Global warming

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Frank, Oct 22, 2010.

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  1. KimB

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    Please, post actual science instead. That's far more convincing.

    Oh, that's right, you can't. Because all of science supports global warming (at least, all of science that has any say in the matter at all does...).
     
  2. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Yeah, and that's exactly why all the conspiracy theorists are yelling "conspiracy!!!"...
     
  3. KimB

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    Ah, the conspiracy theory gambit. Where through a simple bit of self-deception, all the evidence in favor of a proposition becomes evidence against it.

    Intellectual dishonesty is so frustrating sometimes.
     
  4. Mintmaster

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    No, it really isn't. There are plenty of people who think microevolution exists but not macroevolution (creation of distinct species), and there's no empirical way to prove them wrong. Even the largest direct examples of evolution aren't true tests, e.g. after tens of thousands of generations of bacteria we find that they can use a new energy source, but it turns out that the change was enabling a gene that was already there but disabled.

    We can only run an experimentation over a few decades at most. We need 4-5 orders of magnitude more time than that for evidence that will convince creationists. That kind of requirement is like asking Kepler to prove that his laws of planetary motion are correct (and Copernican heliocentrism is wrong) with measurements of Mars over the span of an hour (we could probably do that today, be he couldn't then).

    1, 2: It's always hard to exactly determine the error, but one good way is to measure the same thing in multiple ways:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Radiosonde_Satellite_Surface_Temperature.svg
    This graph shows surface thermometers, weather balloons, and satellites. They all measure slightly different things (ground, air above the ground, and temperature derived from outgoing microwave radiation), but they give similar results when you look at relative change (i.e. the temperature anomaly), as you'd expect.

    3: Baseline doesn't matter, because relative change is what matters.

    Marketing? That's actually a major pillar of the skeptic argument. They say that the climate underwent a step change in the late 90's, and it's been flat since then.

    I only found one link in your recent posts (that "engineer's critique"). The meat starts on page 11. Here are some quick points:
    1. Talks about CO2 content being small. Well, a tiny amount of metal will drastically change a piece of glass from transparent to reflective. Small numbers mean nothing.
    2. Makes his own CO2 history chart using weak sources
    3. Debunks the tree ring hockey stick chart, which has been corrected and is largely irrelevant to current data
    4. Uses lots of old data (e.g. page 33, includes the 2008 dip but not the rise after that). Regarding Hansen's 1988 prediction (same page), see here.
    5. Page 34: He cherry picks starting points to make predictions look bad, and again there's no post 2008 temperature data
    6. Page 37: This has been debunked already. That study forced the models to disobey the laws of physics.
    6. (bunch of stuff talking about CO2 levels, peak oil, etc.)
    7. Page 46: Talks about sun activity, which is taken into account by the data I showed you (that was the whole point: Show how much warming is due to volcanoes, sun variation, etc)
    8. Talks about longer time scales (millions of years, thousands of years, etc) but ignores the RATE of temperature change
    9. Page 52: Blabs about surface thermometer problems, but ignores that they match very closely to satellite data
    10. Up to page 68: Again, ignores rate of global temperature change, talks about the largely irrelevent tree ring proxy again
    11. Page 70: Falsely represents predictions and real data
    12. Page 72: Finally, something worthwhile! True, evidence for increased disaster frequency is very weak
    13. Page 76: Ignores sea ice data since 2008. Real data shows that global extent is not flat, but declining.

    However, I find myself agreeing with the last couple points. There is little proof that AGW will be catastrophic, little proof that urgent action by the western world will make a meaningful difference over a more informed decision 5-10 years from now (when we have better energy technology), and most importantly, nothing that tells us this is the best way to use resources to help humanity. So that's where I stand. AGW is real, so we should attack when it's cheap to do so, but there's no need to do anything drastic.

    Fortunately for me, I think we're taking a good path as it is. We're spending just enough to keep the green industry moving forward, but not a huge amount that will hurt what we can do in the future (I'm pretty convinced that we've now reached the point where a gov't dollar spent today means a dollar less is available sometime in the future).
     
  5. hoho

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  6. KimB

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    Look, creationists purposely set an impossible bar, because their views are already roundly disproven by the evidence. In the real world, scientists gather any and all information that can be used to learn more about the natural world, and there is more than enough evidence available to day to prove evolution true beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt. Heck, we gain enough evidence every single time we sequence a new genome and compare it against the human genome.

    The idea of "true tests" that somehow cannot be used with evolution is simply a failure to understand science at all.

    You do know what economies of scale are, right?
     
  7. Mintmaster

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    That's exactly my point. A lot of things can't be proven through direct measurement. You won't get direct evidence for macroevolution in a few decades, planetary motion in few hours, AGW in a few years. All we can do is try our best to understand the mechanics and verify what we can.

    The pieces are coming together with AGW, but figuring out consequences and justifiable policy is another matter entirely. Even the Foster and Rahmstorf study shows ~0.17 degC per decade when CO2 is increasing at 20 ppm/decade. Another 165 ppm to reach the "doubling" point of 560ppm, if linear (and it'll be sub-linear due to the nature of CO2 absorption), and we're looking at 1.4 degC. That's on the lower end of the IPCC predictions. On top of that, trying to predict economic and social damage from that is very, very difficult. It's very likely that adaptation will be far more humane.

    Energy storage - the only way solar and wind can get within a factor of three of nuclear's CO2 reduction ability - has been sought after for decades, despite it being a potential market of several hundred billion dollars per year. That economy is not going to scale any larger, as it has and always will (barring some revolutionary discovery) compete with natural gas.

    For direct wind/solar cost reductions, it's questionable how much $200B/yr in renewable energy construction would reduce cost over $50B/yr. We already saw wind go up in price in recent years (which is evidence of getting near the cost floor), though Sxotty gave some evidence that it recently ticked back down again. In any case, if you want to reduce AGW, without a breakthrough in cheap energy storage you mandate that every kWh of wind/solar will be accompanied by at least 2kWh of fossil fuel generation (which would be running at suboptimal capacity factor, efficiency, emissions, and cost to accomodate the renewables when they do produce).

    Is that good enough for you to commit so firmly to it right now?
     
  8. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    I've got something really nice and solid as bedrock in mind: graphing the adjustments of the IPCC predictions over the years.

    "According to the IPCC, AGW will flatline in xxxx", where xxxx is yet to be determined, but before the next century.

    Not that that will influence you one bit. It has come along multiple times. And you have made up your mind.

    On the other hand, I would take you more serious if you tried to understand it yourself, instead of simply parroting the majority.
     
  9. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    Well, if I feel like spending 25+ hours on creating a nice, animated chart or anything slick for marketing that might help my point but is instantly dismissed by 95+% of the participants in this thread and will not help me in any way, I will.

    :)

    I might.
     
  10. Frank

    Frank Certified not a majority
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    Sorry I didn't notice your extensive edits earlier.

    Both of which are exactly my main problems with AGW. DUH!

    No, I was talking about the error in their attempts to remove everything else but the human influence from the equation.

    How do they know what the relative impacts are?

    They don't.

    Probably why they didn't bother with any "margin of error", as that probably ranged from: "we don't really know" up to "we don't actually know".

    Relative change from what baseline?

    Do you think the same data in a graph that shows 0-100% has the same effect as one that only shows 86-87%, as that's where all the action is taking place? The first one is a straight line, while the second one goes all over the place.

    That's why you need at least a baseline.

    "They"? Am I part of those? Why?

    Really, I only speak for myself, and agree with Burt Rutan.

    So, if you're taking about "They", it can at most be two individuals, if you add me to them.

    Well, CO2 is not a metal, and air isn't glass. Except transparency, they don't seem to share any property.

    Your point?

    You mean, less sources then used in the initial hockey stick?

    I really doubt that. It would be pretty hard.

    "Ok, it's bullocks, but irrelevant, because I believe anyway!"

    "Hansen's prediction was wrong!", following "The initial hockey stick theory was wrong!"

    So, you agree that they were wrong? Why are you still defending them?

    I don't get it.

    I don't get it. He highlights the predictions and shows the actual figures. You say he is cherry picking because he didn't update all the graphs (he probably got bored), while those computer models change totally every few months?

    So, what is the value of computer models that predict something completely different every month? Especially when they try to predict climate?

    Well, I debunked the whole AGW, but you don't believe me. Does your linked "evidence" refer to higher authorities?

    Hm. Ok. I should stop here. Simply because you not only decide which evidence can be taken into account, but also how it is valued.

    Like, how a really good lawyer can make a mass-murdering gangster go free.

    That doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Only that it cannot be proven to swing the popular opinion.

    Marketing.

    Well, I have nothing to add and you dismiss all the data immediately, so I'm not going to bother replying to all of it.

    If you want a specific reply, ask me.

    Hm. Ok.

    So, you first dismissed all of it, but you agree to it anyway because it tickles your fancy? While you disagree with all of it, you like the conclusion, so you support it anyway?

    BAH.
     
  11. rpg.314

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    By that logic, we should throw out all of evolution, geology and astronomy since we don't have direct experimental evidence on those time scales.

    He said what his point was. Quite clearly. Just because the absolute amount of CO2 is small, doesn't mean that changes in it's concentration can't have big impacts.
     
  12. KimB

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    Just sounds like a bunch of excuses to do nothing. It's going to take a long time to transform our energy infrastructure, and so it's going to take a long time to reach the point where the variability of renewables will become a serious issue. We can manage that variability as we go.

    For example, variability in wind can be largely managed by having a robust power transportation system which connects many large wind farms over thousands of miles. This can be built incrementally as we introduce more wind power.

    You seem to be laboring under the delusion that unless we can do everything this very instant, we should do nothing but sit on our hands and let the world fall apart around us. It's bullshit. And harmful bullshit at that.
     
  13. KimB

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    And yet, you still fail to produce anything at all of substance. Come back when you are interested in engaging in an honest discussion.
     
  14. Sxotty

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    I hope you do. If you could come up with anything that was even 10% at convincing you would have corporations lining up to hand you large checks to be a professional climate change denier. So it will be well worth 25 hours of your time.
     
  15. Mintmaster

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    So do you deny evolution as well? They both have a similar problem of presenting direct evidence, experimental limitations, and reliance on extrapolations.
    They're open to other theories. These are the major ones, and they got very good results. Just look at the residual - that's your error for remaining sources. If you can identify another natural effect of sufficient magnitude to significantly change the temperature of the earth, go ahead.
    You're not making any sense. Temperature change is all that matters. You want the graph to be in Kelvin, going from 0-300? What good does that do?
    That's who the graph was directed at. You took offense by it, and dismissed it as marketing speak, so I assumed that you had the same opinion. If you do not, then you should be happy, as it exposes a pseudoscientific interpretation of the rising temperature record.

    Again, it's not marketing. It's actually how the skeptics think. For example, this guy thinks it's a series of steplike rises unrelated to CO2.
    My point is simple: Just because something is small in quantity doesn't mean it can't have a big impact. Purely empirical evidence shows that CO2, in the quantities present, can affect the absorption spectrum of the atmosphere, just like a tiny fraction of metallic (or non-metallic, for that matter) particles can affect the absorption of glass. It also doesn't matter how human CO2 production compares to natural production. If I have a business with $1M in revenues and $1M in costs, I break even. If I increase my revenues by 0.1%, my bank account grows by $1k each year. In the case of CO2, humans putting out 25 billions tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, while being a small fraction of natural production, is still more than enough to explain the 2ppm increase seen every year.

    This section of Burt Ratan's document should be your first red flag about the legitimacy of the argument. Nobody denies that humans are responsible for CO2 levels going up.
    How is his source more accurate than modern measurements of ice cores that actually trap CO2? We're not using proxies here. We have hundreds of ground measurements around the world that give the same global measurement at Mauna Loa (showing CO2 is well mixed if there are no major emitters nearby). We've been doing it accurately for 50+ years. We get perfect matching between ice cores and direct measurements, so there's no reason to question further extrapolations in the past.

    And Burt somehow gets a better source from measurements taken with varying methods with primitive equipment 100+ years ago? You want to trust Burt's source, despite modern, direct data showing no trace of the rapid natural variations that his graph claims to exist?

    Please, explain why it's better to trust 100-200 year old data performed with similarly old equipment and technology using chemical analysis with crude reagents produced at that time.
    The tree ring data is meaningless. It's an attention grabber, and has nothing to do with surface temperature measurements, balloon measurements, satellite measurements, ice-core data, projections to the future, atmospheric models, etc.

    It served one scientific point: maybe we should seriously investigate if human activity could be causing warming, and how much. That's it. Debunking AGW that way is like saying Fleming fucked up following sterilization protocol fungus grew near his bacterial cultures, and therefore his discovery of penicillin is invalid.

    Was the tree-ring graph used in the media for attention? Sure, but that has no bearing on current AGW research.
    He got bored? There's plenty of data in that document after 2008. However, he stopped it there because there was a temporary dip in temperature which suited his argument of temperature leaving the trendline. The cherry picking is where he chose the starting point of the trend: He picked a local peak and made the prediction start from there so that the error would look the largest.

    Look at pages 33, 34: He doesn't even use the same starting point! Hansen's 1988 prediction starts off almost 0.2 degrees above where his UAH/RSS reference data begins, so that Burt can make it look worse. The current UAH/RSS data is readily available, and he ignored it to highlight that dip in 2008. In the next two years, global temperatures measured from those satellites rose 0.5 degC. Guess what: use two years more data, and eliminate the offset, and suddenly in 2010 the UAH/RSS temperatures hit the Hansen prediction. That's a 0.7 degrees of manipulation for a prediction of 0.3 deg/decade!

    Are you really that gullible? You don't see the marketing tricks here? And you are accusing us of doing it?

    Now, to be honest, in the years after 2010, temperatures fell again, but that's largely due to the strongest La Nina events since the 70s. Wait a few years and the dip will wear off. FYI, a better understanding of climate since 1988 has attributed <0.2 degC/decade to humans, so nobody expects the prediction to be right. Not sure why you think Hansen not being entirely correct disproves AGW entirely...
    Yeah, you go ahead and believe that. It's a fact that he misused the models, so how does that invalidate them? I bet you can't even explain the flaw that author was trying to point out (FYI, it wasn't the final temperature of the models). If I write a boat racing game, and you disable the interaction between the waves and the boat, did you disprove my physics model when you observe it behaving unrealistically?
    I'm sorry, what? I didn't decide anything. Burt is saying that more sunspots means higher temperature, right? It's a common skeptic argument. So let's look at modern data:
    http://modernsurvivalblog.com/solar-cycle/erratic-sunspots-smash-noaa-predictions/
    So if increasing sunspots means warming, decreasing sunspots mean cooling, right? Then why were temperatures flat in the last decade while sunspots were declining year after year? Could it be that there was warming and it was masked by a small, temporary solar cooling?

    There have been many scientific studies regarding influence of the sun, orbits, etc. Note how Burt doesn't point to any of then, nor does he specify any numbers, nor does he provide any physical model for how this much warming can be caused by the sun (not surprising, as it's physically impossible). He just puts a label on a graph of earth's orbit, and says that's the reason for AGW.

    I thought you prefer science to marketing? :lol:

    BTW, that graph is a great example of how scientific predictions are usually validated even when there are short term data trends in the other direction. Look at how the Jan 2011 sunspot data looks low compared to predictions, but by Jan 2012 it caught up.
    What data did I dismiss? Explain the following:
    (page 50): How does a 8 degC change over 50 million years explain 0.2 deg/decade? How do measurements of isolated areas prove that GLOBAL temperatures changed so much?
    (page 52-55): If surface temperatures are so flawed, then why do they match satellite measurements so well? He ignores that gigantic hole in his theory of invalid data, and cherry-picking individual stations to prove it.

    Look at page 70. The "real data" doesn't even match the temperature measurements elsewhere in his own document from his own preferred source (satellites). AFAICS, it's completely fabricated data.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You want an ultimate test? Look at page 69, which he entitles, "Best prediction for the next hundred years". He predicts that by 2015 we will be 0.2 degC below the level of the early 2000's, and will continue cooling until 2030, where it reaches 1990 levels.

    I predict the opposite. The sun's output is going to cycle up (that'll be a small impact, though), and the La Nina phase will eventually end. In 3-4 years, we will see temperature go up.

    So let's stop this argument and revisit it in three years.
    He made 5 major points on page 11 and proceeded to prove them all (did you even read this document?). He supported the first three with junk science and marketing, as I proved above. The fourth is a qualitative argument that you can't really prove or disprove, and it was just one slide anyway. The fifth supports my mentality: Even if AGW is real (I think so, he doesn't), trying to fight it urgently is a waste of resources. It's cheaper to adapt, and you will help humanity 100x more if you use the proceeds that you were willing/forced to devoted to AGW reduction towards other causes.

    The most important reason to have electric cars is to fight urban air pollution and achieve energy independence. The most important reason to stop coal power is mining (deaths, environmental effects) and pollution. I support those (but not at unlimited cost, obviously), and they incidentally align with GHG reductions.
     
  16. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Mintmaster,

    Just as a minor addendum, the extra warming by sunspots is such a tiny fraction of the sun's total output that it is basically entirely irrelevant here on earth. IE, it can't be the source of any warming here on earth.

    Also, there was some bullshit about cosmic rays earlier last year or something like that. Thing is, even if cosmic rays can affect the temperature here on earth, the level of rays striking us hasn't changed, nor is there any reason it should change either. These rays come from all over the universe; it's a big place. The rate of production is going to be pretty constant with such a vast, yet widely dispersed source.
     
  17. Sxotty

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    I nominate you for the most patient forum poster ever.
     
  18. Mintmaster

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    Why do you keep ignoring the data that Sxotty and I show you? This is a myth. Wind variation has significant correlation over very large distances and you get variation over days, weeks, and even seasons.

    http://www.dimwatt.eu/index.php/component/docman/doc_download/31-flocardaco-111210europeanwind-1ppt
    Is Europe a large enough land mass for you? Yes, most of that total power is from Spain and Germany, but that's still a 1500+ mile span, yet you're looking at a minimum of 2GW and max of 30GW. You can look at that as an overbuild for a nation needing 15GW, in which case it will get 30-40% of its energy from natural gas (13GW gas construction needed, BTW), but that will also waste ~15% of the wind energy produced (everything over 15GW), and even worse for the producers, the clearing price will be zero during those times.

    Really? I'm the one speaking bullshit? I suggest that we build nuclear power to start coming online by, say 2025, which will reduce CO2 2-3x as much as wind+gas will (vs. gas-only, the current free market solution) for the next 50 years, and I'm the one causing harm? We are already at a point where the gov't needs to reduce spending to avoid getting voted out of office, yet suggesting waiting 5-10 years when the same debt burden may finance twice the renewable energy is causing harm?

    On top of that, you think the world will fall apart around us for that decision? :lol: Lets examine this ludicrous argument.

    Say the first world follows your advice and go into a mad rush for renewable electricity generation, so that we hit 25% (generally accepted limit without free energy storage) by 2020. Let's peg first world consumption at an average of 16,000TWh per year. So by 2020 we've generated a total of 16k TWh with renewables (linear build rate), and by 2030 we're up to 56k TWh. Over CCGT natural gas, that saves 56*10^12kWh*0.4kg CO2/kWh = 22 billion tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That's two thirds of the world's current emissions for one year. So what do you get?

    1.5 ppm of CO2 reduction by 2030.

    That's right: By building 200GW of renewable energy per year for 8 years (and ignoring construction emissions and the inefficiencies from ramping gas), you avert less than 0.02 degrees of AGW by 2030 over skipping the renewables entirely (which is not a path we're on anyway). Thankfully we listened to you to avert that disaster for humanity, and not a bullshitter like me. :roll:
     
  19. Mintmaster

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    Sunspots are correlated to TSI, so there is some impact. You're right that it's not a major influence, but according to the F&R paper, if solar output returns to previous maxima, it will contribute to a ~0.15 deg C warming, which is roughly what you expect given the S-B law and feedback estimates.

    Yeah, evidence mostly killed that theory 15-20 years ago:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/cosmic-rays-and-global-warming.htm
    I'll admit that it was an interesting observation while the correlation lasted.
     
  20. KimB

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    Because by large I don't see how it's relevant. First of all, this argues for significant energy storage capacity. Which is pretty obviously required, and is an engineering difficulty rather than a fundamental one. Secondly, this variability can additionally be helped through coupling solar with wind power, as solar and wind are often anti-correlated. Thirdly, I don't know what the political situation is, but I'd like to see what would happen if they could get some high-voltage connections with Russia.

    Finally, the US is quite a bit larger than Europe, enough so that there are typically two weather fronts moving through the US at any given time. The previous studies you have cited have only measured the correlations over a few hundred miles, instead of the few thousand that are available.

    We can do one hell of a lot more with wind and solar in the next 13 years than we can by investing in nuclear.

    You do realize that CO2 release is cumulative, right? That it doesn't go away for hundreds of years? Reducing emissions now by, say, a billion metric tons per year (about 3%) will be a billion metric tons saved every year thereafter in perpetuity.
     
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