Storms of My Grandchildren by Dr. James Hansen

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:34 PM GMT on July 26, 2010

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"Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity" is NASA climate change scientist Dr. James Hansen's first book. Dr. Hansen is arguably the most visible and well-respected climate change scientist in the world, and has headed the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. Dr. Hansen greatly raised awareness of the threat of global warming during his Congressional testimony during the record hot summer of 1988, and issued one of the first-ever climate model predictions of global warming (see an analysis here to see how his 1988 prediction did.) In 2009, Dr. Hansen was awarded the Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Meteorological Society, for his "outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena."

Storms of My Grandchildren focuses on the key concepts of the science of climate change, told through Hansen's personal experiences as a key player in field's scientific advancements and political dramas over the past 40 years. Dr. Hansen's writing style is very straight-forward and understandable, and he clearly explains the scientific concepts involved in a friendly way that anyone with a high school level science education can understand. I did not find any scientific errors in his book. However, some of his explanations are too long-winded, and the book is probably too long, at 274 pages. Nevertheless, Storms of My Grandchildren is a must-read, due to the importance of the subject matter and who is writing it. Hansen is not a fancy writer. He comes across as a plain Iowan who happened to stumble into the field of climate change and discovered things he had to speak out about. And he does plenty of speaking out in his book.

James Hansen vs. Richard Lindzen
Dr. Hansen's book opens with an interesting chapter on his participation in four meetings of Vice President Dick Cheney's cabinet-level Climate Task Force in 2001. It seems that the Bush Administration was prepared to let Dr. Hansen's views on climate change influence policy. However, Dr. Richard Lindzen, whom Hansen describes as "the dean of of global warming contrarians", was also present at the meetings. Dr.Lindzen was able to confuse the task force members enough so that they never took Dr. Hansen's views seriously. Hansen observes that "U.S. policies regarding carbon dioxide during the Bush-Cheney administration seem to have been based on, or at a minimum, congruent with, Lindzen's perspective." Hansen asserts that Lindzen was able to do this by acting more like a lawyer than a scientist: "He and other contrarians tend to act like lawyers defending a client, presenting only arguments that favor their client. This is in direct contradiction to...the scientific method." Hansen also comments that he asked Lindzen what he thought of the link between smoking and cancer, since Lindzen had been a witness for the tobacco industry decades earlier. Lindzen "began rattling off all the problems with the data relating smoking to health problems, which was closely analogous to his views of climate data."

Alarmism
Global warming contrarians often dismiss scientists such a Dr. Hansen as "alarmists" who concoct fearsome stories about climate change in order to get research funding. Dr. Lindzen made this accusation at Cheney's Climate Task Force in 2001. However, Dr. Hansen notes that "in 1981 I lost funding for research on the climate effects of carbon dioxide because the Energy Department was displeased with a paper, 'Climate Impact of Increasing Carbon Dioxide,' I had published in Science magazine. The paper made a number of predictions for the 21st century, including 'opening of the fabled Northwest Passage', which the Energy Department considered to be alarmist but which have since proven to be accurate." If you read Dr. Hansen's book and listen to his lectures, it is clear that he is not an alarmist out to get more research funding by hyping the dangers of global warming. Hansen says in his book that "my basic nature nature is very placid, even comfortably stolid", and that nature comes through very clearly in Storms of My Grandchildren. Hansen's writings express a quiet determination to plainly set forth the scientific truth on climate change. He has surprisingly few angry words towards the politicians, lobbyists, and scientists intent on distorting the scientific truth.

The science of climate change
The bulk of Storms of My Grandchildren is devoted to explanations of the science of climate change. Hansen's greatest concern is disintegration of the gerat ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica causing sea level rise: "Once the ice sheets begin to rapidly disintegrate, sea level would be continuously changing for centuries. Coastal cities would become impractical to maintain." Hansen is concerned that evidence from past climate periods show that the massive ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica can melt quickly, with large changes within a century. For example, sea level at the end of the most recent Ice Age, 13,000 - 14,000 years ago, rose at a rate of 3 - 5 meters (10 - 17 feet) per century for several centuries. Hansen is convinced that just a 1.7 -2°C warming, which would likely result if we stabilize CO2 at 450 ppm, would be a "disaster scenario" that would trigger rapid disintegration of the ice sheets and disastrous rises in sea level. Hansen advocates stabilizing CO2 at 350 ppm (we are currently at 390 ppm, with a rate of increase of 2 ppm per year.)

Another of Hansen's main concerns is the extinction of species. He notes that studies of more than 1,000 species of plants, animals, and insects have found an average migration rate towards the poles due to climate warming in the last half of the 20th century to be four miles per decade. "That is not fast enough. During the past thirty years the lines marking the regions in which a given average temperature prevails (isotherms) have been moving poleward at a rate of about thirty-five miles per decade. If greenhouse gases continue to increase at business-as-usual rates, then the rate of isotherm movement will double in this century to at least seventy miles per decade."

Hansen's other main concern is the release of large amounts of methane gas stored in sea-floor sediments in the form of methane hydrates. If ocean temperatures warm according to predictions, the higher temperatures at the sea floor may be enough to destabilize the methane hydrate sediments and release huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 - 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Solutions to the climate change problem
Dr. Hansen is a controversial figure, since he has stepped outside his field of expertise and become an activist in promoting solutions to the climate change problem. He devotes a chapter called "An Honest, Effective Path" in the book to this. His main theme is that we need to tax fossil fuels using a "fee-and-dividend" approach. All of the tax money collected would be distributed uniformly to the public. This carbon tax would gradually rise, giving people time to adjust their lifestyle, choice of vehicle, home insulation, etc. Those who do better at reducing their fossil fuel use will receive more in the dividend than they will pay in the added costs of the products they buy. The approach is straightforward and does not require a large bureaucracy, but currently has little political support. Hansen is vehemently opposed to the approach that has the most political support, "Cap-and-trade": "Cap-and-trade is what governments and the people in alligator shoes (the lobbyists for special interests) are trying to foist on you. Whoops. As an objective scientist I should delete such personal opinions, to at least flag them. But I am sixty-eight years old, and I am fed up with the way things work in Washington." Hansen also promotes an overlooked type of nuclear power, "fast" reactors with liquid metal coolant that produce far less nuclear waste and are much more efficient than conventional nuclear reactors.

Quotes from the book
"Humanity treads today on a slippery slope. As we continue to pump greenhouse gases into the air, we move onto a steeper, even more slippery incline. We seem oblivious to the danger--unaware how close we may be to a situation in which a catastrophic slip becomes practically unavoidable, a slip where we suddenly lose all control and are pulled into a torrential stream that hurls us over a precipice to our demise."

"In order for a democracy to function well, the public needs to be honestly informed. But the undue influence of special interests and government greenwash pose formidable barriers to a well-informed public. Without a well-informed public, humanity itself and all species on the planet are threatened."

"Of course by 2005 I was well aware that the NASA Office of Public Affairs had become an office of propaganda. In 2004, I learned that NASA press releases related to global warming were sent to the White House, where they were edited to appear less serious or discarded entirely."

"If we let special interests rule, my grandchildren and yours will pay the price."

"The role of money in our capitals is the biggest problem for democracy and for the planet."

"The problem with asking people to pledge to reduce their fossil fuel use is that even if lots of people do, one effect is reduced demand for fossil fuel and thus a lower price--making it easier for someone else to burn...it is necessary for people to reduce their emissions, but it is not sufficient if the government does not adopt policies that cause much of the fossil fuels to be left in the ground permanently."

"I have argued that it is time to 'draw a line in the sand' and demand no new coal plants."

"The present situation is analogous to that faced by Lincoln with slavery and Churchill with Nazism--the time for compromises and appeasement is over."

"Humans are beginning to hammer the climate system with a forcing more than an order of magnitude more powerful than the forcings that nature employed."

"Once ice sheet disintegration begins in earnest, our grandchildren will live the rest of their lives in a chaotic transition period."

"After the ice is gone, would Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I've come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty."

"One suggestion I have for now: Support Bill McKibben and his organization 350.org. It is the most effective and responsible leadership in the public struggle for climate justice."

Commentary
James Hansen understands the Earth's climate as well as any person alive, and his concern about where our climate is headed makes Storms of My Grandchildren a must-read for everyone who cares about the world their grandchildren will inherit. Storms of My Grandchildren retails for $16.50 at Amazon.com. Dr. Hansen's web site is http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/.

Jeff Masters

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1416. PensacolaDoug 4:10 PM GMT on July 27, 2010
I suspect JFlorida and others of his ilk flag every poster they dont agree with. I could be wrong however.
Action: Quote | Ignore User

You are not wrong...


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So how many of mine have you flagged today?
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


What EXACTLY does the free press article say - Its a jumbled mess. you call that reputable?


It was a joke. The article was written by Tim Ball.
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What happened to the Yucatan Disturbance? And where did the Carolinas disturbance come from?
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Quoting DestinJeff:


or flog them.



Where is the "flog" button?? Enhancement suggestion?
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1424. unf97
Quoting StormW:
Hot off the press!
Tropical Weather! (Go figure).

TROPICAL WEATHER SYNOPSIS JULY 27, 2010 ISSUED 12:05 P.M.


Thanks Storm and good afternoon to you sir! I appreciate your timely blog update and thanks for posting it!
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Wow Pat, Have a good day! Lord knows we dont need an invest right now, almost all the decent analysts have been run off by all the nonsense in here today. Well, your here but I'm sure they will run you off before long. Maybe it'll get better next year. Peace out!!!
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Quoting hcubed:
Quoting JFLORIDA:
"So I would like to see one article from a respected scientist verified in observation that disputes the base mechanism for AGW.

One."

And there is SOME of the problem.

Who really determines the "respect" of a scientist?

Who has the right to say which papers are valid or which publications are "respected"?

When I was little I wanted to be a scientist...
In college I was a physics/engineering major and took ALL the bio,chem,geo, and of course physics required courses through the first two years...

Then I saw how little money real scientist who did original research made and the kind of jobs they got. This was right before Carl Sagan( who is still wrong about everything) started making the doomsday scientist/politician a viable option for a "science" career...
Now I don't trust any "scientist" who publishes anything on controversial subjects which must have money thrown at them for grants or the earth is going to end......

Look at the title to the Book the blog is about..
Does that sound like a balanced impartial scientist talking?
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1420. Patrap
Quoting ACEhigh:


The peer review process determines whether or not a scientist is respected. Most of the papers published by AGW deniers have been in journals outside the field of climatology, or in venues that are not even remotely scientific or credible such as industry funded think tanks.


Shhhsssh,!!!!


Dont give away the scientific process.

It may disturb the lemurs.
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1419. Michale
Quoting ACEhigh:


The peer review process determines whether or not a scientist is respected. Most of the papers published by AGW deniers have been in journals outside the field of climatology, or in venues that are not even remotely scientific or credible such as industry funded think tanks.


The peer review process took a serious credibility hit with ClimateGate...
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Quoting StormW:


Still gonna need oil.


LMAO again... and again!!!!! You go Doc!!!!!!!!!!
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I suspect JFlorida and others of his ilk flag every poster they dont agree with. I could be wrong however.
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1415. GetReal
Quoting Ossqss:
Howdy, can someone tell me where Steve Goddard is wrong here on the historic GISS data manipulation? How about that smoothing that takes place? Oh, but the Satellites prior to 1980 were pretty good. Next we can discuss how the Sat's are calibrated and their accuracy now vs 1979 :)

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/26/giss-swiss-cheese/#more-22599

"Most Arctic stations used in GISTEMP are 1000 km (621 miles) or more away from the North Pole. That is about the distance from Chicago to Atlanta. Again would you use climate records from Atlanta to gauge what is happening in Chicago?

Note the area between Svalbard and the North Pole in the globe below. There is no data in the 250 km 1880-2009 trend map indicating that region has warmed significantly, yet GISS 1200 km 1880-2009 has it warming 2-4° C. Same story for northern Greenland, the Beaufort Sea, etc. There’s a lot of holes in the polar data that has been interpolated."





When you can't answer a point just censor it. That is alot easier to handle...
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1413. ACEhigh
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:

1388. hcubed 4:01 PM GMT on July 27, 2010
Quoting JFLORIDA:
"So I would like to see one article from a respected scientist verified in observation that disputes the base mechanism for AGW.

One."

And there is SOME of the problem.

Who really determines the "respect" of a scientist?

Who has the right to say which papers are valid or which publications are "respected"?
Action: Quote | Ignore User



well, duh! Didn't you know that the only respectable scientist are the ones who agree with GW. Tsk! Tsk!


The peer review process determines whether or not a scientist is respected. Most of the papers published by AGW deniers have been in journals outside the field of climatology, or in venues that are not even remotely scientific or credible such as industry funded think tanks.
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1412. Patrap
One can flag posts all day,,but the system quantifies it by seeing if others flag it as well.

If one flags constantly..the system recognizes that and dismisses it.

That prevents one from Flagging the same person.

Its a "logic" based algorithm much more sophisticated than a lotta Humans here..


Easily.

We call it HAL.
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1411. Ossqss
Interesting, with little tabs above the graphs.

http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/wunderground.com#

This will probably be blanked out like the prior post from Goddard by the - mob.
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1410. myway
At some point one scientist must have started the man made GW belief. Odds are he or she was not thought of as respected as he or she was probably going against the grain of the established majority. Eventually many others jumped on board as research progressed which leads us to now.

So. It is possible that if the few scientists that do not back the man made claim, can come up with research to back their belief, the tide could turn the other way.

The debate will rage for decades.
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1409. Michale
Quoting Neapolitan:


I'll make this easy on you:

1) Only 0.1% of the signees of the petition have expertise in the climate sciences. (113 in atmospheric science, 39 in climatology, 341 in meteorology, 59 in astronomy, and 26 in astrophysics)


If I am not mistaken, the guy who heads the UN's IPCCC or whatever it is, is an engineer with absolutely ZERO climate science bona fides..

Ya sure you want to go with this argument??
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Quoting Neapolitan:


I'll make this easy on you:

1) Only 0.1% of the signees of the petition have expertise in the climate sciences. (113 in atmospheric science, 39 in climatology, 341 in meteorology, 59 in astronomy, and 26 in astrophysics);

2) Time after time, random samples of names from the petition have been checked out, and appear to have been either made up, or some purer form of quackery. For instance, among the signers are an orthepedic surgeon, an architect, and many others for whom absolutely no other info is available;

3) The papers attachged to the petition were carefully designed to appear as peer-reviewed academic papers, when they were actually organs put out by known deniers and Big Oil/Big Tobacco. In the words of the National Academy of Sciences--the organization from whence the falsified documents pretended to emenate: "The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science."

Next!!!


Your argument against the paper and its author, Professor Jyrki Kauppinen is based on who signed the petition?

Are you for real?!?!? LOL!!!!!
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Hey Nea you might want to get a new handle and staret over as you have no credibility here. You're comment about wanting to ship all of us off who don't agree with you shows you for the kind of person you truly are.
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1406. Patrap
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
I'm more interested in the Carolina's disturbance than the Antilles one personally as the models have been hinting a trough split a few days ago.
The wave near the Antilles is also about to confront 30 knots of wind shear along with a hefty amount of dry air. I don't see development of that feature until it enters a more moist environment. The disturbance by the Carolina's has much more favorable upper level conditions.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1394. JFLORIDA 4:04 PM GMT on July 27, 2010
Yea i flagged them pat - they post some garbage article on pre industrial CO2 levels - dont even know thats its referencing and then make insults.



They are wasting everyones time.


And I guess you are the authority on who is wasting who's time. ;) Once again, flagging others post because they don't agree with you.
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1401. NEwxguy
Wow,some things never change,I sit in amazement over the same arguments and the same insults and the same people.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
And I dont insult the dead as well..



Who insulted the dead?
Really...he was insulting you Patrick, not your father.
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Quoting ezcColony:


30,000 Anti-Global Warming Scientists Can’t Be Wrong
Friday, April 30, 2010

Nature Magazine, the academic journal that introduced the world to X-rays, DNA double helix, wave nature of particles, pulsars, and more recently the human genome, is set to publish a paper in June that shows atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for only 5-10% of observed warming on Earth.

As explained by the paper’s author Professor Jyrki Kauppinen, “The climate is warming, yes, but not because of greenhouse gases.”

For the preeminent scientific journal in the world to publish Kauppinen’s work shows conclusively that Al Gore’s much touted “scientific consensus” supporting human-caused global warming is a myth.
Eco-censors and the global warming hoax

For years scientists have been trying to get out the message past the eco-censors that there are thousands and thousands of them who do not buy into the global warming hoax.

Since 2009 more than 238 physicists including Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever and professors from Harvard, MIT, Princeton, UCLA and dozens of other top universities and research institutions have signed an open letter addressed to the Council of the American Physical Society saying the scientific data did not support the conclusion that increased CO2 concentrations are responsible for global warming.

In 2009 over 700 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC members, joined with Senator Inhofe in a Senate Minority Report to express their doubts over man-made global warming claims.

In the report U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg was quoted as saying “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.”

In the largest effort to date to document global warming dissent in the scientific community, 31,486 Americans with university degrees in science - including 9,029 PhD, 7,157 MS, 2,586 MD and DVM, and 12,714 BS or equivalent - have signed on with the Global Warming Petition Project to state “the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity.”

Many of the best and brightest minds in the United States and around the world are in total agreement: The so-called global warming “scientific consensus” is a complete fabrication and does not exist.

*****************************

Hey! Would you like to read the paper, too?!?!?



I'll make this easy on you:

1) Only 0.1% of the signees of the petition have expertise in the climate sciences. (113 in atmospheric science, 39 in climatology, 341 in meteorology, 59 in astronomy, and 26 in astrophysics);

2) Time after time, random samples of names from the petition have been checked out, and appear to have been either made up, or some purer form of quackery. For instance, among the signers are an orthepedic surgeon, an architect, and many others for whom absolutely no other info is available;

3) The papers attachged to the petition were carefully designed to appear as peer-reviewed academic papers, when they were actually organs put out by known deniers and Big Oil/Big Tobacco. In the words of the National Academy of Sciences--the organization from whence the falsified documents pretended to emenate: "The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science."

Next!!!
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1398. Patrap
I invested in Idiocy Long time ago..and Im almost a Gazillionaire.





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I'm more interested in the Carolina's disturbance than the Antilles one personally as the models have been hinting a trough split a few days ago.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24157

1388. hcubed 4:01 PM GMT on July 27, 2010
Quoting JFLORIDA:
"So I would like to see one article from a respected scientist verified in observation that disputes the base mechanism for AGW.

One."

And there is SOME of the problem.

Who really determines the "respect" of a scientist?

Who has the right to say which papers are valid or which publications are "respected"?
Action: Quote | Ignore User



well, duh! Didn't you know that the only respectable scientist are the ones who agree with GW. Tsk! Tsk!
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Quoting sailingallover:

Ok wanna buy a solar energy system for your house? I am in the business solar panels st Thomas.
Initial cost installed is about $5 Watt.
Depending on where you live you will get between 2-5 Watt Hours per day out of it.
Lets say 3.
So for you to get a Kilo Watt Hour will take about a year.
If you are paying $.10 per KWH it will take 50 years to pay for itself.
The Fed Gov gives you a 30% tax credit so everyone can pays for $2 per watt of your system but wait we ALL need systems so where does everyone get the $2 per Watt?
You need about 10KW of panels to run your house assuming 30KWH per day usage( go look at your electric bill) so about $50,0000 dollars...
Ready to stop burning oil now? Tax CO2 emmisions and use the money to pay for solar?


This post will not help those heavily invested in these technologies that are associated with this blog. PLEASE REFRAIN! They're trying very hard to get rich!
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And I dont insult the dead as well..



Who insulted the dead?
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Quoting 7544:
wave by the islands looks good today maine diggity maine maine


umm ok?"
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


What EXACTLY does the free press article say - Its a jumbled mess. you call that reputable?

ahhhh
it say the data they having been using to "prove" CO2 is global warming was manipulated based on studies of CO2 in Ice Cores from Glaciers..
The Ice cores show that CO2 has a much greater variability in the atmosphere preindustrial than the scientist who advocate catastrophic global warming both use and show.
Amazing how people work hard to understand things that want to believe in..
Yes the Earth atmosphere is getting warmer..I think....
It is amazing how
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Quoting MahFL:


The wave will hit 30 knts of shear though, and go poof !
Tropical waves don't go poof, their convection does.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1388. hcubed
Quoting JFLORIDA:
"So I would like to see one article from a respected scientist verified in observation that disputes the base mechanism for AGW.

One."

And there is SOME of the problem.

Who really determines the "respect" of a scientist?

Who has the right to say which papers are valid or which publications are "respected"?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
You get your zingers in all the time Pat.

If ya can't take it don't dish it out!
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Lighten up Patrick...it was meant in jest. First rule of holes: when you're in one, put the shovel down
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Quoting 7544:
wave by the islands looks good today
It's accompanied by a fair amount of 925mb vorticity near the northern quadrant.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1384. angiest
Quoting sailingallover:

Ok wanna buy a solar energy system for your house? I am in the business solar panels st Thomas.
Initial cost installed is about $5 Watt.
Depending on where you live you will get between 2-5 Watt Hours per day out of it.
Lets say 3.
So for you to get a Kilo Watt Hour will take about a year.
If you are paying $.10 per KWH it will take 50 years to pay for itself.
The Fed Gov gives you a 30% tax credit so everyone can pays for $2 per watt of your system but wait we ALL need systems so where does everyone get the $2 per Watt?
You need about 10KW of panels to run your house assuming 30KWH per day usage( go look at your electric bill) so about $50,0000 dollars...
Ready to stop burning oil now? Tax CO2 emmisions and use the money to pay for solar?




Yeah no way will 10kwh/day run air conditioning in the middle of summer...
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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