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Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » General Global Warming / Climate Change Discussion (because a thread for this was long overdue)
General Global Warming / Climate Change Discussion
WatsisnameDate: Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:32 | Message # 1
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Since global warming is a topic that has come up several times in the past, and most often ends up totally cluttering the Totally Off-topic Thread, I thought it would be prudent to start a thread specifically for this purpose. Here we will discuss the latest findings laid out in the IPCC Report, AR5 WGI - the physical science basis. Any comments and questions about global warming and climate change are also encouraged to be posted here. Trolling, however, will absolutely not be tolerated.




 
midtskogenDate: Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:32 | Message # 2
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AR5 is out.

Quote (IPCC)
Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C ... The lower temperature limit of the assessed likely range is thus less than the 2°C in the AR4, but the upper limit is the same. ... No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies

So the new sensitivity consensus is actually that there is less agreement.





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midtskogenDate: Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:32 | Message # 3
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
The things which are useful to know for practical planning are that the world is warming, said warming will have unpleasant effects, and said warming is being caused by human activity. This last point is of most importance since it means we can do something about it.

Truth is, the AR5 is pretty worthless in that respect no matter how you look at it. We should now have learned that these reports divert money, possibly billions, into actions that don't even translate into a thousandth of a degree. Nations could just as well torch money on the altar in the temple of symbolism in the futile hope that the more money is sacrificed the more impressed the God of Symbolism will be and we shall all enjoy his bliss lest we worry about the environment. I might sound a bit cynical here, but I think it's an important point to make.

Scientists are smart people. Politicians aren't. Since the scientists, whether they like it or not, have entered the arena of politics, they should know that such reports don't really help policy makers, so if IPCC had the mandate, it would be actually helpful if they put in print the number and sizes of new nuclear plants needed around the world within what time and such things, i.e. offering specific solutions which with current knowledge most certain will work. The scientists are less bound by political taboos and modern myths, so they are in a better position, besides the knowledge, to do so. They're not really helpful if they think that by explaining the problem in the best of details they've done their part, leaving it to the fools to figure out how to fix it.

The precise climate sensitivity is pretty irrelevant for politics anyway, since fossil fuel doesn't meet the energy demand of the future anyway. A report saying that a doubling the CO2 could be anything from harmless to harmful and that oceans are rising anyway like they've been doing for a while isn't likely to make much difference.





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Edited by midtskogen - Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:29
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:32 | Message # 4
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Quote (midtskogen)
So the new sensitivity consensus is actually that there is less agreement.

So it seems, though it makes little practical difference.

The things which are useful to know for practical planning are that the world is warming, said warming will have unpleasant effects, and said warming is being caused by human activity. This last point is of most importance since it means we can do something about it.





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WatsisnameDate: Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:32 | Message # 5
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Basically the probability distribution became slightly more Gaussian, but it makes essentially no practical difference about conclusions for future warming or what we need to do about it. If one takes the lower limit (1.5°C for a doubling of CO2), you still end up with >2°C of warming by 2100 under a wide range of emissions scenarios, and this is unacceptable by international agreement. Another important note is that the lower limit of 1.5°C is just as likely as the upper limit of 4.5°C, which under the same scenarios would be disastrous. The most probable value for climate sensitivity remains unchanged at 3°C.

Furthermore, the tails of the distribution (values lower than 1°C, and greater than 6°C, have been culled dramatically. This actually reflects an improved understanding of climate sensitivity, not a reduced one. (You really have to look at the whole distribution, not just the positions of the 1-sigma bars.)

I'm still reading through the summary for policy makers and hope to skim through the full report when it is available on Monday; may post some of the more interesting findings I get out of it later.





 
WatsisnameDate: Friday, 27.09.2013, 22:32 | Message # 6
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Done reading the summary; here are some quoted points and personal reactions:

-Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and is evident on land, sea, troposphere, and by ocean heat content. (I add that observed changes in the upper atmosphere are also consistent with this.) There have been many climate changes throughout Earth history, but as far as we know there was never one with the rapidity that we are seeing now. This makes sense, because atmospheric composition has never changed this rapidly.

-The human influence on current climate change is clear. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. (Note: ‘extremely likely’ means 95 to 100% confidence).

-Globally averaged land/ocean surface temperature, calculated by linear trend, shows a warming of 0.65 to 1.06°C, median of 0.85°C. I.e., temperature wise, we’re almost half-way to the 2° ‘safe’ limit, though emissions/timeframe wise we are significantly closer.

-Some regions during the Medieval Warm Period (950 to 1250) were as warm as presently, but this was not a global anomaly, with high confidence.

-Evidence of changes in particular extreme weather events already occurring, notably daily max/min temperatures, heat waves, and heavy precipitation events. I’m surprised that there doesn’t seem to be much mention regarding droughts or floods, but we’ll see what the full report has to say. I do not expect them to say much new in terms of trends in localized storms (tornadoes and hurricanes). Expected changes in tornado frequency aren't well known through modelling, and the inhomogeneous record for both hurricanes and tornadoes do not lend to a useful comparison to models either.

-Ocean warming accounts for >90% of energy accumulated in the last 3 decades, with 60% being in the top 700 meters. The ocean is an important part of the earth's heat reservoir!

-It is about as likely as not that rate of heat uptake in oceans was slower in the last decade than the one prior, but it is unlikely that there was any change in the lower layers, where interannual variability is smaller. What this means is that reports of global warming having slowed down this last decade are not supported by evidence. Rather, it is an effect of natural variability. This can also be shown by comparing temperature records with known sources of natural variability. We can expect to see more such slowdowns, and speedups, in the future, with the fundamental underlying trend being that of continued warming.

-Ice sheets globally are losing mass, and it is very likely that the Greenland Ice sheet’s mass loss rate has accelerated. It is likely that the Greenland Ice Sheet will disappear, on a timescale of millenia, if global temperature rises above some threshold between 1 and 4 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels. What this means is that we may find ourselves being committed to the irreversible loss of Greenland's ice, and the many meters of long term sea level rise that comes with that, if we do not act very soon.

-The summary mentions/quantifies the loss of Arctic sea ice extent and the increase of Antarctic sea ice extent, but I’m surprised it doesn’t mention why, for the latter. The reason has to do with the South Polar Vortex, which thermally isolates the Antarctic Continent from the rest of the world, and the wind flow off of the continent, which helps push sea ice out farther.

-There is high confidence that climate change is affecting permafrost, leading to increased polar methane emissions. This is quite a nasty feedback effect, as methane is a very efficient greenhouse gas.

-There are many lines of evidence showing substantial Arctic warming since the mid 20th century, in agreement with climate model predictions and the ice-albedo feedback effect.

-Quantification of sea level rise; not much new in the way of future projections. This is understandable though, as it’s a very tough modeling problem – you have to consider thermal expansion (which depends on emission scenario and sensitivity), ice loss (which is fundamentally nonlinear), and changes in evaporation/precipitation rates over ocean and land. The best we can say right now is that sea level rise is occurring and is expected to continue and accelerate.

-Climate models have improved since AR4, in terms of both global and regional parameters. The most important reason for the improvement is better computer technology; the understanding of fundamental processes that the models are based on actually has not changed much.

-The net climate feedback from all types of clouds is likely positive. (I was surprised by this!)

-I’ll end with this paragraph, as I thought it was both well-written and powerful, so I’ll quote it directly:
Quote
The rate and magnitude of global climate change is determined by radiative forcing, climate feedbacks, and the storage of energy by the climate system. Estimates of these quantities for recent decades are consistent with the assessed likely range of the equilibrium climate sensitivity to within assessed uncertainties, providing strong evidence of our understanding of anthropogenic climate change.


Looking forward to the full report.





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 28.09.2013, 05:25 | Message # 7
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Quote (midtskogen)
We should now have learned that these reports divert money, possibly billions, into actions that don't even translate into a thousandth of a degree.

Do you have any evidence to support the claim that these reports lead to action that has no effect? And why are you using "billions" as if it's a large number? The nations of the world will collectively have to spend tens of billions at least to combat this problem.

Quote (Watsisname)
Quote

I doubt anyone other than a scientist would find that statement at all impactful.

I agree with midtskogen, it would be beneficial if they would produce a more human readable summary of their report for the general populace, and one with examples of alternatives to fossil fuel technologies, and the benefits, detriments, and costs thereof, for politicians.

On a note unrelated to the report, I have a question for midtskogen: do you that we should attempt to curtail global warming? Or do you think we should not?





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Saturday, 28.09.2013, 05:28
 
WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 28.09.2013, 07:13 | Message # 8
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
I doubt anyone other than a scientist would find that statement at all impactful.


It should be impactful for anyone who read the summary and thought the bit about the slight change in climate sensitivity estimates was the first and only thing worth mentioning out of it. wink

Added:

I think we're also looking at the wrong question. One can certainly and correctly state that the IPCC reports have thus far not resulted in the required action of emissions reduction. But unless you can explore alternate timelines, nobody can argue what our emissions would be without these reports, now or in the future.

The right question is to ask why the necessary action hasn't been taken yet, and what needs to be done to do so. Dissolving the IPCC is certainly not the right option, just as halting study of CFC's on the Ozone layer was not the right option in the early 80s, or the study of Tetraethyllead on human health in the 20s. The IPCC was actually created because enough scientists and government officials from around the world decided the issue of climate change was important enough to warrant its own body to study it and communicate those results to policy makers. Hence, 'Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change'.

The biggest difficulty, as far as I can see it, is that the way this information is communicated is in serious need of improvement. The enormous amount of misinformation through the internet and media does not help either. Then there are very difficult political and economical challenges posed on top of that, but both the IPCC and multiple other organizations research these very issues. One of the best, at least that I am aware of, is via the IEA.

In short, we must not blame the scientists for the world's not taking action; we must instead look at why the world refuses to take action. If a parent's child is sick, you don't fire the doctor when the parent refuses to consider the recommended treatment. Instead you focus on trying to better educate the parent.





 
midtskogenDate: Saturday, 28.09.2013, 08:05 | Message # 9
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Do you have any evidence to support the claim that these reports lead to action that has no effect?

I'm not saying no effect (though sometimes I suspect it can be negative, like how households recycle plastic - conscious people here will gladly spent half a litre of water, possibly warm, to clean 10g of plastic wrapping so it can be recycled rather than to be burned with other burnable waste and reused in the form of energy). I'm travelling until Monday and I'll have to come back to you with an example of very bad return of cost in the name of CO2.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
do you that we should attempt to curtail global warming? Or do you think we should not?

I'm very much for the end of fossil fuel as a main source of energy. I recognise it as a necessary step towards something more technologically advanced, but we should mostly have been beyond that by now. We must not view energy as a luxury commodity as some would like to have it either. Clean energy needs to become something that we can take for granted, like we must aim for clean water and food to be available for everybody and taken for granted. I suspect that a world population in the future of 10+ billion cannot properly care for the environment otherwise if it relies on such low-tech (either by using fossil fuel or by stepping back technologically). We're past a point of no return where technological progress is necessary. I don't think the Earth's air temperature is a very good metric for Earth's health and our safe future, and I fear that the focus on and fear of possible warming might be a distraction delaying us. Decreased and more predictable human impact on the climate should rather be a positive side effect of fixing the energy problem. I could elaborate a bit more but need to leave it there for now.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 28.09.2013, 09:20 | Message # 10
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Quote (midtskogen)
Decreased and more predictable human impact on the climate should rather be a positive side effect of fixing the energy problem.

I agree that it SHOULD be, but do you think that we should make a concerted effort towards that end now that we've let things go as far as we have, where the impacts are going to start causing very large problems for lots of people? In other words, should our attitude be one of climate change mitigation in addition to technological progress, innovation, and general improvement of the human condition (all of the latter of which are also not reflected in the attitudes of most prominent world leaders)?

Quote (Watsisname)
In short, we must not blame the scientists for the world's not taking action; we must instead look at why the world refuses to take action.

I certainly wouldn't blame the scientists for anything. I simply think that more can be done to make the facts clearer to people, and to make leaders more aware of the options and consequences they face. Scientists tend to write as if to communicate with other scientists. In this case that is not sufficient. They aren't doing anything wrong, there are just more and different things that they should also do, with the aim of "educating the parent", as you say.





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 28.09.2013, 10:33 | Message # 11
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All three of us agree that the science can be communicated (to the public) much better than it is currently. I believe it is one of the three primary reasons for ongoing lack of necessary action being taken by the global community. The other two are the spread of misinformation, and political/economical issues. At least the third problem is attempted to be dealt with by the IPCC and other agencies through other reports.

I'd like to emphasize with that last point that workgroup I (the report being discussed presently) is the physical science basis. It discusses the knowledge regarding observed changes and future projections. Workgroup II discusses the vulnerability and impacts (what do the climate changes actually mean for us), and workgroup III discusses methods for mitigation and adaptation. I think the IEA actually gives a better report than IPCC's WGIII, in terms of understandability for non-climate-scientists and those who are involved in energy and other relevant government sectors, as to how to tackle the problem. Nevertheless, governments are still struggling to agree on a plan of action and start with it. They just keep pushing target dates back further. :/





 
expandoDate: Sunday, 29.09.2013, 09:21 | Message # 12
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With the IPCC doubling down on their rhetoric, it must be remembered that temperature has remained flat for the last 15 years whereas their models have been completely wrong of continual escalating temperatures.

Climate change is a scam and the scientific community will forever be tainted as the Global Warming HOAX is as big as the boy crying wolf 3 times in a row.

http://www.forbes.com/sites....ol-mode

Struggling to keep a discredited global warming crisis afloat, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chair Raj Pachauri this week denied the well-documented plateau in temperatures during the past 15-plus years. Pachauri’s denialism contradicted his own admission earlier this year that there has been a 17-year plateau in global temperatures.

The IPCC is in full damage-control mode after it leaked advance copies of an upcoming Summary for Policymakers to what it assumed would be friendly journalists. The journalists, however, quickly realized the IPCC Summary for Policymakers contained several embarrassing walk-backs from alarmist statements in prior IPCC reports.

Two of the most embarrassing aspects of the Summary for Policymakers are (1) IPCC’s admission that global warming has occurred much slower than IPCC previously forecast and (2) IPCC is unable to explain the ongoing plateau in global temperatures. IPCC computer models have predicted twice as much warming as has occurred in the real world, and virtually none of the IPCC computer models can replicate or account for the recent lack of global warming.

Rather than acknowledge that perhaps IPCC overshot its predictions in past reports, Pachauri doubled down on denialism, claiming there has been no slowdown in the pace of global warming.

“I don’t think there is a slowdown (in the rate of temperature increase),” Pachauri told BBC News Monday

. Pachauri’s astonishing denialism not only undercuts IPCC credibility, it also contradicts his own words earlier this year in an interview with the Australian. “The UN’s climate change chief, Rajendra Pachauri, has acknowledged a 17-year pause in global temperature rises,” the Australian’s Graham Lloyd reported in February after interviewing Pachauri.

While Pachauri and the IPCC bureaucracy double down on denial, some IPCC scientists are acknowledging the scientific truth. IPCC Lead Author Hans von Storch, a climate scientist and professor at the Meteorological Institute at the University of Hamburg, acknowledged the ongoing temperature plateau in a June interview with der Spiegel.

“So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break,” IPCC Lead Author Hans von Storch told der Spiegel in a June 2013 interview. Storch said the IPCC will have tone down its climate models unless warming quickly and rapidly accelerates ”According to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) — a value very close to zero,” Storch told der Spiegel. “This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year.”

“At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase,” Storch explained.

A cynic may point out that presenting objective scientific evidence was never the goal of the IPCC and global warming alarmists. Instead, it can be correctly noted, the goal is to scare people into implementing the energy restrictions and wealth redistribution prescribed as a cure for the mythical global warming crisis. As prominent global warming scientist/activist Steven Schneider advised:

“We’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

For IPCC chair Raj Pachauri, there is no balance. There is merely denialist propaganda that he hopes will blind people to the fact that global warming has, at a bare minimum, slowed down dramatically during recent years.

The problem for Pachauri and the IPCC is the IPCC’s own scientists, such as Hans von Storch, directly contradict Pachauri’s denialism. And it is not just scientists pointing out Pachaui’s denialism. Even the IPCC’s reliably sympathetic media allies are unwilling to run with Pachauri’s whopper about no recent slowdown in global warming. For example, here are a few recent headlines from some of the most alarmist-friendly media outlets in the world:

“Researching global warming’s pause,” reads a BBC News headline.

“A cooler Pacific may be behind recent pause in global warming,” reads a National Public Radio headline.

“Why has global warming paused?” asks a Christian Science Monitor headline.

“What to make of a climate-change plateau,” reads a New York Times headline.

“Global warming has ‘paused’ because of natural causes but will continue to rise, scientists claim,” reads a UK Daily Mail headline.

To be sure, these reliably activist media outlets are not abandoning their catastrophic global warming agenda, but even they are forced to acknowledge what objective scientific evidence shows and what IPCC chair Raj Pachauri denies; global temperatures have plateaued for more than a decade and there has been, at a bare minimum, a pronounced recent slowdown in global warming.

Raj Pachauri and the IPCC are falling into the same trap that discredited Al Gore. Exaggerating the pace and impacts of global warming may provide some short-term propaganda value, but these tall tales will ultimately backfire. People are not stupid. Al Gore may have brought belief in a global warming crisis to new heights following his Hollywood movie production An Inconvenient Truth, but it took an informed public mere months to discover Al Gore and his global warming whoppers were nothing more than the latest incarnation of Joe Isuzu. Raj Pachauri and the IPCC are foolishly drag racing down the same deceptive path. One cannot watch this propaganda train wreck unfold without expectations that Pachauri will soon offer a mini-pony with every copy of the IPCC’s newest report.

IPCC chair Raj Pachauri may want us to deny objective scientific facts, but the IPCC’s own scientists, the general public and even Pachauri’s reliable media allies know better.





"Religion is regarded by the common people as true - by the wise as false - and by the rulers as useful."
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 29.09.2013, 09:57 | Message # 13
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Quote (expando)
it must be remembered that temperature has remained flat for the last 15 years whereas their models have been completely wrong of continual escalating temperatures.

See below:

Quote (Watsisname)
What this means is that reports of global warming having slowed down this last decade are not supported by evidence. Rather, it is an effect of natural variability. This can also be shown by comparing temperature records with known sources of natural variability. We can expect to see more such slowdowns, and speedups, in the future, with the fundamental underlying trend being that of continued warming.

As you can see, the so called "flat temperature" is well explained and does not indicate an abatement of warming, and they perfectly well understand that the rate of observed temperature increase will not be constant due to a multitude of natural variability factors. So your assertion is false.

Quote (expando)
Climate change is a scam and the scientific community will forever be tainted as the Global Warming HOAX is as big as the boy crying wolf 3 times in a row.

Again, this is patently false. Not one person who is both sane and has analyzed the data believes that there is no global warming. It's a painfully obvious fact that is made evident simply by examining temperature records over the past century.

Quote (expando)
http://www.forbes.com/sites....ol-mode

Link an article, summarize its points even, but please don't just copy/paste large swathes of it into your post. Also, a Forbes Op-Ed is hardly the most neutral and reliable source for information.

I'd also like to make a note that this is primarily a scientific discussion. If you're going to make a claim, you must be prepared to present valid evidence to support that claim. And declaring that something is a hoax in all capital letters does not do well to convince others of your intention and ability to have a serious and reasonable discussion.





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Sunday, 29.09.2013, 09:59
 
WatsisnameDate: Sunday, 29.09.2013, 10:21 | Message # 14
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Expando, you are going to permanently lose your ability to post on this forum unless you can stop with the trolling and start demonstrating that you are capable of basic critical thinking skills. Think it over during your second week off.




 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 29.09.2013, 17:35 | Message # 15
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A little piece by Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) about climate change and stuff deniers say. It's quite a nice and accessible read, and also makes a great reply to expando's post.

http://www.slate.com/blogs...._t.html





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Sunday, 29.09.2013, 17:35
 
Forum » SpaceEngine » Off-topic Discussions » General Global Warming / Climate Change Discussion (because a thread for this was long overdue)
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