## Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson’s interview on newsnight has caused a bit of a Twitter storm because she got some things wrong. For example she said

if they take out of the earth all the oil they want to take out, you look at the science – our temperature will rise 4 degrees Celsius by 2030, and that’s not sustainable.

Well, this is clearly wrong. Our temperatures will almost certainly not rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2030, but she did at least get right that how much we burn will determine how much we warm.

Our refugee crisis – which, let me tell you, if we allow climate change to go on as it’s going, the refugee crisis we have at the moment will look like a tea party, compared to what’s going to happen in a few years’ time. Because if we allow climate change to continue, there are going to be entire swathes of the Earth that will become uninhabitable, and where are those people going to go? Where do we think they’re going to go? We’re looking at a humanitarian disaster of proportions we simply can’t imagine.

To make parts of the world uninhabitable would probably require wet bulbs temperature rising by about 4oC, which would imply a rise in global average surface temperature of around 7oC. This is possible if we continue along a high emission pathway, but I would hope that we won’t actually do so, and such temperature changes would likely be beyond 2100 if we did. Implying that this could happen in a a few years time is a huge exaggeration.

However, climate change does present risks, could lead to changes that will make some regions less able to support their populations than they are today, and could result in the movement of a large number of people. Even though climate change may have played an insignificant role in the current crisis (and it may well have played some kind of role), doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be considering how we might deal with such a situation in the future, if climate change does force large numbers of people to relocate.

Okay, so Emma Thompson said some things that were completely wrong, and others that were exaggerating what we actually expect. Would be much better if she was more informed and more careful in what she said. There is no need to exaggerate. It’s serious enough without having to do so. It’s indeed not great that Emma Thompson gets a platform and gets things wrong. All the usual suspects are, of course, crowing about this and pointing out all the people who’ve said she was wrong. Fine, she was indeed wrong in a number of places.

However, here’s the big difference between Emma Thompson getting something wrong, and say – for example – Christopher Booker or Matt Ridley getting something wrong. When someone like Emma Thompson gets something wrong, you won’t easily find people promoting it. Typically – as has happened here – people point out the errors and accept that those who speak publicly about this should make sure that they’re sufficiently informed. When someone like Booker, or Ridley, gets something wrong, it gets promoted on various denialist blogs as highlighting problems with climate science.

The only positive from this is that it’s quite likely that – despite her errors – Emma Thompson will be remembered as someone who tried to highlight an important issue that we’re not taking sufficiently seriously, while Andrew Montford will remembered as someone who spread misinformation and doubt. Additionally, I would expect Emma Thompson to correct these errors in future, while Andrew Montford will continue to repeat his, over and over again.

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### 268 Responses to Emma Thompson

1. OK, she exaggerated; but I’m sure it wasn’t deliberate. She just wanted to spread a wake-up call and was carried away by the urgency. But most of us expect the scenarios she described will play out at some point if we carry on regardless, so if she gets across that point to the population, that’s no bad thing, especially in the light of the endless denial going on in the media.

So if people ask further questions on the basis of ET’s outburst, they can say she’s right about outcomes though her time scales are perhaps a bit out—it’s more likely to be 4C by 2100. And when the usual suspects say she’s completely wrong they can be told that now they’re exaggerating: in the other direction.

* * *

On another point: Robert Scribbler has an interesting take on the refugee crisis > http://robertscribbler.com/2015/09/04/everything-i-dreamed-of-is-gone-how-climate-change-is-spurring-a-global-refugee-crisis-to-rapidly-worsen/

2. I think the timescale issue is interesting. There’s a great deal of inertia in the system and although we could influence the warming in the next few decades if we did something incredibly drastic, that’s unlikely. Hence, we’ve essentially guaranteed a certain level of future warming and sea level rise. It’s already largely accepted that avoiding 2oC is going to be very difficult. A good chance of doing so would require drastic emission reductions starting now. So, in some sense, what we do now is probably going to determine how much we miss the 2oC by. If we do nothing, then in 30 years time, we’ll probably be talking about having guaranteed 3oC of warming and how we can avoid exceeding 4oC. Emma Thompson may have been wrong, but maybe not by as much as we might like.

3. T-rev says:

ATTP: This is possible if we continue along a high emission pathway, but I would hope that we won’t actually do so

Ever the optimist 🙂

That aside, isn’t RCP 8.5 the emissions pathway we’re currently tracking ? With nothing indicative from the pre COP21 talks even hinting at moving away from R 8.5.

Back on topic, it would be nice if they interviewed Ms Thompson etal about acting, rather than climate change or … any other topic outside her expertise for that matter. Sure, we can all comment on whatever we want ( and we do) but it’s tiresome to hear Kim Kardashian’s opinion on magnetic confinement in fusion reactors and have the opinion published as News… for example.

4. T-rev,

That aside, isn’t RCP 8.5 the emissions pathway we’re currently tracking ? With nothing indicative from the pre COP21 talks even hinting at moving away from R 8.5.

Yes, that’s my understanding.

it would be nice if they interviewed Ms Thompson etal about acting, rather than climate change or … any other topic outside her expertise for that matter.

Yes, I agree, and for two reasons. This is a complex topic and it would certainly be better to get our information from actual experts, rather than from campaigners. Also, when people like Emma Thompson do get interviewed about this, they often blunder – as she has – and the actual message gets ignored and we end up focusing on the errors in what she has said. We really should be aiming to avoid that. Of course, the usual suspects will probably find something to criticise whatever is said, but there’s no point in making it easy.

5. However, here’s the big difference between Emma Thompson getting something wrong, and say – for example – Christopher Booker or Matt Ridley getting something wrong.

I would see this as the main difference:

Additionally, I would expect Emma Thompson to correct these errors in future, while Andrew Montford will continue to repeat his, over and over again.

Booker, Ridley and friends will repeat the errors over and over again and do not even have the mum to honestly present the position they “disagree” with.

That is why I am no longer able to assume good faith with Booker, Ridley and co, while I would assume good faith with Thompson, polity point out the mistake and also point out that the main line is right.

P.S. I am not sure if the only reason a region is uninhabitable is the wet bulb temperature. There are already now regions that are not or barely uninhabitable. For example due to drought. Drought is expected to get worse in subtropical Mediterranean climates. If something is already there and will get worse, I do not see why you cannot say it is getting worse now or in a few years.

6. Victor,

If something is already there and will get worse, I do not see why you cannot say it is getting worse now or in a few years.

I was taking unihabitable as literal, rather than effective. There are clearly already places that are difficult to live in because of the conditions there. However, if we get the point where there are times when wet bulb temperatures in some regions exceed 35oC then that would seem to be truly uninhabitable (for mammals at least), rather than simply difficult to live in.

7. Pete Best says:

Jade Goody to loads of women to go to the drs for cancer tests when the NHS and informed bodies could not. Don’t underestimate the power of the famous and the well known regardless if they are wrong or not. Being wrong don’t mean much – its the cause that matters.

Don’t scientists realise that in their ivory towered world sometimes;)

8. it would be nice if they interviewed Ms Thompson etal about acting, rather than climate change or … any other topic outside her expertise for that matter.

It would be nice if we grant every human the right to free speech. It would be a catastrophe for our democratic open societies if only scientists where allowed to speak on issues with a scientific aspect (with is almost everything). That is also why I emphasise that one should point out the mistake in a friendly way and assume good faith.

We do not want to get into a situation where non-scientists no longer dare to speak about climate change. It is inevitable that non-experts make *more* mistakes; well just correct them. If only scientists would make public statements on climate humanity will not solve the problem. That is why I agree with Richard Betts that some facts should be corrected, but I do not agree with the tone he initially used on twitter. That easily happens on twitter and I was happy to see that the next day his tone was more moderate.

9. ATTP,

Yes, given the science, and the very difficult future it projects if we don’t get off the current track, there really is no need to exaggerate by saying 4C by 2030. As you say, Emma T will hopefully and will likely give a fairer reporting of the science in future to avoid the distractions of mitigation-urgency denialists who want to MUDdy the waters.

However, as Victor notes, it seems to me that calling this out as an error is only fine if we also preface this by giving her a huge up vote for at least using the key ‘if’ phrase to communicate the need for urgent mitigation: “if we allow climate change to go on as it’s going [bad things will happen]” – assuming we and our governments are in any way serious about the ‘any good chance limiting 2ºC’ target and its carbon budget

So you are also saying she is hugely exaggerating the ‘bad thing’. But, I’m not so sure we are on the same ground saying this because, in regard to people moving with the added push of climate change, surely it all depends on what you mean by ‘habitability’, which critically depends on exposure (wrong place, wrong time) and vulnerability (societal and individual ability to continue current living standards economically not just survive), as IPCC WG2 makes very clear.

You say, “To make parts of the world uninhabitable would probably require wet bulb temperatures rising by about 4ºC, which would imply a rise in global average surface temperature of around 7ºC.”, presumably referring to Sherwood and Huber paper. But, this science is framing ‘habitability’ at the most extreme end of the scale to really lay down the outer limit of habitability. As they put it: “Our limit applies to a person out of the sun, in gale-force winds, doused with water, wearing no clothing, and not working.” Even above TWmax 26ºC makes outdoor work difficult for people/cultures not acclimatised to higher temps. And even occasional periods with TW at 30ºC makes things very difficult depending on exposure and vulnerability anywhere.

Over this summer there were two severe heat events, in India and Pakistan, where many hundreds of excess deaths occurred because vulnerable poorer people in tropical/sub-tropical areas *do* have to work, often out in the sun in order to survive economically. Also, the S&H paper says “the highest instantaneous TW anywhere on Earth today is about 30 °C (with a tiny fraction of values reaching 31 °C)”, yet wet bulb temps of 30 to 33ºC were seen this year in both of the killer heat events and for days around the Persian Gulf (I’m not sure what they were in the India and Pakistan events).

In this light, aren’t some areas are already hitting ‘habitability’ limits? Won’t some people, able to move but not wealthy enough for air conditioning, already be starting to think that these areas are not habitable if life is continue within the climate limits they have known it previously, especially if other vulnerabilities have increased? The tropics/subtropics are at huge risk to warming extremes because, like the Arctic, the previous limits are already out of bounds previously known, already exceeding 4x historic variability (see a past Climate Lab Book post).

Also, and most concerningly given continued emission trends, the track for extreme heat and precipitation events is far, far more dangerous that for average events. Three short quotes from Fischer and Knutti http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n6/pdf/nclimate2617.pdf make this very clear:

“Already at an observed warming of 0.85ºC the probability of 1-in-1,000-day hot extremes over land is about five times higher than in pre-industrial conditions—that is, roughly 75% of those moderate hot extremes are attributable to warming”

“The probability of a hot extreme at 2C warming is almost double that at 1.5C and more than five times higher than for present-day (Fig. 2b). This result has strong implications for the discussion of different mitigation targets in climate negotiations, where differences between targets are small in terms of global temperatures but large in terms of the probability of extremes.
This nonlinearity is robust and found even for a simple shift of the whole temperature distribution to a warmer climate.”

“Already today 75% of the moderate hot extremes and about 18% of the moderate precipitation extremes occurring worldwide are attributable to warming, of which the dominant part is extremely likely to be anthropogenic. The fraction increases nonlinearly with further warming such that the probability of hot extremes at 2ºC, for example, is double that at 1.5ºC global warming. With every degree of warming it is the rarest and the most extreme events—and thereby the ones with typically the highest socio-economic impacts—for which the largest fraction is due to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.”

Therefore, especially for all of us who live in nations with high average per capita wealth and high consumption emissions, I think we need to think far more deeply about our responsibilities in making emissions choices and commitments right NOW, considering the very likely resulting effects ‘over the next few decades’ on the future habitability of exposed areas with very large, vulnerable populations.

10. I agree with what Pete Best says.

When we have as many lay people saying unscientific things in support of climate scientists’ warnings as we have lay people saying unscientific things in denial of climate scientists’ warnings, then we might start to see some movement towards action. I’m sure next time some glossy ‘Hello’ of ‘OK!’ type magazine interviews Emma T they’ll be asking her about her climate stance and the message will start to get to a section of the population we can call, tactfully, ‘the uninformed’. But these are the bulk of populations and carry huge electoral clout if stirred.

Many politicians have real concern about climate change but are afraid to say anything because it will make them in unelectable or it goes against their party’s position. This is particularly true in the USA. We need popular ‘role models’ on side to make progress. I’m sure climate ‘sceptics’ are far more worried about the ‘ETs’ of this world than they are about climate scientists speaking out.

11. JCH says:

She must of read the Reiss book: 2030.

12. Paul Clark says:

Reblogged this on CbFool and commented:
So, bottom line is: it’s OK to exaggerate as long as it’s for a good cause. Much like what Steven Schneider said here:

“..Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest…”

Or Gavin Schmidt said here:

You see the problem with ‘scientization’ of the debate as Gavin puts it, is that the science, and Gaia, and the weather, is totally stacked up against the AGW-fraud-gravy-train. It’s an embarssment to still support this AGW clima-geddon rubbish.

13. Paul Clark,

So, bottom line is: it’s OK to exaggerate as long as it’s for a good cause.

No, it’s not. Is it okay for you to be dishonest if you disagree with what someone is saying? If you choose to comment again it will only be posted if you explain how you appear to have concluded that I said it was okay to exaggerate.

14. Paul Price,

it seems to me that calling this out as an error is only fine if we also preface this by giving her a huge up vote for at least using the key ‘if’ phrase to communicate the need for urgent mitigation:

I agree, and I thought I had done that, but I had intended to and forgot. I agree that she at least gets this aspect right, which many do not. Itv is an important aspect and I really do wish that more would recognise that projections are conditional; what happens in the future depends on what we choose to do. It’s not set in stone.

What you’ve said in the rest of your comment (and Victor made the same point) is interesting. I guess we can’t rule out that things could get severe faster than we might expect. I guess the evidence suggests that this is possible, but there is little confidence in what will actually happen. From a risk aversion perspective, the obvious thing would seem to be to minimise the chance of these severe impacts materialising. Many, however, seem to want to interpret a low confidence as meaning that it won’t happen, rather than we’re not sure what will actually happen.

15. Pierre-Normand Houle says:

When AGW skeptics provide this Schneider quote, they usually omit the last sentence for effect: “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

16. Pierre-Normand,
Oh yes, they always leave that bit out as it’s rather inconvenient when you’re trying to suggest that someone is suggesting that we shouldn’t be honest. Ironic, isn’t it?

17. mt says:

“To make parts of the world uninhabitable would probably require wet bulbs temperature rising by about 4oC, which would imply a rise in global average surface temperature of around 7oC.”

By a comparable definition most of Canada has been entirely uninhabitable forever as frostbite-worthy temperatures happen annually almost everywhere – fortunately people invented clothing and shelter.

We will probably soon have clothing that cools us (I have a cooling scarf), climate change or no. We already have shelter that cools us.

On the other hand, coastal areas that are submerged are indeed uninhabitable, and the chances that this may happen this century are not negligible.

Where crops will grow is another story. If I had to bet I’d say they will be moving indoors fairly soon.

18. Those-in-denial are pretty amazing aren’t they? They exaggerate, lie and play up ‘uncertainty’; then when they spot someone from climate advocacy using the uncertainty to perhaps exaggerate a point, they make a huge fuss about it. Pot calling the kettle black?

19. Joe Public says:

“…… but she did at least get right that how much we burn will determine how much we warm.”

Not so.

Science still does not know all the factors which affect the earth’s thermostat, as evidenced by the multiplicity of projections of future global temperature.

20. @mt

There are an awful lot of poor people in the world and they tend to live in areas prone to extreme heat. Are you proposing that the rich nations provide them all with the necessary cooling clothing and the energy supply to run it?

21. MT,

We will probably soon have clothing that cools us (I have a cooling scarf), climate change or no. We already have shelter that cools us.

I should have added “without technology” but that doesn’t help animals, unless we think we can start developing such things for all mammals that might live in such regions. Burrowing mammals might be able to survive, but I don’t know how mammals that don’t burrow can survive wet bulb temperatures much in excess of 35oC.

Joe,

Not so.

Science still does not know all the factors which affect the earth’s thermostat, as evidenced by the multiplicity of projections of future global temperature.

Science doesn’t know anything, but there is no evidence to support the notion that we can continue to increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and not have long-term warming. Therefore, she is right that what will determine how much we warm (on average) is how much we emit. Suggesting otherwise is foolish.

22. Rachel M says:

This is a better post than yesterday’s post 🙂

Emma Thompson got a few things wrong there and hopefully, if given the opportunity, she’ll correct them. I don’t have a problem with her expressing her views on the topic because, as Victor says, free speech. For some reason this doesn’t rile me half as much as the stuff Matt Ridley comes out with. Perhaps it’s my bias showing through.

23. Rachel,
The obvious issue with Matt Ridley (in my opinion, at least) is that he continually repeats the same thing despite being told by credible people that he’s wrong. He also whines when criticised. It’s one thing to get something wrong, but another to repeat it over and over again.

24. Joe Public says:

” …. there is no evidence to support the notion that we can continue to increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and not have long-term warming.”

In the past when CO2 concentrations were higher than today, there were periods when it was either warmer, or cooler, than today.

25. In the past when CO2 concentrations were higher than today, there were periods when it was either warmer, or cooler, than today.

In the past, when CO2 concentrations were higher than today, the total solar insolation was lower than it is today. It’s not only CO2, despite what you might read on denialist blogs.

26. Joe Public says:

“In the past, when CO2 concentrations were higher than today, the total solar insolation was lower than it is today. It’s not only CO2, despite what you might read on denialist blogs.”

Is that your explanation for Ice Ages, Warm Periods, both or neither?

27. Joe,

Is that your explanation for Ice Ages, Warm Periods, both or neither?

No, but I’m not too interested in any kind of lengthy discussion if – as seems likely – you’re disputing that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations will – on average – lead to warming (assuming nothing else happens to mask that warming influence).

28. Joe Public says:

” … assuming nothing else happens to mask that warming influence.”

Ah, the get-out-of-jail explanation/excuse.

In thermodynamics – the technical term is a ‘thermostat’.

29. No, I meant like a major volcanic eruption, or an asteroid strike. Something that would produce a cooling influence that could overcome anthropogenic warming for some reasonable time interval. Anyway, I suspect this is going to be a waste of time, so unless you really want to have a genuine discussion, we can just stop this now.

30. Willard says:

I don’t have a problem with Emma Thompson expressing any view on any topic because Emma Thompson.

31. Willard says:

Oh, and Joe, beware sock puppetry.

32. Kevin O'Neill says:

Joe Public writes: “Is that your explanation for Ice Ages, Warm Periods, both or neither?”

Or at least look at Wiki – Ice Age.

33. Willard,
If Joe is sock-puppeting, I haven’t worked out how.

34. Eli Rabett says:

High CO2 and low solar insolation were hundreds of millions years ago. Joe is logarithming the time axis to ill intent

@MT

Your cooling scarf (assuming it has no mechanical refrigeration built in) would do little good in wet bulb temperatures above 30 C, and no good at all above 33 C WB. That’s the problem: evaporative cooling cannot work in those conditions to remove enough body heat to prevent hyperthermia. Human skin can’t do it; neither can damp cloth. At about 34 C WB, just lying very still in the shade is the only thing that will keep a human being alive without air conditioning or being drenched with cool water. Above that for extended periods, survival becomes impossible.

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/21/9552.full

36. @Joe Public

Throughout the history of the planet—due to naturally-occurring slow-acting factors such as the sun’s variable output and changes in orbital cycles, and compounded by fast-acting events like asteroid strikes and volcanic eruptions—regional and global temperature has varied quite considerably, but at a relatively slow rate of change. Now, starting with the onset of the industrial revolution, we have relatively rapidly-rising atmospheric CO2 as a result of fossil fuel burning and, due to greenhouse effect, global temperatures are rising at an unusually fast rate over and above the underlying natural changes.

If you deny the greenhouse effect—well-understood since the 1800s—which it seems is what you’re pussyfooting around, please just come right out and say it like a man. Then we’ll all know there’s no point in playing games with you.

37. Actually there might be a workable solution to the heat stroke problem: building underground shelters. They would need to be several metres below ground level and people would need to retire there at the first sign of the WB temps rising towards the limit. But there would need to be enough shelters to house the entire population for the duration and it wouldn’t be much fun down there.

One general question: does anyone know whether a standard air conditioning unit can cope with very high air temperatures? Is there any upper limit or does it all depend on the refrigerant used?

38. Joe Public says:

@ johnrussell40

1. ” …rapidly-rising atmospheric CO2 …. ” Agreed.

2. ” … as a result of fossil fuel burning ….” Care to estimate the % rise of (1) caused by (2)?

3. ” … and, due to greenhouse effect, …” Any other factors involved – e.g. population growth, deforestation & built-environment for example?

4. ” ….global temperatures are rising ….” Which source or sources will be your reference data? Will it be original data, or, tampered temperature data?

5. ” … at an unusually fast rate” Compared with rate(s) during which periods?

6″ …over and above the underlying natural changes.” Agreed.

39. BBD says:

Joe Public

Most of this has been dealt with here and elsewhere before.

Most readers here are familiar with contrarian talking points and the relevant debunks.

I suspect few if any wish to plough these old furrows again.

40. Kevin O'Neill says:

Joe Public writes: “4. ” ….global temperatures are rising ….” Which source or sources will be your reference data? Will it be original data, or, tampered temperature data?”

Does anyone want to break it to our Joe that the raw data shows a larger trend than the ‘tampered temperature data’?

41. Louise says:

Latimer Alder has in the past used Joe Public as a pseudonym, his comment style is frequently JAQ.

Just saying…

42. verytallguy says:

Joe,

You’re welcome.

43. Joe,

Which source or sources will be your reference data? Will it be original data, or, tampered temperature data?

You’re on the wrong site if you think it’s okay to say this. Conspiracy ideation is encourged on plenty of others sites (WUWT, Bishop-Hill, to name just two), but not here.

Louise,
Easy enough to find out. Just ask Joe if it’s okay to call a reduction in ocean pH ocean acidification.

44. BBD says:

No no no no!

Remember the thread at Richard Telford’s blog.

45. Remember the thread at Richard Telford’s blog.

Okay, point taken 🙂

46. Eli Rabett says:

John Russell it mostly depends on the electric generating stations, the distribution network and the transformers. Experience in the tropics does not make a bunny optimistic

47. Paul Homewood has connections:

h/t Joe Public

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/nfu-vice-president-forgets-his-history/

Not a lot of people know where that comes from, Joe.

Consider yourself warned.

48. Joe Public says:

@ willard (@nevaudit) 8:32

You have the reasoning skill of Sir Geoffery de Tourneville.

49. Joe,
I don’t know what that means, but Willard is trying to tell you that he knows that there’s an association between that article and you sockpuppeting, in a somewhat dishonest fashion, somewhere else. My preference is to drop this now.

50. Regarding what Emma T said, I wonder if this is where she got her information:

“At our present pace of fossil fuel burning we will, by 2036, exceed the 2°C limit (using the Northern Hemisphere mean temperature on a true pre-industrial (1750-1849) baseline under the assumption of a mid-range (3°C) equilibrium climate sensitivity). And if we reach 2°C warming, then natural feedback could threaten to drive further warming, making it possible for warming in the range of 3°C or more to occur. If temperatures warm 3°C (5.4°F) or more, we may simply be unable to cope with the consequences.

The quote was from Lawrence Torcello and Michael Mann. https://theconversation.com/limiting-global-warming-to-2-c-the-philosophy-and-the-science-32074

51. bill shockley says:

I was wondering the same thing. Thanks for the reminder, Emma…

And if we reach 2°C warming, then natural feedback could threaten to drive further warming, making it possible for warming in the range of 3°C or more to occur.

Hansen makes this same point about the “slow” feedbacks.

Not to mention the sea level consequences. If we get squeamish over a few thousand refugees now, imagine adding a few zeroes to those numbers.

52. Name-dropping here, but my aunt is good friends with Emma Thomson. Maybe I could get my people to arrange with your people for the two of you to meet, and then you can bring her up to speed? 😀

Joe Public popped up on my blog to insult me and my colleagues, having found his way from Euan Mearns’ site (probably after I did likewise to Euan and his merry band). He quickly self-moderated after I threatened him with moderation; he knew what his game was.

53. bill shockley says:

my people to arrange with your people

the environment appears to be close to her heart ( she named her daughter “Gaia” ). I’m thinking an appearance on Bill Maher’s show where MM is an occasional guest might be more appropriate, effective, etc., but I do appreciate the thought LOL.

@johnrussell40
“One general question: does anyone know whether a standard air conditioning unit can cope with very high air temperatures? Is there any upper limit or does it all depend on the refrigerant used?”

Most standard AC units could reduce 35C WB to at least survivable indoor conditions, but what of that? Are we to hope for a fully air conditioned Bangladesh or Mekong Delta in such a hothouse world?

55. Emma Thompson’s response here is rather unfortunate. Calling the head of climate impacts at the Met Office insane, is not the ideal way to respond. Maybe I’ll have to retract my suggestion that she at least is unlikely to continue repeating her errors.

56. I wish there was a big splash in the Mail every time someone claims climate sensitivity is low.

57. Louise says:

I think the whole pearl-clutching response by the usual suspects is ridiculous. Does anyone seriously think that people are going to abandon their homeland because a Greenpeace activist / actor exaggerated the timescale of the impact of climate change?

What we now have instead is the MoS-reading public taking away the message that ‘the Met office says climate change is not that bad really’.

58. john,
Yes, it would have been nice had David Rose written a similar article when Richard Betts criticised Matt Ridley.

Louise,
The problem now, though, is that Andrew Montford called Richard Betts a prat when he tried to correct something that Andrew had said on the radio. Emma Thompson has now called Richard insane. My suggestion that she is less like Andrew Montford may no longer be justified.

59. Rachel M says:

Is there a better source than the Daily Mail for Emma Thompson’s “insane” comment? I typically don’t believe the stuff I read in the Daily Mail. I’m not saying it’s not true, just that I’d like a more reputable source for confirmation first.

60. Louise says:

ATTP – not really, I think both Montford and Thompson as bad as each other.

The actual real Biggest Point is Mail readers now have confirmation from the Met Office that AGW is not so bad, regardless of what Richard Betts actually said, that’s the take-away message.

61. Rachel,
A fair point 🙂

Louise,
Yes, that is – in my view – a genuine issue. However, if you read the article it does say

He adds that under the highest scenario for future emissions, ‘the earliest time of reaching 4C above pre-industrial was around 2070, and the latest sometime after 2100’.

Emma Thompson did say

if they take out of the earth all the oil they want to take out

Now, she’s clearly wrong to say we would warm by 4C by 2030. However, if we take out all that we could burn and burn it (without any form of CCS or mitigation) then if the earliest we can reach 4C is 2070, we could effectively guarantee 4C before 2070. Emma Thompson may well have been wrong, but maybe not as wrong as we might like.

62. Emma Thompson has had close connections with Greenpeace for quite a while now. I suspect they have supplied her with all the ‘facts’ for her speech, if not written it for her. I also doubt she knew who Richard Betts was, if and when she made her remark about him. Most likely a journalist will have fed her RB’s comment out of context to get the response. I’m guessing she’s being played by both ‘sides’.

63. john,
Indeed, that may well be the case.

64. bill shockley says:

My takeaway: 2036 is 21 years from now. What are we ever going to do? I feel hopeless. Guy McPherson, who woke me up to all of this is, effectively, going to be right, despite having all the facts wrong.

65. Richard says:

Emma T is an artist and I think is owed a little slack. Matt R has a science degree from Cambridge and is deserved none. The problem with getting the facts wrong is amp,y illustrated by the Twitter storm and noise around it which is a great distraction from the terrible truth. Simply saying things like (from recent Nature paper) “even a 1C rise in temperature will reduce grain yields by 6% in what is a growing population…” And etc. (Eg as illustrated in above thread wrt frequency of extreme heat events). We don’t need to say 4C when even 1C (and we are now at .8) is scary.

But my second point is that we need a true artistic response, not an artist trying to be a conduit for the science. I saw a play “The Father” that was about dementia but never used the word, never explained, but by the end the audience “knew” better than reading a 100 books what dementia means to a family in a visceral way that brought tears to y eyes.

Art has a huge contribution to make to our understanding of AGW, but I have not yet seen it yet … In the same sense as the play I saw on dementia.

When I. Was in the antinuclear movement in the 1980s as part of a group Scienists Against Nuclear Arms, our goal was to provide ‘tools’ for the peace movement, so they could be accurate of eg the effects of nuclear weapons (and so did not need to use exaggerations like “a few hundred Hiroshimas will destroy the world”).

I know some outreach organisation are investing in doing the same today but I am not sure Greenpeace feels that this is an important issue. Is it art of science? Well, neither. I like to know when I am looking at art and when it is science. Or when it is truly trying to explore their connection (like Tom Stoppard is famous for doing)

I love Emma T as an artists, but she deserves a better coach than whoever is doing the job today.

66. bill shockley says:

Richard, maybe Greenpeace was TOO effective at communicating and influencing policy, or maybe they chose the wrong issue to champion. James Hansen makes the point that under the Clinton administration, and as a result of environmentalist campaigning, funding for research into advanced nuclear energy technologies was halted and as a result, we don’t have those technologies right now when we could really use them to cheaply and safely replace fossil fuels. We’re about 20 years late.

Just when you think you’re doing so good….

67. Joshua says:

Well – juvenility, name-calling. That’s different!

Start listening here at around 4:48 in, and you’ll hear what I think would have been a good model for Richard Betts when he was asked to comment on what Emma Freakin’ Thompson had to say about climate science.

68. Richard says:

Interesting point Bill. After I gave a talk on Global Warming, I was very surprised at how many people said thanks for making it so clear, without resorting to emotional appeals. One later asked me ‘do you think [insert a campaigning org of choice] have damaged communicating the dangers, because people know they play fast and loose science’ … I said I was not sure, but I am convinced there is no dichotomy between a calm laying out of the problem statement (the reality if AGW) and then moving onto how we address it.

In contrast to Greenpeace, President Obama gives a masterclass in conveying urgency and visceral sense of the issues, without ever straying from the science (he cannot afford to … It’s too damn important) – see for example White House material on Alaska trip and video of Obama speaking at foot of glacier.

So, even when he uses colourful language like “we are at the ground zero of climate change” it is a scientifically defensible statement.

So the Twitter storm over ET is yet another distraction, no doubt to the delight of the contrarians who want inaction.

69. bill shockley says:

Richard, well said.

As much as I dislike Obama and as straight-from-the-heart as Emma, no doubt is, she should really be able to check the math before she speaks.

Before I heard Hansen’s opinions on nuclear, I was totally bought in on Helen Caldicott… about whom Hansen is scathing.

More and more I really respect good science and the good methods that produce it, and for that matter, scholarship in general.

70. What those climate conspiracists lapping up Richard Betts Daily Mail ‘crying wolf’ comment need to remember is that in the end the wolf does come.

Richard Betts would have been better not feeding the conspiracists and instead saying something more measured like… “Emma Thompson was right about the dangers of burning the world’s fossil fuel reserves, however her time scales were rather out. We don’t expect the scenario she describes until, at very least, 2060 or ’70.” That should have put the kibosh on those now trying to make hay with his words.

71. bill shockley says:

she should really be able to check the math before she speaks.

Or, more realistically, learn to cite her references. LOL

72. Richard says:

John, I don’t think Richard Betts can somehow be responsible for how others twist his words to their own ends. They enjoy these moments and will seeks out opportunities for false controversies. RB’s job, as I understand it, it to help the UK Govt to understand when and how to deal with CC impacts in UK (eg a new Thames barrage). In most cases this is about when, not if.

With the Met Office under fire from Peter Lilley and his ilk for being alarmist and Greenpeace for not raising the alarm, I am not sure they are the ones we should be blaming for any nonsense in The Daily Mail: the DM are masters of generating nonsense with or without help from anyone else.

73. Richard says:

Bill, ok, maybe, but the nuclear industry has shot itself in the foot so many times, I am not sure they have anyone to blame but themselves. As for new designs (which in most cases, are simply not new, just not implemented), the evidence is bleak. The economics are even bleaker for them. EDF still cannot make the numbers work for the new Hinkley reactor (so it won’t be powering up in 2023) and are looking for Morley Chinese funding, and that is with some generous guarantees on pricing; and they had problems with the steel containment vessel; the sorry story goes on. Then there is the lack of nuclear engineers. So, don’t expect nuclear to dig us out of this hole … Or maybe no more than a few percentage points of it.

74. Joshua says:

Richard Betts is accountable for what he says to the press, not how what he says is leveraged by partisans.

That said, given his often expressed concerns and criticisms about the communication of the science of climate change, I think it is reasonable to argue that rather than speculating evidence-free about some putative boy-who-cried-wolf-effect, he should state that Emma Thompson is not an expert and then explain his expert opinion on the science. Likewise, maybe he should probably leave the “scare-mongering”-type comments to others. I doubt that there’s any meaningful impact (more sameosame inside the blogospheric climate change food fight is not meaningful), but my guess is that if there is any effect, it’s probably in the long run one that retards progress towards the implementation of policies to address climate change.

75. bill shockley says:

Richard,

Hansen doesn’t count on next-gen nuclear to help with the mitigation numbers. He supports the idea of updated, present-generation, modular and standardized nuclear taking on a large share of the mitigation burden, largely in India and China. I think he mentions next-gen nuclear only in the sense that it could lessen the unappealing prospect of all the indisposable nuclear waste that is generated from current-generation reactors, which then could be burned as fuel in next-gen reactors. He criticizes the US government for not being more generous in sharing our technical superiority in nuclear engineering, which he says could aid in development in overseas programs. Why not share?

I’m really not well informed, so I only have Hansen’s views to go by. I’ve found him to be careful in what he says and a reliable source when it comes to science. I don’t know how you can argue with the plain facts of how France converted from 15% nuclear in 1977 to 70% nuclear in 1987 as evidence of what is possible.

I also feel you’re being defensive about what was lost as a result of the Clinton administration’s defunding of nuclear research. Was that funding ever fully restored? Where would we be now if that had never happened?

76. nnoxks says:

I dunno. Richard Betts was the first with the name-calling. He states that ET is a “scaremonger” for suggesting that temps could rise 4c by 2030, then goes on to say that the earliest we could see such a rise is 2070. So, 4c by 2030 would be terrifying and catastrophic (thus ET making that claim is scaremongering), but 4c by 2070 is, what, not terrifying because it’s more accurate? That is a little insane if you ask me. Richard Betts is a play-it-cool kinda guy who has a little tendency towards honest brokering. Finally, is there anyone here (besides the usual suspects) who doesn’t think climate refugees are going to be a real problem the world faces, and relatively soon? Betts came after ET pretty hard in his desire to maintain neutrality – I can’t really blame her for being a little defensive.

77. Eli Rabett says:

Betts is no more interested in maintaining neutrality than RPJr. Both want to sit on the information pipeline and decide on what is let through. Eli has seen this act often enough

78. Jim Eager says:

Joe naively wrote: “Science still does not know all the factors which affect the earth’s thermostat, as evidenced by the multiplicity of projections of future global temperature.”

No, Joe, there are a multiplicity of projections of future global temperature because we do not know how much fossil carbon humans will actually burn in the future. That is not a function of climate or even of physics, it is a function of human behavior, which is beyond the purview of climate modeling, hence the multiple projections for multiple emission scenarios. This is pretty easy to understand if you bother to read the explanatory material that comes with the projections.

79. Jim Eager says:

Joe: “In the past when CO2 concentrations were higher than today, there were periods when it was either warmer, or cooler, than today.”

Why, yes, there were many times when CO2 was higher than today. Most of them were far warmer than today, as physics predicts, but there were a few times when it was cooler than today at higher CO2 levels, far higher and far cooler in fact. They are known as periods of Snowball Earth, when the entire planet’s surface was covered with ice. That ice cover prevented the normal draw-down of CO2 by natural rock weathering, yet the ice could not prevent volcanoes from continuing to emit CO2, so over the long haul CO2 built up to far higher levels than today. High enough to take earth out of these snowball periods, after which rock weathering resumed with new vigor, drawing down CO2 relatively quickly. We know this because every snowball episode is followed by a cap carbonate layer, whose carbon came out of the atmosphere.

80. Jim Eager says:

Joe: “Care to estimate the % rise of [CO2] caused by [fossil fuel burning]?”

Around 85%, with the rest coming from land use changes and industrial chemical processes such as cement production. Furthermore, greater than 100% of the increase is anthropogenic since the ocean and land biosphere absorb around 60% of our CO2 emissions from all sources.

Joe: “Will it be original data, or, tampered temperature data?”

With that dog whistle phrase Joe just terminated all constructive intelligent discussion.

81. nnoxks says:

The appearance of neutrality, perhaps is what I should have said.

82. “That aside, isn’t RCP 8.5 the emissions pathway we’re currently tracking?”

Radiative Forcing in 2000 was around 2.0W/m^2
RCP8.5 indicates RF in 2100 at ( surprise ) 8.5W/m^2
So, RCP8.5 means RF increases at an average of 6.5W/m^2 per century for the 21st century.

but observed RF is increasing at about 3.4W/m^2 per century, so we’re currently tracking at about one half the rate of RCP8.5

83. TE,
The next time you post a comment pointing out that the past trend is lower than the future trend would need to be in order to reach something, I will simply delete it. It is becoming tedious. It depends, as should be obvious, on our future emissions, not on our past emissions. You can do better than this!

84. [Mod : I did warn you. I’m really not interested in you pointing out that past warming/rate of forcing change/… is lower than it would need to be to reach some kind of value by 2100. That depends on what happens in the future not the past. If you can’t get the bleeding obvious, stay at Climate Etc.]

85. bill shockley says:

Hansen estimated a while ago that Earth’s energy imbalance was between 0.5 and 1.0 W/m2. Then, after the Argo Float data came in, he was able to narrow down the estimate to 0.6 W/m2. How is that figure different from the number for radiative forcing (which you quote as 2.0 W/m2 in 2000)? I would have thought they would be the same thing.

86. [Mod : don’t play the ref either.]

87. bill,
The radiative imbalance and the radiative forcing are different. The 2.0W/m^2 is what the radiative imbalance would be (due to anthropogenic influences) if the system had not responded (i.e., no warming in response to this change). Because there has been warming and because other feedbacks have operated, the radiative imbalance today is around 0.6W/m^2.

The equation, if you’re interested, is that the radiative imbalance $N$ is given by

$N = \Delta F - \lambda \Delta T,$

where $\Delta F$ is the change in forcing, $\Delta T$ is the change in temperature, and $\lambda$ is the feedback response.

88. TE,
And then there’s this

Other people seem to think that our current emissions are tracking along RCP8.5.

89. Jim Eager says:

Bill Shockley, to add to what ATTP wrote, since the system has now warmed by around 1C, it is now radiating more energy in the non-CO2 absorbing wavelengths, thus partially reducing the radiative imbalance. As it continues to warm, it will further reduce the imbalance until the system is once again in equilibrium, but at a higher temperature. The problem is we continue adding CO2, keeping the system in imbalance.

90. Those are emissions, and emissions of CO2 only, not RF of all GHGs.

But aren’t you breaking your own rule there?

91. So be it.

92. bill shockley says:

So, roughly speaking, since the ocean is where most of the heat is going, radiative imbalance is a measure of how much heat is going into the ocean, i.e., approximately 0.6 W/m2? And the rest of the 2.0 W/m2, i.e., 1.4 W/m2 is being reflected back into space?

93. Richard says:

ATTP – this post started as a quite interesting and thoughtful set of views on Emma Ts Newsnight venture. It does seem to have descended into a bit of an unedifying scrum. I set aside the usual suspects of TE and JP and their obdurate inability to engage with the science (and the air time they receive). Rather more worrying is the blood sport of name calling from otherwise sensible folk. It is hardly a basis for enlightened dialogue on how to understand and improve communications on global warming (which was I thought, the frame of this post).

94. TE,

Those are emissions, and emissions of CO2 only, not RF of all GHGs.

I’m not sure that this is strictly correct. The legend on the figure certainly uses CO2eq. The GHGs are also what will ultimately dominate the RF. What’s suppressing some of the RF today is things like aerosols, which are short-lived. They will likely be an ever decreasing fraction of the RF if we continue along an RCP8.5 emission pathway.

But aren’t you breaking your own rule there?

No, because I’m not using a past trend to extrapolate to the future. I’m simply pointing out that we are currently on an RCP8.5 emission pathway. What happens in the future will depend on what we do in the future, not what we’ve done in the past.

95. Richard E.,
I’ve actually been travelling and only got to the hotel in time to see TE’s comments. Going back, though, there are some less than ideal comments, so maybe we can try to keep things constructive and pleasant.

96. bill,

So, roughly speaking, since the ocean is where most of the heat is going, radiative imbalance is a measure of how much heat is going into the ocean, i.e., approximately 0.6 W/m2? And the rest of the 2.0 W/m2, i.e., 1.4 W/m2 is being reflected back into space?

No, not really. Since anthropogenic infuences began, our emissions have generated a radiative forcing of just over 2W/m^2. The increase in surface temperature has resulted in some feedbacks (water vapour, clouds, lapse rate) that also produce a radiative effect, and a Planck response (more energy back into space) that acts to reduce the energy imbalance. Over time, the surface warming will return us to equilibrium where there is – on average – no net planetary energy imbalance. Today, however, we are still out of energy balance and the difference between the change in anthropogenic forcings, the feedback response (water vapour, clouds, lapse rate), and the Planck response is about 0.6W/m^2.

97. bill shockley says:

ATTP, OK, thanks. I will have to study this. But 0.6W/m2 is still approx. the rate that heat is going into the ocean, no? And as CO2 levels rise, won’t the rate of ocean heating increase?

Jim Eager, thanks, I’m a bit challenged here.

98. bill,

But 0.6W/m2 is still approx. the rate that heat is going into the ocean, no?

Yes, that is correct.

And as CO2 levels rise, won’t the rate of ocean heating increase?

I think that if you look at the models it’s pretty hard to sustain a planetary energy imbalance much above 1W/m^2. If we increase our emissions, then – on average – surface warming will accelerate to reduce the planetary energy imbalance. So, it may increase somewhat, but more than a factor of 2 or so is unlikely.

What is true, though, is that if we continue to emit CO2, the radiative forcing will continue to increase and we will continue to have a planetary energy imbalance. The rate at which energy goes into the oceans may not increase by much more than a factor of 2 or so, but the amount of extra energy going into the oceans will increase substantially. In other words, we will have a planetary energy imbalance for much longer if we continue to increase our emissions, than we would if we started to reduce our emissions.

99. johnrussell40 says:

in the end the wolf does come.

Yes, and I did indeed say that – the Mail on Sunday even kept that in the extracts they quoted from my blog post.

The full original post is here.

100. nnoxks

Yes maybe I was a bit OTT focussing on the person saying the wrong info, rather than the wrong info itself. Greenpeace didn’t reply to my question about who briefed her – my disagreement should be more with them than Emma (although I do think that someone going on TV to discuss a topic of major importance does have some responsibility for ensuring they are getting their facts right first).

I emailed Emma Thompson’s agent the same evening as posting my original tweets, offering to discuss, but haven’t heard back yet.

101. Eli

You have a very strange take on things, and a slightly disturbing habit of sneakily trying to spin an unfavourable narrative about people you’ve taken against (like me). I’ve seen that behaviour before, usually on the sceptic blogs. All part of what you folks here call ClimateBall, I guess!

102. Joseph says:

I think the important thing to most people is whether or not policy makers are making decisions using the statements of people like Emma Thompson or are they following the science which is more nuanced and includes uncertainty. Hopefully, they are more focused on what the actual science tells us.

103. hvw says:

Thompson is right. Betts is wrong. Very simple.
Consider who is talking in which context to whom.

People who need the correct global average deltaT for 2030 for some reason will not choose Thompson as a source. The hundreds of thousands who actually might be influenced by what she says hear: “Climate change, oh yes, even Emmma .. must be really urgent!”. Which is exactly the right and correct and appropriate message.

If any of these people reads Betts’ reply, what they get is “That knowledgeable, highly decorated scientist thinks that it is not sooo urgent”. Exactly the wrong message.

Actually, Betts is neither trained, specially qualified, or asked by anybody to find out and communicate “what is urgent”. Non-policy-prescriptiveness, remember? It would be completely appropriate to just stay silent and let Ms. Thompson do her job. And realize you can’t contribute because exact numbers don’t matter here. Let’s hope Betts’ mistake was just a spontaneous over-reaction of a man with a number-fixation (that all scientists should have!) and not something more serious, like having read too much von Storch or some such.

104. bill shockley says:

ATTP, thanks for the ballparks on the energy imbalance likely range. That’s helpful.

105. Roger Jones says:

I have watched the BBC interview. I think Thompson misspoke, because she got the 2030 date with emissions right and then repeated 2030 for the consequent warming instead of say, 2100 (the number pretty much everyone uses with this example), which would have been correct. So she was wrong, but I think it was a mis-take rather than a deliberate exaggeration.

106. MikeH says:

Anyone else see the issue with this narrative? (slightly paraphrased)

Emma Thompson: “if they take out of the earth all the oil they want to take out, you look at the science – our temperature will rise 4 degrees Celsius by 2030”

Richard Betts: “Correction, the earliest time of reaching 4C above pre-industrial is around 2070”

Climate cranks: “Oh glory, glory, glory. All hail to Betts! Victory to us! We have even have a cartoon!”

Eh? It wasn’t that long ago they were celebrating Matt Ridley’s claim that the maximum warming that we could expect to see is less than 2C above pre-industrial by 2100.
https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/matt-ridley-you-seem-a-little-too-certain/

107. redbbs says:

There’s nothing wrong with Richard Betts being scared of acting too big and too early in adaptive planning and implementation however there is everything wrong about this:
His fear of being too early holds primacy over his fear of being too late. That is apparent from his statement in Helix Helix

108. I’m in a meeting all day, so will struggle to do any moderating. Let’s be careful what we say, please. Attributing views to people that they have not explicitly expressed is something I see on pseudo-skeptic blogs. I’d rather not see it here.

109. izen says:

And so the ratchet shifts, a new normal gets established by the exaggerations from both ‘ends’ of the socio-political aspect of climate change.
(As opposed to the 97% scientific context)

Matt Ridley claims it will never warn over 2C.
there is a wave of scientific correction and name calling.

ET claims 4C by 2030.
There is a wave of scientific correction and name calling.

And the general perception may shift, that 4C is possible (if we use all the coal/oil) in less than a century, but not as fast as the climate activists like ET may claim.

I don’t know how much the name-calling might modify the debate by satisfying the human need for emotional involvement.

The frustrating thing here is that ET’s central points would still have been valid even if she hadn’t made those mistakes over the timescales. That’s not to say Richard was wrong to correct her, and I agree with him that if you are going on TV to discuss a scientific issue you need to ensure you have your facts straight. But given the entirely predictable reaction of the fake skeptics it may have helped if he’d also warned against false complacency.
I do find his warning about people prematurely abandon their homes due to scaremongering a bit overblown though. People know their own environment better than Greenpeace activists, and indeed scientists, and they will know when the time is right for them to think about leaving. It’s not something people do on a whim, and for many (most) the practicalities are too challenging for them to do so unless it is absolutely the last resort.
Finally, I’m trying to think of an adequate expression to describe a journalist who has time and time again had errors in his articles pointed out by climate scientists but thinks it’s a big story when they do the same thing to someone else. It’s been a day since I read that piece and my eyebrows have only just returned to their rightful place.

111. redbbs says:

Betts of all people did not need to weigh in on the incorrect statement from this outstanding actress. His artless contribution has helped elevate Ms Thompson’s errors to a cause célèbre amongst the denialati. I just wish he was that assertive in Bristol.

112. BBD says:

Andrew Adams has once again written my comment for me, so I will go and make a cup of coffee.

113. izen says:

Those that approach the subject of climate change with ‘exaggerated complacency’, the Ridleys; Lomborgs and Currys, sometimes complain about the wave of scientific correction and name-calling they are subject too, claiming that exaggerated alarm by comparison gets a free ride in the media.
This episode would seem to contradict that.

There is difference however in the scientific correction in each case.
Often the case for complacency is falsified by the physics.
In ET’s case the alarmism was just a generation out. The really serious problems are going to impact our GRANDchildren rather than our children.
Probably?

One odd aspect of the present highly charged debate over migrants engulfing Europe is that amongst all the calls for a political solution in Syria to solve that civil war is no mention of the drought and failure of the agricultural sector that triggered the instability. Even if the politics of Sunni-Shia, ISIS-Iran/Syria could be magically solved, that will not automatically rebuild the regional agricultural system.

Does anyone have a link to up-to-date data on the local climate, I suspect monitoring has been disrupted, but is there a prospect of a future sustainable agricultural system in that area to provide for the local population?
Otherwise the options are reduced to massive continuous food ‘aid’, or mass migration.

Thanks BBD, if you’d like to return the favour then mine’s a white coffee, no sugar.

115. bill shockley says:

In ET’s case the alarmism was just a generation out. The really serious problems are going to impact our GRANDchildren rather than our children.
Probably?

Alarmism was on time a generation ago when Hansen was raising the alarm.

116. bill shockley says:

“Under the tongue’s a good place to hide
For keeping care aside”.

I give ET the pass.
She’ll get it right the next time.

117. redbbs says:

izen I have no climate data on Syria to offer but there is now lots of climate refugee reportage in the MSM and that’s rapid and welcome progress. This one’s not bad.

118. bill shockley says:

This article covers a recent study linking climate change to the drought in Syria and to the violence there.

The study’s authors do not claim climate change caused Syria’s civil war. It’s not that simple. Lead author Colin Kelley at the University of California said there are numerous factors involved, including the oppressive Assad regime, an influx of more than 1 million refugees from Iraq, the tumult of the Arab Spring, as well as the drought. Kelley and Seager said they couldn’t say which factors were the most important.

119. redbbs says:

Bill you just linked to uberdenier Glenn Beck’s blog.
Oh well. Once a philosopher, twice a pervert I s’pose.

120. Jason says:

tbh I thought Emma Thompson did fine and Richard ‘Two Left Feet’ Betts’ effort to correct her was clumsy and oafish. Obviously there was some stuff that is maybe better clarified after the interview – but it’s very reasonable that business as usual ’till 2030 could commit us to +4C and it’s reasonable to say that climate change of and up to that scale will increase refugee crises – the current one kicked off after prolonged drought destabilized a region.

Sure, those aren’t the exact words Emma used. But it’s close enough to not be getting your twitters in a twist about it. What standards are we judging people by?

“In ET’s case the alarmism was just a generation out. The really serious problems are going to impact our GRANDchildren rather than our children.”

Depends how old you and your children are. For many it could easily be that it’ll impact you, your children and grand children. Mid Century + a little bit ain’t that far off.

121. Eli Rabett says:

Everybunny knows where the problems are going to bite deepest and first, South and Southeast Asia, extending from Pakistan to Vietnam. Big river deltas with hundreds of millions of people, high temperatures and humidities. If Betts is seriously thinking that a billion people would flee prematurely he is smoking some serious weed. Even if they wanted to, it is not on. They are not going to leave, they cannot leave, there are too many of them,

To frame the issue as prematurely driving people to pick up and leave is morally corrupt. Ethics require that having seen the dimensions of the problem efforts be made to mitigate them immediately because there is no rational means of adaptation. That the actions may not be maximally cost efficient is part of the price we are going to have to pay for being able to sleep at night.

122. Eli Rabett says:

Naughty

123. Eli Rabett says:

In defense of Richard Betts, Eli does not think that Emma Thompson was talking about anything but 4 C by 2030. Greenpeace is quite happy to stretch any envelope it can find. That being the case, handing the denialists a club to beat Greenpeace with is tricky because they will use it on everyone else and requires care. The I am a scientist and only interested in the truth doesn’t even work at faculty meetings.

124. bill shockley says:

redbbs,

I don’t know who Glenn Beck is. How does covering a study linking climate change to violence in Syria make him a denier? Did he somehow corrupt the study that was published in PNAS?

Careful with those three fingers pointing back at you.

125. I want to make a plea. ‘Alarmism’ means basically lying and exaggeration. ‘Alarmism’ is not the same as ‘being alarmed’. With reference to climate it’s a word being bandied around as an insult. So please use it very carefully, for it rarely applies to those who accept the mainstream science.

126. redbbs says:

bill no worries mate. It’s a great site from which to by gold and survival seeds. My bunker is full of the stuff.

127. To prevent any misunderstanding, I perhaps should have said, ” ‘Alarmism’ means basically lying and exaggeration to spread fear.

128. bill shockley says:

redbbs, I don’t recall disrespecting you. Fuck off.

129. redbbs says:

Apologies Bill. I know you chose Glenn Beck’s site only for the AP feed on climate refugees. I was being facetious.

130. redbbs says:

However whilst we are on the subject of dodgy web sites I have become fascinated by those frequently cited by Dr Curry. Obviously she favours the WSJ and Forbes but she’s got a bit of a crush on extreme right wing blogs as well. I have yet to see her cite The Blaze but she’s a bugger for Breitbart, The Daily Caller and Jo Nova.

131. bill shockley says:

redbbs, I’ve seen people criticized and even attacked for referencing “the wrong” website. One time the Daily Mail had the most comprehensive coverage of the Siberian Crater event. RobertScribbler linked to it and he was attacked by a denialist. There’s a denier who is obsessed with James Hansen and has the best assemblage of Hansen material I’ve seen on the web and I occasionally link to his stuff. Sam Carana, on the Arctic News blog, is reckless in his analyses and a rabid methane vigilante, but every once in a while he comes up with a gem of scientific data. To throw that data away because it has Carana kooties would be stupid and wasteful. And I think people should get credit for what they find and post and make available to the public. It takes time and effort to accomplish those things. Even had I known that the Blaze is a denier’s lair (how should I have known?), I still would have linked the PNAS article through it, perhaps remarking at the same time how you can sometimes find diamonds in the ruff. But, on the whole, I like to steer away from the whole denier/alarmist shtick. Wasted too much time on that already. In the end, it’s information that wins out. Hope you find the PNAS article enlightening.

Sincerely,
Bill

132. Joshua says:

==> “Andrew Adams has once again written my comment for me, so I will go and make a cup of coffee.”

Andrew has a very annoying habit of doing that.

133. Andrew Dodds says:

I didn’t realise that my coffee addiction had reached such legendary proportions.

134. Pete Best says:

Her timings were wrong but he concerns valid

http://skepticalscience.com/what-emma-thompson-got-right-wrong.html

which as emissions actual impact on the climate isn’t felt for 40 years after the carbon is emitted means that presently we are committed to 1.4C of warming (0.15C per decade warming on average so in 40 tears that another 0.6C on top of the 0.8C we have already created) and come 2030/2040 when we have emitted BAU another 0.6C of warming (emissions are increasing, sinks are weakening) but we wont know all of that until 2090 (end of the century). Throw is even faster weakening sinks, more amplified Arctic warming, methane emissions etc and perhaps lessening pollution you can see where we are heading.

135. Willard says:

I’d outsource all of ClimateBall to John Carpenter and Andrew Adams.

They should get a show together. May not be as good as Clarke and Dawe. May not be as bad either.

136. bill shockley says:

0.15C per decade warming on average so in 40 tears that another 0.6C on top of the 0.8C we have already created

So how do we get to 2C by 2036 as per Michael Mann?

137. pete best says:

Bill

You get the total co2 emissions that that lead to 2c in the future.

138. bill shockley says:

pete best,

Yeah, I’ve seen both versions. I believe the SciAm article actually states 2C by 2036 and in the video he says 2C “locked in” by 2036. SciAm should be more careful! LOL

139. BBD says:

Andrew has a very annoying habit of doing that.

I was thinking of putting him on a retainer actually. It would save me hours and significantly improve the the quality of ‘my’ input. It’s only sockpuppeting when other people do it.

140. BBD says:

I’d outsource all of ClimateBall to John Carpenter and Andrew Adams.

Bidding war in the offing…

141. ATTP writes: “To make parts of the world uninhabitable would probably require wet bulbs temperature rising by about 4oC,” … followed by, “Okay, so Emma Thompson said some things that were completely wrong”

Do people really believe “wet bulb temps” is all there is to making a region “uninhabitable”?
What about the cascading consequence of the various environmental (biosphere) disruptions we are seeing? All of which will unfortunately only be gaining momentum?

Perhaps Emma has a bit more perspective on the situation than others with their myopic understanding of the global situation we have created for ourselves.

Just saying.

142. Willard says:

> Perhaps Emma has a bit more perspective […]

Perhaps, citizen, but since her figure of speech is not based on a scientific appraisal of the situation, Emma’s perspective remains quite hyperbolic. Not that I mind much because, as I said earlier, Emma Thompson.

***

The most interesting tidbit of this ClimateBall episode (in which RichardB too plays a part) is the twin version of the “you’re not helping” Concern:

(RB) Emma, you’re providing ammunition to the contrarians.

(ER) RB, you’re providing ammunition to the contrarians.

I think we have enough ClimateBall evidence that we can generalize both to the Contrarian Concern:

(CC) Anything anyone could ever say provides ammunition to the contrarians.

If we generalize, the Ultimate Concern obtains:

(UC) Anything anyone could ever say can be used against them.

***

This, I believe, includes saying nothing:

143. Yeah Willard playing with words is fun and endless. Too bad so many are overlooking this is actually supposed to be about trying to understanding what is physically happening upon our planet. Our inability to frame it in the most palatable, or accurate, or best of terms doesn’t make It any less of a physical happening. One that has already begun radically altering our world, while we strive to micro-focus on every detail, in order to ignore the obvious unassailable basics.

144. redbbs says:

citizen Jonathan Chait does a good job framing it.
Re Chait’s comment about the Senate Majority Leader undermining his own government and mitigation here’s the full story behind that.

145. redbbs says:

HTML issues. Here’s the story behind that.

146. Andrew Dodds says:

redbbs –

I end up with a mental image of these guys legislating for coal seams to be deliberately set on fire in situ just to annoy environmentalists. Identity politics carried to extremes..

147. Willard says:

> [P]laying with words is fun and endless.

It’s more about speech acts than words.

***

> Too bad so many are overlooking this is actually supposed to be about trying to understanding what is physically happening upon our planet.

I doubt Emma’s speech act is supposed to be about trying to understand anything.

148. This comment on Eli’s post is interesting as it suggests that a Greenpeace document said

The fact that Shell’s scenarios result in such high carbon emissions in 2030 – in line with the IEA’s 4-degrees scenario by the middle of the century – is also an indicator that they are very high carbon. They do have a model with lower emissions – but that assumes a global deployment of CCS most regard as implausible at best.

149. BBD says:

Old news, really, but (can we say?) alarming, all the same.

150. Paul S says:

Turbulent Eddie,

If you download the RCP8.5 forcing time series from the source of that graph you’ll find that total projected forcing growth rate is just over 2 W/m^2/Century for 2000-2015.

That’s not a direct comparison with your 3.4 number because it includes natural forcing. The appropriate comparison with the NOAA AGGI data you’re using is the GHG column, which totals all well-mixed GHG forcing, and gives a 2000-2015 RCP8.5 growth rate of 3.5W/m^2/Century. Effectively identical. Presumably you don’t want to argue that RCP8.5 is tracking at about half the rate of RCP8.5.

You can say pretty much the same about the other scenarios as well though, even 2.6, so it’s all up in the air right now.

151. Andrew Dodds says:

BBD –

Well, it’s a statement of the almost obvious that the 2K target is if not quite in the rear view mirror, it’s close enough that only emergency braking would give us a chance of stopping before we hit it.

Little sign of this happening.

I’d outsource all of ClimateBall to John Carpenter and Andrew Adams.

I’ve been avoiding getting involved in ClimateBall recently, but after spending the last couple of days discussing the refugee crisis on our local community internet forum the climate change debate seems like an oasis of sane, rational discourse.

153. Joshua says:

==> “…the climate change debate seems like an oasis of sane, rational discourse.”

It can be tempting to think that the irrationality of the climate change debate is a function of dynamics unique to the climate change debate (i.e., big oil, lefty academics, the complexity of the science, knowledge of the science, etc.)… But all you need to do is look at blogospheric exchange on any variety of other issues to be disabused of that illusion – immigration and Islam being prime examples.

I’ve been wondering if the white nationalist support for Trump’s candidacy may be creating a vehicle for the Internet brand of discourse to become more prevalent in other venues as well. He is certainly being seen as an “anti-political correctness” vanguard for those who have only felt comfortable expressing their views in Internet forums…

Now there’s a pleasant thought.

154. Michael 2 says:

Willard writes “If we generalize, the Ultimate Concern obtains: (UC) Anything anyone could ever say can be used against them.”

That’s a genuine laugh out loud moment. You have a fine Douglas Adams sense of humor.

155. ATTP quotes Eli as saying:

The fact that Shell’s scenarios result in such high carbon emissions in 2030 – in line with the IEA’s 4-degrees scenario by the middle of the century – is also an indicator that they are very high carbon. They do have a model with lower emissions – but that assumes a global deployment of CCS most regard as implausible at best.

I don’t think the IEA says 4C by the middle of the century. The most recent thing I can find that seems relevant to this says:

The International Energy Agency on Monday warned temperatures could jump by as much as 4.3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century

156. Marco says:

Richard Betts, it is not Eli that is quoted, but commenter Everett F Sargent, who, in turn, cites Greenpeace commentaries.

Moreover, to the best of my understanding, those commentaries do not state that the temperature will be 4 degrees higher by 2050, but rather that the emission pathway up to 2050 is such that 4 degrees will be reached by the end of the century. It is the 4DS scenario of the IEA that is referred to.

157. Yes, Marco has already pointed it out. It was a comment on Eli’s blog, not from Eli directly. All I was suggesting by posting it here was that if it really is something that Greenpeace had in a document it might explain where Emma Thompson got her 4C by 2030 from.

158. semyorka says:

There is an old film called “Bridge Over the River Kwai” that sums up an aspect of the English upper middle class, their determination to control the oiks over focus on the bigger picture. In it the character played by Alec Guinness in almost mesmeric form, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, is so determined to rebuild the moral of his battalion and show the Japanese what the British are really like that he totally misses that the bridge is a massive aid to his enemies.

Some folk are so determined to instil “discipline” in their own side they never really consider if there is a bigger picture that needs addressing.

Emma Thompson offered an opinion on climate that needed correcting. It was wrong. But when the regimental sergeant major-esque enthusiasm of some in publicly correcting her is in such stark contrast to the almost genuflecting tone in discussing egregious errors on the other team I cannot fail to see similarities.

Perspective. What is the end goal here?

159. redbbs says:

Well put Semyorka, the almost genuflecting tone in discussing egregious errors on the other team.
It would be wrong to suggest..I dunno.. a variant of Stockholm Syndrome but this is the internet.

Joshua,

Exactly so, I’ve said before that the climate debate is no worse than many and better than some in terms of the actual tone, even if the particular dynamics are often different.

Before I got involved in ClimateBall I was fairly active on political blogs, especially in the arguments between the self proclaimed “Decent” left (pro-Iraq war, Blairite, admirers of Christopher Hitchens, Nick Cohen, Norman Geras and the Euston Manifesto – yeah, it was mainly a British thing) and us anti-war leftish types (or lily-livered moral relativists), and actually a lot of the rhetorical tricks used by the skeptics are very familiar from those days.

In fact in the light of the refugee crisis and calls for military action in Syria those rivalries are surfacing again, and funnily enough I saw an exchange on Twitter today regarding the legalities of the drone strikes against ISIS which contained the following remarks (I’m not including the identities of those involved as they are not really relevant).

possibly what annoys me most is that James is pretending not to understand something which he understands very well indeed

Not saying things (just ‘raising questions’) then not understanding the replies – it’s all a bit baroque really

As you can imagine, it made me smile quite a lot.

161. Kevin O'Neill says:

At Stoat’s Richard Betts wrote: ” … I agree that one individual misleading interview will not precipitate wrong action, but I just don’t think we should condone a culture of tolerating inaccurate information, whichever side of the debate we’re on. I do think that if an imminent, unavoidable catastrophe meme were to grow, this would be really really bad. This is only a tiny seed but sometimes these things do propagate and grow.”

and in his Facebook post he wrote: “Whether Shell drill for Arctic oil or not, the changes for the next few years are already locked in. Emma Thompson’s apocalyptic vision is therefore one of despair, not something that can credibly be avoided through action, however drastic.

In the both of these quotes RB mischaracterizes Emma Thompson’s argument. She was protesting Shell’s drilling in the arctic precisely because she believes a catastrophic future *is* avoidable. Rather than “unavoidable” or “not something that can be credibly avoided” she believes we can avoid the increase due to arctic drilling if we simply don’t allow the drilling.

Let’s repeat that Facebook sentence of RB’s – “Whether Shell drill for Arctic oil or not, the changes for the next few years are already locked in.”

As I wrote at Stoat’s, that was the sum of his coverage of the issue ET was trying to address. Obviously he couldn’t step forward and say opening up the arctic ocean so that we can consume even more fossil fuels is exactly the wrong strategy for mankind at this time. Oh wait – he could have said that. He just didn’t. Because an actress made an incorrect claim about climate change. Would hate to muddy the criticism.

And on a purely physical level *the* changes for the next few years are *not* locked in. *Some* changes – those due to CO2 emissions we’ve already made – are locked in. But we will also be emitting more CO2 over the next few years. How much we emit over that time will *add* to the already ‘locked in’ warming. RB gives the impression that there’s nothing we can about the warming over the next few years – but this is only true of emissions already made. We can’t undo the past, but present emissions and those in the intervening years before ‘few’ is reached are under our direct control. Rather than Emma Thompson, it is Richard Betts that proposes a future over which we have no control – perpetuating a meme that future warming is already locked in when in reality it’s only those emissions from the past that are locked in and nothing about future emissions is locked in at all.

162. Michael 2 says:

Kevin O’Neill writes many things that can sort of be summarized by “Rather than Emma Thompson, it is Richard Betts…”

Who exactly are you trying to convince by your argument? What a stampede of arguments and knee-bending declarations of fealty this has become.

The wealthy and famous have nothing to fear for their own heat and light. What would be a lot more impressive is to have some coal miners say how great it is to leave all that potential energy in the ground and so what we suffer a bit this winter and the next thousand winters, it was worth it to Save Planet Earth for the polar bears.

(A more persuasive argument to me would be to save that coal for the next “ice age” which is pretty much inevitable).

163. anoilman says:

I’m not sure that arguing over how much less than 4C Emma Thompson is off by is any more reassuring.

164. redbbs says:

anoilman you are wrong.
Emma Thompson’s conduct in this matter has been utterly disgraceful. Thank goodness we have fine public servants like Richard Betts to keep matters of risk on the straight and narrow. Nic do be a dear host and pass the port.

165. bill shockley says:

More clarifications and explanations from James Hansen regarding his new sea level rise paper and its method of publication. The short article was posted to his Columbia University webpage a few weeks ago, but John Nissen made note of it in a comment in response to the SLR paper. posted today on the ACPD website

—snip—

Moreover, these probabilities are for some global temperature limit, which itself is arbitrary. The choice, 2°C, seemed to be almost pulled from a hat, without a good scientific basis.

The famous 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change, on which this all hinged, did not speak to a temperature target. Rather it said that human-made changes of atmospheric composition should be limited so as to avoid dangerous climate change.

Bill McKibben, a practical man, kept asking “what is the limit on CO2, 450 ppm?” Yikes, no, surely too large. With help of several of the best relevant scientists, we concluded[3] that the safe level was no higher than 350 ppm, possibly lower, and we had better get the atmospheric amount back below that level before the ocean has time to equilibrate with the current higher amount. This paper was fairly difficult, requiring more than a year to finish and publish.

166. Andrew Dodds says:

M2 –

We’ve postponed the next glacial cycle for at least 100,000 years already. It’s frankly stupid to claim that it’s even an issue.

I’m also glad that you have the wisdom to tell us that coal will be the cheapest source of energy now and for the next 1000 years. Personally I’d say that the march of technology will pretty much inevitably favor energy sources without large fuel cost components in the long term, but if that conflicts with your thousand-year plan for humanity, so be it..

167. bill shockley says:

Michael2 said:
The wealthy and famous have nothing to fear for their own heat and light. What would be a lot more impressive is to have some coal miners say how great it is to leave all that potential energy in the ground and so what we suffer a bit this winter and the next thousand winters, it was worth it to Save Planet Earth for the polar bears.

IF it was actually the case that the workers (the coal miners) shared in the profits and the decision making on a democratic basis (one individual / one share of the vote… why do we have democracy where we live by not where we work?) then it is likely that the coal mining companies would have by now evolved to such a decision as you suggest, in the interest of their own health, the health of their home towns and the health of their world.

Richard Wolff and others have suggested this form of corporate governance as the cure for capitalism (and the cure for the current ills of the world) and have given it a fancy technical name: Worker Self Directed Enterprises. I’m a huge Richard Wolfe fan.
Socialism and Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises
Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism
On youtube (eminently watchable): Richard Wolff, “Taboo Broken: New Critical Writing About Capitalism”

168. Michael 2 says:

Andrew Dodds writes “M2 — we’ve postponed the next glacial cycle for at least 100,000 years already”

Wow. All this time I’ve been worshipping the wrong supreme being!

169. Michael 2 says:

Bill Shockley suggests “Worker Self Directed Enterprises.”

That’s going to take some time to study. Workers work and managers manage; although I tend to agree with a folk saying, “Those that can, do; those that cannot, manage!”

I work for a man that has created about 1,500 jobs. Is he smarter than me? Maybe. His skill is to identify experts in various fields and I am an expert in my field but I cannot run a business. He runs the business and I run the computers. Is he a tax expert? No. He hired a tax expert. He knows enough to be able to choose one correctly. Does he want to deal with the intricacies of GAAP? (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). No. He has several accountants. Compliance with federal, state and local regulations across the many states of his enterprise? No. He hires compliance specialists that keep current on the daily hemorrhage of regulations spewing forth from the eternal fountains of governments.

And you really think, or this Wolff fellow thinks, that coal miners can and will do all that? This I’ve got to see!

But assuming they do, all that will have happened is that 3/4ths of the coal miners just became accountants, tax experts, compliance experts, managers and computer specialists — just what exists right now in every capitalistic business on the planet.

The pigs become the farmer they despised. (reference to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”).

170. Michael 2 says:

Bill Shockley suggests “then it is likely that the coal mining companies would have by now evolved to such a decision as you suggest, in the interest of their own health, the health of their home towns and the health of their world.”

Then let the miners walk off the job. All of them, everywhere. If they do, I have my answer. Let the oil drillers walk off the job. If they do, I have my answer, the workers take it seriously.

171. Jim Eager says:

M2 wrote: “All this time I’ve been worshipping the wrong supreme being!”
Apparently so. Instead of wasting your time trying to compose clever comments maybe you should put that time to better use learning about Milankovitch Cycles, CO2 levels and its radiative forcing over glacial-interglacial cycles, and the residence time of large atmospheric CO2 excursions.

172. Michael 2 says:

It cleared moderation in less than 15 minutes. My meaningful commentary takes 24 hours up to never (eternity).

I do not waste my time. Yours maybe 😉

The point ought to be obvious. How in bloody hell can anyone say such a thing with a straight face (ie, seriously believing it) that “we” can cancel the next scheduled glacial period? That kind of faith I usually see in a born-again Christian.

You have not responded to my carefully thought out commentary. It was my clever comment that engaged you.

173. anoilman says:

Jim Eager… What is the energy difference from the Milankovitch Cycles compared to energy imbalance from the CO2 we’ve pumped out so far?

174. verytallguy says:

M2,

If CO2 warming >Milankovich cooling then the next ice age is cancelled.

No deity needed.

175. If CO2 warming >Milankovich cooling then the next ice age is cancelled.

Yes, there isn’t some kind of ice age trying to happen underneath all this anthropogenically-driven warming. A crucial part of the Milankovitch cycles is the intial reduction in CO2 that drives further cooling. That is clearly not happening at the moment.

176. verytallguy says:

ATTP,

A crucial part of the Milankovitch cycles is the intial reduction in CO2 that drives further cooling.

I’d not seen that before.

Citation?

177. Hmmm, that may have been too strong a claim. I was thinking along the lines of the total solar insolation only changing very slightly and hence the overall cooling has to come from other changes in forcing, such as CO2. The TSI alone can’t explain it. Essentially the basic idea seems to be that changes in insolation at high Northern latitudes, produces some cooling, the oceans take up more CO2 and that further enhances the cooling. However, the other factor is the change in albedo due to changes in ice cover. I guess it is true that we will see – given enough time – changes in solar insolation that would – in the absence of our influences – drive us into another glacial period. I guess the question is whether or not those changes could still have any impact given the warming that’s already taken place.

178. bill shockley says:

Michael2 said:
That’s going to take some time to study.

Indeed, and I have a ways to go, but a bit less far than you. It’s not so much the distribution of labor within the enterprise that will change, but the distribution of profits. People who HAVE studied the phenomenon (it already exists in spots around the world, for example, Mondragon is a huge, highly successful worker run/owned business that’s been around since the 1950s) In America the ratio between the highest and lowest paid employees is something like 400:1. At Mondragon, it’s 8:1. Business decisions are made democratically, i.e., one member (worker), one vote, instead of 1 share 1 vote, where the majority owner or majority owners make the decisions, so decisions in a worker owned enterprise take into account more than mere short term profits. The idea is really not a huge leap of faith. Wolff and others have been studying such things their whole lives. He makes the point that the last few years is the first time in his life that people are interested in what he has to say, not because he is saying anything different than what he used to say, but because capitalism is crumbling in America and and people are feeling it.

179. verytallguy says:

ATTP,

your understanding is the same as mine then. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen a reference claiming current CO2 levels prelude the onset of albedo feedback large enough to set off a glaciation, but I can’t locate it.

180. I think I’ve seen that too, but have also forgotten where. If I find it, I’ll post it.

181. Johnl says:

A list of papers on anthropogenic global warming and next glaciation can be found at AGW Observer.
https://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/papers-on-anthropogenic-global-warming-and-next-glaciation/

182. verytallguy says:

Thanks John.

You remind me that ice age inception is surprisingly complex

183. Michael 2 says:

verytallguy “M2, If CO2 warming >Milankovich cooling then the next ice age is cancelled.”

Delayed is more likely the case. A glacial period lasts about 100,00 years, vastly longer than the residence time of any CO2 humans could still spew into the atmosphere before all fuel sources run out. Evidently some believe business-as-usual can continue for 100,000 years (or even another 30). The entirety of written human history is only about 5,000 years long.

“No deity needed.”

Nor have I claimed it; it would be an extremely inefficient creation that needed constant attention because of inherent instability. I carefully chose “supreme being” as an invitation to see who among “us” believes himself to be superior to the forces of nature; supposing for a moment that “we” are not part of those forces.

184. Michael 2 says:

“the CLIMBER-2 model initiates an ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere when insolation drops 0.7 σ (standard deviation) or 15 W/m2 below the mean. This same value is required to explain the history of climate using an orbitally driven conceptual model based on insolation and ice volume thresholds (Paillard, 1998).”

It would seem, according to this model, that CO2 forcing sufficient to avert this value will avoid a glaciation. In other words, we don’t need 15 watts/m2, just a few watts enough to stay above -15 watts/meter2 ought to do the trick.

Forecasts appear to be ranging from 1,500 years to 500,000 years before the next glaciation.

Thanks to JohnL for this link to these papers.

185. Michael 2 says:

“drive us into another glacial period. I guess the question is whether or not those changes could still have any impact given the warming that’s already taken place.”

the magic seems to be permanent snow cover at 65 degrees north, namely about the arctic circle. Snow north of the arctic circle doesn’t much affect annual insolation because the sun doesn’t shine on it anyway (except obviously in summer). But permanent snow south of 65 north will reflect sunlight year round changing Earth’s average albedo also year round and that produces a positive feedback in a cooling direction with fairly rapid onset. If the glaciation reaches about 30 degrees, Tropic of Cancer, Earth will probably enter a “snowball” phase with no hope of escape other than volcanic activity and taking millions of years even then.

I believe the danger of snowball earth is vastly greater than thermal runaway. Snowball Earth is more to be feared than asteroid collision.

I do not understand what stabilizes Earth in a glacial period; why the Earth doesn’t always enter snowball phase but I suspect it is the axial tilt that both initiates, but also moderates the glacial leading edge between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle.

Ice reflects in the visible wavelength but is “black” in the infrared wavelengths. As CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and very little water vapor will exist, more of the sun’s own infrared strikes the glaciers and is absorbed, leading to sublimation of the ice (if not melting). These forces would be strongest approaching the Tropic of Cancer stabilizing the leading (southerly) edges.

As the glaciers advance, sea level drops dramatically, exposing considerably more land to the sun and also at a somewhat lower (warmer) elevation. The increased land will add to surface temperatures acting as a negative feedback until the continental shelves are reached. At that point continued withdrawal of sea level won’t add more land and that particular stabilizer ceases to function and you get a snowball earth.

I do not assert any of this as fact; it is what I have gleaned over the years from many sources.

186. verytallguy says:

Michael,

Your ability to differentiate “supreme being” and “deity” is to be applauded.

In fact, we seem to agree on almost everything, save for the need to disagree.

187. BBD says:

M2

How in bloody hell can anyone say such a thing with a straight face (ie, seriously believing it) that “we” can cancel the next scheduled glacial period?

Of course we can do it. You sound like the fundamentalists who say that only God can change the climate. Argument from personal incredulity is a logical fallacy.

See Archer & Ganopolski (2005) or David Archer’s book The Long Thaw.

188. Jim Eager says:

ATTP wrote: “A crucial part of the Milankovitch cycles is the intial reduction in CO2 that drives further cooling.”

ATTP, I find that truly surprising coming from you. It’s my understanding that it is the long, slow orbitally driven decline in peak northern latitude summer insolation that eventually starts the ball rolling by allowing some of the snow from one winter to survive the following summer into the next winter, thus fostering the slow but relentless growth of a permanent polar ice cap. The resulting albedo change then amplifies the initial very small and seasonal TSI imbalance into a global forcing, followed by the slow cooling of the ocean and consequent increased take up of CO2. Did I say slow? Note the extended, multi-step decent to glacial maximum in the ice core record compared to the abrupt and steep linear climb out of one.

189. Jim Eager says:

M2 wrote: “Delayed is more likely the case.”

No, we have basically skipped the next glaciation we’ve been heading toward ever since the Holocene climate maximum of 8000-6000 years ago by injecting enough CO2 into the atmosphere to reproduce the mid Pliocene of 2.5-3mya, and far higher than during any interglacial period in the 800,000 year ice core record. Some, notably Bill Rudiman, suggest that we achieved it simply by inventing agriculture, especially wet rice cultivation and its attendant methane emissions, but the fossil carbon fueled industrial revolution clinched it.

M2: “A glacial period lasts about 100,00 years, vastly longer than the residence time of any CO2 humans could still spew into the atmosphere before all fuel sources run out.”

Ah, no, you are confusing the residence time of an individual CO2 molecule in the atmosphere with the residence time of a slug of CO2 injected into not just the atmosphere, but the ocean as well. 100,000 years is in fact the residence time for the slug of CO2 that humans have spewed into the atmosphere to date*, and remember, we’re not finished yet. *See David Archer’s work cited by BBD.

As for Snowball Earth, the sun is a good deal brighter now than it was then, and thus CO2 does not need to be as high as it needed to be for the greenhouse effect to overcome the weaker TSI and leave the cap carbonate layer found after each SE excursion.

190. Michael 2 says:

VTG says “we seem to agree on almost everything, save for the need to disagree.”

You make me blush. 😉

I believe that intelligence converges on a singularity. Perfect intelligence, combined with perfect knowledge (and data), must arrive at exactly the same conclusions and proceed on the same path — but there’s another assumption; provided they wish the same outcome! Wolves, sheep and sheepdogs have hugely different life-goals that permeate every thought process by any of these kinds of person as they relate to each other.

191. Michael 2 says:

BBD writes “Of course we can do it.” (cancel the next ice age).

There is no “we” and the assertion wasn’t “can” do it. The assertion is that it is already a done deal, part of the science is settled part of your complete breakfast.

Andrew Dodds writes “M2 — we’ve postponed the next glacial cycle for at least 100,000 years already”

“You sound like the fundamentalists who say that only God can change the climate.”

Of course I change the climate. So does a butterfly in Mexico. What I don’t go around doing is postponing ice ages. I leave that to the supreme being, Andrew Dodds.

“Argument from personal incredulity is a logical fallacy.”

Sure, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. We use the word “argument” for very good reasons. Ultimately all persuasion must reach the “reptilian brain” and motivate you to some sort of action. Fear, hunger, lust, joy. Logical fallacies reach these motivating forces, logic does not.

192. anoilman says:

BBD: Altering the climate is defined as “Intoxicating Vanity” by Charlton Heston, so therefore Feelies believe its not possible;

193. Jim,
Yes, you’re right. What I said in that comment wasn’t really right. I was just trying to get across that the reduction in CO2 is an important part of Milankovitch cycle cooling since the change in overall insolation is small. You’re right, though, that it is albedo changes that do the initial amplification. I did clarify slightly in my next comment 🙂

194. bill shockley says:

But going in the other direction, (interglacial to glacial), isn’t CO2 the first important amplifier? That’s how I’ve always thought of it.

195. bill,
Possibly, I’m not quite sure. As you probably know, CO2 and albedo are both treated as external forcings in this context.

196. BBD says:

I hesitate to say this, but I was under the impression that both albedo and CO2 were treated as feedbacks to orbital (Milankovitch) forcing.

197. BBD,
Hmmm, yes, I think they are technically feedbacks to orbital forcing. However, when used to estimate something like ECS, I think they’re used as if they are external forcings because the orbital forcing is – globally – small, and the reason we warm/cool is because of the changes in CO2 and albedo. So, even in this context, I think that CO2 and albedo are treated as forcings, and the fast feedbacks are water vapour, clouds, ….

A subtlety, though, is (again, I think) that if you want to estimate the Equilibrium System Sensitivity (ESS) you can treat the CO2 as a forcing and the albedo as a slow feedback. The caveat here, though, is that the ESS today will probably be different to what it would be during a glacial period given that we have less ice cover and hence would likely see a smaller albedo change.

That’s my understanding. at least.

198. Andrew Dodds says:

It’s hard to keep up, must abandon real life.

M2 –

Others have linked to a wealth of information on the subject. I’d suggest you read it. Obviously a good Libertarian sheep would not, but you may in any case wish to consider the way that the data shows some fairly dramatic changes in the Earth’s climate in response to apparently minor forcings – much smaller than current, man made impacts.

bill –

From memory, it starts with decreased summer insolation in the Northern hemisphere due to Milankovitch forcing; this leads to the persistence of snow and ice year-round which is an automatic and strong feedback leading to more cooling. Cooling of the ocean seems to mean CO2 drawdown (mechanism not fully understood IIRC) which helps to cement the process. So albedo and CO2 are both feedbacks that amplify an initial local forcing.

Glacial to Interglacial is reverse but much faster – ice sheet buildup is limited by the amount of snow that falls, ice sheet disintegration is only limited by how quickly you can dump ice sheets into the ocean.

199. Cooling of the ocean seems to mean CO2 drawdown (mechanism not fully understood IIRC) which helps to cement the process.

Isn’t this just essentially Henry’s Law? There’s a fairly straightforward relationship between temperature and partial pressure of atmospheric CO2.

200. Andrew Dodds says:

aTTP –

Yes, if we’d started to industrialize in the depths of the last glacial 20,000 years ago then we’d have managed a CO2e doubling by now and we’d be destabliisng ice sheets that were are best metastable to start with. It would have made concerns over the WAIS look like childs play.

OTOH, if we were doing this 80 million years ago, then the whole question would be academic-interest only.. no ice sheets to melt, oceans already very warm and CO2 so high we’d struggle to make much impact.

201. Andrew Dodds says:

aTTP –

Sorry, crossed post.. yes, Henry’s law probably has a lot to do with it. But certainty is never a good idea in this area.

202. But certainty is never a good idea in this area.

Of course 🙂

203. bill shockley says:

Andrew Dodds,

ATTP,

204. BBD says:

Andrew Dodds

OTOH, if we were doing this 80 million years ago, then the whole question would be academic-interest only.. no ice sheets to melt, oceans already very warm and CO2 so high we’d struggle to make much impact.

Well, don’t forget the PETM (~55.5Ma). Very hot already and no cryosphere and probably less that a doubling of CO2 still produced a *massive* hyperthermal.

More evidence that Nic Lewis is wrong. Paleocene ECS would have been close to ESS because of the absence of a cryosphere.

205. BBD says:

ATTP

I think albedo is treated as a slow feedback when calculating ESS, eg. Hansen et al. (2013) section 6:

GHG and surface albedo changes, which we treated as specified climate forcings in evaluating fast-feedback climate sensitivity, are actually slow climate feedbacks during orbit-instigated Pleistocene glacial–interglacial climate swings. Given that GHG and albedo feedbacks are both strong amplifying feedbacks, indeed accounting by themselves for most of the global Pleistocene climate variation, it is apparent that today’s climate sensitivity on millennial time scales must be substantially larger than the fast-feedback sensitivity.

Climate sensitivity including slow feedbacks is described as ‘Earth system sensitivity’ [118–120]. There are alternative choices for the feedbacks included in Earth system sensitivity. Hansen & Sato [60] suggest adding slow feedbacks one by one, creating a series of increasingly comprehensive Earth system climate sensitivities; specifically, they successively move climate-driven changes in surface albedo, non-CO2 GHGs and CO2 into the feedback category, at which point the Earth system sensitivity is relevant to an external forcing such as changing solar irradiance or human-made forcings. At each level, in this series, the sensitivity is state dependent.

206. BBD,
Isn’t that what I said 🙂

207. Michael 2 says:

Andrew Dodds, feeling the sting, says: “Obviously a good Libertarian sheep would not”

Indeed. You can lead a libertarian to SkepticalScience but you cannot make him read it. What I read I have searched for and chosen myself free of the inevitable bias that must exist in sources you would recommend if you were in the mode of recommending.

One of my earlier sources as I strove to educate myself is this: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html another is http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/Glossary/index.cfm

About a year ago I studied somewhat the topic of glaciation: Insolation-driven 100,000-year glacial cycles and hysteresis of ice-sheet volume. Ayako Abe-Ouchi, Fuyuki Saito, Kenji Kawamura, Maureen E. Raymo, Jun’ichi Okuno, Kunio Takahashi & Heinz Blatter Affiliations. Contributions. Corresponding author. Nature 500, 190193 (08 August 2013) doi:10.1038/nature12374

So you are correct not to bother recommending SkepticalScience to me.

208. BBD says:

ATTP

I’ve buggered up my comment. I *thought* I’d written that albedo and GHGs were treated as slow feedbacks when calculating ESS, which is what H13 says. Sorry for the confusion 😉

Hansen et al.:

GHG and surface albedo changes, which we treated as specified climate forcings in evaluating fast-feedback climate sensitivity, are actually slow climate feedbacks during orbit-instigated Pleistocene glacial–interglacial climate swings.

It’s not quite as you suggest, which is what I was attempting to say:

A subtlety, though, is (again, I think) that if you want to estimate the Equilibrium System Sensitivity (ESS) you can treat the CO2 as a forcing and the albedo as a slow feedback.

209. BBD says:

You could learn a lot from SkS, M2.

But since your bias excludes you from that source, try a good textbook instead like Ruddiman.

There’s a third edition now, so go for the second edition, second hand. At under 20, that’s very good value for money indeed. 210. BBD, Ahh, but I think the Hansen quote your provided earlier was suggesting that there are multiple levels of ESS. You can treat only albedo as a slow feedback, or albedo + non-CO2 GHGs, or albedo + non-CO2 GHGs + CO2. Given that we’re not in a phase where we’re expecting any changes in orbital forcing, the relevant ESS would seem to be the one where you treat albedo (and maybe non-CO2 GHGs) are slow-feedbacks and treat the CO2 as a forcing. That way you can estimate the ESS given an increase in anthropogenic CO2. Of course, as the Hansen quote points out, it is state dependent. 211. Michael 2 says: BBD suggests “But since your bias excludes you from that source, try a good textbook instead like Ruddiman.” Thanks, I will indeed look into it. I feel you misunderstand, or misrepresent (or both) my disinterest in SkS. It is not a primary source and is a deeply biased advocacy website. It’s list of 280 debunks of things skeptics don’t argue in the first place is a grand exercise in straw-man argumentation and somewhat worthy for that reason alone (as an example of straw-man argumentation). This problem manifests itself on both “sides” of course. Finding anything remotely resembling unbiased science is quite a challenge. So I appreciate your recommendation. 212. M2, The Skeptical Science debunking is pretty good and if it includes things that are not even suggested by “skeptics” it’s not clear why that’s an issue. It doesn’t make it wrong. 213. verytallguy says: M2 Finding anything remotely resembling unbiased science is quite a challenge. FAR SAR TAR AR4 AR5 You’re welcome 214. BBD says: ATTP Well, we were talking about GHGs and albedo as feedbacks to orbital forcing, which would seem to be Hansen’s position: GHG and surface albedo changes, which we treated as specified climate forcings in evaluating fast-feedback climate sensitivity, are actually slow climate feedbacks during orbit-instigated Pleistocene glacial–interglacial climate swings. That was all I was trying to say. Going beyond the original context though, I would agree with the rest of what you say: Given that we’re not in a phase where we’re expecting any changes in orbital forcing, the relevant ESS would seem to be the one where you treat albedo (and maybe non-CO2 GHGs) are slow-feedbacks and treat the CO2 as a forcing. That way you can estimate the ESS given an increase in anthropogenic CO2. Of course, as the Hansen quote points out, it is state dependent. Sorry, this isn’t meant to be as nit-picky as it inevitably sounds 😉 215. BBD says: M2 It is not a primary source and is a deeply biased advocacy website. Let’s just say that this is a serious misrepresentation indicative of a profound bias on your part coupled with near-complete unfamiliarity with the site itself. Keeps the mods happy 😉 216. BBD, Well, we were talking about GHGs and albedo as feedbacks to orbital forcing, which would seem to be Hansen’s position: I see. Okay, yes, I agree. 217. BBD says: It’s all my fault 😦 218. Mark Bahner says: “Delayed is more likely the case. A glacial period lasts about 100,000 years, vastly longer than the residence time of any CO2 humans could still spew into the atmosphere before all fuel sources run out.” You’re obviously not an engineer. 😉 Given a few days, I could probably think of several dozen ways that humans could, even with existing technology, make sure an ice age doesn’t occur. With a few minutes, I can think of: 1) produce and release vast quantities of HFCs (high global warming potentials); 2) release dark dust above areas with snow; 3) nuclear power plants to melt snow on land, and nuclear ice-breakers for the sea. And that’s with existing technology. Human technology in 2015 is essentially god-like (electricity from nuclear power, refrigeration and air conditioning, LED lighting, etc.) compared to technology available in 1815. There’s no reason not to expect that technology in 2215 will not be the same or greater distance above 2015 technology. 219. Michael 2 says: BBD writes “coupled with near-complete unfamiliarity with the site itself.” That is certainly possible. In view of the possibility that it has changed I’ll take a quick look. Articles and commentary on ATTP tend to be much better sourced than SkS articles and commentary. I’ve commented on it before here so I don’t need to clutter it up again (as much). For my purposes I studied and rebutted most of these “myths” and rebuttals a couple of years ago and it appears unchanged (and thus somewhat dated). It’s a bit like one of those fake surveys or “push” surveys; the myths aren’t sourced and neither are the answers. It is more of a “If you think this, then you should think that” kind of thing. I will illustrate with one example: #1 Climate myth “The climate’s changed before” I really am pretty sure that this is not a myth. Climate has been changing for about 4.7 billion years more or less. What the science says: “Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.” So how exactly does this “science says” dispell the myth that the climate has changed before? It actually seems to confirm the myth; merely asserts primary causation. Since that is old news, been there for years despite my own previous criticisms of it, let’s see if there’s anything more recent that y’all think I missed. Home page, first paragraph: “Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming.” I do not know ANYONE that simply denies or refutes global warming! But if there was such a person, how likely is he going to come to a website whose purpose is to insult and ridicule him? I don’t know because I am neither denier nor True Believer in the Consensus. “As sea level increases at an accelerating pace” Oh? What exactly is the differential of this acceleration? What is the equation? Maybe SkS quantifies this somewhere. “A paper by Houston & Dean studies 57 tide gauge records from the U.S. (including Hawaii and oceanic territories) and concludes that sea level rise has not accelerated.” Here’s another: http://www.skepticalscience.com/A-Relentless-Rise-in-Global-Sea-Level.html “several peer-reviewed scientific papers (Ablain et al [2009], Cazenave & Llovel [2010]) have remarked that the rate of sea-level rise over this period has slowed down.” That’s a negative first differential if I remember my calculus correctly (don’t bet on it). But with a bit of magic you can restore the acceleration; not exactly of sea level which is a measured thing, but what it would be if all the water on land were in the sea: “Global sea-level rise may appear to have decelerated during the last decade, however smaller-than-average continental water storage during 1994-2002 combined with greater-than-average continental water storage during 2003-2011 has largely created this false impression. Once corrected for this, and for thermal expansion fluctuations, we find that the ‘actual’ rise in global sea-level has been near-constant at 3.3 +/- 0.4mm per year.” Well there you have it. Sea level is rising even when it isn’t, but it is “near constant”, so where is the acceleration? It appears a very slight acceleration might exist but if it does, it ought to be quantifiable. “Denial101x MOOC – Full list of videos and references at your fingertips” How much attention would you pay “Alarmist 101 – Full list of videos and references at your fingertips!” Biased maybe? “Global warming intensified the record floods in Texas and Oklahoma” Oh? Let’s explore that claim. Start by confirming the floods themselves: “wettest single month on record in both states.” Okay… Now is it global warming that did that? Can you confirm global warming by a single month of rain? Indeed you can when it’s SkS. “According to weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen, May 2015 now exceeds Corpus Christi’s total rainfall for the entire drought-parched year of 2011, which was only 12.06 inches.” I understand: It is weather when it doesn’t support the Consensus, but climate when it does! I could go on — and did, but I deleted most of it as I am only illustrating why I don’t consider SkS particularly useful, not nearly as useful as ATTP site. Debunking SkS is tedious and pointless, as pointless as debunking born-again Christians. I’ve done that myself. It passes some time but it is pointless. Nobody (well, not very many I suspect) chose it for logical reasons in the first place. 220. Michael 2 says: verytallguy “FAR SAR TAR AR4 AR5 You’re welcome” Thank you. I acknowledge that the actual reports (not the summaries for policy makers) include methods, data and results that I do not contest. Even where I do not contest it I suspect the picture is incomplete. Suppose you are studying dominoes. You evaluate everything about the dominoes and report everything known about dominoes — except what is on their backsides because nobody asked for it. Would it be relevant? Probably not; but it creates opportunity for doubt. My comment pertained more to discovering the physical properties of carbon dioxide specifically, its chemical and physical properties and I eventually found useful information on a chemical property website that had been around long enough to not have been politicized. Merely googling “properties of carbon dioxide” produced many global warming webpages having varying degrees of advocacy. As it turns out, some are correct or at least in agreement with well-established sources of carbon dioxide properties, but it is impossible to know that merely by looking at an advocacy website neither will they mention mitigating circumstances or complexities. Some websites are highly technical; Lubos Motl comes to mind but there I realized that mechanical collisions between molecules constitute the primary heat transfer mechanism near the surface so near-surface down-radiation might not exist in any measurable degree but at higher altitudes it will. So it’s all pretty complicated stuff. I chose that particular line of study to validate or refute a claim that ” since the atmosphere was already opaque adding more CO2 cannot make a difference.” I have refuted to my own satisfaction that claim and not by anyone merely saying so, although a good line of argumentation would have worked but I never found a straightforward presentation convincing or otherwise. It took a synthesis of many avenues of study. Really, from the perspective of John Q. Public that has not spent the past 6 years studying the various sciences involved as I have, or the likely much longer study that is probably true of everyone else here, to him it is a religion. That’s okay, most people choose a religion at some point in their lives but whether it persists in the face of opposition is much less certain. There is in my religion a parable of seeds that fall on dry ground and do not sprout at all, others that are only shallow and cannot withstand the hot sun, and finally those seeds properly planted and watered, able to withstand all challenges. My take on that particular parable is not to even expect every person to accept any religion; some will, some won’t. But I also take it to mean any topic of study will be similarly accepted, rejected, or only tentatively accepted until a challenge comes along. If the presentation itself is “tentative” I suspect so will be the acceptance. 221. Michael 2 says: ATTP says “if it includes things that are not even suggested by “skeptics” it’s not clear why that’s an issue. It doesn’t make it wrong.” Neither have I said SkS is wrong. What I have said, and perhaps I’ll try it a different way this time around, is that its utility is less than some other sources, certainly less than ATTP. I’m here regularly but only once or twice a year at SkS. Here I learn things, more in the arguments oftentimes than in the topic heading article. A topic needs to be argued as otherwise it is mere advocacy, a religion that you believe in and you likely have your reasons to be absolutely certain of whatever you are absolutely certain about. If your certainty is unwavered in the face of vigorous argumentation then even if I cannot actually validate your claim (true for anything ephemeral) then the strength of your conviction is, all by itself, persuasive; and my conviction, although tentative, will increase in strength. 222. Andrew Dodds says: Mark – Best one – build a dam between the Southern tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsular. Completely change ocean circulation by ending the isolation of Antarctica from the rest of the climate – probably bringing about the end of the whole ice age. Of course, there’s no earthly reason why you’d do it. But it would be a fun experiment. M2 – Looking at your first link, if you look at the question Q. How long does it take for the oceans and terrestrial biosphere to take up carbon after it is burned? The answer shows the long persistence time of a fraction of CO2 emissions – sufficient in our case to postpone the next glaciation. 223. BBD says: M2 Very quickly I do not know ANYONE that simply denies or refutes global warming! But if there was such a person, how likely is he going to come to a website whose purpose is to insult and ridicule him? I don’t know because I am neither denier nor True Believer in the Consensus. This isn’t about who you know. It’s about the very real population of ‘sceptics’ who *do* deny that GAT is rising and that we are the cause. Go to any ‘sceptic’ site and read the comments. SkS is not really aimed at ‘sceptics’ as they are largely unreachable. It is aimed at anyone confused by ‘sceptic’ misinformation who wants to understand the actual scientific position. The list of debunked ‘sceptic’ talking points is a handy gazeteer to anyone new to the climate ‘debate’ who needs assistance in sorting the rubbish from the facts. * * * Yes, the rate of sea level rise is accelerating and will of course continue to accelerate as the contribution from terrestrial ice sheets increases in volume later this century and beyond. Here is a discussion of Hay et al. (2015) which should help clarify this point. Fig. 29 from Hansen et al. (2015) is worth a thousand words: 224. verytallguy says: M2. Many words. Most with a rather unnecessary implication of malfeasance. I’ll post you one on this then try separately to help you with the opaque to CO2 issue. I acknowledge that the actual reports (not the summaries for policy makers) include methods, data and results that I do not contest. I defy you to find an SPM which contradicts the report. This is just yet another imputation of bias without evidence. It’s not serious, and really tedious. If you want a serious response to your posts, don’t sprinkle your stuff with this unnecessary paranoia. specifically, its chemical and physical properties and I eventually found useful information on a chemical property website that had been around long enough to not have been politicized Really? This speaks to an inability to differentiate sources, not to the politicisation of science. And it’s more conspiracy ideation – “old” chemical property websites are reliable, but “new” ones are politicised? Pur-leeze. If you want an authoritative, unbiased scientific source, googling something and randomly choosing links is very unlikely to work, whether it be climate science, autism, or immigration (to pick up three politicised subjects) This is something I teach my kids at the age of about six and is internet 101: “evaluate your source” I tried your challenge to google “properties of carbon dioxide” and I got accurate technical information, and just one global warming hit, which was to an SKS page entirely in line with the science, so I don’t see your problem. Perhaps google gives something different to you. As for to him it is a religion For goodness sake, that’s just pathetic! Global warming is no more a religion than accepting facts discovered by others in any field is. Is the Copernican theory of planetary motion a “religion” because not everyone has plotted the motions of the planets? You’re merely displaying your own biases. Your post is full of soundbites and conspiracies. It’s not impressive. 225. verytallguy says: M2, on why the lower atmosphere being opaque to CO2 already doesn’t matter. It was seeing this graphic (h/t Chris Colose) that made the penny drop: As pressure drops with altitude, so the (absolute) concentration of CO2 does. There must always therefore be a height at which the atmosphere ceases to be opaque to CO2, regardless of how much the concentration of CO2 rises . More CO2, therefore, increases the height at which heat is lost to space. To maintain thermal equilibrium, the temperature at this height must remain the same. Below this height, temperature is governed by convection and rises as the height falls; an effect observed by seeing snow on mountain peaks. This is termed the “lapse rate” – and CO2 has no effect on this. However, the ultimate temperature at the ground is higher, because the distance to the height at which CO2 radiates to space has risen. [obviously this is only a 1st order description and includes many simplifications] The graph is from a much longer, more technical post https://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/greenhouse-effect-revisited/ 226. BBD says: M2 Now is it global warming that did that? Can you confirm global warming by a single month of rain? Indeed you can when it’s SkS. But the article (link) is about a scientific study. It’s not ‘advocacy’ by SkS, it is reportage. Nor is the claim you attribute to SkS even accurate as regards the study, which concludes that the warming troposphere is contributing to an acceleration of the hydrological cycle which intensifies the effects of ENSO. You are misrepresenting SkS at every turn, which tells me a great deal about your perceptions and nothing of any relevance or value about SkS. 227. Andrew Dodds says: BBD – What M2 is doing is using the standard Postmodern form of argument, in which case the ‘truthfulness’ of a statement can be determined simply by looking at the motivations of the author – or, indeed, the assumed motivations of the author. This is not completely unreasonable if you are trying to interpret literary works written 1000 years ago in the light of what the authors may or may not have a priori believed at the time. It is less reasonable when applied to empirical science written a decade ago by authors who are still alive.. 228. Jim Eager says: M2 wrote “[Skeptical Science’s] list of 280 debunks of things skeptics don’t argue in the first place is a grand exercise in straw-man argumentation” If you think those 280 arguments that are rebutted are straw-men then you are very mistaken. Never mind posts at sites like WUWT, much less the accompanying comment streams, go to any global warming/climate change story in the on-line media and you will find all 280 actively being used in the comment stream by self-described “skeptics.” The very fact that those arguments are in active use means that they are hardly straw-men. Now, you might contend that the people using these arguments are not true skeptics, and on that I would be in full agreement. True skeptics would be capable of dismissing such arguments with a modest amount of time and research effort. So call them psuedo-skeptics, fake-skeptics, deniers, or simply self-deluded ignorant fools – what ever you like, but they are definitely not skeptics. In that sense your statement above is technically correct, but misses the point. The value of SKS is not in persuading such people that they are wrong, it is in giving other readers the information and understanding needed to determine that the arguments are wrong by pointing the way to the relevant scientific literature. And don’t think that SKS is useful just to counter misinformation from one side, I often use it to correct people accepting the threat of climate change but who misunderstand the science or exaggerate what it supports. 229. Michael 2 says: BBD writes “This isn’t about who you know.” While I sort of see your point, I think you are not seeing mine. Do you boast about your team or do you whine about the other team? HotWhopper is an example of a website obsessed with the other team and seems not to have much to offer. SkS isn’t as whiney as that, but still a bit too much focus on its opposition rather than exposition of its own points of view. “It’s about the very real population of ‘sceptics’ who *do* deny that GAT is rising and that we are the cause. Go to any ‘sceptic’ site and read the comments.” Yeah, I read those sites and comments as well. I accept making distinction between a denier (already convinced and in opposition) and a skeptic (needs convincing, variable as to belief). I suspect deniers aren’t reading climate blogs of any kind. If nothing is happening, why would anyone study it? In fact, there’s nothing to “deny”. It’s just not there, not visible, not a topic of discussion or argument. My friend would be a denier if he bothered to have an opinion on it. “SkS is not really aimed at ‘sceptics’ as they are largely unreachable.” It is the deniers that are unreachable but I think we mean the same thing. Deniers aren’t reading anyone’s climate blogs. Real skeptics (questioners) will be reading blogs but could be highly variable in the degree of rigor they bring to the task. That is to say, some might easily believe, but if they do, then which one they see first will matter most. “It is aimed at anyone confused by ‘sceptic’ misinformation who wants to understand the actual scientific position.” It is a poor aim. SkS asserts apriori that it is correct. So do the Catholics. What, for instance, is the “actual scientific position” in the inception of the next glacial period? Thanks to that list John provided, it is anywhere from 1,500 years delayed to 500,000 years delayed. So which is it? What is the “actual scientific position” with a range like that? A “skeptic” will probably know that the science is not settled, that many authorities differ substantially on important aspects of this whole thing. Too much certainty (the topic of this thread) is unbelieved and unbelievable. If you make a guess and you guess wrong, your credibility is diminished forever (Dr. David Viner comes to mind). I recognize that a difficult exists in highly variable reader estimations of how much certainty is believable. In my specialty I am usually quite certain of a thing and that produces disbelief. Shall I pretend to less certainty? I have learned to do exactly that and it works well one-on-one. The idea is that the reader must arrive at a conclusion; you cannot just hammer it home because if you could everyone on Earth would be Catholic (or something else, but all would be the same). “The list of debunked ‘sceptic’ talking points is a handy gazeteer to anyone new to the climate ‘debate’ who needs assistance in sorting the rubbish from the facts.” It is borderline awful. It is so bad I rewrote parts of it for my own purpose. The idea is worthy but poisoned by a burning desire to blurt out assertions and it treats the reader as if he is an idiot and the writer is the expert whose words you are just supposed to believe! How much better would it be if it started right out with “Thank you for coming! We recognize that many opinions, ideas and motives exist in the climate debate. Here are some claims made on this topic and our responses, with links to external sources for your independent study.” But, alas, no, that’s not what they do. They lay the foundation right from the start that you are the idiot and enemy: “Global Warming & Climate Change Myths” Compare with “The Science of Doom. Evaluating and Explaining Climate Science” “Renewables X – Nationalism vs Inter-Nationalism. In 2014, Germany produced 56 TWh of electricity by wind power (BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2015).” This I like. Assertions are backed up by sources. He lays out the scenario. I can follow the scenario. In fact, it is rather challenging to follow the scenario since it isn’t exactly obvious — he doesn’t “bludgeon” me with the “point”. I get the point and I figured it out myself. I feel good about it, I am smart and clever and so is he. I feel a connection. I start believing. His credibility goes up; he is not my enemy. He might be my opponent and that’s a very different and worthy thing to be. *I* will decide whether a thing is a myth! You state your case as in a court of law, prosecutor and defender. The jury is me. The jury decides, not SkS. SkS merely blurts out a talking point, makes an assertion in response to denier objections. But that is what created the objection in the first place. More of the same begets more of the same! “Yes, the rate of sea level rise is accelerating and will of course continue to accelerate as the contribution from terrestrial ice sheets increases in volume later this century and beyond.” Got formula? Y=0.001x^2 -1900 (baseline year) or something like that? Eventually the sea would reach the moon! I appreciate the sources you offer and will have a look. It may seem strange for me to be so passionate about this but I prefer to argue with worthy opponents; it sharpens my mind and improves my understanding. I am devoting hours of my life to this effort, so are you. 230. Michael 2 says: BBD wrote “Here is a discussion of Hay et al. (2015) which should help clarify this point.” I’m back. Hooray, finally someone quantifies acceleration, although they change the past in order to achieve it. But it is quantified: The acceleration is listed variously as 0.009 mm yr^2 to 0.017 mm yr^2 extended through the rest of the century. After that no prediction, no eventually reaching the moon. While not scary it appears scientific. Well done! 98 bottles of beer on the wall… 231. verytallguy says: M2 …although they change the past in order to achieve it… You wanna be a worthy opponent? Walk the walk. Quit the conspiracy ideation. 232. BBD says: M2 *I* will decide whether a thing is a myth! No, this is not a matter of opinion. You do not get to decide. The facts are what they are. * * * You’ve misunderstood Hay et al. which estimates the rate of sea level rise 1900 – 1990 at 1.2mm per year and 1990 – 2010 at around 3mm per year. More than double the 1900 – 1990 rate. So a considerable acceleration over recent decades. Hooray, finally someone quantifies acceleration, although they change the past in order to achieve it. And that’s enough of the dogwhistling about data fakery. What VTG said: You wanna be a worthy opponent? Walk the walk. Quit the conspiracy ideation. 233. Michael 2 says: verytallguy writes “If you want a serious response to your posts, don’t sprinkle your stuff with this unnecessary paranoia.” I think you mistake the burden of proof. I am not here making assertions of science, rather I challenge the weak spots in your assertions (not yours particularly but collectively). I want to believe good science; but what is that? Measurements for starters. If someone says sea level is rising and accelerating, where’s the measurement? Thanks to my questions and BBD’s answer, a reasonably believable source says 3mm per year with 0.01 mm yr^2 acceleration estimated to be so for the rest of the century. “And it’s more conspiracy ideation – “old” chemical property websites are reliable, but “new” ones are politicised? Pur-leeze.” Your answer is not an answer; it is a fallacy to roll your eyes and write “purleeze”. Anyway, it doesn’t matter so much whether they are factual or biased but the suspicion of it is adequate to reduce its utility for my purposes and undoubtedly yours as well. How much of your information do you get from WUWT or GWPF? It could still be true, but it is not your first choice of a resource (or is it?). “This is something I teach my kids at the age of about six and is internet 101: evaluate your source” Yeah, that’s pretty much what I said. Evaluate the source. Someone is spending money to host that website. Who and why? Your team is quick to engage conspiracy theories of your own, “fossil fuel funded denier sites” — let us google that .. two have exactly the same words and, curiously, the same article number. Now there’s an interesting bit of sock-puppetry, different IP addresses, same exact content: http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/its-time-acknowledge-real-cost-coal/2287138/ Jun 12, 2014 – Just one pit of evidence denying climate change., lets see what you can dig up. Plenty of those fossil fuel funded denier sites still out there still. http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/its-time-acknowledge-real-cost-coal/2287138/ Jun 12, 2014 – Just one pit of evidence denying climate change., lets see what you can dig up. Plenty of those fossil fuel funded denier sites still out there still. So what about those fossil fuel funded denier sites? To use your own argument it can still be correct and good science! But would you believe it? Probably not. “I tried your challenge to google “properties of carbon dioxide” and I got accurate technical information, and just one global warming hit” Big changes from 2009 to the present. I am glad that Google is turning up accurate technical information. I should try it too. You are correct! In 2009 I had to go into advanced search and suppress “global warming” to let the chemical engineering sites rise to the top. ” ‘to him it is a religion’ For goodness sake, that’s just pathetic! Global warming is no more a religion than accepting facts discovered by others in any field is.” You really don’t get it. Of course it is no more a religion than accepting facts discovered by others; but neither is it any less. For thousands of years “god” was a fact which you challenged at some peril of your life or liberty. Now along comes a new god, carbon dioxide — the stuff of life for plants. To the old god you pay tithes and offerings, to this new god you pay carbon taxes and buy indulgences, I mean carbon credits 😉 Actually it is a bit more aligned even than that — in the old days church was government. Government is still government but no longer church. In other words, humans have always paid tithes/taxes to government and that hasn’t changed. But as people lose belief in one scary thing, government introduces a substitute. Try to consider the perspective of a man that has no particular means of validating any claim you make beyond looking out the window. He claims there is god, you claim sea level rise is accelerating. You don’t see god and he doesn’t see sea level rising. You conclude he is deluded, he concludes YOU are deluded. I see “symmetry”. “Is the Copernican theory of planetary motion a *religion* because not everyone has plotted the motions of the planets?” Yes. While you dismiss the idea and trivialize it, you are on the right track. What remains to finish it as a religion is to demand fealty, or money (usually both) based on your special knowledge. But in the scenario you created, it doesn’t really matter whether anyone (other than astronauts) believe in the motions of planets as currently understood. My mother was an astrologer and apparent retrograde motion of the outer planets was seen as some kind of magic with all kinds of importance but it appears not to have adversely affected her employment at a bank. “Your post is full of soundbites and conspiracies. It’s not impressive.” That is a good description of SkS. If you can see the similarity, perhaps you understand my critique of SkS. 234. lerpo says: @Michael 2, “What remains to finish it as a religion is to demand fealty, or money (usually both) based on your special knowledge.” It seems like you have constructed a model where any truth that implies consequences that can be avoided with investment is no longer a truth, but is demoted to religion. (which is somewhat condescending to religious folk). It seems to me that something is either true, or it is not true, regardless of the implied consequences or the remedies thereof. Your heuristic is not a good one… 235. verytallguy says: M2, I think it’s best to let your words speak for themselves. 236. Michael 2 says: lerpo writes “It seems like you have constructed a model where any truth that implies consequences that can be avoided with investment is no longer a truth, but is demoted to religion.” Nearly so. Substitute “claim” for truth, and “investment or specified behaviors to a particular person or organization” and eliminate “demoted” and you’d have it more perfectly. I am going to suggest promoting it to a religion at least as an idea to broaden your perspective. Religions are vastly more successful than you appear to recognize, and the success of global warming advocacy rests almost entirely on using religious tactics and principles. Is Al Gore a climate scientists? Good heavens, no. He’s a political scientist by education. But his movie is a masterpiece of religious evangelism. Other evangelists include Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin and now the pope himself. It was an easy step into familiar territory for the pope. Are you starting to see the value in treating global warming as a religion? If not, contemplate a billion Muslims and a billion Christians and ask yourself if there’s a billion devotees of global warming mitigation, and if not, why not. Consider priesthood, evangelicals, and dire consequences for heretics and disbelievers; joy and happiness for believers. Does global warming have all that? Indeed it does. It even has schisms with the true faith split into factions. So instead of challenging me which seems like a non-starter, a better answer is to accept the obvious and see if that suggests any strategies to your mind. For instance, I wonder how many successful television evangelicals actually believe in god. Not many, I think, it is an act, but it works. It worked for Al Gore. People want to believe! “It seems to me that something is either true, or it is not true, regardless of the implied consequences or the remedies thereof.” Truth is not relevant to the definition and, for that matter, is a slippery concept. Belief should not imply untruth. You either believe a thing or you disbelieve it. It is better to believe true things and disbelieve false things. I believe I am sitting at a computer right now. Is it true? That’s difficult to know with certainty, but I am certain of my belief. “Your heuristic is not a good one.” Not good to what purpose? You can believe claims, or disbelieve them, according to your prejudices, your prior knowledge, and your ability and interest in testing a claim. Humility, a virtue I admire and hope to obtain someday, is accepting that what you believe is true may not be true; and what you believe false may be true; but you have to choose and act as best you can with the information you have. 237. Michael 2 says: BBD “No, this is not a matter of opinion. You do not get to decide. The facts are what they are.” It is a matter of belief. Since no one decides for me I must decide for myself. In the human mind everything is imaginary, or to put it another way, a “model” of reality. The things you have chosen to believe you call facts while the things you have chosen to disbelieve you call myth. The number of facts is infinite. No human can possess a mental model of all facts. Therefore your subset has been filtered, condensed. Your subset may differ from mine. To me, sea level is falling, because at Astoria that is exactly the case. That’s a fact. But is it? All I have is a website and it could be adjusted any moment. What I have is a lifetime of experience riding the ferry at Seattle. Your claims will be measured against my actual, personal knowledge and experience. Therefore I will decide what is a myth and so will you. 238. Michael 2 says: BBD “You’ve misunderstood Hay et al. which estimates the rate of sea level rise 1900 – 1990 at 1.2mm per year and 1990 – 2010 at around 3mm per year. More than double the 1900 – 1990 rate. So a considerable acceleration over recent decades.” So recompute and give me a formula. BBD’s Sea Level Acceleration formula! If it takes 90 years to achieve a doubling, that’s the 90th root of 2 or multiply the rate of sea level rise by 1.007 each year for 90 years to arrive at a doubling of the rate and that’s pretty close to the acceleration coefficient in the chart you provided. 239. Michael 2 says: If there’s a quota here I’m probably pushing the envelope a bit but I want one more reply… Jim Eager “go to any global warming/climate change story in the on-line media and you will find all 280 actively being used in the comment stream by self-described skeptics. The very fact that those arguments are in active use means that they are hardly straw-men.” Concur, sort of, you seem to be conflating two different things. The straw-man argument comes into play regardless of whether anyone out there uses the “myth” column statements. It becomes straw man because SkS writes the “myth” column and then writes the “what science says” column. It’s like playing solitaire. How can you possibly lose? Is there a single criticism by the public that SkS accepts is a valid criticism? No, not one! SkS has a well known mission and it isn’t to present unbiased science to the public. I have just discovered that the “what science says” is clickable with actual sources of the claims cited in their fuller context. So I withdraw a portion of my accusation pertaining to unsourced skeptic/denier claims and unsourced “what science says”. 240. BBD says: M2 Therefore I will decide what is a myth and so will you. Whilst subjectivity is what it is, facts trump it every time. Try jumping off a cliff you have decided is mythical if you doubt this. So we return to the well-thumbed adage that you are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts. So recompute and give me a formula. BBD’s Sea Level Acceleration formula! If it takes 90 years to achieve a doubling, [etc.] The problem is too complex for a simplistic approach. Anthropogenic CO2 forcing has increased very considerably 1900 – 1990. So the modest rate of SLR during that period is not a guide to what is to come, especially as the future driver of SLR will increasingly be ice-sheet instability and collapse (specifically the WAIS). 3mm a year is just the very early, tame and polite ice melt stage. When gravity takes over, things will get lively. 241. bill shockley says: Current doubling time from the places that matter the most is in the 7 – 20 year range, per the new Hansen SLR & Storms paper Ice mass losses from Greenland, West Antarctica and Totten/Aurora basin in East Antarctica are growing nonlinearly with doubling times of order 10 years. Continued exponential growth at that rate seems unlikely for Greenland, and reduced mass loss in the past two years (Fig. S20) is consistent with a slower growth of the mass loss rate for Greenland. However, if GHGs continue to grow, the amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean, including expanded sea ice and SMOC slowdown likely will continue to grow and facilitate increasing Antarctic mass loss. 242. Mark Bahner says: “You’ve misunderstood Hay et al. which estimates the rate of sea level rise 1900 – 1990 at 1.2mm per year and 1990 – 2010 at around 3mm per year. More than double the 1900 – 1990 rate. So a considerable acceleration over recent decades.” What is your prediction for sea level rise from 2000 to 2050, and from 2000 to 2100, based on your understanding of Hay et al. (and whatever other literature/data you think appropriate)? 243. Michael 2 says: BBD “The problem is too complex for a simplistic approach. Anthropogenic CO2 forcing has increased very considerably 1900 – 1990. So the modest rate of SLR during that period is not a guide to what is to come” Big deal, so you have an increase in the rate of the increase in the rate of sea level rise, a double integral or polynomial with a year^3 term. If you know these parameters how hard can it be to fit a curve to it? If you cannot fit a curve it means you don’t have these parameters OR it is not really an acceleration of the acceleration of sea level rise. 244. Mark, What is your prediction for sea level rise from 2000 to 2050, and from 2000 to 2100, based on your understanding of Hay et al. (and whatever other literature/data you think appropriate)? I think that you should first indicate that you understand the difference between a projection and a prediction. 245. BBD says: Mark What is your prediction for sea level rise from 2000 to 2050, and from 2000 to 2100, based on your understanding of Hay et al. (and whatever other literature/data you think appropriate)? As I said just a little earlier: Anthropogenic CO2 forcing has increased very considerably 1900 – 1990. So the modest rate of SLR during that period is not a guide to what is to come, especially as the future driver of SLR will increasingly be ice-sheet instability and collapse (specifically the WAIS). 3mm a year is just the very early, tame and polite ice melt stage. When gravity takes over, things will get lively. At least a metre globally by the end of the century with several more metres to come over the next couple of centuries. 246. BBD says: M2 If you know these parameters how hard can it be to fit a curve to it? If you cannot fit a curve it means you don’t have these parameters OR it is not really an acceleration of the acceleration of sea level rise. 1/ Ice melts as GAT rises, so the SLR acceleration over the last few decades is real. Denial on this point is too silly to be worth discussing further. 2/ Since the rate of mass loss from the WAIS is difficult to estimate because of nonlinearities in the physics of ice sheet collapse, then it is impossible to fit a curve based on current thermal expansion / ice melt and extrapolate meaningfully into the future. Based on current observations of the WAIS, substantial and accelerating mass loss seem pretty much inevitable over the course of this century and for several centuries to come. 247. BBD says: Mark Sorry, I should have posted a link to this discussion of potential SLR over the next century. It seems that glaciologists are expecting more and faster than everybody else. Glaciologists of course know the most about the dynamics of ice sheet collapse. 248. bill shockley says: M2, If you have a doubling time, you can fit a curve. It’s called an exponential function. What is more important is how you arrived at the doubling time, i.e., the evidence and the logic that supports it. This Hansen lecture preceded the new paper by a few months. Excerpt: 21:56 With regard to ice sheets and sea level… I think that situation is much more serious than IPCC leads you to believe. They’re kind of slowly moving in the direction that I think is the right answer. And I’m working on a paper on that subject, which I don’t want to be too specific about, because last time I talked about a paper before it was submitted for journal, it ended up causing a long delay in its publication. But we do see that the area that has melt-water on Greenland fluctuates from year to year with the weather. But it has been increasing, and this is an old slide that only goes up to 2008. The red area is the area that had melting in the summer… 2012, almost the entire ice sheet had surface melting. And that meltwater will burrow a hole in the ice sheet where it goes all the way to the base of the ice sheet and lubricates the base of the ice sheet and speeds up the discharge of ice to the ocean. These brave fellows standing on the edge of this ice stream… If one those fellows slip in that water, this hole goes down about 2 km, 3 km to the base of the ice sheet. But the professor is standing further behind. But here’s a river of water—those are brave fellows standing on the edge up there. But, these glaciers are now expelling ice to the ocean more rapidly… Greenland is now losing more than 300 cubic kilometers of ice per year, which we can now measure very accuately with the gravity satellite which measures the gravitational field so precisely that you can see changes in the mass of the ice sheet. And both Greenland and Antarctica are now losing mass at increasing rates. The rate of sea level rise over the last century has been increasing. It’s now 3.2mm/year, which is 32 cm in a century, which is still not dramatic but… And my argument is that the disintegration of ice sheets is very likely non-linear, and can be characterized better by a doubling time than by a linear process. But this particular curve for sea level includes all the contributions—not just the ice sheets—the thermal expansion of the ocean and the change of the amount of water locked in continents and aquifers, but the component of that from the ice sheets is the component that I think is highly non-linear. And thats… There’s a paper published a few months ago, by Velicogna … I think it’s in GRL. But the gravity satellite, the analyses of that… it’s not so simple because you have to… it’s not only that the mass of the ice sheet is changing… you still have the isostatic rebound. So you have the fluid in the Earth’s interior is still responding to the absence of an ice sheet on North America. So you have to correct for isostatic adjustment. But they’re getting better and better at doing that and the error bars are getting smaller. And what we find is that, in the case of Greenland, it’s losing mass, especially in the southern part of the continent. And in Antarctica, it is especially West Antarctica. However, also, what’s just been realized in the last few years is that the Aurora Basin and East Antarctica is also fronting. The reason the West Antarctic ice sheet is very important and potentially could yield a large sea level rise rapidly is because the ice is sitting on bedrock several hundred meters below sea level. So the ocean has access to the ice sheet. And it’s this interaction between the ocean water and the ice sheet, which I think makes it a very non-linear problem, where as the ocean warms, it can begin to cause rapid disintegration of the ice sheet. 21:10 Well it turns out that the same thing is true in this East Antarctic area fronted by the Toten Glacier, which is part of this Aurora Basin and part of the Wilkes Basin, which has more than 10 meters of potential sea level in it. So, what is found is that in all 3 cases—Greenland, East Antarctica and West Antarctica—the mass loss is accelerating at a rate which would give you a doubling time of the order of 10 years. If it really turns out to be 10 years, that means we get several meters of sea level rise within 50 years. If it’s a 20 year doubling then it means in a hundred years you’re going to get several meters. 249. Mark Bahner says: “At least a metre globally by the end of the century with several more metres to come over the next couple of centuries.” OK, greater than 1 meter from 2000 to 2100. How about from 2000 to 2050? Sea level rise will be greater than what value from 2000 to 2050? Also, is there any increase from 2000 to 2050 below which you would say your prediction for 2000 to 2100 is likely too high? For example, if the sea level rise from 2000 to 2050 is below 0.25 meters, would you say your prediction of greater than 1 meter from 2000 to 2100 is likely too high? 250. Michael 2 says: bill shockley writes “M2, If you have a doubling time, you can fit a curve. It’s called an exponential function.” I love fitting sea level rise (SLR) to exponential functions. It becomes possible to calculate when Mount Everest will be submerged. We need the base (the number to be raised to a power representing number of years). Hansen’s will do: “the mass loss is accelerating at a rate which would give you a doubling time of the order of 10 years.” Since it is exponential, we take the 10th root of “double” or 2 = 1.071 for the base. We need a coefficient, the current rate of sea level rise “The rate of sea level rise over the last century has been increasing. It’s now 3.2mm/year” So now we have almost everything needed for a formula. I assume a simple exponential function with a 10 year doubling. For the rate of SLR in any year y = 3.2*1.071^x where x is the number of years from the y intercept (starting point) and you’d simply integrate over an interval to get cumulative SLR. The indefinite integral (Wolfram Alpha) is 46.6521 * 1.071^x There’s a bit more to it than that but this is good for illustration. To submerge Mount Everest, 8,848 meters, work the equation 8848000 (millimeters) = 46.6521 * 1.071^x solving for X. Wolfram Alpha says 177 years until Waterworld. Where’s Noah when you need an ark? You don’t need calculus for estimating. With a doubling time of 10 years you can use good old powers-of-two familiar to computer programmers: 10 years 2 (2^1) * 3.2mm per year = 6.4mm per year in ten years. 20 years 4 (2^2) and so on (in a binary progression) to 200 years (2^20) = 1048576 times 3.2mm per year or 3355 meters per year SLR, nearly 10 meters per day! I suspect sea level rise cannot actually be represented by an exponential formula, thus its rise is not “exponential”. An alternative is to consider a “logistic function” that more accurately captures the slowdown in sea level rise as water sources (melting ice) is exhausted. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function “The function was named in 1844–1845 by Pierre François Verhulst, who studied it in relation to population growth. The initial stage of growth is approximately exponential; then, as saturation begins, the growth slows, and at maturity, growth stops.” Therefore sea level rise could probably be better approximated with a logistic function but that’s a project for a different day. I have wrestled with this for hours — I haven’t had this much fun with math in several years! 251. Michael 2 says: VTG says “However, the ultimate temperature at the ground is higher, because the distance to the height at which CO2 radiates to space has risen.” I agree that this will be one of the consequences of adding more CO2. You state it more elegantly and succinctly than I have seen elsewhere. I might add that it is not clear from your statement why the radiating “shell” being higher should cause the surface to be warmer, although implied by the lapse rate which itself assumes some magic. For my purposes instead of lapse rate being a cause of this phenomenon I turn it around and treat lapse rate as the consequence of the journey of heat from surface to space. Increase that journey, make it take longer, and more heat accumulates at the surface which is where shortwave sunlight is turned into heat. 252. bill shockley says: M2, You’re right to turn my patronizing tone back on me. After I posted I reread it and wondered where it came from. I apologize for that. Bill 253. bill shockley says: M2, The logistic function is interesting, thanks for the introduction. But the doubling time math is utilized by Hansen only for a portion of the period of ice shrinkage. This is clear from the paper’s abstract: We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. 254. BBD says: Mark Also, is there any increase from 2000 to 2050 below which you would say your prediction for 2000 to 2100 is likely too high? For example, if the sea level rise from 2000 to 2050 is below 0.25 meters, would you say your prediction of greater than 1 meter from 2000 to 2100 is likely too high? This is perhaps to miss the point. Let’s say that MSL only increases by 60cm this century. It will not stop. Multi-metre sea level rise will be locked in by then. The drainage / collapse of the WAIS and the Wilkes basin (EAIS) will be gravity-driven and unstoppable even if we somehow managed to get GAT down over next couple of hundred years. Multi-metre SLR even over several centuries would literally be catastrophic, almost unimaginably so. In a very real sense, nitpicking over centimetres this century is insane. Once it gets going it will not stop. This point seems to get forgotten in the ‘debate’. The object of the exercise is to try and prevent unstoppable SLR driven by a destabilised WAIS which in turn triggers drainage of the Wilkes basin. There are uncomfortable suggestions that it may already be too late. * * * Rignot et al. (2014) Joughin et al. (2014) Mengel & Levermann (2014) Greenbaum et al. (2015) 255. verytallguy says: M2, …the lapse rate which itself assumes some magic. I think I now understand the root of your issues with climate change. Magic is not a synonym of thermodynamics. 256. Michael 2 says: Bill Shockley writes: “the doubling time math is utilized by Hansen only for a portion of the period of ice shrinkage.” Yes, I noticed that. I suggest the word “surge” to describe it. Emma’s fame emanates from imprecise language. Doing the calculations rejuvenated math I haven’t used in years. I didn’t do all that for snark; it became interesting as a hypothetical exercise of little-used math trying to keep it alive. 257. dikranmarsupial says: M2 “For my purposes instead of lapse rate being a cause of this phenomenon I turn it around and treat lapse rate as the consequence of the journey of heat from surface to space.” This is a false dichotomy, the lapse rate can be explained by the “mechanical theory of heat” (see below) and still be a component of the enhanced (so-called) greenhouse effect. The “modern” understanding of the so-called greenhouse effect is rather less modern than one might think. It is interesting that the mechanism of the greenhouse effect is so poorly understood today, when Ekholm was able to give a pretty clear statement of the basic idea back in 1901. Ekholm, N. (1901). On The Variations Of The Climate Of The Geological And Historical Past And Their Causes. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 27(117), 1–62. doi:10.1002/qj.49702711702 “The atmosphere plays a very important part of a double character as to the temperature at the earth’s surface, of which the one was first pointed out by Fourier, the other by Tyndall. Firstly, the atmosphere may act like the glass of a green-house, letting through the light rays of the sun relatively easily, and absorbing a great part of the dark rays emitted from the ground, and it thereby may raise the mean temperature of the earth’s surface. Secondly, the atmosphere acts as a heat store placed between the relatively warm ground and the cold space, and thereby lessens in a high degree the annual, diurnal, and local variations of the temperature. There are two qualities of the atmosphere that produce these effects. The one is that the temperature of the atmosphere generally decreases with the height above the ground or the sea-level, owing partly to the dynamical heating of descending air currents and the dynamical cooling of ascending ones, as is explained in the mechanical theory of heat. The other is that the atmosphere, absorbing but little of the insolation and the most of the radiation from the ground, receives a considerable part of its heat store from the ground by means of radiation, contact, convection, and conduction, whereas the earth’s surface is heated principally by direct radiation from the sun through the transparent air. It follows from this that the radiation from the earth into space does not go on directly from the ground, but on the average from a layer of the atmosphere having a considerable height above sea-level. The height of that layer depends on the thermal quality of the atmosphere, and will vary with that quality. The greater is the absorbing power of the air for heat rays emitted from the ground, the higher will that layer be, But the higher the layer, the lower is its temperature relatively to that of the ground ; and as the radiation from the layer into space is the less the lower its temperature is, it follows that the ground will be hotter the higher the radiating layer is.” [Ekholm, 1901, p19-20]” H/T Steve Easterbrook (http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2015/08/who-first-coined-the-term-greenhouse-effect/). 258. Michael 2 says: VTG writes “Magic is not a synonym of thermodynamics.” Evidently I chose poorly. “Magic” is often used by programmers to signify a particular clever bit of programming whose actual function would be more difficult to explain than to merely use or demonstrate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_magic 259. dikranmarsupial says: M2 ” I might add that it is not clear from your statement why the radiating “shell” being higher should cause the surface to be warmer, although implied by the lapse rate which itself assumes some magic. ” If the height of the radiating shell increases, the temperature of that layer will be cooler, and hence less energy will be radiated out into space (Stefan-Boltzmann law). However, the inbound radiation from the sun will be unchanged, and so there will be a radiation imbalance. As the planet is then receiving more energy from the sun than it radiates into space, it will warm up. As the planet warms up, the temperature of the radiating layer will increase until the energy radiated balances the energy received from the sun. As the energy from the sun is mostly absorbed at the surface, it seems reasonable to suggest that is where the warming will be seen first, and then convection etc. will cause the radiating layer to warm in response. There is a good explanation of this here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/ 260. Michael 2 says: Followup to VTG: I have to chuckle a bit reading the Wiki article on “deep magic”. Some of my programs do actually use the word “magic” to flag a section of the program that is tricky enough to probably cause problems in the future especially if I am modifying the functionality. 261. verytallguy says: Dikran, that’s a really interesting extract, thank you. 262. Mark Bahner says: “Let’s say that MSL only increases by 60 cm this century.” Yes, I think that’s a better estimate than “greater than 1 meter.” “It will not stop. Multi-metre sea level rise will be locked in by then. The drainage / collapse of the WAIS and the Wilkes basin (EAIS) will be gravity-driven and unstoppable even if we somehow managed to get GAT down over next couple of hundred years.” I know of a very straightforward (but currently expensive) way to get global atmospheric temperature down within less than one hundred years. As I’ve pointed out on my blog, if the world in the year 2100 started spending ~10 percent of its GDP on ambient atmospheric CO2 removal and sequestration, the global CO2 global atmospheric concentration could be reduced to its pre-industrial concentration of ~280 ppm by the end of the century under every single IPCC scenario (even the highly-unlikely-to-occur A1FI scenario). This assumes a cost of1000 per ton of CO2 removed, which likely significantly overestimates the cost if such a program was actually undertaken:

Global warming is reversible (obviously)

But it’s also almost certainly wrong that the drainage / collapse of the WAIS and Wilkes Basin (EAIS) are “unstoppable”. As far as I can tell, there has been no attempt to do any engineering analysis of potential measures to reduce melting rates. For instance, in this article and video presentation, is is stated that the collapse is “inevitable,” but the range of time ranges from 200 years to 900 years, based on the rates of warming of seawater. But there is no thought at all about how the rate of melting could be reduced, other than by lowering CO2 emissions.

Given a week, I could probably come up with a half dozen different ways to reduce the rate of melting of the ice shelves. One that immediately comes to mind would be air-filled “curtains” fixed to the bottom of the sea, and floating up to touch the ice shelves on their bottoms, so that water could not circulate underneath the ice. My wild first approximation is that it would cost under \$500 billion to deploy such curtains under every single major ice shelf in Antarctica (e.g., Ross, Ronnie-Filchner, Larsen C, etc.)

“Multi-metre SLR even over several centuries would literally be catastrophic, almost unimaginably so.”

When I read things like this, I wonder if I’m living on the same planet. 😉 Here are some pictures of cities after WWII:

Hiroshima

Berlin

Now go to this site and look at NYC with various sea level rise values. How is a sea level rise of even 2 meters even comparable to what happened to hundreds of cities in WWII? And don’t forget that we’re probably talking about ~200 years for a sea level rise of 2 meters…

Sea level projections

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