Greenhouse Emissions of Agriculture

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:25 AM GMT on July 27, 2013

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Greenhouse Emissions of Agriculture

In the last blog there was a comment by peregrinepickle on the emissions from agriculture. It started:

“It sounds like they may be putting the cart before the workhorse with this study. A 2010 survey of the literature found that too few studies on GHG emissions and the impact of various alternative farming practices have been done in US agricultural regions, including the Great plains Ironically, more research is being done in this vein in China. So it seems premature to appeal to US farmers re: willingness to adopt certain practices before knowing exactly where you are going with it.

Agriculture, compared to other sources, is not a huge contributor to GHGs, relative to the contributions by industry, transportation, and utilities. In the US farming is responsible for 6% of the overall emissions of the six major GHGs. However, farming does contribute about 25% of all CH4 emissions in the US, which is major, as this gas is 21-33 times more potent in warming potential than CO2.”

Back in April and May I wrote two entries on the emissions from agriculture (first entry, second entry). These two entries highlighted both the complexity of calculating the greenhouse emissions related to agriculture as well as suggested some of the controversy associated with the calculation. The controversy is especially high in the calculation associated with livestock.

The amount of direct fossil fuel emissions from use of fuels in machinery and pumps for agriculture is modest, as stated in peregrinepickle’s comment. Those numbers are based on a 2010 inventory by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here is a link to the chapter that details the agricultural inventory. The greenhouse gas emissions compiled in the chapter on agriculture are for greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, especially methane and nitrous oxide. For the EPA inventory, the carbon dioxide associated with agriculture is accounted for in the energy inventory. Additional emissions and removal of greenhouse gasses are calculated with land use, land change and forestry. The national forests are part of the Department of Agriculture.

The accounting with soils and forests influences, greatly, the budget of emissions associated with agriculture. Based on soil management agriculture can remove and store substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. In the U.S. agriculture is a mature and extensive enterprise, and we are not aggressively converting forest to agricultural land. In fact, the amount of forest is increasing and, therefore, can be accounted as an agricultural removal of carbon dioxide. This fact of increasing forest land is not the case in much of the world. World-wide, deforestation as forest is converted to agricultural use, especially rangeland, accounts for much of the carbon footprint of agriculture. Phil Robertson in an article to appear in the Encyclopedia of Agriculture estimates the total greenhouse gas footprint of agriculture is between 26 and 36 percent (thank you Professor Robertson). This range seems soundly based in the synthesis of research, and the number I would quote based on the current state of knowledge.

As detailed in Livestock’s Long Shadow and stated in the entirety of peregrinepickle’s comment, the impact of agriculture reaches far beyond the relevance to climate change. Notably there are impacts on water quality and land quality, and, in my opinion, the impact of nitrogen (fertilizer) pollution is one of the most under appreciated sources of environmental degradation. Management of this whole portfolio of environmental impacts is one of the special challenges of the agricultural sector of human activities.

The mix of greenhouse gas emissions, the details of the practice of land use, the role of biological processes, and the potential to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store them in soil and biomass characterize the climate impact of agriculture. Agriculture is also vulnerable to climate change. Since agriculture is a highly competitive, market-dependent undertaking, market response to weather and climate can amplify weather-related impacts. Agriculture becomes more entangled with the climate problem, when we consider the possibility of biofuels to replace some of our fossil fuels. This complexity complicates the accounting of climate impacts, but also offers some of our best opportunities to improve our management of the environment. Agriculture is no doubt an important player in our management of climate change, and notably absent in President Obama recent speech on climate change.

A primary source of agricultural information is Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. An often cited document is the 2006 documentLivestock’s Long Shadow. There has been much criticism of this report, especially in its calculation of the emissions of the transportation sector. The original authors did modify their specific statements about transportation. As noted in an earlier blog in this series, there is substantial controversy about the impact of agriculture. Therefore, I end here with a set of reference materials that I have used.

EPA National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data

PDF of Agriculture Chapter of EPA Inventory of Emissions

Agriculture’s Role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Chapter 8: Working Group 3: IPCC 2007

Energy Efficiency of Conventional, Organic and Alternative Cropping …

Livestock and Climate Change

and to appear

Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions and their Mitigation, G. Philip Robertson, W.K. Kellogg Biological Station and the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129853
Careful, the anti-post is coming.


The Globe has a Fever, and it ain't da Boogie Woogie Flu neither'




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129853
Keystone Light: The Keystone XL Alternative You've Never Heard of Is Probably Going to Be Built

While Keystone XL languishes, a rival pipeline plan is speeding through the approval process.

One of TransCanada's rivals, Enbridge Inc., has quietly been moving ahead with a slightly smaller pipeline project that could be piping 660,000 barrels of crude per day to the gulf by 2015. (The Keystone line would carry 700,000 barrels per day.) For environmentalists hoping that blocking the Keystone pipeline would choke the carbon-intensive development of the Canadian tar sands, the Enbridge Eastern Gulf pipeline would be a disaster.

The 774-mile pipeline would run from Patoka, Illinois, to St. James, Louisiana, alleviating a pipeline bottleneck in the Midwest, where the shale oil from North Dakota's Bakken formation meets the flow from Alberta's oil sands, overwhelming the capacity of the current pipelines. And although 200 miles of pipe destined for Keystone XL sits collecting dust in North Dakota with no shipping date in sight, the bulk of the Eastern Gulf project is already built—almost three quarters of it will be repurposed natural gas line. Without the public outcry that has bogged down Keystone, the project has flown along smoothly under the radar.

article at MotherJones.com
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 962
Quoting 654. JohnLonergan:
From the "Quelle surprise?" category:

Fox News found to be a major driving force behind global warming denial
American consumers of conservative media like Fox News distrust climate scientists and don't believe the planet is warming

A new study published in the journal Public Understanding of Science (PDF available here) surveyed a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 Americans in 2008 and 2011 about their media consumption and beliefs about climate change.

The results suggest that conservative media consumption (specifically Fox News and Rush Limbaugh) decreases viewer trust in scientists, which in turn decreases belief that global warming is happening. In contrast, consumption of non-conservative media (specifically ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post) increases consumer trust in scientists, and in turn belief that global warming is happening.

The study also examined previous research on this issue and concluded that the conservative media creates distrust in scientists through five main methods:


1) Presenting contrarian scientists as "objective" experts while presenting mainstream scientists as self-interested or biased.

2) Denigrating scientific institutions and peer-reviewed journals.

3) Equating peer-reviewed research with a politically liberal opinion.

4) Accusing climate scientists of manipulating data to fund research projects.

5) Characterizing climate science as a religion.

Media Matters provides examples of Fox News engaging in all five of these tactics. One prime example involves contrarian meteorologist Joe Bastardi, a frequent climate misinformation guest on Fox News who Rolling Stone awarded the #1 dumbest thing ever said about global warming for claiming that CO2 "literally" cannot cause warming because it doesn't "mix well in the atmosphere."

In reality we've known for nearly 190 years that rising CO2 causes global warming, and we know for certain it's well-mixed throughout the atmosphere, as illustrated by measurements from around the world.

The results of this study can be compared to the PhD research done by my SkS colleague John Cook at the University of Queensland. Cook surveyed representative samples of Australians and Americans regarding their political ideologies and the effect of consensus on their acceptance of human-caused global warming. After being shown evidence of the consensus on human-caused global warming, Australian acceptance of this scientific reality grew across the political spectrum, but especially among conservatives.
Click here to read the rest
As has been succinctly summarized before: watching Fox makes--and keeps--you stupid.
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Quoting 643. Birthmark:

I didn't know the cherry-picking 1998 as a starting point was still being done by anyone. It's interesting to see that some have no sense of honesty whatsoever.

But what happens if we cherry-pick the other way? Let's eliminate 1998 and look at the trends before and after and see whether warming has stopped, or even slowed down.



Looks like in two of the data sets the warming trend has increased, and in two of the data sets it has decreased. So, there is no real evidence that the warming trend has changed in any significant way. You have been victimized by someone willing to use an outlier as a starting point in order to skew the data.

But ponder this: 1998 to present isn't even close to thirty years, therefore, it's not climate by the definition of that term.


The warmists change the "definitions" of climate daily to adhere to their invented propaganda. They modify temperature records to the points of hilarity.
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Quoting 653. cyclonebuster:
"The bear is thought to have been heading north in a desperate search for sea ice that would allow it to hunt for seals. Scientists believe the Arctic could be essentially free of sea ice in September by 2054."

Really 2054? How about more like 2020...

Link




Please don't start with this polar bear hoax again. The bear probably died from overpopulation. Polar bears are at an all time high and arctic sea ice is nowhere near a minimum. In fact, the entire Arctic Circle is at freezing temperatures or below.
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He never said how much it cost..

One Mans trash..
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Source
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From the "Quelle surprise?" category:

Fox News found to be a major driving force behind global warming denial
American consumers of conservative media like Fox News distrust climate scientists and don't believe the planet is warming

A new study published in the journal Public Understanding of Science (PDF available here) surveyed a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 Americans in 2008 and 2011 about their media consumption and beliefs about climate change.

The results suggest that conservative media consumption (specifically Fox News and Rush Limbaugh) decreases viewer trust in scientists, which in turn decreases belief that global warming is happening. In contrast, consumption of non-conservative media (specifically ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post) increases consumer trust in scientists, and in turn belief that global warming is happening.

The study also examined previous research on this issue and concluded that the conservative media creates distrust in scientists through five main methods:


1) Presenting contrarian scientists as "objective" experts while presenting mainstream scientists as self-interested or biased.

2) Denigrating scientific institutions and peer-reviewed journals.

3) Equating peer-reviewed research with a politically liberal opinion.

4) Accusing climate scientists of manipulating data to fund research projects.

5) Characterizing climate science as a religion.

Media Matters provides examples of Fox News engaging in all five of these tactics. One prime example involves contrarian meteorologist Joe Bastardi, a frequent climate misinformation guest on Fox News who Rolling Stone awarded the #1 dumbest thing ever said about global warming for claiming that CO2 "literally" cannot cause warming because it doesn't "mix well in the atmosphere."

In reality we've known for nearly 190 years that rising CO2 causes global warming, and we know for certain it's well-mixed throughout the atmosphere, as illustrated by measurements from around the world.

The results of this study can be compared to the PhD research done by my SkS colleague John Cook at the University of Queensland. Cook surveyed representative samples of Australians and Americans regarding their political ideologies and the effect of consensus on their acceptance of human-caused global warming. After being shown evidence of the consensus on human-caused global warming, Australian acceptance of this scientific reality grew across the political spectrum, but especially among conservatives.
Click here to read the rest
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3668
"The bear is thought to have been heading north in a desperate search for sea ice that would allow it to hunt for seals. Scientists believe the Arctic could be essentially free of sea ice in September by 2054."

Really 2054? How about more like 2020...

Link


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
Quoting 648. JohnLonergan:
Image of Arctic cyclone, notice how it's drawing in the smoke from the Siberian wildfires.


Will the smoke trap more heat in the Arctic?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
Sustainability Media Lab G+ Hangout: Should climate scientists advocate for policy?

Gavin Schmidt, Richard Betts, and Judith Curry appear on a Google hangout (cited at DotEarth and elsewhere) about Tamsin Edwards.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3668
"Why do we have the least educated among us, making the Laws for the sane educated one's ?"

Sad to say Pat, it's our owne fault. We elect these fools.
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Image of Arctic cyclone, notice how it's drawing in the smoke from the Siberian wildfires.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3668
Quoting 639. RevElvis:

Steve King is a...well, I can't say that in a forum such as this. Let's just say that King is less than honest and severely deficient in his understanding of science.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 641. JohnLonergan:


I'll take Al Gore much more seriously than I take Faux Noise, Steve Goddard, Pierre Gosselin, Anthony Watts, Lord Moncton, Bishop Hill, Tallbloke, our resident deniers(you know who they are) or any of the other denizens of The Land of De NiLe.

Al Gore has an excellent grasp of the facts for a layman and is mostly correct.

I agree on all points.

I just think that it needs to be repeatedly stated that Gore carries no more scientific weight than any layman posting on this blog.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 630. yoboi:



Is this accurate data??????

Probably, but it's out of context. It's not climate, and it chooses an outlier year as a starting point to ensure the desired result. The only difference between doing what notricks did and claiming at 11pm that it's been cooling since 3pm, therefore, GW is over is that the latter is obviously stupid and irrelevant. The method employed by no tricks is equally stupid and irrelevant, but not so obvious to those unfamiliar with statistics.
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Quoting 628. yoboi:



If you polled 100 people on the street and asked them about climate change and who was the leader.....what name do you think they will say?????? Gore......He does have a major influence with the public regarding climate change......

I agree. However, the public doesn't post here often --although I wish they would. Gore is almost always used as means to bash people who accept the science of AGW by those who are anti-science. I don't know whether that tactic is used because the anti-science crowd actually believes that Gore holds scientific sway or just to get a rise out of people. I don't care in either case.

I will merely continue to point out that Gore is scientifically irrelevant.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 624. CEastwood:
NOAA's own data show that "global warming" has ceased, so they resort to propaganda to "prove" that the Earth is still in danger:

Link

I didn't know the cherry-picking 1998 as a starting point was still being done by anyone. It's interesting to see that some have no sense of honesty whatsoever.

But what happens if we cherry-pick the other way? Let's eliminate 1998 and look at the trends before and after and see whether warming has stopped, or even slowed down.



Looks like in two of the data sets the warming trend has increased, and in two of the data sets it has decreased. So, there is no real evidence that the warming trend has changed in any significant way. You have been victimized by someone willing to use an outlier as a starting point in order to skew the data.

But ponder this: 1998 to present isn't even close to thirty years, therefore, it's not climate by the definition of that term.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Germans weren't amused when they read those news on German newspaper sites earlier, as you can imagine: "It's always us ..." "Why should we always be the culprits?" But it's not made out of thin air. I'm startled watching my retired neighbours (who should have had quite small income during their working life) to travel at least one time a year for a long time to far away continents....

The long-haul: when travel harms the environment
Deutsche Welle English, August 8, 2013

Travel by road and air is the cause of 90 percent of the climate change impact caused by transportation. A study from Norway discovered that the biggest travel culprits are middle-class Germans.

Globalization has made almost any area in the world a possible holiday destination. Journeys to far-off places have become quicker and more affordable. The tourism industry is booming and a world without tourism is hard to imagine. Yet besides creating employment and leisure opportunities, the increased use of transportation also leads to a greater impact on climate change.

A new study by the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway (CICERO), shows that Germans are among the world's top travelers. They travel five times more than the average world citizen. And it's the better-off Germans who do the most damage. "The wealthiest top 10 percent of the German population is responsible for almost 20 percent of the total climate impact of travel," says the report..

The study points out that journeys by cars and aircraft cause up to 90 percent of the total impact of transportation on climate change. But according to CICERO, an airline passenger on a long-haul flight causes as much pollution as a motorist does in two months. ...
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Quoting 622. Birthmark:

Um. So what? lol

Watch this. I'm going to take a poll: Will anyone who takes seriously what Al Gore says about climate please indicate that in a subsequent post? TIA

My guess is that, like me, Gore has no influence with anyone here.


I'll take Al Gore much more seriously than I take Faux Noise, Steve Goddard, Pierre Gosselin, Anthony Watts, Lord Moncton, Bishop Hill, Tallbloke, our resident deniers(you know who they are) or any of the other denizens of The Land of De NiLe.

Al Gore has an excellent grasp of the facts for a layman and is mostly correct.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3668
Why do we have the least educated among us, making the Laws for the sane educated one's ?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129853
Rep. Steve King (R-IA): We might not notice ‘if sea levels go up 4 or 6 inches’

The Republican congressman said that scientists are too focused on the bad impacts of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“Everything that might result from a warmer planet is always bad in [climate scientists'] analysis,” he opined. “There will be more photosynthesis going on if the Earth gets warmer… And if sea levels go up 4 or 6 inches, I don’t know if we’d know that.”

King told the crowd that sea levels could not be precisely measured.

“We don’t know where sea level is even, let alone be able to say that it’s going to come up an inch globally because some polar ice caps might melt because there’s CO2 suspended in the atmosphere.”


more at RawStory.com
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Quoting 632. yoboi:



I understand....I was just pointing out how much influence Gore has with the public.....


I see, but because Gore may be seen as "a leader" in the climate change discussions does not indicate that he is also influential in such discussions. Obviously, he has not been.
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Quoting 630. yoboi:



Is this accurate data??????


The graphic looks accurate enough for the data that it represents. But, there are three statements being made that are not accurate:

"1. The Earth has stopped warming.
2. The climate models exaggerated future warming. CO2 climate sensitivity is much lower than we first thought.
"

The Earth has stopped warming? Really? Why do they not present the evidence of this beyond a single graphic that not only shows just the surface temperature data but also starts in 1998? Why did they pick 1998 as a starting point? It is less than a 30 year trend line, is it not? Well, there is a reason why they chose 1998 as a starting point, Yoboi. It is commonly referred to as, "cherry picking" the data. Had the starting point been 1982, a full 30 year trend line, then it would be too obvious to anyone that 1998 was a very hot year that was well above the the then current trend line. If you want to show a cooling, or at least "no warming", pick a hot starting point to compare to. .. They may as well be saying that today is a bit cooler than it was yesterday and neglect to tell you that yesterday was much hotter than normal.

Climate models exaggerated future warming? scratches head ... What??? What are they even trying to say here? Is it that the model runs of 1998 (their starting point in the graphic) that exaggerated the warming seen to date? Is it that the model runs in 1982 exaggerated the warming that would be seen by 2050? If this is so then they are making a very bold claim seeing as to how the future has not yet revealed itself to us. scratches head .... What??? What are they even trying to say here? The past model runs have been within the high and low possibilities that they depicted (currently trending along the low side), up to date. How is that an exaggeration?

CO2 climate sensitivity is much lower than we first thought? Who is "we" and what was "we" thinking the climate sensitivity to CO2 would be? At least "we" is not saying that the climate is not sensitive to CO2. That, I suppose, would be some degree of accuracy. that they did not make this claim.
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The Third Carbon Age
Posted: 08/08/2013 10:34 am


Don’t for a Second Imagine We’re Heading for an Era of Renewable Energy

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

When it comes to energy and economics in the climate-change era, nothing is what it seems. Most of us believe (or want to believe) that the second carbon era, the Age of Oil, will soon be superseded by the Age of Renewables, just as oil had long since superseded the Age of Coal. President Obama offered exactly this vision in a much-praised June address on climate change. True, fossil fuels will be needed a little bit longer, he indicated, but soon enough they will be overtaken by renewable forms of energy.

Many other experts share this view, assuring us that increased reliance on “clean” natural gas combined with expanded investments in wind and solar power will permit a smooth transition to a green energy future in which humanity will no longer be pouring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. All this sounds promising indeed. There is only one fly in the ointment: it is not, in fact, the path we are presently headed down. The energy industry is not investing in any significant way in renewables. Instead, it is pouring its historic profits into new fossil-fuel projects, mainly involving the exploitation of what are called “unconventional” oil and gas reserves.

The result is indisputable: humanity is not entering a period that will be dominated by renewables. Instead, it is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas.

That we are embarking on a new carbon era is increasingly evident and should unnerve us all. Hydro-fracking -- the use of high-pressure water columns to shatter underground shale formations and liberate the oil and natural gas supplies trapped within them -- is being undertaken in ever more regions of the United States and in a growing number of foreign countries. In the meantime, the exploitation of carbon-dirty heavy oil and tar sands formations is accelerating in Canada, Venezuela, and elsewhere.

It’s true that ever more wind farms and solar arrays are being built, but here’s the kicker: investment in unconventional fossil-fuel extraction and distribution is now expected to outpace spending on renewables by a ratio of at least three-to-one in the decades ahead.

...more:
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"Global Warming Stopped in 1998!"

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Quoting 630. yoboi:



Is this accurate data??????


It's cherry picked. First, it only looks at air temperature. Second, it shows a shortened trend of 1998 to 2012 which is not long enough to show a correct climatological average (30 year trends are used for this as there are natural decadal variations. And lastly, it misleads with it's title claiming, "2012" was among coolest in 21st century" considering the 21st century has been a whole 12 years so far. It's horribly inaccurate and misleading.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3967
Quoting 628. yoboi:



If you polled 100 people on the street and asked them about climate change and who was the leader.....what name do you think they will say?????? Gore......He does have a major influence with the public regarding climate change......


That would only be because the average person on the street would think of a person to associate as a leader of climate change. The correct answer would be that CO2 is the leader of our current, changing climate.
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Quoting 622. Birthmark:

Um. So what? lol

Watch this. I'm going to take a poll: Will anyone who takes seriously what Al Gore says about climate please indicate that in a subsequent post? TIA

My guess is that, like me, Gore has no influence with anyone here.


Al Gore, First Emperor of the Moon and Tamer of the Mighty Moon Worm:







img src="">
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Quoting 624. CEastwood:
NOAA's own data show that "global warming" has ceased, so they resort to propaganda to "prove" that the Earth is still in danger:

Link


Are you using just the surface temperature data again? Why not pop up a chart of the ocean data as well?
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notrickszone.com ?

Really ?

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129853
625. whitewabit (Mod)
From Dr Masters blog ..

Quoting 1341. JeffMasters:
Dr. Ricky Rood is giving this webinar today, should be interesting!

*Post-Sandy Recovery Series I: Storms, Barrier Islands, and Implications for the Atlantic Coastline*

Thursday, August 8, 2013
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET
*/Registration Link:/*_

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/826825096
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NOAA's own data show that "global warming" has ceased, so they resort to propaganda to "prove" that the Earth is still in danger:

Link
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"Ocean Apocalypse" - *Dr. Jeremy Jackson

presented by the U.S. Naval War College



*Dr. Jeremy Jackson (scientist) wiki
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Quoting 619. MisterPerfect:

Um. So what? lol

Watch this. I'm going to take a poll: Will anyone who takes seriously what Al Gore says about climate please indicate that in a subsequent post? TIA

My guess is that, like me, Gore has no influence with anyone here.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
#619: It certainly looks like Gore left out important information:

"Another Science paper by Honisch and her colleagues, this one from 2012, looked at a broad array of evidence in 10-million-year blocks. Beginning 10 million years ago, acid levels gradually grew until the pH dropped to about 7.5 110 million years ago. That's five times more acidic than today's oceans.

The climate experts we spoke with stressed that it's important to put this in perspective.

Changes in pH typically occur over millions of years, giving life forms -- whose biology can be thrown akilter by a small change in pH -- time to adapt. Scientists fear that today's shift will come so rapidly, organisms won't be able to compensate, and many species will simply die off.


It would have been more accurate to say, said Honisch, "The ocean is acidifying faster today than it has in millions of years."

Too bad politifact didn't comment on that.
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Quoting 619. MisterPerfect:
The Truth-O-Meter Says:

The ocean is now "much more acidic . . . than it has been for many millions of years."

Al Gore on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 in a keynote address


Former Vice President Al Gore, now a crusader against climate change, argues that the continued release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is going to do more than just raise temperatures. It's going to alter the balance of sea life by changing the acidity of the oceans.

During a June 11 keynote address at U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's 4th Annual Rhode Island Energy & Environmental Leaders Day, Gore said ocean acidification has been characterized as the evil twin of global warming.

The process "disrupts ocean chemistry," he said. Ocean water is still more base than acid on the pH scale, "but it's much more acidic, more than it has been for many millions of years."

That's important, he said, because, "This disrupts the process by which shells are formed, not only for shellfish but also for the little critters, the zooplankton, the little tiny critters at the base of the ocean food chain. They have little thin shells. That's being disrupted now."

On Sunday, we checked a similar claim from Whitehouse, who said the acidity of the oceans had increased 30 percent since the industrial age. We ruled that Mostly True.

We were equally interested in Gore's assessment of the problem over a much longer span. Is the ocean currently "much more acidic" than it has been for "many millions of years?"

As we outlined in our examination of Whitehouse’s claim, acidity is measured on the pH scale. The lower the number, the greater the acid level.

Currently, the oceans have a pH of about 8.1. That's more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution, when the level was 8.2.

When we contacted Gore's office, spokeswoman Betsy McManus directed us to an ocean acidification fact sheet from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

She highlighted this statement, which starts out by describing that scientists measure ocean pH in ancient times by using telltale chemical signatures in tiny creatures buried in ocean sediment: "Additional geochemical evidence and modeling provide strong evidence that the average surface ocean pH has not been much lower than about 8.2 for millions of years."

That seems far less extreme than Gore's statement that the ocean is much more acidic than it has been for many millions of years.

So we contacted several oceanographers to get data from the geologic record, where ocean pH is inferred from a variety of methods using cores taken from ancient ice and deep sea sediment.

Just as you can get different temperature readings at the same time if you have thermometers in different locations, the pH measurements in any particular era and from cores taken from different locations can vary.

If you look at individual data points, you don't have to go back "many millions of years" to find ocean levels as acidic as today.

A 2009 study in the journal Science that went back 2.1 million years by analyzing the shells of single-celled plankton buried off the west coast of Africa, found that while the pH averaged around 8.2 during that period, there were a few points -- 100,000 and 900,000 years ago -- when the surface ocean pH hit 8.1, where it is today.

But Barbel Honisch, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and chief author of the Science paper, cautioned that "the uncertainty in the data points is very large."

She said she has more confidence in data published a year later in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, which went back five million years, because it dovetails with other evidence. That study suggested that pH levels dropped to between 8.0 and 8.1 about 3 million to 4 million years ago.

"If you go back 4 million years, you're there," Honisch said, adding that other data support that conclusion as well. "The ocean was more acidic or just as acidic as it is now."

Again, that's not "many millions of years."

Acid levels also seemed to rise to today's level around 15 million to 16 million years ago, according to Honisch. And Andrew Dickson, an oceanographer at the University of California San Diego, said, "Once we go back beyond about 23 million years, the average surface ocean pH is lower than today," he said.

Another Science paper by Honisch and her colleagues, this one from 2012, looked at a broad array of evidence in 10-million-year blocks. Beginning 10 million years ago, acid levels gradually grew until the pH dropped to about 7.5 110 million years ago. That's five times more acidic than today's oceans.

The climate experts we spoke with stressed that it's important to put this in perspective.

Changes in pH typically occur over millions of years, giving life forms -- whose biology can be thrown akilter by a small change in pH -- time to adapt. Scientists fear that today's shift will come so rapidly, organisms won't be able to compensate, and many species will simply die off.

It would have been more accurate to say, said Honisch, "The ocean is acidifying faster today than it has in millions of years."

Our ruling

Former Vice President Al Gore said the ocean today "is much more acidic, more than it has been for many millions of years."

It's clear that the ocean is more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution. It's also clear that many millions of years ago it was much more acidic.

But the best estimates suggest that the oceans reached levels of acidity comparable to today’s levels sometime between about 900,000 years ago and 3 million to 4 million years ago -- far more recently than the "many millions of years" ago that Gore suggested.

"If I had one of your meters, this would be halfway up," said Dickson, one of our experts on ocean acidification.

We agree and rate Gore’s statement Half True.

Truth Scale:

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

FALSE – The statement is not accurate.

PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

politifact.com


Tell that to the "Radioactive Boyscout"...He might listen if his ear drums are still intact...





...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
The Truth-O-Meter Says:

The ocean is now "much more acidic . . . than it has been for many millions of years."

Al Gore on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 in a keynote address


Former Vice President Al Gore, now a crusader against climate change, argues that the continued release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is going to do more than just raise temperatures. It's going to alter the balance of sea life by changing the acidity of the oceans.

During a June 11 keynote address at U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's 4th Annual Rhode Island Energy & Environmental Leaders Day, Gore said ocean acidification has been characterized as the evil twin of global warming.

The process "disrupts ocean chemistry," he said. Ocean water is still more base than acid on the pH scale, "but it's much more acidic, more than it has been for many millions of years."

That's important, he said, because, "This disrupts the process by which shells are formed, not only for shellfish but also for the little critters, the zooplankton, the little tiny critters at the base of the ocean food chain. They have little thin shells. That's being disrupted now."

On Sunday, we checked a similar claim from Whitehouse, who said the acidity of the oceans had increased 30 percent since the industrial age. We ruled that Mostly True.

We were equally interested in Gore's assessment of the problem over a much longer span. Is the ocean currently "much more acidic" than it has been for "many millions of years?"

As we outlined in our examination of Whitehouse’s claim, acidity is measured on the pH scale. The lower the number, the greater the acid level.

Currently, the oceans have a pH of about 8.1. That's more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution, when the level was 8.2.

When we contacted Gore's office, spokeswoman Betsy McManus directed us to an ocean acidification fact sheet from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

She highlighted this statement, which starts out by describing that scientists measure ocean pH in ancient times by using telltale chemical signatures in tiny creatures buried in ocean sediment: "Additional geochemical evidence and modeling provide strong evidence that the average surface ocean pH has not been much lower than about 8.2 for millions of years."

That seems far less extreme than Gore's statement that the ocean is much more acidic than it has been for many millions of years.

So we contacted several oceanographers to get data from the geologic record, where ocean pH is inferred from a variety of methods using cores taken from ancient ice and deep sea sediment.

Just as you can get different temperature readings at the same time if you have thermometers in different locations, the pH measurements in any particular era and from cores taken from different locations can vary.

If you look at individual data points, you don't have to go back "many millions of years" to find ocean levels as acidic as today.

A 2009 study in the journal Science that went back 2.1 million years by analyzing the shells of single-celled plankton buried off the west coast of Africa, found that while the pH averaged around 8.2 during that period, there were a few points -- 100,000 and 900,000 years ago -- when the surface ocean pH hit 8.1, where it is today.

But Barbel Honisch, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and chief author of the Science paper, cautioned that "the uncertainty in the data points is very large."

She said she has more confidence in data published a year later in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, which went back five million years, because it dovetails with other evidence. That study suggested that pH levels dropped to between 8.0 and 8.1 about 3 million to 4 million years ago.

"If you go back 4 million years, you're there," Honisch said, adding that other data support that conclusion as well. "The ocean was more acidic or just as acidic as it is now."

Again, that's not "many millions of years."

Acid levels also seemed to rise to today's level around 15 million to 16 million years ago, according to Honisch. And Andrew Dickson, an oceanographer at the University of California San Diego, said, "Once we go back beyond about 23 million years, the average surface ocean pH is lower than today," he said.

Another Science paper by Honisch and her colleagues, this one from 2012, looked at a broad array of evidence in 10-million-year blocks. Beginning 10 million years ago, acid levels gradually grew until the pH dropped to about 7.5 110 million years ago. That's five times more acidic than today's oceans.

The climate experts we spoke with stressed that it's important to put this in perspective.

Changes in pH typically occur over millions of years, giving life forms -- whose biology can be thrown akilter by a small change in pH -- time to adapt. Scientists fear that today's shift will come so rapidly, organisms won't be able to compensate, and many species will simply die off.

It would have been more accurate to say, said Honisch, "The ocean is acidifying faster today than it has in millions of years."

Our ruling

Former Vice President Al Gore said the ocean today "is much more acidic, more than it has been for many millions of years."

It's clear that the ocean is more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution. It's also clear that many millions of years ago it was much more acidic.

But the best estimates suggest that the oceans reached levels of acidity comparable to today’s levels sometime between about 900,000 years ago and 3 million to 4 million years ago -- far more recently than the "many millions of years" ago that Gore suggested.

"If I had one of your meters, this would be halfway up," said Dickson, one of our experts on ocean acidification.

We agree and rate Gore’s statement Half True.

Truth Scale:

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

FALSE – The statement is not accurate.

PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

politifact.com
Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 71 Comments: 20140
Would somebody please wake up and rescale the darn map to the new normal?? It is off the freaking chart for crying out loud!!!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
Would somebody please wake up and rescale the darn map to the new normal?? It is off the freaking chart for crying out loud!!!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
Would somebody please wake up and rescale the darn map to the new normal?? It is off the freaking chart for crying out loud!!!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
Still looks pretty darn ugly.... Pretty soon they will have to rescale the maps again to the new normals...







Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
15th place...

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470
Quoting 612. Birthmark:

Well, did it develop yesterday? Alright, then. They were right. :)


Nope they said for the next five days it had zero percent chance of development. Today it is at 10% so they were incorrect...LOL..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20470

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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.

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Clouds in the lee of the Rockies at sunset.
Clouds in the lee of the Rockies at sunset.
Clouds in the lee of the Rockies at sunset.
Clouds in the lee of the Rockies at sunset.