Drought, Fire, Flood: In the News

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:22 AM GMT on July 12, 2011

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Drought, Fire, Flood: In the News

I have been writing about a variety of issues that I know are of interest to only a small number of people – U.S. science organizations, climate model software, and validation of climate models. I am going to move away from that arcane set of subjects for a while and spend a little more time in the climate mainstream. In this entry I want to touch on several subjects – starting with my garden.

My garden is in the flat land that is the western edge of the Great Plains, just east of Boulder, Colorado. Weather wise, it is a complex and difficult environment: more than 5000 feet above sea level, reliant upon water from the winter snow pack in the mountains, huge swings of hot and cold. In terms of climate types, I have seen region defined as both arid and semiarid. In the last week, we have had three or more inches of rain – hard driving rain with much lightning. There is water standing between the rows in the garden. The week of July 4 it was so dry there was a fire ban, and many firework fires.

Last summer in Boulder we had the Fourmile Fire, which burned thousands of acres and dozens of houses. With this rain, we have mudslides, rock slides and flash floods (Longmont Times Call). It all makes you appreciate the importance of the weather and the climate. Wet and dry. Hot and cold. ( 485 Billion Dollar Impact of Weather)

Boulder is a microcosm of what is going on in the U.S. There have been overwhelming fires in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (Texas Fires). Dangerous drought and heat is spreading all across the southern half of the U.S. The dust storm last week in Arizona was reminiscent of pictures of the Dust Bowl. (more here). We were overwhelmed not long ago by the Mississippi River flooding. I have almost forgotten about the Missouri River flooding.



Figure 1: From KFAB Omaha News Radio. Photo Credit AP: Missouri River flood of Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant.

We see here the persistence of weather, climate, snow cover, drought, floods - one extreme after another. Jeff Master’s wrote an excellent summary of 2010-2011 as being a year of the most extreme events since 1816 – the year of Mount Tambora, a definitive and understood climate anomaly. Jeff writes that June 2011 continues the run. July 2011 is looking strong. It has been more than 300 months since there was a “below average” mean temperature. That’s a little compelling.

We are being handed one case study after another, where we see the impact that weather and climate have on us. And what is that impact? We see vulnerable people losing their homes, their crops. But where is the real threat? What does it mean that 213 counties in Texas are primary disaster areas?

Energy, economy, population – markets. We all know that the weather affects our economy. We rely on a stable climate. We see here and now an interconnected world, where extreme heat kills thousands and destroys crops and send food prices soaring. We see multiple billion dollar liens placed on our economy by floods, droughts, and tornadoes. These costs come at a time when economies all around the world are weak. There is a debt crisis, and the weather is demanding more loans. Right here and now the world is providing one climate disaster after another. The weather and climate are showing the need for more planning, for building resilience and recovery strategies. The weather and climate are revealing our vulnerabilities. While there is the obvious, the family fleeing the flood, the destroyed Joplin, Missouri hospital, there is also the accumulated impact felt through markets, higher food prices, emergency relief, things that will not be fixed, people relocating.

We are being offered lessons. I have written this far and not strung together the words “climate change” or mentioned “global warming.” This is the weather in our warming climate. The take away message from climate models, Be Prepared.

r

Rood on To the Point

Open Climate Modeling:

Greening of the Desert

Stickiness and Climate Models

Open Source Communities, What are the Problems?

A Culture of Checking


Organizing U.S. Climate Modeling:

Something New in the Past Decade?

The Scientific Organization

A Science-Organized Community

Validation and the Scientific Organization

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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:

I've been working closely with various roofing industry groups--and a lot of roofing contractors--over the last 20 years, and I can tell you that every single living roof "disadvantage" you listed has been addressed. The fact is, there are many large, forward-thinking people working on this, and that's for a reason: a properly-installed, well-maintained living roof can be a very good investment.

Just sayin'...
? Is it required that large people work on the issue for some reason?
;-)
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Quoting PurpleDrank:


roof top trees and gardens

most, if not all, roof structures are made of wood.
there will be many more roof collapses due to weight and water damage.
roots will strangle and destroy material on their way down gravity-slide in search of water.
increases in lightning caused house fires and electricution fatalities.
homeowners insurance premiums rise due to the unpredictable damage heavy trees can do to structures.
houses with gardens on roof will face pesiticide and herbicide dangers.

Billy was killed today climbing on the roof to pick strawberries, falling to his death...he leaves behind two hungry young children and a widow..."If only we were allowed to have a car to go to a grocery store.", his young widow said in between sobs at his funeral. "I wanted starwberries on my cereal and now I have no Daddy.", his oldest son exclaimed.

I've been working closely with various roofing industry groups--and a lot of roofing contractors--over the last 20 years, and I can tell you that every single living roof "disadvantage" you listed has been addressed. The fact is, there are many large, forward-thinking people organizations working on this, and that's for a reason: a properly-installed, well-maintained living roof can be a very good investment.

Just sayin'...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Quoting PurpleDrank:


roof top trees and gardens

most, if not all, roof structures are made of wood.
there will be many more roof collapses due to weight and water damage.
roots will strangle and destroy material on their way down gravity-slide in search of water.
increases in lightning caused house fires and electricution fatalities.
homeowners insurance premiums rise due to the unpredictable damage heavy trees can do to structures.
houses with gardens on roof will face pesiticide and herbicide dangers.

Billy was killed today climbing on the roof to pick strawberries, falling to his death...he leaves behind two hungry young children and a widow..."If only we were allowed to have a car to go to a grocery store.", his young widow said in between sobs at his funeral. "I wanted starwberries on my cereal and now I have no Daddy.", his oldest son exclaimed.


Jack wagon Billy forgot to wear his safety harness. If he would have remembered it like his seat belt last year in his car accident it would have saved his life! You see if Jack Wagon Billy wasn't a refusenik to the .gov and OSHA organization he would have listened to the warnings about fall protection.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting greentortuloni:


I always wonder if anyone reads my comments. Ok, sometimes but I don't get much feedback. Since you quoted the last sentence, I will believe at least you read to the last sentence. Thank you.

I agree with you about batteries. It's not my field so I can't really comment intelligently about prospects but i agree it is the bottleneck.

However, there are lots of other solutions that could be implimented right away. My favorite, electric bikes and real bike lanes in cities, is the most bang for the buck.

Imagine a city where all traffic (except ambulances, cranes, etc) was stopped otuside the city. Everyone gets on a bike/electric bike and comes into the city. Nice quiet fresh air, no congestion (compared to cars), no parking problems, better quality of life, much lower health costs (I can provide studies on this actually), more space for trees and grass even.

The problem is that everyone screams "i have the right to a car!" or that the various industries pay Mr Politician or lobbyists to find reasons, real or emotional (as in that is just a plot for liberals to take away your rights!) to convince people it shouldn't be done. i wish some mayor and town council somewhere would say: "We are doing this and the heck with the concequences". Just try it, work on it, get it right and I think it will spread.

Other ideas: roof top trees and gardens, telecommuting (already mentioned), hydroponic vegtable factories, slow channel evaporation schemes, wind poweered condensation units (for some places in the world), plus hundreds of others.



Oh to go 300 miles and then change batteries in 5 minutes or less. How inconvenient especially when powered by the Gulfstream.

Link







Now how GREEN is that?


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting greentortuloni:


I always wonder if anyone reads my comments. Ok, sometimes but I don't get much feedback. Since you quoted the last sentence, I will believe at least you read to the last sentence. Thank you.

I agree with you about batteries. It's not my field so I can't really comment intelligently about prospects but i agree it is the bottleneck.

However, there are lots of other solutions that could be implimented right away. My favorite, electric bikes and real bike lanes in cities, is the most bang for the buck.

Imagine a city where all traffic (except ambulances, cranes, etc) was stopped otuside the city. Everyone gets on a bike/electric bike and comes into the city. Nice quiet fresh air, no congestion (compared to cars), no parking problems, better quality of life, much lower health costs (I can provide studies on this actually), more space for trees and grass even.

The problem is that everyone screams "i have the right to a car!" or that the various industries pay Mr Politician or lobbyists to find reasons, real or emotional (as in that is just a plot for liberals to take away your rights!) to convince people it shouldn't be done. i wish some mayor and town council somewhere would say: "We are doing this and the heck with the concequences". Just try it, work on it, get it right and I think it will spread.

Other ideas: roof top trees and gardens, telecommuting (already mentioned), hydroponic vegtable factories, slow channel evaporation schemes, wind poweered condensation units (for some places in the world), plus hundreds of others.


roof top trees and gardens

most, if not all, roof structures are made of wood.
there will be many more roof collapses due to weight and water damage.
roots will strangle and destroy material on their way down gravity-slide in search of water.
increases in lightning caused house fires and electricution fatalities.
homeowners insurance premiums rise due to the unpredictable damage heavy trees can do to structures.
houses with gardens on roof will face pesiticide and herbicide dangers.

Billy was killed today climbing on the roof to pick strawberries, falling to his death...he leaves behind two hungry young children and a widow..."If only we were allowed to have a car to go to a grocery store.", his young widow said in between sobs at his funeral. "I wanted starwberries on my cereal and now I have no Daddy.", his oldest son exclaimed.
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 730
Quoting theshepherd:
The only thing stopping an Oil free America is political corruption.


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

That's a long dusty road fraught with much more than just political corruption.

There is a universe of distraction from this "down to earth" endeavor.

If the same money that seeks travel to Mars or worries about ice on the moon were to look for a viable alternative to plastics or a 500 mile battery...so forth and so on.

"Viable" and "feasible" is also equated with "reality" when it comes to manufacture.

I would luv nothing better than to have one of those "already in existence" kickass electric motors on all of my boats, but where is the battery that makes this a viable option?

Maybe if NASA that paid a scientist 1 1/2 mill to develop a remote controlled bumble bee to pollinate corn crops on Mars had instead directed those funds to battery developement????....so forth and so on.

One of the best things to happen lately was to retire that dinosaur they called the Shuttle. Hell, they never did figure out how to stop the foam from falling off...got lucky on the last one.

It was the cowboy ego of NASA that killed two Shuttle crews.
It is the further cowboy ego of NASA that continues all this wastefull spending.

Space defense, the US Air Force, Coast Guard and the US Army should be consolidated within the US Navy.
Weather Satellites should go to Private Industry.



I always wonder if anyone reads my comments. Ok, sometimes but I don't get much feedback. Since you quoted the last sentence, I will believe at least you read to the last sentence. Thank you.

I agree with you about batteries. It's not my field so I can't really comment intelligently about prospects but i agree it is the bottleneck.

However, there are lots of other solutions that could be implimented right away. My favorite, electric bikes and real bike lanes in cities, is the most bang for the buck.

Imagine a city where all traffic (except ambulances, cranes, etc) was stopped otuside the city. Everyone gets on a bike/electric bike and comes into the city. Nice quiet fresh air, no congestion (compared to cars), no parking problems, better quality of life, much lower health costs (I can provide studies on this actually), more space for trees and grass even.

The problem is that everyone screams "i have the right to a car!" or that the various industries pay Mr Politician or lobbyists to find reasons, real or emotional (as in that is just a plot for liberals to take away your rights!) to convince people it shouldn't be done. i wish some mayor and town council somewhere would say: "We are doing this and the heck with the concequences". Just try it, work on it, get it right and I think it will spread.

Other ideas: roof top trees and gardens, telecommuting (already mentioned), hydroponic vegtable factories, slow channel evaporation schemes, wind poweered condensation units (for some places in the world), plus hundreds of others.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
507. Ossqss

ROFLMAO
Obviously your non-canine nose cannot appreciate the finer things in life.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting theshepherd:


Yup...I was there. And so were you.

It also killed thousands of young Tarpon and Snook in Fla Bay and the Everglades and up through the Indian River Lagoon.

Normally a 15-20# Tarpon was an easy find in Hell's Bay, but I was unable to find one over 14" long.

The only good thing about it was wiping out many detrimental non native species brought in by the same idiot "bunny huggers" that thought the Glades would be a great place to release pythons or allow them to escape due to negligence.


Yes sir, sure was there!

The events also cleaned out the non-native fish the Boneheaded folks put in our lakes here. 100's of 2' Plecostomus and many others went belly up and stunk up the place for weeks on end. Now things are back to normal and the Shiners and Bass beds are not under siege each spawn by invaders as they have been for a very long time.

I still have vivid aromatic memories of, my then young pup, Zeus rolling in 2 week old dead fish (the birds drug onto the bank) after the Superbowl and having to give him a bath at Midnight, unsuccessfully ridding the odoriferous nature of the event I will have you know. Worse than a skunk! ~~:)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting Neapolitan:

I'm so sorry you feel the need to attack me personally because you disagree with my polite answer to what I thought was your reasonable comment. If you'd rather I didn't respond in the public forum, you may want to just ask those individuals you already know will agree with you by using private WU-Mails.


Ah, yes. Your comments here have nothing to do with climate modeling.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting martinitony:


I don't know whether you're a stupid man, an ignorant man or both. Perhaps you are just being disingenuous.
Suppose a model required input on scores of variables and having bad input on any one variable would likely give out inaccurate results. Suppose, also, that the probability of getting each variable correct had a good probability, say as high as 90%. Say also that there could be an additional batch of variables that might or might not affect the outcome of the model.
Now, tell me, how much reliance should we have on that model? Okay, I know the answer. So, it's a stupid question. However, my guess is you'd find a way to suggest that my example has nothing to do with climate modeling. That would be because your comments here have nothing to do with climate modeling.

I'm so sorry you feel the need to attack me personally because you disagree with my polite answer to what I thought was your reasonable comment. If you'd rather I didn't respond in the public forum, you may want to just ask those individuals you already know will agree with you by using private WU-Mails.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Well the rain exploded with a mighty crash, as we fell into the Sun..




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The only thing stopping an Oil free America is political corruption.


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

That's a long dusty road fraught with much more than just political corruption.

There is a universe of distraction from this "down to earth" endeavor.

If the same money that seeks travel to Mars or worries about ice on the moon were to look for a viable alternative to plastics or a 500 mile battery...so forth and so on.

"Viable" and "feasible" is also equated with "reality" when it comes to manufacture.

I would luv nothing better than to have one of those "already in existence" kickass electric motors on all of my boats, but where is the battery that makes this a viable option?

Maybe if NASA that paid a scientist 1 1/2 mill to develop a remote controlled bumble bee to pollinate corn crops on Mars had instead directed those funds to battery developement????....so forth and so on.

One of the best things to happen lately was to retire that dinosaur they called the Shuttle. Hell, they never did figure out how to stop the foam from falling off...got lucky on the last one.

It was the cowboy ego of NASA that killed two Shuttle crews.
It is the further cowboy ego of NASA that continues all this wastefull spending.

Space defense, the US Air Force, Coast Guard and the US Army should be consolidated within the US Navy.
Weather Satellites should go to Private Industry.

Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting theshepherd:
Which Climate Change Model has more than 18% confidence?


None perhaps, but that also includes the models that say global warming isn't happening.

I followed the models back in early 2000s. But soon I realized that i didn't have the calibration ability to predict the outcomes. In other words, if CO2 is the black paint at the bottom of the pool and the pool water is the atmosphere, I believe that the black paint (versus white paint) causes the water to warm. However, i couldn't predict the rate of temperature rise or the time scale. Nor did I know enough about feebback/stabizing methods to understand if this was a runaway roller coaster or just a handle-able problem.

So I followed the signs that i did believe in: arctic seaice, glaciers, sea temperatures, and to some lesser degree global weather patterns. For me, the big simple-to-read-and-understand variables indicate that global warming is happening.

I won't sit here and say this is 100% guaranteed. But the kids playing on a train track analogy works for me: our kids are playing on a train track. Someone says, hey i calculated that a train should come down the track in a few minutes. Someone else says this isn't true and the kids are happy playing. To me, the melting ice, the change in weather patterns, sea temperatures and so on are the faint signs that the tracks are vibrating. At this point, the burden of proof falls on the person denying the train is coming.

Why? Because if the train is coming, and we don't move the kids, they will die. If the train isn't coming, it is a pain in the ass but survivable. Geven even slight evidence, we should act.

As an American, I see even less of a problem. The down side is that America is import free with much less pollution: boo hoo, what a terrible result! In other words, all the logic is for going oil free.

The main objection seems to be that it is not feasible.But no one ever really tries to make it work except a few entropreneurs (and some big oil companies!) This leads to another reason for, if not believing in global warming, at least disbeleiving the denialists: the web sites and 'scientific studies' they quote almost all stink. That is based on years of clicking links and having to deal with un-logical emotional appeals rather than facts, terms like 'bunny hugger' (which i understand you used in a different context), communism, etc.. In short, these years have been a lesson for me about how evil I think corporations and the systems of corporate governance are.. (at least in the banality of evil sense) and I did NOT think that before starting down the global warming road. In fact, when this started for me, i was working for one of the largest corporations in America and liked it.

Finally and frankly, I am ashamed that these people who put up this objection of 'unfeasible' are American. Difficult? yes. Impossible? No. If they can't find a way, at least get out of the way. The GOP used to mean something to me. Today they've sold themsleves intellectually to the Entertainment Tonight crowd. Difficult, yes. If you think it can't be done, you are a pussy (uh, not you personally, 'you' in general). The only thing stopping an Oil free America is political corruption.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
499. greentortuloni

No offense taken.

Remember "Take only memories, leave only bubbles".

Carry on.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting theshepherd:
485. greentortuloni 4:45 PM EDT on July 16, 2011
Ok, I've checked it out. First, wow! an actually link to a web site that seems real.

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

And where have I ever posted a link to a web site that was not real?

NOAA has volumes on the subject. I recall that back in the 70s that the use of cyanide for stunting reef fish for sale to the home pet market was blamed for a lot of coral bleaching all over the planet.
Data comes in regularly from all the disciplines touching on this subject. What we have are more questions than definitive answers.

My takeaway from college "Interdisciplinary Studies" was not as a vast store of knowledge, but instead honing the skills required to "wade through the swamp".

If you're going to be a Master Diver and hopefully a Steward of the sea I would hope you continue an open minded approach when investigating your surroundings.

Wikipedia is not even allowed in most High Schools as a source of info. "One stop shopping is not always the most fruitfull."

Carry on.


Sorry about the "wow a real site" comment, I never meant to imply that you had or would link to a fake site. I just meant it coming form the perspective of a usually only lurking person who follows some of the arguments on here. Most of hte time when a global warming denialist (and I am not saying that is you) posts a link, it is too one of those sites like "Organization for Real America and NOT Anti-America Liberal Stuff because Liberals are the Anti-Christ" . So, after many times reading a comment and thinking "hmmm, maybe a point there" and then being disapointed at the quality of the link, the one link I tried was a good link, hence my reaction. Nothing to do with you.

As for wikipedia, I disagree. It is not authoritative perhaps but it really is a great place to start a search. I chose wikipedia because, especially for scientific subjects, I think it is fairly neutral. I think that if you are a specialist in an area, sooner or later you read the wiki entry on your speciality and make comments as needed. So if it isn't 100% accurate, it suffices to raise the main points.

Anyway, I gather that coral bleaching is caused mainly by temperature around the world but that anything that damages the environment is likely to cause bleaching. I think there are so many articles on this that for me to believe otherwise, I'd have to see the reasons why not, in general, as opposed to a good study about onesituation in particular.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ossqss:

486. greentortuloni

We had issues in Fl over several years with bleaching problems.

Florida Responds to Cold Weather Bleaching


Cold temperatures causing coral bleaching in South Florida and the Keys


Yup...I was there. And so were you.

It also killed thousands of young Tarpon and Snook in Fla Bay and the Everglades and up through the Indian River Lagoon.

Normally a 15-20# Tarpon was an easy find in Hell's Bay, but I was unable to find one over 14" long.

The only good thing about it was wiping out many detrimental non native species brought in by the same idiot "bunny huggers" that thought the Glades would be a great place to release pythons or allow them to escape due to negligence.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
495. Neapolitan

Thanks, but I don't need a primer by Gavin on climate modeling. This ain't my first rodeo.

My question was "which" climate change model has more than 18% confidence? That shouldn't require further definition.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
485. greentortuloni 4:45 PM EDT on July 16, 2011
Ok, I've checked it out. First, wow! an actually link to a web site that seems real.

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

And where have I ever posted a link to a web site that was not real?

NOAA has volumes on the subject. I recall that back in the 70s that the use of cyanide for stunting reef fish for sale to the home pet market was blamed for a lot of coral bleaching all over the planet.
Data comes in regularly from all the disciplines touching on this subject. What we have are more questions than definitive answers.

My takeaway from college "Interdisciplinary Studies" was not as a vast store of knowledge, but instead honing the skills required to "wade through the swamp".

If you're going to be a Master Diver and hopefully a Steward of the sea I would hope you continue an open minded approach when investigating your surroundings.

Wikipedia is not even allowed in most High Schools as a source of info. "One stop shopping is not always the most fruitfull."

Carry on.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting theshepherd:
Which Climate Change Model has more than 18% confidence?

First, you'd need to define just what exactly you mean by a "climate change" model. Sea level rise? CO2 emissions and/or concentrations? Temperature? Ocean acidification?

Second,, you'd need to define which level of accuracy you're looking for. If, for instance, you need a model to predict the exact amount of global sea level rise by 2050 down to the millimeter, that confidence level will never get close to 18%.

What you can do as part of a helpful exercise is look at how some of the historical models have performed. Here are a couple:

Uh-oh
Sea level change. Tide gauge data are indicated in red and satellite data in blue. The grey band shows the projections of the IPCC Third Assessment report (Copenhagen Diagnosis 2009).

Uh-oh
IPCC AR4 model results (grey lines with model average as black line) to observations (red line).

Here's a great NASA/Goddard primer on climate modeling..

One thing of which climate science are becoming more and more aware: current models, far from overstating future conditions, may be too conservative. That wouldn't be good...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Which Climate Change Model has more than 18% confidence?
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting martinitony:
Easy Read

It's actually funny how many times we have been wrong about cooling and warming models. I think you can take either side of this issue and form a model that fits.

It's true it is an "easy read", as you said. But I myself never expect to find climate science accuracy coming from a Big Energy-funded denialist writing an op-ed piece in a financial magazine, and Michaels didn't disappoint; the very first sentence contains a number of falsehoods, and the rest of the article is rife with the typical contrarian nonsense to which we've all become accustomed.

I suppose one may claim, "since not all models are perfect, they're all garbage." And I get that. But that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Far too many models have proven to be far more than accurate enough that scientists have developed high levels of confidence in them. And it is, of course, an iterative process; models become better as time goes on and new information is run through the machine.

Without models, we'd have no economics, no aviation, no aerospace industry, etc. They are, and always have been, and always will be, part and parcel of scientific progress.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Easy Read

It's actually funny how many times we have been wrong about cooling and warming models. I think you can take either side of this issue and form a model that fits.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Already surpassed 1980!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401

486. greentortuloni

We had issues in Fl over several years with bleaching problems.

Florida Responds to Cold Weather Bleaching


Cold temperatures causing coral bleaching in South Florida and the Keys
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting JBastardi:
It's recently been said that Obama is Jimmy Carter's second term. Remember this speech Carter gave in 1977? He urged us to begin building coal-fired power plants because the oil supply was going to end in 6 to 8 years. I guess he was trying to keep the world warm in the face of the climatologist's threat of the impending global cooling.


The Speech:

Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem that is unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge that our country will face during our lifetime.

The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly. It’s a problem that we will not be able to solve in the next few years, and it’s likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and our grandchildren. We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.

Two days from now, I will present to the Congress my energy proposals.. Its Members will be my partners, and they have already given me a great deal of valuable advice.

Many of these proposals will be unpopular. Some will cause you to put up with inconveniences and to make sacrifices. The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.

Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern this Nation. This difficult effort will be the “moral equivalent of war,” except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy.
Now, I know that some of you may doubt that we face real energy shortages. The 1973 gas lines are gone, and with this springtime weather, our homes are warm again. But our energy problem is worse tonight than it was in 1973 or a few weeks ago in the dead of winter. It’s worse because more waste has occurred and more time has passed by without our planning for the future. And it will get worse every day until we act.

The oil and natural gas that we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are simply running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about 6 percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last 5 years. Our Nation’s economic and political independence is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980′s the world will be demanding more oil than it can produce.

The world now uses about 60 million barrels of oil a day, and demand increases each year about 5 percent. This means that just to stay even we need the production of a new Texas every year, an Alaskan North Slope every 9 months, or a new Saudi Arabia every 3 years. Obviously, this cannot continue.

We must look back into history to understand our energy problem. Twice in the last several hundred years, there has been a transition in the way people use energy.
The first was about 200 years ago, when we changed away from wood–which had provided about 90 percent of all fuel—to coal, which was much more efficient. This change became the basis of the Industrial Revolution.

The second change took. place in this century, with the growing use of oil and natural gas. They were more convenient and cheaper than coal, and the supply seemed to be almost without limit. They made possible the age of automobile and airplane travel. Nearly everyone who is alive today grew up during this period, and we have never known anything different.

Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change—to strict conservation and to the renewed use of coal and to permanent renewable energy sources like solar power.

The world has not prepared for the future. During the 1950′s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940′s. During the 1960′s, we used twice as much as during the 1950′s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of man’s previous history combined.

World consumption of oil is still going up. If it were possible to keep it rising during the 1970′s and 1980′s by 5 percent a year, as it has in the past, we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.

I know that many of you have suspected that some supplies of oil and gas are being withheld from the market. You may be right, but suspicions about the oil companies cannot change the fact that we are running out of petroleum.

All of us have heard about the large oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope. In a few years, when the North Slope is producing fully, its total output will be just about equal to 2 years’ increase in our own Nation’s energy demand.

Each new inventory of world oil reserves has been more disturbing than the last. World oil production can probably keep going up for another 6 or 8 years. But sometime in the 1980′s, it can’t go up any more. Demand will overtake production. We have no choice about that.

But we do have a choice about how we will spend the next few years. Each American uses the energy equivalent of 60 barrels of oil per person each year. Ours is the most wasteful nation on Earth. We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan, and Sweden.

One choice, of course, is to continue doing what we’ve been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years.

Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would carry only one person—the driver—while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our homes, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste. We can continue using scarce oil and natural gas to generate electricity and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process.

If we do not act, then by 1985 we will be using 33 percent more energy than we use today.

We can’t substantially increase our domestic production, so we would need to import twice as much oil as we do now. Supplies will be uncertain. The cost will keep going up. Six years ago, we paid $3.7 billion for imported oil. Last year we spent $36 billion for imported oil—nearly 10 times as much. And this year we may spend $45 billion.

Unless we act, we will spend more than $550 billion for imported oil by 1985—more than $2,500 for every man, woman, and child in America. Along with that money that we transport overseas, we will continue losing American jobs and become increasingly vulnerable to supply interruptions.

Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will constantly live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs. Within 10 years, we would not be able to import enough oil from any country, at any acceptable price.

If we wait and do not act, then our factories will not be able to keep our people on the job with reduced supplies of fuel.

Too few of our utility companies will have switched to coal, which is our most abundant energy source. We will not be ready to keep our transportation system running with smaller and more efficient cars and a better network of buses, trains, and public transportation.
We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment. We will have to have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip mine and bum more coal, and drill more offshore wells than if we begin to conserve right now.

Inflation will soar; production will go down; people will lose their jobs. Intense competition for oil will build up among nations and also among the different regions within our own country. This has already started.

If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social, and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions. But we still have another choice. We can begin to prepare right now. We can decide to act while there is still time. That is the concept of the energy policy that we will present on Wednesday.

Ten Principles

Our national energy plan is based on 10 fundamental principles.

The first principle is that we can have an effective and comprehensive energy policy only if the Government takes responsibility for it and if the people understand the seriousness of the challenge and are willing to make sacrifices.

The second principle is that healthy economic growth must continue. Only by saving energy can we maintain our standard of living and keep our people at work. An effective conservation program will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

The third principle is that we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems—wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both problems at once.

The fourth principle is that we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, by making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and by developing a strategic petroleum reserve.

The fifth principle is that we must be fair. Our solutions must ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, and every interest group. Industry will have to do its part to conserve just as consumers will. The energy. producers deserve fair treatment, but we will not let the oil companies profiteer.

The sixth principle, and the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way that we can buy a barrel of oil for about $2. It costs about $13 to waste it.

The seventh principle is that prices should generally reflect the true replacement cost of energy. We are only Cheating ourselves if we make energy artificially cheap and use more than we can really afford.

The eighth principle is that Government policies must be predictable and certain. Both consumers and producers need policies they can count on so they can plan ahead. This is one reason that I’m working with the Congress to create a new Department of Energy to replace more than 50 different agencies that now have some control over energy.

The ninth principle is that we must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are plentiful. We can’t continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption, as we do now, when they only make up 7 percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal, while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy.

The tenth and last principle is that we must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy that we will rely on in the next century.

Now, these 10 principles have guided the development of the policy that I will describe to you and the Congress on Wednesday night.

1985 Goals

Our energy plan will also include a number of specific goals to measure our progress toward a stable energy system. These are the goals that we set for 1985:

—to reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than 2 percent;
—to reduce gasoline consumption by 10 percent below its. current level;
—to cut in half the portion of U.S. oil which is imported—from a potential level of 16 million barrels to 6 million barrels a day;
—to establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than a 6-months supply;
—to increase our coal production by about two-thirds to more than one billion tons a year;
—to insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings;
—to use solar energy in more than 2 1/2 million houses.

We will monitor our progress toward these goals year by year. Our plan will call for strict conservation measures if we fall behind. I can’t tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy at this late date.

Conclusion

This plan is essential to protect our jobs, our environment, our standard of living, and our future. Whether this plan truly makes a difference will not be decided now here in Washington but in every town and every factory, in every home and on every highway and every farm.

I believe that this can be a positive challenge. There is something especially American in the kinds of changes that we have to make. We’ve always been proud, through our history, of being efficient people. We’ve always been proud of our ingenuity, our skill at answering questions. Now we need efficiency and ingenuity more than ever.

We’ve always been proud of our leadership in the world. And now we have a chance again to give the world a positive example.
We’ve always been proud of our vision of the future. We’ve always wanted to give our children and our grandchildren a world richer in possibilities than we have had ourselves. They are the ones that we must provide for now. They are the ones who will suffer most if we don’t act.

I’ve given you some of the principles of the plan. I’m sure that each of you will find something you don’t like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in every life. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful—but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs and to some greater inconvenience for everyone. But the sacrifices can be gradual, realistic, and they are necessary. Above all, they will be fair. No one will gain an unfair advantage through this plan. No one will be asked to bear an unfair burden.

We will monitor the accuracy of data from the oil and natural gas companies for the first time, so that we will always know their true production, supplies, reserves, and profits. Those citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable or unfair or harmful to the country. If they succeed with this approach, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.
There should be only one test for this program—whether it will help our country.

Other generations of Americans have faced and mastered great challenges. I have faith that meeting this challenge will make our own lives even richer. If you will join me so that we can work together with patriotism and courage, we will again prove that our great Nation can lead the world into an age of peace, independence, and freedom.

Thank you very much, and good night.



Tap the Gulfstreams Kinetic Energy and cool water and end all this mess will ya?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting JBastardi:
Wind Power: Costs much more and produces just as much CO2 (for those who believe C02 is harmful).

Link


Also the wind doesn't blow 24/7/365 like the Gulfstream flows and is hundreds of times less dense.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Arctic may be ice-free within 30 years: Data showing dramatic sea ice melt suggests warming at the north pole is speeding up

The area of the Arctic ocean at least 15% covered in ice is...lower than the previous record low set in 2007 according to satellite monitoring by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, new data from the University of Washington Polar Science Centre, shows that the thickness of Arctic ice this year is also the lowest on record.

In the past 10 days, the Arctic ocean has been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometres of ice a day, said Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC.

"The extent [of the ice cover] is going down, but it is also thinning. So a weather pattern that formerly would melt some ice, now gets rid of much more. There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral."

Uh-oh
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_exten t.htm

Guardian Article...

Of course, it's fun to see the various estimates of lowest 2011 ice extent. Of particular note--and amusement--is the consensus of WUWT users demonstrating once again that they're more than a little out of touch. Not that that'll come as a shock to anyone. ;-)

Uh-oh
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Ok, so after do ing my own research (wikipedia), here is the result:

Cause

Bleaching occurs when the conditions necessary to sustain the coral's zooxanthellae cannot be maintained.[4] Any environmental trigger that affects the coral's ability to supply the zooxanthellae with nutrients for photosynthesis (carbon dioxide, ammonium) will lead to expulsion.[4] This process is a "downward spiral", whereby the coral's failure to prevent the division of zooxanthellae leads to ever-greater amounts of the photosynthesis-derived carbon to be diverted into the algae rather than the coral. This makes the energy balance required for the coral to continue sustaining its algae more fragile, and hence the coral loses the ability to maintain its parasitic control on its zooxanthellae.[4]
[edit] Triggers

Coral bleaching is a vivid sign of corals responding to stress, which can be induced by any of:

increased (most commonly), or reduced water temperatures[5][6]
increased solar irradiance (photosynthetically active radiation and ultraviolet band light)[7]
changes in water chemistry (in particular acidification)[8][9]
starvation caused by a decline in zooplankton[10]
increased sedimentation (due to silt runoff)
pathogen infections
changes in salinity
wind[6]
low tide air exposure[6]
cyanide fishing[11]

[edit] Temperature change
Unbleached (left) and bleached (right) coral

Temperature change is the most common cause of coral bleaching.[5]

Large coral colonies such as Porites are able to withstand extreme temperature shocks, while fragile branching corals such as table coral are far more susceptible to stress following a temperature change.[12] Corals consistently exposed to low stress levels may be more resistant to bleaching.[citation needed]

Factors that influence the outcome of a bleaching event include stress-resistance which reduces bleaching, tolerance to the absence of zooxanthellae, and how quickly new coral grows to replace the dead. Due to the patchy nature of bleaching, local climatic conditions such as shade or a stream of cooler water can reduce bleaching incidence. Coral and zooxanthellae health and genetics also influence bleaching.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ok, I've checked it out. First, wow! an actually link to a web site that seems real. Cheers for that! (my first reaction - I only wne to the USGS site).

Second reaction: it seems some of hte coral is growing back in the photos. That is great news. I would love that coral grew back everywhere.

As for the reaction that concerns the post the most... is it disease or warm temperatures that kill hte coral? Or is it suseptibility to desease due to environmental stress? Or is it a combination? The article isn't really clear but I will agree to say that a lot of coral bleaching is caused by disease.

However, I don't think this article can be extended world-wide. I agree pollution probably kills as much as heat as much as disease... but those are my personal un thought out opinions.

What is your take on this? How do you relate this article to all the other studies that blame bleachign on acidification and heat?
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Quoting greentortuloni:


Sorry, I just saw post #453. I didn't see any links so I missed the reference (and in all honesty i haven't looked yet). Anyway, after the 'bunny huggers' comment, I just assumed you were one of those people who enjoyed feeling self righteous more than being honest. Sorry for the confusion.


The bunny huggers comment goes back 30 years when I ran into those who thought a Siberian Tiger, Chimp or King Cobra makes for a great pet.
They are a superficial, ignorant class who inhabit LA LA Land.

Read the links to post 85. And then throw some insight our way.

Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting cat5hurricane:
@ 473:

Right. Just like you weren't sent Australian temperatures to post after getting emails. He is still waiting, you know...

Nice bluff again. :p

If you'd like, we can see if Admin would have a look through the mail logs for the phantom message you say you sent. Perhaps you're simply mistaken again, and forwarded the WU-Mail intended for me to someone else by accident? At any rate, I've not received anything from you in a very long time, if ever...

Not sure why anyone would still be looking for any further response to the Australian exchange from two days ago. I noted that the headline on the main NWS page (www.weather.gov) stated, "Massive heat wave expected next week". That was responded to with cries from one user that I was not mentioning the Australian cold spell. I in turn responded that I'd be glad to post any Australian headline he could find me that stated, "Massive cold snap expected next week". After a frantic search, he forwarded a link to a private weather forecasting service with a headline stating "Cloudy skies keep things cool for another day" (or words to that effect). I noted that "Cloudy skies keep things cool for another day" wasn't quite the same as "Massive cold snap expected next week", but posted the linked article anyway so others could make up their own minds.

So what's there to wait for? That is, besides The Great 21st Century Denialist Fantasy Ice Age? ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Quoting theshepherd:
478. greentortuloni

I was certified PADI in 1980 as a Sheriff's Dept Search and Recorvery diver.

You obviously did not read through the links I posted.


Sorry, I just saw post #453. I didn't see any links so I missed the reference (and in all honesty i haven't looked yet). Anyway, after the 'bunny huggers' comment, I just assumed you were one of those people who enjoyed feeling self righteous more than being honest. Sorry for the confusion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
478. greentortuloni

I was certified PADI in 1980 as a Sheriff's Dept Search and Recorvery diver.

You obviously did not read through the links I posted.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084
Quoting cat5hurricane:

If we all shovel all that liberal nonsense from college professions down our throat, we'll turn into sheep.

Sure, attack Big Energy. Maybe it'll get them to lower rates on our electricity bills, heat, everything.

Doesn't work that way. The ones in power are the ones in charge. And the ones in power are the ones that power--that is, power up the world. Tell me, what is my little windmill next to my birdbath going to do when the wind stops blowing?

14 points right back at you for the right answer!

Come up with solutions, instead of creating more problems. Blaming FEMA for New Orleans problems after Katrina was a prime example.


Gee whiz. Lots of answers to that. I heat my house with pellets. I actually use gas for cooking but had a wood burning stove which is common around here. I am on the grid but really don't use much electricity. i bike to work a lot, car it when I have to. Chickens for eggs and a vegtable garden, mostly for fun. Solar panels help, using ground water for AC cooling (I don't have those, I mean you could.) LED lighting tkaes almost no energy. Use a clothes line for drying and so on.

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Quoting greentortuloni:


That has to be a pretty small number of people.

I know you weren't talking to me exactly since I meet only the portion of the comment about Big Energy and Corporations, but since i am also a bunny hugger, or would be if they let me come near them (I prefer trees since they are less mobile), I will respond.

I am a rescue diver, would be a master diver if Padi would get off the paperwork. I hate tourist divers stamping all over the coral. Especially when they get back in teh boat and list the big animals they saw 'I saw a shark' 'Oh yeah? I saw one of those last year, this year I saw a turtle' - like, do you know that you were just in an ecosystem with hundreds of interacting parts, species and so on? Dive tourists are like someone going to a classical concert and saying 'I liked the big drum!'. Although, on my first dives I was the same way.

Still, none of that has anything to do with coral bleaching. I've dove and windsurfed Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Aruba, Venezuela etc and only in limited areas near hotels can you say that a large percentage of the damage is done by tourists. Tourist do damage, no doubt, but they don't damage the coral 20 miles out. They don't turn coral white, they knock off pieces and ruin patches - which may spread to the whole coral, I don't know, but the bunny huggers are right.

As for the hypothetical people on welfare and food stamps who can't find a job and criticze Big Oil and corporations for destroying the environment... I missed the point. If big oil, etc have worked to destroy the environment... they have worked to destroy the environment. Even if I dump arsenic in the ocean for fun, if I say that big oil and corporations that pollute are responsible for evil, it doesn't make me wrong.

At the worst, there is some sort of social hypocrisy going on but it seems like no dig deal to look past it when the issue is so important.

+10,000
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Yeah, it's frustrating alright. But it really is no different from those able-bodied individuals who are logged in here day and night vehemently proclaiming AGW from Big Energy and other Corporate entities are the plague of this earth.....only before getting in their Ford or Chevy and driving off to the gov't house collect their Food Stamps, WIC, and subsidized/section 8 housing checks. Doesn't make a whole lotta sense to me.


That has to be a pretty small number of people.

I know you weren't talking to me exactly since I meet only the portion of the comment about Big Energy and Corporations, but since i am also a bunny hugger, or would be if they let me come near them (I prefer trees since they are less mobile), I will respond.

I am a rescue diver, would be a master diver if Padi would get off the paperwork. I hate tourist divers stamping all over the coral. Especially when they get back in teh boat and list the big animals they saw 'I saw a shark' 'Oh yeah? I saw one of those last year, this year I saw a turtle' - like, do you know that you were just in an ecosystem with hundreds of interacting parts, species and so on? Dive tourists are like someone going to a classical concert and saying 'I liked the big drum!'. Although, on my first dives I was the same way.

Still, none of that has anything to do with coral bleaching. I've dove and windsurfed Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Aruba, Venezuela etc and only in limited areas near hotels can you say that a large percentage of the damage is done by tourists. Tourist do damage, no doubt, but they don't damage the coral 20 miles out. They don't turn coral white, they knock off pieces and ruin patches - which may spread to the whole coral, I don't know, but the bunny huggers are right.

As for the hypothetical people on welfare and food stamps who can't find a job and criticze Big Oil and corporations for destroying the environment... I missed the point. If big oil, etc have worked to destroy the environment... they have worked to destroy the environment. Even if I dump arsenic in the ocean for fun, if I say that big oil and corporations that pollute are responsible for evil, it doesn't make me wrong.

At the worst, there is some sort of social hypocrisy going on but it seems like no dig deal to look past it when the issue is so important.
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The Discovery of Global Warming

The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect

In the 19th century, scientists realized that gases in the atmosphere cause a "greenhouse effect" which affects the planet's temperature. These scientists were interested chiefly in the possibility that a lower level of carbon dioxide gas might explain the ice ages of the distant past.

At the turn of the century, Svante Arrhenius calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming. Other scientists dismissed his idea as faulty. In 1938, G.S. Callendar argued that the level of carbon dioxide was climbing and raising global temperature, but most scientists found his arguments implausible. It was almost by chance that a few researchers in the 1950s discovered that global warming truly was possible.

In the early 1960s, C.D. Keeling measured the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it was rising fast.

Researchers began to take an interest, struggling to understand how the level of carbon dioxide had changed in the past, and how the level was influenced by chemical and biological forces. They found that the gas plays a crucial role in climate change, so that the rising level could gravely affect our future. (This essay covers only developments relating directly to carbon dioxide, with a separate essay for Other Greenhouse Gases.

Theories are discussed in the essay on Simple Models of Climate.

To get an overview, start with Summary: the Story in a Nutshell and then come back here.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
@ 447: You realize though that a simple reply to my WU email would of sufficed instead of a comment about that on here? :-}

Not sure what you mean; you've not sent me any WU-mail recently. At any rate, since you're given to posting the contents of private WU-mails in this and other public fora, I figured, hey, why not just cut out the intermediate step? ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530
This is how I understand computer models:

A one day weather forecast is pretty darn good.
A three day weather forecast is respectable.
A five day weather forecast is nebulous at best.
A six month weather look ahead is less accurate than than a coin toss.
According to on of Dr. Jeff's earlier blogs, the best climate change prediction model is hoovering around 18% accuracy.

That being said, we've all got a lot to learn.

I'm one of those that believes his eyes more than his ears...unless I'm walking through rattlesnake country :)

It doesn't serve anyone well not to ask questions even when apparent Empirical Data doesn't geehaw with experience.



Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10084



14 Points



A student-run public policy blog of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University




When you think about avoiding dangerous climate change, what comes to mind? Thanks to a decade of climate education efforts, much of the public is now aware of the scientific consensus on the need for reductions in global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Awareness of carbon dioxide’s role in the climate is a crucial step towards building support for policies that address climate change. However, while carbon dioxide is the most important climate warmer, it is not the only player that demands attention.

The full story of how humans affect Earth’s climate is complicated, multi-faceted, and involves some uncertainty (just like everything else in life).

The most popular climate change messaging is simple and short enough to tweet: “We need to reduce emissions of CO2, a greenhouse gas, in order to avoid dangerous climate change.”

While this message goes a long way, a slightly more nuanced and accurate view is apropos:

“We need to address a variety of human activities, including the emission of various greenhouse substances to the atmosphere—the most prominent of which is CO2—in order to avoid dangerous climate change.”

At 200 characters, this revised message may be over the sacred Twitter limit, but the extra words are worth it.

Here’s why:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:

The TYPE Carbon in Co2 matters Greatly



Fossil Fuel and Atmospheric Levels of Carbon Dioxide
1/9/2011 8:33:59 AM
By Richard Hilderman, Ph.D.


The atmosphere can handle about 700 billion tons of carbon. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been increasing since the industrial revolution. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which acts like a blanket in the atmosphere to trap heat (see my posting entitled Solar Activity, Greenhouse Gas Levels and Climate Change on Our Earth). Today the atmosphere contains about 800 billion tons of carbon and it continues to rise. How do we know that the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas contribute to the atmospheric carbon overload?

Carbon has a unique footprint which allows scientists to determine whether the burning of fossil fuel contributes to the atmospheric carbon overload. Carbon is composed of three isotopes which are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14. Carbon consists mainly of the carbon-12 and carbon-13. A small amount of the carbon atom is the radioactive isotope carbon-14. In the upper atmosphere cosmic rays from the Sun react with nitrogen to create carbon-14. Carbon-14 is unstable and over time is converted back to nitrogen. After 60,000 years there is no carbon-14 remaining in the original sample because it has been completely converted to nitrogen.

Fossil fuel reservoirs are composed of coal, oil or natural gas and over time these reservoirs are buried deep in the ocean floor or underground. The carbon atoms found in both the atmosphere and initially in fossil fuel contain all three carbon isotopes (carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14). After 60,000 years fossil fuel contains only carbon-12 (all of the carbon-14 has been converted to nitrogen) but the atmosphere still maintains a healthy mixture of the three isotopes. Since it takes millions of years to create fossil fuel, the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuel would no carbon-14. If the burning of carbon-based fossil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the amount of carbon-14 isotope found in atmospheric carbon dioxide should decrease over time. Measurements of the isotopic composition of atmospheric carbon dioxide do indeed demonstrate a steady decline of carbon-14. Furthermore, fossil fuel also contains a much lower amount of carbon-13 than does the atmosphere. Over time the amount of carbon-13 found in atmospheric carbon dioxide has decreased.

Clearly, the atmosphere%u2019s carbon isotopic composition is changing and this change matches the isotope fingerprint of coal, oil and natural gas. This demonstrates that the burning of fossil fuel is partly responsible for the current atmospheric carbon overload.

There are three broad types of human activities that contribute to the amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere: carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels; carbon dioxide emissions from cutting and burning of forest; and, the emission of methane (from livestock and rice cultivation) and nitrous oxide (from fertilizer use). Burning of fossil fuel accounts for 52-65 percent of the human-induced emissions while deforestation accounts for 12-25 percent and 23 percent comes from methane and nitrous oxide.

It is easy to understand that we can reduce the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide by converting to non-carbon renewable energy sources. Stopping deforestation will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the creation of new forest by planting trees will also help reduce the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide because trees extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthetic activity. However, continued population growth will make the task of reducing methane and nitrous oxide emissions and deforestation more difficult because the expanding population will require more resources. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the world population needs to stabilize.



Well stated, Pat.

Those who claim that volcanoes contribute more CO2 than does the burning of fossil fuels are, quite simply, ignoring the science. According to vulcanologists and climatologists (that is, those not employed by ExxonMobil or Koch Industries), anthropogenic sources pump on average about 150 times as much CO2 into the atmosphere each year as do all the volcanoes on the planet combined. Another way to look at it: it would take about 700 Pinatubo-type eruptions each year--or 3,500 Mount St. Helens-type ones--to equal the amount of CO2 we humans put into the atmosphere. (Link) That's a whole lot.

We humans produce more than 40 trillions liters of CO2 every single day. Any way you measure it, that's also a whole lot.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13530

The TYPE Carbon in Co2 matters Greatly



Fossil Fuel and Atmospheric Levels of Carbon Dioxide
1/9/2011 8:33:59 AM
By Richard Hilderman, Ph.D.


The atmosphere can handle about 700 billion tons of carbon. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been increasing since the industrial revolution. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which acts like a blanket in the atmosphere to trap heat (see my posting entitled Solar Activity, Greenhouse Gas Levels and Climate Change on Our Earth). Today the atmosphere contains about 800 billion tons of carbon and it continues to rise. How do we know that the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas contribute to the atmospheric carbon overload?

Carbon has a unique footprint which allows scientists to determine whether the burning of fossil fuel contributes to the atmospheric carbon overload. Carbon is composed of three isotopes which are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14. Carbon consists mainly of the carbon-12 and carbon-13. A small amount of the carbon atom is the radioactive isotope carbon-14. In the upper atmosphere cosmic rays from the Sun react with nitrogen to create carbon-14. Carbon-14 is unstable and over time is converted back to nitrogen. After 60,000 years there is no carbon-14 remaining in the original sample because it has been completely converted to nitrogen.

Fossil fuel reservoirs are composed of coal, oil or natural gas and over time these reservoirs are buried deep in the ocean floor or underground. The carbon atoms found in both the atmosphere and initially in fossil fuel contain all three carbon isotopes (carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14). After 60,000 years fossil fuel contains only carbon-12 (all of the carbon-14 has been converted to nitrogen) but the atmosphere still maintains a healthy mixture of the three isotopes. Since it takes millions of years to create fossil fuel, the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuel would no carbon-14. If the burning of carbon-based fossil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the amount of carbon-14 isotope found in atmospheric carbon dioxide should decrease over time. Measurements of the isotopic composition of atmospheric carbon dioxide do indeed demonstrate a steady decline of carbon-14. Furthermore, fossil fuel also contains a much lower amount of carbon-13 than does the atmosphere. Over time the amount of carbon-13 found in atmospheric carbon dioxide has decreased.

Clearly, the atmosphere’s carbon isotopic composition is changing and this change matches the isotope fingerprint of coal, oil and natural gas. This demonstrates that the burning of fossil fuel is partly responsible for the current atmospheric carbon overload.

There are three broad types of human activities that contribute to the amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere: carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels; carbon dioxide emissions from cutting and burning of forest; and, the emission of methane (from livestock and rice cultivation) and nitrous oxide (from fertilizer use). Burning of fossil fuel accounts for 52-65 percent of the human-induced emissions while deforestation accounts for 12-25 percent and 23 percent comes from methane and nitrous oxide.

It is easy to understand that we can reduce the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide by converting to non-carbon renewable energy sources. Stopping deforestation will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the creation of new forest by planting trees will also help reduce the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide because trees extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthetic activity. However, continued population growth will make the task of reducing methane and nitrous oxide emissions and deforestation more difficult because the expanding population will require more resources. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the world population needs to stabilize.


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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.