This is the most concise presentation of the math of climate change – by the physics department at Oxford University. I’m surprised I don’t see more references to this site. Click on the “Find out more…” button for the background. At the bottom you’ll find the scientific references behind the numbers.
Archive for the 'Climate Science' Category
Tags: Trillionth-ton, Trillionth-Tonne
Prof. Montgomery’s prepared testimony is here [PDF]. It’s really excellent, science-based guidance to the politicians — it is worth reading the whole text. Fortunately Judith Curry also took an interest in Montgomery’s testimony so Judith and her commenters offer lots of useful insights. Altogether this is a very long post (26,000 words) but very worthwhile. Included are attempted rebuttals by Georgia Tech colleague Paul Baer.
I am not a fan of the EPA endangerment finding on CO2 – if any GHG policy is to be effective and affordable, regulation is not that tool.
Personally I found the most useful comments were those by Judith Curry , Richard Tol, and “Max Manacker” (you can search for (“curryja”, “richard tol” and “manacker”). I will quote Max Manacker’s summary comment as I agree with Montgomery and Max. For brevity I have excised Max’s comments on the Baer, Heinz rebuttals:
We recommend Rob Dunbar’s recent TED Talk. In this post we are collecting a few of the links we have found researching the drillship JOIDES Resolution and the IODP Wilkes Land Expedition. The photo above is from Rob’s mid-expedition dispatch “Iceberg City “.
Roger Pielke Jr. is an authority on the evidence for climate change signals in tropical storm intensities. See for example here. Roger also maintains a watch for rubbish published in the media or the academic literature. A current standout example is this NY Times silliness:
I’ve made peace with the fact that many people want to believe things utterly unsupported by data, such as what Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in today’s New York Times, that intense storms and floods have become three times more common and increasing damage from such events is evidence of human caused climate change. Of course, people believe a lot of silly things that data don’t support — like President Obama is a Muslim with a fake birth certificate, vaccines cause autism, and climate change is a hoax, just to name a few on a very long list. While such misplaced beliefs are always disconcerting, especially so to academics who actually study these issues, such misjudgments need not necessarily stand in the way of effective action. So it is not worth getting too worked up about tall tales.
But even so, it is still amazing to see the newspaper of record publish a statement like the following about Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies:
Climate scientist Judith Curry is a brave woman. On 4 Nov Judith was at Purdue University, preparing for a panel discussion with Andy Revkin and Roger Pielke Jr. on “Beyond Climategate.” She posted a preview of her talk, focusing on “The positive feedback loop” – excerpt:
(…) I think the dynamics are much more complicated, and can only be understood by considering the ever vexatious feedback loop. There has been a particularly toxic positive feedback loop between climate science and policy and politics, whose direction has arguably been reversed as result of Climategate.
The scientists provided the initial impulse for this feedback loop back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The enviro advocacy groups quickly saw the possibilities and ran with it, with the scientists’ blessing. The enviro advocacy groups saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution. Libertarian think tanks, the traditional foes of the enviro advocacy groups, began countering with doubts about the science. International efforts to deal with the climate change problem were launched in 1992 with the UNFCCC treaty.
That post generated a comment-storm, so Judith has posted a Part II with a more in depth discussion of her framing:
(…) The previous post was written for the Purdue event, I had 10-15 minutes to make a statement. I put forth an argument (the feedback loop) with premises. To many, the premises I put forth seem self evident. Others are demanding “proof” and “evidence” of my premises. My argument, and the premises that it is based on, are offered up for discussion on this blog.
Are any of you tired of the endless debate over who is hero and who is villain in the scenario unfolded in the CRU emails? Even if we were to get rid of all of the “objectionable” characters on both sides of this, would climate science be fixed? Would we have sensible energy policies? No and no. And we can’t frame/narrate/communicate our way out of this either. The problems and the issues are much bigger: geopolitics, economics, clashes of values. An extremely wicked problem for which science does not provide a solution.
So far Judith has about 500 comments on Part I, and as I write 378 comments on Part II.
Tags: Geoengineering, Untitled
Two of the bright lights in the climate change arena are Ken Caldeira and David Keith, who jointly lead the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (FICER). The fund is setting a strong example for transparency on both inputs and outputs. Bill Gates is providing the funding (personally, not the Gates Foundation). Here are a couple of Q/A examples from the FICER information page:
Q. What is the source and size of the fund? Who administers the fund?
A. Since its inception in 2007, FICER has given out grants to 13 research projects and various scientific meetings totaling $4.6 million. Internationally known climate scientists Dr. David Keith of University of Calgary and Dr. Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution select projects that receive support from the fund. While Mr. Gates provides input from time to time on the fund, Drs. Keith and Caldera make final decisions on projects.
Q. Does the fund support research into geoengineering? Does the fund support research into “clean energy”?
A. Yes, the fund supports research into both geoengineering and clean energy, as well as basic climate science research. The directors of the fund believe that society should be spending many tens-of-billions of dollars per year developing and deploying affordable, scalable, near zero-carbon energy sources.
“Geoengineering” is a term that different people use in different ways. Some proposed technologies, for example capturing and sequestering excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, attempt to address the root causes of climate change. These approaches are relatively uncontroversial. Other proposed technologies, for example solar radiation management (SRM) attempt to reduce the effects of climate change but don’t address the root causes. SRM aims to cool the planet, for example by adding reflective aerosols (small particles suspended in air) to the stratosphere where they will reflect some incoming sunlight, cooling the planet. These approaches, which would be a human intervention in the climate system with potential environmental risks, are more controversial.
However, much important research into these approaches, such as computer modeling, laboratory experiments, or passive observations of nature, can be done without any interference in the climate system. This research is as important in determining which geoengineering technologies have limited efficacy, scalability or unacceptable environmental risks as it is in finding viable solutions, and the fund supports these kinds of projects. Further, research will help inform the development of much needed international conventions for any geoengineering field tests.
Q. Does the fund support field testing of geoengineering?
A. FICER has not supported and will not support any field tests of methods that introduce new kinds of interference into the climate system (e.g., solar radiation management, ocean fertilization). We are in favor of field testing industrial processes that can remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Roger Pielke Jr’s new book is out, and highly favorable reviews are beginning to appear. The Terence Corcoran review in the Financial Post is well written — I recommend it. A big plus is that FP also published an excerpt from the book, focused on prof. Pielke’s “iron law” of climate policy.
Here’s Roger on the FP review. And following are a couple of choice paragraphs from the excerpt on the “iron law”
(…) Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics called the contortions of policymakers on energy policy “gloriously incoherent” after observing their behaviour at preparatory meetings immediately preceding the 2008 G8 Summit in Toyako, Japan. In a morning session, Prins relates, policymakers discussed ways to lower the costs of gasoline brought on by the massive run-up in oil prices in 2007 and 2008. Then in the afternoon they reconvened to consider ways to increase the costs of gasoline through caps or taxes to address ever-growing greenhouse-gas emissions around the world.
A 2009 U.S. poll helpfully illustrates the iron law of climate policy. The poll asked respondents about their willingness to support a climate bill in the U.S. Congress at three different annual costs per household. At US$80 per year a majority said that they would support a bill. But at US$175 per year, support dropped by almost half, with a majority expressing opposition to such a bill. At US$770 per year opposition exceeds support by a ratio of about 10 to one.
Our new iPad arrives here in Australia tomorrow. The first ebook that will be loaded is the Kindle edition of The Climate Fix!
Too much emphasis in the climate debate has come to lie on scientific substantiation or proof of the end of the world– Rathenau Institute.
Roger Pielke Jr. alerts us to an important analysis of the politicization of climate science. The new report mirrors many of the same criticisms of the linear model that are covered in The Honest Broker and in Roger’s soon to be released The Climate Fix. That a leading Dutch think tank is now arguing the same case makes me just a tiny bit more optimistic.
Thanks to Eduardo at Die Klimazweibel I now have a much better understanding of regional sea level rise. This is not new work, but certainly is rarely discussed by big media. The consequences of Greenland or Antarctic glacier melting are not what you might think.
By how much would sea-level rise if the Greenland ice sheet disappears ? Probably quite a lot, but not in Germany, or in North Western Europe for that matter. There, sea level would virtually unaffected. To formulate it a bit provocatively, Greenland is for Western Europeans irrelevant. They should be rather observing Antarctica more closely.
Global sea-level rise is caused about by several factors, among which the most important the expansion of the water column due to rising ocean water temperatures and the melting of the polar ice-sheets. Both effects are obvious and do not require further explanation. However, the shrinking of the polar land-ice masses does not lead to a sea-level rise uniformly distributed over the globe. Quite the contrary, its fingerprint is substantially heterogeneous. If the Greenland ice sheet melts, most of the sea-level rise would occur in the southern Hemisphere. If, on the other hand, it is the West-Antarctic Ice sheet that collapses, Nature’s wisdom would produce a targeted maximum of sea-level rise right in front of the White House. This surprising effect is caused by very well-known physics – gravitational attraction – but it is seldom found in the public discussion of global sea-level rise.
This is for climate science and/or climate policy geeks only. Back on November 21st, 2005, Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote a post that (I think) nicely summarized the irrelevance of the tussle over Michael Mann’s hockey stick reconstruction of proxy temperature data. Roger began with this:
A few weeks ago we posed a challenge to both parties involved in the so-called “hockey stick” debate to explain why the rest of us ought to care about the debate. We asked, “so what?” We received responses from Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick while everyone on the other side declined to participate, though a few showed up in the comments. Here I’d like to offer a few assorted reflections on the responses and the subsequent discussion.
1. First, thanks to Steve McIntyre (SM) and Ross McKitrick (RM) for providing thoughtful responses. The responses motivated a healthy discussion and for me provided some greater insight into the dynamics of the ongoing debate within the climate community not just over the hockey stick, but broader issues as well.
2. Interestingly enough, the response from SM is completely in agreement with RealClimate contributors Stefan Rahmsdorf (SR) and William Connelley (WC) that the “hockey stick” debate is pretty much irrelevant to the scientific question of whether or not greenhouse gases will affect the future climate. Consider:
SR: “The discussions about the past millennium are not discussions about whether humans are changing climate; neither do they affect our projections for the future.”
WC: “Why is this fight important to the rest of us? the answer is: you shouldn’t. It isn’t..”
SM: “I’m inclined to agree that, for the most part, the Hockey Stick does not matter to the great issue of the impact of 2xCO2.”
This agreement is interesting because it means we can move beyond the often invoked assertion that the hockey stick is the keystone supporting the entire scientific basis of climate science. Others may assert that the hockey stick is a scientific keystone, but apparently not the principals involved in this debate.
There is much more detail, and exhausting nitpicking in the comments, so continue reading…