Planning for a Warmer World / Semester Summary

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:47 PM GMT on April 18, 2011

Planning for a Warmer World / Semester Summary

This is the last week of the winter term at the University of Michigan. We start just after New Year’s Day and march relentlessly to the end. It is the term when I teach my Climate Change Problem Solving. Class projects this term look at Adaptation Plans for Baltimore, Maryland; Institutional-scale Composting; Evaluations of Solar and Wind Energy in Chicago; and Understanding and Attribution of the 1930s Warm Period. Of course I got behind and Jeff Masters had to cover for me last week. (Thanks Jeff.)

Back at the end of December I was anticipating the semester with this blog. I was motivated to change the course by two syntheses of knowledge. The first was the National Academy of Sciences, Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia. This report draws attention to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – as opposed to consideration of our emissions with the idea that the carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The basic message is that all of the carbon dioxide that we release from coal, oil and natural gas, will be around for many thousands of years. There are many important messages from this synthesis, but one of those messages is that to stabilize carbon dioxide at any level, we will have to reduce our emissions by more than 80% of current. So the total amount we accumulate depends on when we have the ability and the will to end our emissions – a decision that will be strongly influenced by how the climate impacts us.

The accumulation of carbon dioxide suggests several things to me. At the top of the list is that, given our population and our energy consumption, there is no way that we will avoid an average rise of the global surface temperature of 2 – 4 degrees centigrade. In some regions the temperature rise will be much greater, and the temperature increases in the Arctic will be systematically high. Since I always worry about important issues that have slid into the background, the other major issue that demands our carbon-dioxide attention is ocean acidification. The National Geographic has a good collection of information on ocean acidification. Here is the Executive Summary of the Stabilization Report.


The other synthesis of information that influenced my course this year is the collection of papers on preparing for an atmosphere with more than 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide and with temperatures that are beyond our notional two degree average that represents our arbitrary and comfortable threshold of dangerous. The papers in this issue deconstruct the idea that, at least for some, that two degrees of global average warming is not dangerous. A key issue that follows from the report is the importance of considering the rate of increase of warming.

One of more important risks associated with a warming planet is the rate at which the planet is warming. We are in the midst of a period of great species extinction and rapid warming stress the ability or the inability to adapt to rapid changes in temperature and water. Thinking about people and climate, population is increasing and our current rate of temperature increase largely coincides with maximizing climate stress and population stress at the same time. With this rapid warming to a 2-4 degrees surface increase, climate stress, especially water availability, rises to a level comparable to other sources of stress. This brings attention to managing the rate of warming while we develop the needed technology to manage carbon dioxide. Policy wise – we need to focus real resources on technologies such as batteries, carbon removal and sequestration, and a whole range of water and energy efficiency challenges.

Each year the students who come to my class bring a different knowledge of climate change to the class and different points-of-view about the challenges of climate change. One of the things I find most encouraging is the desire to move to problem solving, and the realization that the political arguments that seem to paralyze, at least, our national approach to climate change, is, in fact, political. I divine from their comments that they see the behavior of our elected officials as irrelevant and obstructing. That is introduction to geo-engineering.

There are arguments about geo-engineering. There remains this argument that if we allow ourselves to think about geo-engineering, then we will use this to allow ourselves to do nothing about climate change. What becomes more and more obvious, as we consider the accumulation of carbon dioxide, our population, and our imperatives for growth and economic success, is that we are engaged in geo-engineering without thinking about it. It’s like if we release the carbon dioxide and it mixes around the atmosphere, then we lose accountability and responsibility. It is self-evident that we do have to think about our carbon dioxide waste. Whether or not we choose to label it as such, we are currently engaged in unintelligent geo-engineering. There remains fear to use the word geo-engineering in climate research programs. It is imperative that we seriously think about management of the climate. If there is a notion of “sustainability” with 8, 9, or 10 billion people, then there is a notion of climate management. I mention an effort by some scientists GeoMIP. This is an effort promoted by scientists, with a wide range of opinions on the merits of geo-engineering, to promote quantitative understanding of geo-engineering. Similarly, we need to know much more about the impacts of ocean acidification; climate change is an easy problem compared with acidification.

I will be getting back into the climate change blogging saddle. In the next few weeks I have a few series that need to be revisited – validating models, the Sun, media, the EPA. Again thanks to Jeff for covering for me.

r







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Quoting RMuller:


He definitely hopes it will melt. I've seen many graphs in the past couple of days and, from what I've seen, global sea ice is nowhere near record low levels. As an aside, how long have we been measuring sea ice? Does a thirty or hundred year record really mean anything in the grand scheme of things? How can anyone place such credence in such a short record considering the age of the earth?


To be fair, they are quite a bit below the thirty-year average, and it's way too soon to say that we're seeing a recovery from the recent lows of 2007/8. I do agree that thirty years is too short of an observation period to make reasonable future predictions.
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
I have to admit, the graph in № 183 made me laugh...

Is it just me, or does MichaelSTL almost sound hopeful that the ice will start melting faster? LOL...Maybe it's just me.

Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
This is pretty interesting:

In June of last year Nature published the following paper: Global phytoplankton decline over the past century. ClimateProgress had a post referring to the paper shortly after.

It seems a couple of weeks ago a new paper in Nature is challenging the results of the June 2010 paper; link is below.

Is there a decline in marine phytoplankton?

WUWT has a post referring to the new paper.

From the WUWT post, I've reprinted a couple of sections of the post quoting the Nature paper:

Eight decades of data on phytoplankton biomass collected in the North Atlantic by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey2, however, showan increase in an index of chlorophyll (Phytoplankton Colour Index) in both the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic basins3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (Fig. 1), and other long-term time series, including the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT)8, the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS)8 and the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI)9 also indicate increased phytoplankton biomass over the last 20–50 years. These findings, which were not discussed by Boyce et al.1, are not in accordance with their conclusions and illustrate the importance of using consistent observations when estimating long-term trends.


and

… Closer examination reveals that time-dependent changes in sampling methodology combined with a consistent bias in the relationship between in situ and transparency-derived chlorophyll (Chl) measurements generate a spurious trend in the synthesis of phytoplankton estimates used by Boyce et al.1. Our results indicate that much, if not all, of the century-long decline reported by Boyce et al. is attributable to this temporal sampling bias and not to a global decrease in phytoplankton biomass.


As of yet, I don't see a reference to it at ClimateProgress.








Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
Quoting cyclonebuster:
OUCH!



Aw, c'mon, you've clearly manipulated that image to show a drop in Arctic sea ice extent, when the actual version seen here--likely to be found on true science sites such as WUWT and GlobalWarmingHoax.com and IHateAlGore.com and WeAreTheKochBrothersSoYouWillObeyUsOrLoseYourJob.c om--shows a distinct rise in that extent.

Boy, you deniers will stop at nothing, nothing I tell you! ;-)

Appropriate tropical weather-related image.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15161
Quoting cyclonebuster:


NOAA makes retired field geologist Jack Sauers look like he studied in kindergarten.

Judging by the article, I wouldn't be so sure Mr. Sauers made it even that far in school.

So, an article including data from a "retired" geologist, and published on a political denialist website in November, 2000, is now being used as "proof" of global cooling? I have to say, it would probably be at least a little easier to swallow if, you know, the decade that's passed since that article came out hadn't been the warmest one on record. Or if there were any indications now that the planet was cooling. Or if the bulleted "indicators" in the article were true. Or if the writer knew a single thing about what makes glaciers grow. Or if...

Oh, forget it. The bottom line is, the article is just more ideology-driven, anti-science garbage of the type we've all seen cranked out by the Big Energy Obfuscation Machine--aka the "Dumbinator"--over the years, and should be ridiculed and/or ignored as such.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15161
I wonder who had a hissy fit?
It's getting warm in here.

http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/Ic e_Age.html

Link
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Quoting MichaelSTL:
when even Richard Muller has called it fraudent?

LOL:

Exclusive: Berkeley temperature study results “confirm the reality of global warming and support in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU”

BREAKING UPDATE: The head of the Berkeley team, Richard Muller, confirmed at a public talk on Saturday that they have started writing a draft report and based on their preliminary analysis, “We are seeing substantial global warming” and “None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.”


LOL

This poser RMiller on this blog can go take a hike.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Is NOAA fraudulent?

To far too many people, all science, scientists, and scientific organizations that don't support their narrow ideology are fraudulent. To such people, the only real, true, unadulterated science comes from Big Energy CEOs, along with both the cable 'news' channel and the politicians those CEOs have bought.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15161
Quoting RMuller:


Why keep reposting that hockey stick, when even Richard Muller has called it fraudent?
Why not? And I answered your question about the medieval warm period.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting Neapolitan:

It certainly does; that is as perfect a description of the Tea Party as I've ever heard. Thanks for posting it...


Look familiar ? LOL

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8217
Quoting iceagecoming:


Daleks have little, if any, individual personality,[11] ostensibly no emotions other than hatred and anger,[1] and a strict command structure in which they are conditioned to obey superiors' orders without question.[89] Dalek speech is characterised by repeated phrases, and by orders given to themselves and to others.[90] Unlike the stereotypical emotionless robots often found in science fiction, Daleks are often angry; author Kim Newman has described the Daleks as behaving "like toddlers in perpetual hissy fits", gloating when in power and throwing tantrums when thwarted



This explains quite a bit.

It certainly does; that is as perfect a description of the Tea Party as I've ever heard. Thanks for posting it...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15161


Daleks have little, if any, individual personality,[11] ostensibly no emotions other than hatred and anger,[1] and a strict command structure in which they are conditioned to obey superiors' orders without question.[89] Dalek speech is characterised by repeated phrases, and by orders given to themselves and to others.[90] Unlike the stereotypical emotionless robots often found in science fiction, Daleks are often angry; author Kim Newman has described the Daleks as behaving "like toddlers in perpetual hissy fits", gloating when in power and throwing tantrums when thwarted



This explains quite a bit.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RMuller:


You're fond of crying foul when "Big Oil" is involved in anything. Well government and environmental funding in the UK is the reason nothing was discovered in the Climategate "investigation." Link


It is not surprising where they get these ideas>

Listen to LOE from this morning, Big Oil Destroyed
Cajun Cluture and Coal Industry wiped out the McCoy and Hatfield clans.
You can't make this stuff up, it is "produced" by
environazi's from Cambridge MA.

Link

Right (Left) think in effect!!!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RMuller:


Sounds like a broken record. How do you explain the fact that past temperatures during the Medieval times were much warmer? Were space aliens spewing fossil fuels?

It could be any number of causes. Greenhouse gases are not the only thing which govern global temperatures. They are one of the factors, not the only factor. If it was the sole factor, temp graphs would reflect this graph perfectly.




Quoting RMuller:


Why do so many climatologists disagree with your interpretation of past historical temperatures? Is it true that Michael Mann left out Medieval Warming when creating his infamous "hockey stick" graph?


Ok, fine, let's forget about the medieval warm period since nobody can agree on it. Let's just look at the last 100 years which we can all agree on





See the warming?

MMMMKKKKKKKKKK good. We're done here. Happy Easter
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Newsman Apologizes for Misleading the Public About Climate Change

After spending 32 years in front of the camera as an anchorman and investigative reporter for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, Don Shelby wanted to apologize to people about climate change.

“For those of you who are confused on this issue,” he said, “you’re forgiven. It’s my fault.”

The TV newsman’s mea culpa about having misreported climate change came after of years of treating the story the same as he would any other, requiring the views of two opposing parties, Shelby told the packed lecture hall of the chemistry building.

But, he said, climate change is not a pro or con issue; it’s a scientific fact. And journalists who work to “balance” a story present an inaccurate picture when they give equal weight to sources promulgating inaccurate facts. “If I report a story on abuse of children, I don’t go out and interview an abuser on the up-side of child abuse,” he said as an example of how an effort to balance can go too far.

Shelby said that when he first began to report on climate change, much of the science was unsettled. Most of the “other side” coverage was really about those who disagreed over details of theory. “When the science began to grow conclusively, the PR machines of the (right-wing and libertarian) think tanks … began to hire and sponsor scientists with pretty good credentials. Those scientists ‘cherry-picked’ information from massive studies and found fault with them. Rather than taking the intellectually honest approach and saying that the body and conclusions of the study were strong, they wished to show that the entire science was flawed.”

Shelby said he used the skills of any good investigative reporter and followed the money. “Once I began to trace back the source and the politics of that approach to science, it began to be clear that many of the same scientists were also on record as saying that acid rain was not a problem, that PVC and HVC did not damage the ozone layer, and, most ugly, was the cigarette smoke was not a carcinogen, and many of these scientists had been employed by the tobacco lobby. Things began to smell. I then started pointing out those facts.”

Duluth News Tribune Article...

And there you have it: nail #7,208 in the coffin of climate change denialism...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15161
Quoting RMuller:


Sounds like a broken record. How do you explain the fact that past temperatures during the Medieval times were much warmer? Were space aliens spewing fossil fuels? If you read the Telegraph story you'd see the cover-up for those so-called scientists. I know you'd like to see the end of Climategate, but I don't think it's going away anytime soon.

Well, the MWP temps were not warmer than current ones; they were, in fact, 0.2C below the 1961 through 1990 mean, and that much further below current temps. But if you're convinced it was warmer, then you should go with that.

It's obvious, I think, that many here are not truly interested in discussing things from an honest scientific perspective, but rather from a debunked and entrenched ideological one. As such, I'm doubtless wasting both my time and theirs--along with Dr. Rood's blog space--responding to them. So I'll leave them to their own opinions; they're entitled to them, after all, just as they were entitled to reject all scientific fact while forming them. (But I will be here to refute any of the anti-science nonsense I see posted here.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15161

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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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