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Caleb Kraft
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Re: Poseurs vs doers
Caleb Kraft   11/29/2013 9:40:52 AM
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It definitely merits research. There's no doubt there. That is the great thing about science, we don't just write things off (or on), we persue and research until we can trace a solid and complete line. Yay science!

Caleb Kraft
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Blogger
Re: Poseurs vs doers
Caleb Kraft   11/29/2013 9:38:29 AM
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itneresting observations about why we hit our goals. I'd love to see more on that.

Charles.Desassure
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Climate
Charles.Desassure   11/28/2013 10:48:45 PM
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Yes, this is a very good article.  I need more time to gather my thought here... too much that I would like to say.  Hope there will be a follow-up article.  Any time there is an article that relate to the climate and the environment, you are going to get a lot of comments.

Bert22306
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CEO
Re: As to climate change ...
Bert22306   11/22/2013 9:36:55 PM
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"My point is that even if biomass increases as a result of AGW, and assuming we didn't negate this via land use changes, it would only be a chance of at most a few tens of GT."

Oh, sorry, on re-reading, I thought you were talking about CO2 mass as a result of global warming. Now I see you were talking about vegetation mass.

But still, exactly how much extra CO2 sequestration the vegetation out there today can handle is not obvious to me, but the doomsdayers are saying, essentially, NONE. (That's BEFORE any reforestation effort.)

Bert22306
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CEO
Re: As to climate change ...
Bert22306   11/22/2013 9:27:55 PM
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"Your 750 GT and my 560 GT figure are different concepts. 750 GT "passes through" the 560 GT of living biomass each year."

Agreed. Since we are focusing only on CO2, the comparison has to be how much CO2 the ecosystem processes each day (or year, or whatever), vs how much CO2 humans add to this daily or annual total that must be processed. We are talking about CO2 sequestration RATES, not quantities at equilibrium.

"My point is that even if biomass increases as a result of AGW, and assuming we didn't negate this via land use changes, it would only be a chance of at most a few tens of GT."

Based on what? The equilibrium point for atmospheric CO2 is likely to change with different average temps, I have found articles that describe that CO2 content varies over geological ages, and how much CO2 sequestration different types of plants provide. Also, how much CO2 is emitted from decaying plants. So there's not a lot of doubt that ambient temps will affect the equilibrium level. It's kind of self evident, right?

"Since we are emitting around 10GT a year and growing, at best this change could only offset a few year's worth of emissions."

I don't understand this point t all. To repeat both parts of my argument. If you have a mechanism that processes 740 GT per year, say, and then you feed it 750 GT per year (or whatever small added increase), unless that mechanism is open loop, it will compensate for the extra. We ALREADY KNOW that plant growth is stimulated with extra CO2, over the amtospheric content. So to buy into this notion that the CO2 sequestration mechanism is open loop, and can't process even 1 more GT of CO2 per year, doesn't make a lot of sense. (My bet is that even real 'climate scientists' don't believe this, but the clueless press uses that as a simplistic argument for gullible readers.)

Second part. Now on the other hand, assume that deforestation has been so severe that the ecosystem is truly unable to process an extra 10 or 20 GT CO2 per year, for whatever reasons (heat stress, lack of rain). Then add enough vegetation to sequester that extra 3 percent of CO2. Reforestation will change rainfall patterns too, in addition to adding CO2 sequestering plants. And of course, there's no reason to stop at 3 percent, even assuming you can be so precise in these matters. 3 percent is a tiny figure. Adding vegetation in the form of forests can only make the ecosystem that much more self regulating. It won't stop at just an extra 3 percent of sequestration capacity.

Don't forget that the doomsdayers are saying that ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution, things have been going to hell in a handbasket. You're now saying, even if we can compensate for 3 percent, what about when it gets to 6 percent. But that's not even been the discussion.

"I have no idea why you have this idea that anyone assumes 'closed loop'. Any serious climate model includes the effects you are citing. They are just small."

Wow, they must REALLY be small, if the small extra CO2 emissions, especially at the start of the Industrial Revolution, have been enough to throw the system out of whack. Remember, these rising CO2 levels, supposedly caused by humans, have been going on for 200 years, they claim. How much extra CO2 were we talking about, when this man-made catastrophe started? We're at 3 percent now. Must have been 0.003 percent, when the claims of human causes were supposedly already measurable?

There is a lot of CONJECTURE going on in climate science, and the real scientists say so. These aren't scientifically repeatable experiments, as in physics. Nor is there any reason why we should assume ourselves incapable of making any sense of this. We don't need to "just believe" in the simplistic general interest press explanations, any more than we should "just believe" in "creation science."

Ogemaniac
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Re: As to climate change ...
Ogemaniac   11/22/2013 8:13:37 PM
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"Let's get the numbers right. Several sources available online seem to agree that the annual quantity of CO2 going through the ecosystem is 750 GT. And that what humans contribute to that annual quantity is around 3 percent, 3.1 percent or so. This is annual emissions, not total mass. Let's not mix apples and oranges."


Your 750 GT and my 560 GT figure are different concepts. 750 GT "passes through" the 560 GT of living biomass each year.


My point is that even if biomass increases as a result of AGW, and assuming we didn't negate this via land use changes, it would only be a chance of at most a few tens of GT. Since we are emitting around 10GT a year and growing, at best this change could only offset a few year's worth of emissions. It is simply impossible for your mechanism to save us, and it is unlikely to even help us, precisely because in practice we are losing biomass, not gaining it. Reversing that would be every bit as disruptive and costly as shutting down the coal plants, which is what we should really be doing.

I have no idea why you have this idea that anyone assumes "closed loop". Any serious climate model includes the effects you are citing. They are just small.

 

jackOfManyTrades
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Manager
Re: As to climate change ...
jackOfManyTrades   11/21/2013 9:06:27 AM
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Bert,

I afraid I haven't got the time to consider every argument. The claim that rises in CO2 are more "coincidence than a cause and effect" is a standard denialist argument. It's all good to be skeptical, but it's validity you could easily verify yourself with a bit of googling (it's wrong, of course*). Previous hot periods were caused by changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun; this lead to the oceans releasing CO2, which lead to the earth heating up even faster. Consequently, CO2 lagged temperature. This time, the initial effect is not a change in the earth's orbit, but the rapid and massive increase in CO2 in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. So, previously is was a chicken-and-egg situation; this time the egg definitely came first.

*I say "of course" because the idea that we as engineers can find fault in another person's field is as absurd as a climate scientist being able to find fault in ours.

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
Re: As to climate change ...
Bert22306   11/20/2013 8:28:36 PM
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"My specific point was that, as CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen by 1/3 in the past couple of centuries, the feedback mechanism you allege either has not kicked in or must have a very long time constant. You have no addressed this point, but instead have raised a load of other points instead."

Is this point significant? One article I read claims that rapid rise in CO2 levels during the peak warm periods is normal, but would not show up in ice core records. And one of the articles I posted addresses that point too, calling it more of a coincidence than a cause and effect.

"if figure two of your last link doesn't show that artic sea ice is reducing, I'm a Dutchman."

How so? Figure 2 clearly shows that the extent of Arctic ice in 2013 (blue-green) is closest to the 1981-2010 average than any other year except maybe 2008. Keep in mind that the recent prediction was that Arctic sea ice would be gone by 2013. And Antarctic sea ice growing bit by bit, for the past 35 years. I'm not about to say that "climate change" is a hoax, but that doesn't mean I have to buy the new orthodoxy like an acolyte, either.

"humans emit about 100x the amount of CO2 that volcanic activity emits, so the volcano link is nonsense (and of course volcanically emitted CO2 is part of the natural carbon-cycle; mankind's emissions are extra)."

So what, even if this is true? The intent in citing such a statistic APPEARS to be that human contributions swamp all others. I certainly never claimed that volcanoes were the, or a, major source of CO2, just one of the *many* natural sources. And at the same time, no one denies that natural sources of CO2 outweigh human CO2 emissions by a huge amount. This is not even being debated. Human contribution, over a given time period, is just above 3 percent of the total.

"we must not conflate the fact that we rely on the greenhouse affect to raise the temperature of our planet sufficiently to support life (an effect to which water contributes significantly) with the fact that our emissions of CO2 are adding to this raising the temperature still further."

I made no such arguments, though. My main argument is that all of the doomsday hand wringing hinges on the assumption that CO2 was previously in unstable equilibrium. All it took was a small amount of additional human contribution to upset the applecart. That's my main objection. Perhaps this sounds likely to those unschooled in the design of stable systems, but this sort of simplistic assumption SHOULD make engineers wonder. No? And furthermore, I suggest that a massive effort at reforestation would accommodate that extra 3 percent of CO2, IF it's true that our human contribution drove the previous garden of eden state over the edge.

Wnderer
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CEO
Re: Poseurs vs doers
Wnderer   11/20/2013 5:14:05 PM
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This is a really good article about the 'climate pause' from The Economist.

 

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions

jackOfManyTrades
User Rank
Manager
Re: As to climate change ...
jackOfManyTrades   11/20/2013 3:45:09 PM
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Bert, 

My specific point was that, as CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen by 1/3 in the past couple of centuries, the feedback mechanism you allege either has not kicked in or must have a very long time constant. You have no addressed this point, but instead have raised a load of other points instead. This seems to be a common tactic. 

To address you points:

reticence, qualification etc by scientists is a good thing. It is a good thing that they are far less sure of themselves than denialists. 

we must not conflate the fact that we rely on the greenhouse affect to raise the temperature of our planet sufficiently to support life (an effect to which water contributes significantly) with the fact that our emissions of CO2 are adding to this raising the temperature still further. You also need to bear in mind that the atmosphere is saturated with water so if water has any part to play at all, it is to make temperatures rise even faster (because the atmosphere will be able to hold more water as its temperature rises).

 humans emit about 100x the amount of CO2 that volcanic activity emits, so the volcano link is nonsense (and of course volcanically emitted CO2 is part of the natural carbon-cycle; mankind's emissions are extra).

if figure two of your last link doesn't show that artic sea ice is reducing, I'm a Dutchman.

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