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Old 03-10-2010, 19:03   #436
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If anyone is interested in the Peak Oil debate, and it seems this thread it drifting in that direction, then here is some interesting reading.

The general gist is that there recently have been a series of planning papers written by US and German military sources cautious of the effects of resource depletion and other issues.

The article is long, the associated and linked reports are longer yet.

But I think the (military) sources are fairly good. I don't know the blog.

Peak Generation: Military reports leading the charge in peak oil debate
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Old 03-10-2010, 19:23   #437
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Getting back to phytoplankton and related climate change these three links may prove of use to those who wish to do some back ground study and arrive at their own conclusions.

First is a PowerPoint presented by John Holdren, the White House Science Advisor, to an international community in Oslo. It is a good general over view.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defa...vli-9-2010.pdf

The is a much older document that next deals with abrupt climate change as presented to the US Senate in 2003.

The final one points to a document again about abrupt change, but that has a much wider approach if you back up one level.

I include these two on abrupt change not to say what WILL happen but what CAN happen. Just to define the possible consequences a little more clearly.


Happy reading.

ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: INEVITABLE SURPRISES
Statement of
Richard Alley, Ph.D.
Chairman, Committee on Abrupt Climate Change
The National Academies
and
Professor, Pennsylvania State University
before the
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
U.S. Senate
MAY 7, 2003



Quote:
Just what do I mean by abrupt climate change? If you read the evidence hidden in ice cores and other records of what the climate was in the past, you will learn that the Earth has at times undergone large, abrupt, widespread and persistent changes in climate (see Figure 1, page 4). I’m talking about a change of as much as 10C during just 10 years in some places. to a new climate state that persisted for centuries. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Paleo-records show that local warmings as large as 16°C occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Think about what that kind of change might mean to farmers. Or to water managers. Evidence suggests that abrupt climate changes are not only possible but may be likely in the future, and regardless of timing such changes would bring large impacts on ecosystems and societies.

Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events.

Our report, which was published in 2002, was an attempt to describe what is known about abrupt climate changes and their impacts, based on paleoclimate proxies, historical observations, and modeling. The report does not focus on large, abrupt causes—nuclear wars or giant meteorite impacts—but rather on the surprising new findings that abrupt climate change can occur when gradual causes push the earth system across a threshold. Just as the slowly increasing pressure of a finger eventually flips a switch and turns on a light, the slow effects of drifting continents or wobbling orbits or changing atmospheric composition may “switch” the climate to a new state. And, just as a moving hand is more likely than a stationary one to encounter and flip a switch, faster earth-system changes—whether natural or human-caused—are likely to increase the probability of encountering a threshold that triggers a still-faster climate shift.
link

The American Institute of Physics
This is an excerpt of writing by Spencer Weart. This "chapter" is about ABRUPT or RAPID climate change. A much longer and more completely documented index can be found at .... www.aip.org/history/climate.index.htm
Quote:
Swings of temperature that scientists in the 1950s believed to take tens of thousands of years, in the 1970s to take thousands of years, and in the 1980s to take hundreds of years, were now found to take only decades. Ice core analysis by Dansgaard's group, confirmed by the Americans' parallel hole, showed rapid oscillations of temperature repeatedly at irregular intervals throughout the last glacial period. Greenland had sometimes warmed a shocking 7°C within a span of less than 50 years. For one group of American scientists on the ice in Greenland, the "moment of truth” struck on a single day in midsummer 1992 as they analyzed a cylinder of ice, recently emerged from the drill hole, that came from the last years of the Younger Dryas. They saw an obvious change in the ice, visible within three snow layers, that is, scarcely three years! The team analyzing the ice was first excited, then sobered — their view of how climate could change had shifted irrevocably. The European team reported seeing a similar step within at most five years. "The general circulation [of the atmosphere] in the Northern Hemisphere must have shifted dramatically," Dansgaard’s group eventually concluded.

The first results, from the Norwegian Sea in 1992, confirmed that the abrupt changes seen in Greenland ice cores were not confined to Greenland alone. Later work on seabed cores from the California coast to the Arabian Sea, and on chemical changes recorded in cave stalagmites from Switzerland to China, confirmed that the oscillations found in the Greenland ice had been felt throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Meanwhile, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, improved carbon-14 techniques gave the first accurate dates for sediments containing pollen and other carbon-bearing materials at locations ranging from Japan to Tierra del Fuego. Good dates finally allowed correlation of many geological records with the Greenland ice. The results suggested that the Younger Dryas events had affected climates around the world.

The new view of climate was reinforced by one of the last great achievements of the Soviet Union, an ice core drilled with French collaboration at Vostok in Antarctica. The record reached back through nearly four complete glacial-interglacial cycles — and drastic temperature changes peppered almost every stretch of data. This Antarctic record was too fuzzy to say whether any of these changes had come and gone on the decade-size timescale of the Younger Dryas. But warm interglacial periods had certainly been subject to big swings of temperature lasting for centuries. Especially striking to the researchers, by contrast, was our own era, the ten thousand years since the last glaciation. It was, "by far, the longest stable warm period recorded in Antarctica during the past 420 [thousand years]." When Bryson, Schneider, and others had warned that the century or so of stability in recent memory did not reflect "normal" long-term variations, they had touched on an instability grander than they guessed (see above). The entire rise of human civilization since the end of the Younger Dryas had taken place during a period of warm, stable climate that was unique in the long record. The climate known to history seemed to be a lucky anomaly. (Paleoclimatologist William Ruddiman suggested that this was no coincidence. Perhaps the rise of agriculture, with its deforestation and rice paddies, had added enough methane and CO2 to the atmosphere to dampen the normal ice-age cycle?) The well-recorded history of the most recent century or so happened to show even more unusual stability, compared with what new evidence was revealing about severe variations in earlier millennia.

The accumulation of evidence, reinforced by at least one reasonable explanation (the reorganization of ocean circulation) destroyed long-held assumptions. Most experts now accepted that abrupt climate change, huge change, global change, was possible at any time. A report written by a National Academy of Sciences committee in 2001 said that the recognition, during the 1990s, of the possibility of abrupt global climate change constituted a fundamental reorientation of thinking, a "paradigm shift for the research community."

A lesson about how science proceeds can be learned from this history. Asked about the discovery of abrupt climate change, many climate experts today would put their finger on one moment: the day they read the 1993 report of the analysis of Greenland ice cores. Before that, nobody confidently believed that the climate could change massively within a decade or two; after the report, nobody felt sure that it could not.

People can see only what they find believable. Over the decades, many scientists who looked at tree rings, varves, ice layers, and so forth had held evidence of rapid climate shifts before their eyes. They easily dismissed it.
Sometimes the scientists' assumptions were actually built into their procedures. When pollen specialists routinely analyzed their clay cores in 10-centimeter slices, they could not possibly see changes that took place within a centimeter's worth of layers. If the conventional beliefs had been the same in 1993 as in 1953 — namely, that significant climate change always takes many thousands of years — scientists would have passed over the decade-scale fluctuations in ice cores as meaningless noise.

First scientists had to convince themselves, by shuttling back and forth between historical data and studies of possible mechanisms, that it made sense to propose shifts as "rapid" as a thousand years. Only then could they come around to seeing that shifts as "rapid" as a hundred years could be plausible. And only after that could they credit still swifter changes. Without this gradual shift of understanding, the Greenland cores would never have been drilled. The funds required for these heroic projects came to hand only after scientists reported that climate could change in damaging ways on a timescale meaningful to governments. In an area as difficult as climate science, where all is complex and befogged, it is hard to see what one is not prepared to look for.
link


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Old 04-10-2010, 01:18   #438
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john holdren (a primer): John Holdren, Obama's Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:36   #439
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Like I've said before, what makes anyone think that mass extinction is not the natural way of things. Mass die offs don't just happen all of a sudden for no reason, the things that contributed to it most likely started long ago in ancient times. As the centuries pass the speed progresses, and before anyone knows it the time has come. I think we elude ourselves in thinking that we can change what is destined to happen because of evolution, and because nature is so complex actions we take might actually exacerbate the problem that's coming anyway.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:05   #440
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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Getting back to phytoplankton and related climate change these three links may prove of use to those who wish to do some back ground study and arrive at their own conclusions.
That was a good link. Thanks for that.

As per your other posting re: "Peak Oil", I recall being told that since about 1910 or so there has always only ever been "10 years of oil left". After 100 years there is still only "10 years of oil left" and I suspect that when we are dead and gone there will still be "10 years of oil left".
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Old 04-10-2010, 04:24   #441
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... re: "Peak Oil", I recall being told that since about 1910 or so there has always only ever been "10 years of oil left". After 100 years there is still only "10 years of oil left" and I suspect that when we are dead and gone there will still be "10 years of oil left".
Who told you (us) that there was 10 years of oil left?
I've never heard (nor heard of) such foolishness.
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Old 04-10-2010, 05:46   #442
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Who told you (us) that there was 10 years of oil left?
I've never heard (nor heard of) such foolishness.
It's an expression I've had thrown at me in conversations with the eco-warrior types who use it as a justification for wind/wave/biomass/solar/etc.... It's in common usage

Let me google that for you
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:38   #443
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Having read other sources on how much fossil fuels are left . . . the speculations have indeed come fast and wild and back in the 50's and 60's the numbers have varied from 4 years to a "decade" and now they range up to a 1,000 years or more.
- - One petroleum geologist wrote that actually it all depends upon the state of the industry at the time the projection is made. The age of simple drill a hole straight down to the stuff technology had the lowest projections. But he stated that with the current technology of being to drill horizontally many miles down they are reaching oil reserves never dreamed of being able to tap before. He projects that more modern technology in the future will be able to locate and access oil reserves not even known about now.
- - Antarctica was once a lush tropical jungle back in the dinosaur ages and it is conjectured that there are really massive amounts of oil or other fossil fuels there. But until technology develops it cannot be accessed today.
- - And of course coal, shale, and other formations contain huge amount of fossil fuels that are just not competitive with current "cheap oil" (relatively speaking). So the general conclusion is that easily accessed sources will deplete in 30 to 50 years and then technology will be developed to access the less-easily accessed sources.
- - Considering that most everything we use and consume is being been made from fossil fuels including gasoline, fuel oils, medicines, plastics, etc., etc., that we will be accessing and finding ways to extract fossil fuels for centuries or longer. It is staggering how much of our daily lives and activities are possible only because of petrochemicals from dinosaur poop.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:58   #444
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I was having this debate today with a friend about how responsible are we supposed to be for the future of humanity. I said that I feel sorry for anyone who is going to be alive 50 years from now due to the rise in Islamic fundamentalism, peak oil issues, and natural resource depletion. She said "We don't have an obligation because we don't know what things will be like." I have to admit she is right. There are so many unknowns like asteroid strikes, super volcanos, nuclear war, climate change, viral epidemics, etc, what is the point?

Anyone trying to sell doom and gloom is probably just after your money.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:16   #445
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It's an expression I've had thrown at me in conversations with the eco-warrior types who use it as a justification for wind/wave/biomass/solar/etc.... It's in common usage
Let me google that for you
I urge you to read some of the early returns on your very helpful Google. None of them suggest that any reputable source has ever claimed there's only a ten year supply of oil.

Peak oil is often confused with oil depletion; peak oil is the point of maximum production, while depletion refers to a period of falling reserves and supply. Neither refers to an absolute absence of oil, economically recoverable or not.

M. King Hubbert created, and first used the models behind peak oil in 1956, to accurately predict that United States oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. The US lower 48 oil production did peak in about 1970 - 1971.

Hubbert assumed that after fossil fuel reserves (oil reserves, coal reserves, and natural gas reserves) are discovered, production at first increases approximately exponentially, as more extraction commences and more efficient facilities are installed. At some point, a peak output is reached, and production begins declining until it approximates an exponential decline. The Hubbert peak theory is based on the observation that the amount of oil under the ground in any region, or the entire world, is finite, therefore the rate of discovery which initially increases quickly must reach a maximum and then decline.

More ➥ Peak oil primer and links | Energy Bulletin
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:18   #446
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From Zombietime FAQ -
"Q: Who are you?
A: I choose to remain anonymous.
"

Additionally, the book was a encyclopedic textbook used for reviewing various population controls used by various regimes around the world or discussed in various forums. Or as the author's said in a statement:
"We were not then, never have been, and are not now 'advocates' of the Draconian measures for population limitation described -- but not recommended -- in the book's 60-plus small-type pages cataloging the full spectrum of population policies that, at the time, had either been tried in some country or analyzed by some commentator."

- - So the headline is not correct and sadly is just like a lot of climate change headlines in the mass media, it is not conveying the actual truth but a slanted interpretation that the commentator/journalist uses to incite controversy.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:34   #447
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I urge you to read some of the early returns on your very helpful Google. None of them suggest that any reputable source has ever claimed there's only a ten year supply of oil.
GordMay - I never said it was a reliable quote, just that I had heard it used in conversation. Like all these emotive subjects the noise-to-signal ratio is so high that it's hard to pick out what you can rely on.

Since I do not set energy policy (except for one household) I minimise my own use because I abhor waste and needless consumption. I don't live like a monk and we don't freeze here, but other than that, I let the activists roar away at each other. It seems to keep them happy.

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Old 04-10-2010, 07:41   #448
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GordMay - I never said it was a reliable quote, just that I had heard it used in conversation. Like all these emotive subjects the noise-to-signal ratio is so high ...
With all due respect, repeating obviously lunatic fringe claims, without attribution, explanation or admonitory; does nothing to reduce the noise level.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:54   #449
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"The Hubbert peak theory is based on the observation that the amount of oil under the ground in any region, or the entire world, is finite, therefore the rate of discovery which initially increases quickly must reach a maximum and then decline."

Fine up to the point which I underlined. It is postulated that there are a lot of fossil fuel reserves that are unknown today because of insufficient technology. Additionally, there are reserves that cannot be accessed until new technology comes on line. This sets up a sort of "governor" on fossil fuel extraction that negates the last part of his theory. However, in considering only "easily" accessed reserves the theory holds.
- - It is easy to pick up the avocados from the ground under the avocado trees down here in Grenada and even only a little more difficult to pick the ones within reach on the lower branches. You can rapidly harvest those and then your harvest declines rapidly until you can develop/invent things like ladders, picking poles, etc. to get to the more difficult ones. Using rocks doesn't work, I tried it - you end up with a squashy mess.
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:02   #450
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... However, in considering only "easily" accessed reserves the theory holds.
- - It is easy to pick up the avocados from the ground under the avocado trees down here in Grenada and even only a little more difficult to pick the ones within reach on the lower branches. You can rapidly harvest those and then your harvest declines rapidly until you can develop/invent things like ladders, picking poles, etc. to get to the more difficult ones. Using rocks doesn't work, I tried it - you end up with a squashy mess.
Indeed.
As another wise observer commented:
“Future generations will not have the resources on which we have built the industrial and economic model of the developed and developing nations. They will need to survive without them and adapt their lives to survive. They will need to develop infinite and sustainable systems. They will have no other choice. If they do not adapt they will perish...”
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