Monday, November 16, 2015

Facing Climate Change Challenges

I am about to show you, on one simple chart, the essence of how giga-liar denialists have lured some of you into buying their toxin. At just a glance, you'll see why they claim "there's been no warming for 17 years."  And when you sane-conservatives out there grasp how it was done, you will spit and swear at the hijackers of your movement.

But first:

Recently observed on the Pacific coast: a spike in methane bubble plumes. Researchers have seen an increase in the release of methane gas, released from frozen methane hydrates deep in the ocean.  The warming ocean is releasing greater quantities of this powerful greenhouse gas. Note: this is the only aspect to climate change that I deeply fear across the near future, because the effects might possibly be runaway and nonlinear. And if they are, there will be no place for denialists to hide.

== Climate Change Challenges ==

Here's the chart that makes utter-clear how deceitful and stunningly evil are Ted Cruz and Rupert Murdoch and every single shill who used the "no warming in the last 17 years" talking point.  

Did none of you ask: "why SEVENTEEN years specifically?"  Of course you didn't. But the explanation for that specificity is easy. Just look at the chart. 

They chose precisely seventeen in order to peg the "before" comparison on 1998, the hottest year in human history....

... that is, till this year.  And yes, El Nino years like 1998 are spikes.  But a sapient person would look at the chart and let its overall trend lines speak...

...then listen to the brilliant men and women who have successfully modeled climate on six Planets. And those other brainiacs who transformed the old 4 hour weather report into a 14 day wonder. They are smarter than you and me and a whole lot more honest than your cavalcade of liars, on Fox. And they all are deeply worried.

Oh I can't let this go. Look at that 1998 peak again and again, knowing that those who deliberately used "seventeen years" as the before marker for their slopes aren't just arguing.  They are knowing liars who should be repudiated as evil men, not worthy of being considered for political power.

== Did a lurid sci fi flick predict? ==

A cold blob in the Atlantic: Oh the world is heating up all right, especially the oceans, exacerbated by an El Nino year. (In fact, by one measure, this wicked El NiƱo is the strongest ever recorded.) 

And yet there is one glaring – and frightening – exception. In the North Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland and Iceland, the ocean surface has seen very cold temperatures for the past eight months.  If that region sounds familiar, it should be.  That’s where the “gulf stream” or North Atlantic Conveyor current terminates and plunges to the depths, so that more warm water can keep heading north to keep Europe temperate. (Rome is at the same latitude as Chicago.)

In the garish-exaggerating movie The Day After Tomorrow the disaster was based on exactly this climate scenario… that greenhouse warming sends so much melted freshwater from Greenland that it ends the Gulf Stream's salinity-driven conveyor.  In fact, no one expects results that are movie-sudden. “But if the trend continues, there could be many consequences, including rising seas for the U.S. East Coast and, possibly, a difference in temperature overall in the North Atlantic and Europe.”

More? Watch Greenland melt!  Freshwater pouring into the N. Atlantic at prodigious rates that are actually changing salinity in the North Atlantic, potentially shutting down the Atlantic Conveyor and putting Europe into an Ice Age.  While sea levels rise everywhere. Right. Ignore the folks who know stuff.

(Oh, but again, it could be movie-sudden, if the methane in hydrate ices starts flooding upward, in a torrent of greenhouse bubbles.  And you'd willingly risk that?)

Go look at the map in this article. Those who would dismiss this as “just coincidence” are the same crazy delusionists who deny there’s any meaning in the steady    or the fact that all the humans who can parse the Navier Stokes Equations and make fine gas-vapor predictive models (can you?) agree that we’re endangering our grandchildren and ought to start behaving like adults, gifted with reason and foresight.

== And so many pieces, coming together ==

Among the dozens of consequences that our loony neighbors and crazy uncles desperately ignore?  Revivied ancient diseases. Scientists who discovered a prehistoric virus called Mollivirus sibericum in the Siberian permafrost plan to give the virus its first wakeup call since the last Ice Age (after first verifying that it can't harm humans and animals, thankfully). It's hoped the study could shed insight into ancient dormant viruses that could, it's feared, get another chance at spreading as permafrost retreats due to climate change. 

Alaska’s huge wildfires not only are correlated with climate change, and help to drive it.  They may also presage release of permafrost gases that make things much, much worse.... as ocean acidification may bring us to a tipping point, releasing methane-hydrate ices. The U.S. Navy is scurrying to prep for an ice-free Arctic.  The American West is baking. 

Scientists say California, in its third year of severe drought, hasn’t been this dry in 500 years. And August smashes global heat records as a giant El Nino builds in the Pacific. As oceans warm, some marine species, such as lobsters, are pushing their boundaries poleward

Even if nations stick to the pledges they've already made to battle climate change by cutting emissions, the earth would still heat up by more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, according to new climate models.

Should all of this make any sane-conservative look up? There are such beings, even today!  They mostly dwell, nowadays, in the US military, where officers cannot afford delusion. A conservative temperament cannot trump science, not when you have a nation and civilization to defend. And so, the US Navy is desperately planning to deal with 12 new Russian bases rimming the often ice-free Arctic, as Chinese fleets have started patrols... 

== And the capper that always sends them fleeing ==

These days I always finish my climate jeremiads with a simple chant: 

Ocean acidification,  ocean acidification,  ocean acidification,  ocean acidification,  ocean acidification...

It is blatantly happening, accelerating and can only conceivably be caused by human generated CO2. And not one denialist-cultist I have met has ever been able to answer. Fox supplies no nostrums or counter-incantations, because none are possible. 

Instead, denialists always, always change the subject, pointing suddenly offstage shouting "squirrel!" Then running away, with hands over ears shouting "scientists are commies!"

Try it on your crazy uncle.

== And finally... ==

Let me finish with something positive... indeed, something that moved me close to tears.

Three elephant bulls’ lives were saved when, after they were shot with poisoned arrows, they made their way to a place they remembered could help them: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).  Even more interesting, while the one elephant who led the others to DSWT had never been a resident at the sanctuary, he knew other elephants who had. Suggesting real communication and memory.

Amazing in so many ways. But we've seen it at sea, too, where whales will flee whaling ships but approach other types of vessels, in hope that kindly humans will cut away tangled fishing nets.  

It suggests that many creatures in nature see us for what we are... sometimes killers! But also sometimes helpers. Always powerful! But maybe -- as I depict happening in EARTH and in the Uplift Series -- capable of choosing to be powerful for good.

For now, Earth has only one protector, who might save her from savagely rapacious and shortsighted humanity.  That savior will be calmly logical and far-seeing, courageously science- (and science fiction)-loving humanity.

Animals believe in our potential.  Shouldn't we?


Tony Fisk said...

You're talking through your hat, Brin! Earth hasn't warmed since... 2015. ie I think you'll find thy Crazy Nuncles will simply shift the goal posts. Well, that's OK. I think it's now clear their audience is plummeting.

The petro-barons are going to have a lot of other things to worry about than falling revenue, as they are about to be investigated for deliberately suppressing data from their own research labs showing climate change was occurring... thirty years ago. What was that about full disclosure for insurance risk assessment?
Oh, the Man from Prudential is coming, and he is not happy!

You might try interspersing 'ocean acidification' with 'souring the seas'. Anyone who cares about soil pH management (aka gardeners) will get the latter. At least, all that extra fresh ice melt should offset the effect slightly. And it seems corals aren't as defenceless against acidification as was first thought.

re: methane clathrate releases...

Good-bye, blue sky.
Goodbye, blue sky.

Having read Tim Flannery's excellent if somewhat depressing book "Here on Earth", I am looking forward to getting my paws on "Atmosphere of Hope".

A point to ponder: CO2 levels are already way over the safety line and will need to be brought down. Active carbon sequestration will have get underway. Is it more effective to draw down atmospheric CO2, or oceanic carbonic acid?

RG said...

In the Journal of Geology there is a new paper that describes how dust in Paleozoic times resulted in plankton blooms and reduction of CO2 levels in the air that were many times present day levels to such low levels as ice ages were initiated. Clearly the oceans which cover 72% of this planet and contain the vast majority of plant life are very capable of controlling atmospheric CO2 found in rising and menacing amounts.

The restoration of today's ocean pastures that are in ruins due to our high CO2 reducing dust in the wind is clearly possible and desperately needed. The cost of restoring and sustaining ocean pastures in all of the world's seven seas is mere millions of dollars, neither the billion dollars about to be spent by COP21 Paris revelers nor the trillion dollars in new carbon taxes they strive to impose on the world.

Daniel Duffy said...

What we may be witnessing is the start of the Great Unraveling.

I highly recommend this essay, "Splinterlands the view from 2050":

Don said...

If we were to compress the period of time between the emergence of Homo sapiens and now into a 24-hour day, every minute would represent 100 years. What would it take to give us a good chance of leaving a planet to our grandchildren's grandchildren (just one more minute from now) that's comparable in health to what it is today? It takes at least people in leadership positions who believe in logic and scientific literacy. The Republicans, unfortunately, aren't going to give us leaders like that. Think about the long-term, big picture consequences of that.

@financequant said...

Your mention of the possible abrupt release of oceanic methane hydrates is one of those scenarios that also keeps me up nights. Climate models are probably not very good in the details because there is little "out of sample" test data. A lifetime of model building has taught me that this is the only way to get the balance between model parsimony and model representativeness right. Nevertheless, there is enough agrreement in the science and consistency in the data to show that anthropogenic climate change is real. It is important to note that climate change is a systematic risk, .i.e., one whose effects are experienced broadly rather randomly. A 1% (systematic) risk of an asteroid strike killing everyone is much worse than a 1% (idiosyncratic) risk that you will catch a deadly disease. The expected number of deaths is the same in both cases, but the consequences of the former are far more serious. Our tolerance for systematic risks must be far lower than for idiosyncratic ones.

David Brin said...

Wow a series of very interesting responses! The dust thing is of course related to why -- in my novel EARTH -- I portray tide powered bottom-stirrers that send up plumes of ocean bottom muck into fast currents, thus fertilizing vast stretches that are now almost lifeless deserts. This would be better than the iron-dumping experiments, since stirring simply emulates what nature already does in rich fishery zones like Chile and the Grand Banks.

David Brin said...

Only note that this particular article originates from a controversial figure who was involved in the “rogue experiment” a few years ago – sponsored by a native American tribe – to dump iron dust into currents off the Pacific Northwest. While I share a belief that experiments in ocean fertilization have been improperly blocked and should proceed, I cannot actually condone rogue and unvetted and rather unscientific “experiments” of this kind.

Acacia H. said...

Methane hydrates don't scare me quite as much as a much more lethal thing lurking in our oceans: hydrogen sulfide being released from our oceans and poisoning both the oceans and the coasts. If conditions are right, then a bacterial bloom could release large amounts of this gas and poison a region... and if certain political parties had their way and kill science and research, then we'd have no warning before these blooms struck.

Though no doubt the parties in power would then make a profit selling gas masks to the citizenry....

Rob H.

duncan cairncross said...

We are missing a big "option"

Landfill used to be a bad idea because of leakage to water and off gassing of methane
But a modern landfill is in a place with a properly designed bed so that it does not leach nasties to the water and it is topped with the gasses produced either being burned or used to produce heat

The net result is that a landfill sequesters a large amount of carbon - the carbon is locked up in the landfill for (probably) centuries - certainly enough time to get other more permanent sequesters in place

By increasing the amount we landfill instead of burning or even composting we could effectively take much more carbon out of the atmosphere

(Note -
Composting is effectively like slow burning - all of the carbon locked into the waste is eventually released as CO2 - if the process works well - if it woks badly a lot is released as methane which is a more powerful greenhouse gas)

I will explain that
We would not be taking more carbon out - BUT we would landfill a lot of stuff that currently decays and returns the carbon to the atmosphere

So we would take the same amount out of the atmosphere each year BUT return less of it each year

This would be cheap - effective - and we have all of the infrastructure in place,
We would start by landfilling all of the "greenwaste" that is currently composted

Not the whole answer - but maybe a part of it?

locumranch said...

As defined by the Collins English Dictionary, the term 'unprecedented' is most often used to refer to circumstance that have 'no precedent' or are otherwise thought unparalleled, unheard-of, exceptional, new, original, novel, unusual, abnormal, singular, ground-breaking, unrivalled or freakish, and this is exactly what David would have you believe about the unprecedented nature of human-mediated 'climate change', even though close evidentiary analysis of these claims proves otherwise.

If one El Nino year is much like another, why does he argue that it is somehow UNFAIR to compare high temperatures from the 1998 El Nino year with the those derived from the 2015 El Nino year? (Remember "August smashes global heat records as a giant EL NINO builds in the Pacific"?)

If California hasn’t been this dry "in 500 years" (or Greenland hasn't thawed this much in 400 years), then how can he argue that California's current 500-year drought (or Greenland's 400 year thaw) is in any way unprecedented?

So much of this climate change argument seems simultaneously counter-intuitive (as exemplified by the scenario that global warming leads to another ice age & global 'cooling') or disappointingly circular (as exemplified by the claim that "if the trend continues, there could be many consequences, including ... a difference in temperature"), especially when (1) so much of this 'evidence' amounts to little more than testimony, projection & boosterism and (2) algae is a more sure-fire cure for 'ocean acidification' than a humanity 'believed in by Animals' will ever be.

Heck. How does David know that "Animals believe in our potential" anyway? Did he study astrophysics under Doctor Dolittle, or is he merely offering up more testimony masquerading as 'scientific consensus'?

Enquiring minds want to know !!

As evidenced by the claim that "Earth has only one protector", the pull of the Karpman Drama Triangle is strong in this one who would be either rescuer, persecutor or victim.

David Brin said...

Dunderhead. You aren't even looking at what Cruz and the others are saying. They are NOT comparing 1998 to 2015. THAT comparison -- apples to apples -- shows a warming. No, they took an el Nino 1998 and used it as a baseline to declare there was no warming TILL 2013. Or till 2014. And that was outright lying deceit comparing an El Nino Apple to a normal year banana.

Geez man, do you even try?

Anonymous said...

We are definitely affecting the climate but we still don’t how much is natural and how much is our doing but in any case it doesn’t matter because we are warming up and it will affect us sooner or later. If it’s our fault then we can do something. If it is nature’s fault then we can still do something but it will be much harder. We have put a lot of resources in climate research and our models are getting better and better but they are still incomplete by a long way but that is no reason to throw them out because they can’t predict the weather two weeks out. Those who say that it was warmer during the Middle Ages and so forth are missing the point because what is going to affect us is what is happening now and not what happened 700 years ago. I believe it was warmer then and during Roman times but that does not give me any comfort because at those times there was a reservoir of ice left over from the Ice Ages. You might say that that buffer is getting smaller and smaller. These warm periods reversed in the past but that doesn’t mean it will do so again this time around. We have to keep up the research and control our emissions just in case. The stakes are too high. I believe we can adjust to higher temperatures well enough as long as we don’t turn into Venus. It wouldn’t be fun but we can do it. But what really scares me is flipping into a new Ice Age. I think that would the worst case in my mind. The thing is we don’t know what the climate will do and we can’t count on these moderate, ideal conditions we have enjoyed for the last 10,000 years to hold. This uncertainty is intolerable. We have to know why climate can flip rapidly from one equilibrium point to another whether it is hotter or colder (probably hotter in our case). Gradual change we can handle. Rapid change we may not be able to.

Laurent Weppe said...

From the previous comments:

* "It strikes me that the core goal of ISIL in Europe ought to be more publicly noted: the goal to incite harm and death to law abiding Muslims. That is without doubt the goal, is it not? The greater their "successes" the more that goal will occur, inevitably."

You're assuming that the far-rightists and authoritarians who see terrorism as an excuse to dismantle the rule of law, establish ethnically based privileges, and treat religious minorities like shit aren't aware that doing so serves Daesh's interests.
Problem is, they know they're doing Daesh's bidding, they just don't give a shit: they don't care if the harmful policies they want to enact will make it easier for Daesh to tyrannize its own little corner of the world for a little longer: what they care is that Daesh's existence allows them to pretend that their desire to tyrannize their corner of the world stems from high-minded principles and not from the selfish desire to become sybaritic lords.


* "it doesn’t matter because we are warming up and it will affect us sooner or later."

It has already begun.
In fact, I daresay that future historians con't call our era the "the Great Unraveling": they'll call it The Climate Wars.

Paul SB said...

Dunderhead or solipsist? A scientists is committed to learning the truth, even when it hurts. We would all be much happier if climate change wasn't happening, obviously. But a partisan is committed to his Party, regardless of truth. This was made clear enough when he declared that the Rapture is coming because science has disproven the old myth of race (among other dogmatic statements). Next question: is he smart enough to create his own solipsism, or is it all taken from somewhere else?

Jumper said...

I've begun compiling a list but so far it's mental and I thought maybe I'd write it here. It's a list of things anthropogenic global warming deniers say that are clearly wrong, to the extent that it's clear they're lying, not just confused.
The first is David's pointing out the clear cherry-picking going on in the so-called halt in warming. Then there's a pretense that sea-ice extent somehow nullifies the worldwide steadily decreasing tonnage and volume of ice. One odd thing I notice is people who say "No one denies the earth is warming, but it's natural." And they will say this right in the middle of some other denier's argument that "no, the earth is not warming; it's not." But somehow ignore it! Um, someone on your side just did...
I or someone else can add to some of the more blatant obviousness of some of these ploys.

Anonymous said...

Laurent Weppe,

It was not the first drought in Syria and will not be the last. The drought did not cause the revolution in Syria. It was the typical pyramid social structure that proved incapable of helping solve the problem and used extreme repression in a failed attempt to keep control. Every country that experiences drought or some other natural disaster does not fall into chaos if its social structures are strong enough. Syria’s Alawite dominated government was the cause. The drought was only the spark.

Jon S. said...

How much of global warming is anthropogenic? Who cares?? Let's fix what we can, while we still can!

The analogy I've used before is that of a group of people in an out-of-control car, speeding toward a cliff. Is it more profitable to try to step on the brakes and grab the steering wheel, or to spend the time arguing over whose fault it is that we're in this situation to begin with?

Once we've got things under control, then we can start figuring out who or what is responsible for whatever portion of the problem. Otherwise, we're going to go flying off the cliff while we're still pointing fingers.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "The drought did not cause the revolution in Syria."

As you said, the drought was the spark: that it wasn't the only cause doesn't change the fact everything that followed: the uprising, Daesh's rise, the refugees crisis and the attack in Paris were consequences of global warming. We are already affected by AGW's deleterious consequences, and I said in the past, here and elsewhere, that it was a matter of time before the climate change deniers or their heirs changed their tune and started advocating gunning down the first victims of AGW: given the heinous rhetoric we're hearing from the usual suspect, well, pardon my haughtiness but I Fucking Told You.


* "How much of global warming is anthropogenic? Who cares??"

To keep with your car analogy: global warming being anthropogenic means that the guy at the wheel who drove the car so near the cliff is unqualified to keep driving. But since he doesn't want to let it go, since he finds it unacceptable to allow anyone but him to handle the wheel, he's denying his responsibility to justify clutching the wheel instead of allowing those who warned about the cliff to drive.

Jumper said...

Laurent Weppe,
"You're assuming that the far-rightists... aren't aware..."
Actually, I meant that ISIL's attempts to have decent Muslims attacked by others ought to be pointed out to decent Muslims. In other words, hey, people: ISIL WANTS YOU DEAD.

Anonymous said...

Laurent Weppe,

Come down from your pedestal. Lots of people have predicted these things going back before you were born. You do not have special predictive powers.

RFYork said...

David, I agree with everything you've said.

Unfortunately, we who try to live by reason and thoughtful sanity, are up against a group of irrational ideologues. No proof will work with them. Between their own irrationality and the fact that there a tiny number of legitimate scientists who are climate change deniers, there is little hope of getting these people to face reality.

We must do everything in our power to remove these assholes from the governance of our country.

David Brin said...

I agree we will not change Limbaugh parrots with logic or facts. But we can peel away their remaining (partial) grownups. They can sense the seepage of smart people and the rebuke it implies. We need - all of us - to find those whose moderate IQs and un-hateful personalities leave them vulnerable to facts. Peel away that 2% of the Confederacy and the lunacy will be badly impaired.

You have to corner them so they cannot leave or change the subject or break eye-contact. But I have found the combination of this chart and "ocean acidification" can combine with "the Saudis co-own Fox" to actually set cracks spreading in some of the hard shell

Anonymous said...

Ted Cruz does not disbelieve in Global Climate Change. He is not that dumb. He is, however, a Conservative Evangelical who is very impatient for the Second Coming of Christ. God Botherers like that are always willing to push events towards their apocalyptic goals. Ted Cruz knows that human civilization is in danger, and that makes him HAPPY. If the world descends into Climate induced anarchy, his best case scenario is that Supply-Side Jesus™ rides down on a white horse to lay waste to all the Atheists, Muslims and Liberals with a flaming sword of fire. Worst case scenario is that we end up in a post-apocalyptic feudal nightmare where Ted Cruz is Immortan Joe, doling out petrol and water to the faithful.

Dr. Brin, your analysis of conservative leaders in the military is missing one thing: the total infiltration of the US Air Force by the same sort of evangelical christians. These nuts are the ones responsible for 2/3 of our Nuclear Triad. I have long called for the complete decommissioning of the entire branch, dividing it's physical assets among the other branches and giving half it's budget to NASA.


LarryHart said...


Come down from your pedestal. Lots of people have predicted these things...

Uh, I didn't get the idea that Laurent was claiming special powers. His invective was directed at the deniers. Not so much "See? I was right!", as "See? You were wrong! And now look what you've wrought."

Paul SB said...

Jumper, I have had many tell me that more CO2 in the atmosphere means more plants can grow. This, of course, is basic 4th grade science. However, with humans cutting down most of the forests and replacing them with asphalt and concrete so plants can't grow back, the argument is either ignorant or disingenuous. Would that make your list?

David Brin said...

AZM - yes, the USAF Academy is in Colorado Springs, an absolute crazy town where the Revelation Loonies go after cadets eagerly. In EXISTENCE I have a short riff about that.

David Brin said...

Oh... God bless the US Navy. They were the holdouts who fought Rumsfeld tooth and nail.

Jumper said...

What about Rumsfeld's command reorganization proposals and actions were to be criticized? (NOT the wars themselves - those blunders are exposed by history) I don't know much except I thought it was one of the few things he proposed where he had valid points. As I said, I'm not an expert, I'm asking.

Zepp Jamieson said...

On the political side, there is some hopeful, if very late cheer. Denialism in the US is dying out fairly rapidly, and I expect in a couple of years it will be an extant belief only among the type of people who believe in chemtrails, or that we faked the Moon landings.
The main force driving denialism are the extractive industries--coal and oil in particular--and consumption industries. In just the past couple of years, the financial and political influence of coal has dropped, and it is, in fact, a rapidly decaying industry. Ironically, a lot of this was brought about by fracking and cheap oil overseas, but you take small victories where you can find them.
The oil industry has a nightmare lawsuit on their hands. Once it came to light that Exxon was aware of global warming, and their contribution to it, clear back in 1985, a class action suit is being filed accusing them of massive damages already occurring due to their willingness to lie for profits.
Also, the evidence of climate change is getting impossible to ignore. I live at 1km elevation in the Cascadia, and normally, we see about 4 meters of snow a year. Since January of 2013, 34 months ago, we've seen a total of 200mm, about 2% of normal. Even my Rush Limbaugh-loving neighbour has shut up about climate change being a hoax.
That's the good news. The bad news is that it may be too late. Short of catastrophic change reducing CO2 emissions by 80% over the next ten years (a really bad pandemic, for example, or a nuclear war) it's nearly impossible that we can avoid the 450ppm mark, or that we'll avoid the 2C warming that is the baseline for massive climate change, even assuming the clathrates don't give.
By the way, the methane hydrate emissions off Oregon may be seismic rather than a function of temperature change, although to those of us living between the Bay Area and Anchorage, that is not good news. Activity on the Cascadian Subduction Zone? Do not WANT!

David Brin said...

Rumsfeld was volcanically hated by the officer corps. Now, a certain amount of that may be from trying to modernise recalcitrant farts. But it clearly went way, way beyond that.

locumranch said...

Normality is a slippery concept, especially to those whose examples of 'unprecedented' human-mediated climate change were 'preceded' by the formally-acknowledged pre-industrial climate changes like a 500 year-old California drought & a 400 year-old Greenland thaw.

How irksome it must be to the official climate change narrative when conservative ignorami do the same & berry-pick a new 'normal' global temperature baseline as Ted Cruz did by picking 1998, just as the more reputable climate change scientists did before him when they choose to exclude those California & Greenland temperature spikes from 400 to 500 years ago as 'aberrant'.

Let us come together then, conservatives & progressives all, and create a grand new CONSENSUS about a 'real' global temperature baseline, based on the following objective data as provided by NOAA:

Problem solved !! Yet, even when confronted by actual science, I doubt that very few of you will accept the truth that (1) our historical global temperature NORM (on average) is glaciation and that the current Holecene Period is both (2) hellishly HOT if compared to the glaciation temperature NORM & (3) relatively FRIGID if compared to the prior Interglacial Period NORM (which was almost 5 C warmer than today).

Anthropogenesis is a secondary issue, it appears, because the 'A' in AGW theory stands for 'Anthropomorphism'.


David Brin said...

One can only disparage if one is willing to notice the good. This was locum's best posting in months. The carp is on target, not at all a strawman. He raised a genuine point by asking WHICH 'normal' we are trying to defend?

Of course his objective remains seeking any excuse to call the scientific enlightenment just as biased and wrongheaded as their chowderhead opponents... and it does not fly. His question about what's normal can be answered.

The answer is that the general Holocene has been very very gentle with humanity, allowing vast arable areas to have reliably repeated patterns that allowed human populations to augment to stratospheric levels. Sure, if the rains abandon the Ganges Valley, the monsoons will drop their loads elsewhere. But a hundred million people in that valley could starve or become desperate refugees... and "more rain" isn't always a good thing in other places.

So deserts will spread and formerly temperate zones become fetid and hot? So what! We'll gain new farmlands in Canada and Siberia! Except, at best they will have one growing season, not the two those lost temperate zones had. And they have no topsoil. And no one can live in those places for half the year. And the confederate south in America will suffer the most, with mosquitoes and tse tse flies and Kudzu and Yellow Fever and disappearing coastlines.

Fact is, we may reach new equilibria. But finding our way will require science and can best be done if these changes happen slowly. Those who would shrug off the disruptions... in order to hang on to loyalty to asshole Kochs and petro-princes in an insane Culture War... in the end are utter utter fools.

Prakash said...

No comment on the new study showing antarctica ice increasing?

duncan cairncross said...

They were basing their report on the altitude measurement by satellite

No reference to the actual mass measuring satellite system??

Jumper said...

An even handed examination of the new NASA report, which says the opposite of the GRACE research. Not mentioned there (or elsewhere lately that I've seen) is a recent rather obscure paper on unexpected thinning of snow layers by sublimation recently, which might explain the other new study.

On "too late," I would bet that 900 ppm would be a hell of a lot worse than 450.

I could add to my list the canard that it was hot during the Paleozoic therefore it's just hunky dory now.

Jumper said...

A visual guide and analysis of the new paper:

Paul SB said...

Jumper, the Paleozoic canard is neglecting to mention Bergman's Rule, if you want a good talking point. When average temperatures go up, cold blooded animals tend to get bigger, while warm blooded animals (like humans) get smaller. The Paleozoic was much warmer, but there were no mammals in those days. There were dragonflies as long as your arm and millipedes as long as a bus, though. As increased temperature reduces the size of mammals, we will lose cranial capacity. At the same time the roaches will be getting bigger and bigger. There's a pleasant scenario for those who say a warmer future will be better.

But that's long term. In the nearer future we will be trying to support billions of humans on a matrix of thawed permafrost which tropical diseases move into more populated refions and become more virulent.

Anonymous said...

What I find missing in the research are some more robust predictions of changes in things like rainfall patterns and regional temperature differences that would be useful to help us prepare. This is the area that the sensationalist press loves the most and has done a great disservice by exaggerating and misreporting what the studies actually said in order to get a headline in so doing giving the impression that climate scientists don’t know what they are talking about when in reality many do. There are two things we have to do. Of course we have to stop and then lower the CO2 in the atmosphere, which goes without saying, but we must also to learn how to adapt to the new equilibrium and I don’t hear much about that part. I guess it doesn’t sell for the media. Dr. Brin, you talk very much about the genius of people when they work together to solve problems and I think this also applies to adapting to climate change. We can do it. Much of the world’s populations already live in climate conditions that resemble what we would expect in the temperate areas today and they manage. With proper methods the diseases prevalent there can and are controlled. We must not forget that that until the 20th Century the South was a hell-hole of diseases and that stopped when we put in place methods of control and we can do the same today. Agriculture can adapt also by planting different crops. As long as you have water you can grow food and it seems that the future world will be more humid than now. Extreme weather is bad but we can find ways to mitigate its effects. I prefer that the climate stays as it is but I don’t proscribe to the dystopian apocalyptic view of the future because I think we can beat whatever it throws at us. Of course if climate change provokes a zombie epidemic then all bets are off.

Jumper said...

Assume that cyclones and hurricanes double in expense. Yes, "we can beat that" but what does that mean, exactly? When Bangladesh goes under and all its millions who remain MUST move, what will happen then? Sure, "we can beat that" but what does that mean? If the American West turns into far more desert than predicted, "we can beat that."
Now if it rained on Iraq for fifteen years, that would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I think we can safely assume that with the sea level rise some populations will have to relocate but that is a political and refugee problem and although very difficult, is easier to overcome than something like ensuring world food production for example. If the West and Florida become no longer habitable then people will move back north and back east rather easily. For Bangladesh it will be harder but in any case the people will move. I am more worried about securing, adapting and finding arable land in the new climate equilibrium than population movement itself.

Jumper said...
Plasma stabilizing in Tokamaks

Jumper said...

Piezo for the People!

Berial said...

Rep. Lamar Smith seems to be using that 1998 year in his crusade against NOAA and NASA. Anyone surprised?

Jumper said...

Not after some other idiot tried to disprove it by waving a snowball in front of a camera in winter.

Paul451 said...

Re: East Antarctic ice sheet height.

It's fascinating that when you read the discussion of the paper(s) on RealClimate, the issue is "What are the complicating effects of current climate on the rate of densification of 10,000 year old snowfall into ice? Have we adequately taken isostatic rebound of the bedrock into account?"

When you read the denier sites, it's "ANTARCTIC ICE IS INCREASING!!!!11! PROOF GLOBAL WARMING FRAUD IS FRAUD!!!!eleven!!"

One of these things is not like the other.

"Rep. Lamar Smith seems to be using that 1998 year in his crusade against NOAA and NASA."

So does Sen. Ted Cruz, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space, and currently running for Republican candidate for President.

(It's bizarre to watch how easily he twists people into knots. He's a very clever lawyer. Which is not, of course, in any way a compliment.)

David Brin said...



Alfred Differ said...

The norm that matters to me is the one that keeps the Greater Mississippi River Basin fertile, connected, and wet. The wealth generation center of the US is that river basin. (Look at the 1 million (+) cities dotted around the map.) Dislodge people from there and our costs for running our corner of this civilization go up. Our perch from atop the world power structure will change with our costs and a US-of-A that spends more for local needs isn't going to be spending elsewhere. The world changes when that happens.

Flypusher said...

Here's a denier trying to deny ocean acidification (at the end of the video):

Flypusher said...

For those who don't want to slog through all the video, a little summary. This is a symposium held earlier this month at the University of Houston. The topic was the Carbon Tax and a discussion of the pros, cons, possible unintended consequences, what difficulties do you need to work around to writing legislation, IOW, from a perspective of we've-got-a-problem-here-so-what-is-the-BEST-way-to-deal-with-it. I suspect Mr. Stewart was included in the spirit of balance, but someone with a there's-no-problem-so-do-nothing really has nothing to contribute here. To rebut his claims the other panelists would have had to go off topic, but they didn't, so basically he and they were talking part each other. I knew they had picked a real live one when he talked in his opening statement about CO2 being the "gas of life" and he was quite indignant that anyone would classify the "gas of life" ax a pollutant! The audience could not directly ask questions, but we could text them in. Most of the questions were directed at Mr. Stewart, and ocean acidification got many mentions. He tried to weasel out of that with the assertion that the oceans were alkaline, not acid! True, but that was totally dodging what is meant by acidification. I phrased my question in terms of changes in pH, but unfortunately the moderator didn't choose that way to state it. Stewart had to grudgingly concede that the ocean change was harming some of the sea creatures, but there were others that were thriving, so it's really not that bad! Looking at the credentials the guy listed, it's not like he lacks education. But how he reaches he conclusions is. Ind blowing.

John Stanton said...

Ultimately it comes down to believing scientists who know more than we do but I have never regretted trusting scientists.

Recently I saw a website "quoting" Freeman Dyson saying that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere had no negative consequences. I wrote my hero asking if he had been taken out of context. He kindly replied saying that of course their were serious dangers. He admitted he was not an expert on the subject but pointed out that the models have major problems and he did not feel global warming was the top concern.

It is a daunting task to attempt to change the mind of Freeman Dyson's but I did write that it is a shame that his words were being used by people far less thoughtful than himself for political reasons.