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Climate Concerns

The "CLIMATE CONCERNS" group is dedicated to discussion regarding the topic of the ever present and serious issue of changes to our climate due to the introduction into the atmosphere of human induced effects which prove harmful to the environment and which eventually may prove destructive to our planet. 

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Jet Stream Mayhem begins Tues

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner 4 hours ago. 3 Replies

Siberian air…Continue

Tags: jet stream waves

Framing Climate Destabilization

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Nov 8. 19 Replies

The words we use and the images they evoke shape public comprehension of Catastrophic Climate Destabilization's immanence. Here are a few terms from the past few days. It's a tiny…Continue

Tags: communicating climate science, Climate Destabilization, framing

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Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 22, 2016 at 1:04pm

A new study indicates that, because our current rate of CO2 increase is an order of magnitude higher than during the PETM extinction, ours will have more severe ocean acidification and ecosystems will be hit harder.

What we’re doing to the Earth has no parallel in 66 million years, ...

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 20, 2016 at 12:15pm

Thanks, Čenek, for the detailed explanation. I wasn’t even aware of most of that. RobertScribbler says that the strongest greenhouse effect in the Arctic happens during the long night, during which the angle of incidence wouldn’t apply. Yes it’s been far hotter and colder before we evolved, but that doesn’t reassure me. Humanity wouldn’t fare well with Permian-Triassic mass extinction temperatures.

... the correlative data we have from earlier on all says it has been far far hotter (and colder!) in the past. I'm not worried. 

Human ingenuity!

We're pretty good at solving small scale technical problems, but whole-planet geoengineering is an entirely different scale. Part of the issue is depending on fossil fuels for the energy needed to implement technical solutions. Presupposing abundant energy just comes naturally, based on our previous experience. We're used to experimenting on the bench top, where long term planet-scale side effects can be discounted.

One study, for example, looked at the possibility of pumping sea water on to the Antarctic ice shield to freeze, to mitigate sea level rise. It wasn't remotely feasible.

Apparently, it's really easy to trigger positive feedbacks to raise temperature. One CFC plant could hold back the coming ice age. But trying to go cooler is a technical nightmare.

It's easiest to grasp this asymmetry by abandoning assumptions of linear change. Our planet has had two equilibrium states, the cool/oxidizing equilibrium to which we're accustomed, and a hot/reducing equilibrium (high temperatures and acidic anoxic oceans of most mass extinction events), responding to various positive and negative feedbacks. We're are increasingly far from the cool/oxidizing equilibrium, now subject to more forcings with extreme sensitivity to initial conditions toward the inhospitable equilibrium.

It seems that so far, we've not been hot enough, for long enough yet, to lose significant hydrogen to space from a heat-expanded atmosphere. One new study suggests that a 6°C rise would produce a runaway greenhouse effect, a slow one way trip to a lifeless planet. I guess our own Venus Syndrome would be a new third equilibrium state.

Yes, Donald, the planet was hotter during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, and we do have flora and fauna today. But 95% of then-existing life was wiped out, followed by a 5 million year long "Dead Zone" before life began to recover.

Comment by Donald L. Engel on March 19, 2016 at 11:34pm

Think about it Joan, if the earth has been hotter and colder in the past, and we now have flora and fauna,  it must have survived in the past to be here now.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 19, 2016 at 10:19pm

"I'm not worried."

Are you saying that the rising gases, of whatever kind, and rising temperatures that exist today is not a problem? Yes, Earth has been hotter and colder in our history. The point is, will flora and fauna survive either too hot or too cold?

 I'm not worried.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on March 19, 2016 at 7:54pm

Yes you are right I should have phrased that differently. Sorry. 

Your linked site is quite well written. I won't nit pick it. The diagram is helpful in visualizing the types of phenomena but also partly misleading. I'll explain the major things that concern me that aren't accounted for (both in the diagram and in many climate models)

The angle of incidence is a crucial factor. The vast majority of surface heating comes from the part of the earth in the most direct sunlight.  However that area has the least greenhouse effect. At the same time the area with the highest greenhouse effect is the area with the least direct heating. These zones move relative to the surface of the earth as it rotates. Why is the variance important? For example in the low greenhouse zone the earth is absorbing about 700 W/m^2 but only ~40-110 W/m^2 is able to be greenhouse captured.  The high greenhouse effect zone is where light must travel through more atmosphere. This zone is dusk/dawn horizons and the poles. 

Now ironically enough, the major complaint of orthodox climate science about these high greenhouse zones is that the atmosphere is too cold.  The idea is that since less energy is being kept in upper atmosphere away from the surface of the poles, thus contributing to ice cap melt. This cold air that lets light melt ice is called ozone holes. 

Another figure labeled 'back radiation' in this essay is another victim of using statistics badly. Whereas he took the global average (~340W/m^2) for energy in, he used the global high for 'back radiation'.  Even that figure (335) has large error bars unfortunately. We need more raw measurements!

Why this digression? Simply do the math and you see the issue. Taking the diagram at face value we keep 102 W/m^2 so the earth should be heating at a rate somewhere near 0.07 degrees C per hour. 

But really I forgive the error. Not even climate science agrees on the energy budget numbers. Compare his diagram to the (also incorrect) diagram on Wikipedia:  

I can't know for sure but I believe that the reason for the errors in their models is that the difficult math required to model a differential equation with x,y,z,t,k,θ,°C,γ, and probably other variables - All of which aren't scalar!  

For example, γ (specific gravity) changes with respect to time as the heat changes. I have never seen a model that accounts for this (This doesn't mean the model doesn't exist). And it matters! The greenhouse layer constantly heats up and cools down according to the rotation of the earth. As the density decreases so does the ability of those gasses to reflect heat back to earth. 

The significance in change in greenhouse gasses is almost in the same ballpark as thermal change due to night time city illumination. 

I could nit pick on this all day. 

A quick note about our warm temps.  Only have about 400 years of direct observation on temp. And the correlative data we have from earlier on all says it has been far far hotter (and colder!) in the past. I'm not worried. 

Human ingenuity!

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 18, 2016 at 11:03am

Outgoing infrared radiation certainly carries less energy than incoming solar did, but “nearly all its energy” is misleading. The important point is how much energy used to be radiated to space when the Earth was stable compared to how much is radiated now, as greenhouse gases continually rise.

image source

BTW, the six highest monthly temperature departures on record for the planet have all occurred in the last six months.

NOAA: Earth had its 10th straight record warm month in February

“The departures are what we would consider astronomical,” NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden told the Associated Press.

While surface temperatures are bound to back off from this extraordinary high, they'll probably drop to a higher level than before. My concern is that the temporary high will accelerate positive feedbacks such as tundra wildfires and methane release.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on March 15, 2016 at 11:28pm

Ruth that graph looks about right to me. 

Some of the light reflected by earth is the perfect frequency to get trapped by CO2 or other greenhouse gasses.  How much? What substances emit light at that frequency? What proportion of the total solar input energy is then absorbed by greenhouse gasses (thus warming the air)?

These are the points where I disagree with the orthodoxy. Mostly because when the models are laid out and I look at the math, for brevity sake, it doesn't add up without certain assumptions.

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on March 15, 2016 at 11:21pm

Regarding the greenhouse gasses (H20, H2O2, N@O, CH4, CO2, O2, O3)

Briefly I'll state my suppositions and my hypothesis. Atmospheric heat is gained two ways: heat from the earth (99%+ being reflected sunlight) and direct heat from sol. 

When EM radiation changes medium the boundary has an index of refraction lower than the near vacuum it is leaving. The light can be said to be striking the earth totally in parallel but since the earth is an irregular sphere and the atmosphere and even more irregular obloid the local index of refraction changes constantly. But still the change will be between certain hypothetical limits that can be inferred by inter and outer atmospheric measurement. 

I realize this might sound like Greek so this is an example. Have you observed when you put a stick in the water and the stick seems to bend? That is a demonstration of the dielectric index of refraction of water. 

Nearly all of the light striking the atmospheric dielectric will separate into two constituent parts. Some will have an angle of incidence change and exit. Some will enter. 

Greenhouse gasses aren't heated appreciably by incoming radiation by sol (their absorption spectra is far too low, and sol doesn't output much infrared light).

So the light having entered the dielectric medium passes without much further reduction to the surface where the boundary condition is repeated. 

Each time, the light is altered by this process even if it isn't absorbed. 

The leftover energy now reflected begins an exit journey. Greenhouse gasses, having a spectrum of absorption and index of refraction that are conducive to latching on to much of this light don't let it escape. The light of unaffected spectra passes mostly unaffected.

So in following the light through it's many electrical changes as it goes through the atmosphere, into and off of the earth, and then into space which has the greatest energy budget?

The question here is, which light, when interacting with the atmosphere, has the most energy to lose in heating a thing?

Why, the light first entering the dielectric has the most energy. 

Obviously the insulating greenhouse effect works well with the low energy light. But by that time it has already given up nearly all it's energy. 

This is one brief reason why I am not convinced that greenhouse gasses are the primary cause. Their energy budget is nearly 100 times less. Therefore even a small increase in absorption prior to light being able to interact with greenhouse gasses is worth tens of increase in quantity of greenhouse gas.

I had another point about index of refraction but this is long enough for now. 

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 15, 2016 at 11:20pm

Čenek, you said, "CO2 ... has zero absorption at 11µm." You seemed to argue that it was impossible for CO2 to act as a greenhouse gas because "The earth reradiates primarily at 11µm." Surely, just because CO2 doesn't absorb at the median wavelength of Earth radiation, can't mean it plays no significant role.

 Perhaps you can explain to me how this graph, which shows CO2 as absorbing radiation from Earth, is wrong. The caption says:

Graph showing the mostly visible radiation spectrum emitted from the Sun as seen from the surface of the Earth (left curve) and the IR radiation emitted Earth as seen from space (right curve). Compared it to Figure 1 this graph shows the wavelengths that are absorbed by atmospheric gases, causing gaps in the spectrum. For the left curve, it is obvious how ozone acts to absorb UV light before it reaches the Earth's surface with some visible light also being absorbed by water vapor. For the right curve, the impact that the major greenhouse gases have on the amount of IR that Earth emits to space is clear: carbon dioxide, ozone, and water vapor act together to absorb and re-emit radiation that stays trapped in the lower atmosphere (that is, the outgoing radiation from Earth is much less intense than expected from the temperature one would measure in space due to the effect of greenhouse gases). Carbon dioxide absorbs at wavelengths centered on 15 microns, ozone at wavelengths of 10 microns, and water vapor over broad ranges of wavelengths. [emphasis mine]

Comment by Čenek Sekavec on March 15, 2016 at 10:38pm

I also don't believe the data is being ignored. There certainly isn't incentive to reexamine though because all the grants for climate research are only given if one conforms to the orthodoxy. 

In the paper I cited they put it like this:

  • Rather than revising current understanding of solar physics and solar variability effects on climate, what is needed is improved characterization of the SIM observations. Work is under way to reassess the spectral irradiance variations measured by SIM and a new, advanced SIM has been designed and constructed for flight on the Joint Polar Satellite System (P. Pilewskie 2011, personal communication). To prevent future research following a path of unrealistic solar-terrestrial behavior, the SORCE SIM observations should be used with extreme caution in studies of climate and atmospheric change until additional validation and uncertainty estimates are available.

I think this is well worth following up on in a few years. If SIM2 data confirms the variations even the most conservative scientist will be compelled to suggest that at the very least the real data needs included in climate models. 

Again this is a huge complaint I have with climate science, when you look at the math behind their climate models you find these huge areas where they just assert that a given variable is scalar. IE is an unchanging constant. Given that, of course the math works out that the greenhouse gasses are the predominant influences. But the system is more complex. 

They also commented:

  • SIM’s solar spectral irradiance measurements from April 2004 to December 2008 and inferences of their climatic implications are incompatible with... empirical climate change attribution results.

I hesitate to read too much between the lines here. But what is "climate change attribution" if not the orthodox hypothesis that CO2 and other gasses are the primary influence of climate change?

So I'm not saying conspiracy. Just that there is obviously an incentive to disavow data that contradicts ones bank account. But they still published the raw data. So at least there is that. 

 

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