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Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 4:28 PM

Hello,

I guess I missed something profound because I don't understand what the fuss is about?

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#1

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 4:33 PM

I think the fuss is about the notion that man is somehow responsible for climate change and the grandiose idea that we can do something about it other than adapt.

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#2

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 5:23 PM

When the earth heats up everything dies.

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#3

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 6:03 PM

Political control and power.

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#4

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 6:58 PM

What it has always been about: the ignorant hijacking the knowledge of others in a half assed, misunderstood way to increase their power.

This guy gets tired of living in a cave, so he builds a lean too with branches and leaves over a fallen tree. He is tried by the cave tribunal for blasphemy, and clubbed to death. Then the mayor of the cave moves into the lean to. Unfortunately, the mayor now has to feed this guys angry wife.

welcome to humanity.

milo

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#5

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 10:35 PM

bwire, the fuss appears to be about CO2 emissions from your woodstove or the temperature on your patio deck, but it's not. It's about your shades and your tan: the UV rays you're catching courtesy of ozone layer damaged by halogenated emissions. And then it's about the tornado streaking across the continent to snatch your burger on its way to lunch. Courtesy of the same chain of events.

See first paragraph here for example under "Chemical processes controlling stratosopheric ozone"

".. the rates of the chemical reactions that control the abundance of ozone are temperature-dependent, and the abundance of CO2 plays a key role in determining the temperature structure of the stratosphere."

The cycling that goes on between your patio and the stratosphere is not my specialty. I know you have to think about temperature and structure. Big ol air masses and clouds of this and that, rising, falling - cycles driven by "heat rises; cold falls".

The Arctic is expected to be ice free in summer by 2015 now. Expect profound effects on everything from the jet stream to ocean currents and other heavy hands of the daily and seasonal weather report. There could be sudden climate changes, as well as the extreme storms, droughts and so on that we've gotten used to.

I have yet to see a frank discussion of the role of intense UV rays and the driving of these cycles into extreme weather events. A meteoroligist should be made to come out of his burrow so that we can see his shadow and hear (for once and finally) a plain-spoken, expert answer.

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#19
In reply to #5

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 4:19 PM

Hmmm...sounds cyclic or descriptive of growing pains or stretch marks but what of the green house it self?

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 5:20 PM

I admit it bwire, I could have said your title line myself. I have no problem with the idea of getting a little warmer, believe me. I am even the proud owner of a greenhouse.. I just want a stratosphere in the sky above it. CO2 is one of the things we give back to the plant kindom. Bring on the plants! I say. More merrier.

I'm wishing that whatever the arctic melt does to the ocean currents, it makes our island warmer not colder. Warm weather species drifting north? Fine by me. Come one, come all. Coyotes becoming a pest? Shoot em. No sweat.

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#31
In reply to #5

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 7:31 AM

The 2015 estimate is nothing but an estimate! If you look back five years, they were predicting 2010, and that is only months away. The earth has gone through ice ages and warm stages for millions of years, and there is little if anything humans can do! One volcanic eruption throws more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in a day than humans can in a hundred years! So explain that!

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 9:33 AM

"One volcanic eruption throws more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in a day than humans can in a hundred years! So explain that!"

That is a myth and a pretty wide spread one. Volcanic activity accounts for 1% or less of the CO2 emissions by anthropogenic means.

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#66
In reply to #5

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

08/11/2009 9:52 AM

"The Arctic is expected to be ice free in summer by 2015 now."

Easy to see and only 6 years from now. Let's all make a point to see if the experts were right, six years from now.

In Vancouver is a museum with a boat (small ship?) which circumnavigated North America, Northwest Passage and Panama Canal, 60-some years ago.

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#6

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/07/2009 11:40 PM

I am mostly concerned about half-informed politicians going off half-cocked and spending a whole lot of money trying to control a system no one understands. There is a very good chance that playing with the climate could result in reversing the global warming we are experiencing (which, by the way, is not all that unusual, if you dig further back in history, before man existed on the planet). The results of a reversal of global warming would be the advent of a new ice age, which, in my opinion, would be a whole lot worse and cause a whole lot more damage than any of the "worst case" scenarios projected by the doomsayers...

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#7

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 3:44 AM

Bwire,

Listen to this link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II9jLTzPv30&feature=related

Roy Spencer basically proves that the IPCC models are wrong and that the central question of climate sensitivity shows that by 2100 AD, the effect will be about .5 c, and not the 3-10 degrees Gore and the gang think. This research is fatal to the Gore dogma...

Seaplaneguy

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#8
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Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 6:42 AM

hey seaplaneguy,

be sure to post and let us know when Roy Spencer and George Bush are awarded the Nobel Prize for setting the science straight.

Some of us skeptics reason that we may as well respect the science that already got the Nobel....

I only wish I had the engineering knowledge to speculate about better solutions to our earth's atmospheric woes.

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#9
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Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:48 AM

It wasn't science that got the Nobel, it was rewarding political correctness.

my 2cents.

Peace.

milo

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 8:08 AM

Fair enough: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change got the Nobel for Peace, not science. For politically correct action, to address the scientific issues raised by the superb science for which Rowland, Molina and Crutzen got the Nobel in atmospheric chemistry.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:50 AM

Hey artsmith,

Is this about a faith-based approach (they say it, so I believe it)? Or is it about knowledge and measurements? If this is about knowledge and observable measurements, perhaps one should listen to both sides, and compare how they measure up to the real world.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 9:53 AM

okay, guest, since I'm on coffee break, I listened to a bit of Roy Spencer's incredibly dull speech, starting with the 'bumps on the line' bit and yawning by the time he got to "humps in the rain".... the intro didn't make any scientific points at all, just some grandiosity about his satisfaction with his personal career.

why would I possibly doubt this man's theoretical arguments that there won't be positive feedback and runaway climate change? Because of lucid reports like this one that comes with actual images of the melted Arctic scene. (Ice albedo, now there's one they missed in the model, maybe? Environmental science was talking about it, when I was studying biol in 99. Ice reflects: open water not so much. Tipping point = at some value of open water/ice ratio, there's a meltdown.) 2050? revise to 2015.

well well. afaict Roy doesn't measure up to the real world. His bumps on a line and his humps in the rain are irrelevant to the facts before my eyes. Your faith must be strong indeed.

I don't like the CO2 intervention strategy either. I'd just like to see some engineering dialogue about inventing a direct fix for the busted stratosphere, instead of being snookered by the "no problem" propaganda. Warming and cooling, well, we can live with that as geological time scales show. Move over, Thomas Midgely, for the next great breakthrough in engineering (Go CR4).

Peace to all of you.

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#13
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Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 10:58 AM

Well, that's the rub. Many global warming crusaders believe there should not be a debate and are working to shut any debate down.

Take the scientist Dr. J. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute, for example. He believes that there should not be a debate and anyone that does not agree with his point of view on global warming be shut down. Or, in the case of chief executives in the fossil fuel industry, tried for high crimes, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming. This is exactly what Dr. Hansen proposed before congress. Notice, the supplied link is from a pro global warming paper, nonetheless.

There is very little science practiced in climate change studies. What science there is, is lost in the noise of political rhetoric or hung from the marionette strings of government funding.

Clearly, attempting to shut down debate is pathological science at its extreme. This alone should raise a very large red flag in the minds of critical thinkers.

The argument is not faith based, nor is it fact based. It is an emotional argument.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 11:05 AM

There is very little science practiced in climate change studies. What science there is, is lost in the noise of political rhetoric or hung from the marionette strings of government funding.

Clearly, attempting to shut down debate is pathological science at its extreme. This alone should raise a very large red flag in the minds of critical thinkers.

The argument is not faith based, nor is it fact based. It is an emotional argument.

Good answer. Thanks for the dose of critical thinking.

milo

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 11:56 AM

It's sound like be at the beach on a sunshine day under a camping tent for a little too long. Exhausting after a while. Way too hot inside. Let's grab another beer in the meantime I guess,definetly,absolutly.....

Off the hook. 'I have an idea' here. Check this out. Why not launch a whole bunch of material reflecting globes upthere to cover somehow the atmosphere ozone holes. These globes will be build with a computerized system on-board that detects atmosphere ozone holes covering needs and move automatically into position in order to protect from harmful sunrays penetration. Such anti-harmful sunrays globes may as well be control it by satellites too. And it may make use of solar power at same time for powering. Hey, who know's? What ever help! Such globes may work like a huge umbrellas wherever the ozones holes are developing. Hey not bad,ahhhhhaaaaaeemmnn, I told ya' we have the technology!

GreenHouseTech,

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#17
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Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 12:28 PM

There is very little science practiced in climate change studies.

Please provide your factual basis for this statement. I assume you have read a good number of these so called studies: pony up with the links, please, and some kind of rational overview, so we will all know for certain your words are not a baseless "emotional argument" about something you know nothing about.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 3:47 PM

Anonymous Hero, would you consider AAAS a reasonable scientific source, to comment on the science behind climate change?

BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

This author reviewed all of 928 peer-reviewed scientific papers on climate change for the AAAS in 2004 and found a strong scientific consensus about climate change. That is not to say that there is nothing left to debate.

I personally consider peer-reviewed science to be the basic standard for rational, as opposed to emotional or faith-based arguments. I'm not saying peer-review is never fallible, or shouldn't be criticised. It's a fact: errors in experimental design slip through: abuses of statistics are not unheard of in peer-reviewed journals (at least in medical and pharmaceutical research). It's even possible for a generally accepted consensus to be wrong.

However if the weight of science is on one side, you should have a compelling scientific position to present to convince me otherwise. Thanks!

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 5:12 PM

And a paper that directly challenges the link you provided. Not that I am claiming it is an iron-clad proof against, but it does demonstrate that there is still valid debate on the subject and therefore, by definition, hard to make a case for "consensus" when not everyone is on board.

Truthfully. I simply haven't the time to delve into every bit of information, every paper, and every organization to do a comprehensive study or thesis. However, some of the tools one might use are to look at the money trail and to look at each presenter's credentials and history.

I am not an expert on the topic, but I do have a somewhat informed opinion on the subject.

As for links, Dr. Hansen's own words support my claim very well. You can continue to scrutinize his published papers and it is obvious by observation that he is not employing the scientific method to his own process when you claim peer review is not needed or welcomed. Furthermore, just hook up a rhetoric meter to the whole debate and the needle slides far off-scale. Anytime I hear emotional statements weaved into a debate tells me that there is a high probability that the facts alone can not support the argument.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:03 PM

ROFL and chortling. The site you are linked to is so-called "Science and Public Policy Institute" : a propaganda mill devoted exclusively to manufacture doubt about the climate change science. It has no scientific credentials, and carries no more weight with me than any 'conspiracy theory'.

I especially enjoyed their citation of "The American Association of Petroleum Geologists' Ad Hoc Committee on Global Climate Issues". I wonder, did they state 'conflicts of interest' As you say yourself, look at the money trail. The record of climate change deniers is not so good. When politicians veto and edit the scientific reports supposedly researched in the public interest, you know big bucks are at stake.

I don't begrudge any legitimate scientific debate: that isn't the point. Probably there is some legitimate stuff referenced at the Policy Institute as well - they don't link their sources, unfortunately.

If the essay published in Science contained any minor errors, I don't doubt that they published an erratum. It's a top notch scientific journal, second only to Nature. They have a stake in defending science from error as well as the forces of fraud. It's the world we're living in..... it's the need to defend legitimate and objective science, not a 'conspiracy' against dissenting opinions, that explains the editorial decisions at this prestigious journal. IMO

Anyway, no offense intended in these remarks. It is an enormously polarized subject, as you pointed out. (it's like Darwinism that way). Anyone in the middle ground will have to duck the tomatoes as they whiz past.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:08 PM

Artsmith and GW promoters,

This basically says correctly what has happened to "science" in our brave new world.

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf

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#27
In reply to #23

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:53 PM

thankyou seaplaneguy, it looks like an interesting paper and I will read it if I get a chance. (36 pages! yow)

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#25
In reply to #13

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:47 PM

"Take the scientist Dr. J. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute, for example."

If I remember correctly, when Dr. Hansen first started on his study of global warming, he was coming at it from the perspective of astronomy. The data from NASA's Pioneer Mission to Venus (1978) revealed that Venus was in the grip of a run-away green house effect. Obviously it was expected that Venus would be considerably warmer than Earth because it is closer to the Sun, but the difference found was several times more than would be predicted by the inverse square alone. It was the abundance of highly effective 'greenhouse' gasses in the Venusian atmosphere that seemed to explain the difference. Hansen decided to see if he could calculate the atmospheric changes that would be sufficient to produce a similar effect on Earth.

The most plausible simple scenario he could come up with was that a build-up of carbon dioxide could do the trick. Based on (admittedly crude) calculations made on what passed for super computers 30 years ago, he laid out PREDICTIONS about what we might expect if concentrations increased at certain rates. To a large extent what he PREDICTED has been borne out by measurements over the last three decades. Does that prove that global warming is real? No it doesn't. Does it prove that IF global warming is happening, that the cause is CO2 build-up? No it doesn't. Does it prove that if the warming is due to CO2, that the measured increase is the result of human activity? No it doesn't. But verifiable predictions have a special place in science.

A hypothesis that makes quantitative predictions which can be compared to actual data and measurements is testable hypothesis. If over a period of time the predictions and measurements are in agreement, the idea can become a theory. I believe that time has shown that Dr. Hansen's idea is now an powerful theory. Fifty years from now we will still not know all the science, but in my book a theory that can predict future events has a leg up over a 'theory' that makes un-testable claims about other peoples' motives.

"Many global warming crusaders believe there should not be a debate and are working to shut any debate down."

Outside the fields of mathematics and theology I don't think most serious grown-ups are looking for 'proof'. When trying to make plans for the future, a high level of probability will usually do nicely. So this is not about shutting down scientific debate. This is about what happens when a society has decided, after a decades-long debate, that an overwhelming scientific consensus exists. The debate will continue. But it is unreasonable to suggest we shouldn't make public policy decisions until we are certain of all the facts, and until the consensus is unanimous. Humans don't do certainty. We do uncertainty. We do what we can to reduce the uncertainty. But every act is a gamble, and at some point the time for talk has passed, and it's time to do something – EVEN IF IT'S WRONG.

"He believes that … chief executives in the fossil fuel industry, [should be] tried for high crimes, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming.

One of the basic 'Laws' of 'Political Science' is that the best way to hide your own sins and weaknesses is to accuse your opponent of the same. For instance, it is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that somebody with a huge financial interest in the outcome of a debate might be tempted to 'fudge' the facts a little bit. So those arguing against global warming, aware that they might reasonably be seen by the public as 'pimping' for the oil industry, would want to launch a pre-emptive attack that questions the financial interests of their opponents in the scientific community. We are expected to believe that it is the wealthy scientists who are buying up the private islands in Dubai, not the oil industry execs.

We are expected to believe that it is the venal scientific community that is selfishly jeopardizing the future for their children and grandchildren, while it is the altruists in the petroleum industry that do really care about their wellbeing. But they are fighting a heroic up-hill battle, made more difficult because their altruism (saving the world from global warming junk-science) just happens to be aligned with their own financial self interest (making as much money as possible selling oil). I guess this is possible, but it is very improbable. If I have to bet, I'll bet that it's the oil men who are stretching the truth.

So if someone was to drag the fossil fuel executives into our tortured court system, and 'prove' that they privately believed anthropogenic global warming was real but chose to finance a campaign to discredit the science purely for financial gain, they would appear to be guilty as charged. Finding documentary evidence (the smoking gun) would probably clinch the case, but given the general hostility toward big businesses that many people feel these days, they could probably at least get the jury to convict, even with a more circumstantial case. Realistically it probably doesn't matter what the courts say because I don't think these folks give a rat's tailpipe what some government thinks.

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 1:49 AM

Well I used to be a sceptic about how anthropogenic production of CO2 caused climate change- I knew that water vapour & methane were far more GG- but I have just read a book by a top atmospheric scientist which has changed my mind- the book is "What we know about climate change" by Kerry Emanuel, pHd of MIT- a member of tthe climate change commitee. Here in Australia, we are seeing the predictions of drought, fires, flooding coming true- in Victoria at the moment, suffering from the hottest spell in many,many years, at least 125 people have died in the last 2 days & almost 1000 houses destroyed- many towns have been destroyed- many bodies are thought to under the ruins of burnt houses- all these people practised up to the minute fire avoidance- in Queensland by contrast the most severe floods are occurring since records have been kept- it's all coming true folks.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 7:14 AM

I've been following that story somewhat and it looks like it may be a case of arson.

Our prayers are with you. A lot of fire fighters gave their lives trying to save life and property.

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#16

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 12:21 PM

Seems to me I recall an article about a frozen mammoth with grasses and food inside that was discovered up in a frozen wasteland ice field. Apparently a past greenhouse effectively made much more of the earth habitable.

I find it difficult to buy into the doomsday result of having the atmosphere more equally temperate, perhaps the coastal cities would not agree, but Ive seen some sizable man-made greenhouses doing a wonderful job of making things grow up in those forbiddingly cold climates.

I am also not moved by the idea that an owl will not survive without a special tree, or a white bear will not survive without ice. I prefer more stable science unfettered by politics.

By the way, the ozone hole is and always has been over Antarctica. Perhaps a little more ozone would work to close that hole?

I was alerted to not be so quick to buy in to the GW write-ups when I discovered that it was about a 1 degree rise in 100 years claim. How accurate was the equipment and how many locations back 100 years ago I wonder? What is the average temp during the entire period, not just the cycles?

Just an average intelligence guy here, waiting for believable science, not pictures of ice melting (only later to discover there was an active volcanic eruption below the ice shelf). To this point it is clear to me that "belief" is tainting the discussion of the science about GW and other things, and I long for honest intelligent science.

P.S. Bhakii, seems warming didn't kill the mammoth, cooling did. I guess at the very least it cuts both ways?

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#26
In reply to #16

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:52 PM

The terminology is flawed, which doesn't help our understanding. I remember a Geology class I took in the mid 70's, where the professor had this crack-pot theory that perhaps the ice ages were not caused by the cooling of the earth, but by warming. The hypothesis was that warming would melt glaciers and continental ice caps, raising sea levels. The higher sea level would allow part of the warm Gulf Stream waters that normally surface just south of Iceland, to push on through into the arctic, melting the polar ice cap. Winds blowing across the now open arctic ocean would pick up enormous amounts of water vapor, which would then fall as snow over Canada, Northern Europe, and Russia. This snow fall would cool the land, resulting in more snow which over time builds up into the enormous continental ice sheets that characterized these earlier ice ages. Looking back on it now it doesn't seem quite as crazy.

So the name global warming doesn't quite work. Some parts may actually be cooling. But I think the real issue is that as the amount of energy in the system increases, the amount of turbulence will also increase. Increasingly strong eddies in the warm tropical atmosphere could spin off, crashing into the colder polar air, ripping out great chunks of frigid air and flinging it back into the tropics. Even if global warming increased the length of the growing season by a month or so, that won't be much use if it comes with a 25% chance for a week or two of sub-freezing weather at some point during the growing cycle. Bigger, stronger, and more frequent Hurricanes and Tornados are another likely side effect.

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#24

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 7:32 PM

If I get your question right, you are referring to the possibility that at least in the short run, global warming may make some parts of the planet more habitable. I'm hoping you are right, because I sold my house in California and moved to Oregon figuring that maybe in 10 or 20 years it will warm up enough to suit my tastes, and that it is less likely to dry up, burn to the ground, and blow away.

But seriously, the over-all temperature of the earth is almost certainly going up, it appears to be happening at what is geologically speaking a very rapid pace, and the results are likely to suck a lot. It may suck less for people in some areas, at least for a while. It may be not quite as bad for people with a food locker full of venison and moose, and basement full rice and beans and canned tomatoes, and a closet full of guns and ammo. But we are probably facing a serious change in equilibrium for all living things on the planet. We are already seeing crop failures that appear to be predicted by global warming. We see changes in weather patterns that are exacerbating drought conditions in already dry areas. The history of life on earth shows that rapid changes do occur, and they result in losers and winners. Species and civilizations come and go. Change is good perhaps, but this is the kind of change that I would hope we wouldn't wish on each other. We creatures at the top of the food chain aren't the natural winners in these situations.

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#28
In reply to #24

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/08/2009 11:11 PM

"But seriously, the over-all temperature of the earth is almost certainly going up..."

Actually, the data (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) shows a significant downward trend in total global temperatures in the last several years. That global trend is still continuing at the fastest rate ever recorded.

Is it a blip? I don't know. In fact, it appears no one has a good explanation why we have lost ≥0.65°C in such a short time. We can only wait and see what happens this year to get a better idea if this trend will continue or reverse again.

However, it does seem to punctuate that we don't understand what is happening (yet) and we clearly can't predict what is happening (yet).

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#32

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 8:12 AM

If the earth is heating up and it isn't just a normal cyclic change, why is it supposed to be anthropogenic?

The answer normally given is because the rate of change is unprecedented.

How do we know this? Because geologic and climatic change is always slow.

How do we know this? It is an assumption.

Looking at the frozen mammoths, it is obvious that the climate change involved was definitely not slow. If it can cool this suddenly, why can't it heat quickly?

Looking at history, we have the medieval warm period with vineyards in England and Southern Scotland, grain growing in Greenland, Newfoundland called "Vinland" because native grapes grew there (there is dispute as to whether "Vinland" is Newfoundland or substantially further south. If so that pushes Viking exploration much further south than supported by the evidence). We also have at least 2 mini ice ages between 400AD and 1700AD.

Looking back into geological time, the present has one of the lowest atmospheric CO2 levels of all. Only the carboniferous was lower.

Life seemed to survive quite well in those distant ages so you must ask, why the doom and gloom about a (geologically speaking) small increase now?

Unfortunately I have now lost a graph I had in the early 90's, showing average temp compared to atmospheric CO2 from the mid 1800's to about 1990. For the first 50+ years, there was a significant increase in CO2 and a general decrease in temp.

Later there was an increase in temp and rate of CO2 rise slowed. The current graphs show CO2 and temp virtually lock step. Either it is in lock step, or there is a significant lag, but it is unlikely to have both at different times.

This makes it likely that CO2 actually has little effect outside computer models and that we should look elsewhere for our changes.

Incidentally, double CO2 gives about 75% increase in crop yields (a fact greenhouse growers have used for years). Why do we want to stop this? How have we managed to turn this into an impending disaster? I would think it more likely to be a benefit.

Having said this, if global warming continues, we can expect cool temperate regions to become warmer temperate, warm temperate to become subtropical, dry tropics will become wetter and desert regions will be squeezed and shrunk between the two.

In actual fact, I expect that in about 20-30 years we will all be discussing the next imminent ice age and global warming will be a memory. This has been the pattern of "the overwhelming consensus among scientists" since at least the 1890's. It has gone from global cooling to global warming to global cooling and is now back to global warming. This historical pattern reminds me that since Malthus, our success rate with environmental predictions has been abysmal. I don't think our medium to long term predictions have been right yet.

Why should we expect this time to be different?

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#36
In reply to #32

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 12:04 PM

sceptic,

what you're saying about CO2 makes sense to me. I don't have the facts about it so I'm assuming (unless someone posts data contrary) that you have the numbers straight. These are compelling arguments.

as for what's anthropogenic and what's not normal about the present conditions, the only thing I know of to fit that bill is the damaged stratospheric ozone. The effects of CO2 cycles on (man-made oops) halogen cycles up in the stratosphere is the only really compelling reason to rein in CO2 emissions. Whether it is a sensible approach to the problem: I am sceptical.

The fact that halogens and stratospheric ozone are never ever even mentioned any more is a big hole in the sound byte. Why, I can't imagine. Because things have not improved substantially, according to data graphed and explained here. And frankly, it's time we took another look, isn't there some way to fix this mess without trying to contain the frigging (sorry) carbon cycle.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 12:23 PM

GA, How would you rate this discussion topic?

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#34

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 9:35 AM

Lately, hedging their bets, a lot of the political animals have decided that there may be a chance that warming isn't really happening, so the mantra now is "climate change". The remedy is still the same. Tax free enterprise because the capitalist pigs are sure to be guilty of something.

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#35

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 11:09 AM

hello,

Green house gases are potential bye-product emmissions by fossil fuel burnigs from automotives,boilers,furnaces and power plants on the process of energy generation.The components of fossil fuel combustions are marked by gases like co2,partculate carbon soots, oxides of nitrogen,sulphur etc which are in built components of petroleum and coal,fire wood etc.The major contributions are1[Acid rain by water and mixtures of acidic fumes of co2,no2,so2 etc.2]ozone layer depletion by catalysed solar radiatiions and green house gases.3]The worst being black carbon mass absorbtion of solar radiations and retention without discipation back to atmosphere,leading to global warming issues,which melts icebergs in polar regions and likely to raise sea levels and the subsequent disasters foreseen.The entire globe's environmental scientists are puzzled to resolve this major issue by safer, cleaner energy sustainable means.

S.Udhayamarthandan

sumarthandan@gmail.com

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#38

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 1:44 PM

The great greenhouse debate. What is real and what is supposition. The original question posted is "what is the fuss about?"

The fuss did come about by a cascade of scientific discoveries, starting with Venus being the hottest planet in our solar system. I know several of you might have thought that Mercury, the planet closest to the sun would be the hottest but it's Venus. Check this out: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/

Once this paradox was concluded to be caused by the greenhouse effect from Venusian atmosphere. The question about the Earth's greenhouse gas concentrations were investigated and found to have significantly risen with the use of fossil fuel. Check out http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/atm_meth/graphics/eth_comp.gif for a good chart of Greenland and Antarctic snow core samples of air trapped in snow.

But what's the problem with a little more warmth bwire wishes to know? Particularly once he or anyone truly adventurous to seek knowledge will find when the temperature readings of the core samples are investigated. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Paleoclimatology_IceCores/ It's only the past 12,000 years that the Earth has been a temperate climate. Surely warmer would be better, wouldn't it?

As others here have pointed out, some locations would gladly like some more warmth to become more temperate. But a problem happens if the mountain peaks and Arctic and Antarctic regions produce significant snow melt. This generates at least two problems.

First, many countries get significant amounts of their potable drinking water from snow melt run off. While some Swiss might prefer a longer summer, no summer skiing or usable drinking water would certainly not be appreciated. But isn't that just hyperbole to make a point? bwire might ask.

That brings me to the second problem. Remember how greenhouse warming works, shorter wavelength infra-red energy passes easily past the green house gasses in our air and strikes the land and sea. The sea and land then radiates this energy as longer wavelength infra-red radiation. But longer wavelength radiation is absorbed by our greenhouse and returned (mostly) back to the terrain. But snow and ice reflect short wavelength infrared radiation and thus do not shift the frequency to a longer wavelength. The reflected short wavelength is able to pass through the greenhouse gasses without re-absorbtion. So with more snow run off, more energy will be absorbed to then permit more run off. This positive feedback effect will accelerate the warming effect. The trouble comes from this and several other positive feedback scenarios. It's believed now that because more positive feedback loops than negative loops seem to exist that a small upward trend will cause later large upward final results.

But I hear your cry, "what is the fuss about?" So it gets warmer, big deal. Well it's only been for the past 10,000 years that mankind has been able to produce something that can be called a civilization. And only 12,000 years ago that the Earth truly became temperate. I wonder how significant that time coincidence is? Can humanity cope with the climate change of a warmer world? Maybe. Can humanity prevent global warming? Again, maybe. Should we give up all hope? Never!

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 2:12 PM

Interesting...and fossil fuels can only be blamed because they are the fuel most used during the 12000 year temperate period.

HAhahahahaha...sorry I see a point but it's not very sharp...umm I mean where is a comparison, the assumption that man can effect the global climatic changes is being interpreted as fact with no basis.

Is there a known element of Mercury's atmosphere which precludes it being hotter than Venus?

Simply stated we don't have enough data a conclusion to make.

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 6:00 PM

"Is there a known element of Mercury's atmosphere which precludes it being hotter than Venus?"

Mercury has no atmosphere to speak of. It was blown away a few billion years ago by the force of the solar wind. I guess you could say that Mercury has a transient atmosphere composed almost entirely of whatever solar wind happens to be in the area at any given time.

As to your assertion that there is no factual basis to assume that the increase in CO2 levels is due to man, I would disagree. It is more a judgement call in that the level of factual evidence is more convincing to some of us than it is to others. You can always argue that corelation is not causattion, that the simultaneous increase in anthropogenic CO2 and global temperatures is just a coincidence. You can argue that since climate appears to have varied in the past without any help from man, that the current variation must be just another 'natural' episode. This argument is just as baseless as the one you seem to be rejecting. The decision would be easier if we had more data but...

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#40

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 2:31 PM

One should learn from the efforts of scientists and engineers past. A thousdand years ago, there were trees and dairy cows in Greenland, and grapes in England, and the coastal cities of Europe were not flooded. Then the trees and dairy cows and people in Greenland disappeared as the ice expanded. Glaciers in Europe advanced. That freaked out those affected. Soon there was a consensus of the learned men of the period; the inconvenient truth was that the advance of the glaciers was caused by witches. After a sufficient number of witches had been burned, the glaciers retreated, and they seem to be doing so to this day. If you don't like that, the solution is clear; we need more witches!

Oh, the ozone problem. It seems that every winter, when it is dark 24 hours a day, an ozone hole develops over Antarctica. Simple minded science says that less ozone means more UV penetrating to the surface and, therefore, more skin cancer. From a medical point of view, it doesn't seem to be a problem, as no person sunbathes in the winter (can't tan, no UV at night) in Antarctica or, for that matter, in the summer, either. When the sun rises in the summer, the ozone is restored.

It used to be that people (Christians, Jews, Muslims) believed in God, a benevolent and omnipotent being. He controls the climate, and He is benevolent, so global warming must be good for us. Now it seems, most politicians are convinced that man's activities are driving climate, not God, which means they are atheists, not the Christians they pretend to be. Of course, hypocritical and lying politicians are the norm, so that's really not news. Just be careful about believing what they say.

Just a few of many interesting links:

http://www.newsmax.com/brennan/global_warming/2008/03/04/77689.html
http://acuf.org/issues/issue62/060624cul.asp
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,333328,00.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/21/global-cooling/
http://denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm
http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm
http://www.climatecooling.org/

http://townhall.com/columnists/AmandaCarpenter/2007/08/17/nasa_blocked_climate_change_blogger_from_data

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 6:24 PM

If you have such a low opinion of scientists that you would compare them to the religious zealots and superstitious fools who burnt witches, what on earth are you doing in a science and engineering forum like this?

If I understand you correctly, the problem I see with your argument is that the people and the scientists have been way out ahead of the politicians on this one. We don't have a consensus about global warming because of what Al Gore or any other politician says. The politicians are just going along with the consensus that has already formed.

It may also surprise you to know that there are actually people out there who believe in a creator, but don't accept as absolute fact the various stories that people have from time to time told about him (or her, or them, or ?). Some of these people may even be Christians, Muslims, or Jews, who accept their religions for their moral clarity, but not so much as a texbook on history and science. So if you want to conclude that most politicians are hypocrites, fine; many or them probably are. What does that matter? They aren't driving this bus. The vast majority of scientists still warn us that we are almost certainly putting our climate is in peril, and that things appear to getting worse. Most of your fellow citizens agree.

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 8:13 PM

"The politicians are just going along with the consensus that has already formed."

No, they (politicians) are using this "consensus" as a mechanism for political agendas.

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#46
In reply to #43

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 12:31 AM

Politicians are for the most part 'word' people, and the ability to pick up the jargon surrounding popular ideas is one of the skills required to be a 'successful' politico. The point here is that global warming theory (or what ever you want to call it) is not an idea imposed on the public by politicians.

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#48
In reply to #46

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 7:10 AM

"...is not an idea imposed on the public by politicians."

It clearly is now. Tell of a time when it wasn't. I can't remember back that far.

Heck, I remember when I was in school and Earth Day was announced. Thought, how cool is that?

Then I found out it was crafted (or hijacked) by some senator. The chosen date was the same day as the 100th birthday of Vladimir Lenin's, which is probably a coincidence, but who knows.

The point is, environmentalism and climate change have been at the core of politics in one fashion or another for as long as I can remember.

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#52
In reply to #48

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 11:35 AM

I would only recommend that you look at some big 'liberal' issues of the recent past:

  • opposition to the war in Iraq
  • gay rights
  • opposition to to war in Viet Nam
  • civil rights
  • equal rights
  • zero poplulation

What these have in common is that they started as actual 'grass roots' movements. They were the issues of 'dirty hippies' and other disreputable types. The button-down folks in the news media and the politicians wouldn't touch them. Even a few years ago, when poll after poll showed that popular opposition to the war in Iraq was over 50%, the news media (even 'liberal' networks like MSNBC) were still 'covering' the story as if it was a small band of lefty lunatics (like Cindy Sheehan). When Congressman Murtha came out against the war, the talking heads were all speculating that this as a career ender.

As you have mentioned, politicians are motivated almost entirely by personal self interest. This is one of the core values of conservatism. Even 'liberal' politicians are for the most part exceptionally conservative people. They are not at all likely to grab onto a 'new' or 'liberal' idea until they can see what is in it for them personally.

That is why I would argue that many 'liberal' ideas, including environmentalism (global warming), tend to be bottom up grass-roots issues. They tend to start at Universities, where upsetting ideas from new research tend to surface and get a first hearing. Conversely many conservative issues, like ending the estate tax are top-down.

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#49
In reply to #42

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 9:28 AM

"The vast majority of scientists still warn us that we are almost certainly putting our climate is in peril, and that things appear to getting worse."

The vast majority of scientists are not in the business of measuring global warming, so their opinion on global temperatures is uninformed. Science is not about voting, with universal sufferage. As for computer models predicting, its a case of GIGO; the models predict what the programmers want them to predict. When they can predict humidity and cloud cover, I might pay more attention to them. Otherwise, they are just video games.

Those who do measure global temperatures say that global warming stopped about 1998, and recent cooling takes us back to about 1930 temperatures. If you don't beleive the measurements -- isn't that what science is about? -- then why are we wasting money on satellites, etc. to measure global temperatures? There is, as they say, no debate.

As for the superstitious fools who burnt witches, it appears they were at least as effective as those who restrict CO2 emissions. Isn't engineering about doing what works? If it wasn't witches, and Exxon did not exist, then what caused the glaciers to retreat? The warming preceded the increase in CO2, and the cooling was certainly not the result of burning less fossil fuel, as fossil fuels were not a factor a thousand years ago. Scientists tend to believe -- I suppose it's an article of faith -- that "natural law" (physics) is consistent in time and space. If past warming was not caused by humans, and if warming of other planets was not caused by humans, then why believe that 21st century Earth is unique in that warming is caused by humans? Is there some evidence (observable facts) that man is causing global warming? Or is it just an unproven hypothesis, a case of wishing will make it so? The correlation of CO2 and temperature (not very good) is not evidence of causality, any more than the correlation of bathing suits and summer is proof that bathing suits cause sunny days.

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#53
In reply to #49

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 1:55 PM

In my personal experience, most scientists are unusually well educated folks, often very intelligent, and with high levels of curiosity. Some of them are even well informed in areas outside their immediate field of interest. Almost all of them believe in the importance of the scientific method, accurate measurement, rigorous experimental design, and critical thinking, and surprisingly enough these habits of thought can be applied to evaluating research in other areas. But your point is well taken. Let me rephrase that and say that a similar high percentage of atmospheric scientists and planetary physicists take the prospect very seriously. Science is as you have said, not really democratic, but hopefully our society is. The outcome of this debate is of more than just casual scientific interest, it is an issue of public policy.

I am pretty sure that when the sun's output increases that this results (all other factors remaining unchanged) in higher temperatures on earth, and if the output decreases the temperature will fall. I would be totally amazed if this was not the case. Likewise I am confident that a large volcanic explosion will pump enough stuff into the atmosphere to cause a cooling. There is no question that changes in oceanic circulation patterns can have major effects on climate, perhaps not on a global scale, but certainly on a regional scale (like say the North Atlantic). I am certain that there are many, many factors, big and small, that drove climate change in the past long before there were any humans around, and it is inconceivable that these factors are not still driving it. However in the current 'debate', the existence of these other factors is offered up as evidence, or even 'proof', that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax, perpetrated by crappy scientists and socialists.

But in addition to these physical processes, certainly one of the biggest changes in our atmosphere and climate is the presence of free oxygen, which is ENTIRELY the result of biology. Biological factors such as vegetation quantity and color significantly effect the albedo of our planet. So it is not just physics, but also biology that shapes our planet.

So you ask what is different about the 21st century earth? Get into your time machine and take a few orbits around the earth in say about 1900. Fast forward to 2000 and have another look. See anything different? Yep, you can now see the lights from our cities, factories, oil fields, etc. from space. And only a relatively small portion of our new energy budget goes toward lighting. We modern humans use energy at a rate that has no parallel in history, there are a lot more of us every year, and each year more of us have the means to buy more light bulbs, furnaces, air conditioners, cars, etc.

So let's be clear about this: there are many physical forces and cycles that result in variations of the earth's temperature and climate; there are also biological forces that can change the earth's temperature and climate. We are one of those biological forces. We have had for a century or so now the ability to reshape the surface of this planet to serve our own purposes. While we are far from the dominant life from on earth in terms of biomass (bacteria, trees, grasses, algae, insects, etc. have us beat), you can't see any of them from space at night. We are not omnipotent - but we are the very powerful new kids on the block.

Dr. Hansen's theory suggests that increased CO2 in the atmosphere will cause warming. We pump out CO2, day and night, year after year, century after century, gigaton after gigaton. Measurements indicate that CO2 levels are in fact increasing. It is irrelevant that at some time in the past the levels were much higher than they are now. We weren't around at the time, and the life forms that were had adapted to those conditions. The fact that natural forces can cause extreme variations in CO2 levels is not in any way an argument that humans can't.

It takes a leap of faith to think this is just background noise. You seem to suggest that it requires great arrogance to claim that mankind is in any way responsible for climate changes. I take the opposite view: it is arrogant to think that we can despoil the planet as we see fit because it doesn't matter.

We have at this point about a century of fairly reliable data that indicates the planet is warming. We have a fairly well established theory that says that man-made green house gasses should cause measurable global warming. We have data for about the last ten years indicating that the planet is cooling. We have space based measurements that indicate the solar output is falling. Is one of these signals a trend, and the other is just noise? Did the trend change? Is it all just noise? Or is it a continuing upward trend in global warming, modified by a decrease in solar output?

I honestly don't know, I don't think anybody knows, but I am very skeptical. There is no upside to global warming. 'Winning' the argument will be a very hollow victory, because you will still be living on the planet in question. I find it hard to accept the argument that scientists 'pretend' to believe in global warming so they can get cushy government funding for their research. But there is an upside to 'proving' that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax. And I don't think it's a coincidence that in the last few decades we have a new start-up industry: the manufacturing and disseminating of scientific doubt - funded largely by the incredibly deep pockets of the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. Most reputable scientists are aware of this, and if asked to vote they would ovewhelming dissapprove.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 3:08 PM

Well, John, I just can't buy into it.

1) As mighty as scientists are, they can't predict weather with certainty, let alone climate. The surest clue that we are clueless lies in the fact that no one has predicted the rapid cooling Earth has been experiencing over the last 4+ years.

If you can't predict the behavior of something than you can't claim to understand how it works. Q.E.D.

2) At least the limited data I have seen does not endorse the idea that CO2 levels are the causative agent for climate. In fact, the data I have seen points to a lag in CO2 levels for given climate changes.

That does not prove that changing CO2 will not have an impact, but just the same, it does not prove that it will. This assertion is a fallacy known as Ignoring a Common Cause or Confusing Cause and Effect.

3) Correlation does not me causation. Just because there are lights on Earth at night does not a theory make. The claim is much too loose. I might use that data as a means to point to a real root cause, but as an argument it is a fallacy because you asserting that because A is true, then B must also be true.

4) Dr. Hansen, I am sorry to say, has lost all credibility with me. I spoke to this earlier in this discussion. He is a fanatic, much like many fanatics. I know he is well educated, but his conduct is totally unprofessional and demonstrates all the attributes of a tightly closed and biggeted mind.

"I take the opposite view: it is arrogant to think that we can despoil the planet as we see fit because it doesn't matter."

I don't disagree with that statement. Where I diverge from followers of Dr. Hansen is with the magnitude of the effect we need to apply to our social/economical life to be better stewards of this planet.

Look at it from a medical perspective. If a patient has an unknown disease, you don't start chemotherapy and a full cocktail of antibiodics. The doctor first establishes (to their best ability) the root cause and treats that.

Which brings me back to point 1. I have heard over the last 30 - 40 years all kinds of doom and gloom predictions and every one of them has been wrong. It would be arrogant to think that the people that have made those predictions in the past would be more believable today.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 4:43 PM

Oh I see now. Since you've heard 30 to 40 years of doom and gloom but your not dead yet, they must all be liars. Now that's well reasoned. I wonder if you use a seat belt when you drive?

A personal attack on somebody who's scientific analysis survived peer approval. Bravo, a clear sign of mental clarity.

While correlation does not mean causation, causation frequently correlates.

CO2 certainly is not the sole and probably not even the dominant factor mitigating Earth's climate. But as the thermally aberrant planet Venus demonstrates, CO2 levels does dominate the climate of one planet. Hopefully, it won't happen here.

Lastly, yes the last four years the Earth has been cooling. But, that was from the warmest year ever recorded. A local downward trend does not negate the previous response. (I predict that this will still be dismissed. I know how you work.)

Well apples do not taste like oranges. And I suspect that all successful athletes have a naturally higher level of natural steroids in their bodies. Including non-sequetors into an argument works briefly for deft illusionists.

My point here is that we may have detected early something that we are doing that can effect our climate. The climate change may not be as severe as some dread. We may not even be the ones causing the change. This is a big planet with many facets yet to be discovered. Should we listen to all well reasoned opinions to all sides of this discussion? Certainly. But along the way if we are progressing to a dead end that some see, we should consider alternatives before running out of time.

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#58
In reply to #55

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 9:23 PM

"Oh I see now. Since you've heard 30 to 40 years of doom and gloom but your not dead yet, they must all be liars."

Missed my point. Simply put, they were wrong. Whether they were lying or not, I don't know and it is not important.

"A personal attack on somebody who's scientific analysis survived peer approval."

Dr. Hansen speaks for himself. Read his published works. I am sure that you will come to the same conclusion. He is not practicing science.

"But as the thermally aberrant planet Venus demonstrates, CO2 levels does dominate the climate of one planet."

Completely different circumstance! Venus' atmosphere has 96% CO2! Earth's has less than 0.04%.

"I predict that this will still be dismissed. I know how you work." How do we dismiss that? Should we ignore the data?

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#62
In reply to #55

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/11/2009 12:09 PM

"But as the thermally aberrant planet Venus demonstrates, CO2 levels does dominate the climate of one planet."

Really? The CO2 on Venus is more significant than clouds of sulfuric acid?

"...yes the last four years the Earth has been cooling. But, that was from the warmest year ever recorded."

1934?

"A local downward trend does not negate the previous response."

But the CO2 has been increasing while the temperature drops. Causation?

It matters not that Dr. Hansen's work was peer reviewed. He was putting forth an hypothesis, an invitation to debate.

We still lack the evidence to show that it is sensible to spend vast amounts trying to reduce CO2, when there are so many other uses for the money, fighting disease, providing potable water, cleaning up pollution, etc. etc. The medical analogy would be to spend all our research money fighting Hansen's disease, leprosy, ignoring cancer, heart disease, malaria, etc.

The "greenhouse effect" is poorly named. Greenhouses work by inhibiting convection, trapping warm air with glass or plastic.

The Earth, on the other hand, cools by radiation, not convection. The projected area of the Earth, pi r squared, intercepts (predominately short wavelength) sunlight. Some is reflected; the rest is absorbed, warming the planet. Heat is radiated to space from the entire area of the planet, 4 pi R squared. If there were no atmosphere, no water, the emissive surface would be rock, and the temperature of the Earth would be uncomfortably cool, on average below freezing. Were the emissive surface warmer, the Earth would radaite more heat than it receives, and obviously it would cool. Fortunately, we do not live at the surface of the Earth; there is an atmosphere above us, and the "surface", in terms of radiation, is higher up and cooler, since the atmosphere cools with altitude. (IR radiation has little to do with the the lapse rate; the air gets cooler because, if it rises, it expands, cools, and, if it descends, it is compressed and gets warmer) As seen from space, the Earth appears cooler than the rocky surface we live on, just as Venus appears cooler than the rocky surface under the clouds of Venus. Astronomers and science fiction writers used to imagine oceans and jungles on the surface of Venus.

Clouds and water vapor establish the effective "surface" which radiates heat. As you have noticed, cloudless nights are cooler than cloudy nights (and cloudy days are cooler than sunny days). This perceived temperature change is independent of CO2 concentration. Clouds dominate the radiative transfer, and the "surface" is approximately the cloud tops. On a large scale, there is a negative feedback. If the oceans get warmer, evaporation increases, clouds and water vapor increase, and the cloud tops are lower and warmer, so the Earth radiates more heat. (The clouds likely reflect more incoming radiation, also) Has anyone measured effects from CO2 which are as significant as the effects of water vapor and clouds? I think not. If one is determined to do climate modification, it would probably be cheaper to increase clouds ("chem trails" from jet airliners) than to reduce CO2.

The computer models which predict global warming associated with CO2 increases are generally incapable of modelling the distribution of water vapor and clouds. Scientists admit that. The faithful just wish that away. We get doomsayers who assert that global warming is/will be responsible for droughts and water shortages. As noted, global warming will result in more evaporation, and what goes up comes down, so increased evaporation should result in <more> rain, on average.

I agree with bwire; " I guess I missed something profound because I don't understand what the fuss is about?"

By the way, I used to be one of the better forecasters at European Weather Central.

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/11/2009 2:10 PM

ESbuck,

I agree.

Dr. Roy Spencer (www.drroyspencer.com) has a paper out that shows that clouds are negative feedback and not, as the modelers believe, positive. This is central to the question, namely the sensitivity of climate to co2, which he shows is very low.

Earth will NOT do what Venus did, as Hansen believes, due in part because we have a bio system and lots of water that has a NEGATIVE feedback. To make such a claim that Hansen is making showed an educated inability to understand simple things. Money and political dogma tend to short circuit reason.

Spencer has a simple model that shows that if we (we is questionable, as this is actually due to the earth itself) double co2 by 2100, the result would be 0.5C increase, which means it is very stable. You can see this in the fact that co2 is in spectral saturation.

If we burn all the oil and coal known, we could not "double" the co2. The planet benefits from co2, not the other way around.

Seaplaneguy

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#60
In reply to #53

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/11/2009 7:14 AM

Hi johnfotl

Interesting post. I think it warrants a GA.

I agree that the majority of scientists are honest and not trying to get themselves cushy jobs out of this. If they wanted cushy, well paid jobs they would go into politics or finance.

There is, however an element of "group think" in science. At one time, all reputable scientists believed the "phlogistin" theory. The ones who disagreed and advanced our present theory of heat were very much in the minority and derided by their peers. Similarly with the earth centered view of the solar system as distinct from the heliocentric system - the church was not the only opponent of the new view.

When evidence is equivocal, scientists tend to fall in with conventional wisdom rather than the dissenting view. Note that this is quite genuine - there is no dishonesty on their part, but it makes it hard for the dissenting view to get a hearing.

If the evidence was strong in one direction or another, there would be no problem, but indicators are mixed.

Most of the climate models supporting anthropogenic global warming show the influence of the sun's output to be having only a small effect. That conclusion alone would make me suspicious of the models.

When you look at the absorption spectrum of CO2, it is a lousy greenhouse gas, but is still painted as the leading villain.

The fact that past geological ages had higher CO2 than we do is relevant because it shows that higher CO2 is not the disaster it has been painted.

I wonder, if anthropogenic warming is in fact happening, if we are not looking at the wrong villain. Every scrap of non-reusable energy we use liberates, not only it's own heat when used, but about 3x that in it's generation. Could it be that our energy use itself is making the difference and not the CO2? I have no idea if this is of sufficient magnitude to actually do so, but I wonder if anyone has looked at it mathematically?

At the moment, I suspect our waste energy is making only a minor difference and that global warming will soon be replaced by global cooling as we find it is predominantly part of a long term cycle and has little to do with our squandering ways.

I do hope that in the meantime the scare will induce us to use our energy more efficiently and stimulate research into hydrocarbon fuel replacements that are truly sustainable (not using food for fuel or something similar)

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#65
In reply to #60

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/13/2009 1:36 PM

GA-You make a number of important points.

"If they wanted cushy, well paid jobs they would go into politics or finance."

Or they could go to work for the industry supported 'labs' used to generate the junk science needed to stifle the regulation of those industries.

"There is, however an element of "group think" in science."

Yup, and at any point in time it's just about impossible to sort out what is group think and what is reasonable minds converging on similar conclusions.

"The fact that past geological ages had higher CO2 than we do is relevant because it shows that higher CO2 is not the disaster it has been painted."

Yes, but the life forms present during those periods were adapted to those conditions. Humans are very adaptable. We can live in deserts, swamps, mountains, valleys, arctic ice sheets, tropical rain forests, underwater, and in outer space. But our civilization may not be so adaptable. There will be blood and famine, because we do not function as individuals.

I am still pretty firmly in the 'anthropogenic carbon emissions cause global warming' camp, but it is important for us all to realize that while cause and effect are often easy to trace in the lab, where all variables but the one in question can be controlled, the situation in the real world is more complex. I think that in the real world things happen for a multitude of reasons. Several different factors will be pushing our climate toward the warm end of the scale, while at the same time others will be pushing toward cooling. When these forces are weak, or when they are more or less balanced, the result is a stable climate. When they are out of balance the climate is unstable.

There are almost certainly many such factors that are currently under appreciated. For example, if warming causes the calving of icebergs and the melting of sea ice (which has clearly been the case recently), a temporary reversal in the warming may occur because of the phase-change energy required to melt the ice. Large amounts of heat energy are transferred from the water to the ice, cooling the water with no increase in the temperature of the ice. So while the energy of the water-ice system has increased, the measured temperature will actually go down. This will result in additional cooling of the ocean waters, which then circulate around the globe and cool the air.

CO2 is clearly not the only greenhouse gas out there.

Increased heating causes more evaporation, leading to cloud formation which raises the earth's albedo, leading to cooling.

The energy output of the sun varies over time.

Warming may melt the arctic polar ice cap, exposing the polar sea to evaporation, which may increase snowfall in Canada, Northern Europe, and Russia. This will cool the air and raise the albedo.

So while I still find myself in the global warming camp, I do believe that there are probably many other unidentified factors out there, and many other factors whose impact is over or under estimated.

Having said all that there are also many reasons to consider reducing our dependence on fossil fuels - economic (it causes us to send boat loads of cash out of the country every day) - health (the exhaust fumes make our kids and elderly sick) - political (it creates a huge slush fund available to the petro industry to influence elections and public policy in ways that don't benefit the majority of our citizens) - military (it provides a revenue stream to support Islamic Fascists who want to hurt us).

We need to persue research into all of these areas. To the extent that science sees anthropogenic warming as the sole or even dominant mechanism, this is a problem since it will tend to stiffle research into other factors. But we also need to be vigilant to the strong possibility that entrenched interests in the fossil fuel industries may be trying to subvert the science for their own purposes. I think is was California Congresswoman Waters who once said (on a slightly different topic), "The most serious pollution we need to worry about is the pollution of our minds."

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#64
In reply to #49

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/12/2009 2:05 PM

Back in the olden days... they had little to no fossil fuels to burn... so they burnt witches instead???

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#56
In reply to #42

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 8:56 PM

There is no funding if you're not on the warming train

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 9:12 PM

This sounds like a political issue. Are you talking about funding from particular federal agencies, the congress, the president, private foundations, or what? How long has this been going on?

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#59
In reply to #57

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 9:42 PM

About thirty-six years

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#44
In reply to #40

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/09/2009 8:19 PM

Hi esbuck

Love the links. Very interesting. reading them stuffed up my day completely, but I learned a lot.

A GA for that.

One point about the ozone layer puzzles me. There is little cross equator circulation and by far the majority of ozone depleting chemicals are emitted in the northern hemisphere. Why did the ozone hole show up over Antarctica long before it was significant over the Arctic?

Why also is the Antarctic hole far bigger than the Arctic one?

Has anyone any suggestions, or is the environment actually affected more by emissions per head than absolute emissions? (The Greens often make a big point about emissions per head in Australia)

Unless that is so, the major ozone hole should be over the Arctic and should only be minor over the Antarctic.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 12:25 AM

Wind patterns in the arctic are not conducive to 'hole' formation in the same way they are in the south.

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#47
In reply to #45

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 2:47 AM

Hi johnfotl

Wind patterns in the arctic are not conducive to 'hole' formation in the same way they are in the south.

Have you any references so I can learn more about this?

regards

sceptic

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#51
In reply to #47

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 11:07 AM

Hi sceptic,

A good place to start is the link in artsmith's #36, replying to your post #32. It describes the circumpolar winds that develop in the south that effectively isolate Antarctica's air from the rest of the world. These winds can develop what is essentially undisturbed flow because there are no land masses present. I believe sailors call them the "roaring 40's".

The geography of the Arctic is the opposite of Antarctica: it is a polar ocean surrounded by a more or less continuous land mass, where Antarctica is a polar land mass surrounded by continuous ocean.

Look at a weather map. Land masses (and particularly mountain ranges) deflect and distort wind patterns. Now look at a picture of Jupiter or Saturn. Clearly wind patterns in our solar system, if left undisturbed by geography, stabilize into bands which follow more or less the latitude lines. Earth would 'like' to look just like its bigger sibblings. Earth has suggestions of these banded wind patterns (Hadley cells), but all those damned land forms get in the way . Only in the south, where the surface is flat (if you can call 20 meter waves flat) can this natural banded wind pattern emerge, and even there only at certain seasons. If you want more references you might want to Google 'circumpolar winds' and 'atmospheric circulation on the Jovian planets'.

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#61
In reply to #51

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/11/2009 7:31 AM

Hi johnfotl

Had a good look at the link you suggested. Interesting, but still didn't answer the main question. Why is stratospheric ozone similar in North and South hemispheres when the north has liberated, and is still liberating, far greater quantities of O3 destroying chemicals?

I'm sure I'm missing something here, but at the moment, I'm puzzled.

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#50
In reply to #40

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

02/10/2009 9:59 AM

Excuse me, but I was actually trying to answer the initial comment "Sounds like a great idea" and come up with a little clarification why learned people consider this a problem. IMHO I do believe that there are several flaws in the long range nature of the whole global warming scenario. Some of the flaws I see come from a lack of data presented to me. Possibly this is because I cannot take the time to wade through a mountain of evidence and possibly the data cannot or has yet to be found. But I do have full respect for those who do have time to pour through the mountain of data that does exist. So far all scientists that I interact with (I work at a research facility) confirm that global warming exists and we play a significant role in producing it. On the last point, one scientist came up with an interesting comment. "If we are not responsible for the observed global warming, then nothing we can do will stop it. We're doomed."

But getting back to the point I thought that I had clearly explained. Over ten millennia ago the Earth achieved some balanced thermal equilibrium. In the past one hundred and fifty years, our energy needs have been placing a gas into the atmosphere that can tip this balance. Can we produce enough to upset this balance? I don't know. But people who study this are worried.

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#67

Re: Green House Effect - Sounds like a great idea

08/15/2009 1:26 PM

I missed this thread, even though I have little knowledge about GW and opening admit, but care even less about A.G.

When I try to find out or give it to A.G. the GW fanatics steers the topic to G.W. not so much try to force the information down my throat instead they badger to take their side, and even though they are well versed, their explanation is first to just trust me.

The funny part. Even when they make good points afterward after the badgering. How am I to trust them. They may be able to hold their own on GW, but spokesman for GW they are not.

Is it getting warm out there?

phoenix911

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