Skip to comments.Giving Climate Change a Kick
Posted on 11/10/2007 7:59:04 PM PST by neverdem
Scientists say that the rapid pace of climate change, such as melting of ice in Greenland, make it worth studying ways to reverse global warming.
Credit: Nick Cobbing/Peter Arnold, Inc.
"In this room, we've reached a remarkable consensus that there should be research on this," said climate modeler Chris Bretherton of the University of Washington, Seattle, during a morning session today. Phil Rasch, a modeler with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, underscored the point. "We're not saying that there should be geoengineering, we're saying there should be research regarding geoengineering." No formal statement was released at the meeting, which was organized by Harvard University and the University of Calgary, but few of the 50 scientists objected to the idea.
The field of geoengineering has long been big on ideas but short on respect. Some of the approaches that researchers have dreamed up include launching fleets of space-based shades to dim the sunlight hitting Earth or altering the albedo of the ocean with light-colored reflectors. Perhaps the best-known idea is to pump aerosols into the stratosphere to mimic the cooling effect of volcanoes. But there's been scant support from mainstream scientists, many of whom fear that even mentioning the g-word could derail discussion of carbon-emissions cuts. Others worry that technological tinkering might backfire. "I just accepted on faith as an environmental scientist that this had to be a bad idea," said Harvard's Scot Martin, who said he was reluctantly coming around.
Harvard geochemist Daniel Schrag and physicist David Keith of the University of Calgary thought that geoengineering deserved a closer look (Science, 26 October, p. 551). In an opening presentation yesterday, Schrag explained that extensive, rapid melting of arctic sea ice (ScienceNOW, 2 May) and the fact that the world's 2005 and 2006 carbon emissions from fossil fuels were higher than predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are forcing the hands of climate scientists. Schrag also fears that when countries are faced with the prospect of even more drastic environmental change, they will turn to geoengineering regardless of whether the consequences are known. "We're going to be doing this if we're afraid of something really bad happening, like the Greenland ice sheet collapsing," he said.
The degree of scientific uncertainty was clear throughout the 2-day meeting. In a discussion of existing models, climate modeler Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, California, concluded that reducing the intensity of sunlight hitting Earth by about 2% could "markedly diminish" the massive warming effects of an atmosphere with a carbon dioxide content of 560 parts per million (ppm). (The current level is about 385 ppm.) But over lunch, researchers debated the analysis. "You know you can get some sea ice back," Caldeira said to David Battisti of the University of Washington, Seattle. "I don't know that," Battisti retorted, explaining that Caldeira's model assumed a so-called slab ocean, which does not include the heat circulation patterns that help determine the fate of polar ice.
And then there are the risks. Harvard paleoclimate scientist Peter Huybers told his colleagues during one session that understanding of the world's climate may not be sufficient to properly wield geoengineering tools. "We should be humble about how much we know about the climate system," Huybers said.
Most of the discussion focused on whether to jump-start what has been an anemic research agenda with no public financing. Some participants said that they were spurred into action by a paper that appeared in Climatic Change last year, in which Nobelist Paul Crutzen called for geoengineering research (Science, 20 October 2006, p. 401). Others were swayed more recently. Just 2 weeks ago, modeler Raymond Pierrehumbert of the University of Chicago in Illinois, writing on the RealClimate blog, compared discussing geoengineering to "having a shiny new toy" and told climate scientists to "get back to the serious business of trying to figure out how to economically reduce global CO2 emissions." At the meeting, however, Pierrehumbert urged scientists to study the problem as a supplement to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, although he called for a 10-year moratorium on any geoengineering. "To the extent I've changed my mind a little bit," Pierrehumbert explained to Science, the reason is the ease with which countries could embark on geoengineering.
Harvard climate researcher James Anderson told the group that the arctic ice was "holding on by a thread" and that more carbon emissions could tip the balance. The delicacy of the system, he said "convinced me of the need for research into geoengineering," Anderson said. And 5 years ago? "I would have said it's a very inappropriate solution to the problem."
Seed high-altitude clouds from commercial planes.
Global temps went up .25 degrees in the three days after 9/11/2001 because there were no airplanes flying.
So, to eliminate AGW, eliminate the AGW extremists. (Er, double the number of airplanes.)
I can hear the so-called scientists now. "But we're smarter now, we know more than we did then." Yeah, that's exactly what every one of these environmentalists on their way to creating a catastrophe said/thought in the past too...
There had better be active resistance to any thought of geoengineering. I have zero, absolute zero confidence that these people have any real idea what they are doing, and can honestly say with any certainty they know what the outcome would be. They are contemplating fooling with a system that is so complex they have no way of modeling it, no way of understanding it, and they know, know that they don't know all the variables and all the interactions. To presume to fool with it is utter madness.
And to think we, the public, fund them!!!!!
If you liked it when the government decided in the 1930s that it could control the economy, just wait'll it legislates itself the power to "control" the climate.
This is why we need a Constitutional amendment prohibiting the government from taking any action to regulate carbon or control the weather.
So these “scientists” screw with something they don’t completely understand which then brings famine inducing drought to China and Russia.
Hmmm. Wonder who they’ll blame? Think the “scientists” will just call a mulligan?
Permit me to translate: “We need to make a lot of money off of research grants. Screw science... we’re into frigging money and we’d drive over our own damned grandmothers to get it.”
Aside from the sheer entertainment value of such an act, it would have the salutory direct effect of removing their emissions & carbon footprint completely. That should make them happy, knowing they were becoming part of the solution.
The next round could be the anti-nuke crowd, with both similar exemplary effects, plus clearing the way to build new nuke plants, so those expensive, spewing, emitting EVIIIIL coal plants could be phased out.
Third round could be the tree huggers, clearing the way to actually take care of our forests again, reducing fire danger; and restoring decent prices for forest products & putting people back to work in the forests.
"Incredibly, we all agreed," he continued, "that a mere twenty or thirty tractor-trailers filled with taxpayer cash would help us begin the essential research that needs to be done."
“Global temps went up .25 degrees in the three days after 9/11/2001 because there were no airplanes flying.”
Correlation is not causation - the first order of true science.
The observation appears valid: the cause (fundamental reason) is theorized to be high altitude clouds enhanced/formed by the aircraft vapor trails increasing cloud cover -> increasing reflections from the atmosphere.
On a normal day, there would be a few percent more clouds up high than on a day without jet traffic. Thus, if there were no jets over a three day period, temps should rise a little bit because more energy is absorbed, not reflected by clouds.
They did measure average temps over the US in the three days after 9/11 and temps did go up by a .25 degree (rem - check actual value).
Thus, to combat global warming, increase jet traffic. Or increase contrail formation by seeding or aerosol injection.
A theory is not the production of evidence of a cause.
In every sense, from “chem trails” to “CO2” there is frequent unproven application of mindless zero-sum affects for things in an atmosphere of knowledge that KNOWS it is not true (zero sum affects) and KNOWS that we know far less than what we do know about the total dynamic complexity of the atmosphere.
A theory and a statistical correlation are not evidence of a “cause”, only actual, on hand evidence of an input and ALL affects resulting from it can any verifiable cause be attributed to that input and that input alone.
What were ALL the other climate elements and their attributes and their behaviors and their values - over the U.S. - over those three days? Not known or even stated to be known.
Is it without reason and without evidence, when there has been no great change in airline activity over the US during a three day period, for the upper atmosphere to have registered a 0.25 degree change over that period. IN FACT IT IS NOT. Ergo - correlation is not causation.
The mean average temperate is not a statement of a day to day constant. In some small measure, to some small degree, the only constant is that it changes.
We can’t have someone solving the problem.
According to one theory*, we are about 2,000 years past due for an ice age. First agriculture, then industrialization have prolonged the inter-glacial period. You should get a tax credit for driving an SUV.
* Sorry, I don’t have a reference or URL.
“In this room, we’ve reached a remarkable consensus that there should be research on this,”
Well hell yeah, they are going to say that.
Get that grant money for studying crap that will never be done.
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