I don't expect this to change anything
Afterall if there is a difference between reality and the climate models it's always reality that is at fault.
Scientists analysing ancient ice samples say that the Greenland ice sheet withstood temperatures much higher than today's for many thousands of years during a period of global warming more than 120,000 years ago, losing just a quarter of its mass. It had been widely suggested - by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change …
You don't understand the hockey stick graph then. That graph is to show how the rate of temperature change increased vastly at the time of the industrial revolution. It has nothing to do with temperatures 100k years ago.
What this study says is that the localised warmer temperatures around Greenland led to significant melting, that contributed around 2m to sea level rise.
In the Eemian sea levels were 6m higher than they are today. The warming was closer to the poles - the tropics were cooler than today.
So, hotter temperatures lead to significantly increased melting which leads to higher sea levels. In addition if interglacials can get so much warmer, then we can expect the same from the current interglacial, except faster because of the human contribution to climate change. But still over periods of hundreds of years.
It doesnt say that the Ice wont melt at all. What it actually says is summarised here: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2013/01/23/deep-ice-cores-show-past-greenland-warm-period-may-be-%E2%80%98road-map%E2%80%99-continued
"Dahl-Jensen said the loss of ice mass on the Greenland ice sheet in the early part of the Eemian was likely similar to changes seen there by climate scientists in the past 10 years."
"studies have shown the temperatures above Greenland have been rising five times faster than the average global temperatures in recent years, and that Greenland has been losing more than 200 million tons of ice annually since 2003. "
"indicates the last interglacial period may be a good analog for where the planet is headed in terms of increasing greenhouse gases and rising temperatures."
i.e. heading for a ~8 Degrees C rise in temperature, 25 foot higher sea levels, and substantial ice melting.
Read that again. That passage is CYA language from a scientist who doesn't want to walk the plank on his grants by fully contradicting the current faddishness. In fact, while "studies" have shown one thing, other studies have shown the precise opposite. Last fall another study of satellite data concluded that in fact, while Greenland's ice seems to have thinned around the edges, it also appeared to be gaining elevation along the crest. So in fact we know precisely what we knew before the studies were undertaken, which is precious little.
As for what the Eemian interstadial tells us, it is that no ecological catastrophe ensued from warmer temperatures. It also tells us that the present, regardless of which the thermometer is moving, not "unprecedented" in any sense. In fact, if you plot Holocene temperatures since the peak temperatures - about 8 kya - the trend is downward, which suggests that this interstadial will never see an Eemian-like climate.
"As for what the Eemian interstadial tells us, it is that no ecological catastrophe ensued from warmer temperatures. "
I'm sure that it was all dandy for animals back then. I bet nothing went extinct as a result, nor did entire species have to relocate to deal with the effects of the warmer temperatures (i.e., their foodstuffs growing further north).
Who knows how many humans and other human species died during that time? Clearly it wasn't conducive conditions to getting beyond the stone age however.
There is strong evidence from the history of sea level on coasts from the Eemian that both Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets shrank notably, contributing to a globally averaged sea-level rise of very roughly 20 feet. This occurred primarily in response to a rearrangement of where sunshine reached the planet and when during the year, with more summer sunshine in the north but very little total change. And, some uncertainty has remained on the exact balance between Greenland and Antarctic contributions.
The new paper suggests that the contribution from Greenland was on the low end of the prior estimates, but has little effect on the estimated total sea-level change, which points to a larger Antarctic source than the previous best estimate.
By shifting more of the sea-level rise into the less-understood ice, and thus into the ice with greater chance of doing something rapidly, the new paper at least slightly increases the concerns for coastal planners, even if the chance of a rapid change from Antarctic ice remains small.
If anyone is thinking that this paper means we can crank up the temperature without worrying about sea level, they should seriously re-think. Overall, a great and successful scientific effort leaves us with the knowledge that warming does tend to melt ice, and that contributes to sea-level rise.
"Overall, a great and successful scientific effort leaves us with the knowledge that warming does tend to melt ice, and that contributes to sea-level rise".
The most important word in that sentence is "tend". Certainly, warming does *tend* to melt ice; the question is, how much ice can a certain amount of warming melt? Science is about accurately quantifying tendencies.
"In physical science the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be".
- Lord Kelvin [PLA, vol. 1, "Electrical Units of Measurement", 1883-05-03]
"Between 128,000 and 122,000 years ago, the thickness of the northwest Greenland ice sheet decreased by 400 ± 250 metres, reaching surface elevations 122,000 years ago of 130 ± 300 metres lower than the present. Extensive surface melt occurred at the NEEM site during the Eemian, a phenomenon witnessed when melt layers formed again at NEEM during the exceptional heat of July 2012. With additional warming, surface melt might become more common in the future."
Temperature delta was a couple of degrees max over fifteen thousand years or so with about 20ft difference in sea level.
We're already on course for a temperature delta of about 0.75 of a degree *in just over sixty years."
So there's nothing even remotely sane or realistic comparing the current change to the usual Milankovitch heartbeat.
As for melt - a temperature delta of two degrees bv the end of the century is going to make sea level rise the least of everyone's worries.
Yet in 1420 the chinese fleet produced map of the greenland coastland, and 30+ vessels made their way from north america back to china over the north-west passage and the north-east passage - without issue.
So in 1420 you could see the greenland coastline, not the 3 miles of ice that now covers it.... interesting for a 10 year period MASSIVE ice shrinkage - guess that was the SUN hiccup.
And in 625AD krackatoa errupted, and for next 10 years no tree on earth shows any significant growth - the dark ages - 10 years no sign of sun due to dust....
if these two events can alter climate THAT much, man has no effect whatsoever.
Actually, that's a good point; during the last warming period, it was possible to grow wheat and other crops in places it would never survive today. Plants love heat; rising temperatures would mean a huge surge in available cropland. Managed correctly, that would mean an accompanying surge in grains and other produce.
It was certainly hot in America last year so by your reasoning they should have had a bumper harvest. Let's see how that worked out:
We may gain some crop growing areas, but you forget about all the growing areas that will be lost from seawater flooding, droughts and temperatures too high for current crops in those areas to cope with.
> It was certainly hot in America last year so by your reasoning they should have had a bumper harvest. Let's see how that worked out:
The problem is that the poor corn harvest was caused by drought, not temperature.
You might like to argue that droughts in the US will become more frequent but then the data contradicts you. From Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) Trends in 20th century drought over the continental United States:
Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.
The guardian article talks about increasing food prices but makes no mention of one of the main causes, biofuels. Since the use of biofuel became compulsory food is now being diverted for use as fuel with a resultant increase in prices.
Finally, there has been a six fold increase in corn yields since 1940.
The change in climate results in a change in weather patterns. Weather patterns change, you don't get a consistent rainfall or snow to replace the water in the region.
Traditional crop lands dry up, resulting in lower food production.
Now what has a greater effect on weather patterns?
A) a shift in the earth's gravitational poles?
B) increased solar activity? Aka Sun spots?
C) natural volcanic events?
D) cooling of the earths molten core?
E) man made pollution?
If you've said E) you just might have a future in climatology and slinging BS
Note: I am all for cleaner air, but using junk science? Really?
"Actually, that's a good point; during the last warming period, it was possible to grow wheat and other crops in places it would never survive today. Plants love heat; rising temperatures would mean a huge surge in available cropland. Managed correctly, that would mean an accompanying surge in grains and other produce."
You would have thought, eh? But maybe not., depending on where you live.
"Plants love heat"... True. And many of the new plants that will crowd in, will compete with whatever plant we were hoping would grow better. This is why biologists talk in terms of ecological niches - like an area of mountain, low enough to support, for instance, Engelmann Spruce, but high enough to eliminate competing trees, which grow one km downhill. You increase the average temperature, and maybe they both start growing higher on the mountain. Or maybe the mountain ends if it's not high enough, and the Englemann Spruce gets squeezed out. Or maybe some of the trees can't stand the thinner air, or the thinner soil, or maybe the wasps that pollenate them can't fly that high. So some plants will thrive, some will fade, and some will go extinct.
So do bugs love heat. Many of the new bugs that show up, will eat the plants or trees, where they didn't before. I remember reading about one kind of beetle; if there's a frost below -2C, the larvae, who have dug into tree bark, die that year, just like how the citrus fruit harvest gets wiped out upon a frost. Temperatures rise, and the beetle can munch trees a few degrees further north.
Our flora and fauna will tend to move away from the equators, and further up the mountainsides. The ones that can't adapt to their new neighbors, and the new soil, and the new humidity, will fade away. The ones that survive will tend to be the more flexible ones, the ones that are harder to kill - weeds, wasps, termites, ants, rats, and pigeons.
So be sure to smear on some bug repellant along with your suntan lotion.
"Actually, that's a good point; during the last warming period, it was possible to grow wheat and other crops in places it would never survive today. Plants love heat; rising temperatures would mean a huge surge in available cropland."
A good theory.
Now how much current farmland is less than 25 feet above sea level?
> 25 feet above sea level
According to NOAA the Envisat satellite shows a sea level rise of two or three inches per century which means the farmland under 25 feet above sea level might be in danger some time over the next 10,000 to 15,000 years.
In order for sea levels to rise by 25 feet over the next century there needs to be an acceleration of the current rate and there is no empirical evidence for this.
Sea levels have been rising continuously since the last ice age.
Core samples, tide gauge readings, and, most recently, satellite measurements tell us that over the past century, the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) has risen by 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters).
However, the annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, roughly twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years, and this is accelerating.
A recent study says we can expect the oceans to rise between 2.5 and 6.5 feet (0.8 and 2 meters) by 2100, enough to swamp many of the cities along the U.S. East Coast. More dire estimates, including a complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, push sea level rise to 23 feet (7 meters), enough to submerge London and Los Angeles.
So we have just 9 decades to improve our flood defences?
I kid, I kid. My serious point is that these DOOMDEATH predictions treat humans as passive recipients of Gaia's wrath, when they were quite happy to invoke humans as active causers of AGW. Why would we cause the problem and then just sit there, slack jawed and watching Big Brother MCMXXXIV, while the waters lapped around the 40th floor of the Shard?
@Flatpackhamster I agree, but what if *now* is the time to act? The problem* was built over the course of a couple of centuries, what if it takes at least that long to reverse?
It's right that there is research done in to both sides of the argument, the problem is how emotive it all gets. People like Lewis writing articles that effectively boil down to "ner ner de ner ner, someone with a PhD has disagreed with someone else with a PhD, so my point is proved" is just idiotic. Unfortunately, too many people have an economic position with proving things one way or the other.
The simplest argument is: If it doesn't happen, we've lost very little by trying to prevent it; if it does, we're potentially screwed (although we probably will adapt). However, the first part is only true if there is a global agreement to act, which I would put serious money on won't happen.
Ah, well; there goes my hope that the El Reg commentards were going to solve the whole thing.
* If there is one
> The simplest argument is: If it doesn't happen, we've lost very little by trying to prevent it; if it does, we're potentially screwed (although we probably will adapt) <
If the global warming solutions being offered were palatable enough then I'm sure most people would agree with that argument. The problem is that the response so far seems to be riding rough-shod over people's rights (see Agenda 21) and possibly even forced reduction of population (eugenics) in order to reduce levels of consumption. It is those which a great many people find unpalatable.
Given the debatable level of proof supporting AGW and the obvious scaremongering involved, the restrictions on rights and the loss of democratic checks and balances in forcing the response measures through is not seen to be in proportion, or indeed "very little", by many people.
"Why would we cause the problem and then just sit there, slack jawed"
Because we don't have control over it.
Yes, humans created all the excess CO2, but not intentionally, in order to alter the climate. And in fact we can't stop burning it on a dime and reverse it - we're too hooked on the fossil energy that's causing the problems. And all the solutions we're trying just seem to not work well.
- Hybrid cars give off a little bit less CO2, not half as much.
- Electric cars still get most of their energy from burning carbon.
- Canadian tar sands take so much energy to produce, they generate about the same as coal.
- Carbon sequestration is smoke-and-mirrors; it would take almost as much energy as the CO2 it's storing.
- So many of the solutions tend to need fossil fuels somewhere along the way, or at least their own energy as overhead.
If we stopped carbon burning tomorrow, the temperature would still continue to rise - it's just that the rate of rising would level off.
The hottest year on record (at the time) was 1998. It broke the record of the previous hottest year, 1997. Which broke the previous record from 1995. Lately, it's cooled off so we've only had three years above 1998. But every year since 2001 has been hotter than the 1997 record - every single year. This ain't no interglacial warming; it's happening a lot faster, and it's starting at a warmer time, that's already interglacial.
"push sea level rise to 23 feet (7 meters) enou to submerge London and Los Angeles"
This is the kind of drivelling nonsense that I refer to in other Posts.
According to City of Los Angeles, it's average elevation is 70 meters (it's a big place), even at the Coast, tidal levels can differ by as much as 9meters right now - meanwhile, London averages a 24 meter elevation.
Sober dialogue it ain't - emotive "see, do something or your selling out the human race" commentary just gets my 'oh bugger off' gene running in overdrive.
> However, the annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, roughly twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years, and this is accelerating
You are of course referring to Sallenger 2012 which isn't about global sea levels but the sea level off the East coast of the USA. The paper shows a trend from 1935 to 2008 of 3cm/decade with a trend from 1990 to 2008 of 3.6cm/decade (a 20% increase, not a doubling). However, the choice of 1990 for comparison is a little fortuitous. If you use 1985 to 2008 you get about the same rate (3cm/decade) or if you use 1996 to 2008 you get considerable less (0.241cm/decade). Overall, the empirical data presented in the paper does not show any evidence of acceleration. The acceleration only appears in the output from the models they use to "project" future rises.
In fact, the only acceleration in the data is a negative one (slowing down of sea level rises) but it would incredibly stupid to extrapolate what is just natural variation into a long term trend.
> A recent study says we can expect the oceans to rise between 2.5 and 6.5 feet ....
Well actually no. When you are cutting and pasting verbatim from a site like National Geographic you should at least verify what they are talking about. The study they are referring to was 5 years ago. It wasn't a study on how temperature will change but a study on how ice will flow. It assumed that temperatures would rise significantly and from that estimated how the ice would flow from the Greenland ice sheets and from that what the possible impact would be. Since 2008 most estimates of climate sensitivity have decreased which means their temperature assumptions are incorrect. They also assumed a lack of stability in the ice sheet with increasing temperatures but that has been undermined in a study this month (not 5 years ago) by the University of Copenhagen which showed that the Greenland ice sheet is not as sensitive to temperature increases as was previously thought.
Yes, yes, yes. Extrapolations can lead us to fascinating conclusions.
The Mississippi River is convoluted with twists, turns, and backtracks. Erosion, earthquakes, and other natural events tend to straighten out the river over time. Mark Twain engaged in a little 'scientific' interpolation of these events (note, he refers to the city of Cairo that's in Missouri, not Egypt). In his words, " In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. This is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."
Anyone who foolishly takes a brief period of natural history and extrapolates the future (or the past) and believes they have reached a realistic conclusion, is simply divorced from reality.
Man does not need fear a warmer climate, but the likelihood of a future ice age should give him pause for concern.
"Temp is just one variable. The make up of the air was probably different and weather patterns different too.
Things are melting now, so there is a problem."
Are you so driven by (C)AGW that you refute scientific data with a simple shrug of the shoulders and a fatuous comment rooted in "probably"?
Are you so dismissive of (C)AGW data?
Just intrigued, that's all.
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At least the fuel thing is licked. Fracking in the U.S. has found enough energy reserves to last a very long time, and new nuclear designs can take over from there.
As for water: Desalination would work for people living near the coast (thanks to abundant energy supplies), but ultimately you're right. The people living inland will eventually need to start trucking in their water or find another solution, if one even exists. One solution is to use economics to balance water usage. Right now in the U.S., water is being sold at insanely cheap rates in locations that have dwindling water supplies. This leads to high consumption and no immediate incentive to conserve. You can use this to restrict consumption down to a level more closely approaching the replenishment rate of the aquifers.
As for food, scientists and researchers are working on it. They already know how to raise lots more food using much smaller plots of land than what is currently used. I don't know why they don't do it yet, but I'm sure there's a reason (expense, scalability, etc.).
"Fracking in the U.S. has found enough energy reserves to last a very long time"
Remember that natural gas still gives off CO2 - just half as much as coal. And it takes 40 years for our energy consumption to double. The reason we're going with gas and hydrogen is because it's hard to get away from energy sources from burning. Natural gas is a stopgap, not a solution.
We will look back upon these times fondly, as the good old days, back when hurricanes didn't do much damage.
As all models are since it would take a model the size & complexity of the thing being modeled to be an exact representation. The best we can do is add information and adjust the models as best we can and see how well they fit when presented historical data and asked to predict current conditions. My understanding is that we aren't particularly good at this with climate modeling yet, so we, as all serious scientists must, need to take the results of the models in that context and treat them as such.
Unless of course you were to build the ultimate computer to determine the ultimate question to Life, the Universe and Everything... I'll have to put my heads togetehr and see if maybe, just maybe...
There is a theory that It is actually impossible for both the ultimate question and the ulitmate answer to be known at the same time, if it ever happens the universe will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre abd inexplicable.
There is another theory that this has in fact already happened.
From the HHGttG, Douglas Adams
The famous "42" is actually an approximation of 41.9897682229666...
The Adams cosmological constant is related to the Fine Structure constant as follows:
a^-1 = 137.035999084... = 1 + (e/2)*(sqr(2)+Gr) + (π*Adams) [exactly]
Where e = 2.78128...; Gr [golden ratio] = 1.618...
I hope this helps.
>But they do. Which is not science, it's politics.
Look at a graph of our population over time... it can either continue but this would require the population of new worlds and habitats- or it could plateau (but by what mechanism?) or it could crash, as the is pattern of organisms that outgrow their habitat. Or indeed, the majority of agricultural civilisations in the past.
What, exactly, makes this difficult to understand? I don't really give a shit if we starve because because crops yields suffer from climate change (by whatever mechanism), or if we starve because there are just too many of us.
Its notable that longest lasting civilisations have not based themselves on continued economic growth- China, for example, has for millennia has placed lower status on traders than it has farmers.
The lessons aren't just in the climate models, but are found in history and biology as well.
> Look at a graph of our population over time... it can either continue but this would require the population of new worlds and habitats- or it could plateau (but by what mechanism?)
It could plateau by the same mechanism that has caused zero (and even decreasing) population growth of Western societies (excluding immigration). The more education and wealth the lower the birth rate, so the answer isn't to bring Western society down to the level of the 3rd world, it is to bring the 3rd world up to the level of Western society.
>It could plateau by the same mechanism that has caused zero (and even decreasing) population growth of Western societies (excluding immigration). The more education and wealth the lower the birth rate, so the answer isn't to bring Western society down to the level of the 3rd world, it is to bring the 3rd world up to the level of Western society.
Correct. The problem is, however, that we don't have enough planet to give everyone the same quality of life as those of use in the West. For everyone on Earth were to use the same resources as European would require about three Earths.
If could provide healthcare, sanitation and education to all in a resource- efficient manner, then yeah, we're in with a chance- since if women are are confident that their children will survive, they generally choose to have fewer of them. It does pose some problems along the way, both in societies in which parent rely upon their children for care in old age, or societies in which this care is bought (one of the reasons Japan is researching robots).
"The problem is, however, that we don't have enough planet to give everyone the same quality of life as those of use in the West. "
Sure, we have plenty of land. That statement is provably wrong.
OTOH, there are some other resources we may not have enough of, but land is NOT one of them.
What about continental drift? Have Greenland and Vostok moved relative to the equator, arctic regions and each other in 120,000 years? If Greenland was closer to the equator, and Vostok closer to the North Pole, that might explain the differance in temperatures.
"(but by what mechanism?)"
At least in part by gradual empowerment of women in the third world, who are increasingly unwilling to lie on their backs pumping out babies and instead becoming involved in their families' business affairs ... according to a NewScientist article a few years back anyway.
'(but by what mechanism?) '
Funnily enough (A)GCC will be the least of our problems, the thing that made the humans so successful (the selfish gene) will be our downfall.
Human population will breach 9bn but will struggle to reach 10, lowered child mortality (the 3 D's) means population ageing followed by drawn out crash.
You, as an average parent will always be better off personally and can give a better start to your progeny if
a) you know they will outlive you
b) you restrict yourself to 2 or less
There is nothing anybody can do about this (we were only following our genes sir)
The tipping point in the west is when they can no longer attract fecund immigrants.
(hint: this will happen on our watch)
Nobody presents climate models as gospel, that's nonsense. What they're being presented as is the best currently possible explanation that fits the data. But don't let that get in the way of a good persecution fantasy.
"Not what you said" is not an alternative model - try coming up with something better.
> Which would be fine if the anti-common-sense Inquisition didn't spout these models as gospel and denounce all else as heresy.
> But they do. Which is not science, it's politics.
And the other half of the anti-common-sense inquisition (The Peoples Front Of Common-Sense?) spout every little issue with the model as if it completely invalidates everything ever said by any climate scientist anywhere and proves them all to be members of some communist-anarcho-environmentalist-lefty-pinko conspiracy to take us back to the stone age.
As you say politics not science
One of the truly bizarre aspects of this whole climate dialog thing is that it _starts_ in a stupid place.
Those who angrily oppose any real consideration of global warming almost always gloss over the fact that dumping untold millions of tons of crap anywhere is about as far away from passive as you can get. The base position is basically "unless you can prove that dumping unto millions of tons of crap is bad, it should be considered benign".
This is, of course, a scientifically suspect position. And, interestingly and critically, it was NOT the official position of the politicians (at least in the USA) until G W Bush and his cronies managed to flip the debate from "prove it's good" to "prove it's bad".
And THAT is politics, and bad science.
The real good news is that the (real) scientists, whilst warning us about what their current models forecast, are still busy trying to validate, disprove and refine them. The bad news is that the politicians are still in denial, probably because the effects of climate change will be minimal before the next election, so can be safely left to the next crowd ...
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Keep looking all the "we're doomed" climate panic-mongers!
Do I deny that climate is being marginally affected by what we humans do? No
Do I deny it's the "end of the World" if we don't do something an it? Of course I do, it's a patently ridiculous assertion. Have you seen some of the extremes the Earth has gone through over the billions of years of its existence?!
Worst case scenario? Humans manage to wipe themselves out some time over the next couple of hundred years. Ah well. That will teach us then. Meanwhile the planet will continue - after all, a couple of hundred million years ago over 90% of all life on the planet was wiped out ... And "Gaia" is looking pretty diverse at the moment.
For those who keep telling me and everyone else to 'do something' - I suggest you pop over to China and the USA have a word with the nice people running those countries, have a nice time! Meanwhile, I will continue to cheer on people like Lewis - well done mate :-D
"Worst case scenario? Humans manage to wipe themselves out some time over the next couple of hundred years. Ah well. That will teach us then."
I think that's what the ' "we're doomed" climate panic-mongers' are saying.
I admire your more philosophical attitude but I have to say, wimpy thought it may be of me, that I'd be a bit upset if that happened.
Yup, get where your coming from. Problem is the majority of Climate-mongers keep pushing the "we are destroying the Earth" not the (more honest) "we are setting the scene for the breakdown of advanced society and loss of majority chunk of population" (yup, just doesn't have that ring to it ;) & it won't create the same level of panicky "something must be done" knee-jerking that is so popular.
Er... how is "we wipe ourselves out" not roughly the same as "we're doomed"? Surely the point of highlighting dangers is to avoid them, rather than let them be an inevitability?
This is always fun, an interview of a man who writes for a magazine that exists to prop up people's sense of entitlement to £20,00 wristwatches and Bentley automobiles (The Spectator), by the president of the Royal Society:
The hack has rings run round him and admits to being no more than "an interpreter of [cherry-picked] interpretations" and then whines in his column that the interview constituted "intellectual rape". Aw, diddums.
"Surely the point of highlighting dangers is to avoid them..." what, like the Bush/Blair claims of Iraqi "WMD" or the assertion by the IPCC that the Tibetan Glaciers would be gone in 20-odd years...
You know, if the climate change lobby constituted a sober & scientific debate rather than a screaming manifesto where anyone who questions becomes the societal equivalent of a fiend who ties you to a chair then blows cigarette smoke in your face; maybe I'd take it more seriously.
Meanwhile, I await the "worst case" scenario of a 53metre rise in sea level should the entire Antarctic ice field melt; I live 250metres above seal level ;)
As usual, Lewis cherry picked the parts of the report that fitted his agenda. Here's the whole "good news quote":
"Until the past few years, most researchers had thought that Greenland contributed at least half of the 6–8 metres of Eemian sea-level rise that has been deduced from records of ancient corals and other markers2. Yet the NEEM core implies that Greenland’s ice sheet lost at most one-quarter of its volume, and contributed no more than 2 metres of sea-level rise. “The good news is that Greenland is not as sensitive to climate warming as we thought,” says Dahl-Jensen. “The bad news is that if Greenland’s ice sheet did not disappear during the Eemian, Antarctica must have been responsible for a significant part of the sea-level rise,” she adds. These two ice sheets, the world’s biggest, have been stable for most of the current interglacial period. But since temperatures began to soar a couple of decades ago, Greenland and Antarctica have been shedding ice fast. Between 1992 and 2011, they lost around 2,700 billion and 1,350 billion tonnes of ice, respectively."
( http://www.nature.com/news/greenland-defied-ancient-warming-1.12265 )
Note that the good news is "only" a 2 metre rise in sea level, but hey ho, we'll all be dead by then - except for the future generations whose climate we're fucking with.
Here is a direct quote from Prof Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, author of the paper: "Even though the warm Eemian period was a period when the oceans were four to eight meters higher than today, the ice sheet in northwest Greenland was only a few hundred meters lower than the current level, which indicates that the contribution from the Greenland ice sheet was less than half the total sea-level rise during that period,"
Somehow, the article by Lewis failed to mention the fact that the oceans were a few meters higher back then -- and that the cited work estimated some 2 meters of sea level rise to stem from Greenland glaciers melting.
Get honest and stop picking out the nuggets of data you like -- science does not work that way! This article illustrates the reasons why 'climate skeptics' are not taken seriously in the scientific community: They pretend that selectively reporting and interpreting data is OK. I am looking at you, Lewis.
And don't come back with 'climategate', etc, if you actually follow up on those stories, you'll find serious scientific discussion based on serious scientific data. Unfortunately, it's work if you want to seriously contribute to the discussion. But this kind of selective reporting is just CRAP.
You may or may not agree with the presented balance of Lewis's articles, but I think he deserves credit for at least writing them in proper English sentences. Unlike many of the hacks we see around here and almost all of the commentards.
I marvel at so many who think their opinions are going to be taken seriously when their communications demonstrate a level of intelligence inferior to that of primordial soup.
As we have all seen both sides of the global warming/ice melt/climate change issue find evidence to support their own side of the debate (my limited understanding is that most scientists lean toward this being a bigger issue than the deniers admit). So, that being said, wouldn't it be wise to err on the side of caution and to the extent possible by good science in combination with research and development/engineering use as much renewable energy as possible?
Of course, this is not where the old money and standard huge profits are derived so we have a huge uphill battle on that front.
I have no aversion to being down voted but I'm curious about the number of down votes on my comment above. I thought that was quite reasonable, no name calling and the use of renewables would preserve the non-renewables for usages where that would make the most sense and the use of good science and engineering to help advance technology and knowledge. What issue(s) are people having with that?
...Says the Anonymous Coward.
My point was more that Lewis seems to be a single-minded chode. He could actually be a well educated, highly respected scientist. But I doubt it. And his opinions on climate change are the worst part this site.
"My point was more that Lewis seems to be a single-minded chode. He could actually be a well educated, highly respected scientist. But I doubt it. And his opinions on climate change are the worst part this site."
I don't think Lewis is a scientist, but I'm pretty certain I would not pick a fight with him on a dark night out ;)
I have to agree with AC somewhat in that his article is about science and scientific data. If you are refuting this article outright then you are, to some large degree, ignoring the science behind it.
But regardless, his opinions are his and The Register is the forum through which he speaks. If you really dislike it, then just killfile it in whatever way suits best. Are you seriously suggesting that because his articles appear as heresy to some, that they have no value? I for one would suggest that the data behind this story has value to the warming debate and as such is worthy of review.
But if you don't like his articles then just don't read them or comment on them and leave that to those of us who like to hear all sides of a story and diverse opinion. After all, wouldn't the world be a total bore if we all only got to hear what 'they' wanted us to hear?
As for "single-minded chode" - I think you'll find there are plenty hereabouts* in the forums (me included I at times would imagine).
*Just look for the penguin icon (or Beastie in my case, if they ever put one up for use).
No science here, Lewis must be paid to troll.
And the antarctic stuff is wrong, it's losing ice rapidly.
Hopefully the real science is good news, there probably was less soot in those days though.
Time and again though the IPCC is shown to be too conservative, it's always worse than their predictions.
The warming isn't stalled either, just the air temps, the seas are still warming just as fast as ever.
The point of trying to do something about it is because the fallout will cost more money than we have.
Remember there is enough food to feed everyone on the planet but people starve because they can't afford it.
'The point of trying to do something about it is because the fallout will cost more money than we have.'
'Remember there is enough food to feed everyone on the planet but people starve because they can't afford it.'
As Mervyn King and Ben Bernanke have proven, there is no limit to the amount of money available (it is a bit like there being no limit to the amount of runs a cricketer can make in a test innings)
The reason some people starve despite a surplus is because some other people would rather artificially restrict the supply in order to make a personal profit.
If there is enough food to feed everyone then its value is negligible (like air) and everyone gets to eat. (effectively free)
You demonstrate you have absolutely no idea how basic economics works, I may not be alone in doubting you have any idea how climate works.
Perhaps you are an economist, I studied with some while doing my maths degree although they didn't stay around for any of the hard stuff.
Generally it's just guesswork but I think one of the basics is that when you print money it becomes worth less. I was really meaning the concept rather than the quantity at any one time.
So a cricketer can make as many runs as they want? after a hundred or so years I would expect them to slow down a bit but perhaps you know something I don't.
I'm not sure you understand food supply either, even if there is a huge surplice it's not free, someone is making a loss. And suppose you manage to get some of the free stuff to sell if you are paying £100 a litre for you fuel to shift it it's still going to cost you. And if we run out of cheap (often dodgy) labour the crops just die in the fields.
To me it's more like people starve because they are seen as disposable. In the past a lord\ clan chief would have some level of responsibility for the folk on their land and even slave owners would see the point of keeping their stock alive rather than replacing them. Now those people are just discarded and the taxpayer picks up the bill from the feckless capitalists.
Of course Lewis is paid to troll. It's the job of writers on a site like this to get pageviews. By any means necessary.
That's a surprisingly fine line to tread. If you just start making sh*t up out of nothing, no-one will take any notice. Conversely, if you just report what everyone else is reporting, no-one will take any notice.
One approach that does work, however, is to take stories that are true, and put a spin on them that will be hugely popular with one significant audience niche. It's what Fox News does, it's what Drudge Report and Media Matters and Huffington Post and basically all US political partisan blogs do. If you do it consistently, you can build up a fanatical loyalty with those people who are desperate to have their prejudices confirmed on a regular basis. And the debate in the Comments section is even better - that allows you to get people coming back multiple times to view the same page!
So now Lewis has a fanatically loyal following of people who think AGW is a huge fraud, and look to him to explain why the latest story is nothing to worry about. To them, it's reassuring. To the rest of the world, it's trolling.
How interesting that this finding appears just after a senior scientist lik bloke from the Government announced that we should all build lots of snowmen to help reduce the risk of flooding. Apparently compacted ice and snow take longer to melt even under higher temperatures than the loose stuff.
From memory the ice in both Antarctica and Greenland is very compacted having been there for some multi-hundred thousand year period (if not millions) and therefore will take a long time to melt even if the temperature does increase. Of course if it doesn't go down again then there is a pretty strong probability that it will eventually all melt and we will (well unless you live on top of very high hill) be drowned.
On that note I suggest that a)Greenpeace are right and b) that those who deny climate change are also right and that c) this all just goes to show that no-one really has a clue about anything so complex as the weather.
During the Eemian sea levels are known to have been 4 to 8 metres higher than now, if Greenland ice contributed less water to this higher level than previously thought then other areas must have contributed more.
The rate of surface lowering in the Eemian was 6cm per year, and the research team estimate that the rate of mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet was likely to be on the same order as changes observed during the last ten years.
“We were quite shocked by the warm surface temperatures observed at the NEEM ice camp in July 2012. It was simply raining, and, just as during the Eemian period, meltwater formed subsurface ice layers. While this was an extreme event, the present warming over Greenland makes surface melt more likely, and the predicted warming over Greenland the next 50–100 years will potentially lead to Eemian-like climate conditions."
“The good news from this study is that Greenland is not as sensitive as we thought to temperature increases in terms of disgorging ice into the ocean during interglacial periods.
-Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen Project Leader
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Is God going to stop global warming? I don't think he will anymore than He stops people getting cancer when they smoke. You need to show what's wrong with the science.
As to the ice did you read a bit further about why there might be more ice? That more fresh water in the top layer means it freezes more easily. Like to make a guess where did the extra fresh water in the water around the Antarctic come from?
still fooked anyway
Partly because of our own stupidity(do people actually look to vote for the stupidist candidate on the ballot sheet?)
But mostly because the same people who run around going "the earth is doomed the earth is doomed" are the same people who run around going "Ban nuclear power .. its even more evil than global warming"
Actually I have a theory that the collective intelligence of humanity goes down as the number of humans in the group rises.
No, no need to stand up, we can all see you in the room.
I'm always amazed how easily people's opinions can be swayed by those who not only have a clear agenda, but go out of their way to hide it, and also how easy it appears to be to smear the hard work done by people who don't want to play that game.
Other than during years when explosive volcanoes (e.g. Pinatubo) deposited lots of dust worldwide, the Greenland ice cover was probably much freer of dark particulate pollution than it has been the last century or so. It might be interesting to determine what effect that has on thermal energy absorption and consequent melting.
In something like 6,000 years the Milankovitch Cycles will take over and plunge the Earth back into the ice. Maybe a little less. Right about then mankind will die out if it hasn't already, or at least revert to stone age culture. We need not worry about warming.
If not for this recent spate of global warming the scales might have been tipped already and we would be on our way back into the ice. It was getting dangerously close.
Always provokes a nice feisty debate!
General problems with the debate though.
1. Can the impact of various causes of climate change be accurately identified? Nope
2. Are we on the path to destruction? Nobody knows
3. In the face of huge global industrialisation and the refusal to play ball by the US and China in particular, can anyone make any difference? Unlikely
4. Is re-using/recycling a good idea and worth doing - even if it has no impact on the climate? Yes
5. Should be try to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels - even if it has no impact on the climate? Yes
It's not really a yes/no debate. We don't know the end result/we don't know what effect we are having. Might has well just get on with life, and if we can make any changes to reduce waste and consumption on the way. Bonus.
I'm sick of Lewis Page's articles. Deliberately, trollingly, click baitingly, presenting wholly factually inaccurate or misrepresentative quotes and factoids. These "articles" would make Faux News blush, and indeed I suggest Lewis look there for his kind if he needs new employers.
I don't mind it when new data or research comes to light that shows us how to improve our models or understanding of how things work. That's science. But to wilfully and continuously disparage the scientific method, 99.98% of all qualified climate scientists, and 50+ years of research with a wide range of funding sources and tenure beggars belief. What is Lewis' qualification to write these articles? If it's a B.A. in journalism, then none. He is not a climate scientist. The Register, must not take the easy path of bashing science.
Governments would LOVE climate science to be fake. Governments would love to continue growth at all costs and continue business as usual. The fact that all major governments of all stripes have stopped feigning ignorance and starting to move on this should speak volumes to the doubters. It's not rocket science to work out what's happening - it's now CHEAPER to do something than to do nothing. It really is that simple.
The scientific question has moved from "the climate might be changing" to the "climate is changing pretty darn fast especially compared to the many historical records we have". We have hydrologists who run flood models to determine what is going to go under with varying levels of increase. We have economists who work out roughly how much it will cost, and it's a terrible, terrible cost. Plus we're crapping where we sleep. Even if it's not right, surely you want to have clean air and environment? We have tropical islands like Kiribati already essentially flooded and unproductive as they have no fresh water table.
The economic and political has become "how much will that cost in human life, treasure, and war" and "what can we do about it to minimize the misery?" Doing nothing is not an option, and keeping that position deals you out of any solution. If you hate how you feel dealt out of the mainstream today, wait for another 30-40 years.
If The Register is not going to present alternative solutions to mainstream thought (which I disagree with, ETS are cheap for governments, but ineffective at creating necessary change), then get someone else to write a 99 times more articles than Lewis to balance out "articles" such as this waste of electrons. I don't come to The Register for factual inaccuracy, I come for funny and moderately unbalanced tech editorial, based largely in fact. These articles are siding with the folks at World Nut Daily in a way that does not reflect well on the Register.
My question stands to the moderators: until Lewis moves on or decides to post what he'd like to see change instead of the "Don't panic, it's fine to carry on defecating all over our planet and please feel free to turn up the aircon", is there a way I can block these ridiculous articles from appearing in my logged in version of the Register?
"I suggest Lewis look there for his kind if he needs new employers"
I doubt it; he's the esteemed editor of this fine organ. And he's made his views clear on the subject of climate here, scroll down (or search) for 'full disclosure'.
"But to wilfully and continuously disparage the scientific method"
Yes! Of course! You're so right! We should just swallow everything we hear! There's only harm to come from questioning everything, testing ideas and challenging data! Let's completely forget that high-level decisions - the consequences of which could be devastating - are being made on the basis of alarmist predictions! It is so obvious that The Reg is completely derailing the entire scientific process, destroying millions - nay, billions - of lives and setting back engineering progress by centuries simply by reporting something you don't want to hear.
"is there a way I can block these ridiculous articles from appearing in my logged in version of the Register?"
""But to wilfully and continuously disparage the scientific method"
Yes! Of course! You're so right! We should just swallow everything we hear! There's only harm to come from questioning everything, testing ideas and challenging data"
Questioning everything, testing ideas and challenging data *is* is Scientific Method. This article, unfortunately, doesn't do that.
And therein lies the entire problem with the climate change "debate". If you don't agree that we need to make changes, you are wrong - that is not a debate.
I actually find it quite refreshing to get to read climate stories that don't all conclude that it's worse than we previously thought (as I can on almost all other news services).
The debate *should* still be going on, for the simple point of : is the current situation natural and we cant change it or is the current situation un-natural and we can do something? That is the actual debate and it's one that the doom-mongers (for want of a better name) don't want to have. It's either all mankinds fault or you are wrong.
As you say, we have 50+ years of climate research. However, we only have good readings for Earth's temperature for a little over a century and accurate for a little over half that. Yet we're trying to model something on a 125,000 year cycle - we have some pretty good readings on a macro scale, but not on the micro. We have no idea if the temperature change from the last high point went smoothly or in fits and starts, with sudden (in this form, sudden can be considered any fraction of a century) changes. We don't know if we're in a sudden rise in temperature, that will plateau off for another century or two.
These are the problems. The current philosophy seems to be to bankrupt the planet in a manner which may be the equivalent of farting in a hurricane. If the science cant get a hold on a model that stands up for more than 5 minutes without major changes (which is what has been happening, the various models have required major changes every 6 months or so), how can we possibly attribute a solution to a "problem" we don't understand?
despite major changes to the models (mainly adding new processes) they still show significant warming from CO2.
Humans are raising CO2 levels faster than any known period in Earth's history, with CO2 rise in the last 200 years bringing CO2 levels to highs not seen for millions of years.
If this was something happening in their bloodstream rather than the atmosphere, people wouldn't take the cavalier attitude of assuming such an unprecedented change was going to be safe.
@Andrew van der Stock.
I think you're taking a rather extreme view. A lot of your comments are simply wrong as well. The reality is that nobody really knows what's happening. There simply isn't enough data over a long enough period and good enough models to really know. However, because of money, the overwhelming view is that we're the cause and we have to fix it. Is there evidence of this? Some. Is there evidence against this? Some.
Scientists, governments and politicians, contrary to your belief, actually love climate change being mankinds fault. Scientists get lovely big, fat grants to go and research all this and are effectively being paid out of the money provided. Maybe not directly, but certainly indirectly. There are also tons of advisor, business positions being created out of it. So, scientists love it. Continued, gainful employment. If it was shown that mankinds impact on climate change was tiny and there was nothing we could do about, climate scientists would be in the dole queue in their thousands!! So, climate scientists have a very big vested interest in it being our fault and ours to fix.
Governments and politicians love it as well for one simple reason. It gives a brilliant excuse for raising taxation. Just look at what's happening in the UK. Fuel duty escalator. Tax on fuel to power and heat your home etc.etc. Do you ever hear of a politician saying 'We'll tax that less because it's environmentally friendly?' Not normally. It's normally increase the taxation on the unfriendly things. So, they love it because it fills their coffers and gives them something to justify it. Yes, they have to spend some on research to justify that, but the tax take far outweighs the expense.
Of course, companies have the reverse agenda, but they have a couple of simple options. If you pollute a lot, move to a country (or relocate manufacturing) that doesn't care of doesn't particularly tax according to pollution...say China for instance. Or, simply charge the customer more and blame climate change/taxes/the government etc.etc. Either way, win win. It's interesting that the greatest reduction in CO2 emissions in the USA has come about in the last decade and is largely due to their use of shale gas!!
Generally speaking, when you don't actually know what's happening with any degree of certainly and/or the effects of such change, you shouldn't take a radical approach in any direction. You shouldn't go hell for leather against climate change, tax the population to death and cripple yourself and your country in an attempt to stop something which may not exist, or be preventable. Similarly, you shouldn't totally ignore it and do nothing either. What you do is keep going, implementing changes as you can where it is practical. Should we be encouraging recycling and stuff like that? Of course. Should we be encouraging people to drive less? Of course, for lots of reasons. Should we be building wind farms? No. They are useless, require massive subsidies and are actually very emissions expensive to build. On top of that, they're very, very unrealiable. In fact, in this country, wind farms tend to produce nothing when we need it most...i.e. during extremely cold spells in winter which normally come with a calm.
It's anticipated that 15% of your energy bills is now made up of subsidies for 'climate change' and energy saving based technologies, like windfarms, solar PV etc.etc. This is silly. None of these technologies is particularly reliable and/or cost effective and/or efficient. Let's use that money (if we have to pay it) on something potentially sensible. e.g. wave and tidal power. They were pretty much ignored for years in the rush to wind power, yet are far more suited. They are predictable, reliable and hydraulic produces far more power than pneumatic. Rather than rush to wind, we should have waited a decade, perfected these other technologies and deployed them. We'd be in a much better position now.
From the paper in question (my emphasis):
"On the basis of water stable isotopes, NEEM surface temperatures after the onset of the Eemian (126,000 years ago) peaked at 8 ± 4 degrees Celsius above the mean of the past millennium"
That's right, those are the peak temperatures, not the usual temperature, and are measured relative to the mean. Since many parts of greenland remain frozen all year round, that mean is below zero degrees. So what they are saying is that at the height of summer, the warmest parts of Greenland that are frozen today may have reached less than 8 degrees centigrade.
By inference, other parts of Greenland would not have reached this temperature, and the fact that only 25% of the ice melted suggests that in fact 3/4 of the bits that are currently frozen were still below zero then.
We also know for a fact that our planet was warmer in the past over various periods of time, the key being the fact that the changes occurred over thousands or tens of thousands of years, not decades like our current period of warming.
But hey, don't let pesky things like facts get in the way of your agenda, just keep on warping those misleading statistics to sell a story...
We also know as fact that the 'normal' conditions for our planet (i.e. most common in the past) is for no (or a lot less) ice. In most of history, the earth has either had no ice, or considerably less at the poles and other places. In geological time, the earth is 'odd' right now. That's why people believe there are masses of oil and gas etc. under the antarctic. The reason being this used to be dense jungle and forest!!
So, what are we actually trying to achieve? Perhaps we're simply trying to keep the earth in a state that it doesn't want to be in. Maybe the ice should melt. Humans have been around for a tiny period of time and its only because we like this climate that we believe it should continue forever.
Climates change over the centuries and millenia normally. There's nothing unusual about that. We know the coastline of India was once far further into the Indian Ocean than it is today because we've found settlements several miles out. So, we know the coastline has change over our (as in human beings) puny existence. You only have to look at Darwin to understand what we need to do. One of the characterstics most needed to survive is the ability to adapt. Animals that can't adapt tend to die out much quicker than those that can. It is, in fact, one of the reasons we still exist....because we could adapt!! So, that's simply what we need to do. If coastline changes, move with it and relocate the people. If the temperature changes, move, build differently, etc.etc. Don't try to stop the change, move with it. It's only governments, countries and politicians that prevent this from happening with artificial boundaries like borders etc.
Don't forget, the big oil and gas reserves under the deserts of the Middle East didn't get there by magic. It's because they weren't once desert!!
I have to admit I thought I had read reports that some glaciers are getting bigger, snow packs in places getting significantly thicker.
Before WW2 there were a lot of scientists, media and politicians believing that the human race was doomed due to the breeding of inferior subspecies. Any that disagreed were shouted down as being out of step.
These thoughts led in large part to the Nazi death camps - and even Churchill was bought into the idea and was happy to suggest gassing large numbers of 'natives' in other parts of the world.
is not about GW. GW is simply a trojan horse. Inside the trojan horse is packed with libtards, each believing in their hearts that the ONLY way to save the world is TOTAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL. Of everyone. Everywhere. All the time. All choices will be made by the world government leaders.
All you have to do, as a citizen of the new world order, is simply OBEY. All your choices will be made for you. See, it's not that hard to understand.
GW is simply a useful manufactured crisis to help get us there. England already has the gun issue taken care of - our libtards across the big pond are still working on it. Gradually, government will run private business out of business, and reopen them under libtard control - at least the businesses the libtards want to reopen. Private cars, restaurants, steak, shrimp, beer and spirits - will no longer be available. Why ? "if we cannot afford to provide it for EVERYONE, we cannot provide it for ANYONE". Well, except for libtard Party leaders, of course. Why ?
DO NOT QUESTION !!! OBEY !!! Return to your housing block ! You will lose your food vouchers for one week, for questioning our glorious leaders.
Antarctica is a desert. When global temperatures increase Antarctica gets more snow, not less, as the colder air normally there is too dry to cause significant precipitation. That snow does not melt as it is never warm enough there for snow to melt. Runoff in Greenland is balanced by accumulation in Antarctica. Increased snow in Antarctica increases the planet's albedo as well, counteracting warming according to this recent paper.