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Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:54 am
by Fabio
The first step is accept that AGW is a fact (the ones who deny it are doing it because of money/political reasons).
If, as a society, we reach that step, then we can start making the steps necessary for changing.
JimSouCal wrote:The elephant in the room is: the biggest driver of climate change is a growing population of folks whose lives are interwoven with an oil and gas intensive lifestyle. I wouldn't exactly expect to see a line of volunteers to reduce the problem in short order.

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:04 am
by JimSouCal
Fabio wrote:The first step is accept that AGW is a fact (the ones who deny it are doing it because of money/political reasons).
If, as a society, we reach that step, then we can start making the steps necessary for changing.
JimSouCal wrote:The elephant in the room is: the biggest driver of climate change is a growing population of folks whose lives are interwoven with an oil and gas intensive lifestyle. I wouldn't exactly expect to see a line of volunteers to reduce the problem in short order.
In sentiment, I agree with what you conclude. However, just like other scientific theories and frameworks, such as classical physics and gravity, or relativity, the thermodynamic relationships involved in seeking to understand the Earth's climate are theories, and not facts per se, and therein lies the rub.

So if we take the view that the climate of the Earth is a complex heat engine, energized by the Sun, and affected by other forces such as the Coriolis effect, then the most very likely outcome is that added CO2, brought about by using the atmosphere as a sewer for carbon fuel combustion, will increase the retention of energy, and "force" the processes of climate; the added CO2 that is dissolved in the oceans will acidify the oceans, and probably impede the calcification of plankton shells, other events.

So the net the outcome might not be "warming", but rather increased potential energy (extrema of temperature), and greater kinetic energy (wind). In the framework of thermodynamic theory, that is possible, meaning the resulting convection will indeed tend to keep temps in check.

However, the stakes are very high, and the most likely outcome, based on evidence, warming or Hurricanes, or whatever, is that a massive disruption of the Earth's biogeochemical processes will result from this influence of pumping, lifting, and burning fossil fuels. The most dangerous aspect of all of these changes is that we will commit to them long before the damage is obvious in simple Human observational terms.

You point that some folks ideology seems to blind them to this evidence, or leads to a PR process to distort or mischaracterize what is at hand, that I wholly agree with. The basis for the science go back to the 1800's, doesn't it?

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:12 am
by JimSouCal
TomT wrote:Just to play devil's advocate here for a moment, a few years is statistically insignificant. There have been numerous periods of similar intense weather patterns over the centuries. I'm not saying that there isn't a long-term shift in patterns in affect, just that you can't draw any meaningful conclusions from something that happens over only 3, 4 or 5 years...
True. But current weather extrema is very consistent with what would be expected, especially the Northern latitude warming and current Summer all time sea ice lows...

The paleoclimate record supports (is consistent with) the theory that climate is forced by CO2 and subsequent feedbacks.

Nonetheless, I think your "devils advocate" point is well taken...

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:59 pm
by AndyH
TomT wrote:Just to play devil's advocate here for a moment, a few years is statistically insignificant. There have been numerous periods of similar intense weather patterns over the centuries. I'm not saying that there isn't a long-term shift in patterns in affect, just that you can't draw any meaningful conclusions from something that happens over only 3, 4 or 5 years...
No problem - not statistically significant.

Here's a thumbnail timeline:
- In the 1950s science effectively said, "we expect if we keep dumping CO2 into the atmosphere it'll cause us problems above and beyond natural cycles."
- In the 1960s different scientists briefed the President and said we've nailed it down and expect to see change from our emissions in about 50 years.
- And in 1990 the IPCC said they thought they were seeing the predicted effects.
- And in 1995 the IPCC said not only is warming happening but humans are influencing it.
- And in 2001 the IPCC sites "strong evidence humans are responsible for most of observed global warming in past 50 years."
- And in 2007 the IPCC reported reported that it's "very likely" that global warming has been caused by human activity.

Should we care about statistical significance at this point? Or should we be increasing our insurance coverage?

Professor Dessler is a respected climate scientist from the very conservative Texas A&M University...

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:22 am
by edatoakrun
AndyH"

Here's a thumbnail timeline:
- In the 1950s science effectively said, "we expect if we keep dumping CO2 into the atmosphere it'll cause us problems above and beyond natural cycles."
- In the 1960s different scientists briefed the President and said we've nailed it down and expect to see change from our emissions in about 50 years.
- And in 1990 the IPCC said they thought they were seeing the predicted effects.
- And in 1995 the IPCC said not only is warming happening but humans are influencing it.
- And in 2001 the IPCC sites "strong evidence humans are responsible for most of observed global warming in past 50 years."
- And in 2007 the IPCC reported reported that it's "very likely" that global warming has been caused by human activity.

Should we care about statistical significance at this point? Or should we be increasing our insurance coverage?...
Todays WSJ has an opinion piece describing global heating public policy since 2007, ironically titled "Five Truths About Climate Change".

I suggest everyone read it, as an example of the effort being made to misinform the Newscorp clientele with three digit IQs, as well as the far larger Fox "news" audience.

At first glace, you might conclude that getting three out of five "truths" right is not too bad, given the source.

But it is the skillful blending of truth, with wishful thinking, that makes it an effective propaganda effort.

And it enables the writer to conclude by replacing a factual view of a dystopian future with a magical utopian vision:
...It's time to move the debate past the dogmatic view that carbon dioxide is evil and toward a world view that accepts the need for energy that is cheap, abundant and reliable.

Mr. Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... ns_opinion" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:06 am
by walterbays
This book is interesting, short, readable, and 99 cents. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LY ... k_ro_title Rough Winds: Extreme Weather and Climate Change - James Lawrence Powell
Rough Winds instead looks squarely at the past, the very recent past, and it sticks to the facts: namely heat, drought, fire, rain, snow, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Powell opens with a searing catalog of the record-breaking North American summer heat wave of 2011, but he's just getting warmed up. What follows is a blistering array of data, pocked with occasional vignettes that portray the enormous suffering and damage that global climate change is kindling. In laboriously documenting both the specifics and the scale of our habitat's incendiary fury, Powell's explicit goal is to ignite action, but what it sometimes lacks in argumentative rigor, Rough Winds more than makes up for in detail and passion. "Only a fool," Powell insists, "waits to see the flames before trying to buy fire insurance." --Jason Kirk

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:06 am
by SierraQ
I'm so tired of the constant "I'm right and you are an idiot" mentality that infests both sides of this debate that I tend to avoid it. (Well, not this time, I suppose.) So rather than comment on the issues I'd like to comment on the debate itself.

I don't think you can divide the entire world into "believers" and "deniers." The middle is often drowned out from all the screaming and propaganda from the extremists on both sides so the average person does not know who the believe.

The driving thought behind the extreme "believers" is that if they are right we are effectively killing the planet and ourselves along with it, and that is obviously bad so something must be done. They point to the few decades of data we have gathered, plot a trend, correlate that with human activity, and draw a conclusion. The conclusion is correct, based on that data, and they are very angry that people are not listening.

The driving thought behind the extreme "deniers" is the science in play here lacks some necessities in any experiment (I use this term loosely here, pretend for awhile that all this was deliberate). 1) You must have a control to know if there is any meaningful change. 2) You must have a statistically significant amount of accurate data to plot trends.
We don't have another planet earth (without people) to compare against. We don't have several thousand years of accurate and consistent data. (When you are talking about shifts of a few degrees, the data must be very accurate.) They would also say we don't really know what would be statistically significant because we haven't been around long enough. There is also the issue of scale. Experiments done in a small lab over a discrete period of time with a handful of variables is easily managed. Experiments done on a planetary scale over hundreds or thousands of years with billions of variables cannot be managed at present and cannot be scaled down with any accuracy. So it is true that these people do not have any facts to support their claim like the other group has. They instead are questioning the experiment itself.

Both viewpoints are fair and worthy of consideration; reality is probably somewhere in the middle as usual. I just wish we could jettison the extremists who control this debate and the other 99% of us could get together and figure out what we want to do.

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:14 am
by Stoaty
SierraQ wrote:I'm so tired of the constant "I'm right and you are an idiot" mentality that infests both sides of this debate that I tend to avoid it.
You are missing the fact that all of the scientific evidence points to the high likelihood that climate change is occurring and largely due to human caused CO2 emissions. So it is really between those who accept scientific results, and those that don't. There are multiple lines of evidence that support the premise that climate change is occurring, not just temperature measurements. The only reason the science is "controversial" is that many people (and corporations) don't like the solutions that are necessary to mitigate the problem. Your contention that "Both viewpoints are fair and worthy of consideration" is exactly the tactic used by the tobacco companies in their denial that smoking causes cancer (see for example the book "Merchants of Doubt") and the same tactic is being employed by the fossil fuel companies. They have even used some of the same hired guns that were involved in the tobacco denial machine.

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:22 pm
by Herm
SierraQ wrote: Both viewpoints are fair and worthy of consideration; reality is probably somewhere in the middle as usual. I just wish we could jettison the extremists who control this debate and the other 99% of us could get together and figure out what we want to do.
Very well said Sierra, welcome to the third group.. the Agnostics.

Re: Climate Change: What Do We Know and When Did We Know It?

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:50 pm
by edatoakrun
Herm wrote:
SierraQ wrote: Both viewpoints are fair and worthy of consideration; reality is probably somewhere in the middle as usual. I just wish we could jettison the extremists who control this debate and the other 99% of us could get together and figure out what we want to do.
Very well said Sierra, welcome to the third group.. the Agnostics.
...reality is probably somewhere in the middle as usual...
What a profound proposal to determine questions of fact!

Just find the mean between the views of the Scientific Community, and of the delusional and/or the opportunist grifters, who profit from spreading disinformation.

Application of this approach to reason will TOTALLY resolve that pesky creation/evolution controversy...