Composting plastic: Sustainability and Climate Change (2)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:33 AM GMT on August 29, 2011

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Composting plastic: Sustainability and Climate Change (2)

It has been a challenge in the realm of WU’s climate change blogger. Sick computer, and on Tuesday I was giving a talk at the Climate Program Office when the great D.C. Earthquake came. It was a webinar, and, within a minute, savvy scientists were reporting, “5.9, Mineral, Virginia.” The earthquake, which I had successfully identified in my talk, eliminating both “train” and “terrorist attack,” led to a natural separation of those who went to doorways in the interior of the building and those who went to the large picture window and said, “cool, all the buildings are shaking.” This was followed by building evacuation, and a typical D.C. response of gridlock and people walking away from wherever they were, with perhaps, the assumption that wherever they were walking to was safer. Considering all of the fallen stones and bricks, it is quite fortunate that people were not seriously injured.

This was, of course, followed by the march of Hurricane Irene up the coast, which leads to a certain type of hurricane-anticipation hysteria. I believe that the Weather Channel and CNN amplified this hysteria with exaggerated and unwarranted statements of the lack of historical precedents for such a storm. There is perhaps an over reporting of people on beaches in a spot light saying, “It is only going to get worse.” Is this the way to get people to take these storms seriously? Anyway, the storm came ashore near my old stomping grounds on the Neuse River where I hear there were nearly 8 foot surges. This was at the end of the funnel, and it is the funneling of water up the creeks that make for the greatest flooding. It will be another billion dollar storm.

Still … I have started this blog three times and my sick computer has destroyed it. I want to get back to sustainability, composting, and those plastic cups.

Let me start by saying that I recycle. I will toss plastic cups in my luggage to take them to a place that will recycle, say, number 6 plastics. My father had me separating metals and pulling nails from miles of lumber in the 1960s for reuse. That said, I have been confused by corn-plastic, compostable plastic cups. If you take one of these cups and put it in your compost heap, well, it doesn’t compost. If you think about plastics and plastic making, then you’re not really sure what it might compost into. So you call and ask about this, and they say they were designed for commercial composting facilities, which operate at high temperature in carefully controlled environments. Then you find out that your municipality does not do such composting, so you are left with a cup that can’t be recycled, will not be composted, and to a naïve person like me seems like garbage. It’s garbage, when it could have been a recyclable number 1 plastic cup. This opens up all sorts of opportunities for greenwashing and the pursuit of irritating, good-intentioned, ineffective environmental policies and practices.

Irritating: I have been on the edge of a couple of zero-waste events in the last couple of years. One of the places where cities and counties exercise zero-waste policies is street festivals and county fairs. These are often places where there are traveling vendors, and a mix of activities that range from demolition derbies to face painting to costumed goats and prized cattle. There is eating of odd food. The point, there are a lot of people that are perhaps, not of the zero-waste jurisdiction or culture. One source of tension is those plastic cups. Let’s say they cost a little more, but let’s assume that if the event is in a place that supports zero-waste events, then people will pay a little more for their lemonade. The requirement to use compostable cups has some practical issues. They might not fit lemonade making equipment; they don’t stand up to heat; they require special stocking. They challenge some people’s view that the market price should determine what they choose. And, given where I started above, that they don’t seem so compostable, they challenge sensibilities. That list looks a lot like the range of responses to addressing the climate-change problem.

Sustainability: Sustainability is about a lot more than climate change. It is about landfills and soil management and energy use and all of those resources that we need to support ourselves. So in that sense, climate change, or let’s be precise, the emission of carbon dioxide, is a subset of sustainability. There are a lot of things that can be done in the spirit of sustainability that don’t address the emissions of carbon dioxide. For example, if you focus on energy security, some would argue that coal would address our needs long enough to get by, and hence would argue that coal is part of a sustainable energy policy – same with tar sands. Both coal and tar sands contribute to more and more carbon dioxide emissions; hence, they are in the long run agents that will lead to, for example, several meters of sea level rise. There are many initiatives in the efforts to promote sustainability, that don’t obviously help climate change. (Think about the locally grown apple kept in refrigeration for 8 months versus the apple from Australia that is not stored as long. Think about the electric car that charges up from the coal power plant.)

Composting: I’ve composted for years – let me restate that, I have composted vegetative matter for years. As a kid we did not call it composting, but we piled up mountains of leaves inside of a large fenced area and then used it gardening. It makes sense to a gardener, but it also makes sense to someone whose father was the mayor of a town and challenged with what to do with a lot of leaves and not really wanting to promote backyard bonfires on dry October days. So composting leaves and garden waste makes intuitive sense, but what about prescribed policies on composting of food waste and yard waste and, maybe, scraps of lumber? Again, if you are a city then you want to control the amount of garbage you have to deal with. Garbage is expensive – buying land, transporting it, burying it – so you start to think about what might composting do for my garbage problem. There are several ways that that leads to plastic, because plastic has infiltrated everything we do, and it lasts practically forever. Also, it comes from oil. In some sense, plastic is a lot like carbon dioxide. Perhaps thinking about plastics and waste plastic is a good way to think about carbon dioxide waste, because we can see plastic waste everywhere. But I digress.


This is a blog about climate, so let’s bring the composting and climate together. It is easy to make the casual argument that composting in your backyard is good for climate change. Or, at least, it might be. One of the climate benefits of composting in your backyard comes from not trucking the stuff away. So if you buy a gas-powered chipper or shredder, you’re likely to do away with that benefit. I’ve had a number of student projects looking at composting and climate change, especially composting food from cafeterias, and the answer is complicated. One of the big factors in the composting equation is transportation. If you have to ship the stuff many miles out of town, it’s not likely composting will help climate change. But if you can keep it nearby, have a good commercial-scale facility, and can start with a clean stream of compostable material it can help a lot. It helps a whole lot when you realize that if buried in a landfill, it usually makes methane. (To imagine how complex this gets, sometimes it is better to dump the waste in the sewer and let the sewage experts deal with it, and often, the best thing to do is to burn it for fuel. So it is not an easy calculation and decision.)

So back to those plastic cups. I try to be a responsible blogger so I did a little research. I hope I did enough research to not make a fool of myself. I put some links to articles down at the end of blog. I want to line up some conclusions, but, first, the observation that most of the work investigating plastics in waste streams that I found was coming from Northern Europe, China, and Africa. OK some conclusions. I was right that some of those plastic cups don’t break down in home composting. Home composting is simply not active enough to break down those cups. At best they become some sort of plastic sand. But other plastics and compressed papers break down pretty well even at home. In commercial composting, where there is a lot of stirring and a lot of biodegrading going on, they breakdown pretty well, and they don’t do anything bad to the compost. And at street festivals and fairs, if there are compostable cups, then when people throw away all of their eating stuff in the same garbage, which people are prone to do, then the compostable cups (and forks and plates) clean up the stream for the much larger mass of food waste. Therefore at big events, cafeterias, and restaurants, the compostable cups can have a large impact on waste management – but it does require an easy and visible and clearly marked place to put compostable garbage.

Above I said that zero-waste and compostable cups can challenge one’s sensibility. The effort I have gone through here is more effort than the average person is going to exert to worry about their garbage. I am sure that some of the people I know who find the zero-waste policy, perhaps, silly, would find that it makes sense when you think about the stream of compostable material made possible by compostable cups. But as often presented, in the absence of information, in the spirit of prescriptive policy that is “good” in some sense, it serves to discredit the whole culture of sustainability. It poses “good” and suggests that what others are doing is “bad.” And inevitably here in the good ol’ USA of 2011, it becomes a matter of politics, of culture.

But this is a blog on climate change. What about the compostable cups and climate change? So if the impact of the compostable cup on climate change is measured by its carbon footprint, then the difference between the compostable cup and old-fashioned plastic cup is hard to determine. If a locality is set up with a good commercial-grade composting facility that is not far away, then the impacts can be substantial. In one of my students’ projects, composting food waste from University of Michigan cafeterias was the equivalent of removing 100 cars from the road. In this situation, the compostable cup cleans up the compost stream and allows the food to be composted. But, in any case, what is best for the climate is to use metal utensils and washable plates, and to wash the dishes. And if a business or town hands out compostable cups WITHOUT a composting plan and facility, they mess up their recycling program as the cups get mixed into the recycling stream.

It’s never easy. I am often asked what individuals can do about climate change. It is “be efficient,” use compact fluorescents, composting and recycling can be good, insulate, insulate, insulate. Sometimes I say quit being an eco-tourist. In the end though, assuming we consume as we view our prerogative to consume, we must de-carbonize our energy. We must quit making so much of our stuff to be disposed. All of the little steps are important; they might raise our awareness; they might make us feel better about our consumption; they buy us a little time – maybe, but they cannot solve that big problem of burning coal, oil, and natural gas to supply our wealth. As long as we are not thinking about our energy use and our energy waste, we are not really addressing the zero-waste and sustainability issues of climate change.

r

Razza et al., Compostable Cutlery …

Song et al., Biodegradable and compostable plastics …

Hopewell et al., Plastics recycling …

Mohee and Unmar, Determining biodegradability …

Rockstrom et al., A safe operating space for humanity


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149. PurpleDrank
5:13 PM GMT on September 07, 2011

Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 730
148. cyclonebuster
4:49 PM GMT on September 07, 2011
Anyone trend just the ice melting in Antarctica over water and not the land during the seasons? How does that trend look since 1979?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
147. cyclonebuster
3:24 PM GMT on September 07, 2011
2.976 OUCH again!


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
146. cyclonebuster
2:05 PM GMT on September 07, 2011
Re: 145

This ends the "Methane Time Bomb" because it refreezes the permafrost!


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
145. greentortuloni
1:46 PM GMT on September 07, 2011
You global warming people should actually be happy about this. Not only is it in line with your goals of increasing global warming but the key phrase "there's nothing you can do about it"... in other words, you win, were doom.


“It is High Time to Warn People”: Igor Semiletov and the Methane Time-Bomb (Feedback, Part 2)
by admin

Arrhenius’ ideas about feedback effects were generally ignored, since he wasn’t predicting calamity and he’d made some mistakes. But the substance of his work was dismissed mainly because the idea of humanity affecting the Great Cycles of Nature was out of the question.

It's not about the glove, it's about the bubbles.

In 1896 global population was 1 billion people, and despite the sooty air in coal-burning cities like London, global emissions were relatively low. No cars, no CFCs, far less deforestation. Urban dwellers were still a minority, and most people lived in conditions similar to those of the 14th century. It was a tough sell asking a scientist like Arrhenius to believe that human-caused pollution could, within a century, screw up the biosphere.

What Arrhenius didn’t have data on were the wild cards. Two such factors are embedded carbon dioxide and methane – greenhouse gases locked by ice into glaciers, the sea-floor, Arctic permafrost and undersea shelves.

As glaciers retreat, and sea-ice disappears—and permafrost melts— both of these gases enter the atmosphere. This in turn raises temperature, which in turn melts permafrost and glaciers more quickly. This is not your parents’ feedback, not Jimi on a Marshall amp. This is bad feedback. An Earth-size headache.

This may be Mr. Semiletov.

The amount of carbon dioxide trapped in the world’s thawing tundra and northern taiga landscapes is estimated at 1.5 trillion tons, more than twice what is currently in the atmosphere. As for methane, it’s a greenhouse gas 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide in trapping solar heat in the short term (over a twenty-year period it’s 72 times as potent).

Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakhova, two Russian scientists with the International Arctic Research Center, have studied the increasing release of methane from a submerged land mass known as the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). As temperatures rise in the Arctic and sea-ice disappears, the global warming picture is quickly changing.

“The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world’s oceans,” said Shakhova in a National Science Foundation (NSF) press release. “Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap.” The amount of methane stored in the shelf is estimated at 2,000 gigatons, equal to 250 years of carbon emissions at our current industrial levels of output.

If just one percent of ESAS methane escapes its crystal prison, Semiletov suggested at a geophysical conference in 2008, it might push total methane to 6 parts per million. Some researchers consider this is a tipping point towards ‘runaway climate change.’ If that term doesn’t summon up an image, you can take NASA scientist James Hansen’s suggestion of an “ice-free state” where the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt entirely, raising global sea level by over 200 feet.

“It is high time to warn people,” Semiletov told the conference attendees, but then took a pause, and offered an apologetic smile before adding: “We can do nothing about it, of course.”

Courtesy the NSF. Click for article.

The usually staid NSF recently backed up Semiletov in a press release. “Permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane, is perforated and is starting to leak large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

This idea of a methane “time bomb” is the global warming equivalent of Dr. Strangelove’s Doomsday Machine, that apotheosis of Mutual Assured Destruction that once initiated, can’t be turned off. Even Kennedy and Khrushchev could come to detente during the Cuban Missile Crisis and agree to take their fingers off their red buttons. But you can’t reason with a frozen gas bubble.
Member Since: June 5, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
144. Birthmark
10:36 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
Quoting Ossqss:


Ah yes, you have certainly polished up this discussion. Similar tendencies are actually noticeable by many.

So about the Curry link provided ?

)which is from a recommended site - top right on this blog page(

L8R >>>>>>>>

Again, I'm not interested in blogosphere science-like-product. There is no reason to be when real science is fairly easily obtained. Not insisting on peer-reviewed papers published in a reputable journal is a pretty good way to waste time and learn little to nothing of value.

I appreciate the time you put into the post, though. Thanks.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
143. cyclonebuster
2:53 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
OUCH!

September 6, 2011
Arctic sea ice near record lows

Arctic sea ice extent averaged for August 2011 reached the second lowest level for the month in the 1979 to 2011 satellite record. Both the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea route appear to be open. Throughout August, sea ice extent tracked near the record lows of 2007, underscoring the continued decline in Arctic ice cover.

Note: Arctic sea ice extent will likely reach its minimum extent for the year sometime in the next two weeks. NSIDC will make a preliminary announcement when ice extent has stopped declining and has increased for several days in a row. Monthly data for September will be released in early October.


Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
142. cyclonebuster
2:50 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
OUCH!


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
141. cyclonebuster
2:48 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
OUCH!


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
140. cyclonebuster
2:47 AM GMT on September 07, 2011

OUCH!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
139. Ossqss
2:09 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
Quoting Birthmark:
Your first link has next to nothing to do with CO2.

Your second link is mere hand waving. What biological activity specifically is causing the increase in atmospheric C12 (and CO2)? Why does Spencer think that temperature increase can precede CO2 release is news? Where does Spencer think the 30GT of CO2 we release every year go? But it really doesn't matter. Spencer is a hack who will say anything to prop up the religion of Capitalism. IOW, he isn't a credible source in most instances.

I try, as much as possible, to deal with actual published science --not bloggy rhetoric.

It's what separates us from the animals, you know?



Ah yes, you have certainly polished up this discussion. Similar tendencies are actually noticeable by many.

So about the Curry link provided ?

)which is from a recommended site - top right on this blog page(

L8R >>>>>>>>
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
138. cyclonebuster
1:51 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
OUCH!


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
137. Birthmark
1:34 AM GMT on September 07, 2011
Your first link has next to nothing to do with CO2.

Your second link is mere hand waving. What biological activity specifically is causing the increase in atmospheric C12 (and CO2)? Why does Spencer think that temperature increase can precede CO2 release is news? Where does Spencer think the 30GT of CO2 we release every year go? But it really doesn't matter. Spencer is a hack who will say anything to prop up the religion of Capitalism. IOW, he isn't a credible source in most instances.

I try, as much as possible, to deal with actual published science --not bloggy rhetoric.

It's what separates us from the animals, you know?

Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
136. Ossqss
11:23 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Obviously you didn't read post 101 :-)

If nothing else, you may want to listen to the podcast linked in this write up from 101.

Carbon cycle questions
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
135. Birthmark
11:19 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting Ossqss:


Ya, I will get right on that for you, so you don't have to :)

Don't you want to support your assertions?



In the mean time, I just got an R3 alert from the a href="http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_tim eline.html"


Yeah, you're gonna get that as we get closer to the peak of the solar cycle.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
134. Ossqss
11:12 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting Birthmark:

And if you have real evidence that any of those things are true (aside from the phone thing), then feel free to post it.

But it has to be actual science --in context.


Ya, I will get right on that for you, so you don't have to :)

In the mean time, I just got an R3 alert from the http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_timeline .html site.

Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
Serial Number: 71
Issue Time: 2011 Sep 06 2247 UTC

SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2011 Sep 06 2212 UTC
Maximum Time: 2011 Sep 06 2220 UTC
End Time: 2011 Sep 06 2224 UTC
X-ray Class: X2.1
Optical Class: 2b
Location: N14W18
NOAA Scale: R3 - Strong

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
133. atmoaggie
7:49 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yes, thanks. I did not intend that as anything derogatory. You said you were going to post your tropics information here and you did. You also did it with style.
Ah, hokay.

cheers!
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
132. Some1Has2BtheRookie
6:57 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting atmoaggie:
Um, thanks?
;-)


Yes, thanks. I did not intend that as anything derogatory. You said you were going to post your tropics information here and you did. You also did it with style.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4758
131. Birthmark
6:42 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting Ossqss:


Are you confusing 2 subjects? What do you actually want to say or ask?

Perhaps, the PPM has gone up as a percentage, or the constituents of the atmosphere have changed in their composition as a whole with respect to their attributes ?

Or now something completely different? ~

Did I mention I hate smartphones :)

And if you have real evidence that any of those things are true (aside from the phone thing), then feel free to post it.

But it has to be actual science --in context.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
130. Birthmark
6:25 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting martinitony:


What percentage of atmospheric CO2 is caused by burning of fossil fuels and what percentage is caused by natural release from decomposition of carbon based life?

I have a better question that's more relevant: How much naturally released CO2 is subsequently absorbed through natural processes?

Bonus question: What happens if we chuck an extra 30GT of CO2 on top of those natural CO2 emission?

Difficulty: Use reputable scientific sources.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
129. atmoaggie
5:53 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Emanuel's modeling not convinced that Katia has reached her peak intensity, but stands alone in that notion:



Could be related to the slightly better OHC in the near-term, then falling off after 12 to 24 hours:

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
128. atmoaggie
5:51 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


One thing is certain, atmo. No one can truthfully say that you do not have style. ;-)
Um, thanks?
;-)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
127. atmoaggie
5:50 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Check out the dewpoints in TX, along with the rest of the winds/temps/dewpoints in the gulf.


(Click for full size)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
126. Some1Has2BtheRookie
5:46 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting atmoaggie:
Latest BOC image, little organized deep convection:



One thing is certain, atmo. No one can truthfully say that you do not have style. ;-)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4758
125. atmoaggie
5:38 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
GFS 12 UTC solution for the BOC system will probably not bring much, if any, rainfall to Texas.

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
124. atmoaggie
5:33 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Speaking of Katia, I thought this was an interesting graphic:

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
123. atmoaggie
5:32 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
After all of the hoopla, it will be neat to see Katia miss...possibly everything.

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
122. atmoaggie
5:31 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Latest BOC image, little organized deep convection:

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
121. cyclonebuster
5:29 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants cheaper electrical power?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
120. cyclonebuster
5:28 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants less coral bleaching?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
119. cyclonebuster
5:27 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants less carbonic acid in our oceans?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
118. cyclonebuster
5:26 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants less particulate matter from fossil fuels in the atmosphere?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
117. cyclonebuster
5:25 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants fewer tornadoes?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
116. cyclonebuster
5:24 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants less GHGs in the atmosphere?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
115. cyclonebuster
5:24 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants weaker land falling hurricanes?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
114. cyclonebuster
5:23 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
Who wants more Arctic Ice?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
113. ncstorm
4:53 PM GMT on September 06, 2011
.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16041
112. yonzabam
10:33 AM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting Ossqss:


I simply seek the truth and we simply don't know it yet.

I think if you dig into the referenced material, nearly all is very much legitimate and water vapor does indeed rule. If 96% of CO2 is natural, what do you think makes things happen in that sense ?

Cloud formation is the great unknown to our current infantile climate modeling, and hugely significant to the overall premise involved. Like it or not ----- it is what it is.

We all see in front of us...... The inverted pyramid of science.

Scence does not work that way.

You don't build science around a preconceived end result and force fit it.

It only works from the bottom up.

On that note >>>> Cheers :) Out



You say you seek the truth, and then, in the next breath, you say that 96% of atmospheric CO2 is natural? You clearly know little about the subject and should listen to people who know more than you rather than attempt to argue with them.

The pre-industrial level of atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppm. It is now 391 ppm. That's an increase of 39.6%. Most of this increase is due to the burning of fossil fuels and some comes from the environment as a result of 'positive feedbacks' as the world warms.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2956
111. BaltimoreBrian
3:25 AM GMT on September 06, 2011
I looked at the questions about the ice area and extent graphs down around post 75.

This site gives the precise extant of the northern hemisphere sea ice where it covers 15% or more of the sea surface. It gives the extant for every day going back to 2002. Scroll down to close to the bottom for recent days.

Extent is a term they use to describe the area of the sea covered by 15% or more by ice.

Graphs can be useful for presenting data but can also obscure things.


I prefer my data raw.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
110. cyclonebuster
1:01 AM GMT on September 06, 2011
This prevents



this.

OUCH!

Total Arctic sea ice at record low in 2010: study

(Reuters) - The minimum summertime volume of Arctic sea ice fell to a record low last year, researchers said in a study to be published shortly, suggesting that thinning of the ice had outweighed a recovery in area.

The study estimated that last year broke the previous, 2007 record for the minimum volume of ice, which is calculated from a combination of sea ice area and thickness.

The research adds to a picture of rapid climate change at the top of the world that could see the Arctic Ocean ice-free within decades, spurring new oil exploration opportunities but possibly also disrupted weather patterns far afield and a faster rise in sea levels.

The authors developed a model predicting thickness across the Arctic Ocean based on actual observations of winds, air and ocean temperatures.

"The real worrisome fact is downward trend over the last 32 years," said Axel Schweiger, lead author of the paper, referring to a satellite record of changes in the Arctic.

He was emailing Reuters at the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise, in the Arctic Ocean between the Norwegian island of Svalbard and the North Pole.

"(It fell) by a large enough margin to establish a statistically significant new record," said the authors in their paper titled "Uncertainty in modeled Arctic sea ice volume."

The researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle checked the model results against real readings of ice thickness using limited submarine and satellite data.

The approach has some detractors because it is focused is on modeling rather than direct observations of thickness, and therefore contains some uncertainty.

Sea ice area is easier to measure by satellite than ice thickness, and so has not needed a modeling approach.

Ice thickness is just as important or more so in helping understand what is happening in the far north. Some experts argue that part of the reason the ice area has dramatically fallen in recent years is because it has been thinning for decades.

The authors said their Pan-arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) in general agreed well with actual observations, although "modeling error" was possible.

The Arctic sea ice area fell below 4.6 million sq km last week with two weeks of the melt season still to go, compared with the record low of 4.13 million sq km in 2007.

By comparison, the minimum ice extent in the early 1970s was about 7 million square km. Ice melts every year during the summer and reaches a minimum extent in mid-September.

Most experts now agree that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in late summer at some point this century but disagree about exactly when.

While sea ice itself does not raise sea levels when it melts, a warmer Arctic could speed up melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which is freshwater ice trapped over land and contains enough water to raise world sea levels by 7 meters.








Link





..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
109. Ossqss
12:36 AM GMT on September 06, 2011
Quoting petewxwatcher:
But it's not true that 96% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is natural. Our emissions have raised the concentration of CO2 by 37% over the preindustrial baseline.

That is truth we know.


Are you confusing 2 subjects? What do you actually want to say or ask?

Perhaps, the PPM has gone up as a percentage, or the constituents of the atmosphere have changed in their composition as a whole with respect to their attributes ?

Or now something completely different? ~

Did I mention I hate smartphones :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
108. petewxwatcher
11:52 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
But it's not true that 96% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is natural. Our emissions have raised the concentration of CO2 by 37% over the preindustrial baseline.

That is truth we know.
Member Since: March 24, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 392
107. Ossqss
11:48 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Quoting petewxwatcher:
Ossqss does your contempt for deceit extend to deniers posting links to phony statistics? You've never expressed any when they do. I'm just wondering is all.


I simply seek the truth and we simply don't know it yet.

I think if you dig into the referenced material, nearly all is very much legitimate and water vapor does indeed rule. If 96% of CO2 is natural, what do you think makes things happen in that sense ?

Cloud formation is the great unknown to our current infantile climate modeling, and hugely significant to the overall premise involved. Like it or not ----- it is what it is.

We all see in front of us...... The inverted pyramid of science.

Scence does not work that way.

You don't build science around a preconceived end result and force fit it.

It only works from the bottom up.

On that note >>>> Cheers :) Out
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
106. petewxwatcher
11:32 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Ossqss does your contempt for deceit extend to deniers posting links to phony statistics? You've never expressed any when they do. I'm just wondering is all.
Member Since: March 24, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 392
105. Ossqss
11:13 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

The vast majority of climatologists--"virtually all", as you correctly point out--accept that the planet is warming. While slightly smaller, the vast (and growing) majority of climatologists agree that the warming is caused in whole or in part by man's unimpeded burning of fossil fuels.

Nothing else fits.

Nothing.

Now, you say, "... the standard tactic on this board when credible 'anti' evidence is presented is to attack the credibility or character of the presenter or just discount the evidence". That's because nearly unanimously such evidence comes from the same oft-debunked sources. It's either WUWT, or Geocraft, or Pielke's blog, or Spencer's. It's seldom never peer-reviewed science published in credible, well-known journals; it's never debated honestly and openly in a fair forum.

I can't speak for others, but when a supporter or non-supporter of AGWT throws out a piece of evidence, I always research it as much as my limited knowledge and time will allow. I used to believe that I would someday run across pieces of "skeptical" evidence that would withstand hold up in the light of day, but I've so far seen not a single piece that has. Not one...



Once again you intentionally mislead about the unsettled science.

Think again about the decades worth of flat line temperatures you admit to now that it is public knowledge.

Don't give us that scrubber BS. History tells us differently. There were no srubbers in the past and the temp still moved, then suddenly they stopped and are going to go even faster now eh?

You people just make me chuckle, but the deceit will not continue. Hence the flailing going on by so many who have been indoctrinated by such.

I keep hearing this song but with different letters, like OCD?


Link





Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
104. Neapolitan
10:36 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Quoting martinitony:


Virtually all scientists an meteorologists accept that there has been warming over the last couple hundred years. However, there are thousands of scientists and meteorologists who don't accept mans actions as the cause. Information that would change their minds is what I am looking for.

You will note that the standard tactic on this board when credible "anti" evidence is presented is to attack the credibility or character of the presenter or just discount the evidence or even ignore the post. That doesn't work for me.

The vast majority of climatologists--"virtually all", as you correctly point out--accept that the planet is warming. While slightly smaller, the vast (and growing) majority of climatologists agree that the warming is caused in whole or in part by man's unimpeded burning of fossil fuels.

Nothing else fits.

Nothing.

Now, you say, "... the standard tactic on this board when credible 'anti' evidence is presented is to attack the credibility or character of the presenter or just discount the evidence". That's because nearly unanimously such evidence comes from the same oft-debunked sources. It's either WUWT, or Geocraft, or Pielke's blog, or Spencer's. It's seldom never peer-reviewed science published in credible, well-known journals; it's never debated honestly and openly in a fair forum.

I can't speak for others, but when a supporter or non-supporter of AGWT throws out a piece of evidence, I always research it as much as my limited knowledge and time will allow. I used to believe that I would someday run across pieces of "skeptical" evidence that would withstand hold up in the light of day, but I've so far seen not a single piece that has. Not one...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13609
103. petewxwatcher
9:44 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Quoting JupiterKen:


I posted a link. Wasn't refering to your post. Didn't make any claims. What are you blathering about?

Did you read the Curry lnk? Didn't think so.


I did read your Judith Curry link. And I didn't say you made claims, but that your middlebury link makes false claims.
Member Since: March 24, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 392
102. JupiterKen
9:33 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Quoting petewxwatcher:
JupiterKen you should read your article carefully.

Here is a quote from it


We know that man is responsible for about 3 % of it, so with the simplest of math, we have .03 x .08 = .0024.

False. We have increased CO2 by 37%, not 3%. The whole article is full of stupid lies like that.


I posted a link. Wasn't refering to your post. Didn't make any claims. What are you blathering about?

Did you read the Curry lnk? Didn't think so.
Member Since: May 3, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
101. Ossqss
8:04 PM GMT on September 05, 2011
Here, some of you need some help 101.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonC ycle/


Have fun


Increasing Atmospheric CO2: Manmade…or Natural?


bonus

Carbon cycle questions
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
JupiterKen you should read your article carefully.

Here is a quote from it


We know that man is responsible for about 3 % of it, so with the simplest of math, we have .03 x .08 = .0024.

False. We have increased CO2 by 37%, not 3%. The whole article is full of stupid lies like that.
Member Since: March 24, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 392
www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html

www.judithcurry.com has some great discussion of the Spencer article
Member Since: May 3, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306

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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.