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HoneyBadgerDC
11-24-2014, 02:48 PM
Taking onto account that we may have to go through some changes while getting there has an optimized co2 level ever been attempted to establish?

Another related question, is the feasability of removing carbon from the air a real possibility at this time?

And if all the available fossil fuels are used up what is the projected co2 level when that happens?

Smeghead
11-24-2014, 03:16 PM
Optimized for what?

DrCube
11-24-2014, 04:15 PM
Optimized for what?

Humans?

scr4
11-24-2014, 04:26 PM
Humans?
Human body? Which human body, healthy humans or the weakest and most sick? Or for our agriculture? Or industry? Human economy as a whole? Or safety from extreme weather?

HoneyBadgerDC
11-24-2014, 04:41 PM
Human body? Which human body, healthy humans or the weakest and most sick? Or for our agriculture? Or industry? Human economy as a whole? Or safety from extreme weather?

Obviously we can only choose one number that has to be the best compromise for all. So for the health of planet earth and its inhabitants, slightly favoring humanity.

Colibri
11-24-2014, 06:25 PM
Obviously we can only choose one number that has to be the best compromise for all. So for the health of planet earth and its inhabitants, slightly favoring humanity.

Sorry, this is still way too vague to permit any meaningful answer.

Higher CO2 levels could result in more of the planet becoming more habitable for humans, and more suitable for agriculture. Or it might not. We can make some predictions as to which areas will become warmer, and which rainier or drier. However, we can't do it in such detail as to know what level will be "optimal" (in whatever sense you mean it). And what's optimal for us isn't going to be optimal for most other life forms.

The problem with rising CO2 and associated climate changes isn't so much what levels they eventually reach, but their speed. We can no doubt adapt to higher CO2 levels and to climate changes; the problem is that they will make some areas that we now use unsuitable, and there will be enormous costs and disruptions in moving them to new areas that are suitable. Likewise with plants and animals. Given enough time they will adapt to changing climate. However, changes are likely to come too rapidly for plants and animals to shift their ranges in time or to adapt physiologically.

lazybratsche
11-24-2014, 06:36 PM
In a sense, the "optimal" level is that which most human societies are well-adapted to. Which is probably the CO2 level from (WAG) several decades ago, since cities and populations don't move around very rapidly.

If, magically, the CO2 concentrations returned to pre-industrial levels tomorrow I'd bet that there would be lots of regional climate shifts that we wouldn't be prepared for. There'd be agricultural regions that experience less rain than they've had recently, or cities that are colder than they are accustomed to.

(After that epic WAG... is there a good global map of, say, average precipitation in 1900 and 2000?)

EdwinAmi
11-24-2014, 07:12 PM
the entire idea of thinking of the relationship as being "CO2 = more warmth" is overly simplistic. The earth, being a stable complex system, has negative-feedback systems, as this is the only way such complex systems can exist without going haywire. This is not really accepted in the global-warming model, but will come to be known as correct within the next hundred years as science advances and understands more about this obscure part of science (the study of systems and chaos and equilibrium. This is what Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park was held to be a scientist/professor in, if you remember)

The forces that are at work on earth are massive. The only way this planet could still be existing without its atmosphere being blown off or all the water boiled off or whatever is if all the huge forces were balanced by negative-feedback systems.

So whatever happens, it will all be balanced out in some way. There would be trade offs depending on the region, but overall there could not be huge catastrophic effects, if by that you mean insane weather that's unprecedented in Earth's history

Great Antibob
11-24-2014, 07:55 PM
The earth, being a stable complex system, has negative-feedback systems, as this is the only way such complex systems can exist without going haywire. This is not really accepted in the global-warming model, but will come to be known as correct within the next hundred years as science advances and understands more about this obscure part of science

Since this is GQ and all, cite?

There are a lot of assertions here that are simply wrong and/or caricatures, so I'd like to know where you've seen this directly stated by climate scientists.

For example, feedback systems are directly addressed in the IPCC report (http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6.html).

Climate sensitivity is largely determined by internal feedback processes that amplify or dampen the influence of radiative forcing on climate. To assess the reliability of model estimates of climate sensitivity, the ability of climate models to reproduce different climate changes induced by specific forcings may be evaluated.

As mentioned above, the argument is not that models don't include feedback mechanisms or that they aren't important but that rapid changes can't be handled by them and that the basis for our lifestyle and economy is not equipped to deal rapidly with them either.

It's a bad understanding and statement of negative feedback mechanisms anyway. There are tons of negative feedback mechanisms that can handle relatively gradual changes but can't handle sharp transitions. For example, human body temperature regulation. Or human blood pressure regulation. We can handle reasonable (for a given value of "reasonable) variations in body temperature or blood pressure. But those negative feedback mechanisms can be insufficient or actively harmful in many emergency situations.

So, just because a negative feedback mechanism exists doesn't make it a cureall either.

clairobscur
11-24-2014, 09:00 PM
Since this is GQ and all, cite?



He told you it will be known within a hundred years. Just wait a bit.

GIGObuster
11-24-2014, 09:55 PM
He told you it will be known within a hundred years. Just wait a bit.

You jest, but in this case that poster does not know that there has been more than a hundred years of investigations that also looked at those negative-feedback systems, in reality about 60 years ago a lot of the scientists had the idea that we should not worry even if they were aware of the effects of CO2 accumulating: they thought that nature would absorb a lot of the human made emissions, like the oceans would take care of the increase, just then real Galileos like Callendar got the disdain of the consensus then by proposing that we should not depend on those sinks or negative feedbacks.

By a combination of figuring out what were the actual absorption lines of CO2 in different layers of the atmosphere (Plass), and finding out that many of the expected carbon sinks and negative feedbacks were not as they expected then the realization came to the vast majority of scientists that this was a big problem.

For the long explanation with links to the scientific evidence one has to read the now free to read The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm) Particularly the chapter on the long train of science and investigations made to conclude that The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm) is one of the main drivers of the currently observed warming and that we control the knob.

The idea that some are still expecting, that there are great negative feedbacks or carbon sinks out there ready to save us from our irresponsibility, is the real wishful thinking.

As Carl Sagan told us (and back then he was aware of this issue too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ5u-l9Je0s)) "there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves." The work we will have to do to control this issue is not impossible to do, it is just that the longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it will be to control or mitigate.

sbunny8
11-25-2014, 12:03 AM
The problem with rising CO2 and associated climate changes isn't so much what levels they eventually reach, but their speed. We can no doubt adapt to higher CO2 levels and to climate changes; the problem is that they will make some areas that we now use unsuitable, and there will be enormous costs and disruptions in moving them to new areas that are suitable. Likewise with plants and animals. Given enough time they will adapt to changing climate. However, changes are likely to come too rapidly for plants and animals to shift their ranges in time or to adapt physiologically.

Bingo.

Science hasn't determined an optimal CO2 level, but it has established that, in the past million years, the ecosystem in which we evolved seems to have coped quite well with gradual changes on the order of 1-4 ppm per century. The CO2 level is currently rising at more like 4 ppm per YEAR, which is a breakneck speed by historical standards.

My WAG is that 400 ppm might very well be a quite comfy level to be at if we had gotten here gradually and if it weren't still going higher and higher.

EdwinAmi
11-25-2014, 01:34 PM
but that rapid changes can't be handled by them

That seems silly, given that all the forces on the earth are enormous and in the absence of negative-feedback systems we know would produce huge rapid changes. Indeed, they DO produce them, but they're countered by negative feedback. Just the change in insolation from winter to summer is enourmous when you count the huge surface areas involved, and that it happens in less than a year.

The feedback mechanisms that we know exist are based on the levels of different things, not their rate of change. The higher the CO2, or anything, the more a negative feedback kicks in. I mean, think about it, both the oceans and the plants can absorb CO2. Can the sum of all human activity even remotely compare to all the plants in the world? The endless forests in Siberia, the still huge Amazon, the endless grasslands of Africa, all of which are dwarfed by ocean algae? Of course not. Even a marginal change in their growth rate would dwarf human output of CO2. Ditto the enormous oceans.

To ignore negative feedback mechanisms is to ignore that the climate is stable, that there is even a climate at all, instead of a violent fucking constant windstorm and massive temperature swing a la venus or whichever planet it is.
To say that the rate of change matters is to ignore all the massive changes that have occurred in the past of the earth.

sbunny8
11-25-2014, 01:52 PM
To say that the rate of change matters is to ignore all the massive changes that have occurred in the past of the earth.

Can you give any examples of "massive changes" that occurred this quickly?

The only one I can think of is the K-T extinction event (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretaceous%E2%80%93Paleogene_extinction_event) which was involved a meteor strike. All the others I can think of (like the buildup of oxygen in the atmosphere due to the emergence of photosynthesis) happened very gradually, on the scale of thousands or millions of years.

TroutMan
11-25-2014, 03:49 PM
The feedback mechanisms that we know exist are based on the levels of different things, not their rate of change. The higher the CO2, or anything, the more a negative feedback kicks in. I mean, think about it, both the oceans and the plants can absorb CO2. Can the sum of all human activity even remotely compare to all the plants in the world? The endless forests in Siberia, the still huge Amazon, the endless grasslands of Africa, all of which are dwarfed by ocean algae? Of course not. Even a marginal change in their growth rate would dwarf human output of CO2. Ditto the enormous oceans.


I don't think there's much hope of convincing EdwinAmi differently, so this is for anyone else who stumbles onto this thread: this is completely wrong and ignores all scientific experiment and investigation. You need look no further than CO2 concentrations over the last century to see how patently false it is.

To ignore negative feedback mechanisms is to ignore that the climate is stable, that there is even a climate at all, instead of a violent fucking constant windstorm and massive temperature swing a la venus or whichever planet it is.
To say that the rate of change matters is to ignore all the massive changes that have occurred in the past of the earth.
No one is ignoring negative feedback mechanisms! Please do some actual study of climatology before you spread this misinformation.

scr4
11-25-2014, 04:47 PM
To ignore negative feedback mechanisms is to ignore that the climate is stable...
Nobody is ignoring negative feedback. I think you're misunderstanding what it is, though. Negative feedback is not something that pushes a system back to the same original. If you change a parameter of a system, negative feedback causes the system to settle at a new, different equilibrium, which may be very different from the original condition.

Think of a basket hanging from a spring. If you add a weight to the basket, the basket starts moving down, and the spring will extend. But the more the spring extends, the more upward force it exerts on the basket. That's negative feedback, and this prevents the basket from falling all the way to the floor. But the spring does not bring the basket back to the original height. The basket comes to a stop at a lower point.

By the way, the amount of CO2 created by burning fossil fuels is about the same amount as the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. That's a significant input, and you would expect the system's new equilibrium point to be very different from the original conditions.

wolfpup
11-25-2014, 05:53 PM
The problem with rising CO2 and associated climate changes isn't so much what levels they eventually reach, but their speed. We can no doubt adapt to higher CO2 levels and to climate changes; the problem is that they will make some areas that we now use unsuitable, and there will be enormous costs and disruptions in moving them to new areas that are suitable. Likewise with plants and animals. Given enough time they will adapt to changing climate. However, changes are likely to come too rapidly for plants and animals to shift their ranges in time or to adapt physiologically.
Exactly this. The rate of change of CO2 we've experienced since industrialization is dramatically higher -- by several orders of magnitude -- than is usually seen in nature even during periods of climate transition, as can be seen here (http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/co2_10000_years.gif) and here (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png). Moreover, in addition to the ecological challenges you describe, the strong forcings generated by this rapid change are destabilizing, leading to more and more extreme weather events and significant changes to atmosphere and ocean circulation systems that can disrupt local climates in major ways. The idea that there is "no one ideal temperature" for the earth, and that a warmer earth might even be "better", is a common tactic used by those seeking to undermine the public's understanding of these biological and climatological stress factors caused by the unprecedented rate of change, the equivalent of trying to turn an aircraft carrier around on a dime.

the entire idea of thinking of the relationship as being "CO2 = more warmth" is overly simplistic. The earth, being a stable complex system, has negative-feedback systems, as this is the only way such complex systems can exist without going haywire. This is not really accepted in the global-warming model ...
This is complete garbage and exhibits a total ignorance of climate science. I love how those who obviously know nothing about climate science always have free advice for the researchers who have been studying the field for a lifetime. Climate system feedbacks are among the most important and well-studied areas in climatology and are crucial to assessing climate sensitivity. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is sufficiently well understood, for instance, that while there's still a relatively broad range of possible values in the accepted consensus, there is no doubt that it's dominated by positive feedbacks, with the majority of estimates centering around a factor of about 3.

Most important feedback responses to CO2 forcing are strongly positive -- ice-albedo feedback, methane release from permafrost and hydrates, water vapor, and others. Negative feedbacks, like geo- and biosequestration and lapse rate feedback tend to be small. If it were not so, then there would not have been the kind of CO2-driven temperature increases we consistently see in the paleoclimate record -- for example, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum).
No one is ignoring negative feedback mechanisms! Please do some actual study of climatology before you spread this misinformation.
Indeed.

EdwinAmi
11-25-2014, 07:45 PM
the problem is that they will make some areas that we now use unsuitable,

and make other areas much more fertile/useful

TroutMan
11-25-2014, 08:02 PM
and make other areas much more fertile/useful
The potentially more fertile area is dwarfed by the area that will become unsuitable for growing food and survival in the way we are accustomed. And that completely ignores animal and plant life that can't move as easily as humans and will simply die out.

Please please please get some facts on this before posting misinformation.

GIGObuster
11-25-2014, 08:09 PM
and make other areas much more fertile/useful

The problem of the jump seen in the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is that there is no guarantee that the new much fertile areas that will get warm enough for it will be stable for long, or/and it will take generations to figure out what, when and where to plant.

And then there is the issue of giving guys that will follow the steps of Putin the control of most of that land.

Learjeff
11-25-2014, 08:17 PM
Optimized for what?That is exactly the question. The simplest answer is "whatever it's been during most of the history of civilization, because that's what agriculture is optimized to." That's an oversimplified answer, of course, but to get any more specific, well, re-read Colibri's post above.

"Change causes upset." Think about that. Even change for the better causes problems. Economies, population centers, and agriculture are all optimized for current conditions. Changing conditions rapidly would be a disaster.

the entire idea of thinking of the relationship as being "CO2 = more warmth" is overly simplistic. The earth, being a stable complex system, There's lots of evidence that it's not a very stable system. Iceball Earth, for example.

Nobody is ignoring negative feedback. I think you're misunderstanding what it is, though. Negative feedback is not something that pushes a system back to the same original. If you change a parameter of a system, negative feedback causes the system to settle at a new, different equilibrium, which may be very different from the original condition.

Think of a basket hanging from a spring. If you add a weight to the basket, the basket starts moving down, and the spring will extend. But the more the spring extends, the more upward force it exerts on the basket. That's negative feedback, and this prevents the basket from falling all the way to the floor. But the spring does not bring the basket back to the original height. The basket comes to a stop at a lower point.Nice example, thanks!

clairobscur
11-25-2014, 10:42 PM
and make other areas much more fertile/useful

Probably right. So for instance American middle-west farmers will just have to relocate to Siberia. Problem solved.

eschereal
11-26-2014, 02:13 AM
Just the change in insolation from winter to summer is enourmous when you count the huge surface areas involved, and that it happens in less than a year.

I am not understanding. Are you saying the Earth get a different amount of sun in the winter than it does in the summer? Is the summer solstice in June or December?

septimus
11-26-2014, 03:55 AM
... Can the sum of all human activity even remotely compare to all the plants in the world? ...

The biosphere releases almost exactly as much carbon to the atmosphere as it extracts. This is due to a balance between photosynthesizing plants and respirers (animals etc.). One way to understand the recent spurt in atmospheric CO2 is to compare the millions of years over which fossil fuels accumulated with the short span of their burning.

That seems silly, given that all the forces on the earth are enormous and in the absence of negative-feedback systems we know would produce huge rapid changes. Indeed, they DO produce them, but they're countered by negative feedback.

... To ignore negative feedback mechanisms is to ignore that the climate is stable,...

Examine the Earth's temperature (http://www.buildart.com/images/Images2011/TIMELINE_FULL.jpg) or temperature compared with CO2 levels (http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/tharriso/ast110/carbondioxide.gif) over 100's of million years and see that the Earth's climate is NOT stable over long periods of time. I don't know how well the drivers of transitions are understood, but we could be at a transition now.

There are both positive and negative feedback mechanisms at work. One negative feedback which kept temperature within a narrow band during the Quaternary is that melting ice leads to oceanic CO2 accumulation, reducing the greenhouse effect. Ice, already at a low level for the Quaternary, continues to melt, but the resultant equilibrium may have higher temperatures and more acidic oceans.

and make other areas much more fertile/useful

:confused: Which is it? Climate change isn't happening ... or climate change is good?

Budget Player Cadet
11-26-2014, 04:17 AM
The problem with rising CO2 and associated climate changes isn't so much what levels they eventually reach, but their speed. We can no doubt adapt to higher CO2 levels and to climate changes; the problem is that they will make some areas that we now use unsuitable, and there will be enormous costs and disruptions in moving them to new areas that are suitable. Likewise with plants and animals. Given enough time they will adapt to changing climate. However, changes are likely to come too rapidly for plants and animals to shift their ranges in time or to adapt physiologically.

We have a winner.

the entire idea of thinking of the relationship as being "CO2 = more warmth" is overly simplistic. The earth, being a stable complex system, has negative-feedback systems, as this is the only way such complex systems can exist without going haywire. This is not really accepted in the global-warming model, but will come to be known as correct within the next hundred years as science advances and understands more about this obscure part of science

You know what I noticed here? Not a single citation. I mean, you make a lot of very tall claims, but you completely fail to back any of them up. Is this like your claims about solar power again?

The forces that are at work on earth are massive. The only way this planet could still be existing without its atmosphere being blown off or all the water boiled off or whatever is if all the huge forces were balanced by negative-feedback systems.

So whatever happens, it will all be balanced out in some way. There would be trade offs depending on the region, but overall there could not be huge catastrophic effects, if by that you mean insane weather that's unprecedented in Earth's history

Right. Which is why the climate never changes.

Ever.

It's why the earth was not ever covered in ice, and when it was, it snapped back almost immediately.

It's why the eocene thermal maximum never happened.

It's why every time something happens that would affect the earth's climate, negative feedbacks immediately change it back.

...

...Sounds kinda stupid when you say it like that, right? That's because it's wrong. It's blatantly and obviously wrong. Yeah, there are negative feedbacks. But they are neither instant, nor bottomless. And there's good evidence for positive feedbacks as well, and good reason to believe that some negative feedbacks (such as the ocean) are losing their ability to function as negative feedbacks as we get warmer.

The feedback mechanisms that we know exist are based on the levels of different things, not their rate of change. The higher the CO2, or anything, the more a negative feedback kicks in.

Citation needed.

I mean, think about it, both the oceans and the plants can absorb CO2. Can the sum of all human activity even remotely compare to all the plants in the world? The endless forests in Siberia, the still huge Amazon, the endless grasslands of Africa, all of which are dwarfed by ocean algae? Of course not.

Citation needed.

Even a marginal change in their growth rate would dwarf human output of CO2. Ditto the enormous oceans.


Citation needed.

To ignore negative feedback mechanisms is to ignore that the climate is stable, that there is even a climate at all, instead of a violent fucking constant windstorm and massive temperature swing a la venus or whichever planet it is.

Citation needed that we're ignoring it.

Everything you're saying is wrong and you make absolutely no attempt to back it up with published research (because you can't, because it's wrong), appealing rather to our common sense. Just like it's common sense that volcanoes must dwarf human CO2 output (wrong), that we couldn't possibly affect the carbon cycle (wrong), that such a tiny portion of the atmosphere could not have a huge effect (wrong), and that climate has changed in the past, therefore we couldn't be the cause of the current change (wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong (http://angryscience.yougetwhatyouwant.org/but-its-been-warmer-in-the-past/)). Stop appealing to common sense, and actually do some research. Your insistence that your assumptions about the natural world must be true is the reason that every single thing you've said about AGW in this thread is wrong.

and make other areas much more fertile/useful

Yeah! Which is really helpful when we completely lack the architecture in place to take advantage of it!

To come back to Colibri's (completely accurate) point: modern human society is built around the climate that has existed for the past few centuries.

Our cities are built at the sea because that's how shipping used to work - if the sea level rises or drops significantly, their position becomes precarious or useless.

Our farms and agriculture is centered around crops we know can grow well in the environments that are good for growing - if these environments become arid, there's little guarantee that the new areas will not pose significant problems.

Our entire agricultural supply line (and believe me, this shit is really, really, really non-trivial in magnitude and cost to relocate/rebuild) is based around things like the grain belt - if we can't grow there any more, we'll have to move all of this around, and it's going to be some really lean years until we pull it off.

Our population centers are often built around aquifers or rivers that run off from glaciers - if rising temperatures make these water supplies unsustainable, we will face migration and refugees.

Our entire modern society is based around the climate we live in. The problem is not "we're away from the ideal CO2 concentration", the problem is "the change in CO2 concentration leads to the infrastructure we've built over centuries needing to adapt faster than is comfortable for us". And that's ignoring the rest of nature, which doesn't quite have the same tools we do to adapt to changes.

Colibri
11-26-2014, 09:38 AM
and make other areas much more fertile/useful

In what proportion?

As has been said, even if some areas become better there would still be enormous costs involved in developing new infrastructure. If the best area for corn cultivation moves from the Midwest to Canada, you then have to build new roads, railroads, silos, and everything else to support it. Meanwhile much of the existing infrastructure for corn cultivation in the Midwest may not be suitable for sugar cane, or whatever the new crop is.

Colibri
11-26-2014, 09:38 AM
and make other areas much more fertile/useful

In what proportion?

As has been said, even if some areas become better there would still be enormous costs involved in developing new infrastructure. If the best area for corn cultivation moves from the Midwest to Canada, you then have to build new roads, railroads, silos, and everything else to support it. Meanwhile much of the existing infrastructure for corn cultivation in the Midwest may not be suitable for sugar cane, or whatever the new crop is.

Grey
11-26-2014, 09:47 AM
Or if you assume the oceans to be a massive, inexhaustible sink for CO2, then what about the resulting acidification? CO2 + water --> Carbonic Acid (H2CO3)

lazybratsche
11-26-2014, 10:51 AM
IMO, the possible shift of agriculture from the US to Canada isn't as troubling as, say, loss of agriculture from large parts of southern Africa and southern Asia (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/319/5863/607). There is a fairly developed infrastructure in Canada, and the government is stable and prosperous enough to allow efficient development further to the north.

On the other hand, the Siberian steppes are vast and almost completely undeveloped. Somehow I doubt that a billion subsistence farmers from Africa and other parts of Asia can just pack up and start farming in the newly thawed permafrost (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/045207/fulltext/) in Siberia...

Budget Player Cadet
11-26-2014, 12:18 PM
Plus, on a somewhat tangential note, it doesn't help that the people currently in charge in Russia are very strongly against agricultural technology.

EdwinAmi
11-26-2014, 11:23 PM
You guys are saying that climate science isn't ignoring it, but one of the guys above JUST SAID that there are positive feedback mechanisms before the negative, or something like that

this is completely wrong and ignores all scientific experiment and investigation

Oh yeah, right, that experiment where they built a time machine and slowly tracked all climate data for the past 1,000,000+ years
Oh right...
Oh, but stupid tree rings are just as good as that, right? Other kinds of science can only make claims they can actually experiment on, with exact precise data whose tiny variance is only allowed to be caused by imperfect measurement machines.
Every single interaction in physics and chemistry and electronics can be explained exactly by the relevant theories, and reproduced 100%. But climatologists get to look at some tree rings and I'm supposed to buy it 100%, and impoverish my entire country. That level of faith?

The potentially more fertile area is dwarfed by the area that will become unsuitable for growing food and survival

So, first we know that there's global warming, that we know the future with super duper certainty, and now, on top of that, we know all the details too! Wow!
Sounds like a SECOND hypothesis that needs more proof, to me


Look, I get it. AGW is a theory, and there's some evidence behind it. I get all of what anyone has said. You guys are just over-stating the meaningfulness of the evidence. If you're honest, you'd never accept this kind of evidence to back up such intense claims to coerce people into spending such atrocious amounts of money, if it came to one of the other sciences.

I get it. All the AGW people have to get that you're never going to make a full sale to the American people.

P.S., I could have responded to more, there was some more strawmanning up there, you guys putting words in my mouth, but whatever, I'm not really interested in dragging on this kind of shit

GIGObuster
11-27-2014, 12:08 AM
You guys are saying that climate science isn't ignoring it, but one of the guys above JUST SAID that there are positive feedback mechanisms before the negative, or something like that

That is because the scientists investigated that before, please read about it in the links provided before telling us more baseless claims.


Oh yeah, right, that experiment where they built a time machine and slowly tracked all climate data for the past 1,000,000+ years
Oh right...



Oh, but stupid tree rings are just as good as that, right? Other kinds of science can only make claims they can actually experiment on, with exact precise data whose tiny variance is only allowed to be caused by imperfect measurement machines.
Every single interaction in physics and chemistry and electronics can be explained exactly by the relevant theories, and reproduced 100%. But climatologists get to look at some tree rings and I'm supposed to buy it 100%, and impoverish my entire country. That level of faith?

So, first we know that there's global warming, that we know the future with super duper certainty, and now, on top of that, we know all the details too! Wow!
Sounds like a SECOND hypothesis that needs more proof, to me.

You are entitled to your opinions but not the facts, the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere by human activities is the same stuff as the past CO2 that is detected in the extracted ice cores, tree rings are not the only items used to get approximate temperatures from the past (three rings by the way are proxies to past temperatures, the estimated temperature they report from the past has limitations so other proxies are used to check them and for deeper timelines.)

National Geographic Teaching Guide:
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/media/file/changing-climate_ch4.pdf


Look, I get it. AGW is a theory, and there's some evidence behind it. I get all of what anyone has said. You guys are just over-stating the meaningfulness of the evidence. If you're honest, you'd never accept this kind of evidence to back up such intense claims to coerce people into spending such atrocious amounts of money, if it came to one of the other sciences.

The evidence for Tobacco causing cancer, fossil power plants and vehicles causing acid rain and industrial CFCs causing the loss of the ozone layer were accepted before. Then as now the same groups that oppose doing a concerted effort (that will take money, but not at the atrocious lebels the same groups misleadingly claim) are telling our politicians to ignore the science.


I get it. All the AGW people have to get that you're never going to make a full sale to the American people.

The latest polls show that even with groups like the Heartland Institute, The George C. Marshall Institute and FOX spewing misinformation the majority of the American People do think that the government should do something.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/us/why-republicans-keep-telling-everyone-theyre-not-scientists.html?_r=0
Since then polls show that the political landscape has changed. A 2013 survey by USA Today and Stanford University found that 71 percent of Americans say they are already seeing the results of climate change, and 55 percent support limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Mr. Krosnick of Stanford analyzed polls in 46 states conducted between 2006 and 2013 and found that in every state surveyed, at least 75 percent of the population acknowledged the existence of climate change, and at least 67 percent said the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions.


P.S., I could have responded to more, there was some more strawmanning up there, you guys putting words in my mouth, but whatever, I'm not really interested in dragging on this kind of shit
Direct quotes from you are not what one could call a strawman.

Budget Player Cadet
11-27-2014, 01:32 AM
You guys are saying that climate science isn't ignoring it, but one of the guys above JUST SAID that there are positive feedback mechanisms before the negative, or something like that

I noted that there are positive as well as negative feedbacks. This does not negate the existence of elements of the environment which are negative feedbacks. That said, the way you're describing feedbacks is nonsensical. The climate has changed significantly in the past; where were these negative feedbacks then? Oh right, they were there, they just don't work the way you think they do.

Oh yeah, right, that experiment where they built a time machine and slowly tracked all climate data for the past 1,000,000+ years

How do you feel about creationism?

Oh, but stupid tree rings are just as good as that, right? Other kinds of science can only make claims they can actually experiment on, with exact precise data whose tiny variance is only allowed to be caused by imperfect measurement machines.

We don't have the most precise data. What we do have is multiple lines of concordant data. The tree rings. The ice cores. The silt deposits. We can get very precise measurements on things like CO2 concentration in the past, and fairly precise measurements on temperature in the past. From this evidence, we can piece together what the climate in the past looked like. No time machine necessary. Again, how do you feel about creationism? Because this is Ken Ham level reasoning right here.

Every single interaction in physics and chemistry and electronics can be explained exactly by the relevant theories, and reproduced 100%.

Yep! Like Pluto's orbit! We can totally reproduce that! :rolleyes:

No, you're wrong. But more to the point, the fact that certain kinds of modern science can offer a more direct form of proof does not discount sciences that look at the past. We're all capable of looking at evidence from the past and drawing valid inferences. If I showed you a picture of a city after either a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, or , and you had to either tell me what caused it, I betcha 99/100 times you'd get it right without any experimental confirmation. What you're pulling is a straight-up creationist argument to try to attack all science that examines the past. It's fundamentally dishonest and I am disappointed that anyone here would make such a bogus argument.

But climatologists get to look at some tree rings and I'm supposed to buy it 100%,

Well, you could examine the multiple concordant lines of data (http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm) which have led to temperature reconstructions and CO2 reconstructions of the recent past all looking pretty much the same, with slightly different error bars. See, that's one of those things in science. When you try two different methods and lines of evidence to find out what happened, and each of those ways gives you the same result, usually that's a pretty good sign that the result is accurate. But again, you don't understand this. You're not looking at this evidence. You're simply making bald-faced assertions with no understanding of the published scientific evidence. Case in point.

and impoverish my entire country.

There is decent evidence that indicates that the economics of AGW are not negative (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/16/climate-change-report-damage-overhaul-global-economy), and very strong evidence that the economic impact of global warming is a big deal (http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-effects/economy.html). That is, taking action now is not a bad thing for the economy, but not taking action could be catastrophic. There's little to no reason to believe that fighting AGW would destroy the economy or impoverish the country.


So, first we know that there's global warming, that we know the future with super duper certainty, and now, on top of that, we know all the details too! Wow!
Sounds like a SECOND hypothesis that needs more proof, to me

Tell ya what. How 'bout you spend 5 minutes looking for the proof - five minutes looking at the evidence supporting these hypotheses - before you pretend there is none? That would be really swell. You think the evidence is not a strong basis because you aren't looking at it! You have no idea what you're talking about. It's the solar panels thing all over again. You just make bald-faced assertions with no interest in what the actual peer-reviewed literature says, or what experts on the topic have to say. You've been demonstrably wrong quite often. At what point do you stop and say, "Jeez, maybe I should go learn something about what I'm talking about, rather than just flapping my gums about a subject I know nothing about?"

P.S., I could have responded to more, there was some more strawmanning up there, you guys putting words in my mouth, but whatever, I'm not really interested in dragging on this kind of shit

Excellent. Then don't. Your opinion is completely unproductive to any discussion on climate change because, as previously stated, your understanding of the subject is less than zero.

Colibri
11-27-2014, 08:27 AM
MODERATING

Let's not make this into yet another thread about the reality of global climate change. We have plenty of those already.

Frankly, I don't think the OP is clearly enough formulated to permit a simple factual answer in GQ terms (other than that an optimum can't really be determined), nor a focused debate in GD. My inclination is to close this, unless someone can address the OP in a relevant manner. Those who wish to debate any other aspects of anthropogenic climate change may contribute to the existing threads or open another thread on the questions raised by the OP in GD.

I am leaving this open for now but if it continues as a general debate on global climate change I will close it.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Grey
11-27-2014, 09:00 AM
Taking onto account that we may have to go through some changes while getting there has an optimized co2 level ever been attempted to establish?
Not unless you consider current proposals to maintain CO2 levels to those we had in 1990 (~350 ppm). Current levels are at ~400 ppm

Another related question, is the feasability of removing carbon from the air a real possibility at this time?

Is it doable? Yes. Is it economically viable that's up for debate. http://www.aps.org/policy/reports/popa-reports/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=244407 gives a value of ~$600/tCO2. Youc an also read that as how crucial it is to either not emit in the first place, or to capture at the point of emission. It's much for effective to capture CO2 at the coal plant vs. pulling it all back out of the air.

And if all the available fossil fuels are used up what is the projected co2 level when that happens?

It goes badly - http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1211/1211.4846.pdf

“The practical concern for humanity is the high climate sensitivity and the eventual
climate response that may be reached if all fossil fuels are burned. Estimates of the carbon
content of all fossil fuel reservoirs including unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands, tar
shale, and various gas reservoirs that can be tapped with developing technology (GEA, 2012)
imply that CO2 conceivably could reach a level as high as 16 times the 1950 atmospheric
amount.”

For references 16 x 1950 CO2 would be >3000 ppm.

Budget Player Cadet
11-28-2014, 02:51 PM
MODERATING

Let's not make this into yet another thread about the reality of global climate change. We have plenty of those already.

Frankly, I don't think the OP is clearly enough formulated to permit a simple factual answer in GQ terms (other than that an optimum can't really be determined), nor a focused debate in GD. My inclination is to close this, unless someone can address the OP in a relevant manner. Those who wish to debate any other aspects of anthropogenic climate change may contribute to the existing threads or open another thread on the questions raised by the OP in GD.

I am leaving this open for now but if it continues as a general debate on global climate change I will close it.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

I'm pretty sure you addressed the OP pretty clearly, and so did I, taking your point further. The optimal CO2 level, at least for us, is the level needed to maintain the climate as we've had it for the past few centuries of astounding growth.

FXMastermind
11-28-2014, 04:24 PM
Taking onto account that we may have to go through some changes while getting there has an optimized co2 level ever been attempted to establish? Yes, but the figure is up for a lot of debate.

Another related question, is the feasability of removing carbon from the air a real possibility at this time? Plants "remove" a huge amount of our emissions already. Irrigating the worlds deserts, with solar power of course, would be the fastest and most economic way to remove carbon. Economic because the plants would have a huge economic value, as well as creating huge areas of land to live on. Making fuel from atmospheric CO2, using solar power of course, would also be good.

And if all the available fossil fuels are used up what is the projected co2 level when that happens? Since we don't actually know how much fossil fuel there is, it's unknown. There is also the issue of the huge amount being removed all the time. If the known coal reserves were all burned (which would be something like 5,000 years from now), as well as all the unconventional fossil fuels (such as tar sands, tar shale, and hydrofracking-derived shale gas) it could be as high as 1400 ppm, but that is a wild estimate, and meaningless to us at present.
http://mahb.stanford.edu/library-item/what-if-we-burn-all-the-fossil-fuels/

HoneyBadgerDC
11-28-2014, 06:43 PM
Something I wonder about are the surprises we may get. Animals or plants in the ocean or on land that suddenly start to multiply faster with higher levels of carbon available, possibly affecting the food chain.

FXMastermind
11-28-2014, 06:48 PM
A long term well done study of trees in Maryland reported hard wood trees are growing two to four times faster now, and it is due to increased CO2 levels.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/earth/02trees.html?_r=0

It's one reason experts think the missing sink (where all the CO2 is going) might just be the forests.

HoneyBadgerDC
11-28-2014, 07:43 PM
A long term well done study of trees in Maryland reported hard wood trees are growing two to four times faster now, and it is due to increased CO2 levels.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/earth/02trees.html?_r=0

It's one reason experts think the missing sink (where all the CO2 is going) might just be the forests.

Thats kind of where I was going wit this, could the living bio mass in the ocean increase by 30% for instance. How long would it take those living animals to die and decay back into free carbons.

GIGObuster
11-28-2014, 08:14 PM
Thats kind of where I was going wit this, could the living bio mass in the ocean increase by 30% for instance. How long would it take those living animals to die and decay back into free carbons.

Not likely, even the study quoted report that only some of the increase seen in CO2 can is being taken by the trees.

“My guess is that they are already sopping up some of the extra carbon,” he said.

But Dr. Parker said it was unclear whether the trend could be sustained. “We don’t think this can persist for too long because other limiting factors will come into play, like water availability and soil nutrients,” he said.

Under ideal conditions reforestation and other efforts can help a lot on that front, but it is also a bit of information missing if one does not take into account that scientists and experts also looked at what those sinks can do before, most of what I have seen also reported on the likely increase in three and plant growth, and they also report that it follows a likelihood that we will get a reduction of plants in some regions due to dry conditions. In other words, one should not trust that that will save the day.

http://www.edf.org/climate-change-impacts
The Earth could warm another 2 to 11.5°F this century if we fail to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation—devastating our livelihoods and the natural world we cherish.

As for the oceans, there is also the other evil twin that comes as a result of an increase in CO2, ocean acidification:

Acidifying oceans

About one-third of the CO2 pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes is absorbed by the world's oceans, where it forms carbonic acid. A 2010 study published in Nature Geoscience warns that unchecked greenhouse gas emissions could cause oceans to acidify at a rate unprecedented in at least the last 65 million years.


What it is clear is that if the biomass of the oceans was increasing and sequestering the excess CO2 we should had observed already a reduction of the CO2 in recent years, but that is not the case. What is more worrisome is that the oceans might begin to capture less CO2.

http://www.climate.org/topics/climate-change/ocean-uptake-climate-change.html
Although studies into the impacts of high concentrations of CO2 in the oceans are still in their infancy, evidence indicates that reduced ocean carbon uptake is starting to occur and that this poses a serious hazard because this is likely to speed up global warming, as occurred when this type of feedback was initiated during the early warming stages of previous interglacials On October 16th 2007, the US Senate passed a provision proposed by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to Protect Oceans from Acidification. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) would focus more research attention on ocean acidification, which threatens marine life and the fishing industry.

Both the trends in ocean acidification and CO2 absorption will have very large implications, perhaps comparable to the potential impacts of more rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Moreover, reduced CO2 absorption by the oceans could accelerate warming greatly, pushing the climate toward a more precipitous melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

CoralThe recent developments give heightened urgency to our having a grasp of the ocean acidification and CO2 absorption trends. Although research and resources aiming at monitoring oceans should be drastically enhanced to fully understand the various consequences that will bring about anthropogenic Co2 emissions, there is cause for great concern over the threat carbon dioxide poses for the health of our oceans.

eschereal
11-28-2014, 08:24 PM
Irrigating the worlds deserts, with solar power of course, would be the fastest and most economic way to remove carbon.

Nice thought, but, for example, the Sahara is mostly reg, hamada and mountain, just dumping a lot of water on it will leave you with little more than something like a wet, steamy gravel parking lot.

FXMastermind
11-28-2014, 09:09 PM
"The climate change at [10,500 years ago] which turned most of the [3.8 million square mile] large Sahara into a savannah-type environment happened within a few hundred years only, certainly within less than 500 years," said study team member Stefan Kroepelin of the University of Cologne in Germany. http://www.livescience.com/4180-sahara-desert-lush-populated.html

FXMastermind
04-30-2015, 06:41 PM
Plants "remove" a huge amount of our emissions already. Irrigating the worlds deserts, with solar power of course, would be the fastest and most economic way to remove carbon. Economic because the plants would have a huge economic value, as well as creating huge areas of land to live on. Making fuel from atmospheric CO2, using solar power of course, would also be good.


Nice thought, but, for example, the Sahara is mostly reg, hamada and mountain, just dumping a lot of water on it will leave you with little more than something like a wet, steamy gravel parking lot.
"The climate change at [10,500 years ago] which turned most of the [3.8 million square mile] large Sahara into a savannah-type environment happened within a few hundred years only, certainly within less than 500 years," said study team member Stefan Kroepelin of the University of Cologne in Germany.http://www.livescience.com/4180-sahara-desert-lush-populated.html

*ahem*

Did you not notice my response?Some 12,000 years ago, the only place to live along the eastern Sahara Desert was the Nile Valley. Being so crowded, prime real estate in the Nile Valley was difficult to come by. Disputes over land were often settled with the fist, as evidenced by the cemetery of Jebel Sahaba where many of the buried individuals had died a violent death.

But around 10,500 years ago, a sudden burst of monsoon rains over the vast desert transformed the region into habitable land.

TroutMan
04-30-2015, 07:23 PM
Brevity may be the soul of wit, but timeliness is evidently not.

As for your point, a scale of a few hundred years to irrigate the Sahara Desert doesn't sound like the "fastest way to remove carbon." I'm also not sure where you think all the water will come from. Solar power doesn't magically create water for irrigation.

FXMastermind
04-30-2015, 09:46 PM
As for your point, a scale of a few hundred years to irrigate the Sahara Desert doesn't sound like the "fastest way to remove carbon." I'm not talking about hundreds of years, that was the natural event during the Holocene optimum, when rain fell on the Sahara. I'm speaking of reality, of the now.
I'm also not sure where you think all the water will come from. Solar power doesn't magically create water for irrigation. Actually, it does.

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2013/11/desert-farming-experiment-yields-first-results

http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/02/18/seawater-greenhouses-produce-tomatoes-in-the-desert/

If we, meaning mankind, spent the money we spend on war and dealing death, on using solar power described in the links, we could turn the deserts into lush plant filled carbon capturing areas. Way more fun than building 50,000 H bombs, and much safer.

TroutMan
04-30-2015, 10:51 PM
Please provide the data on how you propose to use this technology to irrigate 3.8 million sq. miles of desert. Include the details on where the solar panels/mirrors will be located, how many million square miles of solar panels/mirrors will be required (noting from your cite that the growing area is 6% of the area required for the rest of the facility), where this volume of water will come from, and how this water will be pumped over these distances. Then please provide the data on how this is cheaper and faster than any other method of carbon sequestration.

Alternatively, change the subject and obfuscate by throwing up a wall of links. All the same to me.

am77494
04-30-2015, 11:31 PM
Actually, it does.

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2013/11/desert-farming-experiment-yields-first-results

http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/02/18/seawater-greenhouses-produce-tomatoes-in-the-desert/

If we, meaning mankind, spent the money we spend on war and dealing death, on using solar power described in the links, we could turn the deserts into lush plant filled carbon capturing areas. Way more fun than building 50,000 H bombs, and much safer.

Dude - not so fast. I resisted a long time to join this discussion but all those links are research projects that have very little commercial value and a lot of "research funding" value.

Let me give you what these clever researchers conveniently forget to mention :
1. What happens if there is a sandstorm for a few days or the solar power plant trips for a few days (they do a lot BTW)? Do they let the green plants die since there is no solar power ? - the answer is NO - they have backup power :) - generator sets or the grid. So now you have doubled your investment - solar power + standby electric power

2. How do you get fertilizers for the greenhouse ? :) Fossil fuels of-course :)

3. How much power is consumed in running the fans and the sea water pumps ? and where does it come from ? ;)

4. During desalination the effluent created is higher in salinity than seawater and the US regulations require that it be discharged a few miles into the ocean because if discharged close to the shore marine life dies :rolleyes: - guess what the Qataris do

5. What happens to the effluent from the greenhouse ? Eutrophication ?

I am saying that the technology is theoretically feasible. Its a can do technology - but not a should do. You make it sound like human will is all that is preventing it go all global - but it is not. There are significant engineering challenges to make it work - and even if it works, it maynot be such a economic or environmental miracle :)

FXMastermind
04-30-2015, 11:37 PM
I am saying that the technology is theoretically feasible. Its a can do technology - but not a should do. You make it sound like human will is all that is preventing it go all global - but it is not. There are significant engineering challenges to make it work - and even if it works, it may not be such a economic or environmental miracle :) I might agree, but I was thinking economics, and perhaps dreaming. Planting forests and greening deserts might be the most cost effective means of countering an excess of carbon. Note the use of "might", which is how real scientists explain the future.

Of course there are challenges, but certainly using solar to make fresh water is one of the oldest ways of using solar energy. It's why it rains and snows and all.

I could mention seeding the barren ocean areas with iron or rock dust, which would really eat up carbon. But that idea seems to enrage people. I mean, ships can fuck up the weather/climate with ship trails every day of the year, but jeez you talk about having them spread some powdered rock dust in their wake to feed algae, people lose their minds.

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