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Old 05-09-2013, 19:21   #1
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Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

I have no interest in starting another mud slinging match over climate, and hope no one else wants one either. In fact, I'm not posting this to even start a conversation, since I think everyone's position on the subject is clear. However, for anyone with a genuine interest in understanding how science currently views the topic, this article is certainly worth a read, as it addresses in a sober and informed way the topic of how scientists view what is going on with the climate. It presents both sides of the argument and doesn't take sides - it just refers to all the science, pro and con that supports current AGW thinking, or refutes it.

Climate science: A sensitive matter | The Economist

While it may irritate some because it undercuts the notion that a consensus exists with regard to AGW, it does a good job of providing the opinions of scientists trying to understand why the climate has in fact warmed over the last 150 years, and stopped warming over the last 15 years even though CO2 in the atmosphere has significantly increased. The issue at the heart of solving the question of the degree to which human activities warm the planet is the degree to which the models developed are based on the atmosphere being sensitive to CO2. Where climate scientists are skeptical about anthropogenic warming, it is usually because they don't see support for the level of CO2 sensitivity that IPCC models are based on. Other scientists suspect that solar activity has significant impact on how warm we are, while other solar scientists aren't so sure.

The good news is that we now have what I think can be relied upon as accurate data on the degree to which we are warming, and that is produced by the NOAA satellites collecting microwave radiation data from the troposphere, where we live. I'll be posting the current monthly averages as they are released by NOAA, collected from Dr. Roy Spencer's site at the University of Alabama. This isn't Dr. Spencer's data, it is NOAA's and it is accurate. So, we don't have to argue, but can all just sit back and see - how much is the earth warming, or has it stopped warming. No need for pictures of polar bears swimming around, or children playing in fire hydrants. Just good data on what is actually going on. Most climate scientists believe that the current slow down in warming can be explained, but their explanations vary from deep oceanic storage of heat to lower sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 as a result of natural feedback mechanisms, to reduced sunspot activity in the current cycle. No doubt as we study this more, we'll learn more, but currently the picture is a great deal less clear than some would like us to think.

The first graph of the NOAA temperature readings is below.
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Old 05-09-2013, 19:38   #2
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pirate Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Had some awesome lightening in Coimbra last night... a ground strike nearby blew the electric supply till the back up kicked in...
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Old 05-09-2013, 19:48   #3
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

it is perfect here...... not even any lightning today!!!!! and the latest named storm is going to gulf of california...all the way to guaymas...all is normal here.....
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Old 05-09-2013, 20:45   #4
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

I still care more about pollution, and fossil fuels aren't going to be clean when there are billions of people using them around the world.
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Old 05-09-2013, 21:37   #5
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Had some awesome lightening in Coimbra last night... a ground strike nearby blew the electric supply till the back up kicked in...
Funny you should say that, as we are in the midst of the coolest lightning storm I have ever seen here in the calm waters of the PNW. We don't see the kind of stuff common to other parts of the country very often, but this is most impressive.
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Old 05-09-2013, 21:39   #6
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

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I still care more about pollution, and fossil fuels aren't going to be clean when there are billions of people using them around the world.
Fortunately, there is enough natural gas (I am told) to power the world for a few centuries, and it is pretty clean. As with most energy sources, the challenge is distribution.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:08   #7
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please stay calm

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Old 07-09-2013, 11:18   #8
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Arrrrrgggh!!
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:28   #9
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

SailOar, you beat me to it! But I'll still post it.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:46   #10
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Oh thank God. I was starting to have withdrawal symptoms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfin View Post
I have no interest in starting another mud slinging match over climate,
Riiight.

The Economist is a respectable publication, but they do have a track-record for being business-friendly. And reading about science in the Economist is alot like looking for investment advice in Scientific American. Nonetheless, an interesting summary.

It does prove one of my earlier points; that even those fighting against the implications of a consensus around AGW now admit that human activity is having a measurable effect on the climate, and so the main conversation has shifted from 'yes we are' /'no we aren't' to 'it's bad enough' / 'no it isn't'. Forgive me if I think this is a small but important victory for science.

With this small concession, we can now move forward and collect more evidence, and have the debate using the science, in place of a bunch of fabricated BS about how we can't trust climate scientists.

The point will be made or not by further study and refining of the climate models; very few of us will live long enough to see the proof conveyed by a monthly review of NOAA data.

(and as always, there are 1000 other reasons besides climate change for why we should be conserving more of our non-renewable resources, leading the world towards renewable energy solutions, and polluting less. Going 'relax, we have 300 years of natural gas' isn't very forward-looking)
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Old 07-09-2013, 13:35   #11
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

I am disappointed. I hoped the end was nigh. OP shattered many of my dreams, e.g.:

- of the Earth shedding us soon,
- of not having to bother with saving for our pensions,
- of becoming the 966534537th sailor to do the Northwest Passage in an Opti ...

Bummer!

;-)
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Old 07-09-2013, 16:41   #12
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Quote:
While it may irritate some because it undercuts the notion that a consensus exists with regard to AGW, it does a good job of providing the opinions of scientists trying to understand why the climate has in fact warmed over the last 150 years, and stopped warming over the last 15 years even though CO2 in the atmosphere has significantly increased. The issue at the heart of solving the question of the degree to which human activities warm the planet is the degree to which the models developed are based on the atmosphere being sensitive to CO2. Where climate scientists are skeptical about anthropogenic warming, it is usually because they don't see support for the level of CO2 sensitivity that IPCC models are based on. Other scientists suspect that solar activity has significant impact on how warm we are, while other solar scientists aren't so sure.
First off Delfin, I read most of the previous posts on the subject and yours has to be the best so far from a quality viewpoint.

Second off, I have not read The Economist for the last couple of decades but whilst I lived overseas found it to be one of the better quality news magazines. I would certainly not hold the fact that it was published in The Economist against the article in any way. However I am a regular reader of New Scientist and tend to skepticism regarding anything it publishes regarding global warming or climate change.

The reason for this is that whilst The Economist article appears to proceed from a fairly agnostic viewpoint and discusses the various points of view and/or assertions in a fairly neutral manner my feelings regarding the New Scientist viewpoint is that it tends to be dismissive of any viewpoint other than the pro climate change.

The NOAA data is probably the only really reliable data we have on temperatures world wide, every thing else we have is either inferred or, even if directly measured using accurate instruments, acquired in too few places and often biased by local factors. The NOAA data, whilst it may be good quality data in that the instrumentation is good and the sample size sufficient to allow high confidence suffers from two defects; we just do not have it for a long enough period, and it does include a hiatus which should not be there according to the CO2 concentration history over the same period.

In my humble, lay persons, opinion the fact of the hiatus, and the lack of a widespread consensus amongst the climate scientists regarding the cause completely discredits the "settled science" hypothesis. We have just not done enough science on climate change to allow a high probability prognosis to be asserted at this time.

However, whilst this may be a valid assessment of the circumstances this does not excuse a lack of action on our part - waste in itself generates a moral hazard which is best avoided. Much of our, and most probably future, civilization depends upon products produced from hydrocarbons and the production of these is a far less wasteful process than burning them up for heat energy, particularly where we are able to recycle the base material.

Any attempt to have western societies regress to less bountiful life styles is doomed, there will always be segments of the body politic that will both resist and exploit the for and against arguments and enormous disruptions of social harmony will result from either segments gaining absolute supremacy.

At the moment we are involved in a fairly massive "renewables" experiment. Having been dependent upon them, and being cognizant of the very substantial contribution from conventional, shore based, energy sources required to both establish and maintain the "renewables" systems I depend upon to allow me to enjoy a reasonably comfortable lifestyle afloat for the last thirteen years, I am of the conclusion that the "renewables" experiment will fail and that you cannot run a modern civilization from these energy sources.

The existing sources of our energy requirements are fossil fuel, renewables and nuclear. Their unknown effect upon climate and the moral dimension of their wastage makes it desirable to significantly reduce dependance upon fossil fuels for energy. Renewables are limited in energy density and have serious environmental deficiencies - their is a serious moral dimension in that if you have farmed the valley for generations in an idyllic rural lifestyle, being hunted out so that city folks can enjoy the water and power from the dam is not particularly respectful of your rights as a community. The remaining practical source at this time is some aspect of nuclear.

The two great nasties in the history of nuclear power are Chernobyl and the ongoing Fukashima incidents - Three Mile Island and Selafield were relatively minor and in retrospect comparatively harmless incidents.

On the other side of the ledger from a viewpoint of accidents and incidents is the fact of the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, both those designed as explosives and those as transportation systems, which have existed or been in use since WW2. Considering the vast plethora of these devices and the intimacy of thousands of service men and women in handling living with and operating these devices one is obliged towards the opinion that in the proper settings we can safely handle nuclear technologies.

There is a need to allow the scientists to gain a proper understanding of the science related to climate change so that a true consensus, rather than a politically driven one, can be developed regarding the probable outcomes of fossil fuel generation of the energy civilization requires.

There is also a need to allow the nuclear scientists and engineers to further develop safe, efficient nuclear power and to establish knowledgeable and authoritative bodies and organizations to be responsible for the development of the philosophies, laws regulations and manpower organization to allow ongoing exploitation of safe nuclear power generation technologies.
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Old 07-09-2013, 17:22   #13
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Calm and friendly please.
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Old 07-09-2013, 17:25   #14
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

Raymond, thanks for the great post.

I hope you don't think me ungrateful for addressing just one part of your post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
In my humble, lay persons, opinion the fact of the hiatus, and the lack of a widespread consensus amongst the climate scientists regarding the cause completely discredits the "settled science" hypothesis. We have just not done enough science on climate change to allow a high probability prognosis to be asserted at this time.
The consensus around human activity having a significant warming effect on the climate is pretty high. There are several natural cycles in the climate, some of them centuries long, and opponents of AGW have at different times said:"there's no warming, the earth naturally varies" and then "hey, last two years were cooler, therefore AGW is a crock". The natural cycles argument cuts both ways, in other words.

I agree with you that much more study is required. I agree that nuclear power has a role, and can be made safer. And we apparently agree that there are many other reasons besides climate change for us to start seeking to moderate our more wasteful consumption and pollution.
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Old 07-09-2013, 17:40   #15
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Re: Additional Climate stuff, but please stay calm

It rained here today and I'm damn sure I had nothing to do with it.
Nuff said
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