[Coral-List] La Nina, and global warming
David M. Lawrence
dave at fuzzo.com
Wed Nov 24 12:06:32 EST 2010
Erlingsson's post is proof that if one ignores enough terms in the
equation, one can come to completely flawed conclusions.
Point No. 1: Let's look at fossil fuel consumption. Erlingsson's
argument seems based on a completely bogus assumption -- that petroleum
is the only fossil fuel we are concerned about. For one, there is coal,
and there are several hundred years' worth of coal reserves (at current
consumption rates) available, and much, if not most, of the new power
plant construction around the world today is in coal-fired designs.
These facts, coupled with the fact that coal combustion leads to higher
emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, proves that carbon is
going to remain a problem for some time.
Point No. 3: Some places will be hurt -- are being hurt -- by climate
change. I can't say I give much of a damn about Sweden's isostatic
rebound. My home state, Louisiana, is sinking. The proximal cause is
geological (and some will argue man-made), but rising sea levels from
climate change are not going to help my home state from shrinking one
bit. Louisiana's only hope to maintain the size of its territory will
be to attack and seize land from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. If
climate change is not stopped, we would have to seize even more land
from our neighboring states.
As for Sweden, I doubt it is as lucky as Erlingsson suggests. The only
way Sweden would not have to spend dollars adjusting to the effects of
deglaciation will be if, and only if, the rate of the rise of the land
from isostatic rebound is matched by the rate of the rise in sea level.
I'd love to see the math on that, but I doubt there is that close of a
relationship. Given that different areas in the northern hemisphere are
rebounding at different rates, even if Sweden got lucky, the benefit
wouldn't spread that far.
As for Siberia (as well as for much of the North American subarctic)
warming might not be much of a benefit. There's a hell of a lot of
carbon stored in the soils and vegetation. Warming temperatures will
trigger release of much of that stored carbon. Actually, the correct
verb is "is triggering." Recent studies are revealing the escape of the
rather pernicious greenhouse gas methane from what had been cold storage
in the permafrost. Along with warmer summers in the subarctic, we have
drier summers, and with drier summers, we have more widespread and
intense fires. The release of carbon from warming soils and from
incidental combustion of biomass is likely to trigger a positive
greenhouse feedback. I can't say I see much benefit in that.
Point No. 2 (No longer of academic interest): In the 1890s, using
observations of other celestial bodies, controlled experiments on the
heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide, and good, old-fashioned physics
and math, Arrhenius predicted something like a 4-6 degree C increase in
average global temperature with a doubling of pre-industrial carbon
dioxide concentrations. He later revised that downward to about 2
degrees C, but the fact is that many of the newer models are converging
on an estimated 2-5 degree C temperature increase today.
And please, quite raising the red herring that the climate has always
changed. Most of us concerned about climate change know that. Many of
us concerned about climate change actually study that. Frankly, the
results of those studies of climates past make us even more concerned
about the scope and rate of the changes now wrought by our rapacious
consumption of fossil fuels.
On 11/24/2010 9:29 AM, Ulf Erlingsson wrote:
> Hear hear.
> As someone who is not convinced that global warming should be given
> such a high position on the political "problems to solve
> list" (rather, I want it's place to be taken by 'decreasing the waste
> in our exploitation of natural resources, including fossil fuels'
> since that automatically leads to less pollution - including less CO2
> emissions), well, let me ask a few questions that I have still never
> got a satisfactory answer to:
> First, I assume we agree that the hypothesis is that anthropogenic
> climate change will lead to disastrous effects for this planet.
> Second, I assume we agree that the prediction is developed as follows:
> 1. An assumption is made regarding the future emissions of greenhouse
> gases, notably CO2.
> 2. A calibrated model is used to calculate what climatic changes
> those emissions will lead to.
> 3. Regional and local studies are carried out to predict what the
> consequences may be of those climatic changes.
> Third, it seems to me that the proponents of the hypothesis are
> entirely focusing their arguments on point 2 above, but unless points
> 1 and 3 also are true, point 2 is of purely academic interest.
> Therefore I ask regarding point 1:
> A) What assumptions of future consumption of fossil fuel during the
> remainder of this century is made? How many tons of coal, barrels of
> oil, etc?
> B) What is the total resources of exploitable fossil fuel on this
> planet? In other words, are the assumptions physically possible?
> I would like to remind everyone of peak oil. As far as I understand,
> the climate change assumptions are that we burn a lot MORE fossil
> fuel in this century than the previous, but according to the peak oil
> hypothesis we may already have used up half of all available
> resources. Am I misinformed, or has some mistake been made in the
> As for point 3, there is no doubt that many places will benefit from
> a change. I mean, in my native Sweden the land is rising and harbors
> and towns have to be constantly moved. If the sea level would start
> rising by the same pace, they would benefit. It is also very cold, so
> if the temperature would rise, they would benefit doubly. And what
> about all of Siberia? Climate is constantly changing, the sea level
> is constantly changing (although both have been uncharacteristically
> stable the last ten thousand years), and perhaps that is very lucky
> because if not, the soil would soon be depleted of its nutrients
> where we cultivate. What we have to watch out for are only drastic
> changes. But having said that, we must remember that also drastic
> changes are a part of nature, such as the Bølling warming (http://
> erlingsson.com/authorship/CIS2GOM.html), the 8200 BP cooling event,
> etc. And frankly, I have seen some very hyped up reports, as if
> grabbing for straws (e.g.: a rare butterfly on Rhodos could become
> extinct - give me a break, Rhodos will not even notice the predicted
> This hype makes me sick to the stomach, because there are SO MANY
> REAL PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD that are overshadowed by this. Starvation,
> criminal violence, cholera, natural disasters, there is a plethora of
> problems to deal with, and so many of the brightest brains in the
> world are devoting their valuable (and tax-paid) time to THIS!?!?!
> Over and out.
> Ulf Erlingsson
> "If you only knew, my son, with how little wisdom the world is run."
> Axel Oxenstierna, 1648
> On 2010-11-23, at 14:42, Eugene Shinn wrote:
>> Gee! The emotions and vitriol stirred by my climate poking is
>> overwhelming. Why is it mainly among coral researchers? Other
>> disciplines, including the readers of Scientific American, seem not
>> nearly so excitable. The last time I saw scientists so divided was
>> over Continental Drift. Alfred Wegener's observation that anyone can
>> see by looking at a map created a huge storm back then but it was
>> almost entirely among geologists. I suppose that's understandable
>> because Wegner was a meteorologist and he was treading on another
>> discipline's turf. Wegener idea (we call them models now) was
>> basically discredited for lack of a mechanism that would explain how
>> the continents move. Never mind that the evidence was as plain as
>> well you know what. The controversy raged on well into the 1950s and
>> carried over and ended in the late 1960s when the magnetic stripes
>> and sea bottom ages were verified by the deep sea drilling project.
>> The climate issue may be similar because skeptics reject the CO2
>> explanation but have not put forward a mechanism for warming
>> acceptable to the AGWs.
>> Continental drift was something that could be solved but
>> unfortunately we have no surefire way to solve the climate issue. The
>> issue thus has taken on quasi religious status. In addition the
>> public and politicians are now involved while with plate tectonics
>> there was little money to be made, or lost, so politics and the
>> public stayed away. If only there was a single controlled experiment
>> that would prove that CO2 is or is not the cause we could all go
>> home. Yes we are doing a huge experiment by raising CO2 levels but
>> unfortunately there is no sister earth to serve as a control. We can
>> only correlate and everyone knows that correlation is not scientific
>> proof. There are also unexplained correlations to contend with.
>> Between 1955 and 1975 worldwide temperature dropped while CO2 level
>> rose, and between 1975 and 2000 temperature and CO2 rose together but
>> during the past decade temperature remained flat or decreased
>> slightly while CO2 continued to rise. The latest decline may be only
>> a temporary blip but we will have to wait at least 20 more years to
>> see what happens. Less than 30 years and it called weather but 30
>> years is considered climate. Lets hope it does not continue to
>> decline. A cold world is a really bad place.
>> I sent the Pew Foundation posting about the Rainbow Warriors
>> concern to a member of a skeptic group and received the following
>> "What is this stuff about "the amount of resources" that we skeptics
>> have at our disposal? The AGW folks have literally billions of
>> dollars at their disposal, at least $2 b in the U. S. alone, while
>> most of us toil without any support whatsoever, only focused on
>> maintaining integrity in our science. We are literally the
>> "starving artists" of science, trying to bring honesty to a
>> politically charged debate. If we could only bring reasonable
>> scientists together to look at data without defending prior
>> positions, we might be able to bring order out of this chaos.
>> Unfortunately, we can't even get both sides to the table for a
>> Yes there are emotions on both sides of the issue. I don't doubt
>> there are some industry groups funding anti AGW research but it is
>> peanuts compared to that being supplied by governments both here and
>> abroad. I still ask why so many coral researches have bought into the
>> AGW side of this dogfight? Lets see, are there coral researchers not
>> funded by various government and state governments, or NGOs? As one
>> writer on the list said, "The question is fundamental because where
>> politicians do not find an issue to be important they will not want
>> to allocate resources at state or federal levels to deal with it."
>> Ummmm. Another writer commented, "The question is how can we turn
>> the tide and make sure that the sciences involved in dealing with
>> issues directly related to climate change do not become? political
>> issues? Wow! Is that writer suggesting this is not already one of the
>> biggest political issues of all time? Remember the "I" in IPCC stands
>> for "Intergovernmental." Does that not tell us something?
>> Many national and international scientific societies (even the
>> Geological Society of America and AGU and so on) have signed onto
>> human caused global warming. Could there be a reason besides the
>> science? I think all of those societies are composed, and
>> orchestrated, mainly by scientists receiving government funding
>> and/or they work for universities receiving government funding. Would
>> granting agencies send money if they thought they were supporting
>> research that rejects AGW? Umm!
>> I as struck by Steve's comment "one of the most disturbing
>> aspects of this discussion is the fact that many contrarians are
>> scientifically literate and most certainly capable of complex
>> intellectual analysis." He is right on but does that not sound like
>> defense of a "faith based" belief rather than science? Remember
>> Galileo questioning the church's dictum that the sun revolves around
>> the Earth. I guess he just didn't realize "the science was settled."
>> Bruno's comments are well taken. He seems to have a cabinet full
>> of standard replies and websites just as do many skeptics. Clearly
>> battle-lines have been drawn on the climate issue but unfortunately
>> our National budget can ill afford a war like this. Ok I know that is
>> also a standard skeptic reply and I am sure there is an alternative
>> answer. Unfortunately there is a wealth of ad hominem accusations
>> flying around when concrete issues need to be discussed. But it's
>> hard to get both sides to the table. It does no good to kill the
>> messenger. The diatribe against Robert Carters co authorship of a
>> paper on El Nino is a good example. I still stand by his book as an
>> excellent way to understand the issue in balance even if it disagrees
>> with your faith. If each side of the issue only reads the stuff that
>> supports their side then there will be no progress and the battle
>> will rage on. In the end science becomes the looser. The public will
>> loose faith in us as well. Gene
>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>> University of South Florida
>> Marine Science Center (room 204)
>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
>> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
>> Coral-List mailing list
>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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David M. Lawrence | Home: (804) 559-9786
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Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | Email: dave at fuzzo.com
USA | http: http://fuzzo.com
"All drains lead to the ocean." -- Gill, Finding Nemo
"We have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo
4/17 of a haiku" -- Richard Brautigan
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