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ObiWan377
2004-Jan-01, 12:30 AM
I've been thinking today (and it hurt). With all this controversy on global warming, how do we slow it down? I know we can't stop it, but how do we slow it down? Does recycling really help, or is it something bigger than that? Please educate me.

P.S.- Sorry if this was discussed somewhere else. I probably missed it somewhere.

§rv
2004-Jan-01, 12:36 AM
Sorry to get all political but isn't America not agreeing to cut down on its gas emissions? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
But I think that if the world reduces the amount of gas emissions..global warming would slow down

Musashi
2004-Jan-01, 01:09 AM
Are you refering to the Kyoto Treaty? There is a reason the USA, the Soviet union, and most other right thinking nations refused to sign it.

Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-01, 01:30 AM
And this reason is...?

(No really)

Musashi
2004-Jan-01, 01:33 AM
It was poorly written.

pi is exactly 3
2004-Jan-01, 05:28 AM
And this reason is...?

(No really)

They want more money and won't waste it on saving the planet.

Archer17
2004-Jan-01, 05:57 AM
I'm with Musashi here. If you're going to draft a resolution to address the environment, do it right. The Kyoto accords were a rather transparent attempt at leveling the playing field between the established industrialized countries and those that want to catch up. Kyoto would put curbs on the U.S. for instance, but exempt other major polluters like Brazil, India, and China. If the world wants to get serious about the environment, everyone has to play along .. no freebies.

Zamboni
2004-Jan-01, 08:18 AM
How to stop global warming? Easy. From now on everyone just breath carbon dioxide instead of oxygen... Problem solved.

DreadCthulhu
2004-Jan-01, 10:03 AM
First off, reducing CO2 emissions enough to seriously slow global warming would be very expensive. That and one of the easier ways to reduce CO2 production - switching coal power plants to nuclear, would tend to give the greens into a hissy fit, means other, cheaper options must be explored.

Well, we all know that when volcanoes go off the dust they kick up into the atmosphere reduces the amount of sunlight hitting the earth, reducing the temperature. So all we have to do is figure out how to make volcanoes explode on demand. :lol: Or there is that whole nuclear winter thing - simply start setting off nukes until there is enough dust in the atmosphere to reduce the temperature. (IIRC though, the effects of nuclear winter have been widely overstated in th past though - can someone clarify this?)

On a more seriouse note, I have heard of proposals involving spraying reflective particles(made of aluminium) into the upper atmosphere to slightly reduce the amount of light hitting the earth, counteracting global warming - this offers a fairly high degree of control as to how much light is hitting the surface, and where, and supposably would actually cost much less to do than cutting emissions. Though right now all the google searches I am doing on the subject keep coming up with chemtrail sites. #-o

Archer17
2004-Jan-01, 02:28 PM
First off, reducing CO2 emissions enough to seriously slow global warming would be very expensive. That and one of the easier ways to reduce CO2 production - switching coal power plants to nuclear, would tend to give the greens into a hissy fit, means other, cheaper options must be explored. This is probably my hang-over talking but screw the greens! Nuclear power is the way to go. Those tree-huggers would have us living in caves if they had their way! :evil: Greens? They whine about nuclear power and whine about the alternatives to nuclear power .. basically they whine.

N C More
2004-Jan-01, 03:37 PM
As someone who frequently deals with "greenies" I can see where the frustration comes from! They don't deal well with reality.

That said, we do need to stop chopping down every bit of forest that we come upon. Zamboni said that we should "Breathe carbon dioxide"...well plants do just that!

Nuclear power is cleaner and despite any risks it does seem to be a far better choice than going on as we are.

Question: I recall some researcher saying that global warming may not be as bad as we originally thought...anyone know anything about this?

dgruss23
2004-Jan-01, 04:19 PM
On a more seriouse note, I have heard of proposals involving spraying reflective particles(made of aluminium) into the upper atmosphere to slightly reduce the amount of light hitting the earth, counteracting global warming - this offers a fairly high degree of control as to how much light is hitting the surface, and where, and supposably would actually cost much less to do than cutting emissions.

These kinds of proposals really worry me. I remember reading in Earth magazine back when that was in print that some researchers were toying with the idea of seeding the oceans with iron to cause the plankton increase and draw more CO2 from the atmosphere. Everybody needs to take a deep breath (and the greens figure if none of us exhale the problem is solved).

Do we really know what is going to happen? If you look at an environmental science textbook you find that they take evidence of CO2 increases as evidence of global warming and they take computer models as evidence of global warming. They never actually present evidence of global warming as evidence of global warming - at least the texts I've seen don't.

Ronald Baily made an exceptional point in is book Ecoscam. What he pointed out was that if the computer models then in use were fed the 1960's climate data and run to the early 90's predicted temperatures about 5-10 degrees warmer than the actual 1990's climate. So why on Earth would we trust those things when they say that in 50 years its going to be 5-10 degrees warmer? Show me a climate model that can reasonably accurately predict the present climate from past data and you'll have my interest. If you can't do that then its irresponsible to go seeding the atmosphere and oceans with these supposed fixes. The end result might be worse than if things are left alone.

One thing that still needs to be assessed is just how much influence the Sun actually has in the climate changes. We discussed this in this thread (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=909&start=0). The Sun's output changes with its magnetic activity cycle. Changes in solar output can be tracked back at least 100,000 years with Beryllium-10 isotope records because the increase in magnetic activity during the sunspot cycle leads to a reduction in Be-10 production in the Earth's atmosphere. I linked to some studies in the other thread that discuss the results of comparisons between Earth's climate and solar activity.

Link added: Here (http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0312244) is a paper that you can download which takes a look at evidence for an influence of solar activity on the wheat market during the Middle Ages. I remember reading somewhere once that William Herschel found wheat prices were correlated with Sunspot numbers.

dgruss23
2004-Jan-01, 04:27 PM
First off, reducing CO2 emissions enough to seriously slow global warming would be very expensive. That and one of the easier ways to reduce CO2 production - switching coal power plants to nuclear, would tend to give the greens into a hissy fit, means other, cheaper options must be explored. This is probably my hang-over talking but screw the greens! Nuclear power is the way to go. Those tree-huggers would have us living in caves if they had their way! :evil: Greens? They whine about nuclear power and whine about the alternatives to nuclear power .. basically they whine.

And you have to wonder how much of the science of global warming is being driven by politics when you see nonsense like this (http://www.techcentralstation.com/062802B.html). Are they really interested in finding out what's actually happening or just in hammering away at free economies.

Link added: Here (http://www.techcentralstation.com/032602A.html) is an article on the same site that talks about the reliability of climate models. It is written by Dr. Willie Soon who is one of the researchers looking into the Sun's influence on climate change.

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 07:03 PM
... but exempt other major polluters like Brazil, India, and China. If the world wants to get serious about the environment, everyone has to play along .. no freebies.
But if you accept that the restrictions needed to lower CO2 emisions are going to have an economic cost, this raises the fear that countries like Brazil, India, and China will forever be stuck with 19th century economic bases. To draw a homely analogy, it's like splitting the lunch check evenly when most folks only had salad and iced tea but a few had filet migion and wine.

Musashi
2004-Jan-01, 08:22 PM
Yes, but the Kyoto accords are like makig the guys who had the salad pay for the filet. (not a perfect analogy on my part, but we don't need to cripple our economy while we let other countries "catch up.") If there is a global warming problem, then it is aproblem for everyone, not just the USA. That means it's a bit absurd to say America and a few others need to play by these extremely strict rules, but Brazil and others, pollute away!.

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 08:42 PM
Do we really know what is going to happen? If you look at an environmental science textbook you find that they take evidence of CO2 increases as evidence of global warming and they take computer models as evidence of global warming. They never actually present evidence of global warming as evidence of global warming - at least the texts I've seen don't.

While I believe there are a few folks who still dispute whether the increase is linked to human activity, I think the evidence for an increase in atmospheric CO2 is unambiguous and not in dispute. This would make it more suitable for a textbook then actual measurements of global warming which tend to be fraught with sophisticated technical arguments and statistical minutae. Of course this doesn't explain why they talk about the computer models, since they are the subject of much technical argument as well.

That said, I find it hard to believe that you haven't seen any articles on evidence of global warming. The newspapers I read have had numerous articles on the melting of permafrost and the increase in open ocean area in the arctic, and the collapse of major ice shelves in the antarctic. There was even some coverage of the arguments over NASA's microwave study of earth's temperature: http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/essd06oct97_1.htm.

My own opinion is that cirumstantial evidence indicates some global warming is taking place, but becaue of the natural variability of the earth's climate there will never be indisputable proof that it is due to human activity. However, we do know that CO2 does play an important role in the thermal properties of the atmosphere, so it seems to me imprudent to assume that we can dump gigatons of formerlly sequestered C02 into the atmosphere every year with impunity.

The American Geophysical Union has again issued a policy paper http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html, affirming that global warming is occurring, and human activities are contributing. They did this once before in 1998 and were taken to task by critics for procedural and scientific errors http://www.sepp.org/controv/AGUstatement.html. I think it is significant that John Christy is now one of the signatories. He was one of the authors of the NASA study I linked to above, and a skeptic about global warming.

George
2004-Jan-01, 08:57 PM
Bigger satellites? :)

Archer17
2004-Jan-01, 09:19 PM
Yes, but the Kyoto accords are like makig the guys who had the salad pay for the filet. (not a perfect analogy on my part, but we don't need to cripple our economy while we let other countries "catch up.") If there is a global warming problem, then it is aproblem for everyone, not just the USA. That means it's a bit absurd to say America and a few others need to play by these extremely strict rules, but Brazil and others, pollute away!.You took the words out of my mouth Musashi and I think your analogy is more apt. If the issue is really about reducing C02 emissions then it has to include all countries. That should be a no-brainer. The three countries alone that I mentioned in my prior post are not exactly "small potatoes" when it comes to emissions and no one should be exempt just because they happen to be less economically developed. Like Musashi said in an earlier post, the US wasn't the only country that nixed these accords, and for good reason. By all means clean up the air, but everyone has to play. Sounds fair to me if pollution is the real issue.

Alex W.
2004-Jan-01, 09:21 PM
Surely the best way to get everyone to join in would be for the major developed countries to set a good example?

Hmm?

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 09:31 PM
I think what we have here is an example of the conjugation of irregular adjectives, e.g. "I am firm, you are stubborn, he (she, they) are pigheaded". Your point of view is:

... but we don't need to cripple our economy while we let other countries "catch up.
I suspect that Brazil, China, and India would characterize it as

the industrial west needs to curb is voracious consumption of luxury goods while we establish basic 20th century living standards.
Since for the last few decades the US has been consuming about 1/5 of the world's energy with only 1/15 of the world population (see for example http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/energy/stats_ctry/Stat1.html#CONSUMPTION) I can see some fairness in other countries saying "Hey, you've been hogging the fossil fuel slurpee for the last 60 years, give someone else a turn!"

dgruss23
2004-Jan-01, 09:34 PM
CharlesEGrant:That said, I find it hard to believe that you haven't seen any articles on evidence of global warming. The newspapers I read have had numerous articles on the melting of permafrost and the increase in open ocean area in the arctic, and the collapse of major ice shelves in the antarctic. There was even some coverage of the arguments over NASA's microwave study of earth's temperature: http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/essd06oct97_1.htm.

Here (http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/index.html) is the EPA Global Warming website. There is scant evidence that any significant climate change is occurring and great uncertainty as to how much of the about 1 degree in the last century is due to the Sun increasing in energy output.

Stories about antarctic ice sheets breaking and thawing of permafrost are not rigorous evidence that humans are causing drastic climate change. Don't these phenomenon occur naturally? The NASA study you linked to in fact found a cooling of the Earth's temperature.

The problem here is there is a huge gap between what Global Warming supporters think will happen and evidence that any of their disaster scenarious actually are happening. What you typically get is:

1. CO2 is increasing. No problem there.
2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. No problem there.
3. Computer models say this is what will happen. But these models are very unreliable as I noted above.
4.
5. Here's what we need to be doing to fix the problem.

Notice that I wrote nothing for number 4. That is because number 4 is where the evidence that any of the disaster is actually happening is supposed to be presented. Its conspicuously absent in GW discussions. The computer models are substituted for evidence. And there is absolutely no discussion from these global warming advocates about the evidence for the Sun's influence. This has to be accounted for before you can estimate how much human influence there is. There is plenty in the links I provided on the other thread to give people a good idea where the evidence for the Sun's role stands.

But we're being pressured to take steps that will flatten our economy to save the Earth from a threat for which there is scant evidence that it will happen and scant reliability of the computer models that try to predict what might happen if the Earth was to warm. To sign Kyoto under these circumstances would be reckless and foolish.

Archer17
2004-Jan-01, 09:35 PM
Surely the best way to get everyone to join in would be for the major developed countries to set a good example?

Hmm?I think all countries have a responsibility for cleaning up the air. I can't see Brazil stopping the burning of the Amazon just because we did something here in the States. I don't thing "setting an example" always works .. I don't see China totally renouncing their backward communist-based economy despite the examples of Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea around them.

Alex W.
2004-Jan-01, 09:39 PM
Well, having the US cooperating would be better than having the US not cooperating.

It'd buy us a little time, at least.

Archer17
2004-Jan-01, 09:41 PM
..I suspect that Brazil, China, and India would characterize it as ..the industrial west needs to curb is voracious consumption of luxury goods while we establish basic 20th century living standards.I still don't think this justifies their exemption from C02 controls. Pollution is pollution.

dgruss23
2004-Jan-01, 09:47 PM
the industrial west needs to curb is voracious consumption of luxury goods while we establish basic 20th century living standards.

Our consumption of goods has not inhibited these countries from developing. In fact if anything its helped because we buy a great many things with little "Made in China" signs on them.


Since for the last few decades the US has been consuming about 1/5 of the world's energy with only 1/15 of the world population (see for example http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/energy/stats_ctry/Stat1.html#CONSUMPTION) I can see some fairness in other countries saying "Hey, you've been hogging the fossil fuel slurpee for the last 60 years, give someone else a turn!"

That's not a legitimate comparison. We produce tremendous amounts of goods, develop new technologies, produce advances in medicine, and help other nations around the world. You can't just look at how much we use without also considering how much we produce.

And we're debating all this when the most solid evidence at this time is the evidence for the Sun-climate connection.

aurora
2004-Jan-01, 09:54 PM
And we're debating all this when the most solid evidence at this time is the evidence for the Sun-climate connection.

So you don't think Carbon Dioxide affects climate?

Musashi
2004-Jan-01, 09:55 PM
So, the USA and otherindustrally advanced countries should cripple their economies then? Because, regardless of the semantics of the issue, that is what would happen. If the USA tries to pull all of the struggling countries up, they are only going to end up pulling themselves down. The USA is already having economic problems. If we reduce ourselves to the standard of living of the peasant farmers of South America, we are not going to be helping anyone. Certainly, we can reduce our emisions. I feel that is a laudable goal. I see no reason to hamstring ourselves in the process. So, if someone can come up with a realistic method, I would support it, but the Kyoto accords are not that method. The Kyoto accords are not an option. Luckily, there is no dichotomy here. Just because I do not support the Kyoto accords does not mean I think we should keep billowing out pollutants. Find realistic options. We can keep coming up with stupid ideas like electric or hydrogen cars so we can claim we are eliminating pollution (even though we aren't, just moving it), and the greens and 3rd world countries can have fantasies about ideas like the Kyoto accords, but neither of those paths offer solutions.

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 10:04 PM
Sounds fair to me if pollution is the real issue.
CO2 emissions are an issue, but it is not the only issue (nothing ever is). Curbing CO2 emissions will have an effect on national economies which will in turn affect standards of living. Everyone has to juggle the cost of global warming versus the cost of avoiding global warming. Countries that are struggling to provide basic ammenities to their citizens are less likely (and I think less able) to reallocate resources to avoiding global warming then are countries that devote a substantial portion of their economies to luxury goods. I think the Kyoto formulas are a recognition of this political reality.

Alex W.
2004-Jan-01, 10:06 PM
Stating the obvious, perhaps, but it's got to happen some time. Might as well do it now while you've got some flexibility in the resources available to you.

Musashi
2004-Jan-01, 10:42 PM
Well, how about birthrate caps? If we could lower the global population we could begin to have an even greatr affect on global ecology. Of course, this negatively impacts third world countries in ways that it doesnt affect 1st and 2nd world countries... is that ok?

ObiWan377
2004-Jan-01, 10:50 PM
I did some research today and I found a few things of interest. I found some things from www.globalwarming.org that caught my eye.


98% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are natural (mostly water vapor); only 2% are from man-made sources.


By most accounts, man-made emissions have had no more than a minuscule impact on the climate. Although the climate has warmed slightly in the last 100 years, 70% percent of that warming occurred prior to 1940, before the upsurge in greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes. (Dr. Robert C. Balling, Arizona State University)


So, according to the quotes taken, it's not entirely our fault. So if what this site is saying is true, why is mankind being blamed for global warming?

I also found this quote to be asking some questions....


Larger quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere and warmer climates would likely lead to an increase in vegetation. During warm periods in history vegetation flourished, at one point allowing the Vikings to farm in now frozen Greenland.


Huh? I've read in this thread that CO2 contributes to global warming, yet this site is saying that its good. Is increased CO2 in the atmospere good or bad?

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 10:54 PM
Stories about antarctic ice sheets breaking and thawing of permafrost are not rigorous evidence that humans are causing drastic climate change. Don't these phenomenon occur naturally? The NASA study you linked to in fact found a cooling of the Earth's temperature.
If you read my post carefully I think you'll find that I presented those items simply as evidence of global warming, not as evidence of human caused global warming. I stated a paragraph or two later on that in my opinion global warming would never be indisputibly linked to human activing because of the natural variabiltiy of the climate. I linked to the NASA study as an example of the difficulty of directly measuring global warming in that there was extensive technical debate on the merits of the study. Interestingly one of the authors of the NASA study (John Christy) was one of the authors of the recent AGU policy statement on human caused global warming.


Notice that I wrote nothing for number 4. That is because number 4 is where the evidence that any of the disaster is actually happening is supposed to be presented. Its conspicuously absent in GW discussions.
I think you are conflating two items here. I would make divide it into 4 and 4.5. 4 would be evidence that global warming is occuring, and 4.5 would be that the warming is caused by human activity. I think there is good circumstantial evidence for 4, and that 4.5 will never be established beyond reasonable doubt even if it is true. Warming due to changes in the solar constant and warming due to human activity are not exclusive alternatives. If we are unlucky human activity will accelerate and exagerate the natural variations in the earth's climate. If we are lucky the could ameliorate them. Unfortunately we have make our judgment from imperfect knowledge.

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 11:05 PM
Well, how about birthrate caps? If we could lower the global population we could begin to have an even greatr affect on global ecology. Of course, this negatively impacts third world countries in ways that it doesnt affect 1st and 2nd world countries... is that ok?
We have to limit global population or nature will do it for us. However I've come to be of the opinion that the most sure way of lowering population growth is to raise living standards. This is one of the reasons I'm willing to cut China some breaks on CO2 emssions, at least as long as their some reasonable fraction of their economic growth goes into a higher standard of living.

DogB
2004-Jan-01, 11:12 PM
So you don't think Carbon Dioxide affects climate?

From this site

http://www.maxpages.com/globalwarming/Global_Warming_Facts_to_Know



There is a close match between change in global temperature and the change in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere. This has been misinterpreted to mean that CO2 controls the global temperature by greenhouse effect. But upon closer examination, the temperature changes always PRECEDED the CO2 changes. This was true for short term in the last 200 years for which we have direct atmospheric composition data and temperature measurements, and it is true in the longer paleo-record going back 65 million years and more using indirect inferred temperature and composition data. Thus global Temperature controls CO2 level, not the other way about, and a change in temperature is causative to the effect of a change in CO2. There is a clear mechanism for this.

Earth is largely a water world, being more than 3/4 water on the total surface. Liquids have an inverse solubility with respect to temperature for gasses. As a liquid is heated it dissolves less gas. As a liquid such as water is cooled it will dissolve more gas and this is specifically true for CO2. Thus as the oceans heat up they reject CO2 to the atmosphere and as they cool they adsorb CO2. The largest reservoir for CO2 by far are the oceans, and the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere now 360 ppm (historically less than 300 ppm or 0.3%) is far less than the quantity in the oceans. Let us compare these two.

According to CRC handbook (page 14-9 in 74th ed)(or McMurray Fay Chemistry Text p 561) there is 28 mg /L of carbon or 0.144 g/ L in the form of (HCO3-) carbonate in sea water. Again taking one cm square surface of the ocean/atmosphere boundary, there is a pressure of 76 cm of mercury on that cm sq and at 13.6 gm/cc that means that there is 1034 gms of air and at 360 ppm that is 0.37 gms of CO2 in the air. This is versus a column of water on the average 2 Km deep (this is a mixing depth) , or 200,000 gms of water and that is 200 liters(or Kg)/cm sq or 29 gms of CO2 (50 gms of sodium carbonate). That is a CO2 ratio of 78 to 1, i.e. in the 1.26 exp 14 cubic meters of ocean there is a titanic quantity of carbon dioxide stored. The oceans have about two orders of magnitude more CO2 than the air with seventy eight times more releasable CO2 - and the oceans thus by far dominate the atmosphere.

Repeating what has already been stated for emphasis; sea water has a reverse solubility of gas to a change in temperature. As the oceans heat up the CO2 is less soluble and it is rejected to the atmosphere. As the ocean cool the CO2 is more soluble and it is adsorbed from the atmosphere.

Water vapor has an observable major greenhouse effect which is far larger than the CO2 effect. There are two main Infra-red adsorption bands of water. One totally covers one of the bands for CO2, and the other is far larger partially matching that for CO2. CO2 makes up 360 ppm of the atmosphere while water vapor varies but is about 1% on the average, or 10,000 ppm. Thus water vapor is some 27 times more abundant than CO2. With the IR bands being larger the total water greenhouse effect is roughly 52 times that of CO2. We clearly have observed this.


Is this true? Dunno.

I'm a chemist and I can tell you that the chemistry seems correct. As for the rest, I'm not really qualified to pass judgment.

P.

Ps. The original site I referenced is pop-up hell. You have been warned.

bobjohnston
2004-Jan-01, 11:26 PM
The scientific evidence weighs against the interpretation that human activity is causing any amount of global warming to be concerned about. As has been pointed out in this discussion (and ignored by most public or media discussion), there is evidence that solar irradiance variations account for much of the 20th century warming, even aside from natural variations in the Earth's climate. Also, the history of anthropogenic CO2 emissions is inconsistent with the claim that it is the cause of warming (the bulk of global CO2 emissions preceded most observed global warming).

The Kyoto Protocol is flawed because (1) the allegation of a problem is based on bad science, (2) the proposed solution has little or no impact on the supposed problem, (3) the effective objectives of the Protocol are political and economic rather than climatic, and (4) actions that would actually address the supposed problem are avoided.

Over 17,000 scientists and engineers have signed a petition criticizing the Kyoto Protocol and the underlying scientific claims. See details at http://www.oism.org/pproject/.

Reported examples of warming are examples of climatic variations, not evidence of global warming, in general. The satellite-based global temperature measurements remain a major argument against the global warming hypothesis. These measurements show little global temperature change in the last two decades.

It might be noted that Kyoto began to seriously unravel when discussions came to the issue of carbon credits. Research was showing that the US was removing a comparable amount of CO2 from the atmosphere than what it was putting out, which was real messy to deal with since the treaty was effectively meant to punish the US.

Musashi
2004-Jan-01, 11:47 PM
Thank you Bob. You have said what I was ineloquently trying to say. (I should do more research and less spouting off :))

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-01, 11:49 PM
I did some research today and I found a few things of interest. I found some things from www.globalwarming.org that caught my eye.


98% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are natural (mostly water vapor); only 2% are from man-made sources.

I think the other quotes are a well worth talking about, but this one strikes me as disingenuous. Most of the greenhouse gases are in (relatively) stable concentrations, and have been stable over human history. CO2 concentrations were stable until about 1750 but have increased by 30% since then (see for example http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm). It isn't the absolute concentrations of any of the greenhouse gases that is the concern, it is the relatively recent and rapid change in CO2 concentration that triggered worry of human caused global warming.



By most accounts, man-made emissions have had no more than a minuscule impact on the climate. Although the climate has warmed slightly in the last 100 years, 70% percent of that warming occurred prior to 1940, before the upsurge in greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes. (Dr. Robert C. Balling, Arizona State University)

But this is exactly what folks are arguing about isn't it? Dr. Balling may have a very good case, but I would take exception to the word "most". I would leave it at "many". Many others take a different view. As I've posted elsewhere the American Geophysical Union issued a policy statement this December confirming a human role in global warming. That doesn't make it a fact, but it indicates that there is an argument to be made.


I also found this quote to be asking some questions....


Larger quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere and warmer climates would likely lead to an increase in vegetation. During warm periods in history vegetation flourished, at one point allowing the Vikings to farm in now frozen Greenland.


Huh? I've read in this thread that CO2 contributes to global warming, yet this site is saying that its good. Is increased CO2 in the atmospere good or bad?
It depends on who you are and where. Global warming might be very good for Canada and very bad for Bangladesh. Sudden changes are hazardous because they don't give you much time to prepare for the new regeime.

Archer17
2004-Jan-02, 12:26 AM
Sounds fair to me if pollution is the real issue.
CO2 emissions are an issue, but it is not the only issue (nothing ever is). Curbing CO2 emissions will have an effect on national economies which will in turn affect standards of living. Everyone has to juggle the cost of global warming versus the cost of avoiding global warming. Countries that are struggling to provide basic ammenities to their citizens are less likely (and I think less able) to reallocate resources to avoiding global warming then are countries that devote a substantial portion of their economies to luxury goods. I think the Kyoto formulas are a recognition of this political reality.I can just as easily say the failure of agreement regarding Kyoto also is reflective of political reality. I agree that there's need for Third World countries to raise their standard of living but don't think the answer is an unbalanced environmental accord. I also feel many countries with poor economies can do more themselves to improve their lot. China's one example. All you have to do is look at the difference between that communist country and their fellow Chinese on Taiwan. I understand China is starting to loosen up and embrace alternatives to its failed commie economic model but it has to accelerate the process. That's something they have to do on their own.

I echo Musashi's thoughts in that while I think the Kyoto Protocol is flawed, I'm not pro-pollution by any means. I just disagree with any accord that turns a blind eye towards some C02 emissions and not others.

CharlesEGrant
2004-Jan-02, 12:30 AM
Over 17,000 scientists and engineers have signed a petition criticizing the Kyoto Protocol and the underlying scientific claims. See details at http://www.oism.org/pproject/.

For a critical view of this petition see http://www.prwatch.org/improp/oism.html
I'm scratching my head over how to evaluate the relative credibilities of OISM and Pr-watch. Both clearly have axes to grind. I guess in the end the opinions of 17,000 self-described scientists and engineers who signed a petition on a web site doesn't impress me all that much. Protein chemists and structural engineers aren't trained to render a professional opinion on cliimate change, so their opinion counts for no more then that of any other intelligent, educated layperson.

On the other hand as I've repeated for the nth time on this thread the American Geophysical Union issued a policy paper this December indicating that human activity played a role in global warming, and the AGU does have professional standing in this field. That doesn't make it a fact, but at the least it indicates that the argument is not as open and shut as Mr. Johnston or OISM would have it.

Alex W.
2004-Jan-02, 12:36 AM
Saying that 98% of all greenhouse gas emissions are natural doesn't excuse the fact that we're increasing the greenhouse gas volume of our planet by a considerable amount (2%).

Archer17
2004-Jan-02, 12:41 AM
Here's a link (http://muller.lbl.gov/TRessays/23-MedievalGlobalWarming.html) to an interesting article the BA shared with us on another thread regarding Global Warming and the part politics play in the debate over this issue.

Musashi
2004-Jan-02, 12:54 AM
Just to clarify my position, I am not advocating that nothing ever be done about human pollution. I may not be convinced that global warming exists or is influenced mostly by human endeavors. All I am saying is that the Kyoto Accords (treaty, whatever) is NOT the answer. Pollution sucks. I live in Southern California, and for the last week or two, it has been incredibly clear out here. I don't know why, probably wind and weather related. All I know for sure is that I like the view. I like that fact that I can see the local mountains for a change. There must be ways to deal with pollution. I am not saying we shouldn't try.


On the other hand as I've repeated for the nth time on this thread the American Geophysical Union issued a policy paper this December indicating that human activity played a role in global warming, and the AGU does have professional standing in this field.

OK, and so? Does that make the Kyoto Accords more meaningful?

Boris
2004-Jan-02, 12:56 AM
"the fatal conceit"

For people - polititians especially - to believe they can control or shape society has always resulted in death and mayhem. The global environment is an even more complex system, and the people should know from experience that to try and influence it is futile at least, dangerous at worst.

Gaia can take care of herself. Some piddling CO2 contributions will hardly cause her great harm - my opinion only. (supported by the posts about oceans being by far greatest reservoir of CO2, and that dihydrogen oxide - water vapor - is by far the greatest contributor to global warming / insulation).

Anyway, there is so much politics in this issue, you can basically forget about good science getting a hearing, either way.

Boris

dgruss23
2004-Jan-02, 01:08 AM
And we're debating all this when the most solid evidence at this time is the evidence for the Sun-climate connection.

So you don't think Carbon Dioxide affects climate?

If and how much are the questions. We have solid evidence for solar forcing of climate change (see the links on the "Medieval warming" thread) and as noted above there is evidence that CO2 levels respond to warming rather than cause warming.

Between 1940 and the mid-70's, the temperatures seemed to be cooling and the greens were telling everybody we were facing an impending ice age (amplified of course by industrial pollution). But CO2 is supposed to cause warming - right? So why was it cooling between 1940 and 1970?

My criteria are this:

1. Show me a computer model that can accurately predict present climate conditions from past climate conditions and then I'll be interested in what that model says about the future.
2. Show me evidence for warming that cannot be accounted for by solar activity.
3. Show me evidence that any such warming is a problem. Plants grow better in higher CO2 enviroments. James Lovelock suggested in one of his books on GAIA that if CO2 levels drop too much lower than the pre-industrial levels it would become a problem for plant growth.

As it is, any discussion about global warming that ignores solar forcing is just not compelling. If there are questions about the evidence that haven't been answered on the other thread, I'd be glad to explain it.

dgruss23
2004-Jan-02, 01:25 AM
Archer17: I echo Musashi's thoughts in that while I think the Kyoto Protocol is flawed, I'm not pro-pollution by any means. I just disagree with any accord that turns a blind eye towards some C02 emissions and not others.

This illustrates just how politicized this issue has become. You and Musashi have no reason to apologize for your position. In some people's minds (not anyone here from what I've read) its automatically implicit that if you question global warming you're "pro-pollution". Um - no, how about discussing the science instead.

I think most people that question the validity of the global warming movement would like to see energy alternatives - but destroying our economy is not the way to spur on technological advance.

Alex W.
2004-Jan-02, 01:26 AM
You know, I could've sworn that the sun->warming link was itself merely the result of meddling with scales, recalculating values etc.

:wink:

Alex W.
2004-Jan-02, 01:28 AM
Come to think of it, whatever's causing global warming, finding ways to control the amount of greenhouse materials being released from natural and manmade sources would be the best way of fixing it. Indeed, we might find it easier to control the natural sources than the manmade ones, although there would be other compications...

dgruss23
2004-Jan-02, 01:40 AM
CharlesEGrant: If you read my post carefully I think you'll find that I presented those items simply as evidence of global warming, not as evidence of human caused global warming. I stated a paragraph or two later on that in my opinion global warming would never be indisputibly linked to human activing because of the natural variabiltiy of the climate.

But theoretically, you could link warming to human activity if you can show that there is warming significantly in excess of what can be explained by natural causes. That's why its so important that the GW movement starts paying attention to the solar influence. If they want to make their case they have to start there.


CharlesEGrant: I think you are conflating two items here. I would make divide it into 4 and 4.5. 4 would be evidence that global warming is occuring, and 4.5 would be that the warming is caused by human activity.

I'll go with that, but GW advocates basically skip over 4 and 4.5 and go right to 5.


I think there is good circumstantial evidence for 4, and that 4.5 will never be established beyond reasonable doubt even if it is true. Warming due to changes in the solar constant and warming due to human activity are not exclusive alternatives.

No you can have both and I've repeatedly tried to make that point when this topic comes up. Right now the global warming movment does not even have solar forcing on their radar screen. You cannot get a handle on how much is being caused by CO2 increases until you've figured out how much is due to solar forcing which has been tracked back about 100,000 years in some recent studies.


If we are unlucky human activity will accelerate and exagerate the natural variations in the earth's climate. If we are lucky the could ameliorate them. Unfortunately we have make our judgment from imperfect knowledge.

That could happen but right now all the projections are based upon unreliable computer models. Its not surprising that computer models say its going to be warmer in the future when they say the present should be warmer than it actually is. We know for sure the judgement is being made from imperfect knowledge if the Sun's role is ignored.

dgruss23
2004-Jan-02, 01:46 AM
You know, I could've sworn that the sun->warming link was itself merely the result of meddling with scales, recalculating values etc.

:wink:

Assuming that's not in jest, I would say that you can judge for yourself if you look at the articles I've linked to in the medieval warming thread.


Come to think of it, whatever's causing global warming, finding ways to control the amount of greenhouse materials being released from natural and manmade sources would be the best way of fixing it. Indeed, we might find it easier to control the natural sources than the manmade ones, although there would be other compications...

But there's another step that is being skipped here. Nobody has established that if there is warming that it will be a bad thing. We have people telling us about melting polar caps, shifting climate belts, and so on, but its based upon unreliable computer models. Climate on this planet is always changing on a variety of time scales. Yet somehow it is assumed that any change that occurs to our present climate must be bad.

Rue
2004-Jan-02, 01:51 AM
3. Show me evidence that any such warming is a problem. Plants grow better in higher CO2 enviroments. James Lovelock suggested in one of his books on GAIA that if CO2 levels drop too much lower than the pre-industrial levels it would become a problem for plant growth.


Higher CO2 levels can help plants grow true(depending on species) There has always been adequete plant growth on earth even without the assistance of industrial C02 emissions.

Whether it be natural, man-made and if it exists the warming may be still a problem for humans if sea levels rise and cooler regions become warmer, causing, for example, diseases such as malaria making a come back in north america. That is an extreme case but considering the natural history of this planet perhaps anything is possible.

SirThoreth
2004-Jan-02, 03:34 AM
Come to think of it, whatever's causing global warming, finding ways to control the amount of greenhouse materials being released from natural and manmade sources would be the best way of fixing it. Indeed, we might find it easier to control the natural sources than the manmade ones, although there would be other compications...

How would it be easier to control the natural sources, rather than the manmade ones? That's just....odd.

Also, the fact that the various global warming models do not take into account the affects of solar activity, in my mind, completely invalidates them - how can you have a model that completely ignores the affect of the largest energy source in the solar system, which pours in vast amounts of energy to our planet every single day, and claim that it's accurate?

And, bobjohnson makes a good point. Kyoto wasn't about "saving the planet" - it was about punishing the United States. The cost for Kyoto ran into the trillions for the U.S. or Russia alone. Note, that's not combined, that's each.

How is bankrupting the United States, while allowing for "economically disadvantaged" nations to continue pouring out as much CO2 as they like, going to help things in the long run, even if the science was good? And, how can we commit to that course of action, when so much evidence points to the computer models used as "evidence" being hopelessly flawed?

bobjohnston
2004-Jan-02, 05:31 AM
I'm scratching my head over how to evaluate the relative credibilities of OISM and Pr-watch. Both clearly have axes to grind. I guess in the end the opinions of 17,000 self-described scientists and engineers who signed a petition on a web site doesn't impress me all that much. Protein chemists and structural engineers aren't trained to render a professional opinion on cliimate change, so their opinion counts for no more then that of any other intelligent, educated layperson.

The Pr-watch review you cite includes ad hominem attacks on OISM and Dr. Robinson. Some of the details on Dr. Robinson's biography are inaccurate and/or misleading. I can tell Pr-watch has an axe to grind; I don't know what axe OISM is supposed to be grinding. The scientific arguments OISM makes (as with all scientific claims) should be evaluated on the merits of the evidence and the success of their predictions. However, the Pr-watch assertion that astrophysicists can't address climate change science is ridiculous. Climate change models come down to physics; planetary astrophysics was critical to developing our understanding of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.


On the other hand as I've repeated for the nth time on this thread the American Geophysical Union issued a policy paper this December indicating that human activity played a role in global warming, and the AGU does have professional standing in this field. That doesn't make it a fact, but at the least it indicates that the argument is not as open and shut as Mr. Johnston or OISM would have it.

The AGU statement was apparently adopted by vote of the AGU Council, requiring only a two-thirds majority; it would be interesting to know what the actual vote was, what the specializations of the voters were, and what the views of the general AGU membership are. I'm not all that impressed by the AGU statement: it is exceedingly vague, for one thing. It repeatedly affirms that human activities will affect climate, without addressing the real question which is how much (a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil affects tornadoes in Kansas...). It also treats some statements as definitive which are actually open questions. For example, "Moreover, research indicates that increased levels of carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years." The research is very open on this question. Direct measurements indicate that 47% of the CO2 released into the atmosphere since 1940 has been removed from the atmosphere already. It is disappointing that the AGU would give a vague salute to the IPCC without being willing to come down for or against the IPCC's apocalyptic vision.

I agree that one should not be swayed by consensus statements, whether from the OISM, AGU, or IPCC. One should be swayed by rational examination of the evidence. I would be seriously concerned about listening to specialists on government grants who can't successfully make a scientific case on such a far-reaching issue to non-specialist Ph.D. scientists and engineers. Scientific methodology is field independent.

cyrek1
2004-Jan-04, 02:13 PM
cyreks comment:

I read a report a while back that the oxygen content in our air has reduced from about 30%+ to its current content of below 20% during the past century.
This obviously indicates that the carbon dioxide content increased proportionately.

The reduction of forest trees and replaced by cultivated crop lands is a big reason for this. Croplands do not generate as much oxygen as the forest trees do.
What we should do is to plant more trees and eliminate the use of lumber for building houses and replace it with steel, aluminum, concrete and plaster. This would eliminate the toxins used to eliminate the termites and the houses would last for hundreds of years.
The elimination of the toxins would purify the ground waters and other waters as a result.
The lumberjacks can be retrained to work in the steel and the other industries.
This would help to reduce those asthma contraptions on the market.

dgruss23
2004-Jan-04, 02:49 PM
cyrek1: I read a report a while back that the oxygen content in our air has reduced from about 30%+ to its current content of below 20% during the past century.
This obviously indicates that the carbon dioxide content increased proportionately.

If that were true our atmosphere would be at least 10% CO2 and its not.

bobjohnston
2004-Jan-04, 04:47 PM
I read a report a while back that the oxygen content in our air has reduced from about 30%+ to its current content of below 20% during the past century.
This obviously indicates that the carbon dioxide content increased proportionately.

The current oxygen content of the atmosphere is about 21% and has been constant throughout historical times. If the report cited above is correct, this would have been early in the Earth's history. From about 1000 to 1750 AD, the carbon dioxide content was 0.028%; now, it is 0.037%. The last IPCC report does discuss that the corresponding historical change in oxygen content (of order 0.01%, or 100 ppm) can be identified.


The reduction of forest trees and replaced by cultivated crop lands is a big reason for this. Croplands do not generate as much oxygen as the forest trees do.
What we should do is to plant more trees and eliminate the use of lumber for building houses and replace it with steel, aluminum, concrete and plaster. This would eliminate the toxins used to eliminate the termites and the houses would last for hundreds of years.
The elimination of the toxins would purify the ground waters and other waters as a result.
The lumberjacks can be retrained to work in the steel and the other industries.
This would help to reduce those asthma contraptions on the market.

This is not necessarily true, particularly if you consider all aspects of the forest. Some parts of the Amazon release more CO2 (from decay) than they take in. Crops (including tree crops) in North America often take in plenty of CO2.

This would just replace one (minor) toxin sources with another. It would also make housing unaffordable for many.

nokton
2004-Jan-04, 07:05 PM
Am with SirThoreth on this one,feel he makes a valid contibution here.
I read a great deal,always have.Remember reading of Eric the Red,
the Norseman who settled colonies of his countrymen on Greenland.
That was a thousand years ago,when the so named Greenland was
indeed such.The colonies flourished,and life was good.Then the climate
changed,a mini ice age took over their green and pleasant land.
Those Vikings died of starvation because their crops and their cattle
died of the cold.This is recorded history,fact.
SirThoreth states,correctly,that our suns output varies over time,
and that must affect climate change here,Dear God,the Dinosaurs
had realm over both poles in their day,must have been the methane
produced by their enormous crap that lead to a warm world......
My money is on SirThorens view of our suns output as a variable,
is the most likley explanation,and nothing we do with burning fossil
fuels,can come close to the contribution of the dinosaurs.

Macro Mouse
2004-Jan-04, 11:45 PM
I didn't read this entire thread viligently, so please excuse me if I'm veering off the current discussion or repeating what someone already said.

There is no doubt about it, the Earth IS on a warming trend.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2003/ann/glob_jan-dec_pg.gif

As you can see in the chart above, the annual global temperature has been on an, overall, gradual increase over the past 130 years or so.

HOWEVER, the Earth is NOT warming because of man-induced fuel and vehicle exhaust. The warming we see is completely NATURAL in my opinion. I own a very well written book on Earth's weather and climate that has a chart of Earth's average temperature over the past 4.5 billion years on different scales. What the graph shows is very obvious to me: it's all a natural cycle. I don't have a similar chart to post here now, but if I find one I'll post it. On a million year scale, we're STILL in an ice age. The Earth has been much warmer on numerous occassions in the geologically recent past, and was much warmer when the dinosaurs were around. Personally I don't buy the theory that CO² increase has much influence on the global temperature trends. What I do believe is that these constant fluxes on thousand and million year scales are PRIMARILY a result of shifts of the Earth's axis, and maybe also small changes in the sun.

By taking all of that THAT to account, the Earth probably will continue to warm as the years go by. However, the warming is only finite, and sooner or later, it'll reverse and start to cool again.

Just my 2 cents...

MM

russ_watters
2004-Jan-05, 06:37 AM
I read a report a while back that the oxygen content in our air has reduced from about 30%+ to its current content of below 20% during the past century.
This obviously indicates that the carbon dioxide content increased proportionately. Yes, thats true, the carbon dioxide content of the air is now at 0.03%, up from -9.97% at the-- hey, wait a minute.... #-o

Think, Mcfly, think.

(better yet - Google, Mcfly, Google)

nokton
2004-Jan-06, 06:42 PM
Read recently that diesel exhaust emissions,and wood burning,
produce a soot that is a big,if transient,contribution,to global warming.
Am more concerned really,with destruction of the forests,which are major carbon sinks.Interested also,with ref to my last,to read a post
here that oxygen levels are decreasing in a global context.
To my mind and understanding,one will follow the other.
Would look forward to,and welcome,other opinions

hewhocaves
2004-Jan-06, 08:55 PM
ice cubes... lots of ice cubes... in a tall drink.

seriously, though.. the dinosaurs were so successful at stopping global warming, they died out. The last 60 million years have been an exercise in global cooling.

I'm not saying we should go out and intentionally warm the earth (or cool it for that matter), more that this may actually be something beyond our control. We like to think that the climate is this incredibly delicate thing that we have to treat like a china shop. The reality may be that the climate is a lot more resilient than we realize. We do not live in a static environment.

hang on, that bears repeating

We do not live in a static environment.

Like it or not, the climate will change. Species will die, others will take their place. (Read Dougal Dixon's 'After Man' for a semi-amusing romp 50 million years into the future). Grasslands will become desert, deserts will become grasslnads, etc... etc...
We don't help the world any more by trying to preserve the present than by trying to destroy it.

What we should be looking at are ways to remove ourselves from the equation as much as possible: by replanting where we deforest, by allowing migrating animals enough room to migrate, by recognizing that we cannot block nature out any more than we can keep spiders from making webs in the attic. And eventually we should be looking at getting off this rock and permanantly into space where we will really have room to grow.

[/soapbox]

john

nokton
2004-Jan-06, 10:02 PM
Can find no room for arguement with your last,
you sum up so eloquently,your reason and logic,and dispense
it with a poetic summary Homer would be proud of

Kebsis
2004-Jan-06, 11:34 PM
It seems that the amount of CO2 produced by humans is miniscule in comparison to what the planet generates on it's own in the form of volcanic activity and forest fires. At least to me it seems that way.

rigel
2004-Jan-07, 05:11 PM
Volcanic sources of CO2 and other gases is much greater than manmade sources. Particulates from dust, volcanoes are also much greater than manmade diesel and soot sources.

Would also agree that considering only CO2 in global warming is not accurate. There are other greenhouse gases to consider. particulates, etc.

DogB good point on ocean and CO2 relation. Also need to understand that some CO2 is removed in sedimentation in oceans, but a large amount is generated by erosion of Himalayan mountains. I don't think computer simulations even accurately reflect the CO2 concentrations.

Computer simulations should be able to predict both forward and backward.

sanatogen
2004-Jan-11, 03:15 AM
It seems to me that so many folk are seduced by "glboal Warming" then 10 years ago.

I still think the science is relatively young compared to say Building a bridge or even Software Engineering. Which wold make me sit on the side of the fence that says "naturally occuring", part of a geological cycle etc.

Great Satan
2004-Feb-10, 11:53 PM
The most bizaire, but interesting idea is to farm trees for the sole purpose of harvesting them--not for pulp, lumber, or fuel, but to bury them.

After all, if one can find newspapers with headlines such as "Dewey defeats Truman" still not decomposed, then that paper represents a mass of carbon taken out of the carbon cycle.

It would be like the opposite of using and mining fossil fuels,

dgruss23
2004-Feb-11, 01:34 AM
Its interesting that this thread was brought back up because I just came across this in the last few days. It is a Newsweek article (http://www.globalclimate.org/Newsweek.htm) from 1975 that discusses the impending ice ages. Its interesting to compare the comments made about the cooling with what is said now about global warming.

milli360
2004-Feb-11, 02:30 AM
Its interesting that this thread was brought back up because I just came across this in the last few days. It is a Newsweek article (http://www.globalclimate.org/Newsweek.htm) from 1975 that discusses the impending ice ages. Its interesting to compare the comments made about the cooling with what is said now about global warming.
Have you possibly been listening to Rush Limbaugh (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=204094#204094) again? :)

jrkeller
2004-Feb-11, 03:03 AM
Also, the fact that the various global warming models do not take into account the affects of solar activity, in my mind, completely invalidates them - how can you have a model that completely ignores the affect of the largest energy source in the solar system, which pours in vast amounts of energy to our planet every single day, and claim that it's accurate?



Excellent point. The topic of global warming comes up quite frequently at work (we are a bunch of thermal analysts) and we feel the same way. Global warming cannot simply be a function of only CO2.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-11, 03:11 AM
Its interesting that this thread was brought back up because I just came across this in the last few days. It is a Newsweek article (http://www.globalclimate.org/Newsweek.htm) from 1975 that discusses the impending ice ages. Its interesting to compare the comments made about the cooling with what is said now about global warming.
Have you possibly been listening to Rush Limbaugh (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=204094#204094) again? :)

Yep. :) I was home from work on friday so I actually got a chance to listen to his show. He said he was going to post the article on his website, but I think you have to be a subscriber to get access to it. A little googling turned it up pretty quickly.

You've got to love the suggestion to melt the polar caps. Its on par with the suggestion about 10 years ago that we should seed the oceans with iron to stimulate phytoplankton growth as a way to soak up CO2.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-11, 03:47 AM
I like Macro Mouse's graph. It shows that there is about a 1F change in temperature.

As someone who has done a lot of thermal testing over the years, I can state that that graph shows absolutely nothing.

Most thermal measurement devices like thermal couples have an error of at least 2F. In other words, the trends could easily just be error. I'd bet that the measurement errors were greater 125 ago.

Furthermore, for these measurements to have any meaning, they must be made in an identical fashion year after year, which I seriously doubt happened. For example, picking the peak temperature ever day would be invalid. Picking the temperature at noon everyday would be better.

Also, temperature measurements and heat transfer analysis in general is a very geometry dependent problem. In other words, you can affect your answer by changing the local geometry, which may include things like sidewalks (or its color), buildings, vegitation (different types of plants). Even changing the temperature measuring device, changes the answer. A Maxim of heat transfer is that everything effects everything else. In other words, change one thing and the entire problem is different. I again doubt that everything has stayed the same over the past 125 years.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-11, 03:48 AM
Its interesting that this thread was brought back up because I just came across this in the last few days. It is a Newsweek article (http://www.globalclimate.org/Newsweek.htm) from 1975 that discusses the impending ice ages. Its interesting to compare the comments made about the cooling with what is said now about global warming.
Have you possibly been listening to Rush Limbaugh (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=204094#204094) again? :)

As someone who was a teenager in the 1970's, I remember this crisis.

numbskull
2004-Feb-11, 06:52 PM
This is like being in some sort of geo-warp. Here in Europe, there is virtually no debate on the subject. Almost everyone agrees that man-made pollution is dangerous and too high. The effects are unknown and debatable, but most agree that the risks of man-induced climate change are too high to ignore. Therefore we should do something about it.

Government agencies, local councils, even private companies contribute to the messages about the risks of climate change and spread the word about how individuals can change their consumptions patterns. Cars are more fuel efficient than ever, vehicles are taxed based on their emmissions, tax breaks are given to environmentally friendly construction, and so on.

But America just seems to be reverting to its usual habits of isolationism and burying its head in the sand. Since Bush arrived on the scene, all manner of environmental controls have been scrapped, breaks have been given to polluting industries, "gas guzzling" has become fashionable again, and personal consumption is encouraged.

The Kyoto accord may have been flawed. But the US seems to have done nothing about trying to replace it with an alternative.

There is a risk. A big risk. No one knows what the effects are going to be for sure. Not even everyone agrees what the effects might be. But even the most myopic of observers can see that there IS A RISK!

The problem seems to be two-fold. Comfort and political influence.

America is immensely wealthy. It consumes an enormously disportionate proportion of the world's natural resources and produces equivalent waste and pollution. Yet its citizens are comfortable. They like consumption. They do not want to change their habits. So politicians proposing that they should are almost guaranteed an election loss.

At the other level, the US political system is powerfully moulded by pressure groups, none more so than conservative heavy industry and energy - even more so since Bush became President.

Now I'm not suggesting that America is responsible for all pollution. But if the US can take the lead in invading Iraq at huge cost, then it can afford to take the lead in doing something about combatting the risks of climate change.

But I'm afraid that if the risks of catastrophic climate change are realised, action will only be taken when these changes are too visible to ignore. By which time, of course, it will be too late.

cyswxman
2004-Feb-11, 08:47 PM
Climate change is a part of the NATURAL process of things. There have been, and always will be, periods of global warming and cooling. I believe man can do VERY LITTLE to affect any changes. That's not to say I am a proponent of wasting natural resources; we should find ways to use them more efficiently as well as develop others. I am just tired of this "All the world's problems are the direct result of evil American industry because we want to destroy the world."

Bottom line, all these gloom and doom scenarios are strongly motivated by politics and by those who want to empower themselves through these channels, regardless of affiliation, but since the BA wishes that we stay away from these areas, I will not elaborate further.

numbskull
2004-Feb-11, 09:05 PM
I wasn't for a moment suggesting that about America. I was simply saying that there is a big risk that these predictions are possible and that we should be doing something more positive about it. Led by the US.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-11, 10:35 PM
Cars are more fuel efficient than ever, vehicles are taxed based on their emmissions, tax breaks are given to environmentally friendly construction, and so on.

Most people I talk to are in favor of improving fuel and energy efficiency. But that makes good sense completely independent of any global warming talk.


Since Bush arrived on the scene, all manner of environmental controls have been scrapped, breaks have been given to polluting industries, "gas guzzling" has become fashionable again, and personal consumption is encouraged.

This is just not true. The increase in use of "gas guzzling" vehicles extends back well before the current President took office.


The Kyoto accord may have been flawed. But the US seems to have done nothing about trying to replace it with an alternative.

Because the need for an alternative has not been scientifically demonstrated.


There is a risk. A big risk. No one knows what the effects are going to be for sure. Not even everyone agrees what the effects might be. But even the most myopic of observers can see that there IS A RISK!

Anybody can dream up some hypothetical disaster and then claim that it it must be dealt with because the risks are too great if it is ignored. What you've said is exactly what was being said in that 1975 Newsweek article - that said within 10 years we would be experiencing catastrophic global cooling!


America is immensely wealthy. It consumes an enormously disportionate proportion of the world's natural resources and produces equivalent waste and pollution.

And America produces a disproportionate amount of goods, provides tremendous amounts of aid and other forms of support to other countries from that consumption.



But I'm afraid that if the risks of catastrophic climate change are realised, action will only be taken when these changes are too visible to ignore. By which time, of course, it will be too late.

Did you read the Newsweek article? What you've said here is basically what was said in the last paragraph of that article.

The problem numbskull, is that the scientific evidence that significant global warming is happening is simply not there. Nor is there any evidence that what little warming which may have happened is in fact a result of greenhouse gases. You read above jrkeller's excellent points on the temperature record. We've talked about the growing evidence for the Sun's influence in climate changes - even evidence that the ice ages themselves my be attributed to variations in solar activity. If you wish I can point you to the threads - actually I think it was all linked to earlier in this thread.

Global Warming advocates say little - if anything - about the Sun's role, play up the unreliable predictions of computer models, and ignore the fact that they have scant evidence to justify their claims.

Cunninglinguist
2004-Feb-12, 04:09 AM
Most thermal measurement devices like thermal couples have an error of at least 2F. In other words, the trends could easily just be error. I'd bet that the measurement errors were greater 125 ago.




I don't buy it either. The graph proves nothing. Temp measurements were flawed pre 1920's. As a storm chaser and having worked with NOAA employees.... They need global warming, just as NASA would get a huge budget increase if life IS found on MARs.

Doesn't Volvo use some special coating on their radiators to clean CO2 from the air? I wonder if I can paint my H2 with the stuff? It's so big, I should be able to stop Global warming and air pollution all by myself.

bobjohnston
2004-Feb-12, 04:31 AM
Dittos to dgruss32. Some more thoughts:


This is like being in some sort of geo-warp. Here in Europe, there is virtually no debate on the subject. Almost everyone agrees that man-made pollution is dangerous and too high. The effects are unknown and debatable, but most agree that the risks of man-induced climate change are too high to ignore. Therefore we should do something about it.

There is no debate, even though the results are unknown and debatable? Sounds like science has taken a back seat to politics!


Since Bush arrived on the scene, all manner of environmental controls have been scrapped, breaks have been given to polluting industries,...

What are you referring to? What little changes there have been in environmental regulations have been minor compared to say, differences from country to country in Europe, or differences between now and ten years ago. American environmental regulations remain comfortably disproportionate to any real environmental benefit.


America is immensely wealthy. It consumes an enormously disportionate proportion of the world's natural resources and produces equivalent waste and pollution. Yet its citizens are comfortable. They like consumption. They do not want to change their habits. So politicians proposing that they should are almost guaranteed an election loss.

In addition to dgruss32's points, also note that significant geographic and social differences between the U.S. and Europe require different energy consumption patterns. The U.S. is more spread out, for example, producing greater transportation costs.

More importantly, though, the U.S. produces less pollution per unit energy consumed than much of the world.


But I'm afraid that if the risks of catastrophic climate change are realised, action will only be taken when these changes are too visible to ignore. By which time, of course, it will be too late.

There is no scientific basis for belief in an impending point of no return. If the IPCC is to be trusted (which they aren't), we're already too late: studies show the Kyoto treaty would have done about nothing to change their predictions. Reality, though, is that claims of "catastrophic climate change" are not founded in observationally-supported science.

numbskull
2004-Feb-12, 09:02 AM
Wow, thanks guys, great replies. I can't pretend to be an expert in this at all - just a reflection of typical public perception.

The general European perception seems to be that there is plenty of evidence for man-made climate change and that we should do something about it.

The general US perception seems to be that there is little evidence for man-made climate change and that little if anything should be done about it.

So we have a dilema. The US public feels that it is being got at by jealous Europeans while European publics feels that the US is greedy.

However, there are some facts that make many very uncomfortable about this, particularly the huge influence of conservative polluting industry in the US government. And it goes right to the top.

Bob sees science taking a back seat to politics. Absolutely. Anything of this magnitude becomes hugely political purely and simply because it has the potential to effect every living soul. (My original wording was badly flawed by the way. I meant to say that very few in Europe would argue that there is no man-made climate change problem. The debate continues about what the effects are.)

So, as I said in a previous post, I am not anti-American, (even though I live in France), but I am simply trying to reflect the prevailing view from this side of the Atlantic.

Diamond
2004-Feb-12, 12:09 PM
Can I butt in and say that I am truly amazed that this debate has not degenerated into a flame-fest and a scientific popularity contest. You are a tribute to BA's moderating skills.

I have lots of comments on the above, but maybe another time....

Back to the debate. 8)

dgruss23
2004-Feb-12, 01:44 PM
Wow, thanks guys, great replies. I can't pretend to be an expert in this at all - just a reflection of typical public perception.

The general European perception seems to be that there is plenty of evidence for man-made climate change and that we should do something about it.

The general US perception seems to be that there is little evidence for man-made climate change and that little if anything should be done about it.

Those may be public perceptions and fortunately, science does not seek public perceptions to decide what theories should be accepted. Instead scientists seek out scientific evidence on the matter. Unfortunately, politics IS about public perception - not just understanding it, but shaping it.

And there is the crux of the problem. If the public was basing their "perception" upon the significance of the scientific evidence, the perception would not be that global warming is an impending disaster. However, the public perception is being influenced by the political advocates - who do not base their claims on any solid scientific evidence that a problem exists.


However, there are some facts that make many very uncomfortable about this, particularly the huge influence of conservative polluting industry in the US government. And it goes right to the top.

What facts? This is another example of politically driven perception, not scientific driven facts. Bush is a conservative and so he's automatically labeled a supporter of "big business". And of course if you support big business then you are automatically labeled anti-environment. There's room for differences of opinion as to what the science indicates is necessary action without concluding that anybody that doesn't want to take the most extreme steps proposed is "anti-environment".

numbskull
2004-Feb-12, 07:07 PM
Wow, thanks guys, great replies. I can't pretend to be an expert in this at all - just a reflection of typical public perception.

The general European perception seems to be that there is plenty of evidence for man-made climate change and that we should do something about it.

The general US perception seems to be that there is little evidence for man-made climate change and that little if anything should be done about it.

Those may be public perceptions and fortunately, science does not seek public perceptions to decide what theories should be accepted. Instead scientists seek out scientific evidence on the matter. Unfortunately, politics IS about public perception - not just understanding it, but shaping it.

And there is the crux of the problem. If the public was basing their "perception" upon the significance of the scientific evidence, the perception would not be that global warming is an impending disaster. However, the public perception is being influenced by the political advocates - who do not base their claims on any solid scientific evidence that a problem exists.

Well, yes. But public perception is the major factor that politicians will consider when making policy. And public perception is not often swayed by scientific evidence!

I'm not sure if this is getting us anywhere. I simply wanted to make the point about the differences in European and American public perception and how important they both are. Science should not shield itself from it.



However, there are some facts that make many very uncomfortable about this, particularly the huge influence of conservative polluting industry in the US government. And it goes right to the top.

What facts? This is another example of politically driven perception, not scientific driven facts. Bush is a conservative and so he's automatically labeled a supporter of "big business". And of course if you support big business then you are automatically labeled anti-environment. There's room for differences of opinion as to what the science indicates is necessary action without concluding that anybody that doesn't want to take the most extreme steps proposed is "anti-environment".

The facts? Simply the very close connections that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice among others have with big business. It makes the public suspicious of their motives. Again, just pointing out that these suspicions seem to be more prevalent in Europe than in the US.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-12, 08:01 PM
numbskull: Well, yes. But public perception is the major factor that politicians will consider when making policy.
And public perception is not often swayed by scientific evidence!

That's not always true. There are decisions made that go against the "polls" of the American people. But regardless of the rate at which political leaders go against the will of the American people, your point actually re-inforces what I'm saying. Perception is swayed by political movements not by scientific logic. If those movements ignore the actual scientific evidence or make claims beyond what scientific evidence can actually support - as has been the case in the global warming issue, then you're swaying public opinion based upon politics not upon science. That's why it is extremely critical that scientists not allow the political pressures to override their assessment of the global warming evidence.

You have the American news media pushing global warming. You have global warming being pushed in the schools. You have politicians screaming for action. You have environmental lobbyists screaming for action. You have computer models that are extremely unreliable being presented as "evidence". And the Sun's influence is rarely discussed in all this. So you put all that together and the important step of analyzing the significance of the claimed evidence for global warming is completely overwhelmed.


I'm not sure if this is getting us anywhere. I simply wanted to make the point about the differences in European and American public perception and how important they both are. Science should not shield itself from it.

The people on this board are very science oriented and do not necessarily reflect the typical American view on Global Warming. There are many people that have been convinced by the news media and political movements that global warming is a very real danger. From my interactions those of us that think otherwise are not the majority in this country.


numbskull:
The facts? Simply the very close connections that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice among others have
with big business. It makes the public suspicious of their motives. Again, just pointing out that these
suspicions seem to be more prevalent in Europe than in the US.

That really dives too far into the politics and is irrelevant to the science of global warming. I've only gone into the politics as far as I have because its a good illustration of how politics can screw up the public understanding of the actual level of evidence for a scientific theory.

The point about business connections would be relevant if there was actually evidence that:

1. There is a problem that needs to be fixed.
2. There is a plan proposed that would actually fix the problem
3. Bush was shown to be putting his business connections ahead of acting on the plan that was needed to avert a demonstrated impending disaster.

Item #1 has not been scientifically demonstrated. Item #2 does not exist. As pointed out above, even if Global Warming was on solid scientific ground, the Kyoto treaty will do nothing to stop it. Until you have Item#'s 1 and 2 in place, #3 is not important.

numbskull
2004-Feb-12, 08:09 PM
Interesting reply dgruss23, thank you.

So how do you propose that your version of scientific evidence, i.e. that which supports the theory that mankind is having virtually no effect on climate change, is represented more persuasively to the American and other publics?

jrkeller
2004-Feb-12, 08:22 PM
numbskull,

Here are a couple articles for you to consider.

First, (http://www.techcentralstation.com/121603C.html) the Russians, who IIRC are part of Europe, believe that the EU is out to get them and hurt them financially. If you read this article, it also says that the India and China are exempt and are big polluters

The second article (http://www.nature.com/nsu/031124/031124-10.html) states that methane is also an important greenhouse gas. The article states that rice paddies, farm manure and burning of fossil fuels all produce methane. The amount of methane produced by natural and man made sources can be found here (http://cires.colorado.edu/people/tolbert.group/data/Chem5151/natlogar_files/frame.htm) and click methane sources. A lot of the anthropogenic sources are produced by developing countries, not the US. The biggest rice producers, you guessed it Indian and China (http://www.foodmarketexchange.com/datacenter/product/grain/rice/detail/dc_pi_gr_rice0602_01.htm), about half the worlds production.

Do you see the unfairness here? Exempt countries that produce a significant amount of greenhouse gasses, but not the US.

Furthermore, the US has a reforestration program, while other exempt countries are cutting down their forests. Again, do you see the unfairness?


A few other things to consider. The big explosion of SUVs and large gas guzzling autos, didn't occur during the Bush-Cheney years, but during the supposedly eco-friendly Clinton Gore years. Furthermore Clinton did not sign Kyoto either.

numbskull
2004-Feb-12, 08:35 PM
jrkeller, thanks. I may look at them another day. I feel that in today's world you can have any opinion and then go out and look for supporting evidence. I am sure I could find perfectly respected counter articles to these if I wanted to.

But I don't. My limited contribution to this debate is simply reflecting public perception and how it seems to differ depending on which side of the Atlantic that perception is formed.

The relationship between Europe (specifically the EU) and the US is a little frosty at the moment. It is interesting to see how that effects the US/UK relationship and where that might lead us with the issue of climate change.

I offer you no scientific opinion on this subject - merely a commentary on the European view.

bobjohnston
2004-Feb-12, 09:39 PM
On something dgruss23 mentioned: posters on this forum tend to concentrate on the scientific perspective on global warming (appropriately so for this forum!), which is at odds with the public perception in the US as well as Europe. The American public generally believes like the European public, that global warming is an impending man-made disaster (contrary, of course, to the scientific evidence).

The contrast numbskull has made mention of between the US and Europe is in terms of public policy. The current anti-Kyoto policy of the US is in part a distinction between the current administration and the previous one, but in part it is opposed by both parties in Congress because of its disproportionate economic punishment of the U.S.

The Europeans called for action in the name of science, but the threw their weight behind a treaty that sought to single out the US for punishment. Yes, they assured themselves that the US had to shoulder more weight because of its greater per capita consumption or whatever (notable ignoring ways in which they benefit from that consumption), but they insisted on keeping a treaty that singled out the US even if such treatment could not be justified in terms of net emissions. This is when Kyoto began to unravel, when incorporation of sink credits ended up benefiting the US.

In the end, though, the science is just too soft to support a particular policy approach, Kyoto or otherwise. Even if we set aside the fact that the science refutes the notion of man-made catastrophic wamring, we can't observationally constrain the impact of different policies, the future of energy use, the past/current/future sinks of carbon, the climate impacts of a warming even if it did happen, etc. That policy makers in any nation think they can implement such legislation in the absence of relevant science is scary.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-12, 09:56 PM
Interesting reply dgruss23, thank you.

Thanks numbskull. I try to keep these discussions calm and rational. :)


So how do you propose that your version of scientific evidence,
i.e. that which supports the theory that mankind is having virtually no effect on climate change, is represented more persuasively to the American and other publics?

First, I can't just accept the above statement as written. Its not my version, one of the major proponents is Dr. Baliunas at Harvard. Second, I'd rather say "virtually no effect on climate" than "...climate change" because its not even established that there is significant climate change occuring on the timescales claimed by global warming advocates. Sorry for being picky, but I don't want what I'm saying misinterpreted.

As far as communicating it to the American public. In my opinion, the evidence speaks for itself. It doesn't need to be packaged in flashy terms to "persuade" anybody. So how do we do a better job of presenting the evidence that the Sun's role in climate is an important driving force?

It starts with the education system. The college and high school level environmental science textbooks I've seen do not mention the Sun's role. That has to change. And its not as if the evidence hasn't been out there long enough. Astronomy magazine had a piece on it around 1990 and S&T around 1996. But, its hardly surprising that most people can be easily scared by the global warming proponents when they're not made aware of the alternative through traditional education.

Basically, it needs to become part of the science curriculum at the high school and college level. People training to become high school teachers need to be presented with the evidence. Therefore, it needs to become part of the college level curriculum that trains high school teachers.

Second, somebody who is researching the matter needs to write a book about it meant for the interested layman. Personally, I feel if those two things happened, then people would be able to make their own judgements from the actual evidence rather than from political movements.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 09:32 AM
So how do you propose that your version of scientific evidence,
i.e. that which supports the theory that mankind is having virtually no effect on climate change, is represented more persuasively to the American and other publics?

First, I can't just accept the above statement as written. Its not my version, one of the major proponents is Dr. Baliunas at Harvard.

OK, fair comment. I meant to say "your preferred version", i.e. a body of evidence to which you subscribe.

Further to comments by some other posters, I understand entirely that this is a science board and that the opinions and views posted by most here are of a predominately scientific nature.

However, there is a real problem with science in the world today. Many people simply don't trust it. They prefer their astrology and crystals and energy lines and paganism and spiritualism.

Now this isn't a criticism of science itself, more of the media that perpetuate a lot of this nonsense.

But this is a major problem for science. Public support for science is generally only given if it is applied, i.e. for microwave ovens, gadgets, more TV, defence, health, wealth, national pride, and so on. Science will struggle for funding if it is viewed as pure research and not "relavent" to the public.

The effect of this is extremely worrying. It is having the effect of reducing much science to the level of the anti-science of new age spiritualism. I know many people who are convinced by pseudo-scientific evidence of the healing properties of crystals or the existence of energy lines in the earth's crust. Indeed many people actually believe this garbage more readily than real science.

So the scientific community is obliged to try harder at convincing the public of science's worth. Not its worth in producing gadgets, but its generic value in enhancing our understanding of all aspects of the universe including this planet's climate change.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-13, 01:09 PM
numbskull: So the scientific community is obliged to try harder at convincing the public of science's worth. Not its worth in producing gadgets, but its generic value in enhancing our understanding of all aspects of the universe including this planet's climate change.

First numbskull, please don't interpret anything that follows as an attack, but I'm going to refer to something you said in an earlier post on this page to illustrate a different point of view on this statement. I agree that scientists have to communicate the worth of science - through popular writing, through the media. Scientists do a pretty good job of this. They write articles for magazines, they write popular books. They provide interviews for science writers. Is there something elso you think they should be doing?

There is a saying about leading a horse to water. Now earlier on this page jrkeller provided you with several links to articles. Your response was this:


numbskull: jrkeller, thanks. I may look at them another day. I feel that in today's world you can have any opinion and then go out and look for supporting evidence. I am sure I could find perfectly respected counter articles to these if I wanted to.

First, we're all busy, so I don't fault you in any way for having to make a judgement about whether or not you have the time to read those articles. But you're making an assumption that equally valid counter articles could be found and using that as a justification for not taking a serious look at the articles jrkeller linked to.

So what more are scientists to do? Scientists can write the articles and books. We can talk about the issues here, but in the end we cannot force people to read those writings. You have not responded to any of the specifics of the articles linked to on this thread about the evidence for a solar influence on climate.

I understand that you're more interested in the political/sociological aspects of this, but you have to be willing to dive into the science of the global warming/climate change issue if you're going to put the politics in proper context.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 01:45 PM
dgruss - no impression of attack detected!

There are plenty of resources on the internet that support the view that there is man-induced climate change.

The US Government's own Evironment Protection Agency for example.

http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/index.html

Greepeace would be another.

Now you may disagree that these are respected sources; from your viewpoint they might not be. But they are respected in the public domain.

This stuff is easy enough for any citizen to pick up. And it doesn't support your insistence that there is no evidence for man-induced climate change.

But I digress. As I said before I have no view one way or the other; it is too much of a scientific issue for me to comprehend and therefore to make a judgement. I haven't responded to the evidence for a solar influence because I am not qualified to do so.

My interest is more about how do you, the no man-induced climate change lobby, better persuade the public of your beliefs? Where can you improve?

My own view is that science attracts apolitical people. People with few non-science "issues" that they feel the need to debate. They're in science for the purity of it, the thirst for knowledge, the proof. But, if you want to influence the world around you, science needs more externally facing people. People like Hawking, Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Gallileo, Arcemedes. And yes the Bad Astronomer. (Please excuse spelling errors).

If I understand it correctly, science is suffering from a dearth of new recruits. Science needs to take a good long look at itself and rekindle the public passion that was prevalent in the 50s and 60s.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-13, 02:07 PM
I looked at the link. I've actually linked to the EPA global warming website before on this board. It is a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about. There is not evidence on that site that confirms significant warming trends consistent with global warming predictions - nor any evidence that the warming they've identified in the last 25 years is caused by the greenhouse effect. In fact the graph on the "climate" page of their website shows the cooling trend from 1940 to the mid 1970's that led to predictions of catastrophic global cooling.

I also looked at the greeenpeace website. Here (http://www.greenpeace.org/international_en/campaigns/intro?campaign_id=3995) is their global warming page. Their level of scientific rigor is well illustrated. A picture of damage from hurricane Andrew is offered. Umm ... greenpeace ... newsflash .... hurricanes are a natural phenomenon and sometimes they're pretty strong.

But this is typically of the entire environmental movement. If a piece of icesheet breaks off Antarctica, they race down there for pictures as "proof" of the effects of global warming. Hmm ... pieces of ice sheet never break off?

I notice also the greenpeace people are attributing declines in animal populations to global warming. But wait - I thought it was due to overharvesting and habitat disruption. Could the greenpeace people quantify exactly how much of the population declines they claim are caused by:

1. habitat destruction
2. overharvesting
3. global warming
4. natural disease
5. natural predation

It seems quite dubious for them to claim any declines are a result of global warming. But they have other way on their list to blame it on people.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 02:14 PM
Just as I thought; you don't respect those sources. But your problem is that many people do.

Actually I have a lot of respect for Greenpeace, not so much on the climate change issue, (because I don't understand it), but on their work with endangered species and pollution.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-13, 03:00 PM
Just as I thought; you don't respect those sources.

Its about evidence more than respect. Its pretty simple. They're making claims that they cannot support with scientific evidence. Then they're demanding actions based upon unsupported claims.

If you go to a doctor claiming to have chest pains they don't immediately schedule you for open heart surgery. But that's exactly what the global warming movement is doing. Actually what they're doing is even worse - its like a doctor predicting that you'll have chest pains because you've eaten too many cheeseburgers and therefore scheduling immediate open heart surgery.


But your problem is that many people do.

I'd say the problem is not that people respect those sources. Its that they don't realize those sources aren't presenting the scientific case as it actually is. Maybe you're right, maybe the scientists that understand the broader picture need to get more involved or push harder to get the evidence into public discourse.

But I'm still not clear where you're coming from. You keep saying that you don't know enough about the science to make a judgement. Yet you initially were saying that we are facing a serious risk. But how can you conclude that without examining all the evidence? Do you just accept that global warming is inevitable because that is the majority popular opinion?

I used to be worried about global warming, but I kept reading and I made the judgement that the evidence for the Sun's influence in long term climate change is solid, that the computer models have been demonstrated to be unreliable, that the actual evidence that there is warming beyond natural trends is non-existant, that any warming that might be present the last 25 years has not been scientifically been demonstrated to result from greenhouse gases. And new studies keep coming out that only serve to reinforce that view.

So after all that I cannot support things like the Kyoto treaty and many of the other proposals for action recommended by global warming advocates.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 03:15 PM
But I'm still not clear where you're coming from. You keep saying that you don't know enough about the science to make a judgement. Yet you initially were saying that we are facing a serious risk. But how can you conclude that without examining all the evidence? Do you just accept that global warming is inevitable because that is the majority popular opinion?

I draw no conclusion other than to say there is a risk. That's it. That's where I'm coming from. Nowhere else. And I have certainly not said that I accept global warming's inevitability due to popular opinion.

My input has been neither pro nor con. I have simply been trying to ascertain why the believers in man-induced climate change have been seemingly more successful in influencing public opinion than the non-believers.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-13, 03:31 PM
My input has been neither pro nor con. I have simply been trying to ascertain why the believers in man-induced climate change have been seemingly more successful in influencing public opinion than the non-believers.

Ok, well that's pretty straightforward. You have environmental movements that don't like industrialization which have seen global warming as an opportunity to push their agenda. If they really care about global warming, then why are they pushing Kyoto? Its already been pointed out that it would do nothing to fix the problem if it existed - and in the process it would cripple the US economy. Its not about science for these people.

Now there is another part to this. Its very easy to convince people of the risk of something like global warming. It doesn't take intensive intellectual work to present a persuasive case (persuasive does not mean scientifically correct). It boils down to this:

1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas - everybody agrees.
2. CO2 is increasing due to fossil fuel usage - this is observed.
3. More CO2 means the planet will warm - here is the claim that is unproven. But it sure sounds logical doesn't it?

Unfortunately (or fortunately), the true behavior of Earth's climate is more complex than that. And you have to look at the long term records to get a better understanding of how things work.

But now look what the global warming movement can do. They've presented a neat little stream of logic with items 1 to 3 above. It seems to make perfect sense even though there's scant evidence to support item 3. The more detailed scientific evidence doesn't matter. To keep people scared about global warming all they have to do is:

- point to computer models that predict warming (it doesn't matter to them that the models are unreliable).
- point out every extreme weather event/season that occurs (hurricanes, droughts, floods, forest fires, variations in glaciers and ice sheets, el nino ....)
- claim that the risk is too great if we do nothing. We can't wait to find out if we're right because by then it will be too late.

And there you have it - a simple prescription for the corruption of science by politics that persuades the masses into believing an unsupported "theory".

Note added: And the reason the alternative view has more difficulty is that it takes a lot longer to explain it than it does to state items 1-3 above. Combine that with the fact that most people are unfamiliar with sunspot cycles and solar magnetic cycles, cosmic rays, Be-10 isotope records and so on and you've got a real challenge to make any headway on it.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 03:42 PM
Interesting dgruss, interesting. I still maintain that science should be a lot more vocal if it needs public support. Otherwise we'll have a world leaders' solstice gathering at Stonehenge to exert Gia's energy lines against rising tides. And believe me, if the public thinks that would work, then the politicians will set up a teepee and claim to be direct decendents of Merlin.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-13, 03:47 PM
Interesting dgruss, interesting. I still maintain that science should be a lot more vocal if it needs public support. Otherwise we'll have a world leaders' solstice gathering at Stonehenge to exert Gia's energy lines against rising tides. And believe me, if the public thinks that would work, then the politicians will set up a teepee and claim to be direct decendents of Merlin.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I think you're right numbskull. Its time for more vocal efforts to present the evidence. But the politics does make it difficult because any time Bush or some other elected official brings this up, they get accusations of being "pro big business" flung at them.

Personally, I fail to grasp the validity of that claim. Shouldn't we all be pro-business? Where do jobs come from? Certainly we should demand businesses be honest and follow the laws (environmental and other) that have been written, but it seems pretty silly to criticize someone for supporting businesses.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 04:08 PM
Business is not trusted because its aim is to make money for its shareholders above all else. That's just the way of things I'm afraid.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-13, 04:25 PM
Business is not trusted because its aim is to make money for its shareholders above all else. That's just the way of things I'm afraid.

I imagine we're simply going to have to agree to disagree on that. Yes, businesses are aiming for profits. They'd be out of business pretty quickly if they didn't worry about profits. What about this? (http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ibmgives/) as an example.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-13, 04:49 PM
Business is not trusted because its aim is to make money for its shareholders above all else. That's just the way of things I'm afraid.

I have to disagree with that. The US industry was one big producer of CFC's not that long ago. The US government said no more CFC's and the US industry invented new non-ozone damaging Freon's. This happened because the science and the data was there to back it up.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-13, 04:56 PM
Here's where I stand on this topic. I believe that there has been a general warming trend over the past 20-30 years. To pin the cause soley on CO2 is wrong. There are other gasses which are known greenhouse gasses which need to be included in the treaty and the variation in solar output needs to be examined too.

When it comes to Kyoto, it penalizes industrial countries and rewards agricultural coutries (or at least there is no penalty). If it called "global warming," there needs to be global efforts of all countries. Furthermore, there needs to be rewards and plenties for those countries who either destroy forests and those who replant forests.

numbskull
2004-Feb-13, 07:45 PM
Business is not trusted because its aim is to make money for its shareholders above all else. That's just the way of things I'm afraid.

I have to disagree with that. The US industry was one big producer of CFC's not that long ago. The US government said no more CFC's and the US industry invented new non-ozone damaging Freon's. This happened because the science and the data was there to back it up.

I'm not saying I don't trust business, (well not necessarily), just that business is not trusted. Its number one priority is to make money for its shareholders. If US industry hadn't changed to Freons, it would have started to make less money.

An example could be Exxon, (yes I know poor old Exxon). Its first priority is to make as large a profit as it possibly can. To do that, it sells as much oil as it possibly can while keeping costs as low as it possibly can. This drives Exxon's business policy more than anything else, hence public cynicism when it says it cares about the environment.

I'm not arguing a point here, I'm just stating some of the reasons for general public mistrust of business.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-13, 08:45 PM
My point is this. For the ozone case, there was good hard scientific evidence from experimental and numerical modeling, satellite photos and specimen collections at the South pole to prove that CFCs were damaging the ozone layer. For global warming, there isn't.

Switching to non-ozone destroying Freons cost the US industry billions of dollars. At least here in Texas and I'd guess the rest of the US, all air conditioning repairmen must be licensed (cost) and have special equipment to ensure that all old Freon is not released into the air. US industry had to develop new systems that handle the new Freons, because there was some incompatibility with the current materials and some of the fluids required different operating pressures. The US could have given the world the finger, but we didn't. In fact the US was ahead of some other world countries in halting the use of CFCs.

The problem with the global warming theory is that there is no hard evidence to present. A one degree Fahrenheit increase over 125 years is not even evidence. The measurement error of the best temperature measuring devices is at least 2F and more like 4F.

aurora
2004-Feb-13, 11:05 PM
The problem with the global warming theory is that there is no hard evidence to present. A one degree Fahrenheit increase over 125 years is not even evidence. The measurement error of the best temperature measuring devices is at least 2F and more like 4F.

So there is no evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

jrkeller
2004-Feb-14, 02:23 AM
The problem with the global warming theory is that there is no hard evidence to present. A one degree Fahrenheit increase over 125 years is not even evidence. The measurement error of the best temperature measuring devices is at least 2F and more like 4F.

So there is no evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?


I didn't say that. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The question is, is this gas responsible for the increases we might be seeing. Since the accuracy of all but the most expensive temperature measurement devices is greater than 2F, the data must show temperature rises that are greater than 2F and the data presented so far doesn't show that. In the heat transfer world which I am a part of, making conclusions like there is global warming because there is a 1F temperature rise in the data and your measurement devices have an error of 2F, will get you a quick ticket to the unemployment line.

I'm not saying that we ought to not do anything until we see that rise, but we should preceed cautiously.




numbskull,

Just so know you, in Texas, home state of George Bush Jr., wind power production expanded greatly during his tenure as governor. Now that we have a choice in power companies, we can choose companies that only use renewable sources like wind and solar power. This was a state law not a federal law.

aurora
2004-Feb-15, 04:00 PM
I didn't say that. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The question is, is this gas responsible for the increases we might be seeing.


I just got the new issue of Scientific American yesterday, in addition to the cover story on robots 8) , there is a large article on global warming.

You probably won't like most of the article, based on your comments here.
:(

nokton
2004-Feb-15, 06:28 PM
Been following this topic with much interest.No one has so far mentioned
James Lovelock,and his theory of Gaia.He makes a good argument,
and backs his theory up with facts,in particular,carbon absorbtion,and
the ability of nature,and Mother earth,to stay in a balance,whatever
changes imposed by the variable output of our Sun.I feel Lovelocks
theory deserves better understanding within this current topic about
global warming,for heavens sake,the poles of this planet once teemed
with life,now they are frozen over.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-16, 04:38 AM
I didn't say that. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The question is, is this gas responsible for the increases we might be seeing.


I just got the new issue of Scientific American yesterday, in addition to the cover story on robots 8) , there is a large article on global warming.

You probably won't like most of the article, based on your comments here.
:(

I'll read the article. Like I alluded to earlier, I need facts, not speculation. If it makes sense to me and factually correct then I'll be happy to change my mind.

darkhunter
2004-Feb-16, 02:12 PM
This would slow it down :) (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=11240)

From what I see, both sides of the debate have points, so the truth is likely somewhere in the middle of the extremes. Personally, I think that in order to get a true explanation, we need to understand the natural climate variation (previous Ice Ages, for example) before we start blaming humanity for everything that's wrong...

jrkeller
2004-Feb-17, 06:19 AM
I went to the store and the new issue of Scientific American hadn't arrived yet. I went to the website. While they didn't the full article, they did list the author. After a bit a googling I found several papers written by the author, James Hansen. One article can be foundhere (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/) There is a nice PDF document that you can download too.

Again, I have the same problems with his articles that I have with all the global warming theories. That is, there is no mention of the uncertainity analysis (the error) of the measurements. As I said earlier, the best temperature measuring systems have an error around 2F, but 4F is more likely. Since all his data is much less than measurement error, you cannot make a definate conclusion if global warming is fact.

I do have a serious problem with the data he does present in the article. He states that there is a 0.5W/m2 Planetary disequilibrium. In other words, Earth absorbs more heat than it rejects. I find this number especially suspect. About 10-12 years ago, I was involved, in a minor way, in determining the solar constant. That is the amount of energy emitted by the sun. The accepted value of the this number varies by at least 10-20 W/m2. Again his number is 0.5W/m2, well within the error range.

James Hansen's latest idea (http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/12/23/soot.climate.ap/)is that soot particles are responsible for some of the global warming phenomenon that we are seeing. From the article "NASA scientists say soot, mostly from diesel engines, is causing as much as a quarter of all observed global warming by reducing the ability of snow and ice to reflect sunlight. " Those of us who study the Mars atmosphere have known of this paramerter for years and have wondered why it hasn't been included until now.

I predict that the next factor that someone will bring up is that replacing plantlife with concrete and blacktop increases global warming. Plants reflect a lot more sunlight than blacktop or concrete.

So I'm back to where I started. One cannot make a definate conclusion because the data that is presented is well within measurement error.

boppa
2004-Feb-17, 03:39 PM
If a piece of icesheet breaks off Antarctica, they race down there for pictures as "proof" of the effects of global warming. Hmm ... pieces of ice sheet never break off?

i was under the impression that it had broken off because the antartic cap had never extended so far since theyt had recorded its extent
ok arctic appears to be shrinking tho

but every site that claims the world is ending tomorrow at 6pm that i have seen has also either ignored completely or disallowed due to it relative newness ,sattelite readings
but allows ground based reading altho it is now acknowledged that most of the historic temp readings are dubious due to various effects

aurora
2004-Feb-17, 06:58 PM
You can argue about the causes (because there are at least several, and it is not certain how much each contributes), but I can't see how anyone could argue that the earth is not warming up.


Since all his data is much less than measurement error, you cannot make a definate conclusion if global warming is fact.

It's pretty obvious that almost every (with only a tiny few exceptions) glacier in the world has been shrinking for the last 100 years or so.

We don't need expensive equipment to measure that -- simple before and after pictures do just fine.

Maybe jrkeller should write a letter to Scientific American? The author would possibly reply to the questions or issues raised.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-17, 07:15 PM
Maybe jrkeller should write a letter to Scientific American? The author would possibly reply to the questions or issues raised.



I actually plan to write him directly and see what he has to say.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-17, 07:19 PM
Now here an article (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/102682_antarctica03.shtml)on global warming that I like.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-17, 07:40 PM
You can argue about the causes (because there are at least several, and it is not certain how much each contributes), but I can't see how anyone could argue that the earth is not warming up.


My first response, as it always is, how do you know that this is a man made problem? See the previous link. (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/102682_antarctica03.shtml)

When it comes to measurements think of the following scenario. A researcher says that the temperature of the Earth has risen by one degree F. When I ask him the measurement error he tells me it is four degrees F. From a scientific and engineering point of view his data CANNOT prove anything. All of James Hansen's work and all global warming research falls into this category.

Does this mean that global warming is a myth? No it does not. It just means that the data cannot be used to support the theory.

My general feelings are this. Basic Heat Transfer principles and analysis show that adding CO2, methane and other gasses and particulates to the atmosphere should increase global warming. It also shows that changes in the solar output also effect global warming. It also shows that changes in surface reflectivity will increase global warming. So yes, I feel it is more than possible that global warming is a fact, but we need to be cautious when we try to limit CO2 emission without looking at and controlling other problem causing factors.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-17, 07:44 PM
You can argue about the causes (because there are at least several, and it is not certain how much each contributes), but I can't see how anyone could argue that the earth is not warming up.


My first response, as it always is, how do you know that this is a man made problem? See the previous link. (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/102682_antarctica03.shtml)


And what does "You can argue about the causes...." mean where you come from? You phrase your response as if it were in contradiction to what Aurora had said.

nokton
2004-Feb-17, 07:51 PM
Aurora,wave your arms as you do about the earth getting warmer.
It is,the discussion here is why,and understanding the why.
I go back to my original comment here,some time ago.998 AD,
when Eric the Red settled the Norse colonies in Greenland,so called
because it was a green and pleasant land,the earth was much warmer
then.We had more cars then?More factories belching out CO2?
The temperature of our planet Aurora, is more to do with the output
of our sun,not cars,or the methane produced in dinosaur dung.

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-17, 08:00 PM
Aurora,wave your arms as you do about the earth getting warmer.
It is,the discussion here is why,and understanding the why.
I go back to my original comment here,some time ago.998 AD,
when Eric the Red settled the Norse colonies in Greenland,so called
because it was a green and pleasant land,the earth was much warmer
then.We had more cars then?More factories belching out CO2?
The temperature of our planet Aurora, is more to do with the output
of our sun,not cars,or the methane produced in dinosaur dung.

I think the name of Greenland had more to do with PR and spin than actual climatology.

aurora
2004-Feb-17, 08:02 PM
My first response, as it always is, how do you know that this is a man made problem?

I don't think you read my post.

aurora
2004-Feb-17, 08:06 PM
I think the name of Greenland had more to do with PR and spin than actual climatology.

This has been pointed out before. Nokton had some ideas that contradicted historical records regarding the Norse.

And I don't recall waving my arms, I was merely replying to a post that said there was no evidence for global warming. The evidence is certainly unequivicable that the Earth is getting warmer.

That is the only thing I was saying, although Nokton wanted me to say something else.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-17, 08:14 PM
Aurora,wave your arms as you do about the earth getting warmer.
It is,the discussion here is why,and understanding the why.
I go back to my original comment here,some time ago.998 AD,
when Eric the Red settled the Norse colonies in Greenland,so called
because it was a green and pleasant land,the earth was much warmer
then.We had more cars then?More factories belching out CO2?
The temperature of our planet Aurora, is more to do with the output
of our sun,not cars,or the methane produced in dinosaur dung.

I think the name of Greenland had more to do with PR and spin than actual climatology.

Actually, you both are right. It was a PR spin, but Greenland had a better climate a thousand years ago. See here (http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/). Plus they created thier own evironmental problems.

bobjohnston
2004-Feb-17, 09:11 PM
The evidence is certainly unequivicable that the Earth is getting warmer.

This may or may not be true, depending on exactly what you mean. Is current mean global temperature higher than 120 years ago? If you mean this, then yes, this is fairly unequivocable. Is there an ongoing warming trend? Has warming occurred in the last 30 years? On these questions there is contradictory data. Is any current warming outside of observed natural variation? The answer is no.


It's pretty obvious that almost every (with only a tiny few exceptions) glacier in the world has been shrinking for the last 100 years or so.

It may be correct to say that most continental glaciers have receded in the last century. But a couple of points: (1) Continental glaciers have been receding off and on since the last ice age; and (2) Aurora's statement is not true of polar icecaps. Observations indicate that the Antarctic icecap is growing in volume.

nokton
2004-Feb-17, 09:39 PM
Many thanks JR for your much appreciated info regarding the Viking
occupation of Greenland,welcome the detail you provide,which adds
much to my understanding of the Viking colonies and their history,
and the reason for their demise.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-17, 09:50 PM
jrkeller wrote: My general feelings are this. Basic Heat Transfer principles and analysis show that adding CO2, methane and other gasses and particulates to the atmosphere should increase global warming. It also shows that changes in the solar output also effect global warming. It also shows that changes in surface reflectivity will increase global warming. So yes, I feel it is more than possible that global warming is a fact, but we need to be cautious when we try to limit CO2 emission without looking at and controlling other problem causing factors.

Well said jrkeller! There are so many factors that affect climate and a lot of uncertainty as to how they intereact with each other. Its still an unanswered question as to whether CO2 increases precede or follow warming trends. Its still unanswered as to how much impact cosmic ray activity has directly on climate factors such as cloud formation. But what is strongly evident is that preceding the industrial era, the Sun's magnetic activity cycle was related to climate changes on Earth.

I'd be curious to know what thoughts people that think global warming is caused by industrial activity have on the cooling trend that occurred between 1940 and the mid 1970's.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-18, 03:07 AM
My first response, as it always is, how do you know that this is a man made problem?

I don't think you read my post.

For me, when someone says "global warming", I take it to mean mankind induced, such as adding soot, methane and CO2 to the atmosphere. I really don't considered the natural cycles of warming and cooling as global warming. Phil's book has a very nice section on the natural cycles of warming and cooling.

FrankFSmokey
2004-Feb-18, 03:49 AM
It's actually been proven that the earth goes through these changes on a long term scale. Ice Ages come and go and between them, there is a warmer period. The earth might not be that warm now at all. It might actally colder than many periods in history. Scientists have researched and found that the temperature now is only the second hottest in the past of the earth. Thw only time we'll have to really start to worry is if we start getting skin burn after 15 minutes in the sun.

Maksutov
2004-Feb-21, 01:09 PM
I've been involved with metrology, the science of measurement, as a career, for more than 30 years. The data related to "global warming" have been generated by instruments whose accuracy and precision completely encompass the "significant" range of the data they've generated. In short, the data could be real, or the data are noise. So far the data are totally encompassed by the noise.

This is well illustrated by the frustration of University of Washington scientists who are studying part of the Antarctic ice sheet:

>>>
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, covering 360,000 square miles, started melting thousands of years before mankind began burning coal and oil -- a "natural" rate that has held steady over the centuries, according to the study.

"If we make the world warmer, it will very likely accelerate the melting rate," said John Stone, lead author of the study and a glacial geologist with the UW's Department of Earth and Space Sciences. "How much, we don't know."
>>>

The validity of the data here is a function of not only measurements and their accuracy/precision, but of time between measurements, essentially a process control study. But the process being studied is one that takes thousands of years.

The only way to get short-term results is computer models which artificially accelerate these processes. But these are subject to engineer/programmer assumptions (read: errors) so they're not always right.

It's a dilemma.

Only time will tell.

8)

Pippi Longstocking
2004-Feb-21, 09:53 PM
Not voting for Bush may help?

ToSeek
2004-Feb-21, 11:43 PM
Not voting for Bush may help?

I'd go along with that, but keep in mind that short of being generally obnoxious, the easiest way to get banned here (or at least to get your threads locked) is to discuss politics or religion.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-22, 12:29 AM
Not voting for Bush may help?

Warning: probable bad attempt at humor about to commence:

I thought global warming advocates were all in favor of the Bushes. You know all that protest that is raised when logging companies want to clear out the underbrush. They seem to want to keep the Bushes then. What gives? :D

Pippi Longstocking
2004-Feb-22, 12:50 AM
The reason I mentioned Bush is the fact that he does not acknowledge the fact the planet is undergoing global warming. Remember Kyoto?
I live in Australia and we are enduring one of the worst heat waves ever: temps. in the 50s. and massive humidity (no I'm not in the north where it is tropical)
However, to reduce global warming IMO we need to reduce fossil-fuel burning and this can be achieved by putting an end to oil drilling. Don't forget the ocean bed is very sick due to too much drilling. There are many alternatives for energy and fuel. Most major car manufactures are now in the process of researching and have actually produced vehicles which run on alternative means.

Musashi
2004-Feb-22, 12:52 AM
Whatever the problems are with climate and global warming (and whatever the connection is), Kyoto was a worthless protocal/treaty.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-22, 01:45 AM
Pippi,

When it comes to global warming, I think you should look at Maksutov's post just before your "vote for Bush post". His posts affirms what I have been saying in this thread for awhile. We can't tell if there if mankind is causing global warming or if this a natural phenomenon or if there is even global warming at all (Maksutov correct me if I miss-paraphase you). The current measurements aren't sensitive enough and the time frame hasn't been long enough. For example, 25-30 years ago, we were told the next ice age was coming.

When it comes to the US presidents neither Clinton or Bush signed or promoted Kyoto. If fact during the Clinton years, the US saw the huge expansion of the gas guzzling SUVs. I do not know what the vehicle situation is like in the rest of the world. I suspect it is similar. I think the main objections the US has towards this treaty is that it is not a global treaty. Big pollutors, like India and China are not part of the treaty. If it's global warming then the world must be involved.

aurora
2004-Feb-22, 04:40 AM
or if there is even global warming at all

Can you explain the shrinkage of all alpine glaciers in the last century? It won't be much longer until there are no glaciers in Glacier National Park.

How about birds that migrate north and nest a couple of weeks earlier now than they did 100 years ago? I've seen papers on detailed studies of this.

It's pretty obvious that the climate is warming.

Archer17
2004-Feb-22, 05:01 AM
The climate is warming but is it warming because of our emissions or is it a cyclical thing? I'm all for clean air but lets do it right. I've said this earlier in the thread and agree with Musashi and some others, the Kyoto Protocol was flawed and was more of an equalizer (stifle the industrialized nations only) than a genuine attempt at addressing pollution.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-22, 07:02 AM
or if there is even global warming at all

Can you explain the shrinkage of all alpine glaciers in the last century? It won't be much longer until there are no glaciers in Glacier National Park.

How about birds that migrate north and nest a couple of weeks earlier now than they did 100 years ago? I've seen papers on detailed studies of this.

It's pretty obvious that the climate is warming.

Did you read Maksutov post? My point is and has always been, the temperature measurement data cannot be used because the temperature rise is within the noise, i.e the error.

Can I explain the shrinkage of all alpine glaciers in the last century? No I cannot. Does that mean, it must be global warming? No it doesn't.

How about birds that migrate north and nest a couple of weeks earlier now than they did 100 years ago?

What did they do 200, 300, 500 years ago? Must global warming cause this? What about pollution? What about mankind's destruction of nesting areas? What about non-native animals pushing out native animals.

Furthermore, there is much more conservation activities than there was 100 year ago. I'll use my own little town as an example. About ten years ago, we became a bird sanctuary. A few years later, a pair of blue herons came to our town to roost. Now we have dozens. Even though they produce a lot of very smelly droppings, we can't get rid of them because they are protected. Some of us hate them, others love them and of course feed them. They'll be here in a few weeks, but when the first pair settled in, in was late March. They choose a tree in my yard, that's how I know. I doubt global warming had anything to do with it. They know they are safe here.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-22, 07:17 AM
The climate is warming but is it warming because of our emissions or is it a cyclical thing? I'm all for clean air but lets do it right. I've said this earlier in the thread and agree with Musashi and some others, the Kyoto Protocol was flawed and was more of an equalizer (stifle the industrialized nations only) than a genuine attempt at addressing pollution.

If you read Phil's book, Chapter 5, he talks about how the changing tilt of the Earth, affects the temperature of the Earth.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-22, 01:03 PM
I finally got a chance to read the Scientific American article by James Hansen. The box on page 71 is interesting because it shows that CO2 and temperature track together. The question that still remains is whether or not the CO2 increases precede the warming or follow the warming. That is really difficult to tell from the graphs but in several cases it looks as if the Temperature rise comes first. I would say this is one of the critical questions to answer.

On page 72 Hansen seems to be wholly unaware of the nature of the evidence for the Sun's role in climate change as he states that fluctuations in the Sun's brightness probably do not have a major effect on 1000 year time scales. Apparently he has not heard of the Maunder minimum or Medieval maximum - which were times during the laste millenium when the sun's activity dropped and was higher respectively.

There is also the research of Sharmer that I pointed out earlier on this thread who finds a solar-climate connection dating back ~ 100,000 years.

As to the rest of the article I found nothing new. The same scenarios. The same scant evidence for a direct connection between human activities and the climate change that can be measured.

And one final comment. He starts out the article talking about how in the summer of 1976 a paradox about the notion of human-made global warming became apparent to him. Now we've already seen a Newsweek article from 1975 on this thread that was talking about impending ice ages. So I guess Hansen was ahead of the curve on the global warming issue? At any rate he makes it sound as if the idea of global warming was already well in place as the standard concern in 1976.

Ok, and one more comment. He also states that spring comes about one week earlier than when he grew up in the 1950's. Umm ... that was in the middle of the cooling trend that occured between the 1940's and the 1970's which is clearly visible on all the temperature graphs of the 20th century.

Why does Hansen even bring this annecdotal "evidence" up? Its completely meaningless and does not constitute evidence for human induced global warming. Surely he must know that?

jrkeller
2004-Feb-22, 01:56 PM
With regards to glacier melting, I'll point you to this article (http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/12/23/soot.climate.ap/). In the article, James Hansen states,

"We suggest that soot contributes to near worldwide melting of ice that is usually attributed solely to global warming," National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko wrote in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Later it states, "Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Nazarenko, a staff associate there, found soot is twice as potent as carbon dioxide in changing global surface air temperatures in the Arctic and the Northern Hemisphere. "

Finally, it states "Scientists thought until recently that only carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have global reach and effect. They now are finding the same thing with these microscopic, suspended particles of pollutants, generically known as aerosols, that settle on ground hours later. "

So it is clear that scientists now believe that global warming is not the sole mechanism for glacier melting. They also make a clear distinction between global warming/climate change and soot particles.

aurora
2004-Feb-23, 02:30 AM
So it is clear that scientists now believe that global warming is not the sole mechanism for glacier melting. They also make a clear distinction between global warming/climate change and soot particles.

Does the soot also explain the melting permafrost?

aurora
2004-Feb-23, 02:33 AM
[
Did you read Maksutov post? My point is and has always been, the temperature measurement data cannot be used because the temperature rise is within the noise, i.e the error.


I read your post, and I was only replying to one thing that you said, namely that you didn't think there was evidence that the earth was warming.

I was not addressing the other points made in your post.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-23, 04:27 AM
So it is clear that scientists now believe that global warming is not the sole mechanism for glacier melting. They also make a clear distinction between global warming/climate change and soot particles.

Does the soot also explain the melting permafrost?

Yes it actually does. The soot causes surface warming, so it melts the permafrost.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-23, 04:30 AM
[
Did you read Maksutov post? My point is and has always been, the temperature measurement data cannot be used because the temperature rise is within the noise, i.e the error.


I read your post, and I was only replying to one thing that you said, namely that you didn't think there was evidence that the earth was warming.

I was not addressing the other points made in your post.

Actually, that was not what I said or what I've been saying. My point is that the temperature measurement data cannot be used. The measurement error is too great.

Now, glacier melting too, is probably unreliable.

Madcat
2004-Feb-23, 04:33 AM
Well, what you're saying is true, but it's hardly a logical reason to dismiss global warming as a human-induced trend out of hand. Does anyone actually question that an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to an increase in the power of the greenhouse effect? Furthermore, does anyone dispute that human activity is releasing more of these gases than would be released naturally? Logically, it seems to me that the effect should occur at some point even if the data doesn't indicate that it's doing so presently. (Note that this isn't even the case; the data may or may not support the case for global warming and it certainly doesn't refute it.)

DreadCthulhu
2004-Feb-23, 09:10 AM
The reason I mentioned Bush is the fact that he does not acknowledge the fact the planet is undergoing global warming. Remember Kyoto?


I would like to point out that politically, the Kyoto treaty has very little support from anyone important in the United States. Even if Bush wasn't President, the Kyoto treaty wouldn't have been ratified - during the Clinton administration, key parts of the Kyoto treaty were voted down 95-0 by the US Senate.

Diamond
2004-Feb-23, 10:11 AM
or if there is even global warming at all

Can you explain the shrinkage of all alpine glaciers in the last century? It won't be much longer until there are no glaciers in Glacier National Park.

Yes. Reduced precipitation at the head of the glaciers. Since the glaciers have been melting back since the coldest part of the Little Ice Age (around the middle of the 17th Century) then you'd expect all on its own for glaciers to melt back.


How about birds that migrate north and nest a couple of weeks earlier now than they did 100 years ago? I've seen papers on detailed studies of this.

It's pretty obvious that the climate is warming.\

It is warming, very slightly as it has been, on and off, since the middle of the 17th Century in the so-called "little Ice Age". BUT the warming is very weak and well within the normal variation of the Earth's climate.

The reason why James Hansen hasn't heard of the Little Ice Age or the Medieval Warm Period that preceded it, is incredibly, that it is claimed by Global Warmers that those climatic events where limited to the North Atlantic and fringes only. That to point out that clear proxy evidence for both the MWP and LIA is found right around the world, is denied and the people who point these inconvenient facts out are demonized.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-23, 10:39 PM
Well, what you're saying is true, but it's hardly a logical reason to dismiss global warming as a human-induced trend out of hand.

Nobody is doing that. The problem is the opposite has happened. Most have embraced GW without sufficient evidence to warrant the claims.


Does anyone actually question that an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to an increase in the power of the greenhouse effect?

Not really. The question is just how significant a warming the CO2 actually causes.


Furthermore, does anyone dispute that human activity is releasing more of these gases than would be released naturally?

Of course not. That's well established.


Logically, it seems to me that the effect should occur at some point even if the data doesn't indicate that it's doing so presently. (Note that this isn't even the case; the data may or may not support the case for global warming and it certainly doesn't refute it.)

And that is why everybody is running scared about global warming. It seems "logical" as I pointed out a few pages ago, but there is no evidence to back up the claims. Its possible the GW advocates have the entire sequence backwards.

If you look at the graph (Hensens SA article) that compares CO2 to Temperature, it is not at all clear that CO2 increases precede Temperature increases. I'd like to see some higher resolution graphs on that, but in some cases it really appears that the opposite is the case.

Consider this possibility. One of the big GW concerns is that the arctic permafrost will begin to melt which would then cause more CO2 to be released thereby accenting the entire GW problem. Its possible that in the past climate changes happened this way:

Natural causes - solar variations, orbital fluctuations or whatever else - begin to warm the planet. As a result the permafrost begins to melt and CO2 begins to increase, other carbon sinks begin to release CO2 and all of the sudden you have a naturally warming planet with CO2 increases following right along.

Then the natural cause of the warming reverses its cycle. The planet begins to cool. The permafrost and other carbon sinks begin to soak up the CO2 and the result is a cooling planet with CO2 dropping in levels right along with it.

Then we come along and look at the last 400,000 years of this and get it all backwards thinking the warming is because of the CO2 rather than the other way around.

That's speculation on my part, but I'm pretty sure I've read something about temperature increases preceding the CO2 cases in some portions of the record.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-25, 06:18 AM
I got the Scientific American today and read the James Hansen article. It was nothing that he hasn't presented elsewhere, but it was a nice summary of his data and theory.

Good points.

I couldn't find anything wrong the general heat transfer and thermodynamic relationships that he uses.

He includes all the sources associated with global warming (and cooling) and their relative importance and just doesn't blame CO2.

He has good explainations of how each component affects the heating or cooling of the planet.

He puts plenty of blame on the non-industrialized nations for the burning of bio-mass which produces black carbon soot and the methane that they produce via their farming processes.

Bad Points.

As is typical of all global warming studies, there is no mention of the error associated with his measurements.

He uses the lower end for the solar insolation constant to compare with his estimated man induced heat imbalances.

He bases his numbers on a global average solar insolation. One can only use this method when the absorption properties of the absorbing body are uniform across the object. For the Earth this decreases the amount of solar energy absorbed by the Earth near the equator and increases over the industrialized North American and European where there are more global warming factors like black carbon soot. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he maybe only using an average value for demostration purposes, but when I write him, I'll bring up this point.

He dismisses changes in solar output as almost negligible. He uses only a 0.139% variation in solar output. Since the temperature of the sun's surface is 5770K, this change in solar correspondes to only a 2K rise in the sun's temperature. This seems pretty small. I'm not a solar physicist, so he could be right on this number.

There is no mention destruction of forests and fields and replacing them blacktop and cement.


While not directly stated, the one thing that his article pointed out to me is that the non-signers of the Kyoto treaty (like China and India) create just as much global warming pollutants (methane, soot and of course their production of CO2) and the industrialized nations.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-25, 06:29 AM
Well, what you're saying is true, but it's hardly a logical reason to dismiss global warming as a human-induced trend out of hand. Does anyone actually question that an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead to an increase in the power of the greenhouse effect? Furthermore, does anyone dispute that human activity is releasing more of these gases than would be released naturally? Logically, it seems to me that the effect should occur at some point even if the data doesn't indicate that it's doing so presently. (Note that this isn't even the case; the data may or may not support the case for global warming and it certainly doesn't refute it.)

I agree with your post. We do know that the increasing greenhouse gasses should increase the temperature of the planet in the future and probably has to some small degree. I just have a very big problem with people who keep saying look at the data, it shows an increase in the Earth's temperature, when the data is well within the error of the measurements.

You do make an excellent point about the data not dismissing global warming. That's a point that the global warming proponents should use.

Kebsis
2004-Feb-25, 05:55 PM
The reason I mentioned Bush is the fact that he does not acknowledge the fact the planet is undergoing global warming. Remember Kyoto?
I live in Australia and we are enduring one of the worst heat waves ever: temps. in the 50s. and massive humidity (no I'm not in the north where it is tropical)
However, to reduce global warming IMO we need to reduce fossil-fuel burning and this can be achieved by putting an end to oil drilling. Don't forget the ocean bed is very sick due to too much drilling. There are many alternatives for energy and fuel. Most major car manufactures are now in the process of researching and have actually produced vehicles which run on alternative means.

I don't mean to be rude, but did you read the rest of this thread? This was all covered already.

1) Kyoto was a poorly written treaty, and was obviously a thinly veiled attempt to punish countries like the U.S and Russia while giving a free ride to countries like China and India. Also, it doesn't matter if Bush wanted to sign it or not, because the Senate and House both completely opposed it.

2) Kyoto was based on bad science; there is no hard evidence that man-made polution is causing Global Warming, so there is no reason to rush into a shiesty treaty like Kyoto.

3)There's nothing the people here would like more than to get away from fossil fuels. But the obvious alternative, nuclear power, is so strongly opposed by the same people who are in favor of the Kyoto treaty that it would be almost impossible to implement on the large scale. Also, fossil fuels have nothing to do with oil drilling.

4) The ocean floor is in no danger from oil drilling. There is a whole lot of ocean floor.

5)The hydrogen cells your referring to with the car manufactuers will, apon their inception, run on fossil fuels.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-25, 07:13 PM
5)The hydrogen cells your referring to with the car manufactuers will, apon their inception, run on fossil fuels.

But there efficiency is at least twice that of current auto engines. Since they run at much lower temperatures, they produce very little secondary pollution like CO (carbon monoxide) and NOx (a green house gas), so that would be a good thing to get implemented as soon as possible.

Kebsis
2004-Feb-25, 07:18 PM
True, and I agree we should try to get that going. But, at the same time that it lowers dependance on oil and air pollution, it will increase the need for strip mining. Meaning that sooner or later we'll have to graduate from that as well.

jrkeller
2004-Feb-25, 07:19 PM
I was talking to a co-worker today and we got to the topic of global warming. He works on life-support projects for NASA. NASA is now developing systems to capture methane produced from waste materials. This system would be used for lunar/Mars bases. It has direct applications to removing methane from landfills. So a system is being developed to remove a portion of methane before it reaches the air.

bobjohnston
2004-Feb-25, 07:53 PM
He dismisses changes in solar output as almost negligible. He uses only a 0.139% variation in solar output. Since the temperature of the sun's surface is 5770K, this change in solar correspondes to only a 2K rise in the sun's temperature. This seems pretty small. I'm not a solar physicist, so he could be right on this number.

This sounds about right for total solar irradiance at all wavelengths for the last few decades. He's wrong to so quickly dismiss the issue, however. First, the variance at higher EM energies varies more dramatically, and there may be feedback effects between these and upper atmospheric processes that enhance any climatic effects. Second, the variance may be greater over longer time periods, like a century or more. Third, observed correlations between temperatures and reconstructed solar output are good (this tends to substantiate the feedback hypothesis).

This is an issue with atmospheric ozone, too: so much of the "information" presented to the public on this is worthless because it ignores solar influences.

dgruss23
2004-Feb-25, 08:16 PM
bobjohnson: This sounds about right for total solar irradiance at all wavelengths for the last few decades. He's wrong to so quickly dismiss the issue, however. First, the variance at higher EM energies varies more dramatically,

That's right. This article (http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0095-00/fs-0095-00.pdf) states that the total irradiance was 0.2 percent less during the Maunder minimum, but may have been 1.04% reduced in U-V.

ToSeek
2004-Feb-25, 09:29 PM
5)The hydrogen cells your referring to with the car manufactuers will, apon their inception, run on fossil fuels.

But there efficiency is at least twice that of current auto engines. Since they run at much lower temperatures, they produce very little secondary pollution like CO (carbon monoxide) and NOx (a green house gas), so that would be a good thing to get implemented as soon as possible.

But how much pollution do you generate by creating the hydrogen?

jrkeller
2004-Feb-26, 12:25 AM
5)The hydrogen cells your referring to with the car manufactuers will, apon their inception, run on fossil fuels.

But there efficiency is at least twice that of current auto engines. Since they run at much lower temperatures, they produce very little secondary pollution like CO (carbon monoxide) and NOx (a green house gas), so that would be a good thing to get implemented as soon as possible.

But how much pollution do you generate by creating the hydrogen?


Basically zero, since the car still uses gasoline. It still does produce CO2

Try here,

http://www.pnl.gov/microcats/apps/transport/car.html

jrkeller
2004-Feb-27, 04:35 PM
Bob,

I just look at your website. Very nice!!

There's seems to be a somewhat close correlation between troposhere temperatures and solar output.

Diamond
2004-Feb-27, 08:25 PM
Bob,

I just look at your website. Very nice!!

There's seems to be a somewhat close correlation between troposhere temperatures and solar output.

Sshhhhh! Don't tell the IPCC, they're fixed on carbon dioxide... [-X

jrkeller
2004-Mar-01, 02:18 PM
I noticed on Friday 2/27/04 that the Blue Herons have returned. They now arrive a monthly eariler than they did just six years ago (seven nestings). I truly doubt that this can be attributed to global warming. The winters in Houston the past few years have been very average.

Kebsis
2004-Mar-01, 05:42 PM
They migrate using the magnetic field of the Earth for navigation, I've heard...perhaps some sort of change in the field is causing the discrepency in migration habits.

russ_watters
2004-Mar-01, 05:56 PM
5)The hydrogen cells your referring to with the car manufactuers will, apon their inception, run on fossil fuels.

But there efficiency is at least twice that of current auto engines. Since they run at much lower temperatures, they produce very little secondary pollution like CO (carbon monoxide) and NOx (a green house gas), so that would be a good thing to get implemented as soon as possible. Have you guys heard the ugly little secret about the current crop of gas/electric hybrids? They don't get anywhere near the promised fuel economy: 20-30% less than advertised.

The problem is that people like their cars the way they are. The things you can do to reduce energy usage, people won't do: get rid of your air conditioning and cut the size of the car in half.

That aside, fuel cells are a huge pet peve of mine. They are being sold by both sides (both Bush and Kerry) as a solution when in reality they do virtually nothing to help our energy situation. Big, big, BA. Maybe the "Freedom for Fission" thread needs a companion thread about real alternate energy.
would like to point out that politically, the Kyoto treaty has very little support from anyone important in the United States. Even if Bush wasn't President, the Kyoto treaty wouldn't have been ratified - during the Clinton administration, key parts of the Kyoto treaty were voted down 95-0 by the US Senate. I also wonder why people insist on equating Kyoto with Bush. Bush had virtually nothing to do with it: it was all written, passed, and signed (by those who were going to sign it) while Clinton was president. All Bush did (not signing it) was the same as what Clinton did - except that Clinton had the opportunity to affect the terms and Bush did not.

russ_watters
2004-Mar-01, 05:58 PM
5)The hydrogen cells your referring to with the car manufactuers will, apon their inception, run on fossil fuels.

But there efficiency is at least twice that of current auto engines. Since they run at much lower temperatures, they produce very little secondary pollution like CO (carbon monoxide) and NOx (a green house gas), so that would be a good thing to get implemented as soon as possible.

But how much pollution do you generate by creating the hydrogen?


Basically zero, since the car still uses gasoline. It still does produce CO2

Try here,

http://www.pnl.gov/microcats/apps/transport/car.html (clarification)
The way the question was worded, the answer is: 'the same as if you just ran your car on the gasoline.'

The question you answered was: 'But how much do you reduce emissions by creating and using hydrogen?'

jrkeller
2004-Mar-02, 12:30 AM
I also wonder why people insist on equating Kyoto with Bush. Bush had virtually nothing to do with it: it was all written, passed, and signed (by those who were going to sign it) while Clinton was president. All Bush did (not signing it) was the same as what Clinton did - except that Clinton had the opportunity to affect the terms and Bush did not.

I think it is because Bill Clinton and Al "Internet" Gore declared themselves environmentalists years ago, even before the 1992 election, and that fallacy has stuck.

yaohua2000
2004-Mar-02, 01:43 AM
global warming!?

it's snowing outside... The city has almost never snown in March before.

bobjohnston
2004-Mar-02, 08:42 PM
Bob,

I just look at your website. Very nice!!

There's seems to be a somewhat close correlation between troposhere temperatures and solar output.

Thanks!

Why is it so strange to some people to think that the Sun is central to our climate? The same goes for stratospheric ozone and solar activity: they are well correlated, yet certain bureaucrats pretend the Sun is non-existent.

Diamond
2004-Mar-07, 09:13 PM
Bob,

I just look at your website. Very nice!!

There's seems to be a somewhat close correlation between troposhere temperatures and solar output.

Thanks!

Why is it so strange to some people to think that the Sun is central to our climate? The same goes for stratospheric ozone and solar activity: they are well correlated, yet certain bureaucrats pretend the Sun is non-existent.

Simple answer? Because solar variation cannot be blamed on human activities. Because solar variation cannot be predicted. Because GCMs all assume that the solar constant really is constant.

Diamond
2004-Mar-07, 09:31 PM
I do have a serious problem with the data he does present in the article. He states that there is a 0.5W/m2 Planetary disequilibrium. In other words, Earth absorbs more heat than it rejects. I find this number especially suspect. About 10-12 years ago, I was involved, in a minor way, in determining the solar constant. That is the amount of energy emitted by the sun. The accepted value of the this number varies by at least 10-20 W/m2. Again his number is 0.5W/m2, well within the error range.



Sorry to bring this up again.

jr - could you point me to a resource which shows this range of variation? Most people I know would regard this as being on the high side, so could you point me to some empirical data that supports this?

Thanks

sarongsong
2004-Mar-10, 01:06 AM
Bent Twig Award nominee:
"...SmT was astonished to find seventh graders being taught...in the Centre Point Learning Science I Essential Interactions science book.
Under "Solutions for Global Warming", section 5.19
[ http://www.cplearning.com/SEIe.html ]
features a photo of a big multi-engine jet sporting a familiar orange/red paint scheme.
The caption reads: "Figure 1- Jet engines running on richer fuel would add
particles to the atmosphere to create a sunscreen". The logo on the plane says: "Particle Air"...
"Could we deliberately add particles to the atmosphere?" asks the text, before helpfully suggesting that "Burning coal adds soot to the air."..."Creating either kind of sunscreen would be cheap," it tells young readers...Though his family gave up the idea of home schooling, he says, "it's perhaps time to reconsider."
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/changingplanet/message/3464

jrkeller
2004-Mar-10, 07:18 PM
I do have a serious problem with the data he does present in the article. He states that there is a 0.5W/m2 Planetary disequilibrium. In other words, Earth absorbs more heat than it rejects. I find this number especially suspect. About 10-12 years ago, I was involved, in a minor way, in determining the solar constant. That is the amount of energy emitted by the sun. The accepted value of the this number varies by at least 10-20 W/m2. Again his number is 0.5W/m2, well within the error range.



Sorry to bring this up again.

jr - could you point me to a resource which shows this range of variation? Most people I know would regard this as being on the high side, so could you point me to some empirical data that supports this?

Thanks

I don't know if can point you to a website. About 12 years ago I was involved (in a small way) with helping define the thermal environmental fluxes for the space station, based on satellite data. We had an awful time trying to get a number that everyone agreed upon and that several NASA centers agreed upon. We ended up picking some extremely high numbers and some extremely low numbers just to make sure that we covered all our bases. We got a variation of approximately 120 W/m2 over the year. About half of that difference is related to the changes in Earth's distance from the sun, the rest is some measurement error and solar variation.

Just so you know. When I make statements about variation, I should have really said, the measurement error and the solar variation.

Jim
2004-Mar-11, 01:25 AM
http://images.ucomics.com/comics/nq/2004/nq040309.gif

Diamond
2004-Mar-11, 01:42 PM
I do have a serious problem with the data he does present in the article. He states that there is a 0.5W/m2 Planetary disequilibrium. In other words, Earth absorbs more heat than it rejects. I find this number especially suspect. About 10-12 years ago, I was involved, in a minor way, in determining the solar constant. That is the amount of energy emitted by the sun. The accepted value of the this number varies by at least 10-20 W/m2. Again his number is 0.5W/m2, well within the error range.



Sorry to bring this up again.

jr - could you point me to a resource which shows this range of variation? Most people I know would regard this as being on the high side, so could you point me to some empirical data that supports this?

Thanks

I don't know if can point you to a website. About 12 years ago I was involved (in a small way) with helping define the thermal environmental fluxes for the space station, based on satellite data. We had an awful time trying to get a number that everyone agreed upon and that several NASA centers agreed upon. We ended up picking some extremely high numbers and some extremely low numbers just to make sure that we covered all our bases. We got a variation of approximately 120 W/m2 over the year. About half of that difference is related to the changes in Earth's distance from the sun, the rest is some measurement error and solar variation.

Just so you know. When I make statements about variation, I should have really said, the measurement error and the solar variation.

Yikes! Even worse than previously thought :wink:

Over what timescale does the variation happen? Is it possible to make an estimate that says: The solar constant as measured from satellites between 1979 and today is x W/m^2 + or - y W/m^2 ?

jrkeller
2004-Apr-05, 06:33 PM
Here's a very new article about global warming and actual measured data.

http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/wca/2004/wca_14f.html

Even though www.greeningearthsociety.org is not a pro-global warming organization, I'm using this link, because they provide the most complete reproduction of the study.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-05, 07:11 PM
By "not a pro-global warming organization" I gather you mean not a subscriber to the catastrophic global warming hypothesis? (vs. someone who favors higher temperatures)

jrkeller
2004-Apr-05, 07:19 PM
By "not a pro-global warming organization" I gather you mean not a subscriber to the catastrophic global warming hypothesis? (vs. someone who favors higher temperatures)

Yes, I guess I should have said that.

Swift
2004-Apr-05, 08:19 PM
Here's a very new article about global warming and actual measured data.

http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/wca/2004/wca_14f.html

Even though www.greeningearthsociety.org is not a pro-global warming organization, I'm using this link, because they provide the most complete reproduction of the study.
I'm not sure they are completely unbiased. From their "About Us" page

Greening Earth Society is a not-for-profit membership organization comprised of rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities, their fuel suppliers, and thousands of individuals.
http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/about.html

jrkeller
2004-Apr-05, 09:09 PM
I know that there are not unbiased, but they presented the most complete version of the report. The other sites I found, just gave sort of a news summary.

Lee
2004-Apr-05, 10:57 PM
Hmmm...

I seem to recall that 99% of climatologists agree that they don't know what to agree on. Global warming is real and so is global cooling... I've read enough about GW to know I don't know diddly. You guys continue to hammer away at solar irradiance fluctuations which is what you would expect from an astronomy site. You guys are all probably right.

Some things to mention. The rate of population increase was 1.4% in 1996 and 1.17% in 2003. This trend is a good thing but we are still adding ~90 million people to this rock a year. If you look at the rate of industrialization going on around the world you can make rough estimates for where we are going to be 10 or 20 years from now in our energy consumption habits. You can't predict the future but the writing is on the wall. Pollution is a big deal and it will become a bigger deal. I believe the earth's climate has several damping mechanisms but we are tooling around with the switches.

Some people have argued that the Kyoto would ruin our economy and a trillion dollars was mentioned. I believe that number is an exaggeration. I'm surprised you guys haven't mentioned increased usage of electrostatic precipitators, flue gas desulphurization and fluidized bed combustion boilers and how these inventions have cleaned up coal emmisions considerably. These inventions certainly add to the coal plant's costs but they make a ton of money for McDermott and other contractors. Reducing pollution might actually create jobs by spreading out energy profits. A stitch in time saves nine. It's easier to reduce pollution at the front end than to clean it up. It's simply a good idea to reduce CO2 and NOx and SOx even though nature pumps out about 8 times as much as we do. BTW everything all depends on which study you look at. I quote "8 times as much" from a 1983 UN climate study but numbers vary considerably.

I'm a nuclear guy. I see these bumper stickers that say "go nuclear for clean air." I don't really like the slogan but it would work. You could build a few hundred nuclear plants that would replace everything else and the costs would not be in the trillions. Nuclear releases 3-4% the CO2 of a comparable coal plant. Kyoto would seem silly.

Besides nuclear and cleaner coal, there's always fuel efficiency which is a huge chunk of overall energy usage. The hydrogen cars are coming but just regular old hybrids give you another few miles to the gallon and that adds up. I just don't buy the argument that Kyoto or something like it would ruin our economy. We would adapt and succeed. A large part of our trade deficit is oil. A large part of our military expenditures defend oil. Reducing our trade deficit and the time spent overseas by our military would be a great thing.

I grew up in Riverside and San Bernadino California where there is some of the worst pollution on earth. Ya know that purple part of the AQI, yeah, they made that color for Riverside. I know that this tread is about global warming and I've talked more about "pollution." Sorry... I think there is a strong tendency to be dogmatic on this topic which is disappointing. I've tried to approach the topic from a different angle.

BTW, the computer simulations are getting better. Eco-scam was published in like 1995 so be careful about disregarding current simulations because 10 years ago they didn't work. I'm sure the current ones don't work either but they are getting better and they are an important tool.

My general feeling on GW is that it's something that we should be vigilant about. My private feeling about GW is that we could use it as an excuse to really improve our air quality, improve urban environments and become a self-sustaining nation.

I think that's enough rambling.

jrkeller
2004-Apr-06, 04:11 AM
I agree with most of your points, especially the nuclear power and energy efficiency points. We've discussed Kyoto several times, including some in this thread. The problem I and others have with Kyoto is that it places no limits on some large and big polluting countries like India and China, who not only produce a lot of CO2, but produce a good share of methane which is a greenhouse gas as well.

I do think that Kyoto will be costly, because unlike the other pollutants you mentioned, like SO2, NOx and others, CO2 is the primary product of combustion and for coal it is almost the only product of combustion. How does one control that? The best way is to use non-CO2 producing power sources, like solar, wind, and nukes.

Furthermore, countries like the US who are replanting forests get no credit and countries like Brazel who are destroying forests get no penalties.

My big concern with the global warming issue is that most measurements are only accurate to a few degrees and yet we're being told that we've experienced a half a degree increase. It doesn't make sense.

I also have lots of problems with the models. I was dumbfounded that the people who model the atmosphere did not include water vapor effects. I've known about this effect for about 20 years now and I wonder why it wasn't included in the modeling process.

Lee
2004-Apr-06, 07:23 AM
I agree that the wording of the Kyoto Protocol has few merits but I think the international community should eventually stabilize emissions. I think there are many cost effective paths by which we could do this. I'll keep my eyes open for the next Protocol and hope that the thing isn't all legalese.

Kebsis
2004-Apr-06, 08:31 AM
I think it would be a better idea to try and get a better grasp of what is really going on before any further legislation is proposed.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-06, 11:47 AM
I think it would be a better idea to try and get a better grasp of what is really going on before any further legislation is proposed.

I agree. Kyoto was bad science and bad economics. The modeling still converges on solutions at variance with observations, the observations still allow a variety of conclusions but still poorly support the catastrophic predictions.

Just because the U.S. would survive Kyoto doesn't make it a good thing. It's very dangerous to misuse science to further a goal, regardless of the merits of the goal. Some say Kyoto was okay because even if the science was wrong, the goal of reducing hydrocarbon consumption is desirable. But the result would be to falsify and/or misrepresent science in order to put the weight of the world behind imposing a political objective on the minority.

Even without Kyoto, the world is transitioning to cleaner consumption and lower population growth. Economic and technological improvements cannot be legislated. Take the hydrogen car as an example: if and when it can compete economically, it will take off on its own. But if government tries to force a solution when it is not economical, it will go no further than the electric car.

Lee
2004-Apr-06, 07:01 PM
Where do you guys think we should draw the emissions line if at all? I think the spirit of the Protocol is correct even if the wording isn't. The idea of stabilizing emissions and forests makes sense to me. I don't see this big economic monkey wrench that everyone speaks of. I especially think people exaggerate the costs of emissions controls and conservation. We already do most of the things the Protocol outlines such as monitoring emissions and tracking logging operations. We are always trying to improve gas mileage and whatnot even though the R&D is expensive. I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here. I'm not completely sure we need some treaty to force us down a path we are already on. I think it's important that we should recognize that the path is good and continue on it.

80 mile/gallon fuel cell gasoline car

http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/FC/96.pdf

Also look inot Honda's Civic Hybrid... 45-50 mpg ain't bad

http://www.new-cars.com/2004/honda/honda-civic-hybrid-specs.html

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-06, 08:01 PM
Here's an interesting discussion of Kyoto, including the politics that got wrapped up in it:

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/archive/4/singer.htm

Lee
2004-Apr-06, 08:25 PM
That Singer is smart and respected but he's a rare contrarian. Good link btw.

Musashi
2004-Apr-06, 09:55 PM
Yeah, nice link. Thanks.

PhantomWolf
2004-Apr-07, 05:01 AM
Just as an interesting aside, why do we have to even attempt to slow global warming? What if it is our own arogance that is making us believe that we are causing it? In fact History record that in AD 1000 through AD 1300 the Earth was a heap warmer (estimated about 6 degrees), and that they grew wheat at both higher altitudes than we can, and far further north. I seriously doubt that we can blame that period on humans as there were hardly enough to make pollution at the time. We also know that the Earth experienced a mini-ice age from AD 1500-1700. When graphed it appears to form a sine wave showing regular warming and cooling, something that is cooberated by ice core sampling. With that evidence, why is it not possible that we are heading into the warmer period of an ~1,000 year cycle and that regardless of our actions, it'll happen anyways?

Archer17
2004-Apr-07, 05:05 AM
I like the way you think PhantomWolf.

Lee
2004-Apr-07, 06:08 AM
Anybody familiar with Nuclear Winter? The original TTAPS study that projected nuclear winter turned out to be grossly exaggerated. I figure the authors, Sagan among them, probably knew they were exaggerating but they wanted to scare the dickens out of everyone and turn around arms proliferation. An ethical deception of sorts... They commissioned Sting to write I Hope the Russians Love Thier Children Too.... Huge conspiracy... nobody has ever heard of it... anyway

I figure the the same sort of ethical exaggeration is going on with Global Warming. I know the politics are completely different but I figure people need the fear incentive sometimes. I've been to crowded places and seen bad pollution and I don't like it. Will local pollution lead to global warming? I don't think so but pollution is bad enough all by itself. Pollutants like CO2, SOX, NOX, Methane and whatever else that make the clouds over Indonesia and San Bernadoodoo need to be more strictly regulated. Kyoto is dead but something else needs to come along. I basically feel we need to be a part of an international team that's keeping an eye on each other.

I'm a nuclear guy so I'm heavy on nuclear accidents and their death tolls among other things. When someone brings up Chernobyl and cancer I bring up common industrial pollutants and cancer. Paper mills, glass manufacturing, lumber operations, metal processing and fuel refining lead to thousands of deaths every year because of their emissions. And then there's cars ofcourse... Car manufactures and industry cry foul all the time when new regulations come along but when you put them to the test they've improved their processes time and time again. Capitalism is great

Pollution is bad. We should control pollution. We should also consider that ~80% of the worlds population is playing catch up and that's a lot of people and a lot more potential for pollution. So, the moral is, don't throw out the baby with the bath water. There are a lot of valid points mixed into the voodoo of GW that really do effect quality of life and whatnot. Peace out

Captain Kidd
2004-Apr-07, 11:02 AM
Somebody's invented the wind scrubber (http://pepei.pennnet.com/articles/article_display.cfm?Section=ONART&Category=ENVIR&P UBLICATION_ID=6&ARTICLE_ID=202149).

The article is short but it refers to it being "unlike stack scrubbers" and "a 10m2 structure that will capture excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere around it" which leads me to believe they want to put these things out in the open.

If so, then the next headline we'll see is:
Mysterious Death of Vegetation Downwind of Wind Scrubber Farms Puzzle Scientists, Global Warming and Nuclear Power Blamed

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-07, 06:58 PM
Just as an interesting aside, why do we have to even attempt to slow global warming? What if it is our own arogance that is making us believe that we are causing it?

Exactly! And one more thing, isn't it arrogant to this that this particular current value of temperature is optimum? Same goes for sea level: people whine about a sea level change of 0.1 meters, but a little geology teaches you that sea level goes up and down a whole lot more than that, and without our help.

Ikyoto
2004-Apr-08, 05:02 AM
And those of us who live in cruddy areas would LIKE a return to the days PW refers to! Back then the climate in England was a lot like the cliamte today in the middle souther US states - From the Carolinas down to Georgia!

I'd be sitting up here in Buffalo NY during the day with a t-shrit and shorts working on my TAN during spring break instead of hoping that the ICE would melt enough for me to clean up the branches that came off a tree in my yard because of the SNOW we had last week!!!

6 degree increase? BRING IT ON!!

loandbehold
2004-Apr-08, 01:36 PM
I know that there are not unbiased, but they presented the most complete version of the report. The other sites I found, just gave sort of a news summary.

If you are interested, the complete paper can be found here (pdf format):

http://www.atmos.umd.edu/%7Edessler/dessler04.pdf

loandbehold
2004-Apr-08, 01:46 PM
My big concern with the global warming issue is that most measurements are only accurate to a few degrees and yet we're being told that we've experienced a half a degree increase. It doesn't make sense.

I'm still learning about this stuff, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I would have thought that the measurements would have a much lower error than this. IIRC, thermometers have an error of about 0.3 C (or less for electronic ones), and the data showing warming is usually presented as a global average temperature change, that is a mean over thousands of stations. Wouldn't the error on the mean then be reduced by a factor of sqrt(N), where N is the number of stations?


I also have lots of problems with the models. I was dumbfounded that the people who model the atmosphere did not include water vapor effects. I've known about this effect for about 20 years now and I wonder why it wasn't included in the modeling process.

As far as I understand, water vapour is included in the models- it's a source of positive feedback. The article that you linked to actually discussed this, it seems that some models might be overestimating this.

jrkeller
2004-Apr-08, 02:32 PM
loandbehold,

Your right and wrong about thermocouples and other temperature sensing devices. While the device itself may have a small amount of error associated with it, you must take into account the entire system and its surroundings. In general, my rule of thumb is 1-2.5C for measurement error, but I've calculated errors as high as 15C (but that was a special case).

For a thermocouple (TC), there is the inherent error in the TC, and there is error associated with the lead wires.

There is also error associated with the device that measures the voltage and converts into temperature. Let's say that we need to record temperatures from -40C to +60C, for a total of 100C difference. If we use a really good device that has only a 0.5% error over the range, we have an error of 0.5 C. Add that to the TC error of say 0.3C and now you're at 0.8C.

The error number you mention for TC is typically for a TC in a liquid or embedded in a solid. When a TC is exposed to air or another gas, heat transfer to the surroundings is important. Say you're trying to measure the air temperature, near a black top driveway. Radiative heat transfer with the surroundings will effect the readings.

When one uses TCs to measure a solid, it is best not to place it on the surface of the material unless the soundings are nearly the same temperature as the solid, because the TC lead wires act like fins and either conduct heat to or from the TC. In other words, the lead wires raise or lower the temperature TC bead.

Unshielded electrically sources can also effect the measurements. That's usually pretty easily to detect and account for, but never the less, it still can be there.

Another factor influencing the measurement is maintainance. From experience I've found that TCs should be checked about every other week, at least when you need the accuracy of a few degrees.

Finally, I doubt that the same TCs have been used for the past fifty years. Changing devices has its own inherent error.

In summary, you need to look at the whole picture when making an error estimation.

Swift
2004-Apr-08, 02:38 PM
A couple of thoughts....

loandbehold, there are types of temperature sensors that are accurate to much less than 0.1C. But I don't believe the errors are on different individual sensors. The question is, how do you sample the temperature of the entire planet: earth, water, and air. I don't know enough to argue whether we are doing that with significant accuracy.

To those who state, hey, I live in a cold place, bring on the warmth... be careful what you wish for. First, there are differences between weather and climate. A couple of degrees is small for weather (local, short term), but big for climate. Second, it not just that everywhere will be a couple of degrees warmer. There are actually models that show parts of the Earth getting significantly colder. For example, if you melt enough polar ice, the influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic can shut down the Gulf Stream. If that happens, northern Europe becomes a lot colder.

Third, small changes in climate can have big influences on weather systems, such as increases in the number and intensities of Atlantic huricanes. Fourth, eco-systems are sensitive to small climate changes. You can suddenly have huge increases in, for example, tropical diseases in populated areas that have not traditionally had them. Rainfall increases or decreases 10% might be the difference between success or failure for farmers.

Can the human race survive these changes: sure.
Will our lives be that much harder: I would say yes.
Can we make any changes now that will absolutely assure that we will completely avoid global warming: I doubt it; if the models are even half right, it is all ready too late.
Can we make some reasonable changes, such as improvements in energy efficiency and near- and medium-term projects to decrease and eliminate our dependence our fossil fuels, that will decrease the magnitude of the changes and have benefits even if global warming is not a problem (less dependence on foreign oil, economic benefits): we are fools if we don't.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-08, 04:30 PM
Third, small changes in climate can have big influences on weather systems, such as increases in the number and intensities of Atlantic huricanes. Fourth, eco-systems are sensitive to small climate changes. You can suddenly have huge increases in, for example, tropical diseases in populated areas that have not traditionally had them. Rainfall increases or decreases 10% might be the difference between success or failure for farmers.

I think this overstates the issue in this context. Yes, small changes can have big effects on a chaotic system, which is what the climate system is. However, it is essentially impossible to connect a particular small cause to a particular large effect. Consider that the various climate models give contradictory predictions for local climate changes (certainly not a testable hypothesis!). You mention hurricanes: some global warmers claim that warming will increase hurricane numbers and intensities. But there is no such change corresponding to the historic warming in the 20th century.

Some eco-systems are sensitive, but isn't the nature of eco-systems to adapt? Local climate changes, animals migrate, vegetation changes.

Tropical diseases are far, far less dependent on degree-scale temperature differences than they are on factors like land use, mosquito eradication programs, sanitation improvements (which it should be noted require the use of energy).

Smart farmers are prepared for 10% variations in rainfall, since this is far less than year-to-year variations. If there is a long term trend, farmers adapt by picking new crops.



Can the human race survive these changes: sure.
Will our lives be that much harder: I would say yes.
Can we make any changes now that will absolutely assure that we will completely avoid global warming: I doubt it; if the models are even half right, it is all ready too late.


The evidence is weak that increased greenhouse gases will make our lives harder. There is real evidence that it will make our lives easier: we can already document the increases agricultural productivity that is a consequence of higher CO2 levels, for example. We can't assure we will avoid global warming any more than we can assure we will avoid global cooling.



Can we make some reasonable changes, such as improvements in energy efficiency and near- and medium-term projects to decrease and eliminate our dependence our fossil fuels, that will decrease the magnitude of the changes and have benefits even if global warming is not a problem (less dependence on foreign oil, economic benefits): we are fools if we don't.

One of the issues is that some groups exaggerate the issue of global warming to promote such changes, changes that they less successfully lobbied for using different arguments. At the same time, many have opposed superior solutions such as increased reliance on nuclear power. Personally, I think the recent tendency to say "even if global warming doesn't happen, it's the right thing to do" is an indicator of the reason for such promotion of seriously flawed science.

JohnOwens
2004-Apr-08, 05:11 PM
The evidence is weak that increased greenhouse gases will make our lives harder. There is real evidence that it will make our lives easier: we can already document the increases agricultural productivity that is a consequence of higher CO2 levels, for example.
Just curious, do they ascribe the increase to warmer conditions, or directly to there being more CO2 for the plants to "breathe", or something else I haven't considered yet?

aurora
2004-Apr-08, 05:39 PM
The BBC had a story on April 7 of a study in Nature,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3607335.stm

that a whole bunch of you will dislike intensely.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-08, 05:39 PM
The evidence is weak that increased greenhouse gases will make our lives harder. There is real evidence that it will make our lives easier: we can already document the increases agricultural productivity that is a consequence of higher CO2 levels, for example.
Just curious, do they ascribe the increase to warmer conditions, or directly to there being more CO2 for the plants to "breathe", or something else I haven't considered yet?

Directly to their being more CO2 for plants, the studies I had in mind. A first suggestion of this comes just from looking at time series of atmospheric CO2, which has an annual cycle superimposed on the trend of increase. This cycle partly represents the imbalance between northern hemisphere/southern hemisphere temperate zone vegetation. The amplitude of the cycle has significantly increased. (But there are more specific studies.)

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-08, 05:43 PM
The BBC had a story on April 7 of a study in Nature,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3607335.stm

that a whole bunch of you will dislike intensely.

I saw the Nature study. One of the problems is it rides on the climate models that we already know we can't trust. We also of course can't have confidence in predicted sea level change from models that ignore Antarctica; even the IPCC models, flawed as they are, predict Antarctica's ice volume will increase over the next century.

aurora
2004-Apr-08, 05:58 PM
I saw the Nature study. One of the problems is it rides on the climate models that we already know we can't trust. We also of course can't have confidence in predicted sea level change from models that ignore Antarctica; even the IPCC models, flawed as they are, predict Antarctica's ice volume will increase over the next century.

I don't have access to Nature. Do they publish followup letters? If so, have their been any related to this study?

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-08, 06:50 PM
I saw the Nature study. One of the problems is it rides on the climate models that we already know we can't trust. We also of course can't have confidence in predicted sea level change from models that ignore Antarctica; even the IPCC models, flawed as they are, predict Antarctica's ice volume will increase over the next century.

My mistake: the BBC-referenced study was a one-page communication in the 8 April Nature, which I had not seen (I have now); I recall seeing a similar study in the past few weeks. My criticisms apply to the Gregory et al. study in Nature: they rely on the IPCC-type climate models, which produce results consistent with each other but not consistent with the real world; and they ignore Antarctica. Since this is in the current issue, there are no responses yet.

The BBC report seriously misrepresents the study's findings:

BBC: "Jonathan Gregory and colleagues from the University of Reading say their studies forecast an 8C increase in Greenland's temperature by 2350."

The study mentions 35 scenarios, only 8 of which (judging from their graph) produce more than an 8 deg. increase in mean temp.

The BBC also references a 1,000-year time scale to melt the ice sheet, but the study references 1,000 years only in regard to the "most extreme scenario".

Lee
2004-Apr-08, 08:51 PM
Bob

How can we safely conclude that increased CO2 levels are increasing agricultural production? I'm asking here. We know rotating crops and nitrogen loading and whatnot help, but how can we see the productivity increases from CO2 amongst all the other data?

Also, consider our lives if forward looking entrepeneurs and politicians hadn't built railroads, aqueducts, rockets and dams. These projects were clearly forced down the throats of society. Manifest destiny was a magnificent propaganda campaign. NASA has done some spin doctoring itself. These projects weren't competitive so they got sugar coated and sold with nationalism or patriotism or whatever. I think investment in hydrogen R&D and subsidization of hydrogen cars are examples of foresight with a pinch of propaganda. If america is going to take the unilateral route to limiting greenhouse emissions we are going to need to sweeten the medicine. Subsidizing wind, solar and hydrogen is part of the recipe. And ofcourse nuclear power.... plug... plug...

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-08, 10:06 PM
How can we safely conclude that increased CO2 levels are increasing agricultural production? I'm asking here. We know rotating crops and nitrogen loading and whatnot help, but how can we see the productivity increases from CO2 amongst all the other data?

A variety of studies have been conducted controlling for these factors by growing plants in sealed greenhouses containing different concentrations of CO2. They show significant increases in plant growth for higher CO2.



Also, consider our lives if forward looking entrepeneurs and politicians hadn't built railroads, aqueducts, rockets and dams. These projects were clearly forced down the throats of society. Manifest destiny was a magnificent propaganda campaign. NASA has done some spin doctoring itself. These projects weren't competitive so they got sugar coated and sold with nationalism or patriotism or whatever. I think investment in hydrogen R&D and subsidization of hydrogen cars are examples of foresight with a pinch of propaganda. If america is going to take the unilateral route to limiting greenhouse emissions we are going to need to sweeten the medicine. Subsidizing wind, solar and hydrogen is part of the recipe. And ofcourse nuclear power.... plug... plug...

I'm not sure I get your point. Maybe we shouldn't have forced some of these projects on society either, in the sense that we should have let the entrepeneurs shoulder the costs without government intervention. I'm not inclined to think hydrogen cars are comparable to your examples: private operators developed and demonstrated the technology behind railroads, aqueducts, and dams all the way to a level sufficient for application, and did so without government intervention. Government intervention came later, in some of the implementions of the existing technology for the benefit of society. The current deal with hydrogen cars is almost the reverse: government funding the R&D, hoping it will pan out, plus hoping the economy will then invest in building a replacement for the existing hydrocarbon infrastructure.

Subsidizing wind and solar is even worse: from a purely physical standpoint you can demonstrate that these are not (in general) economically viable, so there is no hope of recovering the investment. Consider that for all the money ever spent on solar and wind, all the solar and wind plants in the world combined provide about the same power output as Unit 1 of South Texas Nuclear Project.

Lee
2004-Apr-09, 08:36 PM
Bob:

That's neat about the CO2 studies.

Hmmm... You're right that it's hard to compare railroads, dams and aqueducts to hydrogen. I will try. California has planned a state funded seed network of hydrogen service stations (200). I'm sure the east coast and Denver area will come up with something themselves. This is a good analogy to what I'm talking about. It's similar to the way the US gave away free land to spur the railroad industry. Dams: I'd think the government funded 95% of the R&D into dam construction when you think about the relavent history (1930-present). You might not think of aqueducts as requiring R&D but think about the mohave siphons and the scope of the California Aqueduct project. Private industry never demonstrated the scope that public projects did. I think the R&D was still sorta there with dams and aqueducts.

Hydrogen isn't the only project getting R&D money btw. Clean coal, clean gas, conservation and renewables have gotten a whole lot more money over the last few years. All smart investments in my mind. Investing in convervation for example pays back tax dollars about 800%.

Bob, do you have any doubt that hydrogen is going to pan out?

Also Bob, the US has over 6000MW of installed wind and Germany has over 14,000MW. I like nuclear but there aren't any plants that big. I welcome your insights.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-09, 09:15 PM
Hmmm... You're right that it's hard to compare railroads, dams and aqueducts to hydrogen. I will try. California has planned a state funded seed network of hydrogen service stations (200). I'm sure the east coast and Denver area will come up with something themselves. This is a good analogy to what I'm talking about. It's similar to the way the US gave away free land to spur the railroad industry. Dams: I'd think the government funded 95% of the R&D into dam construction when you think about the relavent history (1930-present). You might not think of aqueducts as requiring R&D but think about the mohave siphons and the scope of the California Aqueduct project. Private industry never demonstrated the scope that public projects did. I think the R&D was still sorta there with dams and aqueducts.

This really doesn't (to me at least) address the distinction I was trying to draw. Aqueducts are fundamentally the same as what the Romans built; I'm not familiar with the Mohave siphons, but I'd be glad to hear about them. Why is California planning such a network when we still have R&D issues to resolve? This sounds like another example of California's government getting ahead of reality.



Hydrogen isn't the only project getting R&D money btw. Clean coal, clean gas, conservation and renewables have gotten a whole lot more money over the last few years. All smart investments in my mind. Investing in convervation for example pays back tax dollars about 800%.

I'm not impressed with these expenditures either, but some impress me less than others. Can you suggest a source on the 800% return?



Bob, do you have any doubt that hydrogen is going to pan out?


Yes, as it is currently being pursued and promoted.



Also Bob, the US has over 6000MW of installed wind and Germany has over 14,000MW. I like nuclear but there aren't any plants that big. I welcome your insights.

This is peak capacity, not generated power. When power actually produced is counted, wind falls far short of the much more highly advertised capacities. STNP averages over 90% of capacity; wind plants average around 15%, although this is improving initially with improved systems, it cannot improve indefinitely as the best wind sites are used up.

Lee
2004-Apr-09, 11:29 PM
Hmmm... I'm losing track of where this conversation is going. If we were in a bar this would be a lot easier.

The Roman aqueducts were great but the california aqueduct is a giant leap. The 11 aqueducts serving Rome were 330 miles long in all and brought in ~1,300,000 m3/day and I'm pretty sure they were all gravity driven. The CA is 444 miles long and designed for 3,500,000 m3/day. The mojave siphons lift the water 2000 feet and the water then goes through 10 miles of tunnels. The execution of the CA required orders of magnitude more planning and engineering. Think about the US geological surveys and fault line analysis for just this one project. State funded btw. Aqueducts might be fundamentally the same in concept but not in engineering.

The hydrogen network is optimistically planned to coincide with H2 cars coming into the market in 2010. Maybe you are right about R&D issues left to be resolved but I don't think so. We won't start out with straight H2 cars and H2 stations will also distribute gasoline. The technology is progressing. I think most people don't really have a grip on the state of the H2 research (not that I do) and there is a lot of misunderstanding. We could start yet another H2 thread and talk about it.

You should look into the hard science that has resulted from DOE R&D. I cannot convince you here. The bang for the buck is quite impressive in the coal and oil and renewable research ares. There are many websites that mention the payback on energy efficiency investments. The quote I remembered was 800 million per year in savings to consumers but I can't find the orginal source. I also remember that energy efficiency programs enjoy bipartisan support. (I might have misquoted in the previous post) This link has some numbers from some Rand company research.

http://www.ase.org/policy/testimony/nemtest060122.htm

Oh... and I know about wind's stochastic behavior but 15% of 20,000MW is still more than 90% of 1000MW. Wind should definately be part of the equation. Just for psychological effect...

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-10, 02:52 AM
I see your point about the California aqueduct; I had forgotten the siphoning aspect. My next question would be, was it the first aqueduct not fully gravity driven?

How realistic is it to predict when hydrogen cars will enter the market? We've had California attempt to legislate the existence of an electric car market, as if the legislators had never had an economics course in their lives.

Try this example: when internal combustion automobiles emerged, first you had private developers start driving them around, then they started to catch on because people wanted them. The positive impacts for society (compared to previously available technology) occurred, and this did not require the government to mandate or financially pressure people to buy cars, it did not require the government to spend money extracted from taxpayers on R&D, and it did not require the government to build an infrastructure to sell gasoline. I don't claim to know all the relevant details (and I'm happy to listen), but so far I get the sense that the H-car is driven by legislative fiat and not (relatively) free market economics, and I think this is a bad sign.

I am not necessarily picking at R&D in general; my concern is that much energy-related R&D is driven not by viable economics but by legislative notions seeking objectives which are not economic (except very indirectly).

On the renewable energy, I need to correct myself. Figures for 2000 or so, total wind and solar energy production is equivalent to both STNP units together. Some of the wind projects (possibly the one you mention in Germany) have come on line since then, so my comparison is admittedly dated (energy production figures, in contrast to capacity figures, tend to be a couple of years slow in release). So world wind is now maybe equal to 3 nuclear reactors?

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-10, 10:38 PM
Okay, I resolved the numbers issue here. The total energy produced by STNP (both reactors) in 2002 was 69 petajoules. All the world's wind plants produced about 190 PJ the same year (more than all solar, BTW), up from 85 PJ in 1999.

Lee
2004-Apr-10, 11:21 PM
Question: How do you guys make one word hyperlink to a site?

Hmmm... I'm sure there are some other aqueducts that include pumping stations but I think California's are the biggest. I'm guessing though...

About wind... Installed capacity went from 30000MW to 40000MW in the last year and this pace should continue. It's hard to get a straight answer for how much wind turbines cost but I've read 1000$/KW which, if true, makes wind competitive. Maybe there's a wind insider that could correct these numbers. I also read that domestic cats kill a whole lot more birds than windmills could ever hope to. I thought that was funny.

Hydrogen... I think it's doable. We can produce H2 directly in coal/nuclear plants at high efficiency. I've read >50% nuclear heat to chemical energy conversion efficiency and ~1.42$/kg H2 cost (first link). This works out to 1.1-1.2 cents per Megajoule. Steam reformation of natural gas can produce H2 at 3.8-4.74 cents per MJ. (2nd link)
Gasoline is generally measured in BTU/gallon and 127,500 is a fair number. That works out to ~1.5 cents per MJ for gas at 2$/gallon.
Now consider that the mileage of a fuel cell vehicle is 2-3 times the mileage of an internal combustion engine and H2 gets very competitive. Add to this the fact that H2 can be domestically derived if we go the clean coal/nuclear route and that gives huge advantage to H2.

Storage: cryogenics and compression comes up a lot but I've heard the safest and most practical storage medium is metal hydrides. There are many different kinds of hydrides and their sponginess, discharge/recharge rates and costs vary. I wish I knew more in this area. My limited understanding of hydrides is that they will work with a little more material research. Fuel cell miniturization and economy of scale effects will bring costs and performance into the competitive range. I think the infiltration of hydrogen could actually be a lot faster than the projections.


I am not necessarily picking at R&D in general; my concern is that much energy-related R&D is driven not by viable economics but by legislative notions seeking objectives which are not economic (except very indirectly).

I hear what you're saying. It goes both ways.

The politics of H2 are complicated. I think the Freedom Car and Fuel initiative programs are part of our response to the Kyoto Protocol. The Clean Coal Initiatives might be as well. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's good science and what's a smokescreen. I think it's clear that ethanol is a bogus fuel that we are subsidizing under the auspices of it's air friendliness but it's not clean. Although I'm not aware of California's electric car fiasco it might be another example of bad politics.

Political responses to air pollution might seem silly but somethings got to be done. Places like the Inland Empire in CA are hazy 24/7. We can throw out statistics about SOx and NOx and Mercury all day long and it doesn't mean a whole lot, but if you go to Riverside that air pollution means something. Air conditions have aparently improved in California in the last 20 years but you wouldn't know it if you were driving around down there. It's obvious to me that continuing pollution concerns will be hydrogen's ace in the hole.

I think that H2 deserves the help it's getting. Americans collectively payed for the highway system and that was a huge subsidy for the auto manufactures. Our government helped make oil distributers and car manufactures the most powerful businesses on earth. It seems logical to me that the government should help fund R&D for H2. It's complicated though, I am sure of nothing.




http://www.min.uc.edu/nuclear/prezen/HydrogenEconomySeminarByBillSummers.pdf

http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/fuels/hydrogen/currenttechnology.shtml

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-10, 11:58 PM
About wind... Installed capacity went from 30000MW to 40000MW in the last year and this pace should continue. It's hard to get a straight answer for how much wind turbines cost but I've read 1000$/KW which, if true, makes wind competitive. Maybe there's a wind insider that could correct these numbers. I also read that domestic cats kill a whole lot more birds than windmills could ever hope to. I thought that was funny.


Right. End 2002 global capacity was 31228 MW, end 2003 global capacity was 39294 MW. Most of this increase (almost 70%) was in the EU and was heavily subsidized by their governments. Once Europe maxes out in their investments into wind, wind growth will slow I suspect.

I also came across wind advocate publications comparing windmill bird kills to bird kills by other sources, which strikes me as an acknowledgement that they can't improve the safety to birds much more. The comparisons are not valid because the types of birds involved are not the same. For example, California's windfarms kill disproportionately large numbers of endangered birds and other predatory birds (not the types killed by housecats) partly because these birds are looking for food near wind turbines.

Lee
2004-Apr-11, 12:02 AM
Interesting about the variety of bird killed. I had wondered myself about endangered bird impact. I have also wondered what an expert wind advisor would predict as the eventual practical wind utilization.

Here's an appropriate link:

http://www.thegreatwarming.com/

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-11, 12:21 AM
Here's an appropriate link:

http://www.thegreatwarming.com/

That qualifies for a Bad Climatology web site.

Lee
2004-Apr-11, 12:39 AM
But it's narrated by Keanu Reeves (he's so dreamy) and Alanis Morisette... You can't afford to pass this up. La la la...

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-11, 04:28 AM
If you go through it you can see who their sources are: "Tarot reader John Williamson reads the future, and it's grim."

Lee
2004-Apr-12, 07:30 AM
Solar is the answer doncha know...

http://www.solaraccess.com/news/story?storyid=6398

Here's an interesting solar plant... 1.4 MW peak output... at a cost of 6,500,000 euro or ~7,800,000 USD. So that's ~5571$/KW which seems expensive. One would hope these costs could come down over the next decade. Then again if there were some sort of carbon credit scheme this plant's costs would be considerably less. You'd have to think that if solar got 2 or three times cheaper it would be the way to go.

Does anyone know if there's ever been any sort of 1,000,000 roof initiative in the US or something like it? Does anyone know the state of the carbon credit scheme system?

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-12, 12:55 PM
The key there is "peak output". The average output of solar plants is 10-20% of peak, and for solar photovoltaic can be as low as 3%. So take this 0.04 sq. km plant in Germany and multiply it by 6,000 to 30,000 and you have one nuclear reactor.

Carbon credits? Indeed, the only way for solar to be cost competitive is to artificially shore it up with government money otherwise forcibly extracted from the people. Carbon credits was one of the last gimmicks of Kyoto before it died; you still have people trying to promote them, but they just aren't supported by any relevant science.

Kebsis
2004-Apr-12, 07:17 PM
My problem with this thread is, it's too long. Whenever I direct a chicken little to it, they just skim over the first page and assume everyone here is an evil bought-out republican or something. Does anyone know of a more concise GW info source?

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-12, 08:43 PM
What kind of info source are you looking for? There's mine on my web site:
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/index.html
but of course I'm not unbiased in suggesting it.

Another I might suggest as introductory is
http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/index.html

Besides that, there's about a dozen other relevant ones listed on my web page above. But if there is something more specific you have in mind...

Kebsis
2004-Apr-12, 08:49 PM
Thanks, your website is what I was looking for. It is very well done =D> .

Sorry if you linked to it earlier and I missed it.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-12, 10:27 PM
Thanks, glad you like it. (In a few weeks it will be authored by someone with an M.S.(!)) No, I hadn't linked to it before in this thread; I did once on some thread on sea level rise.

Lee
2004-Apr-13, 12:06 AM
Bob:

I'm very weak when it comes to solar. All the more reason to study it. The thing I find interesting about that site is that it could serve 400 families all year round. That's impressive to me. That means each family only requires 100 sq meters which isn't so big eh. At ~20,000 USD per family of four you'd have to think hmmmm.... this technology is knocking on the door. I know the article is slanted and they've left stuff out like capacity factor etc. You get the same slant on a nuclear power website... It's to be expected. In my mind I'm thinking what's so hard about mass producing these PVs? These PV guys are going to be dangerous if they ever get their stuff together.

About those CO2 credits. I came to this myself but I've noticed a lot of other people saying the same thing. I don't care about Global Warming but I care about pollution. Maybe CO2 isn't the prime mover, maybe it's methane or NOx or whatever. Whatever it is, I for one am tired of it. I used to live up in the mountains by Big Bear (southern Ca). When you come down the hill you see the smog layer at ~3000 ft. It's absolutely disgusting and it seems to be worse than it used to be. (retrospect is impossible to judge). Remember the air in Bladerunner?

Now, I'm aware that the Inland Empire probably has some of the worst pollution in the US and that the solution for CA should not be the solution for everyone else. The point is that business as usual will not fly. There are a lot of people down there. That's ~ Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Arizona put together. That's a lot of people power wouldn't you say?

Southern California general area of effect and population:

Los Angeles 9,637,494
Orange.......2,890,444
Riverside.....1,635,888
San Bernadino 1,766,237
Ventura.......770,630
Total.........16,700,000

Oregon....3,472,867
Arizona....5,307,331
Washington 5,987,973
Idaho....1,321,006
Montana..904,433

I'm just a 28 year old student with some steam plant experience from the navy. I've never worked in industy and I have in no way figured any of the energy picture. Basically, I'm just daydreaming here so take me with a grain of salt.

I just think that the naysayers to hydrogen and solar and wind aren't taking places like southern CA into account enough. The EIA and others have all these smooth growth curves plotted out for the expansion of NG and coal and gasoline. I think they are blind frankly.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-13, 01:22 AM
I'm very weak when it comes to solar. All the more reason to study it. The thing I find interesting about that site is that it could serve 400 families all year round. That's impressive to me. That means each family only requires 100 sq meters which isn't so big eh. At ~20,000 USD per family of four you'd have to think hmmmm.... this technology is knocking on the door. I know the article is slanted and they've left stuff out like capacity factor etc. You get the same slant on a nuclear power website... It's to be expected. In my mind I'm thinking what's so hard about mass producing these PVs? These PV guys are going to be dangerous if they ever get their stuff together.

The figure of 400 families all year is _extremely_ suspect. My best guess is they used the capacity of 1.4 MW which would give 3500 MW per household, about right for a household. But as I mentioned, real average output is only 3-15% of this, so the real figure is 12-60 households. Even worse is the claim "year-round": highest household energy demand in Germany will be in winter, when incident angle of sunlight is lowest and fraction of cloudy days is highest. So in winter about 12 households supplied by this solar facility is the best you could hope for.

On cost: pretend that energy can be effectively stored all year long. In that case the 12-60 household figure would apply, so about $130,000-$650,000 per household is the cost. Twenty year lifetime is the standard assumption, so we're looking at $540-$2,700 monthly electricity bills for these lucky families.

PV's are already mass produced. The industry hopes for some improvement, but we're not looking at order of magnitude improvements with current technology (if you want to speculate about bio-based energy capture, say, that's what might be required).

Try the exercise I have posted at http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/solar01.html
(it runs through some numbers).



About those CO2 credits. I came to this myself but I've noticed a lot of other people saying the same thing. I don't care about Global Warming but I care about pollution. Maybe CO2 isn't the prime mover, maybe it's methane or NOx or whatever. Whatever it is, I for one am tired of it. I used to live up in the mountains by Big Bear (southern Ca). When you come down the hill you see the smog layer at ~3000 ft. It's absolutely disgusting and it seems to be worse than it used to be. (retrospect is impossible to judge). Remember the air in Bladerunner?

Now, I'm aware that the Inland Empire probably has some of the worst pollution in the US and that the solution for CA should not be the solution for everyone else. The point is that business as usual will not fly. There are a lot of people down there. That's ~ Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Arizona put together. That's a lot of people power wouldn't you say?

Forgetting the ethics of going after pollution through an alledged CO2 problem, you still have problems because there is not a one-to-one correspondence between what you're targeting (particulate pollution, say) and what you're regulating (CO2). Consequences include, say, telling farmers what they are allowed to plant--a Kyoto proposal--even though this has nothing to do with hydrocarbon pollution.



I just think that the naysayers to hydrogen and solar and wind aren't taking places like southern CA into account enough. The EIA and others have all these smooth growth curves plotted out for the expansion of NG and coal and gasoline. I think they are blind frankly.

The issues this naysayer is talking about apply to southern CA as well. Solar and wind are too dilute even in California for large scale energy production, unless California decides to devote a tremendous amount of its land and resources to energy collection. I still think hydrogen is a ways off. You mentioned CA's plans for hydrogen fueling stations, but one of your articles indicates that fuel storage method is still unresolved? Sounds like the cart ahead of the horse. What do you mean about the EIA etc.?

Lee
2004-Apr-13, 02:13 AM
Bob... You really slammed those PV numbers. That's amazing, I'll keep your numbers in the back of my head.


Forgetting the ethics of going after pollution through an alledged CO2 problem, you still have problems because there is not a one-to-one correspondence between what you're targeting (particulate pollution, say) and what you're regulating (CO2). Consequences include, say, telling farmers what they are allowed to plant--a Kyoto proposal--even though this has nothing to do with hydrocarbon pollution.

I don't understand. For smog you'd want to target SOx and particularly NOx I would assume. Consequences include, telling people what they can fuel their cars with and what gas mileage a fleet of vehicles has to get. We've done this in the past, we do it now and we shall see more of it.


The issues this naysayer is talking about apply to southern CA as well. Solar and wind are too dilute even in California for large scale energy production, unless California decides to devote a tremendous amount of its land and resources to energy collection. I still think hydrogen is a ways off. You mentioned CA's plans for hydrogen fueling stations, but one of your articles indicates that fuel storage method is still unresolved? Sounds like the cart ahead of the horse. What do you mean about the EIA etc.?

I know solar is dilute. I don't advocate it in the sense of a power plant but rather as a roofing material. If this is pie in the sky sobeit. I could see california eventually mandating that a certain percentage of houses meet energy star standards and then, regionally, energystar+ standards which would include solar water heaters/PV on a certain percentage of houses. This is just what I imagine. The turn over of housing has quite an impact on energy use.

I realize that solar is very expensive. Energy is expensive... One thing to consider is that energy costs have steadily risen over the past 30 years despite flat demand per person. I believe per person energy costs are around $2,500/year. I would think the increasing price trends (of fossils particularly) will help PV. How realistic is it to imagine Solar systems on 20% of houses? 50%? How much energy would this provide? It's easy enough to find the expected median square footage of houses 20 years from now and make the calculation. The more I think about PV the more I think it's inevitable. I just don't know how big a dent it will make.

On hydrogen storage issues. Government should lead the technology. Think Kennedy. The storage issues will be resolved. You might call it faith but I don't. Look at how much money Argonne is spending on hydrogen production. I think storage is a secondary concern. I've mentioned hydrides many times and their density and storage capacity. I don't think the cart is in front of the horse at all. Maybe side by side.

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-13, 03:09 AM
I don't understand. For smog you'd want to target SOx and particularly NOx I would assume. Consequences include, telling people what they can fuel their cars with and what gas mileage a fleet of vehicles has to get. We've done this in the past, we do it now and we shall see more of it.


So my argument is to target SOx and NOx if your concern is smog. If you target CO2 to fix smog, you end up punishing farmers, natural gas users, and others that have little if anything to do with smog. In addition, of course, you are granting ground to those that believe in global warming apocalypse despite the science, and I think granting them power is dangerous.



I realize that solar is very expensive. Energy is expensive... One thing to consider is that energy costs have steadily risen over the past 30 years despite flat demand per person. I believe per person energy costs are around $2,500/year. I would think the increasing price trends (of fossils particularly) will help PV. How realistic is it to imagine Solar systems on 20% of houses? 50%? How much energy would this provide? It's easy enough to find the expected median square footage of houses 20 years from now and make the calculation. The more I think about PV the more I think it's inevitable. I just don't know how big a dent it will make.


Okay, average household area is about 190 sq. meters. For 20% of the 95,000,000 or so U.S. households, this makes 3,600 sq. km. Suppose we practically average 20 MW per sq. km average (this may be optimistic), so this gives about 72 GW, or about 17% of US electrical consumption in 2000, or about 2% of total energy consumption.

Now cost: the German plant in the story above cost about $200 million per sq. km. Mass production might improve price, but decentralization will require additional expense so let's use this figure. Our 20% of households with PV roofs will cost $700 billion. The same capacity of nuclear plants would cost $250 billion to built based on reported costs for the last ones built before the end; this cost could be brought down considerably with a more realistic attitude about nuclear power. Construction costs for gas plants with that capacity is about $60 billion, but here fuel costs are a much greater issue.

Lee
2004-Apr-13, 05:57 AM
http://www.onid.orst.edu/~kastenl/Pictures/Solar.gif

I looked at you're solar write up and I see you've done your homework. I find it easier to use a graphical map that has all the cosines worked into pretty colors. Extrapolating from some of your work I've used southern California and punched some numbers. I assumed ~100 sq/meter roof space, 6 kWh/day from map and 10% PV efficiency. Comes out to 1800 kWh/month. You listed 5000W as the average family consumption. That works out to 3600 kWh/month which seems a bit high. You said physics was holding solar power back. I would agree that this applies to the industrial, commercial and transportation sectors but I think economic considerations apply to the residential sector.

IF PV finally got economical it would make a dent. It appears that they need to improve the performance/economics of PVs by an order of magnitude. One can dream. The Areva commercial listed residential as 28% of total electricity demand. I could see solar eventually providing for a third of residential demand but who knows... maybe more. The point is, I'm starting to think that solar shouldn't be straight away dismissed even though I've dismissed it myself in the past. It's got potential.

It also seems to me that the smartest long term strategy will be to sqeeze renewables for as much as we can with minimum impact on the environment while maintaining the nuclear/NG options. Doesn't that make sense?

P.S. I found some more stuff. You can link to an interesting MS Thesis from here: http://www.hut.fi/Units/AES/studies/dis/halme_abs.htm

Some quotes:


In Finland, a typical electricity consumption for a 4 person family living in a detached house with floor area of 120 m2 and using electric heating is 18500 kWh/year (Motiva 2001). The yearly solar irradiation falling to the same horizontal area in North Europe conditions (about 1000 kWh/m2/year), converted to solar electricity with total PV system efficiency of 10% amounts to about 12000 kWh/m2, i.e. about 65% of the yearly electricity consumption of the examined typical Finnish family.


By an analysis of the building stock Gutschner and Nowak (2000) estimated that 16% of the electricity consumption of a urban area
(City of Zürich) and almost half of the consumption of a rural area(Canton of Fribourg) could be met by solar electricity generated by building-integrated photovoltaics covering the available roof-top area having a good solar yield (more than 80% of the maximum annual solar irradiation).


In the past the average selling price of photovoltaic modules has followed quite closely an 80% learning curve, i.e. each doubling of the accumulated shipments has decreased the price to 80% of their original price (Green 2000a). The profitable PV module costs are about US $3.50/Wp at present, and are expected to decrease to US $2.00 in 2005 and US $1.50 in 2010. As a rule of thumb the cost of installed grid connected PV systems is at least about twice the cost of the PV modules alone, i.e. today about US $7.00-12.00/Wp

I don't know how valid the projections of this thesis are but ~$3,000/KW by 2100 is impressive compared to the current costs of ~$5,000-$5,500/KW. I found an additional 2MW plant in Germany with ~$4,800/KW. From:

http://www.solarbuzz.com/News/NewsEUPR133.htm

I also went to Solar BP and checked out a solar PV system:

http://www.bpsolar.com/homesolutions/solarsavingsestimator.cfm

Cost
Retail Price...............$16,500
Rebates....................$9,000
Tax Credits...............$1,125
Final System Cost......$6,375


.....................................Monthly....An nually
Electricity Production:.....178 kWh....2,136 kWh
Bill Savings:..................$14...........$167
Tax Savings:.................$13...........$151
Bill Reduced By:............14%..........14%

Environmental Benefit per year:

2,567 lbs of CO2
0.7 lbs of NOX
0.5 lbs of SO4

This is equivalent to planting 1 acre of trees

All those subsidies result in a payback of $324/year on a $6,375 subsidized investment which is about 5%/year. That's a good investment. Using the cost reduction specs from the first quote I'd guess that there be a 25% reduction in price by 2010 resulting in a $12,000 dollar system. If electricity prices remained stable you'd still get a 2.7% return on an unsubsidized investment but you'd have to guess electricity rates are going to rise over the long term. There's definately investment potential in the future.

BTW: Anybody have any good links concerning the effect of the German Green Party on the power market in Europe and beyond? Any germans around that can help with this problem?

bobjohnston
2004-Apr-13, 09:16 PM
Pretty interesting stuff! The exercise on my website is intended to teach where all those cosines come in, particularly to straighten out my high school students (the original target) whose environmental science textbooks told them "Each sq. meter of the earth's surface gets 1300 W of sunlight, so since we're not all using solar there must be an anti-solar conspiracy by oil company CEOs". The map you have also takes into account weather (plus it doesn't fudge some factors like my analysis does), and looks like the LA area averages about 22 MW/sq. km assuming 10% PV efficiency, pretty close to my guess.

My 5000 W household average--while it is approximate--is all power consumption, so it would include fossil fuel heating/cooking in addition to electricity consumption.

I think what I said is that physics prevents solar power from being a principal source of energy for an industrial society. I should back up if I give the impression of doubting all applications of solar power. LImited applications are currently economical. Providing over 20% of all global power demands is essentially not possible. Providing a few percent of total power demands is not physically impossible, but it is I would argue not economically desirable. So actually it sounds like we're mostly on the same page, just we reach a different conclusion about desirability for the residential sector.

$0.7 trillion is no small amount, and the references you cite suggest that order of magnitude improvement in PV costs is not foreseen. If minimizing pollution is the goal, residential PV doesn't look useful. Residential electricity is provided either by centralized fossil fuel plants, nuclear, or hydro. Most of the pollution you discuss comes from vehicles, which won't be addressed. It would be far more economical to build more nuclear plants than to put PV on roofs. In fact, even centralized solar would be better: solar thermal can achieve higher efiiciencies than PV, for example--but it still pales in comparison to nuclear, hydro, or fossil.

The thesis you link to: the figure for Finland receiving 1000 kWh/m2/year is highly suspect; at the very least it does not account for weather. Finland receives extremely little solar irradiance during the winter (note the Arctic circle crosses northern FInland), and again this is when they have the highest residential power demands.

It also assumes you keep the roof clear of snow. Think about PV on 95,000,000 roofs: you're going to have to clean them regularly to maintain efficiency, and occasionally people will fall. Solar's diluteness makes it labor intensive in this regard, and especially for decentralized solar you probably get more deaths per MWh than nuclear.

Another drawback of residential PV: here in Texas we have hurricanes and hailstorms. Do lifetime estimates of PV cost take replacement/maintenance costs into account?

Solar subsidies merely serve to penalize the average taxpayer to conceal the un-competitive nature of solar.

Lee
2004-Apr-13, 10:23 PM
I would say we are mostly on the same page. I agree with your assessments of deaths/MW, high costs and the the pollution payback of other power sources. One link that I found, projected that Dye Sensetized Solar Cells (DSSC) could realize productions cost of 1/20th of the Si based cells which have apparently been optimized and are only becoming cheaper due to economy of scale effects.


Providing over 20% of all global power demands is essentially not possible. Providing a few percent of total power demands is not physically impossible, but it is I would argue not economically desirable.

This is where we disagree a little. I think solar's position is going to be surprising in the future. I would argue this because the economic position has several things working for it. Decreasing PV prices, increasing electricity prices (unknown future trend) and population/pollution/solar optimization overlap in CA's strong economy.

Changing gears, I've been reading about Germany's Green party and how the minority greens ~8-9% occupy a swing position. The greens apparently control the Vice Chancellor/2nd position. I would guess the green's rise to power is helping and will continue to help these projects in Germany (mentioned above) which will in turn fuel the solar technology.
It will be interesting to see if it goes anywhere.



[/quote]

jrkeller
2004-Apr-28, 01:09 AM
Here's one possible cause for the increases in temperature we've been seeing.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=16528

dgruss23
2004-Apr-30, 10:13 PM
Here's one possible cause for the increases in temperature we've been seeing.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=16528

Interesting example jrkeller. Sounds like it could account for a significant portion of the warming that has been observed. Clouds are one of the unknowns in climate modeling because their overall effect depends upon not only how many, but at what altitude and what time of day.

Glom
2004-May-22, 07:31 PM
This is where we disagree a little. I think solar's position is going to be surprising in the future. I would argue this because the economic position has several things working for it. Decreasing PV prices, increasing electricity prices (unknown future trend) and population/pollution/solar optimization overlap in CA's strong economy.

You're forgetting one thing: the solar constant. Even if panels were 100% efficient and there was no night, weather or low sun, it would take 10 times the area of panels to equalise what current power stations can do. Trying to coax that much out of solar just isn't worth it when there are better alternatives.

Lee
2004-May-22, 07:50 PM
Solar PV is simple enough to understand Glom... It's too expensive at the moment and it doesn't apply everywhere... It needs a few breakthroughs and it will get these in time... I try to be realistic about PV and yet hopeful at the same time... I wish PV people would be the same way...

I've said this before Glom. I don't buy the area argument... Rooftops aren't being used for anything anyway...

Glom
2004-May-22, 07:57 PM
Wow. There has been lots of good discussion in this thread. One thing is clear, which I already knew, this disaster scenario painted by the Green lobby isn't nearly as certain as they would like us to believe.

I do find it amazing how the issue of the sun never comes up. The sun is the driving force behind the climate. Variations in the sun mean variations in the climate. So how can it just be ignored like that. I agree that it is much less convenient for the left wing alarmists because they can't blame solar variance on EEvil US industry.

It seems that manmade carbon dioxide is the sole scapegoat for this issue, which may not exist, because it suits their political agenda.

I also find it ironic how the same people who are the most alarmist, are also the most obstinate about potential solutions. Obviously, if we solve the problem, they can't continue to rant about the EEvil US industry. Fission could solve this problem if only they'd let it.

A better international treaty on the environment would declare categorically that any politician or journalist who attempts to open his mouth on scientific issues should be summarily executed.

Lee
2004-May-22, 08:52 PM
One of the things that bothers me about the Kyoto Protocol is that the guy we sent over there agreed to it... Why did our guy agree with it if these economic effects were so obvious and devastating? I think the economic effects are highly overstated.... And I still don't understand why most everybody else is signing on to the thing if the science is bunk. This one really gets me

I agree with you to an extent about CO2 but I think that high concentrations of any chemical in a local area are something you always want to keep an eye on. Example: manmade sources of SOx and NOx are much smaller than natural sources but end up leading to acid rain by being so concentrated by our activities... And then the other thing to worry about is that CO2 always comes with cousins....

And there's a long history of evil industry Glom... a long history... price fixing... international tax evasion... collusion... It's still going on... Capitalism respects $$$ above ethics... Rockefeller is secretly worshipped in pyramidal cathedrals... ok I'm making that up.. Nah but rich guys scratch each others backs a lot and often they look after their self interests at the expense of man

We've been dragging our feet on wind power for years and I don't get why man. It obviously works... I think we are dragging our feet on the solar options as well... We need something to lead us away from fossil fuels... I associate the Kyoto Protocol as a means towards this end... Sometimes double wrongs make rights... Anything to get us away from coal man... That stuff is killing us is so many ways and so is oil... I mean look into the cancer studies...Benzene is notoriously cancerous and so are a host of petroleum related derivatives... The higher incidence of cancer among the petroleum processing industries is very suspicous.

The thing is... as I see it... the petroleum/coal society is the equivalent of a society of smokers that doesn't want to believe the cigarettes are killing them and the cigarette makers are lying through their yellow teeth about their product. I'm so mad about it... Addicts and pushers... and the real second hand smoke

Hydrogen is the holy grail... it's the way out... it's the moon to me... I think we should be in a race towards it rather than dabbling around and throwing money away on clean coal subsidization... Bah... I'm so mad about it... And you guys keep associating solar with the greens... Dammit I'm not a green... I'm a Blue.... Blue skies man...

dgruss23
2004-May-22, 09:21 PM
Lee: And I still don't understand why most everybody else is signing on to the thing if the science is bunk.

Because the motives are entirely political. Its really that simple. If it was about stopping global warming they would be backing some other treaty because Kyoto won't fix the supposed problem.

Lee
2004-May-22, 09:40 PM
Why would Japan, Israel and Canada sign on then? We are buddy buddy allies... Why is the UN funding methane reduction programs in Latin America? I don't get it...

http://unfccc.int/resource/kpstats.pdf

Glom
2004-May-22, 11:05 PM
Wind power may be more popular, but the practicality is seriously suspect (http://www.aandc.org/research/wind_pec_present.html). At the end of the day, fission power clearly has much greater benefits over all the others. The others carry too much of an environmental cost when used on a large scale.

Destroying the world to save the planet is no victory.

dgruss23
2004-May-22, 11:21 PM
Why would Japan, Israel and Canada sign on then? We are buddy buddy allies...

Well, since Kyoto is in Japan we can take a guess as to why they signed it. As for Israel --> who was their leader when they signed it? I suspect our BABB friends from Canada can explain their reasons.


Why is the UN funding methane reduction programs in Latin America? I don't get it...


The UN is one of the biggest pushers of this global Global Warming narcotic that everybody is high on.

Your argument is that if all these countries are signing it, it must be good. But the scientific evidence supporting all the hysteria is lacking and the treaty wouldn't fix the problem anyway.

Kebsis
2004-May-22, 11:25 PM
Just because a bunch of politicians decide to run with something, doesn't mean the science behind it is sound. Remember for instance the Dihydrogen Monoxide banning in California a few months ago. Everything I've seen about global warming has been incomplete and unconvincing, and until I see something solid I don't care how many politicians decide it makes sense.

Glom
2004-May-22, 11:38 PM
To put it in perspective, most politicians oppose nuclear power even more fundamentally than organic power. So, that the politicians see validity in Kyoto is no indication that the validity is true. As authorities, politicians' track records are against them for the role.

Lee
2004-May-23, 12:31 AM
DG... Israel just approved it a few months ago...

These aren't just politicians... these are whole nations, in completely different spheres all jumping onto one piece of legislation...

It's a valid question that you guys are completely avoiding aswering with anything other than flippancy...

Yes politicians are often stupid as individuals... it's this huge collection that more or less rules out collective stupidity. Comparing a mistake by a paralegal that's afraid of dihydrogen monoxide to the collective decision of this much of the earth is way too extremely awfully stretching it...

Putin is not stupid for example... There are many politicians that are quite briliant...

I could buy the idea that there's some sort of power play going on but with so many different motives in these different countries this idea gets leakier and leakier.

I'm not saying you guys are wrong but these explanations don't sit with me.

Glom... nuclear isn't so hot for rural areas... not worth it... there are a lot of rural areas... Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, Nevada, Idaho... New Mexico... no nukes needed...plenty enough wind and solar.... and hydro and coal dagnabit

dgruss23
2004-May-23, 12:45 AM
Lee: It's a valid question that you guys are completely avoiding aswering with anything other than flippancy...

What are the specific scientifically supported reasons for signing it? Political decisions aren't good enough. I don't care if we're the only country that doesn't sign it. If there's not scientific basis for such a treaty then we shouldn't sign it.

Lee
2004-May-23, 01:09 AM
Here are the goals of the thing... Have you guys read it? You make it sound like a mad scientist came up with it... Some of the wording in the document is difficult but these goals are all smart. So smart in fact that we talk about them ourselves all the time...

(i) Enhancement of energy efficiency in relevant sectors of the national
economy;
(ii) Protection and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse
gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, taking into account its
commitments under relevant international environmental agreements;
promotion of sustainable forest management practices, afforestation
and reforestation;
(iii) Promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture in light of climate
change considerations;
(iv) Research on, and promotion, development and increased use of, new
and renewable forms of energy, of carbon dioxide sequestration
technologies and of advanced and innovative environmentally sound
technologies;
(v) Progressive reduction or phasing out of market imperfections, fiscal
incentives, tax and duty exemptions and subsidies in all greenhouse
gas emitting sectors that run counter to the objective of the Convention
and application of market instruments;
(vi) Encouragement of appropriate reforms in relevant sectors aimed at
promoting policies and measures which limit or reduce emissions of
greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol;
(vii) Measures to limit and/or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases not
controlled by the Montreal Protocol in the transport sector;
(viii) Limitation and/or reduction of methane emissions through recovery
and use in waste management, as well as in the production, transport
and distribution of energy;


The rest of it...
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.pdf

Lee
2004-May-23, 02:07 AM
I read the Protocol again... It has a ton of legalese but the ideas below the convolutions are sound...

The idea that we need to stabilize emissions is sound. The idea that we should properly manage our forrests is also sound. The target areas for the protocol are also dead on. Energy, Agriculture, Waste handling, energy intensive industry... On second reading I can see why we agreed to it in the first place. It is full of ways to amend itself btw. The Protocol is more about energy efficiency than weather policy.

It advocates balanced development and the transfer of technology to developing nations... It even mentions Nuclear power once Glom... :) The thing is actually dead on in many ways. I think we are stonewalling it for the wrong reasons... It's not bad at all... we will surely reconsider and sign on... no doubt about it...

bobjohnston
2004-May-23, 03:07 AM
These aren't just politicians... these are whole nations, in completely different spheres all jumping onto one piece of legislation...

It's a valid question that you guys are completely avoiding aswering with anything other than flippancy...

Yes politicians are often stupid as individuals... it's this huge collection that more or less rules out collective stupidity. Comparing a mistake by a paralegal that's afraid of dihydrogen monoxide to the collective decision of this much of the earth is way too extremely awfully stretching it...

Putin is not stupid for example... There are many politicians that are quite briliant...

I could buy the idea that there's some sort of power play going on but with so many different motives in these different countries this idea gets leakier and leakier.


Think about the politics some and you'll see the commonality apart from the science. Kyoto limited the developed world to no growth or reductions in emissions relative to 1990, but let the developing world continue to grow. That's how you get all those countries to sign up: limits on the U.S. economy, but none on your own.

The UK and Germany were both happy: required reductions were practically attained already, given the energy production transitions taking place in each (UK was converting from coal to CH4, and Germany was retiring inefficient East German plants). And again, this would put them at a competitive advantage with respect to the U.S., and most of Europe could claim the same.

Why would Russia go back and forth and back again if it were really about science? The fact is Russia is trying to gauge the economic consequences, to figure out if it can make enough money off selling carbon credits to make it profitable to play along.

If one hadn't looked at the scientific evidence, one should certain be prompted to by claims of a consensus. But in this case, an assessment of the evidence--which is the only relevant test, mind you--finds the global warming hypothesis profoundly lacking.

Lee
2004-May-23, 03:33 AM
Thanks bob.. I dig your info...


I don't buy into the GW hypothesis one bit but the thing is, I'm actually amazed how little the Protocol has to do with GW at all... Most of the thing is dead on... When I read it I read energy efficiency and non-fossil fuel expansion. I especially like the part about eliminating subsidies on greenhouse emitters. Those guys have had long enough to get competitive..

And CO2 comes with cousins like I said... About 30% of the NO2s come from coal plants IIRC and coal plants emit everything else too... Bag filters and scrubbers are great... Coal has come a long way... It's still not up to par and we are chasing clean coal with the knowledge in the back of our heads that it will be too expensive. I feel wholeheartedly that coal is bad for our health the environment and in the long run our economy. I don't want to watch the rest of the world sprint ahead with their nuclear, wind and solar programs while we wallow in King Coal. I don't advocate the extirmination of coal but its steady abandonment... It seems to me we've been doing this anyway... 400,000 miners in 1946... about 60,000 or 70,000 now... Sure we've expanded Coal electricity but we could also reverse this trend without harming the cross section of society that was once involved.

You guys are attacking the Protocol on the grounds that it's supported by Global Warming. I really don't see all that much about Global Warming in it. It's more about curbing our emissions and managing forrests... Like I said, I don't see how this is a bad idea. Considering how little energy demand really goes up every year it seems like we could easily do the Kyoto thing... Anyway... I'm done... just wanted to get my idea accross...

Oh yeah... South Korea... there's another close ally that doesn't fit into the conspiracy theory...

Glom
2004-May-23, 09:16 AM
Glom... nuclear isn't so hot for rural areas... not worth it... there are a lot of rural areas... Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, Nevada, Idaho... New Mexico... no nukes needed...plenty enough wind and solar.... and hydro and coal dagnabit

Wind and solar have reliability issues. Solar doesn't work at night and works poorly in bad weather. Wind doesn't work during calm conditions. That's why they can only complement more conventional sources of power, not replace them. Hydro can work where available. Coal could work but if you are going to build one of those, why not just build a fission plant?

And while areas like Nevada, Utah and New Mexico might be okay sites for wind farms and such, in Britain, we don't have vast deserts. We are pretty much completely greened over and there is strong opposition to filling up every hill with wind mills and rightly so. Why should we spoil and disrupt the landscape in such a way when there is a much less burdenous alternative?

Archer17
2004-May-23, 01:28 PM
Lee: It's a valid question that you guys are completely avoiding aswering with anything other than flippancy...

What are the specific scientifically supported reasons for signing it? Political decisions aren't good enough. I don't care if we're the only country that doesn't sign it. If there's not scientific basis for such a treaty then we shouldn't sign it.Amen. I missed this due to a lengthy storm-related blackout but I basically would've said the same things I said in the earlier part of this thread. Unlike Lee, I don't think Kyoto was written up that well (or fairly for that matter) and the issue of whether someone is an ally in a political/military sense (S. Korea for instance) has nothing at all to do with the economic motivations they would have for this initiative.

Lee
2004-May-23, 08:37 PM
I didn't say is was totally well written Archer... I don't like all the article this references article that and the Conference of the Parties here there and everywhere business. I was surprised that it didn't seem to me to be about climate change. It is more about stabilizing development and managing resources.

You guys say that China, India and Brazil should be involved... No they shouldn't... These countries have too much development ahead of them and everybody knows it. This isn't to say that these guys can pollute away indefinately. The Kyoto Protocol will eventually be used as leverage to get these other countries into the fold in the 2020 time frame... The KP will provide an existence theorem... See, looky here how we did it... You can already see all the sanctions that will be put on big polluters in the future...

I also don't think it will destroy our economy. I think that there will be winners and losers. Energy usage in the U.S. doesn't go up as dramatically as everybody thinks. We use the same amount of energy per person as we did 30 years ago. So you'd figure Maytag and Whirlpool would be winners in a drive to replace old inefficient appliances. You'd figure the insulation business would do well and the small car manufacturers would do well. There would be a correction rather than a collapse...

Also Glom... The U.K. has fewer windmills than it did 200 years ago. Were the windmills polluting the landscape 200 years ago? No... they weren't... they per pumping water and grinding millet or whatever it is that they grind... This whole windmills are ugly idea bothers me... Yes there are reliability issues... That's why you've got a wind to H2 project going on up there in Norway... It's not about wind replacing nuclear power... It's really about seeing how far you can get with wind. There will always be nuclear power right there when you need it. Don't make it a wind/solar against nuclear issue... It's a with issue...