I like this comment by Pete Dunkelberg over on a post at RealClimate very much:
“Communicate by starting with the bottom line.
- “It is really happening and we know why.
- “‘[U]ncertainty’ means the range in how bad it will get how soon. A look at the US West drought projection should convince anyone who isn’t just being stubborn that we must change our ways. How?
- “Stop burning carbon and leave it in the ground. This calls for a new energy infrastructure. The economic side is done by stopping pro-carbon subsidies and shifting same to renewable energy.
- “The change will take decades even when we start trying hard. So we had better get going.
- “There is no planet B.”
New paper: A. Kleidon, M. Renner, “A simple explanation for the sensitivity of the hydrologic cycle to surface temperature and solar radiation and its implications for global climate change”, Earth System Dynamics, 4, 455-465, 2013, open access.
I have not yet read it thouroughly, but it’s high in priority. To the extent I understand and think I have something to say, I’ll comment here, with an edit of this post.
To pique your interest, as I bet it has for much of the technically-minided, climate-concerned world, here’s a brief quote from their Abstract:
We illustrate an implication of this explanation for geoengineering, which aims to undo surface temperature differences by solar radiation management. Our results show that when such an intervention compensates surface warming, it cannot simultaneously compensate the changes in hydrologic cycling because of the differences in sensitivities for solar vs. greenhouse-induced surface warming.
Posted in climate, climate education, ecology, engineering, environment, geoengineering, geophysics, meteorology, physics, rationality, science
Tagged aerosol management of insolation
I sometimes wish my UU community would understand the following:
We are not living in reality; if so, we would not enable delusion. We are not being practical; if so, we would assure that our needs would be sustained for generations. We are not being smart; if so, we would apply our intelligence to long-term means over short-term ends. We are not even thinking about ourselves and the ones we love; if so, we would know that our own future is at risk if we do not change our behavior.
~ From World Ocean Radio’s 250th Episode: The Sea Connects All Things
They don’t, because they value people and each other higher than all other sentient beings in the universe. People are no more or less important than a dolphin, an ecosystem. Perhaps that is heresy, but So Be It.
It is tiring to hear people relegating to a deity or a “higher power” that responsibility which is truly just theirs. Cop out.
RealClimate tours the methane landscape, that greenhouse gas of renown, as a result of a number of recent papers describing increased release rates. Methane should be considered in context, and the risk it poses to additional warming tempered with realization that:
- While a physically powerful greenhouse gas, it does not have corresponding Earth blackbody radiation to absorb, and its absorption lines are narrow, at least compared to carbon dioxide and water (see chart below).
- The rate of increase of methane, even with these findings, is relatively small.
- It’s atmospheric lifetime (“residence time”, per ) is short, a 10 year lifetime, in contrast with carbon dioxide which has a 40% residence time of centuries, and a 20% atmospheric residence time of over 1000 years.
- When methane decays in atmosphere, it decays into carbon dioxide.
To quote Professor David Archer’s summary from an earlier RealClimate post:
Could methane be a point of no return?
Actually, releasing CO2 is a point of no return if anything is. The only way back to a natural climate in anything like our lifetimes would be to anthropogenically extract CO2 from the atmosphere. The CO2 that has been absorbed into the oceans would degas back to the atmosphere to some extent, so we’d have to clean that up too. And if hydrates or peats contributed some extra carbon into the mix, that would also have to be part of the bargain, like paying interest on a loan.
It’s the CO2, friend.
(Figure credit above is from N Shakhova, I. Semiletov, I. Leifer, V. Sergienko, A. Salyuk, D. Kosmach, D. Chernykh, C. Stubbs, D. Nicolsky, V. Tumskoy, Ö. Gustafsson, ”Ebullition and storm-induced methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf”, Nature Geoscience (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2007, 24 November 2013. Figure below is from Professor Kyle Forinash of the Physics Department, Indiana University Southeast.)