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DoctorOfSpace
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General global warming / climate chage discussion

03 May 2017 15:58

Before this goes on any further, I'm gonna put an end to it.

ZackG, not going to try to convince you, the tools to figure it out on your own are out there and you can check all the sources. 

Human influenced climate change is a fact.  If you want to defend your point that it is not a fact, please provide sources and evidence.  If you aren't even going to bother to go over the discussions in this thread, provided links, videos, or articles then don't bother coming here and making claims without supporting them.  

Simply immediately going to ad hominems, over the top conspiracy videos with no cited sources, or plugging your ears is not an acceptable manner of posting.

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post Again. this is bias against the people who dont want the carbon tax.


As far as I am concerned if you want to discuss this kind of nonsense you can go to this thread
Conspiracy Theory Thread
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HarbingerDawn
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General global warming / climate chage discussion

03 May 2017 16:04

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post I know for a fact that man made carbon emissions is minuscule to the size of a volcano, which produces ALOT more CO2 than machines.

Incorrect. According to the USGS (the people who study, among other things, volcanoes), Volcanoes emit less than 1% as much CO2 as human activity does (200 megatons/year for volcanoes vs 26,800 megatons per year for fossil fuel burning).

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post Plus, they are localized, just look at Beijing and LA.

CO2 emissions are localized, sure, but the gas itself mixes in with the atmosphere at large and is distributed globally (same goes with O2, or else people couldn't breathe at the south pole). CO2 measurements are taken thousands of miles away from sights of significant production, and at high altitude.

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post In the 70s people were going in panic that the earth is cooling, now they think that its warming.

Incorrect. If you look back in the scientific literature, you will see that far more climate scientists were predicting global warming in the 1970's than were predicting global cooling.

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post I think the majority dont know is that the earth goes through cycles of cooling and warming of the atmosphere based on the solar output from the Sun.

A lot of people do know that, especially climatologists. So why then would they all be saying global warming is occurring and humans are causing it? Solar output has decreased slightly in recent decades, while temperatures have increased sharply. Just as CO2 levels have.

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post sorry but Im still not buying it. most of these video are made IMHO marxists.

First, what evidence do you have that potholer54 is a marxist, and second, what would it matter if he was? Facts are independent of opinion and ideology.
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ZackG
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03 May 2017 16:08

You know what. you're right. just call me a tinfoil hat wearing nutjob like the rest of the libs do. I bet you all use electricity from coal. after all I cant fix stupid. not to you guys of course.

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03 May 2017 16:09

Actually, my power comes mostly from a Nuclear Powerplant and wind-turbines.
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03 May 2017 18:10

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post Define man-made climate change.

I think it may be useful to define several frequently used terms in these discussions:

1)  "Global warming" occurs when there is a change in the balance of radiation between a planet and space, specifically in the direction of decreasing the effective flux from the surface to space.  In other words, the planet is cooling less efficiently and more heat is being stored.

2) Global warming is "human-made" or "anthropogenic" when human activities are the most significant causes of change in that balance.

3) "Climate change" is a broad classification of changes in climate variables.  These changes can driven internally by the Earth system, by human activities, or externally by astrophysical sources.  In the context of the current climate changes, they are primarily a consequence of the additional thermal energy stored in the system due to global warming.

4) Climate change is anthropogenically driven if the observed changes are consistent with the expectation from changes in natural and anthropogenic forcings, and not consistent with natural forcings alone.

HarbingerDawn wrote:
Source of the post ZackG wrote:
In the 70s people were going in panic that the earth is cooling, now they think that its warming.

Incorrect. If you look back in the scientific literature, you will see that far more climate scientists were predicting global warming in the 1970's than were predicting global cooling.

HarbingerDawn is quite correct.  And ZackG, we do not think that Earth is warming.  We observe that it is, and we understand the mechanisms behind it.  Indeed, the physical basis of global warming by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was first understood by Arrhenius in 1896.   

ZackG wrote:
Source of the post just call me a tinfoil hat wearing nutjob like the rest of the libs do.

I do not think you are a tinfoil hat wearing nutjob.  I think you are an intelligent person who has been exposed to a lot of information from disreputable sources, instead of being exposed to credible information from scientific sources like journal articles.  I am happy to help you to learn more about the topic in a scientific framework, if it is something that interests you as it interests me.
 
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03 May 2017 18:54

Hornblower wrote:
Source of the post Actually, my power comes mostly from a Nuclear Powerplant and wind-turbines.

In my area 71% of the power comes from hydro, 11% natural gas, 7% coal, 6% nuclear, 3% wind, and 1% wood fuels (doesn't add quite to 100% because of rounding and other minor energy sources).

A lot of businesses and private residences are also implementing solar, though with the seasonal cloud cover it's not as effective west of the mountains.
 
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03 May 2017 20:55

ZackG wrote:
Heres the thing though. I know for a fact that man made carbon emissions is minuscule to the size of a volcano, which produces ALOT more CO2 than machines.

I think this warrants its own, specific explanation because it is a common source of confusion.  Common sense might suggest that volcanoes are more powerful than us, therefore they should be causing the increase in CO2, not us.  Common sense is wrong in this case.  Here is how we know:

A simple way to test whether the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to humans or to volcanoes is to check its isotopic fractionation -- that is, what portion of it is made of heavier isotopes of carbon as opposed to lighter isotopes.  In particular, the measure of δ13C, which is the ratio of the heavier carbon-13 isotope to the lighter carbon-12.

The reason this works is that plants selectively incorporate the lighter isotopes of carbon during photosynthesis.  Therefore fossil fuels have a lower δ13C compared to inorganic carbon sources, such as the emissions from volcanoes.  Therefore, if the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due more to volcanoes than to our fossil fuel emissions, then we would expect this ratio to approach that of volcanic emissions.

But this is not what we observe.  Instead we find that the ratio is decreasing, in correspondence to what we would expect if the additional CO2 came from oxidation of organic carbon.  This demonstrates unambiguously that volcanoes are not responsible for the CO2 increase.
 
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04 May 2017 01:57

HarbingerDawn wrote:
Source of the post A measurable change in climate primarily caused by human activity.

This is a common definition, but in my opinion far too imprecise for this discussion.  First, we also need to define "climate".  Usually, this is understood as weather patterns over a long period, typically 30 years.  Often temperature, but sometimes things like changes in hurricane landfalls are referred to as climate change.  The trouble is that just about anything can lead to a measurable change given some metric and sufficient time. For instance, the so-called butterfly effectimplies that the number of hurricanes over a 30 year period (or whatever) will change primarily by butterflies.  It used to be called "man-made or anthropogenic global warming", and the switch to "climate change" was a poor choice, since it can pretty much mean anything.  We do want to distinguish anthropogenic and lepidopteran climate change and avoid such absurdities.

So I prefer Watsisname's definition, which is more specific, and we should prefer "global warming", or if "climate change" is used, it must be clear which climate variable is meant and how the change is measured.  And I think we need to be clear about three different degrees of change: What's measurable, the noise range, and what's a harmful change.
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04 May 2017 20:40

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post For instance, the so-called butterfly effect implies that the number of hurricanes over a 30 year period (or whatever) will change primarily by butterflies.

Oh, it actually doesn't, though I understand why the idea is compelling.  The reason it doesn't work that way has to do with weather vs. climate (attribution of single events to particular causes, vs. a statistical analysis of their probabilities), and on a deeper level, with concepts from perturbation theory.

The butterfly effect means that even the tiniest variations in the initial conditions of the state of the atmosphere will have effects that amplify with time.   Indeed, the formation of a hurricane can depend on such small perturbations as a butterfly flapping its wings at a sufficiently earlier time.  This is the essence of chaotic behavior in strongly nonlinear systems, and it is the reason we cannot predict weather very far in advance, no matter how well we understand the equations governing atmospheric motions.  This is also the reason why increasing the resolution of model grids and input data helps improve the performance of weather forecasts.

You would be correct to use the principle of the Butterfly Effect to conclude that the occurrence of a particular event, like a given hurricane, cannot be determined with respect to small scale perturbations, like what the butterflies did.

However, this does not mean that the frequency of hurricanes will depend primarily on the behavior of butterflies.  That is because butterflies are not the only things that can act to change the system.  So does your breathing.  So do birds, cars, chimneys, airplanes, forest fires, meteorites, exploding landmines, volcanic eruptions, and any number of other things across a variety of size and energy scales.  All of these are perturbations, and what matters is how strongly they perturb the system.  Butterflies do not perturb the system as strongly as the increasing thermal energy stored in the system due to global warming. 

The other part of this is statistical in nature.  We can't attribute single weather events to particular causes, but we can attribute the probabilities.  We can run global climate models with and without the anthropogenic forcings and see what that does to the frequency that particular weather events occur.

The results of these kinds of analyses for hurricanes are somewhat unclear.  Theory and models suggest that a warmer world will spawn stronger hurricanes.  The frequency of hurricanes may be about the same or even a bit less, while the frequency of the strongest ones increases.  However, this is very difficult to confirm from observations, because we don't have a sufficiently long record of consistent hurricane data.  The satellite record is very good of course, but before then the record is not homogenous.  Some studies that try to get around this have used reconstructions based on landfalling hurricane inundation zones, which do appear to agree with the expectations of models.  But this is still very active research.

What we do know with high confidence is that global warming is changing other climate variables, such as the frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts, average daily max/min temperatures, and the mean zonal wind and global circulation.  The effect on storms is harder to determine, and so are general precipitation patterns, although in the last 5-10 years the use of regional, high resolution models has helped a lot in this area.
 
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05 May 2017 01:03

I do not disagree, which is precisely why I said that we must be conscious about different degrees of measured change, to account for the noise range.  Yes, the butterflies will affect the number of hurricane landfalls for a given period, but it will not affect the general probability.  In the case of hurricane landfalls over a 30 year period in a region, the noise is significant, and that is a problem because of the compulsive thinking ruling the climate change debate, that the support for our hypotheses simply must be somewhere to be found in our climate records, yet in many cases the reality is that the observational data is insufficient.

I'm not saying that everything is uncertain.  Yes, we can be pretty sure that land temperatures have increased globally over the past 150 years.  And that atmospheric CO2 has also increased.  There is much more uncertainty what the natural oscillations in that period are.  And even less certain is how harmful the climatic changes are, yet that is what matters politically.
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05 May 2017 05:48

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post  In the case of hurricane landfalls over a 30 year period in a region, the noise is significant, and that is a problem because of the compulsive thinking ruling the climate change debate

Quite so, and I believe this is another reason why it's better to follow the scientific literature than to follow the largely confused public/media debate.  The majority of published literature does not find significant trends in hurricane parameters based on available ship and satellite data, because the data are noisy and we lack a homogeneous record of hurricanes before the satellite era.  The IPCC reports say this as well, and I also pointed it out on the old forum back in 2013.  

There are hints that the expected trends become visible when the datasets are extended using proxy methods like I mentioned, but these are not yet widely independently confirmed.  My own thinking is that the best source of improvement in our knowledge of the relationship between global warming and storms will be from further observations in the future as the warming intensifies, but it is also important to try to learn as much as we reliably can before that happens so that we are prepared as best as possible.


I'm not saying that everything is uncertain.  Yes, we can be pretty sure that land temperatures have increased globally over the past 150 years.  And that atmospheric CO2 has also increased.  There is much more uncertainty what the natural oscillations in that period are.



I understand your perspective but I'm not really sure what you're trying to say with it.  For most of the last 150 years the magnitude of the effect of internal variability on global average surface temperature was comparable to the magnitude of the effect of anthropogenic forcings.  Over the last ~50 years this is no longer true -- the anthropogenic effects then began to dominate, regardless if you look at temperature of land surface, sea surface, both, or the total ocean heat content.

The past is also very different from the future.  As more CO2 accumulates the magnitude of the forcing continues to increase.  The uncertainty in what happens in the next 100 years due to natural oscillations is less than the uncertainty in what happens due to what pathway humanity follows.  By more than an order of magnitude.
 
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05 May 2017 11:58

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post The majority of published literature does not find significant trends in hurricane parameters based on available ship and satellite data, because the data are noisy and we lack a homogeneous record of hurricanes before the satellite era.  The IPCC reports say this as well, and I also pointed it out on the old forum back in 2013.

Yes, though it somewhat gives limits for how big the changes are for the warming so far.  This example wasn't a strawman attempt, just an example of something that we don't know how the harm of.

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post  Over the last ~50 years this is no longer true -- the anthropogenic effects then began to dominate, regardless if you look at temperature of land surface, sea surface, both, or the total ocean heat content.

Possibly, but confirmation bias might play tricks.  For instance, the models predict much faster warming in the Arctic than elsewhere, and that is precisely what we observe, but the noise is high in the Arctic. In most sciences efforts are made to do the measurements in the least noisy environments, whilst in climate science the opposite is done, it seems.  It may or may not be significant.  Anyway, the 50% domination level is not a physical threshold, so whether it's somewhat below or somewhat above that is not particularly interesting.  We do know that temperatures have increased most places in the world to levels not seen for centuries.  That we know by observations.  And observations also tell us that this warming has not been particularly harmful as of yet.

What I'm really saying with this is that the warming rate we're seeing is not my top concern neither for nature or humanity.  I place both pollution (to sea and air) and land change above warming on my list of environmental concerns, and I place energy need/cost above warming on my list of concerns for humanity, which is an easy choice, since the solution to the energy problem lies not the expensive stone age technology that we rely on now (burning fossil fuel).  If we solve the energy problem, the CO2 issues go away as well.
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06 May 2017 18:14

I respect that. :)  We agree on the need to replace fossil fuels and probably on many of the reasons for why, even if we don't agree on how much trying to limit the warming should be a motivating factor.  But solving the energy problem does solve a lot of other problems in any case, and the great thing is that we know how to do it and know that it can be done in an economically viable manner.  The world seems to be recognizing that, and my hope is that the transition will happen under good guidance through science and policy makers.  

I do think the results of research show that the global warming has both positive and negative impacts for humans and ecosystems, and much more negative than positive for greater warming thresholds, which is my motivation for arguing against delay.  But at the same time, trying to solve the problem too quickly is also problematic and economically infeasible.  The best science we have recommends that we phase out fossil fuel for renewable energy according to what energy sources are most viable in that region, and nuclear can help to bridge this gap.  We can also continue to improve our energy efficiency, and implement some manner of carbon capture and sequestration techniques, or geoengineering.  One method alone cannot realistically solve the energy and warming problem, but a combination of all of them can.
 
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07 May 2017 05:55

Fossil fuel will likely have its niches in centuries to come, but as a main source of energy, it needs to be phased out regardless of whether the worst climate predictions are true or false.  The trick is to do it in the right speed.  Too soon and it will be counter productive for the long term solutions, since that will slow down the progress.  I did call fossil fuel stone age technology, but at the same time we must acknowledge its importance for getting us to the technological level that we are in.  Likewise I think people must accept fission power, which we don't like and couldn't have done (by now) without fossil fuel, as a necessary step towards fusion.  We mustn't phase out fossil fuel before we have cheaper alternatives.  I don't think we can simply energy optimise us out of this.  I will be wrong, though, if it turns out that fusion can never become practical.
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General global warming / climate chage discussion

07 May 2017 07:54

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post I will be wrong, though, if it turns out that fusion can never become practical.

And that would be a super depressing future to live in.
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