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Global Warming is Not a Crisis


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swansont, a bit more on that graph. It looks to me like the various projections are initialised at a level slightly above the .4 degree anomaly level. In the pdf below the updated paper is the original "In Press" version. Scrolling down to Figure 5 we see a grey band running through the graph, this is the 4 year running smoothing. It appears to me that the top of this grey band is at the .4 degree mark and this means that there is indeed an offset. It's quite small, something less than .05 degrees but it is there. It strikes me that good practice would have been for all the temperature projections to align with the median of the grey band in 2000 and start on a level playing field.

 

The problem here is that the thick black line is actually a projection the begins prior to 2000. Either way, the IPCC model runs should be initialised on the average smoothed temp of slightly below a .4 degree anomaly in 2000. (At least to my way of thinking.)

 

I have emailed Dr Scafetta detailing this offset and seeking clarification. I'll let you know what happens.

 

Essay, that "actuals" graph from post 250?

 

It only compares up to the year 2005, how does it look when we add in temps up to 2011?

IPCC-20071.png

 

We aren't even at the "Commitment" temps, so unless everybody stopped CO2 emissions in 2006 and I've missed it, it doesn't look good for the models, does it?

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Essay, I have to also ask a logical question. You are quite happy with the idea that TSI changes by about 1.4 W/m-2 during the 11 year cycle. You've used that figure in previous posts and I don't have a problem with it.

 

However, if we look at the actual cycles;

....

We can reasonably say that....

If the TSI varies....

So the drop....

 

If this is true, then how can....

 

You are arguing that....

 

This makes no sense.

 

 

You're right, "this makes no sense," but I don't know enough to explain all that is wrong with the scenario in your post. I do know you are wrong about saying how I'm "arguing that a short drop... gives a greater reduction in TSI than a prolonged drop." That is your post (#274)--filled with your assumptions and "if" phrases--supposedly analyzing the solar cycles, which then creates your "logical question;" so don't claim they are my words or logic. If you'd like to quote from my posts, and ask questions or make points about those, feel free.

===

 

 

But to the post (#273), which I can make sense of....

 

In general, I find it hard to believe the science is really as bad as you suggest. I know the estimates of solar activity, over centuries and millennia, are some of the least robust in climate science, and one of the bigger uncertainties in climate science; but they are not just making this stuff up, or doing bad science, to fit some agenda. If you want to pick a particular point, which you see as problematic, we could try to drill down to a better understanding; but to paint a whole discipline as invalid seems to be a stretch.

===

 

And specifically: Your numbers come from either subtracting measurements from particular solar cycles that are centuries apart, or from within the same cycle (post #274) and then extrapolating that number out for some hundred years.

 

Can you think of good reasons why the authors of those papers used a different way to analyze their data? From that graph of solar irradiance forcing:

Figure 6.13.... (b) solar irradiance variation

 

All forcings and temperatures are expressed as anomalies from their 1500 to 1899 means and then smoothed with a Gaussian-weighted filter to remove fluctuations on time scales less than 30 years....

 

It is not that the graph doesn't match the data (as you claim: "it misrepresents"), but that the graph correctly displays the "smoothed" data. How could you evaluate all those papers, and yet not see that?

 

But y'know, even if the sun suddenly becomes a lot more variable, its effects would still be outweighed by CO2 over the long term (unless you have some new "faint sun" ideas).

===

 

And what was that faint sun comment about anyway.... Whatever it was, I doubt "most people" even know how 3 billion years ago that the sun seems to have been some 30% dimmer. But even if they do, what does that have to do with climate over the past (or next) few centuries or millennia or million years? I didn't bring that up, so why would your comment, "Well you have a problem with it for a start," make any sense?

 

But you're wrong; I don't now, nor never had a problem with it, since it never seemed to be significant. Once you learned about it, and wondered about its significance, why wouldn't you have a problem with it?

 

You're talking about change on the order of 0.1 Watt for every million years (with the faint sun idea). Are you suggesting how "the Sun could vary by 3 W/m-2 between a Grand Minima and a Grand Maxima" is explained by the faint sun hypothesis?

===

 

And re: post #276:

 

But regardless of your opinion on the quality of the science being done to characterize solar effects, you are jumping the gun by graphing that downward trend. As the denialists admonished the alarmists to do back in the 80's & 90's, you need to wait a few more years before claiming any "new" trends.

 

However, this is a good opportunity to check the models with more recent observations:

 

January 2012 - NASA [RE: solar forcing 2005-2010]

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies;

Goddard Space Flight Center, Sciences and Exploration Directorate, Earth Sciences Division

 

Science Briefs: Earth's Energy Imbalance— January 2012

http://www.giss.nasa...iefs/hansen_16/

 

The role of the Sun. The measured positive imbalance in 2005-2010 is particularly important because it occurred during the deepest solar minimum in the period of accurate solar monitoring (Fig. 2). If the Sun were the only climate forcing or the dominant climate forcing, then the planet would gain energy during the solar maxima, but lose energy during solar minima.

 

The fact that Earth gained energy at a rate 0.58 W/m2 during a deep prolonged solar minimum reveals that there is a strong positive forcing overwhelming the negative forcing by below-average solar irradiance. That result is not a surprise, given knowledge of other forcings, but it provides unequivocal refutation of assertions that the Sun is the dominant climate forcing.

 

The fact that Earth gained energy at a rate 0.58 W/m2 during a deep prolonged solar minimum reveals that there is a strong positive forcing overwhelming the negative forcing by below-average solar irradiance. That result is not a surprise, given knowledge of other forcings, but it provides unequivocal refutation of assertions that the Sun is the dominant climate forcing.

 

....{UPDATE}

Measured Earth energy imbalance, +0.58 W/m2 during 2005-2010, implies that the aerosol forcing is about -1.6 W/m2, a greater negative forcing than employed in most IPCC models.

...my emphases

 

And there are those extra (not predicted or modeled in 2007) aerosols from China over that same period. But those are temporary, transient forcings. What happens when the cycle moves to solar maximum? CO2 will still be there, but maybe China will increase aerosol production (...guess we won't need to do geoengineering with those giant sulfate-aerosol projectors anymore, eh?) or maybe a volcano will erupt during the next solar max to help keep the forcings lower.

 

But this does seem to show that the models are still tracking well, once new or changing (relative to the original predictions) forcers are accounted for.

===

 

 

Even if the extra warming from CO2 is offset for a few year by some combination of other forcings, or even of some cooling is forced, over the long term the planet cannot escape the continuous and relentless extra forcing, from pole to pole, by CO2. As well as acidifying the oceans, it will always offset cooling forcers or it will accentuate warming forcers, which over time creates a ratchet effect of increasing heat retention.

 

~istm mellow.gif

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Sorry for the delay, but RL got in the way.

Me too. Sorry for the delay.

 

Edtharan;

If the Earth retains energy in the form of infra-red radiation, then this will act as a warming effect (among other things).

Yes, we should get changes in ocean circulation, wind patterns and other things too, not just heat.

 

Even if we granted that all warming since 1850 was due to CO2, how can you not call it benign? The Little Ice Age was a more "benign" climate than todays? Really?

the thing is, the warming won't stop at this temperature. If we keep adding CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, then this will keep retaining more and more energy and thus increasing climate change.

 

Think of riding a runway car down a hill. The first few meters or so you aren't going fast and you could jump off or even apply the breaks easily enough. At this point the ride is benign. But, if the car isn't slowed down or stopped, then it will get faster and fast and you won't be able to jump off, and putting the breaks on won't stop you quickly (and maybe too late). At that point it is most definitely not benign.

 

Actually we expected it. We "deniers" have very funny ideas like "If the planet warms, ice will melt".

But the deniers were saying that it won't happen because the planet is not warming. They wern't deniing that IF the Earth warmed the ice would or wouldn't melt, but that the Earth wouldn't warm enough to melt it.

 

And don't go the "lowest prediction" path. It was your side that was predicting an "ice free" north pole next year.

But you are going "highest prediction" path in an attempt to say disprove (human induced) climate change. I will agree that there were predictions that did state that climate change would be greater than it is, but there were more that stated it would be less than what it is.

 

But regardless, there was still warming.

 

It hasn't gone as fast as the predictions said it would.

If you misjudged a car's speed, by say 10% greater, and you thought was travelling at 100 km/h, would it still kill you if it hit you?

 

Yes, it would. Although the rate of warming might have been misjudged (and less than 10% by the way) does not mean it is not warming.

 

Actually, as I have said before (and you seem to agree) that not all the energy retained by the climate systems will go into thermal heating of the Earth. What this situation tells us (the lower than expected temperature increase) is that the other effects are getting more energy than first assumed. This is actually worse than pure warming as these other effects have more harmful consequences.

 

More so, they are tipping point effects. that is there won't be any major changes until a certain amount of energy is in that system, and then it will drastically change its behaviour. As an example: The North Atlantic Conveyor current draws warm water up from the equator towards Europe. This causes England to be warmer than it should be at the latitude it is. The Conveyor current is driven by the extra salty water caused by the Arctic winter freeze (as it is more dense). Water is then pulled in from near the equator as the salty water sinks.

 

Now, if the Arctic doesn't freeze as much in winter, then the water is not as salty and won't sink as fast (or at all) and this will stop the NAC and England will get much colder.

 

Yes, this is a case where Global Warming can cause a cooling. But the cooling is a local effect, not a global effect).

 

The biggest problem with using Arctic ice is the lack of long term data. The best we have are the satellites and they only go back to 1979 or so. Not a really good baseline for extrapolation. We don't know with any accuracy how fast the floating ice has melted in previous warmings.

Actually there are lots of ways of determining the ice coverage in pre-recoded times (as an example: large icebergs can scrape along ocean floors and this leaves tell-tail signs that can be seen). Even the way tectonic plates are influenced by the amount of ice coverage.

 

Another way is ocean circulation. Certain chemicals precipitate out in salt or fresh water. By looking at the extents of these it can be used to determine the extents of ice coverage (and even melting rates too). Ice is fresh water and when it melts it causes the ocean around it to become more fresh. When it freezes, it causes the ocean to become more salty.

 

So it is perfectly possible to determine ice coverage before human recodes began. this means that this line of argument doesn't support your claims.

 

Heck, all you have to do is keep a close eye on ice extent and watch hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of ice appear and disappear overnight.

Seasonal change is not what we are talking about with polar melting. What we are talking about is the average coverage taken over many years and through all seasons.

 

There has been a noticeable and increasing reduction in average ice cover in the Arctic, even in the last 100 years. When compared to pre-recorded evidence, this is even more obvious.

 

It's a warming world. Ice melts. Glaciers recede. These things happen in a warming world regardless of the cause. Glaciers have been receding since the 1700s in the Alps. Archaeology shows us that they have done so at least 7 times in the last 2,500 years.

But not as fast, not as much and not globally.

 

In the past 2,500 years, when glaciers have melted in one area, in other areas they were growing.

 

Sure, there are a few glaciers growing (or are static), but the vast majority of them are receding. This is unheard of except during the end of the last glacial period when the Earth experienced the last dramatic warming (and there was a lot of extinctions at this time too).

 

And, at this time (end of the last glacial period), Humans nearly went extinct, the numbers could have been as low as 1,000 individuals (so we are by no means immune to climate change).

 

The real difference is that we deniers don't start our temperature graph at the coldest point in 8,000 years and go screaming "Oh God! It's warming! We're all going to die!" Are people expected to panic every year when winter turns into spring?

Actually, most "accepters" don't go around screaming "Oh God! It's warming! We're all going to die!".

 

What "we" go around saying is: The records show that the Earth is warming, and the scientific evidence shows that we are the ones responsible for it. We are not indestructible, and the changes the warming will bring could be disruptive."

 

True, in the past, climate change nearly did wipe us out, but no reputable scientist is acting like you are claiming they are.

 

You seem to have a massivly distorted view of climate change accepters, and of what climate change means, and from that you are basing your denial on that you think people who act in that (distorted) way can not be taken seriously.

 

If climate scientists were acting that way, I couldn't take them seriously either (but it wouldn't change the fact that the climate is warming and that humans CO2 production is the main driver of it).

 

As I have shown previously, if you change the rate at which energy leaves the Earth, this must (according to all known laws of physics and all mathematics) increase the amount of energy in the Earth's climate systems.

 

To deny that means you deny that changing the amount of money you take out of the bank won't effect the amount of money in your bank account.

 

We know that CO2 blocks the emission of infra-red light (the experiment is actually quite easy to do). So if we increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere then we will reduce the amount of infra-red light radiating away form Earth.

 

Human industry emits a lot of CO2

 

From these three facts alone we can prove that humans are causing climate change. The effects of this are up for debate, but this is hard proof that we are driving climate change.

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Sorry guys but a reply will have to wait.

 

I'm spending the next 4 days in the New South Wales gem fields. A lovely town called "Glen Innes" in the Celtic Country. I've driven through many a time but this is the first chance to stay for their "Minerama" festival. Some of the finest blue sapphires come out of this region and I hope to get me some. :D

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These do not change the impact of long-term, relatively permanent forcers such as CO2.

Does anyone know what the elimination half-life is for anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide? In other words, if we suddenly stopped adding CO2 to the atmosphere, how quickly would the levels drop toward pre-industrial levels?

 

I would think somebody has published that and it would be interesting to know.

 

If not, does anyone know what percent of anthropogenic CO2 is sequestered? That would give enough information to estimate in the same way that a drug's terminal elimination half-life can be estimated from knowing how much the kidneys eliminate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Essay.

 

You're right, "this makes no sense," but I don't know enough to explain all that is wrong with the scenario in your post. I do know you are wrong about saying how I'm "arguing that a short drop... gives a greater reduction in TSI than a prolonged drop." That is your post (#274)--filled with your assumptions and "if" phrases--supposedly analyzing the solar cycles, which then creates your "logical question;" so don't claim they are my words or logic. If you'd like to quote from my posts, and ask questions or make points about those, feel free.

 

Okay, and using your words, not mine.

 

In that post from June, 2011 (and the posts above), I keep saying "between the LIA & MWP," whereas you keep saying "between the Maunder Minimum & Today;" but either way the graph backs up my numbers--if I'm reading it right--of about a half Watt change in average forcing from drifting solar activity (minimum difference) ...though (to be fair, it is) slightly over 1.0 Watt/m^2 if you look at the maximum difference (GRT 2005 -or- AJS 2006). However, the "average" [black line] of the various studies is still at about a half Watt difference; isn't it?

 

This comment concerns the change in baseline solar forcing going from the Grand Minima of the Maunder to the Grand Maxima of the 20th Century and is in line with the IPCC diagram 6.13. A change in the baseline Solar forcing of about a half a Watt.

 

Yet in an earlier thread you quote your professor as saying;

 

"According to the reconstructions, the difference in solar irradiance from the MWP max to the LIA min is about 0.5 or 0.6 W/m2 (reading from the figure, there are several different estimates presented by IPCC).

By contrast the difference between the irradiance during the solar min in 1997 and the solar max in 2002-3 was about 0.1% or roughly 1.4 W/m2." ~Dr. Scott

 

So the change over a standard cycle is about 1.4 W/m-2.

 

Both of these statements cannot be true. Consider a standard cycle the number of sunspots will vary from around 150 at maximum down to about 20 at minimum, with a median figure of around 80. So it follows that when the sunspot numbers go from 20 to 80 there will be an increase of roughly .7 W/m-2 in TSI. Half the 1.4 W/M-2 of a full cycle change. With me? Now the Maunder had no sunspots at all for quite some time so the median figure for an 11 year cycle was actually zero. We left the Maunder and came into the 20th Century and the median for a cycle went from 0 to 80 sunspots. Still with me? Yet the argument is being made that this will result in an increase of only .5 W/M-2.

 

One statement is that a change from 20 to 80 spots over 5 years will give an increase of .7 W/M-2 while the other is saying that an increase from zero to 80 spots over 100 years will give a 30% smaller increase in TSI of .5 W/M-2. Now do you see the problem? When we are considering the difference in solar forcings between then and now we need to compare the baseline solar forcing which is the median figure of the cycle.

 

And specifically: Your numbers come from either subtracting measurements from particular solar cycles that are centuries apart, or from within the same cycle (post #274) and then extrapolating that number out for some hundred years.

 

If I want to know the difference in TSI between 300 years ago and now, then I would have to compare cycles that are "centuries apart", would I not? I don't understand your objection. Belief or disbelief is not required. If you think I'm wrong then show where the flaw in the maths or the logic is. Disagreeing because you find something "hard to believe" is religion.

 

It is not that the graph doesn't match the data (as you claim: "it misrepresents"), but that the graph correctly displays the "smoothed" data. How could you evaluate all those papers, and yet not see that?

 

Smoothing is a valid mathematical process for removing short term inconsistancies. However to reduce values of from between 3 to 10 W/M-2 to .5 W/M-2 with "smoothing" requires the use of one of these;

 

File:Ruthemeyer_Miss-Elli_vr1.jpg

 

And I would think that Dr Hansen has his figures wrong. The IPCC says the increase is 2.4 W/M-2 since 1850 or so gave rise to the .8 degree temp increase and Dr Hansen is claiming a rise of 1/4 that size (.58 W/M-2) in 5 years that has had no temp increase at all? Something here does not add up.

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[re: 2 quotes from Dr. Denning]

Both of these statements cannot be true.

....

If I want to know the difference in TSI between 300 years ago and now, then I would have to compare cycles that are "centuries apart", would I not? I don't understand your objection. Belief or disbelief is not required. If you think I'm wrong then show where the flaw in the maths or the logic is. Disagreeing because you find something "hard to believe" is religion.

....

Something here does not add up.

 

 

John, there you go again; setting up some scenario of how measurements should be interpreted and pointing to your consequent results as a way to show that the accepted science must be wrong... if one will buy your premise. But first....

===

 

Also, as I said, it's fine to quote me; but please don't use the quotes out of context.

That snippet above, about my "belief," was from a different paragraph; so to be clear, I said:

"In general, I find it hard to believe the science is really as bad as you suggest."

 

My general faith in science (as being more valid than you suggest science is) has nothing to do with what we were "disagreeing" on--a specific point, about how you incorrectly (istm) analyze and compare solar forcings. Your method ("the maths or the logic") isn't what I find "hard to believe," as your post intimated; I was talking there about science in general.

 

"Specifically" your method ("the maths or the logic") is invalid because it ignores the smoothed averages, and is thus prone to gross misinterpretation based on short-term (weather) effects and inadvertent cherry-picking (or not using the more robust data)... and probably other reasons; but I'm no expert in statistical analysis, so if you ask maybe an expert will better explain the flaws in your method.

===

 

But about buying your premises....

You also close with another contrived (strawman) scenario and suggest, "Something here does not add up." You seem to be the only one who sees this. Does that give you a clue about where the difficulty may lie?

 

Again, I'd like to ask: "Can you think of good reasons why the authors of those papers used a different way to analyze their data?" I won't bold it this time, but maybe I should rephrase it to ask if you can you think of good reasons why you used a different way to analyze their data? Or you could ask why the author's method is considered a more valid way to analyze their data; I'm sure a statistician, or any actively working scientist on this forum, could explain it clearly and simply.

===

 

But most importantly, you clearly say

"Both of these statements cannot be true."

I think it is clear you don't understand something (in addition to my "objection"). You make this specifically clear with the comments about "zero to 80 spots over 100 years" and how you compare that with a 5 year "sunspot" forcing.

 

Please, does anyone else see why "Both of these statements cannot be true."

 

Anyone who can see that would overturn a basic scientific method (istm), and should get some positive rep--to say the least--if they could justify it!

 

~ ;)

 

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Okay, cut the sanctimonious attitude.

 

John, there you go again; setting up some scenario of how measurements should be interpreted and pointing to your consequent results as a way to show that the accepted science must be wrong

 

I'll put this as politely as I can. If I want to know the difference between Solar forcing in the 1600s and the 2000s, please elucidate oh wise one how this is done without comparing the firures from time periods some centuries apart? I mean, if I want to know the difference in population for a region between 1600 and 2000 then I would use the population figures for the years in question and subtract one from the other. So far you've been arguing that this method is invalid. So I really, really want to know what the valid methodology is.

 

"Specifically" your method ("the maths or the logic") is invalid because it ignores the smoothed averages, and is thus prone to gross misinterpretation based on short-term (weather) effects and inadvertent cherry-picking (or not using the more robust data)... and probably other reasons; but I'm no expert in statistical analysis, so if you ask maybe an expert will better explain the flaws in your method.

 

Short term weather effects? The Maunder was 100 years long. I think that you are missing the main point here. I'm simply comparing what is actually written in the published papers with what the IPCC says is written in them. What do the papers say the change in solar forcing was between 1700 and 2000? I'm demonstrating a discrepancy that requires a much better explanation than "smoothing".

 

The various papers use sunspots as a proxy indicator for TSI. During a prolonged minima like the Maunder the number of sunspots dropped to zero thus giving a flatline effect to the reconstructions as it is impossible to model negative sunspot numbers. This flatline is clearly shown in Lean et al that I referenced before, in Figure 2. Personally I would think that the figure would go lower rather than flatlining but let's keep to what the published papers say. So Lean et al shows the TSI with a value of 1364 W/M-2 in around 1700 and a value of 1367-1368 for the year 2000. Your argument is that this 3 W/M-2 is really only .5 W/M-2 once you "smooth" it. Just out of curiousity, are you using a 500 year running average to do so? To get rid of those pesky "short term" weather effects?

 

Similarly Hoyt and Schattern show the TSI value changing from 1367 W/M-2 in 1700 to 1373 for the year 2000. Figure 9 as referenced before. So a 6 W/M-2 difference becomes .5 W/M-2 with "smoothing"? I knew an accountant once who thought that way. His income was $600,000 PA but after "smoothing" it was only $50,000. I think he gets released in three years or so.

 

But why is all this important? Very simple. We know that since 1850 or so the average temps of the planet have gone up. It has risen in a way as to suggest most strongly a change in forcings to the climate system of around 2.4 W/M-2. If we think of climate as a long equation to which we know the answer is 2.4 you'll see what I mean. All forcings and feedbacks must total up to 2.4 W/M-2 to describe the current climate system. If the Sun has only contributed .5 W/M-2 then there must be other large forcings and positive feedbacks to bring the total up to 2.4 W/M-2. However, if the reconstructions are correct and the change in TSI is more than 3 W/M-2 then it follows that even though the increase in CO2 must be also a warming forcing, since the nett change is 2.4 W/M-2 then there must be strong negative feedbacks in the climate system.

 

And a final point on this "smoothing". Exactly how does smoothing a tree ring based temperature series give you a Total Solar Irradiance figure? Does it work with other things? If I smooth the figures for the average height of an American can I work out how many cars he owns?

 

I think it is clear you don't understand something (in addition to my "objection"). You make this specifically clear with the comments about "zero to 80 spots over 100 years" and how you compare that with a 5 year "sunspot" forcing.

 

Please, does anyone else see why "Both of these statements cannot be true."

 

Anyone who can see that would overturn a basic scientific method (istm), and should get some positive rep--to say the least--if they could justify it!

 

I'm not overturning a basic scientific method, I'm simply using it. The same method as is used in the various papers I've been quoting. Maybe I haven't been clear so I'll try again.

 

TSI varies within a solar cycle. Yes?

This variance is about 1.4 W/M-2 from cycle maximum to cycle minimum. Yes?

Therefore it varies about .7 W/M-2 each side of the average. Yes?

So using rough figures of 20, 80 and 150 sunspots for a cycle, when the number of spots drops from 80 to 20 then the TSI drops by about .7 W/M-2. Yes?

Conversely when the number of spots increases from 20 (minima) to 80 (average) then the TSI will rise by about .7W/M-2. Yes?

 

The above 5 points must be true if we are able to say that a typical sunspot cycle has a variance of 1.4 W/M-2 over the 11 year period.

 

Now let's consider the averages.

 

Up to about 1720 or so was the Maunder where there were no sunspots for about 100 years. Yes?

Therefore the average number of spots in a cycle was zero. Yes?

250 years later in the 20th C the average number of sunspots in a cycle was 80. Yes?

According to the IPCC the change in TSI for this period was .5 W/M-2. Yes?

Therefore increasing the average number of sunspots in a cycle from zero to 80 results in an increase in TSI of .5 W/M-2. Yes?

 

Now do you see the problem?

 

Increase the number of spots in a cycle from 20 to 80 gives a TSI increase of .7 W/M-2 but increasing the average from zero to 80 only gives an increase of .5 W/M-2. As the change in spot numbers is 1/3 larger for the average than for movement within a cycle it stands to reason that the change in TSI should also be larger.

 

The only assumption that I'm making is that TSI is related to sunspot numbers, which is exactly what the TSI reconstructions are saying, every single one of them. I'm not doubting the methodology or the "science", I'm using it. All it demonstrates though is that the figure of .5 W/M-2 is really rather untenable and should be revised upwards. I think that a fair approximation would be based on the average cycle and so a new figure of about .8 W/M-2 would be better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone know what the elimination half-life is for anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide? In other words, if we suddenly stopped adding CO2 to the atmosphere, how quickly would the levels drop toward pre-industrial levels?

 

I would think somebody has published that and it would be interesting to know.

 

If not, does anyone know what percent of anthropogenic CO2 is sequestered? That would give enough information to estimate in the same way that a drug's terminal elimination half-life can be estimated from knowing how much the kidneys eliminate.

 

 

Good question! This hones in on the crux of the biscuit... so to speak.

 

The "half-life" of CO2 in the atmosphere isn't some chemical property of CO2, but rather it is a consequent (or secondary) property of the biogeochemosphere.

 

Soil (a highly evolved creature that only recently came to predominate the biosphere and more strongly affect climate) is the 3rd largest pool of carbon on the planet. Trillions of tons of carbon are sequestered in soils. Yearly, the planet's soils and plants respire over a 100 gigatons of CO2.

 

...And we wonder why we can't account for 2 gigatons of emissions that seem to get sequestered each year!

 

[fyi: we emit about 8 GtC, and about half is sequestered--but only about 2 GtC of that is accounted for]

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A few decades ago I heard CO2 lasted for a few decades or up to a century, but these days I hear numbers for the minimum "half life" for CO2 as at least 120 years and up to several centuries.

 

Warming and higher CO2 levels may stimulate more plant growth on average to suck down more CO2, but those factors also stimulate soil respiration to release more CO2.

Warming Arctic soils release more carbon, but more rain could help other soils sequester more carbon. Drought or a flood-n-drought cycle (which even may average out to "more rain") causes the release of carbon from soils.

Deforestation is associated with a large release of carbon. Subsequent erosion can release even more carbon; whereas if the denuded landscape reverts to grassland, it can hold more carbon than the former forest!

 

Algal blooms in the Arctic, or along coastal population centers, may offset the carbon lost due to soils eroding into those waters.

Our excessive Nitrogen (fertilizer) inputs, which exceed by four times (4x) the carrying capacity of the biosphere to metabolize them, are sequestering a lot of carbon as it creates the dead zones throughout our fisheries. Those areas will become future oil shales for the planet!

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There's lots of ways CO2 gets bio-sequestered and bio-released. It seems to me that the potential exists to manage soils so that natural soil-based respiration is shifted by 1-2% in favor of sequestering more carbon.

I've read it takes 500 years to grow an inch of topsoil; but I bet if we worked on that intentionally, we could get it down to just a few decades... to grow an inch of topsoil. That, if done widely enough, would offset our carbon emissions.

 

Solar-powered, reductive pyrolysis allows for the production of bio-oils for fuel (along with the biosequestration of stable soil-enriching carbon to help grow more soil) from waste biomass. There are ways forward into a well-managed, sustainable future. We can change the "half life" of CO2 by how we manage the ecosystem, if we would choose to do so intentionally instead of unintentionally as we have been doing for centuries now.

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These do not change the impact of long-term, relatively permanent forcers such as CO2.

Does anyone know what the elimination half-life is...

A few decades ago I heard CO2 lasted for a few decades or up to a century, but these days I hear numbers for the minimum "half life" for CO2 as at least 120 years and up to several centuries.

Wow, that really is long term and relatively permanent.

 

That surprises me -- and worries me!

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Wow, that really is long term and relatively permanent.

 

That surprises me -- and worries me!

 

CO2 technically isn't permanent, it's just that human beings will either be extinct, on a different planet or a different species by the time the effects wear off.

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