What Do We Think About Climate Change

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Pericles, Feb 19, 2008.

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  1. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Hi again folks,

    Cute cartoon, Guillermo. Which paper's it from?

    It's been interesting to note, as this discussion has gone back and forth, how often blogs and newspapers are referenced. Yet there doesn't seem to be much reference to the sources that the climatologists themselves prefer: peer-reviewed journals, etc.

    I suspect that a lot of folks here don't have access to a university library, and so would have a hard time digging up the original studies from which the big-name institutions draw their conclusions. But it doesn't hurt to ask.

    As a starting point, I might suggest Naomi Oreskes' article in the December '04 edition of Science. This paper isn't original research- it's just a literature review, of every article in the ISI databases between 1993-2003 with "global climate change" referenced. Oreskes was looking for evidence that legitimate dissenting opinions were being covered up by the broad, overarching statements of major scientific institutions. A total of 928 papers from all manner of scientific journals were included in the study.

    Oreskes and her team reviewed the abstracts (summaries & conclusions) of those 928 papers and sorted them:
    As a scientist, I am very much open to multiple dissenting opinions. And, like Oreskes, I would have expected there to be a substantial number of dissenting opinions in the scientific literature. But there aren't. The debate in the journals today is about how severe things might be, and how quickly the impacts might appear. The debate over whether or not humans have anything to do with it started, in the scientific journals, in the 1970s and was disputed and debated with incrementally more detailed evidence for over 20 years before the mass media began to get interested. By then, most climatologists had moved on from arguing about whether it's our fault or the Earth's, and were trying to figure out timelines and severity. Orskes set out to prove that legitimate dissenting opinions were being covered up by the broad statements of major scientific bodies, and found that they were not.

    That leaves two obvious possibilities: Either the AGW alarmists have managed to set up a global conspiracy that controls every major scientific organization, every journal, and every single peer-review board in the world, but have been unable to convince the general media to play along - or else the world's climatologists are in general agreement that humans are having some noticeable, but not entirely understood, effect on the climate and are now directing their efforts at refining our models and assumptions in order to better understand how much of an effect we may be having. I tend to think the latter possibility makes a lot more sense.

    And yes, there has been a lot more research done since 2004. But I urge all of you, before taking up arms on the matter, please take the time to visit a university library that has these journals, and read the articles themselves instead of just what people say about them. The original papers, generally speaking, are about pure scientific fact. But they get misquoted by both sides of the political debate and used for spin to further someone's own interests. We're one of the best discussion forums on the Web; let's try to stay above the fray and deal with the facts alone, minus the political spin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  2. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

  3. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Sorry about the typo, G. We all make mistakes now and then; I have corrected my error above. Good paper though- worth a read.
    True indeed.
    I'm curious, though, how you feel it relates to the subject of this thread? I did read that section of the discussion.
    The tendency of both far-left "the world will be dead soon" alarmists and far-right "it's all a conspiracy" types to become almost religiously attached to their beliefs, at the expense of the somewhere-in-between truth, is certainly noticeable in some circles.
    But, being on a university campus much of the day, I find the debate there to be rather different. Nobody's been saying "humans have nothing to do with it" for a while now, but we also don't have anyone familiar with climatology who's saying "the world is about to end". There have been, though, some excellent investigations and discussions, that go like: "OK, so we're having some impact, but how severe is it?" Or, "How long do we have to adapt to the changes?" Or, "What will climate change, whether it's 100% our fault or only 10% our fault, do to our farms / fisheries / water supplies and how do we mitigate those impacts?"
    I think it would be nice to see this kind of discussion in the broader community too- getting away from the fighting over political stances, and talking instead about how to minimize whatever impact we might be having and how to adapt to whatever changes might occur. The scientific publications are already doing that; the masses can't be far behind....
     
  4. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Main Conclusions of the Climate Science weblog:

    - The needed focus for the study of climate change and variability is on the regional and local scales. Global and zonally-averaged climate metrics would only be important to the extent that they provide useful information on these space scales.

    - Global and zonally-averaged surface temperature trend assessments, besides having major difficulties in terms of how this metric is diagnosed and analyzed, do not provide significant information on climate change and variability on the regional and local scales.

    - Global warming is not equivalent to climate change. Significant, societally important climate change, due to both natural- and human- climate forcings, can occur without any global warming or cooling.

    - The spatial pattern of ocean heat content change is the appropriate metric to assess climate system heat changes including global warming.

    - In terms of climate change and variability on the regional and local scale, the IPCC Reports, the CCSP Report on surface and tropospheric temperature trends, and the U.S. National Assessment have overstated the role of the radiative effect of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 relative to the role of the diversity of other human climate forcings on global warming, and more generally, on climate variability and change.

    - Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting regional and local climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales.

    - Attempts to significantly influence regional and local-scale climate based on controlling CO2 emissions alone is an inadequate policy for this purpose.

    - A vulnerability paradigm, focused on regional and local societal and environmental resources of importance, is a more inclusive, useful, and scientifically robust framework to interact with policymakers, than is the focus on global multi-decadal climate predictions which are downscaled to the regional and local scales. The vulnerability paradigm permits the evaluation of the entire spectrum of risks associated with different social and environmental threats, including climate variability and change.

    Humans are significantly altering the global climate, but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide. The IPCC assessments have been too conservative in recognizing the importance of these human climate forcings as they alter regional and global climate. These assessments have also not communicated the inability of the models to accurately forecast the spread of possibilities of future climate. The forecasts, therefore, do not provide any skill in quantifying the impact of different mitigation strategies on the actual climate response
    that would occur."


    Robert Pielke's is NOT a 'denier' but rather the contrary. In his own words: "....the evidence of a human fingerprint on the global and regional climate is incontrovertible as clearly illustrated in the National Research Council report and in our research papers..."

    Cheers.
     
  5. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I totally agree, Matt. We should be talking how to adapt to the ever changing climate, and not about how to influence such changes, which we cannot. Much more clever.


    Cheers.
     
  6. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    I presume you're talking about Roger A. Pielke (both the Sr. and the Jr.) the Colorado professors, and not Robert Pielke the literary critic ;)

    The two Roger Pielkes have written extensively on the issue of climate change; I've read a few of Sr.'s articles but not as many as I would like. I do think he makes some very good points, especially regarding the general media's tendency to present excessively simplistic perspectives on various climate events.

    Pielke Sr. is often said to be a bit out of the mainstream. He has criticized the IPCC- and rightly so, in my opinion- for putting relatively little emphasis on more localized human-induced effects (watershed modifications come to mind) compared to the global carbon dioxide issue. To be fair, though, the modelling techniques necessary to make the kind of regional predictions Pielke is working on are still in their infancy; the whole-globe models used in most long-term climate change studies have a very difficult time handling regional phenomena. The IPCC, by definition, has a global focus and, at present, is concerned mainly with worldwide long-term trends.

    And while changes in the global averages will be a big deal for my generation, who will have to deal with whatever consequences are coming, most of the current crop of climatologists will likely be gone by then. (No offence to our more... experienced forum members ;) ) The regional effects, on the other hand- the ones that are nearly impossible to predict, although general trends and probabilities can be identified from the global models- are already affecting many areas.
    OK, let's start with fresh water. We're already seeing unusual droughts and water shortages in areas where the human population is substantially higher than it was last century. But water trade deals are nearly impossible to secure. Even in the USA and Canada, where water is plentiful, we have quiet wars brewing behind the scenes over which state has the right to how much water from a dammed river. Israel is pouring an enormous amount of money into desalination- is this a possible solution, expensive though it is? And there are food trade deals to consider- reducing your country's agricultural water use by importing grain from elsewhere. (I can see the Canada Wheat Board pouncing on this one and making a killing for their farmers....)
     
  7. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    As populations grow and food needs/demands try to keep up, access (ownership of secure water) for agricultural & potable needs will be king...
     
  8. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    This Oreskes paper was shamefully and thoroughly debunked as the hatchet piece that it really is. That was covered back before page 100 of this thread. (That's bound to happen when you just poke your head in once in a while :D)

    The science really is leaning more and more toward the conclusion that humans have had no measurable impact on global climate. Here's a quick review of what is currently observable, as opposed to model predictions:

    There has been NO warming in the tropical troposphere, when GCM's predicted, and greenhouse theory dictates, there should be 2.5-3X the global average temp increase observed in the tropical troposphere *IF* that global average increase is due to increased greenhouse effect; this conspicuous warming is missing in action.

    The Latest and most accurate historic CO2 measurements suggest that 19th century CO2 level spiked for a multi-decadal period at 390-450 ppm, making the oft quoted 280 ppm pre-industrial baseline suspect, and fears of catastrophe due to a "doubling of atmospheric CO2" to 560 ppm totally unfounded.

    Most observed warming is still the result of reading the surface measurement stations. An ongoing audit of those stations, now more than 50% complete, has shown that over half are skewing readings upward by 3* or more. Factoring these out would show no warming at all, let alone any alarming warming.

    Every year since 1998 has been cooler than 1998. Since the 1998 peak was (in retrospect) not statistically significant, there has been no statistically significant warming since ~1994. Furthermore, NASA was obliged to retract its position that 1998 was the hottest year of the 20th century, and also that the 1990's were the hottest decade. That decade was the 1930's and 1934 was the hottest year, just as it had been before the infamous MBH-98 recon. was published.

    The great 'missing negative feedback' for water vapor is real and being further defined and quantified as we speak. The several peer-reviewed papers on the subject are cited earlier in the thread. The empirical data aligns nicely with the predictions based on the idea that this great negative feedback exists, while the GCM's based on the idea that it does not exist have hopelessly failed to predict the temperature, since they mis-manage the interactivity between CO2, water vapor, clouds and precipitation, and consequently overestimate the climate's sensitivity to CO2 by a large factor.

    This is the state of the science today, politics aside.

    Jimbo
     
  9. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Matt,
    Yes, we should be talking other more important issues instead of CO2, as it is fresh water and how to better use and distribute it. As well as spending more money and efforts there instead of spending them in trying to capture CO2 in rocks and other (in my humble opinion) nonsenses.

    Here in Spain we have been very worried lately because of the lack of enough precipitations during winter 2007-2008 (after a relatively good hydrological period 2006-2007), with most of reservoirs hitting yearly minimums at the end of the 2008 spring, making things pretty difficult for summer time when demand is the highest. A particularly important problem in the Med coast.

    All involved governmental authorities begun to frantically organize and develope emergency plans, trying to minimize the effects of the drought, task which proved to be quite difficult to conceive and develope in such a short time, very expensive and politically most difficult and generator of a lot of tensions between the different regions (and even inside those regions!).

    Now things seem to be more calm, as precipitations and reservoirs are bouncing back to less worrying levels. But we'll see.

    A most complicated issue.

    Cheers.
     
  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I cited Thomas Wysmuller in post 1759 of this thread, and I've received a message from him, asking me to post a replacement for the cite, which I gladly do.


    "Hi, Guillermo: Re: your posting on BoatDesignNet

    ......................................

    Here’s the amended post:

    Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller, former weather forecaster at Amsterdam’s Royal Dutch Weather Bureau whose “Polynomial Regression” algorithm is embedded in every high-end Texas Instruments calculator sold today, dissented from exclusive man-made global warming and runaway greenhouse fears and predicted a coming global cooling in 2008-09. Wysmuller said this during his two-hour presentation of current scientific research titled "The Colder Side of Global Warming©” on December 6, 2008. Wysmuller believes that carbon dioxide levels of today are distinct from temperature increases. “Carbon dioxide is increasing but is not even close to dragging temperatures up proportionately," Wysmuller said. “The warming trend that actually started 18,000 years ago continues unabated, and Carbon Management while addressing other problems, will have virtually ZERO impact on planetary warming. If tomorrow morning we stopped every car and truck, shut down every factory and power plant around the globe, we still wouldn't stop the remaining multi-year Arctic ice cap from melting within the next 15 or so years,” he explained. “The largest contributor to the steady carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere is its release from the warming oceans,” he continued. The December 11, 2008 article explained his argument that the current spike in temperature is approaching levels that existed just prior to the most recent ice age. “What that means,” he said, “is that we are nearing a period when temperatures will actually start to decrease and weather patterns dramatically change.” Tom’s research shows that increasing the area of open water in the Arctic will generate an abundance of "ocean effect" snow, similar to the lake effect snow that hits the upstate New York area. "The shores of the Arctic will accumulate massive amounts of ocean effect snow," Wysmuller said. "The accumulated snow falls earlier and melts later, increasing the Earth’s “Albedo” or reflected light during daylight hours, so temperatures, and the planet as a whole, will cool." Over 100 stunning slides and videoclips vividly portrayed the underlying science of climate change he described.

    Tom"
     
  11. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Agreed. Although there's a whole other debate around geoengineering, I think you've hit the nail on the head here Mas. If mitigation is possible, it'll take a long time to implement anything worldwide, and with no guarantees of success. So focusing on adaptation would seem to be the prudent course.

    We could argue over how much responsibility we humans have for the problem until the cows come home, and nobody on either side is going to change their mind. I've been following this thread for a while, not chiming in too much but following the discussion, and I am quite certain that Jimbo, MB, Guillermo, etc. are no more likely to jump on the IPCC bandwagon than Boston, KS, CDK et al are to claim that human influence is absolutely postively without a doubt negligible.

    In the end, we can review all the hundreds of papers we want to, and cite whatever stats (valid or not) we like to support our views. But I am fairly sure that our individual beliefs will not contribute to, or solve, the issue. Heck, even the folks who have made 30+ year careers out of studying the climate have a hard time figuring out exactly what is going on and what actions might change things. And apart from sharing a general view that human activity has some, poorly understood but probably significant, effects on the climate, there is a fairly wide spread of information regarding exactly what those effects might be and when they might become important.

    Modelling a complex system such as the weather is not easy. Even the most basic of mathematical models for the simplest possible cases involve huge approximations. (Look at how you find the CE of a sail, for example- how many approximations are made there, and that's just a sheet of curved fabric!) To expect near-perfect agreement between 20 different modelling techniques for conditions 50 years or more in the future is asking too much.

    We have an opportunity here to move towards systems that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable in the long-term. I think everyone's positions on who's to blame for climate change are clear; I also think that our individual positions are largely irrelevant in the global context. But our ideas for how to adapt to whatever comes- how to ensure safe water and food supplies for 6 to 10 billion people, how to transport people and goods around the world as conventional fuel sources become harder to find, how to minimize the environmentally and socially destructive aspects of our society, etc.- our ideas on how to adapt to these issues could be big factors in what happens to our respective societies in future.
     
  12. Guest625101138

    Guest625101138 Previous Member

    If you got AUD10k you can have one of these:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zogHUxXNtNs
    The ideal runabout. Fast, zero fuel consumption and fitness machine all in one package.

    I agree with Matt that humans have an impact globally. There are limits to how much each of us can consume. A population of 10bn cannot all drive Hummers. Should wealth be the only determinant of extravagant use of resources. (Actually in some cases it is ability to borrow money - the wealth is an illusion - just greed) People who have consideration for future generations will be working to reduce their impact on the environment.

    Rick W
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    We Canadians are known for not being terribly good with this....
    I do what I can. My car gets 7 L/100km (34 mpg) and stays parked whenever possible. I give preference to locally grown food, my apartment isn't particularly large or energy-hungry, I recycle everything that the city will take and try to avoid buying overpackaged junk. Overall I've calculated that my energy and resource usage is about half of the average Canadian's.

    And I really don't feel like I'm any worse off for it. I'm happy and comfortable here, the building is efficient (thus the heating bill is small), and minimizing use of the car (the university has arranged for 17,000 of us to have unlimited free bus passes) keeps transportation costs down. Minimizing your waste production, carbon emissions, fuel use and environmental impact- as long as you don't go overboard- actually reduces living costs, at least it did for me....
     
  14. Knut Sand
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    Knut Sand Senior Member


    I believe/ wish that more people would see that fact, stated above... It's more about will/ and the will to plan and try to act, rather than if it's at all possible.
     

  15. Meanz Beanz
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    Meanz Beanz Boom Doom Gloom Boom

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