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The Carbon Flame War
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Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
The Carbon Flame War on 02/21/2012 17:35:46 MST Print View

I recently read this interesting article in wired Magazine (just ignore the stupid title). It doesn't mention climate change, but I couldn't help thinking about it whilst reading.
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/ff_causation/all/1

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
certainty on 02/21/2012 18:50:45 MST Print View

There is too much certainty in Tallblokes last post and the research he referes to is not even his.

Nick said, "Not necessarily. Could be a combination of both. Correct?"

For Tallbloke to say there is no room for AGW is a bit out there. Most reasonable people would accept a combination of 'natural' variation and AGW since every year, I think the figure is, humans emit 130 times the CO2 that volcanoes do.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: certainty on 02/21/2012 18:57:40 MST Print View

CO2 emissions are one thing, but what about the CO2 sinks that absorb it? Clear cutting and other activities are not good. Oh, and we are starting to cover "my" desert with solar panels on federal land, which is not good for C02 absorption. Also, if the climate is warming, then some areas are going to have longer growing seasons, which means more plant life to absorb C02. Too many variables. The real problem is too many freak'n people and we keep multiplying... not a sustainable model.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
carbon cycle on 02/21/2012 19:23:47 MST Print View

The natural carbon cycle cannot absorb all that we are putting out, which is why the amount in the atmosphere is climbing. The ocean is the biggest absorber but it will spit CO2 back out as it warms, regardless of whether or not the warming is natural or AGW, we are overloading the planet with CO2. I don't think the deserts absorb much CO2, but they do hold more heat now thanks to more CO2.

Nick, find out how many barrels of fossil fuel go up into the air everyday worldwide and translate that into the number of oil tanker type ships full of fuel that go up into CO2 every day/ every year - it will blow you away. Its not difficult math. You just need to know how many million barrels an average tanker holds along with worldwide yearly consumption in barrels ( and that does not even include coal consumption )It will give you a better picture of what is happening for sure. It will scare you into more walking! Yes, it is unsustainable. As individuals none of us can tell that we are having an effect but collectively is is seen and felt as climate change. The scary part is that there is almost no way to replace what we get from all this by using sustainable energy.

According to this site the USA uses 20.7 million barrels per day;

http://lugar.senate.gov/energy/security/questions.cfm

That times 365 = 7,555.5 million barrels per year. Pick a ship, any ship;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez with a capacity of 1.4 million barrels. Divide 7,555.5 million by 1.4 = 5,397 shiploads per year. That's about 1/4 the world consumption per year.

Edited by wildlife on 02/21/2012 21:23:27 MST.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: certainty on 02/22/2012 00:06:10 MST Print View

Jason: Excellent article, thanks for the link.

Dan: Apologies if my brief synopsis of the Nikolov-Zeller theory appeared overly certain, that was not my intention. For me, it goes without saying that knowledge is uncertain, and everything I've said about the uncertainties of the co2 driven climate theory apply also to new theories which offer different explanations for climate change. The difference is, the new theories haven't as yet acquired as much evidence falsifying them, an issue I'll move onto next in response to your post about the amount of co2 emitted by humans.

Nick: It's upsetting when 'your' bit of Federal land gets despoiled with unnecessary and intrusive man made stuff, but this isn't a proof that there are too many humans. There's actually plenty of room on this planet, and we only use a small fraction of the viable food growing land. Transportation infrastructure is the bigger issue.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
talkshop on 02/22/2012 00:52:29 MST Print View

Rog, I'm curious about the types of posts you were making here at the same time you started your Tallbloke Talkshop. From what I've read your first post over there was November 29 2009 portraying a graph showing something about planetary mechanics / physics. At that time you seemed like 2 different people if you compare the posts from the 2 different locations. It seems you would have announced something here about your other interests in the causes of warming and cooling. Watt's up with all that?

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: carbon cycle on 02/22/2012 00:57:06 MST Print View

Dan Says:
The natural carbon cycle cannot absorb all that we are putting out, which is why the amount in the atmosphere is climbing. The ocean is the biggest absorber but it will spit CO2 back out as it warms, regardless of whether or not the warming is natural or AGW, we are overloading the planet with CO2. I don't think the deserts absorb much CO2, but they do hold more heat now thanks to more CO2.


550 Million years ago, the co2 level was 20 times higher than it is now, at around 8000 parts per million. The natural carbon cycle absorbed nearly all of it. We are currently near the all time low for airborne co2. During the last glacial period, the level dropped to around 170ppm. Below 150ppm all the trees die and it's game over for most of the higher order animals on Earth.

Evidence falsifying the enhanced greenhouse effect theory - item #1.

When the ice cores were drilled in Antarctica and Greenland, and the cores analysed and matched with changes in temperature, it was discovered that changes in co2 lag behind changes in temperature during glacial/interglacial cycles by 800 to 2800 years. The law of cause and effect should have put an end to the co2 driven climate theory at this point, bu because so much is invested in continuing the co2 scare, ludicrous and unphysical post hoc explanations were invented to save the theory.

Co2 changes lag behind temperature change at all timescales, the longer the timescale of change, the longer the lag. So, at interannual timescales the lag is around 9 months, up to the 2800 year lag for the multi-thousand year timescale of glacial/interglacial change.

Effect can't drive cause, therefore something else drives both temperature change and co2 response. That something else, at the timescale of glacial/interglacial change is the changes in Earth's orbital parameters known as the Milankovitch cycles. The first of these is the gradual changes in the shape of Earth's orbit from near circular to more elliptical. This cycle is ~100,000 years long, the same periodicity as the last ten glacial-interglacial cycles on Earth. The second of the three Milankovitch cycles is the change in axial tilt, which varies between around 3 and 30 degrees. The periodicity of this cycle is ~42,000 years, which matches the length of the glacial-interglacial cycles prior to their shift to 100,000 years. The third Milankovitch cycle is the precession of the equinox. This cycle of around 20 to 25,000 years determines which pole of the Earth is tilted towards the Sun during closest approach (perihelion). Because the Earth is asymmetrical in the distribution of land mass versus open ocean (more land in the northern hemisphere, more ocean in the south), there is a profound effect on climate, because of the different ways land and ocean absorb and emit the Sun's energy.

The ways in which these three periodic changes interact with Earth's physical attributes to cause change in Earth's climate is as yet poorly understood, but the coincidence of the cycle length with major change is undeniable. The co2 theory proponents try to dismiss their importance by saying that the change in the overall average number of watts per square metre from the Sun is too small to cause the big changes from glacial to interglacial conditions. This facile argument doesn't take into account the changes in the distribution of the Sun's energy on the Earth's surface.

Edited by tallbloke on 02/22/2012 01:22:32 MST.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: talkshop on 02/22/2012 01:15:31 MST Print View

Dan says:
Rog, I'm curious about the types of posts you were making here at the same time you started your Tallbloke Talkshop. From what I've read your first post over there was November 29 2009 portraying a graph showing something about planetary mechanics / physics. At that time you seemed like 2 different people if you compare the posts from the 2 different locations. It seems you would have announced something here about your other interests in the causes of warming and cooling. Watt's up with all that?


Dan, first of all, thank you for your interest in my website. I started it quite a while after the discussion here began, so that's why you won't have seen me mention it in the earlier part of this debate you've been reading.

Also, I freely admit that the primary subject matter of my website is fairly obscure, technical, and speculative. We are searching for the underlying mechanism which links the motion of the planets with the small variations we observe in the Sun's activity. Until a plausible mechanism is found, the strength of our correlations will be dismissed with the argument that correlation does not prove causation. Unless I went into a lot of highly technical stuff about electromagnetism, the heliomagnetic field, the solar wind, planetary auroras and suchlike, you'd be forgiven for dismissing this research with trite comments about 'Neptune hiding' etc. At the time we started debate here, the bigger issue was getting the Sun's effect on climate recognised at all, so the causes of it's variation were of secondary importance anyway. Since the coincidence of the very long solar minimum between cycles 23 and 24 and the last three very cold winters over much of the planet, (which I successfully predicted), more people are taking note of my research, because if we're right, our techniques offer a method of predicting solar changes well in advance, which would be very important for agricultural planning and drought mitigation etc.

Edited by tallbloke on 02/22/2012 01:27:09 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: carbon cycle on 02/22/2012 08:06:44 MST Print View

Yes, CO2 lags temperature in ice cores.

Al Gore got it wrong. In general, I hate it when "warmistas" exhagerate or get it wrong because people will accuse them of "crying wolf" so ignore the problem.

When it gets colder, the ocean absorbs more CO2, so there's less in the atmosphere. That's what you see in the ice cores.

The ice cores only go back 500,00 years or so. During that period, there haven't been any huge additions of CO2 into the atmosphere like we're doing now.

According to a Scientific American article about 6 months ago, you have to go back 30 million years to find a time when there was a lot of volcanic activity that put CO2 into the atmosphere like we're doing now. They analyzed sedimentary cores in Antartica. Then there was a huge global warming which we're beginning to see glimpses of, ocean acidification like we're seeing, large extinctions, but mostly life adapted to the change and after a few thousand years things returned to normal.

The thing about CO2 lagging temperature is, it's a positive feedback loop - CO2 increases from burning fossil fuel, temperature rises from greenhouse effect, oceans absorb less CO2 so there's more in the atmosphere which makes things even worse.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Increased C02 effects on 02/22/2012 10:17:06 MST Print View

"CO2 emissions are one thing, but what about the CO2 sinks that absorb it? Clear cutting and other activities are not good. Oh, and we are starting to cover "my" desert with solar panels on federal land, which is not good for C02 absorption. Also, if the climate is warming, then some areas are going to have longer growing seasons, which means more plant life to absorb C02. "

Just the increase of C02, no matter where it comes from, will likely influence changes
in plant growth. Think more cheat grass, kudzu, and other things that quickly use C02.
This is a whole 'nother area of study and concern.

Edited by oware on 02/22/2012 10:26:26 MST.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 02/22/2012 16:07:16 MST Print View

Tonight....I plan to read EVERY SINGLE post in this thread. That's right. Just me, a 12 pack and the "Carbon Flame War".

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: carbon cycle on 02/22/2012 17:10:15 MST Print View

Jerry says:
When it gets colder, the ocean absorbs more CO2, so there's less in the atmosphere. That's what you see in the ice cores.


And vise versa. When it gets warmer, the ocean releases more co2, so there's more in the atmosphere.
And co2 levels continue to rise, for hundreds of years after the temperature starts to fall again.
Clearly, co2 does not drive temperature change, because changes in it's levels lag hundreds of years behind changes in temperature.

The thing about CO2 lagging temperature is, it's a positive feedback loop - CO2 increases from burning fossil fuel, temperature rises from greenhouse effect, oceans absorb less CO2 so there's more in the atmosphere which makes things even worse.

Eh? makes what worse? There is no proof of any co2 driven greenhouse effect, as you just agreed above. How can something which lags behind temperature change be the cause of that temperature change? It defies logic, and cause and effect.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: carbon cycle on 02/22/2012 17:44:19 MST Print View

"Eh? makes what worse? There is no proof of any co2 driven greenhouse effect, as you just agreed above. How can something which lags behind temperature change be the cause of that temperature change? It defies logic, and cause and effect."

There are two effects:

One - if the ocean is warmer it absorbs less CO2 so there's more CO2 left in the atmosphere and if the ocean is colder it absorbs more CO2 so there's less left in the atmosphere.

Two - if there's more CO2 in the atmosphere, then because of the greenhouse effect, the earth warms

If you dump a bunch of extra CO2 in the atmosphere, from burning fossil fuels (today) or from volcanic activity (30 million years ago), because of the greenhouse effect (Two above) the earth warms.

Then because of effect One above, since the earth warms, there's even more CO2 in the atmosphere so it gets even warmer - positive feedback.

At least that's what the sedimentary records from 30 million years ago in Antartica say according to the Geo-Physicist that wrote that article in Scientific American

I know this is a little complicated, but I think you're playing dumb just because it's inconsistent with the position you're advocating

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 01:30:00 MST Print View

Hi Jerry,

A couple of points:

One. You state as if it is a fact that: "If you dump a bunch of extra CO2 in the atmosphere, from burning fossil fuels (today) or from volcanic activity (30 million years ago), because of the greenhouse effect (Two above) the earth warms."

But this has not been proven. There is nothing in the scientific literature that shows this is true. All there is, is a vague and not very convincing correlation between postwar temperature change and postwar co2 change. What caused the similar speed and magnitude of temperature rise from 1915 to 1945 as the temperature change from 1975 to 2005 when co2 levels didn't change much at all between 1915 and 1945???

Two. If as you state: "since the earth warms, there's even more CO2 in the atmosphere [due to oceanic release] so it gets even warmer - positive feedback."

How then could temperature go down again at the end of an interglacial period while co2 continues to rise for hundreds of years before it follows suit? The only possible answer is that the effect caused by natural variation (Milankovitch cycles - Earth orbital parameters in this case) is stronger than any putative co2 effect. But if that's so (which it must be), why do we need any alleged 'greenhouse effect' from co2 to explain temperature change in the first place? Especially considering temperature rises at the end of glacial periods hundreds of years before co2 starts to increase.

This is a very very simple logical argument I'm making. You and I and anyone else reading this thread don't need to be qualified geophysicists or climatologists to follow it. Cause precedes effect. It's about the simplest and best known law of nature.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 02:36:40 MST Print View

"Cause precedes effect. It's about the simplest and best known law of nature."

Ahh yes, very emotive. The "law" of cause and effect is a simple monotonic relationship between some input and output variables. There is no reason at all that nature should follow such a simple law just because most humans can grasp the concept. If it did, weather forcasts would be accurate and Milankovitch would have been proved right decades ago. Throw a few different time delays into various feedback loops and very quickly you will lose any resemblance to a monotonic relationship.
Anyone who has tried to design active filter amplifiers or oscillators (ok, not many people) will have seen this on a very observable timescale (electronics truism - amplifiers oscillate and oscillators don't).

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 06:26:47 MST Print View

Well Stuart, it's true that there are many cybernetic feedback loops in the climate system, but if you're going to avoid me calling out that argument as it relates to co2 driven warming as meaningless sophistry, you're going to need to present a plausible argument to show that co2 can heat the atmosphere while it's still dissolved in the ocean.

Good luck with that.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 08:09:17 MST Print View

"But this (greenhouse effect) has not been proven. There is nothing in the scientific literature that shows this is true"

I disagree. Maybe not proven like a mathematical proof, but lots of data.

Only question is how much and whether there are other effects that will cancel it out (negative feedback) or make it worse (positive feedback).

"How then could temperature go down again at the end of an interglacial period while co2 continues to rise for hundreds of years before it follows suit?"

I don't think there's any agreement on what causes ice ages, maybe the axis of rotation of the earth tilts further away from the sun?

Anyway, whatever it is, say, when the axis tilts back, the cooling effect from this is more than the warming effect from the extra CO2 in the atmosphere so the earth cools down.

What gives you "skeptics" some validity, is that we don't understand the most basic things about long term global climate change, like what causes ice ages, so any changes we see could be natural or caused by increased CO2.

Only problem is the right wingers use you to justify doing nothing about increasing CO2 like improving efficiency. Why should we improve efficiency? Then we'll sell less oil and make less money...

Are you getting paid to be a skeptic?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 08:17:54 MST Print View

"you're going to need to present a plausible argument to show that co2 can heat the atmosphere while it's still dissolved in the ocean."

What are you talking about???

Now I know you're just arguing a case you want to promote

There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than any time in the 500,000 + year ice cores

And it's going up as we burn more fossil fuel

And the greenhouse warming will increase over the years

Like the ocean is warming, but it takes 1000 years for the ocean currents to cycle through one time, so it will take 1000s of years to see the full effect of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 09:33:50 MST Print View

Jerry asks:
Are you getting paid to be a skeptic?


I'm just an independent researcher with a passionate interest in science, society, weather and climate. I receive nothing for my efforts except the satisfaction of discovering more about the world and the solar system.


Jerry worries:
There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than any time in the 500,000 + year ice cores
And it's going up as we burn more fossil fuel
And the greenhouse warming will increase over the years
Like the ocean is warming, but it takes 1000 years for the ocean currents to cycle through one time, so it will take 1000s of years to see the full effect of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere


Stop worrying Jerry. The top two metres of the ocean have more heat capacity than the entire atmosphere above it. Sunlight penetrates 100 metres into the water. That heat can't escape again quickly enough before dawn until the temperature at the surface rises high enough to convect, conduct and radiate at the rate required for equilibrium. The ocean itself is the reason the temperature of the surface of the planet is what it is, not as the result of some mythical atmospheric greenhouse effect.

You only have to think about why it is that the ocean surface is on average 2C warmer than the air to work it out. The Sun heats the ocean, the ocean heats the air, and the air loses heat to space. If the air gets slightly thicker as a result of increased co2, it will make almost no difference to surface temperature because the atmospheric greenhouse effect is tiny compared to the ocean hot water bottle effect.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: carbon cycle on 02/23/2012 10:06:51 MST Print View

"If the air gets slightly thicker as a result of increased co2, it will make almost no difference to surface temperature because the atmospheric greenhouse effect is tiny compared to the ocean hot water bottle effect."

Since the greenhouse effect is tiny compared to hot water bottle effect, it takes a long time to find out the results of this huge science experiment we're undertaking.

"Stop worrying Jerry."

I think it's important to make decisions today about what the earth will be like for our children's children's children...

Just ignoring CO2 levels is irresponsible.

You're caught up in your intelectual exercise and ignoring the big picture.