answer above, it has a lot to do with evaporation. More irrigation means less streamflow because of evaporation especially with crops like corn. The fact that irrigation has gone down since 1980 is not as big a deal as the fact that it is still very high and drawing down groundwater.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

I suspect you are thinking that the irrigation water comes mostly from the streams. I'm pretty sure that most if it comes from the Ogallala via wells. Also, pretty sure that there is only limited interaction between the surface and the Ogallala. The recharge rate is very low, which would imply that little of the surface water seeps down into it, and with that, it don't see how transferring water from the aquifer to the surface reduces water on the surface. http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Oc-Po/Ogallala-Aquifer.html

Western Kansas has mostly wheat; there is more corn in the east, where it rains more.

Otherwise, agreed, the rate of drawdown has exceeded the rate of recharge since before 1980.

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

Looks like there is interaction in the other direction (groundwater changes modulating stream flow). See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169406005051 for example. Your point makes sense to me, that tapping deeper water would not affect stream flow, but apparently that is not always the case.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

It isn't always the case, but your are comparing apples and oranges. In western Kansas,

"This study found that recharge under irrigated land ranged from 1.1 to 1.8 inches per year. Under the rangeland, it was 0.17 to 0.21 inches per year. "


Liberty_Or_Death 5 years, 7 months ago

We've been slowly milking ancient sun energy from the earth aka Black Gold or oil and then re-releasing it into our atmosphere slowly but surely recreating a volatile atmosphere that existed during a period in history I challenge you to research... Guess what happened, life thrived and then one day the volatile environment nature created exploded giving way to an earth wide turnover! History repeats itself, let's not force a lesson we may easily learn on earths ignorant monetarily driven population! .Love&Light.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Good call, indrid: perhaps a better graphic would have been more specific to greenhouse gases which specifically absorb visible light but emit infrared radiation, which is more specific than the provided graphic displays. Here's a cool graphic that shows what I'm talking about: http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_3_1.htm

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Is it not as likely to shoot the radiation back into space? And since CO2 is heavier than air (and therefore concentrates lower in the atmosphere leaving upper levels virtually unblocked by that greenhouse gas), must it not be required by statistics to return more radiation to space?

I'm just asking. I'm sure you'll have an answer.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Yep, I've answered it before, and can answer it again. To make it more interesting, here's a link that shows the CO2 somehow swirling throughout the troposphere, i.e. that section of the atmosphere where weather occurs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ivZO6...

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

But is the reflected radiation not always compelled by statistics to go away from the earth and into space? It seems to me, the more times an electron is captured and released, the more times a bit of radiation is released, and statistically will be redirected back towards space. If the CO2 is grouping higher in the atmosphere, it's going to do the same thing with the sun's energy, only sooner and more effectively because for every nanometer the atom is higher in the atmosphere, the higher the probability that the capture/emission process is going shoot the energy towards space, simply because the earth is a smaller target.

Now you can argue the CO2 is causing a blanket effect, but you have to change physics to get heavy things to sit on lighter things. I realize in special circumstances it can happen, but those are anomalies and temporary. As soon as the weather changes, reality takes over, the CO2 falls and continues spitting out radiation into space. Gravity is relentless. Does it matter if the carbon atoms trade the radiation a million times or 100 billion times? Either way, it's probably going to space.

Make CO2 lighter than air and turn around the statistics, and you have a good point.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Good questions, Liberty; if you check out the ucar link I provided indrid earlier in this thread and read through it, you'll get a better idea of how CO2 doesn't just release the thermal radiation out into space like you describe it. Instead, it is most likely re-absorbed by another CO2 or other greenhouse gas molecule, with the net effect of spreading the heat around the troposphere instead of releasing it out into space. The other factor is that the atmosphere is in constant motion, and like a river current carrying suspended solids in the lighter water, the troposphere (which means "mixing" sphere) thoroughly mixes the various weighted molecules so stratification of different molecules almost never occurs. The CO2 poisoning in Africa occurs periodically around a lake which "turns over" accumulated underwater CO2 that is temporarily trapped in a valley of still air so that concentrations of CO2 can reach lethal levels temporarily before mixing into the atmosphere by the wind; fortunately a very rare sequence of situations and sequences.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"it is most likely re-absorbed by another CO2 or other greenhouse gas molecule, with the net effect of spreading the heat around the troposphere instead of releasing it out into space"

Yes, it will be reabsorbed, maybe a billion times, but at some point the atoms are bound by statistics to send more energy back into space than to earth. Your point that the radiation may be absorbed by another gas and held first requires a suitable atom to constrain the radiation, and in that case carbon isn't the problem, the other gas that will not release the radiation is.

What atom fits that bill? Lets declare war on it!

"Africa occurs periodically around a lake which "turns over" accumulated underwater CO2 that is temporarily trapped in a valley of still air so that concentrations of CO2 can reach lethal levels temporarily"

Sure. It kills people and animals. But think about your example. Without the CO2 emission from the lake, less radiation will be stopped on it's trip to earth. The "eruption" of CO2 will intervene and statistically reflect energy back into space.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

There is always energy lost into space, just as there is always energy coming in from the sun. The issue is that if you increase the number of carbon atoms in the atmosphere, you slow that rate of energy lost into space, which causes the net warming. Here's a graphic of the total "energy balance" of incoming and outgoing energy to/from the earth: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/atmos/energy_balance.htm

Like I said, that other molecule can be another CO2 molecule, or methane, or a host of non-condensing gases (read: water vapor). Here is a list of 'greenhouse gases' that fit the bill, with CO2 being by far the lion's share of impact:


Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"The issue is that if you increase the number of carbon atoms in the atmosphere, you slow that rate of energy lost into space"

I don't know. I think the statistics favor carbon "reflecting" more energy into space statistically. therefore, more carbon = less radiation reaching earth. Instead of carbon, you should be blaming the real culprits in your theory, methane and water vapor.

But that doesn't hit big oil hard enough, does it.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

The physics of CO2 is well studied and understood and do not support your statistical impressions, Liberty. Yes, methane is a more potent greenhouse molecule, but it is found in much smaller quantities than CO2. Water vapor plays a huge role in amplifying the impact of non-condensing gases such as CO2, but this feedback loop collapses without CO2. Check out some of the links I've provided elsewhere in these threads for more details.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure how the physics of carbon makes it immune to statistical probability. I still think AGW is a hoax, but it has been nice chatting with you.


If I want links, I'll find them myself. I was enjoying discussing the matter with you.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, it's good to have a conversation where information is actually shared--something all too rare on these comment boards.

The statistical probabilities of absorption and emission by CO2 molecules are part and parcel of the physics of CO2 in the atmosphere. I am speculating a bit here, but my hunch is that the reason the reason CO2 molecules don't react the way you think they should is because in a gas, the molecules are randomly oriented and moving, which means that the radiation emitted by the molecule is released in a random direction even though the photon comes in from one direction. This means that just as much heat is absorbed into the atmosphere/directed toward the earth as is reflected back out into space.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

I think we are just at an impasse. No wins, no losses. However, I'm sure it will please you that we have a small carbon footprint. Except for my excess with the corvette, we use probably 60% of what the national average couple would use.

Also, where possible, we use CFLs now. Not that the global warming hoax worries me, I just want to give less of my money to westar. OTOH, half of our lights are on dimmers, so don't even consider taking away our incandescents. :-)

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm happy to have amicable common ground, something that is bound to enlarge when over time you'll see that the climate change reality is undeniable ;>)

I hear you about seeing no tears shed by giving more money over to Westar. I've gone over pretty much entirely to CFLs for that reason, although I have an incandescent that I still use out of curiosity to see how long it'll last. I bought a little device way back when that you place between the socket and the incandescent light bulb that protects the fragile filament from the shock of sudden bursts of energy, thereby extending its life. It's lasted 12 years so far--don't I get credit for getting the most out of that bulb?

Alyosha 5 years, 7 months ago

Translation of the above comment: I have no interest in knowledge about climatology and actively assert ignorance on the topic and deny that anyone else could study the topic and know more than me.

Fixed that for you.

George Washington would weep at your stance.

camper 5 years, 7 months ago

I am curious if the 2 degrees is an average for global temperature. From my limited knowledge I've heard that the temperature changes may be greater at the poles and less at the equator. If this is true, and let's say the polar increase is 4 degrees, we may be dealing with more factors.....and exponential at that. Permafrost melt is also something I am concerned about and try to follow.

melott 5 years, 7 months ago

I believe that is a mean, and in fact most climate models predict the greater warming away from the tropics. Permafrost melting releases methane and carbon dioxide--feedback.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Very much a mean. Here is an animation from 1880 to 2011 of measured anamolies (differences from a baseline). Polar regions warm about twice the rate of equatorial.


more available from http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003900/a003901/

It isn't just by latitude, it is also by season. Winters are warming more than summers. I expect that will affect when in rains, for instance, in addition to where it rains. I'm thinking that would also affect agriculture.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

I had some trouble making the animation work on my computer, cg, so here's a youtube link that shows the same animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVPtSl...

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 7 months ago

Is it not true that villages in northern Alaska are being forced to relocate because the permafrost is melting and makes the ground too unstable to build on. Also the people that live in that area say they are seeing flora and fauna that they never had before. The effects of global warming are right here, right now. I have a horrible feeling that the clock just ran out. Game over.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

For some useful background information, NASA has done a fine job of presenting the various components of the carbon cycle here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page1.php

It covers the geological (slow carbon), biological (fast carbon) and orbital (milankovich) components of the cycle, then adds the release of geologically and biologically sequestered carbon into the atmosphere through humanity's activities. This is most helpful for most folks in understanding how humanity can have such an impact on the climate.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Folks, the best thing to do with Liberty One is acknowledge /her/his right to maintain her/his unsupported/sarcastic comments and ignore her/him. Attempts to engage him/her in honest dialogue result in a disappearing act as evidenced here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/may/13/ignoring-history/#c2046206

and here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/apr/08/gop-enemy-reason/#c2016880

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

...and thus begins Liberty's projection loops.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

No, it is merely a description of what you labeled a "discussion," when if folks look at the actual dialogue, they'll see that your end of the "conversation" was a series of insults, sarcasm and the like. When pinned down to some actual topics, you disappeared.

But why dwell on the past: I'll give you another chance. You seemed to imply between insults that scientists measuring melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica were saying that the arctic would be ice free in a few years. Upon closer examination, the so-called study that you referred to was a misquote of a press release that referred to a study that did not say that at all. I then asked you to look at the data, which showed that Greenland and Antarctica had lost 4.3 trillion tonnes of ice between 2003 and 2010: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-036#4

It was at this point that you disappeared. So how 'bout it? What do you think this data indicates?

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

You're right, Liberty--I definitely missed most of the points you say I made, such as admitting that the public is being sold a lie. Now exactly how do you think I did this?? By providing you data from that GRACE satellite that shows that Greenland and the Antarctic have lost 4.3 trillion tonnes of ice mass between 2003 and 2010? And how again is this "irrelevant minutiae?"

Alas, you seem to keep true to your pattern of not being interested in discussing the specifics of the issue--please do let me know if you ever change your mind.

camper 5 years, 7 months ago

Satellite images are hard to refute, but easy to deny I guess.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Ahh, thanks for clarifying where you are coming from! You think that climate change is a minor blip that is easily accommodated and is being used as an excuse to shove changes down the throats of humanity, correct? Do let me know if I have your characterized your perspective accurately.

But at what point does climate change justify a wholesale response from countries around the world? Where would you draw the line? Because the "irrelevant minutiae" you characterize ice cap loss looks like it will raise the sea levels and inundate coastal cities around the world, forcing massive population displacement, huge mobilization and construction projects, or major changes in the way we produce our energy, or both. If this were probable, would this create the necessary conditions where countries around the world would need to come up with major coordinating policies and measures to plan for these changes, even if it meant prescribing that folks do things that they wouldn't normally do? We recycled metals, planted victory gardens and rationed food during WW2--was that OK?

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

I think we can handle our one inch of sea level rise per decade. There are arguments over whether that rate is accelerating, but if it is accelerating it is not accelerating rapidly.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, so much for trying to figure what point you are trying to make. I have no interest in trying to read your mind only to have you call me names when I don't succeed. You clearly have no interest in a meaningful engagement in discussing this topic.

You certainly have that right. So be it.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Meet the new god, used like the old god.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

So we should eliminate all cars and trucks and all ride buses or trains. That is not going to happen. We would still need roads and bridges and maintenance so exactly what we are trying to suggest when bringing roads into the discussion on our bus system

It is simplistic comments like this that undermine the seriousness of the topic. The bus system has to compete with the alternative which would be a bunch of short trips by local citizens (not a whole lot of carbon in the 24K miles inherent here – the students ride for other reasons.) against other investments in carbon reduction with a better ROI.

The continued notion by those who pay little tax that we can have everything by just taxing somebody else more is bankrupt, immoral and beginning to tear this country apart. Yes, tax the rich a fair amount but even Mr. Obama pegs that at about $10-25 billion a year – chump change when we consider an annual deficit of almost a trillion.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

I think you have created a classic example of constructing a straw dog, Moderate. Nobody ever said that eliminating all cars and trucks was ever even a proposal, so of course that is not going to happen.

A while ago, you thought that it would be reasonable to do a trial tax and dividend option on carbon emissions, one that is introduced gradually and predictably, with the dividend going only back to the consumer, which seems to me to be a reasonable beginning. Considering the limited amount of time we have to make a real impact in averting economic, climatologic and environmental destabilization, the sooner the better that some state or country give this a serious try. Also considering the decreased federal influence and the increased states rights creating many state experiments in all kinds of things these days, the state level seems to be a reasonable level to try this out with. This could be done in a decentralized version of what the Citizens Climate Lobby is proposing be done at the national level. What about this as a more serious attempt to address the climate change issue? And what state might be a good place to try it out with?

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Well you are probably right but I took merrill's and a few others' comments to an end point. The bus and the road do not trade.

Help me. Give me some URLs that support the now or we die, my extreme, as I am quite frankly out of the loop that gets us there. Absent a compelling "now" argument than time becomes less critical.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

You want the consensus opinion on the nature and possible future of humanity's role in climate change? Well, first of all, there are the "now or we die" crowd, but the consensus opinion is more like: "pay now or pay much more later." What is the price? You could start with this link: http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives-intermediate.htm

As you start down that list, you'll see some things that some folks might see as acceptable prices: what's a little extra airborne pollen between friends? But then you start running into very troubling risks: loss of water supplies to 60 million folks who depend on glacier melt; displacement of hundreds of millions of coastal residents due to sea rise, spreading north of tropical diseases, acidification of oceans that lead to coral reef destruction and primary production losses of phytoplankton which is the foundation for oceanic ecosystems, etc.

Will these things end humanity? Almost certainly not. Will these things make life much more challenging for future generations? Almost certainly so. Do we have a chance in making a difference if we change our lifestyles, specifically those activities that release prodigious amounts of geologically sequestered carbon into the atmosphere? Well, there is some debate there, but it seems way premature to just write things off and carry on as usual.

I can provide many more "reader's digest" or in depth analyses if you want more.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you. I will go read this. I have never had a problem with low hanging fruit. To me the issue is how far and how fast.

I am aware of many many initiatives that will address carbon so I do not believe we are at the ignor the problem stage.

I am afraid I still search for a "if you do these things it stops or reverses" I have not seen such a list. You implied a list that would stop and that is what I want to pursue.

What I fear is spending resources (political and financial) pursuing high cost low return activities because of emotions when we may have to face a mitigation approach rathere than a fix it approach (or some of both)

I will go read now

eric_skeptic 5 years, 7 months ago

If you want a current example, look at Germany. Despite an enormous welfare system they have increasingly large slums and income disparity (a shrinking middle class). They are still a powerhouse exporter with some of the best value created per unit of energy in the world. But the price is shrinking workforce in the less efficient industries which have been basically shipped to China. Germany employs far more Chinese in China than Germans. Germany also supplies the "clean coal" whitewash tech allowing the rapid rise of Chinese emissions.

If you want a state to try it on, California is an obvious choice. They already have huge slums and near slums that will turn into slums when the jobs disappear. The middle class will also get tired of supplying the dividend checks to the lower class just for the privilege of commuting to a job they like and keeping the house comfortable.

The upshot will be more, not less worldwide emissions since industry will move from relatively efficient California to inefficient second and third world countries.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Nothing you have said relates to the topic of the nature of the physical, real world changes that are taking place and how they affect us. It's almost as if you are saying that you don't know how to fix the problem; therefore, it doesn't exist.

There isn't any point in discussing the cost of solutions until after we have come to some understanding of what it will cost to continue business as usual.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Really??!!! If you don't know where you are going any road will get you there only there may not be worth it.

You seem to be a classic example of "the problem".
1. I have a problem 2. I don't know how to fix it 3. Do somehting 4. Charge my neighbopr for the costs 5. Make sure what you are doing does not cause me grief 6. Hurry!!!

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Except, every scientific body in the world says we are going somewhere we really don't want to go, but not many people seem to be aware of that. I'm working on the awareness of the general public at the moment.

You are either claiming to have more knowledge of the problem than the vast majority of researchers who have studied it over the last 100 years, or making claims that this problem will cost more to mitigate than it will cost to endure. It is kind of hard to tell because you are making countering statements that don't relate to what I've written.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

um hmmm, just upwind from all those oil wells, pipelines and don't forget the smell of all those refineries around Freeport. And has the shrimp harvest returned after the oil spill yet?

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Considering that there is a very healthy job market in constructing wind turbine nacelles in Hutchinson, thanks to the Siemens plant, as well as a host of associated subcontractors, I'd say that the more wind energy, the more Kansans with jobs.

Last time I checked, the wind used in those windmills are Texas winds, and Texans import much of their oil from Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria, Canadian tar oil pits, etc. just like the rest of the country.

That wind doesn't do much to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, unlike those Texas coal plants, refineries and SUVs.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

If people own the land and can make money selling space to environmentalists, why shouldn't they. It isn't like Texas is a national park.

Liberty_Or_Death 5 years, 7 months ago

Though wind energy is far greener than our federally imposed systems, you do have a very good point! Nonetheless we currently posses the technology & means to easily leave zero footprint whilst simultaneously creating excess free energy and maintaining natural resources(land) the way it's meant to be... Natural land. If your not aware of our global potential please ask me to elaborate! .Love&Light.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago


Why have we not done it if it is so easy?

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Nuclear is about as small a footprint as you can get. Nothing can be zero footprint as nothing is free.

Of course, the french do leave footprints when they retreat. :-)

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 7 months ago

Wonderful lyrics, beautifully and truly written. Joe Campbell would love it. Or maybe he is somewhere looking down and nodding happily to see some carrying on.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"that's my soul up there"

It's the same old thing as yesterday, non-existent.


Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Souls, yesterday, up. Take your choice.

Not that anything is wrong with the Police. I think I have most of their records.

My favorite lyric goes something like "no future, no future for you". The beauty of nihilism. That's not the Police, of course.

Charlie Bannister 5 years, 7 months ago

Right on blue73harley. What a farce and hoax this climate change nonsense is!!!!

Liberty_Or_Death 5 years, 7 months ago

We've been slowly milking ancient sun energy from the earth aka Black Gold or oil and then re-releasing it into our atmosphere slowly but surely recreating a volatile atmosphere that existed during a period in history I challenge you to research... Guess what happened, life thrived and then one day the volatile environment nature created exploded giving way to an earth wide turnover! History repeats itself, let's not force a lesson we may easily learn on earths ignorant monetarily driven population! .Love&Light.

camper 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm really struggling to understand your post. I think I get it tho ):

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

cg22165 (anonymous) replies…

Except, every scientific body in the world says we are going somewhere we really don't want to go, b

Moderate Opines I think far more people are aware of it then you believe. Exactly how do you presume to get them on board if all you offer is endless sacrifice toward an unclear objective using harsh methods of great cost to most.

The simplistic notion of climate change played out in anecdotal clips will get you very little. You must convenience people you know how to fix it and can explain the costs and the alternatives. Remember the dates being thrown around are after most of us are dead.

Exactly why would someone want to return to the 18 century because some people may find themselves under water in 50 years. For the children does not work here. Reducing the population is high up on the list of actions we should take to control carbon emissions. When we do what China has already done I will begin to believe we are serious.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

"Exactly how do you presume to get them on board if all you offer is endless sacrifice toward an unclear objective using harsh methods of great cost to most."

I think you have bought into the line put out by fossil fuel companies, which amounts to, "Bad things will happen if you quit buying what what we are selling."

At the same time, you are ignoring lots of information that is readily available, that goes beyond local impacts, what you appear to be calling anecdotal.

18th century? Who told you that? Sea level rise will be a problem, but, IMO, will be secondary to being able to feed the population. That's going to be a problem at some point regardless, but we can face that challenge with a stable environment, or one that has become unstable with regard to the ability to grow food.

Let's say that energy produced from alternatives costs about 1.5x what energy produced from fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry represents about 7% of the GDP. That puts the cost of switching to alternatives somewhere in the ballpark of 3% of GDP. BAU will lead to a degradation of the environment to the point where we will not be able to feed the population. For instance, extreme heat waves that covered less than 1% of the globe in a 1950-1980 average, have increased in frequency and area within recent decades to the point where they cover 10% of the globe in recent years. We have seen the impacts of this from the European heat wave, the one in Russia, Australia, and last year in Texas and Oklahoma. Would you like to wait until 20% of the land experiences an extreme heat event on an average year before altering our course? These events have devastated local agriculture when they have happened, and they will continue to increase as long as we continue to burn fossil fuels (and actually for a little while after). So, take your pick, BAU until we cross the threshold where increasing population meets decreasing food supply (at which point BAU will likely fall off a cliff anyway), or take a ~3% hit in GDP growth.

"Remember the dates being thrown around are after most of us are dead. " I guess you don't have children. Either that or you have decided to focus on sea level rise and ignore other impacts.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Your focus appears to be on fossil fuel. First if "green" energy costs 1.5 times current we would move to about6 11% of GDP fore "green" energy. What do we give up?

I simply do not agree with you that most "green" energy sources are available as you claim. Some will require decades more to perfect. Some are available now but have defects (wind energy is only 50% effective) we either need double the number for basic energy distributed so that at least half are on line at any time. We will probably still need a backup. Which will cost more.

I disagree with the notion of being unable to feed the population although my basic number 1 requirement is that w reduce it by limiting children. Each kid is 300 tons of carbon on the hoof. Time for sacrifice from everybody! By the by if we reduce population we solve the food problem although in my world as land is rendered unfit for production by climate other lands will become available for the same reason.

My issue is time. We transition slowly using incentives without redirecting more than a few percent of GDP at any one time so massive unemployment does not result.

And now the biggie. Where is the data that says we reverse climate change if we reduce the fossil fuel by X?? How much change must we make to reverse it totally? Can we do that? Yes our children may live in a very different world than we do. WE live in a very different world than our grandparents.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

"Some will require decades more to perfect. "

Which is pretty much why I'm saying we should start with the incentives now. I'm not advocating like cutting out all fossil fuel use this decade. I did say there were limits to how quickly we could make changes without wrecking the economy.

We will not reverse it in the foreseeable future; all we can do is limit how bad it gets.

"...in my world as land is rendered unfit for production by climate other lands will become available for the same reason."

It is a nice thought, but the details in this world don't look as good. For instance, I doubt that land that had until recently been Canadian tundra will have the same productivity as land in our region that has been growing some species or other of grass for thousands of years. Never mind the lack or railroads, highways, towns, and other infrastructure needed in agricultural areas. Not too far into Canada you run into the Canadian Shield, which is a very broad region of thin soil over, basically, granite. I can't imagine that will be as good for growing grain as the plain states are now.

Australia is a major grain exporter and has a large portion of its agriculture in the south. Let's see, what land is south of Australia?

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

FWIW, I picture a combination of solar, wind, etc, with the base load carried by breeder reactors. I don't try to predict what the market will sort out as the best solution; I have reasonable confidence that the market will sort out a solution if given a predictable rise in the cost of using carbon fuels. Getting off topic, but my favorite incentive is a revenue neutral, carbon tax and dividend scheme.


Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

Also, running out of food is not like an all-at-once-and-everywhere kind of thing. It will first be felt as a rise, possibly dramatic, in food prices. Rich nations will be able to feed themselves, but poor nations will not. The result of that will be a mix of civil unrest, migrations, probably war, and famine. The US will be relatively shielded, but it isn't as though what goes on in the rest of the world has no affect on us.

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

Well it is obvious you have thought about this a bit. A couple of points

  1. Population drives it all
  2. Moderation is important
  3. There will be winners and losers
  4. People skills will be more important than scientific facts.

jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

So are you suggesting that when we're looking for problems we should attempt to fix, we should run some sort of metric to make sure that we're only fixing problems created by previous generations, and not problems created by our own?

Whatever the truth it might hold, if Everybody just said "I'm not all that important in the grand scheme of things," odds are that no one would fix any problems. Whatever you think the invisible hand might be capable of, it tends not to fix problems on its own, without the help of people who decide that they're going to try to fix some problem they see, in some way.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

About 12,000 years ago there was a sheet of ice several hundred feet thick on top of my 20 acres in southern Leavenworth County. Roughly a third of the Earth was covered with ice for about 50,000 years. This was the 10th or 11th time this kind of glaciation has occurred in Earth’s history, or that’s what the KU geology department says anyway.

Then one day about 12,000 years ago Earth got warmer and the ice melted, again, that’s what the KU geology department says. It’s pretty obvious human beings had nothing to do with the planet getting warmer and ending the last ice age, or the ending of the 10 or 11 ice ages before that.

Why did the planet got warmer? Where is the peer-reviewed theory that the vast majority of climate scientists mostly agree explains how the last (and previous) ice ages ended? Anyone? Bueller?

The science that explains the cause of the global warming that ends ice ages is not settled. There are a variety of competing theories. How the Earth gets cold and causes the ice ages isn't settled either.

So, common sense says why would a reasonable person accept the idea that human activity is now causing the Earth to get warmer, when the same group of climate scientists who supposedly have all the answers about man-made global warming cannot agree on an explanation for what caused it to get warmer the last time - when we know humans had nothing to do with it?

Doesn't prudence demand we understand climate process well enough to explain the end of the ice age before we can claim to understand a far more complex process?

When you apply even the most basic form of critical reasoning to this topic, it falls apart. I would argue this is the only way to examine this topic simply because it will otherwise devolve into a pointless argument about the credibility of sources and citations. This happens because there are so many competing ideas. There are so many competing ideas because the issue is NOT settled science. If it was settled science, there wouldn’t be so many competing ideas and the few there were would have no professional constituency. That cannot be said right now.

Even one of the founders of the Global Warming alarmism [James Lovelock] recently said; “Who knows? Everybody might be wrong. I may be wrong." He continued...”The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened,” Lovelock said. “The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time... it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising….” All this came from an MSNBC article.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

"Where is the peer-reviewed theory that the vast majority of climate scientists mostly agree explains how the last (and previous) ice ages ended? Anyone? Bueller? "

Try searching for Milankovitch cycle; Google is your friend.

Because, basically, you are saying that you haven't bothered to look up the first thing about climate changes, and yet you are sure that every national science body on the planet is wrong.

BTW, I generally credit Svante Arrenhius as being the first to publish work predicting that human CO2 emissions would warm the planet. He published this work in 1896. You can go back as far as Joseph Fourier if you like. (Yes, the same Fourier from whom we got Fourier analysis.) In addition to being an exceptional mathematician, he pioneered work on heat transfer. Feel free to look that up too.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

cg -

I have felt free and looked up the references you cite, and a lot more. For everyone you can throw out there, there is an opposing theory of simular voracity. Like I said - it is not settled science, and also like I said, this quickly devolves into a pointless debate about the credibility of the many competing ideas and sources.

I am all for doing things in an environmentally friendly way. I and everyone I love and care about has to breath the air, drink the water, and eat the food that comes from our Earth. It is stupid not to care about the environment for numerous very easy to understand reasons starting with self-preservation.

When the environmental debate moves on to the idea we should allow government to assume more and more power to control our lives and take more of our money all for an idea based on hotly debated, unsettled scientific theory, thats where I have to throw the BS flag. For all we know, elevated CO2 may well prevent or delay the next ice age which would be a disaster for the human race. Read about what the little Ice Age did to the people living in the 14-17 centuries.

By the time we have gained enough climate knowledge to finally settle the science, we won't be burning fossil fuels like we are now and the debate will have shifted back to the coming ice age like it was in the 70's. In the mean time, we have quite enough government in our lives already.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

So, you attempted to make a point by implication that you already knew, or should have known, was incorrect. That fails a test of if we are having a rational discussion.

I don't know what you consider equal voracity. Apparently you've been there before and lost or you would throw something out for consideration.

FYI, there is no doubt that human activity is raising the levels of CO2 in the air and sea, and there is no doubt that CO2 interferes with the escape of longwave radiation to space. To prove otherwise, you'll have to start by proving that we've been all wrong about radioactive decay and isotopes, and that the last 150 years of studying the absorption/emission bands of gas molecules has been all wrong.

You should stop to consider that just because you can't tell valid science from invalid nonsense does not mean that others can't.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

This is why I pointed out exactly what would happen - debate about sources. The simple fact this occurs (is able to occur) is clear indication the science is not settled, which is precisly why Global Warming Alarmists automatically turn the discussion into a debate about citations/sources. They have to. For their argument to stand, they first must discredit any competing viewpoints. This of course isn't how real scientific study works, but at the end of the day this argument really isn't about science.

I did not deny human activity was putting CO2 into the atmosphere. I did not deny CO2 slows the travel of longwave radition. To be clear, I am not convinced, as are hundreds of climate scientists, that human CO2 creation is capable of warming the planet on the scale necessary to cause the disaster the alarmists claim is happening. CO2 makes up only a tiny fraction of atmospheric gases (0.1%) and only a tiny fraction of that is man made. The idea of it playing any significant role in determining our climate is simply silly. One of the "fathers" of global warming theory (which I cited in my orginal post) said so himself. By Earth's historical record and the solar cycle (what we know about it) we are much closer to begining a new ice age than we are global warming.

The Minoan and Roman warming periods were much greater than what we see in the warming trend today, and the later was followed by a mini ice age. Clearly man-made CO2 had nothing to do with either of them. The effect of CO2 on Earth's climate is insignificant. If you overlay solar activity with average Earth temperature (In the 130 or so years we have actually been able to measure it) you will see the corelation. When the sun gets hotter, so does Earth. When solar output drops, it gets cooler on Earth. The Sun is much more likely to be responsible for what is being called "climate change" nowadays - not people.Of course alarmists won't accept this no matter how much data is produced simply becuase the argument is not about climate, it's ultimately about power and control over people.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

"When solar output drops, it gets cooler on Earth. "

Interesting you should say that. What does this graph showing level or slightly declining solar output and rising temperatures tell you?


tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

It tells me to compare and contrast it with other data that refutes it.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 7 months ago

"The simple fact this occurs (is able to occur) is clear indication the science is not settled,..."

No, it demonstrates that the debate between science and non-sense is not settled. The debate amongst scientists was settled some time ago.

Anyway, more of the same, but timely. Seems that this year so far is well in line with the predictions made earlier.

Scroll down to page 10 if you want the quickest look. http://www.kwo.org/reports_publications/Drought/rpt_10_May_DROUGHT_UPDATE_060112_dc.pdf

George Lippencott 5 years, 7 months ago

No, it demonstrates that the debate between science and non-sense is not settled.

Well what is being asked by the advocates of extreme climate change is extreme. Since I come at this issue from the other end I am still waiting for the program that would arrest and reverse climate change. A program with specifically defined actions, their consequences to all of us and measurable milestones of accomplishment is needed

I am tired of stupid statements in the alarmist argument about the horrible nature of the alternatives. I am not convinced that an average temperature increase of 2* necessarily destroys life as we know it.

I also note that down in Rio they have finally discovered population as a contributor. Wow - such brilliance.

A scientifically based program of remission as above is the answer - produce one that we can argue about and develop a consensus around – rather then generalist arguments about a “carbon” free world by the day after tomorrow.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

Yawn. Calling data that refutes global warming theory "non-science" does not make it so. What it does do is prove my point: Alarmists have to attack any and all information that contradicts global warming. This makes them shrill demagogues who are not willing to subject their dogma to any degree of critical reasoning /intellectual challenge. I’ve lost track how many times the IPCC has been caught altering data, concealing data, or out-right lying about data they claim supports the global warming theory.

This speaks volumes about the quality of their argument, which is probably why we see a steady decline in the number of people who actually believe in this hoax and care about this topic. Check out the latest polling. This snake oil will go the way of the “Global Cooling” hysteria the same group of climate “experts” breathlessly warned us about in the 70’s. Incidentally, they were probably closer to being right than their global warming brethren are today.

But like I said to start with, reasonable people can genuinely care about the environment and do their best to promote things that are good for it, and at the same time NOT believe in the global warming hoax. That doesn’t make bad, enemies of the planet, it just makes them less gullible and unwilling to give government more power and control over people’s lives for a bogus reason.

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