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Climate Variability vs AGW

Climate Variability vs AGW

Emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuel contributes significantly to a gradual increase in the world’s average temperature.  What’s also known but less understood is the erratic variation in the average temperature due to cycles in the ocean, resulting in episodes of El Nino and La Nina.  Some claim that these temperature extremes are well-understood as a result of changes in the trade winds, as the wind pushes the water around the Pacific ocean, exposing colder or warmer water to the surface. This may have been a perfectly acceptable explanation, except it doesn’t address what causes the wind to vary — in other words the source of the erratic wind variation is just as unknown. 

So we are still left with no root cause for the ocean cycles. Apart from the strictly seasonal changes we have no explanation for the longer-term pattern of natural variation observed. 

The likely key to a physical understanding rests in solving the fluid dynamics of the ocean. There are two aspects to this that have long presented an intellectual challenge. The first challenge has been to model the sloshing dynamics of a huge body of water — this typically involves numerical calculation in the form of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The second challenge is to feed in a possible forcing and see if that can match the cyclic patterns observed. This requires a search through plausible physical mechanisms. Complicating matters is that the cycles may be chaotic so that any agreement we find would be useless from a practical standpoint, as chaotic patterns are impossible to model regardless of the source forcing.

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Highest Greenhouse Gasses in Millions of Years

Atmospheric greenhouse gasses absorb infrared radiation from the sun, releasing it, including the sun’s heat.

As natural and man-made greenhouse gasses increase, more heat is retained in the atmosphere instead of escaping into space. Heating the earth is called the greenhouse effect – from water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and fluorocarbons.

Since the mid-18th century industrial age onset, atmospheric carbon dioxide alone increased by 40%. Use of coal, oil and natural gas fossil fuels are the major contributors to global warming – along with use of nuclear power.

Contrary to government and industry disinformation – even during normal operations, nuclear power generation causes significant discharges of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as hundreds of thousands of curies of deadly radioactive gases and other radioactive elements into the environment each year.

Splitting the atom may turn out to be catastrophic. In her book titled “Nuclear Madness,” physician, anti-nuclear activist/expert Helen Caldicott said the following:

“…(N)uclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.”

Failure to rely on clean, renewable energy may doom us. Of all sources of energy today, nuclear power is by far the most dangerous.

Although power plants release no carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas, a vast infrastructure is required. Called the nuclear fuel cycle, it uses large amounts of fossil fuels.

Each cycle stage exacerbates the problem, starting with the enormous cost of mining and milling uranium, fossil fuel needed to do it.

Disposing mill tailings produced in the extraction process requires great amounts of greenhouse emitting fuels to remediate.

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Is The Evidence of Global Warming Too Scary For Humans To Cope With?

Is The Evidence of Global Warming Too Scary For Humans To Cope With?

I appreciate the numerous emails thanking me for providing an understandable explanation of the global warming scenario. The book, Unprecedented Crime, about which I reported, caused me to start thinking more seriously about man-made global warming. I already was thinking about it, because capitalism owes its profits to the costs that it imposes on the environment, costs that are external to the capitalist entity. I have been thinking about this since I addressed “external costs” in my 2013 book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism. I am thinking that if man-made global warming is indeed in the cards, as the current evidence supports, the external costs of capitalism will far exceed the total value of all the goods produced over the course of the industrial revolution. Past material comforts will be paid for by future curtailment of life on Earth. Greed, gluttony, envy, lust, and pride will have proven to be the five of the seven deadly sins that were deadly for planet Earth.

I hope I can find the time and energy to get around to a book on the subject. For now, like you, I am learning. It struck me, as it strikes many of you, how a one or two degree rise in temperature can cause ice caps, glaciers, and the Greenland ice shelf to melt. We don’t think of the Artic or glaciers hovering on the temperature border of frozen and melting. It is not intuitive that small changes can make such large differences.

Like you, I also found it puzzling that as carbon dioxide is only a small part of the atmosphere, how its increase can have such dangerous effects.

While struggling to put what I learned into understandable language, I thankfully came across this explanation in Scientific American:

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Is Global Warming A Significant Contributor to Washington State Wildfires, Now or in the Future?

Is Global Warming A Significant Contributor to Washington State Wildfires, Now or in the Future?

During the past several summers there have been major wildfires in Washington State producing a lot of smoke.  And many people have been asking an important question:
To what degree is anthropogenic global warming contributing to Washington State wildfires?

 
If 90% of the blame for Northwest wildfires is due to anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming and 10% is due to fire suppression, poor forest management, or people starting more fires, then the logical response is to put most of  our efforts into reducing atmospheric CO2.   A climate-dominated problem.

If 90% of the blame is due to past fire suppression, forest mismanagement, invasive species, and human encroachment, then we should put most of our efforts into fixing the forests and other non-climate measures. A surface-management problem.

And yes, the percentages could be somewhere in between.

Supporters of the carbon fee initiative (1631) are suggesting that the recent wildfires are mainly the result of anthropogenic climate change and using the fires to push their carbon fee plan.

And Governor Inslee has stated explicitly that the fires have been made much worse by climate change.

In contrast, others, including a number of folks in the forestry community, have suggested that poor forest practices are the main cause of most of the wildfires over the eastern side of the state.

It is important to note that relative role of global warming in influencing the threat of wildfires may change in time.  For example, global warming could be relatively unimportant today for wildfires, but of great importance later in the century when temperatures will be much warmer.

The Need for Better Information

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What Comes Next

What Comes Next

Photo Source Doc Searls | CC BY 2.0

There are no hidden secrets about anthropogenic global warming. It’s everywhere, wherever one looks! After all, the People’s Climate March (311,000) in 2014 organized by 350.org (Bill McKibben) was one of the biggest rallies ever held in NYC.

Also, worldwide exposure was ubiquitously on display at the Paris Agreement/2015 assemblage to tackle climate change, involving all of the nations of the world, in full living color.

Name another event that garners more worldwide attention than “climate change” and its kissing cousin “global warming.” They’ve become the equivalent of “brand names” all on their own, superstars, Madison Ave not needed. Move over Coke, global warming has top billing!

But wait, there’s a problem.

Few people really, truly understand climate change/global warming because of scientific gobbledygook that confuses, for example: (1) Unique language- “positive feedback loops” or “albedo” (2) Extent- “slowing thermohaline” (3) Measurement- “Keeling Curve” (4) Tipping points “methane clathrates” (5) Geological cycles such as “Holocene.” Or, how about Anthropogenic or Pleistocene?

Those unfamiliar exotic words are unique to climate science but foreign to the Average Joe, thus overwhelming and feeling kinda dumb. Accordingly, how can people discuss or ponder the issue? They can’t! And, they don’t! Ipso facto, the biggest problem haunting public perception of climate change is raw ignorance.

Granted public opinion polls show people strongly favor tackling climate change, and they’re hip to the idea of strong opposition to the global warming monster (but, who isn’t!) Then again, it doesn’t matter if they’re 99% because America’s Congress and WH are all-in 100% for fossil fuels, “let the chips fall will they may.”

In fact, America’s Congress has never ever tackled the global warming issue, but yet Wal-Mart’s “Project Gigaton” plans to go 50% solar by 2025. Both Target and Wal-Mart are already, right now, in the thick of installing solar energy systems like crazy. What a bizarre stark contrast to America’s dumbheads on Capitol Hill!

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A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival

A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival

There is almost unanimous agreement among climate scientists and organizations – that is, 97% of over 10,000 climate scientists and the various scientific organizations engaged in climate science research – that human beings have caused a dramatic increase in the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide released into Earth’s atmosphere since the pre-industrial era and that this is driving the climate catastrophe that continues to unfold. For the documentary evidence on this point see, for example,‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature’, ‘Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming’and ‘Scientists Agree: Global Warming is Happening and Humans are the Primary Cause’.

However, there is no consensus regarding the timeframe in which this climate catastrophe will cause human extinction. This lack of consensus is primarily due to the global elite controlling the public perception of this timeframe with frequent talk of ‘the end of the century’ designed to allow ongoing profit maximization through ‘business as usual’ for as long as possible. Why has this happened?

When evidence of the climate catastrophe (including the pivotal role of burning fossil fuels) became incontrovertible, which meant that the fossil fuel industry’s long-standing efforts to prevent action on the climate catastrophe had finally ended, the industry shifted its focus to arguing that the timeframe, which it presented as ‘end of the century’, meant that we could defer action (and thus profit-maximization through business as usual could continue indefinitely). Consequently, like the tobacco, sugar and junk food industries, the fossil fuel industry has employed a range of tactics to deflect attention from their primary responsibility for a problem and to delay action on it.

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Islands Not sinking: Climate Change Demonstrated to Be a Hoax

Islands Not sinking: Climate Change Demonstrated to Be a Hoax

Have you ever wondered how it is possible that coral islands lie flat just a little above the sea level? It is not a coincidence, the coral reef that forms the islands is alive and it can adapt to variations of the sea level. According to some people, that demonstrates that climate change is a hoax (??).

Do you remember when there was a “debate” about climate change? Yes, there was such a thing. Someone would set up a panel where there would be a scientist arguing for the current interpretation of anthropogenic global warming and someone who at least pretended to be a scientist who would argue for the opposite interpretation. It was supposed to be a civil debate, all based on science.

I don’t have to tell you that such debates have disappeared, you don’t see them anymore just as you don’t see quiet and civilized debates between Trump supporters and members of the Antifa movement. In recent times, the closest thing to a public debate on climate was the proposal by Scott Pruitt, EPA’s chief, of a “Red Team” and a “Blue Team” of scientists who should discuss climate matters. The fact that Pruitt chose terms commonly used in military exercises says a lot about what kind of “debate” this was supposed to be. Perhaps it is a good thing that the idea seems to have died out.

Today, we have no debate anymore. We only have two sides shooting slogans against each other. Each side is ready to exploit every perceived weakness in the other to discharge a volley of posts and tweets aimed at gaining a few political points. A snowstorm demonstrates that AGW doesn’t exist while a hurricane that we are all going to die soon. The latest example of this attitude is the news arriving from the Tuvalu Islands.
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How to convince the public of the danger of anthropogenic global warming

How to convince the public of the danger of anthropogenic global warming

Last year, the vagaries of life led me to chair a commission charged with examining the candidates for the admission to the Italian Chemists Association. It was a rather formal exam that was supposed to provide the successful applicants with the legal status necessary, for instance, for certifying chemical analyses. Overall, the applicants did poorly, but one of them, a young lady, did much better than the others. So much that I thought I could encourage her to do even better. So, let me tell you about a question I asked her during the examination.

Me. Dear candidate, I would like to conclude this exam with a question that may be a little outside your area of expertise, but which I think will give you a chance to show your understanding of some basic concepts of chemistry. The question is: can you propose an experimental test that would prove that human-generated greenhouse gases are warming the Earth?

Candidate…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Me. It is not such a difficult question. I am only asking you to apply to the problem what you know of chemistry and of spectroscopy.

Candidate…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Me. Let me help you. Maybe you can start by telling me something about the thermal effects occurring when you expose an infrared active gas to infrared radiation.

Candidate…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Me. I am sure that you heard about global warming. Can you tell me what is the mechanism of the so-called “greenhouse effect”?

Candidate…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Me. Well, I guess that it is time for the commission to retire to examine your application. You did well with the other questions, so don’t worry.
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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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