"BEST" temperature record study surprises skeptics

By: Angela Fritz , 3:38 PM GMT on November 03, 2011

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Last month, a team of scientists from Berkeley called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) group released results from research they did on the Earth surface temperature record. Though there have been numerous studies and time series created on surface temperature, they wanted to take an independent look at the data and create a new temperature record. What they found was surprising to some in the "skeptic" community, though not surprising to most climate scientists.

Dr. Richard Muller is the founder and scientific director of the BEST group, which is made up of physicists, statisticians, and climatologists. Though Dr. Muller has been described as a climate change "skeptic" and "denialist," he has an impressive and extensive curriculum vitae in physics, including being a consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense, and a MacArther Foundation Fellow, and the recipient of the National Science Foundation Alan T. Altman Award. His skepticism is evidenced most frequently in the press by his funding from the Koch brothers, who have made billions of dollars in the oil industry. The BEST project also accepted funding from Koch, among many other organizations, though the funders had no influence over methodology or results, which is almost always the case in peer reviewed science. The BEST group also includes Dr. Judith Curry, the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, who has recently been vocal about the need for a more transparent scientific process, and more eyes on the data, especially when it comes to research on man-made global warming and the temperature record.

The BEST team was open with their hypothesis: they expected to find that, when using temperature stations that other organizations failed to include, the warming trend wouldn't be present, or at least not as dramatic. Their objectives are listed on their website (which also includes access to data and submitted papers), which include:

-- Merging land surface data into a raw dataset that's in a common format and easy to use
-- Developing new and potentially better ways of processing, average, and merging the data
-- Creating a new global temperature record
-- To provide not only the raw data and the resulting record, but also the code and tools used to get there, making the process as transparent as possible



Figure 1. Locations of the the 39,028 temperature stations in the Berkeley Earth data set (blue). Stations classified as rural are plotted on top in black.

The BEST project collaborators combined data from 15 sources that, wherever possible, did not include the tried and true data that the "big three" (NASA, NOAA, or HadCRU) used in their analyses, mainly the GHCN Monthly dataset, which is widely used because of its requirements that the each station in the data set have plenty of observations, no gaps, and no erroneous data. However, the BEST project was born to create a new global surface temperature record, and to "see what you get" if you use observations that other institutions have weeded out. BEST looked at data from 39,028 different temperature measurement stations from around the globe (Figure 1), and developed an averaging process to merge the stations into one record, which you see below in comparison to previous records that have been constructed.



Figure 2. Temperature time series from the big three: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science (NASA GISS, blue), NOAA (green), and the Hadley Centre and Climate Research Unit of East Anglia (HadCRU, red) along with the results from the BEST project (black).

The result was a new land surface temperature series to be added to the well-cited records of NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU, in addition to some truly independent, amateur compilations. The new temperature record agrees with the records from "the big three," and agrees with them on a warming of 1°C since 1950. BEST also addressed concerns raised by the skeptic community about station bias and urban heat island effect. They conclude that the urban heat island effect does not contribute significantly to the land temperature rise, given that urban area is only 1% of the land area in the record. Also, they looked at the stations that Anthony Watts has reported as "poor" quality, and have found that they also showed the same warming as the stations that were reported as "OK." This helps to show that temperature stations were not "cherry picked" in previous studies for warming trends, but for honest station quality.

The addition of another (eventually) peer-reviewed temperature series is good, and more eyes looking at the data is good, but the result is not surprising. However, it might have changed the minds of some skeptics who have been wanting to see an analysis from scientists that they find trustworthy. I think Dr. Muller sums their results up nicely in his Wall Street Journal opinion article:

When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that.


The BEST project has four papers out for review in various journals. Having released the results to the public eye before undergoing the scrutiny of peer review, they've also made some updates to the analysis since these papers were submitted, thanks to a peer review process of its own: the internet.

Links and references:

  • Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature

  • BEST FAQ

  • BEST Press Release


  • Angela

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    Quoting paratomic:
    I agree. The reason a lot of people are skeptics is because they don't have the education to know any better. The skepticism itself is natural and healthy. I actually view the widespread support in the democrat party for AGW policy as equally bad or worse than the widespread distrust in the republican party. A study from not too long ago showed that republicans actually displayed more knowledge about the climate science, but their skepticism was extreme. I think that AGW is politicized right now and we have to be careful. Actual climate scientists show widespread support for AGW policy and I think that says a lot, but we also have to keep in mind that most scientists are democrat or independent. We need to find out what level of support there is for AGW policy among independent climate scientists.

    We need to eliminate political party from the equation.


    A good start would be to eliminate party idealogy in the classrooms first.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting nykid84:
    Why is skeptic being considered as something bad or negative from the title of this post? If we just accepted everything that was said as dogma we would never advance in any aspect of society or science. Being a skeptic is good as it forces everyone to work harder.
    I agree. The reason a lot of people are skeptics is because they don't have the education to know any better. The skepticism itself is natural and healthy. I actually view the widespread support in the democrat party for AGW policy as equally bad or worse than the widespread distrust in the republican party. A study from not too long ago showed that republicans actually displayed more knowledge about the climate science, but their skepticism was extreme. I think that AGW is politicized right now and we have to be careful. Actual climate scientists show widespread support for AGW policy and I think that says a lot, but we also have to keep in mind that most scientists are democrat or independent. We need to find out what level of support there is for AGW policy among independent climate scientists.

    We need to eliminate political party from the equation.

    The study did give some clues...

    It did show that republicans had extreme skepticism...

    Now in another study...

    If I recall, the conclusions were that 97% of the climate scientists polled thought there was a notable human contribution to global warming. I don't remember it saying how many were democrats, independents, republicans and so on. The 97% figure comes from those who responded.

    I think Jeff Masters references it here:
    Link

    Another study I see says only 6% of US scientists are republican. The rest were 55% democrat, 32% independent and the others were undecided.

    The link is here for that one:
    Link

    I get these studies mixed up so forgive me if I have.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting 1911maker:


    .....weakness............ function of being human, or Kryptonite? :)

    now to get back on topic..........

    Link
    Hydraulic Fracturing

    Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a proven and well-regulated technology. First used in the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked massive new supplies of oil and clean-burning natural gas from dense deposits of shale — — supplies that increase our country’s energy security and improve our ability to generate electricity, heat homes and power vehicles for generations to come.

    I see France banned fracking ...........I wonder if they are thinking about the generations to come?

    Ok, I am still being silly, but it appears it is going to be that kind of day...... maybe later I can "spin" my day differently.


    Most definitely my moment of weakness was a function of being human. .... sigh

    Fracking does show promise for supplying us with a further energy source. The primary problem is that it keeps us on a fossil fuel energy source for a longer period of time. "For generations to come" can be very misleading when you consider the impact that a continued use of fossil fuels will bring. How much will fracking impact our water tables? ( we are, after all, nothing without our water ) Is fracking at least partially responsible for the increased earthquake activity we are seeing in areas that not so prone to this much activity? Now I will play the part of the skeptic and ask what science is available to answer these questions and how reliable is the collected data? Considering the possible ramifications, we need to know these answers to some reasoned degree of certainty.

    I believe that our best energy source will come from nuclear fusion. We will ever obtain this? As yet, unknown.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


    My apology. I suffered a moment of weakness.


    .....weakness............ function of being human, or Kryptonite? :)

    now to get back on topic..........

    Link
    Hydraulic Fracturing

    Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a proven and well-regulated technology. First used in the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing has unlocked massive new supplies of oil and clean-burning natural gas from dense deposits of shale — — supplies that increase our country’s energy security and improve our ability to generate electricity, heat homes and power vehicles for generations to come.

    I see France banned fracking ...........I wonder if they are thinking about the generations to come?

    Ok, I am still being silly, but it appears it is going to be that kind of day...... maybe later I can "spin" my day differently.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting 1911maker:


    Ok, this is way off topic, but you asked for it.........

    what color is your leotard and cape? :)
    Quoting 1911maker:
    and with that last silly comment, I have to leave..


    My apology. I suffered a moment of weakness.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    and with that last silly comment, I have to leave..
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


    I am a man. Should you wish to PC, then I am a superman! LOL

    Thanks!


    Ok, this is way off topic, but you asked for it.........

    what color is your leotard and cape? :)
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting 1911maker:


    Man, you have not been Annoying at all.

    man used in the human sense, not the male sense, have to be PC :)

    and you are wellcome


    I am a man. Should you wish to PC, then I am a superman! LOL

    Thanks!
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting 1911maker:
    On the topic of "throw away society". Every spring the city I live in has a few days of "free" junk on the curb pickup. This leads to "curb" shopping by a lot of people.

    One of my wife's co-workers was totaly aghast and incensed that My wife and I would "stoop" to picking up some one else junk. The co-worker comes from a upper middle class family (dad was a banker) and it is just not "seemingly" for middle class (my wife and I) to do such a low class thing.

    Until we can rid the world of that kind of mentality, we are in trouble.


    You are correct. I guess some people still enjoy spending their money needlessly and then complain about it later. ... "Do you know how much it costs me to live!" - a self induced problem?
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:



    Thank you, for the link! ...... and I will try to be less annoying. ;-)


    Man, you have not been Annoying at all.

    man used in the human sense, not the male sense, have to be PC :)

    and you are wellcome
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    On the topic of "throw away society". Every spring the city I live in has a few days of "free" junk on the curb pickup. This leads to "curb" shopping by a lot of people.

    One of my wife's co-workers was totaly aghast and incensed that My wife and I would "stoop" to picking up some one else junk. The co-worker comes from a upper middle class family (dad was a banker) and it is just not "seemingly" for middle class (my wife and I) to do such a low class thing.

    Until we can rid the world of that kind of mentality, we are in trouble.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting 1911maker:
    Welcome to the Ocean Acidification Research Center
    Link

    the above link is to the research being done by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
    I bumped into this about 5 months back.

    The university is involved in this not because of climate change, but for a more crass commercial reason; Fishing which is the same thing as $$.

    And I would like to add that the more reasonable discussion is a good thing. I had stopped hitting the discussion because it was annoying.



    Thank you, for the link! ...... and I will try to be less annoying. ;-)
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Welcome to the Ocean Acidification Research Center
    Link

    the above link is to the research being done by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
    I bumped into this about 5 months back.

    The university is involved in this not because of climate change, but for a more crass commercial reason; Fishing which is the same thing as $$.

    And I would like to add that the more reasonable discussion is a good thing. I had stopped hitting the discussion because it was annoying.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting cyclonebuster:


    Not likely there is no atmosphere in space for it to warm our planet but then again there are the skeptics! It is more likely to cool the planet by blocking the sunlight from getting here.


    But that would be a cause and effect for the natural order of things, correct?
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting overwash12:
    Hey Rookie,I live in a rural area and we take our refuse to a collection facility. The one thing that stands out to me is the amount of stuff people throw out and waste! We have to change our habits big time! What does this have to do with climate,IDK! It is something I threw out there.LOL


    Overwash12, you actually hit upon something that I have been saying. We need to consume less, conserve what we consume and recycle what we discard. How does this help, you may ask? We manufacture less and this saves in so many ways.

    One of the easiest and most cost rewarding ways that we can all contribute towards saving our environment and resources is by discarding our "throw away" mentality. When more people notice this, as you have, we have began the process of expanding our future viability. ... Thank you!
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


    The space debris would act to reflect some of the sunlight that Earth receives. The net effect would be a cooling. There have been suggestions of adding large mirrors in high Earth orbit to reflect some of the Sun's rays and to help lower the global temperature. ... I think breaking one of these mirrors would bring more than just 7 years of bad luck ;-)

    The global temperature began to rise more with the advent of industrialization and prior to WWII.

    Jet aircraft and rockets do seem to pose a threat to the upper atmosphere. Studies continue along this area of research. Right now, it is not looking good for the upper atmosphere concerning this.

    The microchip is a "Catch 22" situation. We need them solve our problems but, in some ways, they exasperate them.
    I read somewhere that the Russians wanted to put a mirror in space to reflect sunlight to a town in Siberia. The town was north of the arctic circle. Those crazy Russians!
    Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1473
    Another way a denier looks at it: Now they are really cooking the books! I couldn't help myself!
    Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1473
    Quoting PurpleDrank:
    Could the amount of space debris in near Earth orbit be effecting the heat release system of the planet?

    It seems the current temperature rises globally have been occuring since the post war/space era began. Prior to WWII, environmental standards were not as prevalent than today. Rocketry was in its infant stages and nuclear power plants were just thoughts up until the war's end.



    Is the microchip not only a job killer but perhaps a planet killer over time?




    The space debris would act to reflect some of the sunlight that Earth receives. The net effect would be a cooling. There have been suggestions of adding large mirrors in high Earth orbit to reflect some of the Sun's rays and to help lower the global temperature. ... I think breaking one of these mirrors would bring more than just 7 years of bad luck ;-)

    The global temperature began to rise more with the advent of industrialization and prior to WWII.

    Jet aircraft and rockets do seem to pose a threat to the upper atmosphere. Studies continue along this area of research. Right now, it is not looking good for the upper atmosphere concerning this.

    The microchip is a "Catch 22" situation. We need them solve our problems but, in some ways, they exasperate them.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting nykid84:
    Why is skeptic being considered as something bad or negative from the title of this post? If we just accepted everything that was said as dogma we would never advance in any aspect of society or science. Being a skeptic is good as it forces everyone to work harder.

    Being a scientific skeptic isn't just good; it's mandatory. The problem, of course, is that far too many folks aren't skeptical, but in denial. The difference:

    1) A skeptic looks at last month's release of the BEST data and says, "I was unsure before whether warming was taking place at the rate shown by some of the well-known data sets, but now that the BEST study validates those data, I'm more inclined than ever to accept the results, and agree that the planet is heating up."

    2) A denier looks at last month's release of the BEST data and says, "I was unsure before whether warming was taking place at the rate shown by some of the well-known data sets, but now that the BEST study validates those data, I'm more inclined than ever to believe that the people behind it are lying, too; there's no way that the planet is heating up."
    Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
    Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


    This is correct. One of the primary reasons that DDT was banned is because it kills the plankton. Scientist saw, at an early stage, the threat this represented to us all. That time, the scientist were heard and heeded. Their latest success rate of being heard and heeded and has been rather dismal lately. This is unfortunate, for us all.
    Hey Rookie,I live in a rural area and we take our refuse to a collection facility. The one thing that stands out to me is the amount of stuff people throw out and waste! We have to change our habits big time! What does this have to do with climate,IDK! It is something I threw out there.LOL
    Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1473
    Quoting cyclonebuster:
    I am skeptical this 11 year old girl can not sing Nessun Dorma!


    And imagine our surprise to find that she can, INDEED, sing Nessun Dorma!
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting overwash12:
    Carbon dioxide eaters Link


    This is correct. One of the primary reasons that DDT was banned is because it kills the plankton. Scientist saw, at an early stage, the threat this represented to us all. That time, the scientist were heard and heeded. Their latest success rate of being heard and heeded and has been rather dismal lately. This is unfortunate, for us all.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting PurpleDrank:
    Thanks everybody for contributing and laying off the insults and jabbing of late.

    Let's try to keep it up!



    +1,000,000

    I agree.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    Quoting nykid84:
    Why is skeptic being considered as something bad or negative from the title of this post? If we just accepted everything that was said as dogma we would never advance in any aspect of society or science. Being a skeptic is good as it forces everyone to work harder.


    I do not see any negative connotation being applied to the word "skeptic" here. The sense that "skeptic" is being used here would be in reference to their surprise that the data set was not biased when data from "poor" thermometers and "urban heat" data were used/discarded in the overall data set that is being used. Someone that is scientifically skeptical of the data is skeptical for scientific reasons. When they fully expect the data to show one thing and it shows another, then their surprise would be expected. ... Should I say that our moon has reversed the direction of its orbit then you need to be skeptical of this information. You would also be surprised if the data supported my claim.

    You are absolutely correct that skeptics should always be present and heard with nearly every endeavor we undertake. The advancement of science requires that there be skeptics to challenge the theory.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    My Tunnels can power this project all the way up the East coast easy!



    Is Obama's rail initiative a 'train to nowhere'?
    High-speed train plan draws little enthusiasm as California costs soar



    Federal Railroad Administration
    Red lines in this map show planned high-speed rail corridors across the U.S.

    President Barack Obama's high-speed rail initiative is in danger of turning into the big train that couldn't.

    As part of the economic stimulus plan of 2009, Obama pushed through more than $8 billion in initial funding to extend high-speed intercity rail service to 10 major U.S. rail corridors by 2034. The idea is to create superfast rail service — like Japan's futuristic bullet trains — that would be available to 80 percent of the U.S. population.

    A quarter of that money — a little more than $2 billion — went to California, where voters in 2008 approved a plan to build a 220-mph line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The California High Speed Rail Authority promised voters that the line would open in 2020, at an overall price of about $33 billion.

    Since then, not a single segment of track has been laid and not a single station has opened.


    That 2020 ribbon-cutting? It's now projected to be no earlier than 2033 — at least 13 years late. That $33 billion price tag? It's been recalculated at $98.5 billion — nearly three times the original estimate.

    The news came from the state's High Speed Rail Authority, which issued an updated "business plan" (.pdf) last week at the direction of California Gov. Jerry Brown. The good news, said Tom Umberg, chairman of the authority, is that "we understand the project better." The bad news is that "as time goes by, things get more expensive."


    Actual construction must begin by next October or federal funding, which has grown to nearly $4.7 billion, goes away. Republicans in the Legislature want to give sticker-shocked voters a chance to change their minds by holding another referendum next year, warning that California shouldn't risk starting construction only to have future appropriations dry up.

    The construction schedule calls for the first segment to be built not in heavily populated areas around Los Angeles or San Francisco, but in a relatively lightly trafficked corridor between Fresno and Bakersfield, in the Central Valley. Critics say that if the project has to be abandoned, Californians would be stuck with an uncompleted spur serving only a few thousand passengers — what they're calling "the train to nowhere."

    "Knowing what we know now, we think the time is now to pull the plug on this project," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a conservative activist group.

    The California line is the first of the major high-speed rail stimulus programs to get up and running toward real construction. The status of the other projects also is in flux.

    Status report: high-speed rail

    More than $2 billion in stimulus funds intended for high-speed rail projects was rejected by Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio; those funds were redirected to 15 other states, most in the Midwest, along the West Coast and in the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston. But nearly 85 percent of the investments are now concentrated on six key corridors:

    • Los Angeles to San Francisco: The nation's first 220-mph high-speed rail system is intended to connect two of the country's largest metropolitan areas.
    • Seattle to Portland, Ore.: New stations, new daily trains and faster service are under development.
    • Chicago to St. Louis: Construction is under way to bring 110-mph speeds and new trains to service that saw ridership growth of 136 percent from 2005 to 2010.
    • Chicago to Detroit: Improvements are projected to bring reduce trip time by 30 minutes, with 110-mph service and enhanced stations.
    • Northeast Corridor (connecting Washington, D.C., New York and Boston): Improvements to the nation's busiest corridor are projected to allow speeds of 160 mph between Philadelphia and New York.
    • Charlotte, N.C., to Washington, D.C.: Investments are intended to add new daily trains and decrease travel times.

    Sources: U.S. Transportation Department; Federal Railroad Administration; recovery.org

    Most of them are still in planning phases, but a second complication has been resistance from Republican governors in three states — Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin — who turned down high-speed rail funding when it was initially offered. That money was redistributed among two dozen rail projects — some of them high-speed, including the California line, as well as maintenance or infrastructure improvements. (See box.)

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Obama was still committed to the the plan, telling reporters that "we've let our infrastructure decline, and we have ceded the cutting edge in many areas to our global competitors. And that's certainly the case with regards to high-speed rail."

    Carney said the White House was ready to "continue to work with lawmakers of both parties around the country, as well as local officials, who are interested in this kind of investment, because it really is the kind of thing that will help create a better future for the individual states and the country."

    Just how much is $98 billion?

    What $98 billion could buy today (all original costs adjusted for inflation to 2011 levels):

    • 3 International Space Stations
    • 6 Boston Big Dig projects
    • 44 original World Trade Centers
    • 87 World Trade Center Memorials
    • 164 Empire State Buildings
    • 179 original Louisiana Superdomes
    • 704 Disneylands

    Msnbc.com research by Alex Johnson. Sources: Costs: Boston Globe, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Los Angeles Times, NASA, New York Times. Inflation adjustments: Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

    Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott wasn't shy about saying "I told you so."

    Scott said he rejected a federal offer of $2.4 billion because he didn't want Florida to get stuck with a wildly inflated bill. Now, Californians are "on the hook for another 50-some billion dollars," Scott told reporters. "So I know all of you were very supportive of my decision on high-speed rail."

    And even if California officials go full speed ahead, the federal money could be drying up.

    Supporters of high-speed rail in Congress couldn't overcome a threatened Republican filibuster last week to the transportation section of Obama's proposed American Jobs Act, which effectively killed the section and the $4 billion extra it would have spent on the rail initiative.
    Story: What happened to super-speedy trains?

    And the Senate flat-lined overall spending when it passed its 2012 transportation bill last week, agreeing to budget a meager $100 million for Obama's plan — in essence, approving just enough money to act as a placeholder so the program isn't "zeroed out," or killed. The bill — including the placeholder money — passed with the support of the White House (.pdf).

    The Republican-controlled House hasn't passed its transportation bill yet, but it's expected to cut overall funding even more.


    Link
    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
    Quoting PurpleDrank:
    Could the amount of space debris in near Earth orbit be effecting the heat release system of the planet?

    It seems the current temperature rises globally have been occuring since the post war/space era began. Prior to WWII, environmental standards were not as prevalent than today. Rocketry was in its infant stages and nuclear power plants were just thoughts up until the war's end.



    Is the microchip not only a job killer but perhaps a planet killer over time?




    Not likely there is no atmosphere in space for it to warm our planet but then again there are the skeptics! It is more likely to cool the planet by blocking the sunlight from getting here.
    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
    I am skeptical this B-52 did not crash!

    img src="">
    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
    Could the amount of space debris in near Earth orbit be effecting the heat release system of the planet?

    It seems the current temperature rises globally have been occuring since the post war/space era began. Prior to WWII, environmental standards were not as prevalent than today. Rocketry was in its infant stages and nuclear power plants were just thoughts up until the war's end.



    Is the microchip not only a job killer but perhaps a planet killer over time?


    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    I am skeptical this 11 year old girl can not sing Nessun Dorma!


    <>img src="">
    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
    Carbon dioxide eaters Link
    Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1473
    Thanks everybody for contributing and laying off the insults and jabbing of late.

    Let's try to keep it up!

    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting cyclonebuster:


    I am skeptical. These people are still alive!



    The one on the right is the male
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting nykid84:
    Why is skeptic being considered as something bad or negative from the title of this post? If we just accepted everything that was said as dogma we would never advance in any aspect of society or science. Being a skeptic is good as it forces everyone to work harder.


    I am skeptical. These people are still alive!

    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
    Why is skeptic being considered as something bad or negative from the title of this post? If we just accepted everything that was said as dogma we would never advance in any aspect of society or science. Being a skeptic is good as it forces everyone to work harder.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting PurpleDrank:
    How about the carbon that is released into the atmosphere from limestone?



    You mean when acid rain hits it?
    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
    Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


    And that process has been known for a while.


    Bookmarked.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting AlwaysThinkin:


    There's also times when CO2 has been absorbed from the atmosphere due to mountain building.


    And that process has been known for a while.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting PurpleDrank:
    How about the carbon that is released into the atmosphere from limestone?



    There's also times when CO2 has been absorbed from the atmosphere due to mountain building.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    While looking up how much C02 is created by breathing I found this which is off topic from that, but still something to think about.
    Link
    These figures are valid for pure carbon dioxide. In indoor spaces occupied by people the carbon dioxide concentration will reach higher levels than in pure outdoor air. Concentrations higher than 1,000 ppm will cause discomfort in more than 20% of occupants, and the discomfort will increase with increasing CO2 concentration. The discomfort will be caused by various gases coming from human respiration and perspiration, and not by CO2 itself. At 2,000 ppm the majority of occupants will feel a significant degree of discomfort, and many will develop nausea and headaches. The CO2 concentration between 300 and 2,500 ppm is used as an indicator of indoor air quality.

    If we get up to 800 ppm, like some scientists are suggesting we could, by the end of the century being indoors could be discomfortable, if not dangerous, to your health.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    I disagree that our breathing 'counts' towards increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The CO2 we exhale comes from agricultural crops we grow that absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere. It's just a loop. There are more of us breathing out CO2 but there is more CO2 absorbed by our crops. The additional CO2 is coming from emissions by consuming fossil fuels.
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    "Based upon my understanding, as the oceans become more acidic the increased acidity disrupts marine organisms' ability to form shells. This has a double impact in the sense that the natural carbon sinks begin to break down."

    This is correct. As the oceans warm and become more acidic, limestone deposition rates are forecast to decrease overall, as ocean chemistry becomes less favorable for even biological process to precipitate carbonates. Individual organisms may be able to cope in the short term, but these exceptions probably won't much change the long-term prospects.

    Not only will global-warming effects cause less new limestone to form, they will, we think, cause more existing limestone to dissolve. The increased acid content of the oceans will do this itself, of course, but there are also any number of microorganisms (algae, fungi, protozoa, small invertebrates) that attack limestone. (Colleagues and I are studying the diversity and biology of some of these organisms). There's a lot of limestone in the world (see "coral reefs"), and if our current thoughts are correct, this limestone represents yet another source of "fossil carbon" being added to the biosphere - with the rate of that addition increasing in conjunction with other aspects of AGW ("positive feedback loop"). Hard numbers are not available; the field is in its infancy. But preliminary numbers have surprised the experts, that the limestone pool of fossil carbon is as large, and potentially as significant in global-climate terms, as it is.
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    Quoting PurpleDrank:
    How about the carbon that is released into the atmosphere from limestone?



    You do realize that all you are doing is arguing on the internet. LOL ...... Sorry, PurpleDrank. I saw a chance for humor and took advantage of it. ;-)

    Actually, I am very glad that you ask questions and make comments. Every aspect is worth consideration and you bring excellent questions that need to be answered.
    Neapolitan has expressed quite well how exhaling CO2 is a part of the natural carbon cycle. I am not a scientist and I had to to do a little research on this:

    Does breathing contribute to CO2 buildup?

    I would have liked for this article to have gone into further detail but, keeping it in layman's terms, this would be difficult to do and remain understandable for the masses.

    Your question, concerning limestone, is somewhat explained through this link:

    Carbon Cycle and the Earth's Climate

    "Calcium carbonate is precipitated from calcium and bicarbonate ions in seawater by marine organisms like coral

    Ca 2HCO3- -> CaCO3 CO2 H2O

    the carbon is now stored on the seafloor in layers of limestone"


    Based upon my understanding, as the oceans become more acidic the increased acidity disrupts marine organisms' ability to form shells. This has a double impact in the sense that the natural carbon sinks begin to break down.

    As I said, I am not a scientist. Should anyone be able to add to or take away from this then I hope that they would do so.
    Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
    How about the carbon that is released into the atmosphere from limestone?

    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting PurpleDrank:


    I was just trying to get some numbers out in the open. even as silly as they may seem, its still scientific.

    But the numbers I wonder about are impossible to determine.

    For instance, just using the human respiratory CO2 contributions:

    average number of breaths a human exhales in a 24hr period, multiplied by the estimated number of human beings that ever existed on Earth, minus the percentage rate at which plants 'digest' the CO2 the human expells, equals how many PPM of CO2 our species has gifted the world in the /- X million(s) years of existence?

    I bet whatever that number is, it outweighs the total carbon contribution that industry has expelled since 1800.



    But, again, that wouldn't matter; the CO2 we humans emit through breathing comes entirely from carbon that's been removed from the system via photosynthesis. It's a closed loop, and always has been. IOW, even if the planet held 100 billion of us humans who simply stood around all day eating the plants and animals that grew right at our feet, there'd be no net gain or loss of carbon, since the same amount would just keep being recycled. Eat, digest, absorb, exhale, repeat...

    The imbalance comes because for a few hundred years now, we've been digging up and releasing into the atmosphere fossil carbon that up until now has been safely sequestered away underground (as oil, coal, and gas) for tens and hundreds of millions of years. We humans can't absorb that excess as food; the plants can't absorb it all; oceans, the best sink, can only absorb about 40% of it (which is leading to acidification). The vast remainder of that imbalance, then, simply goes into atmosphere where it accumulates over the years and acts as a greenhouse gas to heat us up.

    It's very simple, really.
    Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
    Quoting Neapolitan:

    I'd agree with that. We each produce roughly 1kg of CO2 per day (depending on size and activity), but it is carbon that was already removed from the system through photosynthesis, so there's no net gain.

    HOWEVER--and I think this what gotlieb said in #111--the CO2 produced by agriculture, processing, shipping, marketing, etc., can't be overlooked, so each additional person does add more carbon to the cycle than they take away.

    Part of me wonders, though, what PurpleDrank was getting at. I've often heard doubters say, "Well, if CO2 in our breath is 40,000 PPM, that means it's more than 100 times more concentrated than atmospheric CO2. But breathing doesn't kill us, so how can CO2 be bad?" That's a horribly silly and easily dismissed argument, of course, but I have heard it made...


    I was just trying to get some numbers out in the open. even as silly as they may seem, its still scientific.

    But the numbers I wonder about are impossible to determine.

    For instance, just using the human respiratory CO2 contributions:

    average number of breaths a human exhales in a 24hr period, multiplied by the estimated number of human beings that ever existed on Earth, minus the percentage rate at which plants 'digest' the CO2 the human expells, equals how many PPM of CO2 our species has gifted the world in the +/- X million(s) years of existence?

    I bet whatever that number is, it outweighs the total carbon contribution that industry has expelled since 1800.


    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting Xandra:
    From the site Climatesight,

    Does Breathing Contribute to CO2 Buildup in the Atmosphere?

    ”when we breathe out, all the carbon dioxide we exhale has already been accounted for. By performing cellular respiration, we are simply returning to the air the same carbon that was there to begin with. Remember, it’s a carbon cycle, not a straight line – and a good thing, too!”


    I'd agree with that. We each produce roughly 1kg of CO2 per day (depending on size and activity), but it is carbon that was already removed from the system through photosynthesis, so there's no net gain.

    HOWEVER--and I think this what gotlieb said in #111--the CO2 produced by agriculture, processing, shipping, marketing, etc., can't be overlooked, so each additional person does add more carbon to the cycle than they take away.

    Part of me wonders, though, what PurpleDrank was getting at. I've often heard doubters say, "Well, if CO2 in our breath is 40,000 PPM, that means it's more than 100 times more concentrated than atmospheric CO2. But breathing doesn't kill us, so how can CO2 be bad?" That's a horribly silly and easily dismissed argument, of course, but I have heard it made...
    Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
    Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
    It's irrelevant how much CO2 is expelled in a human breath (typically about 4% or 40,000 ppm). The CO2 we breathe out was absorbed by plants which we either ate directly or were used to feed animals which we then ate. There's no net addition to the carbon cycle by what we breathe out.

    The CO2 we produce by consuming fossil fuels is a net addition of CO2 to the environment from sources deep underground which were NOT a part of the carbon cycle on the surface of the earth, oceans or atmosphere.


    I like this argument for it's simplicity but I find it flawed at it's base. Human exhalation does count. Humans are emitters of CO2. Plants are net absorbers. Every time you cut down a plant to eat it (or build a house out of it) you change the ratio of emission to absorption thereby increasing the total overall production of CO2 for the total human population. As we overpopulate the planet, we remove vegetation (net absorbers) and replace it with net emitters. It is easy logic to understand that a planet with 7 Billion CO2 emitters on it will have a higher CO2 mix than say a planet with only 2.5 Billion (world population in 1950). It's not surprising then that if you lay the BEST chart over the world population chart they align all the way back to 1800(in general terms).

    One more item for thought on this topic. Carbon sequestered in a plant cannot contribute to GW. It's only when it is converted into CO2 that it becomes a greenhouse gas. So the population of humans and the livestock that support our existence is in a direct relationship with CO2 (and methane) production. Even if we ditched all the powerplants and went back to subsistence farming (not really possible) as the world population grows to 10B and beyond we would still have a CO2 problem. Even if all 10B were vegans, we would still have a CO2 issue as we munched away voraciously eating our salads and exhaling CO2.

    Population drives both energy consumption and CO2 production. Ergo, no serious plan to reduce CO2 levels in our atmosphere can ignore or exclude population control as an integral key to its success.

    Member Since: May 25, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 12
    It's irrelevant how much CO2 is expelled in a human breath (typically about 4% or 40,000 ppm). The CO2 we breathe out was absorbed by plants which we either ate directly or were used to feed animals which we then ate. There's no net addition to the carbon cycle by what we breathe out.

    The CO2 we produce by consuming fossil fuels is a net addition of CO2 to the environment from sources deep underground which were NOT a part of the carbon cycle on the surface of the earth, oceans or atmosphere.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting PurpleDrank:


    Yes! From Dirty to Clean is a transformation.



    So is from Earth to space!
    Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401

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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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