Global Warming, Naturally

By: Angela Fritz , 10:48 PM GMT on September 16, 2011

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The Earth has undergone many episodes of natural global warming and cooling and by various causes. The Earth's most common mechanism for climate change are Milankovitch cycles—variations in the Earth's orbit that change its distance from the Sun, which spur ice ages and subsequent warming. Other changes in Earth's past climate were caused by the same processes causing today's warming. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred around 56 million years ago, is the most recent event that we can compare today's warming to. Global temperatures rose at least 5°C (9°F), and the PETM warmth lasted 200,000 years before the Earth system was able to remove the extra CO2 from the atmosphere. The resulting impact on Earth's climate was so severe that a new geological era was born—the Eocene. Earth's ecosystems were able to adapt to the PETM because the warming was gradual; however, the warming we're causing today is about 10 times as fast, and Mother Nature might not be able to keep up with the changing climate this time around.

Global Warming 56 Million Years Ago

After years of research, the PETM is now thought to have been caused by greenhouse gas emissions, similar to how the earth is warming today. 56 million years ago, at the end of the Paleocene epoch, the supercontinent Pangaea was in the final stages of breaking apart into the continents as we know them today. As the land masses split apart, volcanoes erupted and molten rock bubbled toward the Earth's surface, literally baking carbon-rich sediments and releasing the greenhouse gas into the air. During this time, atmospheric temperature probably increased by a couple of degrees.

The initial increase in temperature triggered events that led to more greenhouse gas emissions and more warming. Climate scientists generally agree that the feedback with the most impact on the atmospheric temperature increase was the melting of methane hydrates in the ocean seabed. As the atmosphere warmed the ocean surface, currents (probably not unlike the thermohaline circulation we know today) would have funneled the warm water to the ocean floor, where it melted the frozen methane hydrates (also referred to as methane clathrates), releasing the potent greenhouse gas into the ocean and eventually the atmosphere, a process called outgassing. Hydrates could have also been outgassed via other mechanisms—tectonic uplift, volcanic activity, or changes in deep ocean temperature from the closing off of certain gateways due to shifting continental plates. No matter how the process started, methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas that has 20 to 25 times more warming power than carbon dioxide, although it degrades to carbon dioxide after about ten years in the atmosphere. However, a steady influx of the gas would have been sufficient to warm the planet by more than a few additional degrees.

PETM versus modern greenhouse gas emissions
Rate of temperature change today (red) and in the PETM (blue). Temperature rose steadily in the PETM due to the slow release of greenhouse gas (around 2 billion tons per year). Today, fossil fuel burning is leading to 30 billion tons of carbon released into the atmosphere every year, driving temperature up at an incredible rate.

Many of the other climate feedbacks that we either already observe today or expect to experience probably took place during the PETM warming, as well. Severe drought would have led to increased wildfires, injecting more carbon into the atmosphere. Some research shows that permafrost on a then glacier-free Antarctica thawed, which would have also released carbon dioxide and methane. Another interesting source of carbon that some scientists hypothesize is the burning of peat and coal seams. Peat is decayed vegetation and has a very high carbon content. Peat, which is found in the soil beneath the surface, can be ignited by something like a wildfire and continue to smolder for as long as centuries. Coal seams can be ignited in a similar way, and burn for decades to centuries, releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

PETM Warming vs. Current Warming

During the PETM, around 1.5 billion tons of carbon was released into the atmosphere per year. The Earth warmed around 6°C (11°F) over 20,000 years, although some estimates are that the warming was more like 9°C (16°F). Using the low end of that estimated range, the globe warmed around 0.025°C every 100 years. Today, the globe is warming at least ten times as fast, anywhere from 1 to 4°C every 100 years. In 2010, our fossil fuel burning released 35 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. By comparison, volcanoes release 0.2 billion tons of carbon per year. How fast carbon enters the atmosphere translates to the how fast temperature increases, and the environmental and societal consequences of warming at such a break-neck speed could be devastating.

Environmental Impacts

• Ocean Circulation
Environmental impacts of the PETM were similar to the impacts that are warned of today. There is some evidence that during the PETM, large-scale ocean circulation reversed, which would have led to enhanced warming. Ocean circulations are largely by temperature and salinity (salt concentration), and warming of ocean water at high latitudes would have acted to at least slow, if not totally reverse, the "global conveyor belt."

• Sea Level Rise
Since the PETM occurred in an already warm climate (another thing that sets the PETM apart from modern warming), there was very little sea ice and glacial cover to melt, so sea level did not change dramatically. However, there is plenty of ice to melt on our modern planet, and we expect sea level to rise anywhere from 0.2 to 0.6 meters (0.7 to 2 feet) by the year 2100. We've already seen sea level rise at a rate that would support the higher end of that range (0.6 meters/2 feet).

• Permafrost and Methane Hydrates
Scientists agree that a major contributor to the PETM warming was the melting of methane hydrates on the seafloor and permafrost at high latitudes. Both of these store immense amounts of carbon and constitute a tipping point for the climate—once hydrates and permafrost begin to melt, the process will be irreversible. The reservoirs of methane hydrate stored in marine sediments (500 to 10,000 billion tons of carbon) and in permafrost (7.5 to 400 billion tons) are being constantly monitored. Melting of methane hydrates and permafrost enhanced the PETM warming, and could tip the scales of modern warming, too. Already we see that permafrost is degrading, and scientists suspect that methane hydrates are melting near the Arctic Shelf.

• Ocean Acidification
The most disruptive impact during the PETM was likely the exceptional ocean acidification. The ocean naturally absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and also from the sea floor (in the form of calcium carbonate). When excess carbon enters the atmosphere, the oceans try to balance the system by absorbing more. Numerous studies have shown that this was the case during the PETM. The effect of this is a decrease in the pH of the water, or "acidification." Unfortunately, this has a devastatingly negative impact on calcifying creatures like foraminifera, molluscs, and coral. Coral bleaching is caused by a number of environmental changes, including ocean acidification and increased water temperature.


On the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, bleached coral in the foreground, healthy coral in the background. Source: Wikipedia.

Ecosystem Impacts

Ecosystems adapted remarkably well to the PETM warming, likely because it was gradual enough for life to adjust to the new environment. The only species extinction that scientists have found were some foraminifera that lived on the sea floor. It's hypothesized that these foraminifera could not adapt to the new warmth at such great depths (bottom waters warmed 4 to 5°C). As excess carbon dissolved in the ocean, the water acidified which likely resulted in coral bleaching. Marine life adapted by migrating poleward toward cooler water. On land, mammals not only migrated to find more sustainable environments, but they also decreased in size, likely because it is easier for smaller animals to dissipate heat. Hoofed animals and turtles were confined to the tropics before the PETM, but during the warming this animals made the trek northward into North America and Europe. The PETM did not cause mass extinctions of plants and animals on land, but a major turnover in mammalian life occurred at that time. Many of today's major mammalian orders emerged in the wake of the PETM.

penguins and climate change
Emperor Penguins are particularly susceptible to a warming climate. Source: Wikipedia.

Modern ecosystems are already struggling to adapt to their new, warmer environments. Penguins, polar bears, whales, seals, salmon, and orangutans are just a few of the mammals being impacted by anthropogenic climate change. Foraminifera have already decreased markedly in some areas. Coral is bleaching at a very rapid rate. While it was possible for land mammals to migrate to cooler regions in the PETM, manmade infrastructure (roads, railways, cities, etc) will prevent them from doing so this time around. Given the rate of warming the globe is experiencing, it is likely that many ecosystems will be totally incapable of adapting.

The Takeaway

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the PETM—this extremely warm geologic period has been notoriously difficult to recreate, but recent advancements in understanding the warming have been made. Uncertainties should not be interpreted as misunderstanding. Instead, they should be treated a testament to how sensitive the climate system could be, and how influential humans are on the delicate global energy balance. It is clear that the earth dumped almost all of its stored carbon into the atmosphere, and now we are doing the same by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground and burning them. Just like the previous great global warming did, we are likely catapulting ourselves into a new geologic era: the Anthropocene.

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56. reiven
12:29 PM GMT on October 02, 2011
They will continue to slow until the molecules simply...stop moving. If you happen to have a thermometer handy at that point, what would it read? research paper
Member Since: October 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
55. iceagecoming
6:11 PM GMT on September 30, 2011
I submit the that the energy driving the temps + or - 6 C far exceed any co2 or methane factors alone. In the past these higher temps than current must have
Released released enormous volumes of methane and then it all froze. Like trying to put out volcano with a squirt gun. All about scale.
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1081
54. Some1Has2BtheRookie
2:49 PM GMT on September 30, 2011
Quoting starfish45:


I just finished reading this article in its entirety. It left me with a rather different impression than just the abstract. The authors of the article are not greenhouse gas skeptics. It is a rather sobering read for those of us who take greenhouse gas warming seriously, suggesting as it does that large amounts of CO2 emissions could trigger a dramatic change in the world's climate in a matter of a few decades rather than a matter of centuries and that there's plenty of evidence in the earth's record to support this possibility.

While the range of possible explanations for these sudden changes in climate are not definitive by any means, what becomes quite clear is that the earth's climate system is very sensitive to small changes, with points eventually reached at which dramatic "phase changes" (my words) occur. They have happened before and will in time happen again. These quick changes are driven by factors internal to the climate system and not external to it. Both dramatic warming and dramatic cooling can take place. Which one do we take seriously at present? The push toward cooling, for which there is no evidence whatever? Or the push toward warming, for which the evidence continues to accumulate? The warming scenario might possibly (though not necessarily) result in dramatic localized cooling, but the trigger would still be greenhouse gas warming.


I am afraid that we have not seen anything yet, concerning a warming climate. Once the methane begins to release to the atmosphere, there is not anything we can do to prevent an even more accelerated warming of the climate. There will be no time to adjust and no chance to correct. How far are we from this point now? We are already seeing the unsettling reality of the permafrost beginning to melt. The clock is ticking and, for us, there are few ticks left on it. Will Earth become another Venus? Probably not to that extreme but, extreme enough that we do not want to see it happen. This is in my opinion, anyway.

Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels

Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4758
53. starfish45
4:35 AM GMT on September 30, 2011
Quoting iceagecoming:


Well, lets just say I hope your right. The thought of New England under mile of ice really could put a damper on your living conditions. Some (science)
to ponder.

Sudden climate transitions during
the Quaternary

Jonathan Adams,1 Mark Maslin2 and
Ellen Thomas3
1Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge,
TN 37831, USA
2Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University
College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK
3Center for the Study of Global Change, Department of Geology and Geophysics,
Yale University, PO Box 208109, New Haven, CT 06520-8109, USA, and
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, 265 Church
Street, Middletown, CT 06459-0139, USA
Abstract: The time span of the past few million years has been punctuated by many rapid
climate transitions, most of them on timescales of centuries to decades. The most detailed
information is available for the Younger Dryas-to-Holocene stepwise change aro u n d
11 500 years ago, which seems to have occurred over a few decades. The speed of this change is
probably representative of similar but less well studied climate transitions during the last few
hundred thousand years. These include sudden cold events (Heinrich events/stadials), warm
events (interstadials) and the beginning and ending of long warm phases, such as the Eemian
interglacial. Detailed analysis of terrestrial and marine records of climate change will, however,
be necessary before we can say confidently on what timescale these events occurred; they almost
certainly did not take longer than a few centuries.
Various mechanisms, involving changes in ocean circulation and biotic productivity, changes
in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and haze particles, and changes in snow and
ice cover, have been invoked to explain sudden regional and global transitions. We do not know
whether such changes could occur in the near future as a result of human effects on climate.
Phenomena such as the Younger Dryas and Heinrich events might only occur in a ‘glacial’ world
with much larger ice sheets and more extensive sea-ice cover. A major sudden cold event,
however, did probably occur under global climate conditions similar to those of the present,
during the Eemian interglacial around 122 000 years ago. Less intensive, but significant rapid
climate changes also occurred during the present (Holocene) interglacial, with cold and dry
phases occurring on a 1500-year cycle, and with climate transitions on a decade-to-century
timescale. In the past few centuries, smaller transitions (such as the ending of the Little Ice Age
at about AD 1650) probably occurred over only a few decades at most. All evidence indicates
that long-term climate change occurs in sudden jumps rather than incremental changes.

Link


Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I hope that you are correct, iceage. Should we be moving towards another ice age then we already know how to reverse or weaken its progress. We already have the political and economic will to pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We already have the science to do this.

The historical climate changes have always been through natural forces of nature. The climate we are experiencing now is not only from natural processes but, also, through our own activities. We are dealing with the science to reverse or weaken these changes. We are doing so without the political will or convincing economics to do so. We tend to look at the short term profits as opposed to the viability of the long term progress we could make. Certainly another ice age would be disastrous to our economies and our ability to survive as a species. The same is true of a warming planet. We are already seeing this through failed crops, damaged farm lands, and forced to make expenditures to combat a warming world. Relocation of farm lands, as climate changes dictate that we must eventually do so, is not an easy process and probably less fruitful. Certainly there will be "winners", in a warming climate but, the "losers" will probably far outpace the "winners".

Let us hope that you are correct, iceage, in that we will soon face a cooling climate. We have the technology now to reverse or limit its effects. I hope that you are able to discover the observable evidence that the climate is actually cooling and that is a long term trend. I will praise you in this discovery.


I just finished reading this article in its entirety. It left me with a rather different impression than just the abstract. The authors of the article are not greenhouse gas skeptics. It is a rather sobering read for those of us who take greenhouse gas warming seriously, suggesting as it does that large amounts of CO2 emissions could trigger a dramatic change in the world's climate in a matter of a few decades rather than a matter of centuries and that there's plenty of evidence in the earth's record to support this possibility.

While the range of possible explanations for these sudden changes in climate are not definitive by any means, what becomes quite clear is that the earth's climate system is very sensitive to small changes, with points eventually reached at which dramatic "phase changes" (my words) occur. They have happened before and will in time happen again. These quick changes are driven by factors internal to the climate system and not external to it. Both dramatic warming and dramatic cooling can take place. Which one do we take seriously at present? The push toward cooling, for which there is no evidence whatever? Or the push toward warming, for which the evidence continues to accumulate? The warming scenario might possibly (though not necessarily) result in dramatic localized cooling, but the trigger would still be greenhouse gas warming.
Member Since: February 2, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
52. Patrap
9:36 PM GMT on September 27, 2011
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
51. presslord
9:28 PM GMT on September 27, 2011
I keep hearing about all these thousands and thousands of climate change scientists getting filthy rich from grants...maybe they oughta plow a little of that cash back into the political system.... ;-)
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
50. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
8:23 PM GMT on September 27, 2011
Quoting presslord:


I used to run Congressional campaigns for a living...it's best when the 'economic benefit' accrues to the advantage of the politician...and I don't mean graft...I mean campaign finance...

so...

Do you know of any PACs (political action committees) or other such political special interest groups funded by scientists, etc., which focus on making campaign contributions to like minded office holders and seekers?

(that, btw, was a Godawful sentence...altogether unworthy of a UGA Journalism major...but...it's late...and I'm old...so you're just gonna have to deal with it...)


There's Sefora, but I don't really know if I'd call them a PAC. They're probably more like an outreach program for scientists. I mean I know there's a specific definition for PACs in the U.S. government (as I've learned well from Stephen Colbert), but in essence you and I could be a PAC if we had enough money to throw at something. :)

Here's a link to a New York Times article on Sefora (as well as scientists as politicians in general), and a link to the Sefora website.

That doesn't really answer your question, because honestly I don't know of any groups off the top of my head that are making large donations in the name of science. At least, not as large as the donations that are coming from the other side of the argument.
49. Some1Has2BtheRookie
4:22 PM GMT on September 27, 2011
Quoting iceagecoming:


Well, lets just say I hope your right. The thought of New England under mile of ice really could put a damper on your living conditions. Some (science)
to ponder.

Sudden climate transitions during
the Quaternary

Jonathan Adams,1 Mark Maslin2 and
Ellen Thomas3
1Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge,
TN 37831, USA
2Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University
College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK
3Center for the Study of Global Change, Department of Geology and Geophysics,
Yale University, PO Box 208109, New Haven, CT 06520-8109, USA, and
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, 265 Church
Street, Middletown, CT 06459-0139, USA
Abstract: The time span of the past few million years has been punctuated by many rapid
climate transitions, most of them on timescales of centuries to decades. The most detailed
information is available for the Younger Dryas-to-Holocene stepwise change aro u n d
11 500 years ago, which seems to have occurred over a few decades. The speed of this change is
probably representative of similar but less well studied climate transitions during the last few
hundred thousand years. These include sudden cold events (Heinrich events/stadials), warm
events (interstadials) and the beginning and ending of long warm phases, such as the Eemian
interglacial. Detailed analysis of terrestrial and marine records of climate change will, however,
be necessary before we can say confidently on what timescale these events occurred; they almost
certainly did not take longer than a few centuries.
Various mechanisms, involving changes in ocean circulation and biotic productivity, changes
in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and haze particles, and changes in snow and
ice cover, have been invoked to explain sudden regional and global transitions. We do not know
whether such changes could occur in the near future as a result of human effects on climate.
Phenomena such as the Younger Dryas and Heinrich events might only occur in a %u2018glacial%u2019 world
with much larger ice sheets and more extensive sea-ice cover. A major sudden cold event,
however, did probably occur under global climate conditions similar to those of the present,
during the Eemian interglacial around 122 000 years ago. Less intensive, but significant rapid
climate changes also occurred during the present (Holocene) interglacial, with cold and dry
phases occurring on a 1500-year cycle, and with climate transitions on a decade-to-century
timescale. In the past few centuries, smaller transitions (such as the ending of the Little Ice Age
at about AD 1650) probably occurred over only a few decades at most. All evidence indicates
that long-term climate change occurs in sudden jumps rather than incremental changes.

Link




I hope that you are correct, iceage. Should we be moving towards another ice age then we already know how to reverse or weaken its progress. We already have the political and economic will to pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We already have the science to do this.

The historical climate changes have always been through natural forces of nature. The climate we are experiencing now is not only from natural processes but, also, through our own activities. We are dealing with the science to reverse or weaken these changes. We are doing so without the political will or convincing economics to do so. We tend to look at the short term profits as opposed to the viability of the long term progress we could make. Certainly another ice age would be disastrous to our economies and our ability to survive as a species. The same is true of a warming planet. We are already seeing this through failed crops, damaged farm lands, and forced to make expenditures to combat a warming world. Relocation of farm lands, as climate changes dictate that we must eventually do so, is not an easy process and probably less fruitful. Certainly there will be "winners", in a warming climate but, the "losers" will probably far outpace the "winners".

Let us hope that you are correct, iceage, in that we will soon face a cooling climate. We have the technology now to reverse or limit its effects. I hope that you are able to discover the observable evidence that the climate is actually cooling and that is a long term trend. I will praise you in this discovery.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4758
48. boburns
3:01 PM GMT on September 27, 2011
At some point there will be an intersection of the cost effectiveness of fossil fuels vs. clean energy, and the point in time at which that intersection will occur.

The 64 dollar question is how much damage will have been down to spaceship Earth when fossil fuel becomes no longer viable. If all that sequestered methane gets loose, it'll be all over but the shouting - and finger pointing.

Given the past history of humankind, I'm not at all hopeful, actually.

Member Since: September 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
47. iceagecoming
7:54 AM GMT on September 27, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yes, iceageisacoming. You never said Hell will freeze over. I was speaking metaphorically.

Will there ever be another age? Probably. Are we about to enter one now? I have seen no observational data that would support that theory. The observational data contradicts the theory that we are soon to enter another ice age anytime soon.

I do not suggest that you cannot offer opposing theories to AGW and a warming Earth. You should bring observational data that supports your theory.

CO2 is a known GHG. The atmospheric levels of CO2 are now rising at an alarming rate faster than it ever has over the past 1,000 years. You should also note that this sudden rise of atmospheric CO2 levels begins around the same as the industrial revolution begins.



Once the atmospheric CO2 levels have reached the point of significant enough atmospheric temperature rise we will begin to see methane released into the atmosphere. We are nearing that now with some of the permafrost beginning to melt and with warming deep water ocean currents. We all should know methane is a much more potent GHG than is CO2 and there are large quantities of methane stored on the ocean floors and in the permafrost. Once any real measure of methane enters our atmosphere the chance of us entering another ice age, anytime soon, is extremely slim to none.


Well, lets just say I hope your right. The thought of New England under mile of ice really could put a damper on your living conditions. Some (science)
to ponder.

Sudden climate transitions during
the Quaternary

Jonathan Adams,1 Mark Maslin2 and
Ellen Thomas3
1Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge,
TN 37831, USA
2Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University
College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK
3Center for the Study of Global Change, Department of Geology and Geophysics,
Yale University, PO Box 208109, New Haven, CT 06520-8109, USA, and
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, 265 Church
Street, Middletown, CT 06459-0139, USA
Abstract: The time span of the past few million years has been punctuated by many rapid
climate transitions, most of them on timescales of centuries to decades. The most detailed
information is available for the Younger Dryas-to-Holocene stepwise change aro u n d
11 500 years ago, which seems to have occurred over a few decades. The speed of this change is
probably representative of similar but less well studied climate transitions during the last few
hundred thousand years. These include sudden cold events (Heinrich events/stadials), warm
events (interstadials) and the beginning and ending of long warm phases, such as the Eemian
interglacial. Detailed analysis of terrestrial and marine records of climate change will, however,
be necessary before we can say confidently on what timescale these events occurred; they almost
certainly did not take longer than a few centuries.
Various mechanisms, involving changes in ocean circulation and biotic productivity, changes
in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and haze particles, and changes in snow and
ice cover, have been invoked to explain sudden regional and global transitions. We do not know
whether such changes could occur in the near future as a result of human effects on climate.
Phenomena such as the Younger Dryas and Heinrich events might only occur in a ‘glacial’ world
with much larger ice sheets and more extensive sea-ice cover. A major sudden cold event,
however, did probably occur under global climate conditions similar to those of the present,
during the Eemian interglacial around 122 000 years ago. Less intensive, but significant rapid
climate changes also occurred during the present (Holocene) interglacial, with cold and dry
phases occurring on a 1500-year cycle, and with climate transitions on a decade-to-century
timescale. In the past few centuries, smaller transitions (such as the ending of the Little Ice Age
at about AD 1650) probably occurred over only a few decades at most. All evidence indicates
that long-term climate change occurs in sudden jumps rather than incremental changes.

Link


Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1081
46. presslord
2:48 AM GMT on September 27, 2011
Quoting angelafritz:


Politics will always be about two things: money and public opinion. All politicians are always trying to get reelected. The way we can convince politicians that action on climate change is necessary is to 1) convince their constituents and 2) make it economically beneficial.



Science is founded on skepticism. But there's a difference between healthy skepticism and the attacks on climate science that we've seen in the past few years. It's no longer skepticism, it's denial.


I used to run Congressional campaigns for a living...it's best when the 'economic benefit' accrues to the advantage of the politician...and I don't mean graft...I mean campaign finance...

so...

Do you know of any PACs (political action committees) or other such political special interest groups funded by scientists, etc., which focus on making campaign contributions to like minded office holders and seekers?

(that, btw, was a Godawful sentence...altogether unworthy of a UGA Journalism major...but...it's late...and I'm old...so you're just gonna have to deal with it...)
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
45. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
1:33 AM GMT on September 27, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
Politics should never be a part of science. Where do you think the political debate began? Was it the scientist that started the political debate or was it with those that denied the science?


Politics will always be about two things: money and public opinion. All politicians are always trying to get reelected. The way we can convince politicians that action on climate change is necessary is to 1) convince their constituents and 2) make it economically beneficial.

Perhaps, in another 5 years, the evidence will be undeniable, even for most skeptics. ( I hope there will always be some amount of skepticism, over any issue. )Those that deny the science, for political, economic, religious and/or ideological reasons will persist in denying the science. 5 years, or even 50 years, will not make any difference to them.


Science is founded on skepticism. But there's a difference between healthy skepticism and the attacks on climate science that we've seen in the past few years. It's no longer skepticism, it's denial.
44. Some1Has2BtheRookie
11:47 PM GMT on September 26, 2011
Quoting iceagecoming:


Well Rook, I never claimed that Hell would freeze
over, but I have been and will continue to post the data that suggests the energy required for the planet to drop 4-5 C as it has for the past million years (6 glaciations?)will happen again as our output
is practically insignificant in comparison to energy
related to heat or cool the planet by that margin.



Yes, iceageisacoming. You never said Hell will freeze over. I was speaking metaphorically.

Will there ever be another age? Probably. Are we about to enter one now? I have seen no observational data that would support that theory. The observational data contradicts the theory that we are soon to enter another ice age anytime soon.

I do not suggest that you cannot offer opposing theories to AGW and a warming Earth. You should bring observational data that supports your theory.

CO2 is a known GHG. The atmospheric levels of CO2 are now rising at an alarming rate faster than it ever has over the past 1,000 years. You should also note that this sudden rise of atmospheric CO2 levels begins around the same as the industrial revolution begins.



Once the atmospheric CO2 levels have reached the point of significant enough atmospheric temperature rise we will begin to see methane released into the atmosphere. We are nearing that now with some of the permafrost beginning to melt and with warming deep water ocean currents. We all should know methane is a much more potent GHG than is CO2 and there are large quantities of methane stored on the ocean floors and in the permafrost. Once any real measure of methane enters our atmosphere the chance of us entering another ice age, anytime soon, is extremely slim to none.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4758
43. iceagecoming
9:37 PM GMT on September 26, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
I had made a post on Professor Rood's Climate Change blog awhile back in response to another post. Perhaps it would be proper to post this here as well. I will let Angela decide.

Politics should never be a part of science. Where do you think the political debate began? Was it the scientist that started the political debate or was it with those that denied the science?

Perhaps, in another 5 years, the evidence will be undeniable, even for most skeptics. ( I hope there will always be some amount of skepticism, over any issue. )Those that deny the science, for political, economic, religious and/or ideological reasons will persist in denying the science. 5 years, or even 50 years, will not make any difference to them.

Facts, speak for themselves. The confusion begins when others will say that they are not facts. One prime example would be that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that we, mankind, through our activities, release a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is a fact, no matter what else is said.


There are many other facts that are being denied as being facts. This is but one example.

I has also made a post when a question was asked about if the debates were over yet. I replied along these lines:

The climate change debates will never be over until ....... well, maybe never.

Should the climate not change, as predicted by those that believe in the AGW theory, then they will say that climate change is still coming.

Should the climate change, as predicted by those that believe in the AGW theory, then the denialist will still claim that is not by mankind's doing.

Should Hell freeze over, as predicted by iceageisacoming, then we can all ask him to show us how to build an igloo. We would still be sitting around and debating, "What the Hell just happened here?".


Just some points to ponder.


Well Rook, I never claimed that Hell would freeze
over, but I have been and will continue to post the data that suggests the energy required for the planet to drop 4-5 C as it has for the past million years (6 glaciations?)will happen again as our output
is practically insignificant in comparison to energy
related to heat or cool the planet by that margin.

Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1081
42. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
12:10 AM GMT on September 25, 2011
Fantastic blog, Angela. Thanks!
Member Since: February 15, 2006 Posts: 312 Comments: 293
41. presslord
12:54 PM GMT on September 22, 2011
Quoting angelafritz:


Yeah, let's do it. I'm especially confident in my Jackets this year.


Excellent!! Let's get creative...and have some fun with this......btw...you should know....I'm pretty much game for anything that's legal, moral, and not fattening...
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40. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
12:09 PM GMT on September 22, 2011
Quoting presslord:
Yo, Angela!!! November 26....Bobby Dodd Stadium...my beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs will be playing the Trade School on Tenth Street....Care to conjure up a little wager?!


Yeah, let's do it. I'm especially confident in my Jackets this year.
39. presslord
11:43 PM GMT on September 21, 2011
Yo, Angela!!! November 26....Bobby Dodd Stadium...my beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs will be playing the Trade School on Tenth Street....Care to conjure up a little wager?!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
38. Neapolitan
10:40 PM GMT on September 18, 2011
Quoting angelafritz:
On a related note, in a new paper coming out of the journal Nature Climate Change, "'Missing' global heat may hide in deep oceans." Link

I haven't read the actual paper yet, but if I had some missing heat from my energy-balanced system (ie. the Earth), deep ocean water would be the first place I would look. Land and sea surface thermometers don't necessarily tell the whole story.


LiveScience had a story about that article today:

"The world is projected to continue warming over the century; however, the increase isn't expected to be a smooth one. Projections show that temperatures will likely stabilize for periods as long as a decade before the warming continues.

"So where is that extra heat going? The deep oceans, scientists say.

"We will see global warming go through hiatus periods in the future," said Gerald Meehl, lead author of a new study that connects warming hiatuses with absorption of heat by the deep ocean and a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado. "However, these periods would likely last only about a decade or so, and warming would then resume. This study illustrates one reason why global temperatures do not simply rise in a straight line."

To figure out where the heat was going, Meehl and his colleagues ran five simulations on a computer model that portrays complex interactions between the atmosphere, land, oceans and sea ice.

Their results showed that temperatures would rise by several degrees during this century, but with hiatus periods interrupting the increase. During these hiatus periods, simulations showed that extra energy entered the deep oceans, absorbing a disproportionate amount of heat.

They found the vast area deeper than 1,000 feet (300 meters) warmed by about 18 to 19 percent more during the hiatus periods than at other times. Meanwhile, shallower waters warmed substantially less.

"This study suggests the missing energy has indeed been buried in the ocean," said Kevin Trenberth, a study author and NCAR scientist. "The heat has not disappeared and so it cannot be ignored. It must have consequences."

Their study showed that the deep-ocean absorption of heat had a familiar effect. During a hiatus period, sea-surface temperatures decreased across the tropical Pacific, while increasing in the higher latitudes."


http://www.livescience.com/16109-deep-oceans-glob al-warming.html
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13611
37. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
5:40 PM GMT on September 18, 2011
On a related note, in a new paper coming out of the journal Nature Climate Change, "'Missing' global heat may hide in deep oceans." Link

I haven't read the actual paper yet, but if I had some missing heat from my energy-balanced system (ie. the Earth), deep ocean water would be the first place I would look. Land and sea surface thermometers don't necessarily tell the whole story.
35. rod2635
11:38 AM GMT on September 18, 2011
Well said Angela. I think that the benefits of research and developement into green energy technology cannot be overstated. Given the domestic consumption of energy in the US, as a percentage of global energy use, a Manhattan type project would seem to be to the benefit of all. Reduce dependency on foreign energy, reduce greenhouse gases, develop products and services we could patent and export, create an entire new segment of the economy to put people back to work.

Sadly, the recent Solyndra debacle does not help. Any first year business student could have reviewed and discarded that business plan. When I think about the good that $500M could have done if applied to promising new technologies...perhaps that accounts for some of my cynicism regarding the readiness of this world to understand the consequences of releasing massive amounts of carbon, created in geological time, during the span of just 200 years or so.
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34. Some1Has2BtheRookie
1:37 AM GMT on September 18, 2011
I had made a post on Professor Rood's Climate Change blog awhile back in response to another post. Perhaps it would be proper to post this here as well. I will let Angela decide.

Politics should never be a part of science. Where do you think the political debate began? Was it the scientist that started the political debate or was it with those that denied the science?

Perhaps, in another 5 years, the evidence will be undeniable, even for most skeptics. ( I hope there will always be some amount of skepticism, over any issue. )Those that deny the science, for political, economic, religious and/or ideological reasons will persist in denying the science. 5 years, or even 50 years, will not make any difference to them.

Facts, speak for themselves. The confusion begins when others will say that they are not facts. One prime example would be that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that we, mankind, through our activities, release a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is a fact, no matter what else is said.


There are many other facts that are being denied as being facts. This is but one example.

I has also made a post when a question was asked about if the debates were over yet. I replied along these lines:

The climate change debates will never be over until ....... well, maybe never.

Should the climate not change, as predicted by those that believe in the AGW theory, then they will say that climate change is still coming.

Should the climate change, as predicted by those that believe in the AGW theory, then the denialist will still claim that is not by mankind's doing.

Should Hell freeze over, as predicted by iceageisacoming, then we can all ask him to show us how to build an igloo. We would still be sitting around and debating, "What the Hell just happened here?".


Just some points to ponder.
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33. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
6:57 PM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting rod2635:
Still think we will as a species do the easy thing, which is to use up the low hanging fruit of carbon based fuels until they become too scarce and other alternatives become economically competitive.


Easy = cheap. Fortunately, people are realizing there's economic benefit in developing green energy technology.
32. TomTaylor
5:59 PM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


So TomTaylor, I hope you can appreciate how my Tunnel idea can reverse all of what you said above. The REGULATION of SSTs in the gulfstream from the upwelling they cause and the amount of fossil fuel GHGs that are eliminated from the transfer of kinetic energy in the gulfstream flow to mechanical energy to electrical energy. Both combined can work to reverse the damage we have caused already. Basically temperatures can be restored in the oceans and atmosphere over a very short time period to what they were in 1979 when it wasn't as bad as it is now depending on how much upwelling and temperature regulation that is deemed necessary."reducing, reusing, recycling, minimizing dependency on non renewable resources, maximizing the potential of renewable energies, and cleaning our environment, all in effort to protect and preserve our environment and ecosystems." is what they do!

Patent Pending
yeah...no point in countering your points in your post since I see you just ignored my points again (the consequences of cooling the gulf stream are absolutely not straight forward like you assume).

Good luck with your obsession.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
31. Neapolitan
1:04 PM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting angelafritz:
Uncertainties should not be interpreted as misunderstanding. Instead, they should be treated a testament to how sensitive the climate system could be, and how influential humans are on the delicate global energy balance. It is clear that the earth dumped almost all of its stored carbon into the atmosphere, and now we are doing the same by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground and burning them. Just like the previous great global warming did, we are likely catapulting ourselves into a new geologic era: the Anthropocene.

How true. I'm not sure why it's the default position of the denialist set to assume in every case that because scientists have uncertainties in some areas, nothing will happen and everything will be just hunky-dory from here on out.

Thank you for an excellent and well-written entry, Angela.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13611
30. rod2635
12:57 PM GMT on September 17, 2011
Still think we will as a species do the easy thing, which is to use up the low hanging fruit of carbon based fuels until they become too scarce and other alternatives become economically competitive. By then the CO2 will be out there for a long time.

Though I am no biologist, the idea of a genetically engineered oceanic algae to act as a carbon sink still seems intriguing. Design the organism to require CO2 ppm of at least 200 and you build in a self destruct mechanism. While introducing such a thing has its risks (many pilot studies first), the alternative of waiting centuries for the emitted CO2 to be absorbed by the current ecosystem has its risks as well.
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28. PlazaRed
7:13 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Angela,thank you for posting this,
One of the points to do with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its interaction with living plants is that during the period of plant growth the plants/ trees absorb the CO2, once the plants die they through decomposition release it.
A study I read some time ago stated that after about 100 years plus a forest releases almost as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as it absorbs,through rotting and decomposition,hence reaching a virtual steady state. In order to absorb large amounts of CO2 it will be necessary to plant forests on an ever increasing basis,and stop them rotting. Possibly storing the wood as a sort of CO2 bank. Hilarious thought!
Another interesting fact is that wood and vegetable matter which is burnt releases about the same amount of CO2, rapidly into the air as it would release slowly if allowed to rot naturally.
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27. TomTaylor
6:16 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:
So Angela, I hope you can appreciate how my Tunnel idea can reverse all of what you said above. The regulation of SSTs in the gulfstream from the upwelling they cause and the amount of fossil fuel GHGs that are eliminated from the transfer of kinetic energy in the gulfstream flow to mechanical energy to electrical energy. Both combined can work to reverse the damage we have caused already. Basically temperatures can be restored over a very short time period depending on how much upwelling and temperature regulation that is deemed necessary.

Patent Pending



..
I can't believe you are still pushing that idea.

I'm not saying it wouldn't work, but the biggest flaw I see with this is it doesn't solve the problem. AGW ideology supports the ideas of reducing, reusing, recycling, minimizing dependency on non renewable resources, maximizing the potential of renewable energies, and cleaning our environment, all in effort to protect and preserve our environment and ecosystems.

You see, it's not just about preventing global warming. Your tubes would potentially (no guarantees it will work, no matter what you try and tell me) cool the planet some, but it could also completely screw up the surrounding environment. Cooling the current would have dramatic atmospheric effects on weather patterns in Europe, north Africa, Asia, eastern North America, and perhaps most severely in he Arctic.


That's just scratching the surface, there are hundreds of complications which I'm positive you've failed to consider. Hopefully you will at least consider this post for what its worth, rather than blowing it off like everyone else's post which offered valid points as to why your tubes won't work. However, given the responses I've seen you post, I'm going to guess you will just blow off this post as well or come up win some fluffy answer to refute my post. Which is totally fine, but don't expect to get anywhere in the real world with that attitude.
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26. BaltimoreBrian
4:41 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
That PDF is a good source.
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25. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
4:37 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
Angela,

Would you know how much CO2 an evergreen would absorb as opposed to a broad leaf tree that sheds its leaves in the fall?


Good question, I didn't know the answer off the top of my head, but I looked it up. This document has a table on page 8 that shows how much carbon a hardwood or conifer of a certain age and growing speed will sequester. Looks like the hardwoods are better at sequestering.

Link
24. BaltimoreBrian
4:31 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
Angela,

Would you know how much CO2 an evergreen would absorb as opposed to a broad leaf tree that sheds its leaves in the fall?


That would depend on the species of tree, the soil conditions, how well the tree is watered, etc.

Evergreens shed their leaves just like deciduous trees, just not all at once.

Carbon storage would depend on the amount of carbon in the roots and trunk of the tree.

And sequestration through trees is temporary. After a century or two they die, and decomposition from fungi and microbes would release most of the carbon back.

Big forest plantings on unforested areas could absorb a lot of carbon temporarily. Give us some time while trying to control our carbon emissions. But when the trees die and rot, most of their carbon will be released back as carbon dioxide.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
23. Some1Has2BtheRookie
4:16 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Angela,

Would you know how much CO2 an evergreen would absorb as opposed to a broad leaf tree that sheds its leaves in the fall?
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22. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
3:50 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting LargoFl:
unless im wrong, doesnt plant life take in co2, just a question here, the more co2 the more food for plants?


Yes, plants absorb CO2 in the summer (ie. when they're growing their leaves). But in the winter, mature release the carbon they've absorbed. Only plants that are still growing into maturity absorb more carbon than they release in the winter. That's why it's so important to plant new trees to replace the ones we cut down!
21. pottery
3:43 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Excellent blog.
Thank you.
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20. oceanbug
2:38 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Never mind - comment I was responding to has been removed. (Thanks, Admin.)
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19. Some1Has2BtheRookie
2:34 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting LargoFl:
unless im wrong, doesnt plant life take in co2, just a question here, the more co2 the more food for plants?


Yes, plants do take in CO2 and no, as with any living organism, there is so much food (CO2) plants can "eat".
As the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increases the plants respond by reducing the size of the pores that absorb CO2. As a carbon sink, plants can only absorb so much carbon.

Link
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18. BaltimoreBrian
2:31 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Hi Angela!

Thanks again for commenting in my blog about the Trifid Nebula.

Scientific American had a great article in July 2011 about the PETM. I'm sure Angela has read it but some of you might not have. You can read it here.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
16. oceanbug
2:20 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Radiometric dating gives an age of 4.54 Billion years for the earth. There is a large amount of data that supports this, impossible to cite here. Try Wiki, though, for a summary: Link

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14. oceanbug
2:13 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
There have been a number of studies that show there will be a rather complex response by plants to higher carbon dioxide concentrations along with increased temperatures. For example: Link

In general, "benefits of elevated CO2 to photosynthesis at normal temperatures may be partly offset by negative effects during stress..." The stress is increased temperatures.

And the response will vary with the type of plant. Some will benefit, others will not.
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11. Patrap
1:40 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Video as seen at the Washakie Museum in Worland Wyoming. Features Big Horn Basin scientists presenting the importance of research on the PETM (paleocene eocene thermal maximum) in the Big Horn Basin, Wyoming. Created for the Washakie Museum by ECOS Communications and Boston Productions, 2010


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9. LargoFl
1:28 AM GMT on September 17, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
Me thinks were in fer a Bumpy ride..

The tipping point cometh..


co2now.org








390.02ppm


Atmospheric CO2 for August 2011
Preliminary data released September 8, 2011 (Mauna Loa Observatory: NOAA-ESRL)





CO2 Data Set:
Original data file posted by NOAA-ESRL on Thursday September 8, 2011


Measuring Location:
Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii



Data Source:
Scripps CO2 Program UCSD / Scripps Institution of Oceanography



Why is CO2 significant?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the chief greenhouse gas that results from human activities and causes global warming and climate change. To see whether enough is being done at the moment to solve these global problems, there is no single indicator as complete and current as the monthly updates for atmospheric CO2 from the Mauna Loa Observatory.




What is the current trend?

The concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are increasing at an accelerating rate from decade to decade. accelerating from decade to decade. The latest atmospheric CO2 data is consistent with a continuation of this long-standing trend.



What level is safe?

The upper safety limit for atmospheric CO2 is 350 parts per million (ppm). Atmospheric CO2 levels have stayed higher than 350 ppm since early 1988


unless im wrong, doesnt plant life take in co2, just a question here, the more co2 the more food for plants?
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About angelafritz

Atmospheric Scientist here at Weather Underground, with serious nerd love for tropical cyclones and climate change. Twitter: @WunderAngela