Global Warming, etc....what if

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by sly1, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. milkweed Valued Senior Member


    You put alot of time into your response and I appreciate that however, the total W/m2 I posted was a direct copy paste quote from the IPCC Ch. 2. They clearly state that for the first time .... ALL human caused ghg = 1.6 W/m2 with the variable of -1. to +.8.

    I also posted the estimated total of ALL natural ghg equivalent of 150 W/m2 with the link to the source.

    As far as the water vapor explanation, while making sense to a point it is easily cast into doubt by what happens in deserts at night compared to the temps during the day. The one thing that is missing is water vapor.

    "Water vapor H20 is by far the most important greenhouse gas (accounting for 95% of greenhouse gasses). It accounts for about 30°C* of the 36°C increase in earth's surface temperature due to the combined influence of all greenhouse gasses."

    *a florida edu stated water vapor is 33C, but I closed the window before copying link location.

    We are (by best guess) 1/3 to 1/2 way thru our current warming before the next Ice age occurs (based on past record). It is not surprising to me that the climate is warming at this point.
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  3. Chris C Registered Member

    I also have a blog at and the greenhouse physics is briefly and simply discussed in the second link from the top (Pt. 2), and you may be interested in the fourth from the bottom, "The Scientific Basis for Anthropogenic Climate Change"-- chris
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  5. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    While I cannot guarentee the W/m2 natural occurance is factored for clouds, etc, the page specifically talks about reflecting properties inhibiting their addition to the forcing effect. From the link:

    "Solar radiation that passes through clouds and that is not reflected back to space strikes the Earth's surface. The longer wavelength (infrared) radiation created there is reflected upwards, and then is absorbed by clouds and the greenhouse gases (GHGs include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), etc.). "

    "The total effective climate forcing for all GHGs including CO2 and ozone (O3) from the beginning of the industrial revolution in 1750 to the year 2000 is 2.63 watts per square meter. As a good comparison, the natural greenhouse effect that warms the Earth's surface by 35 K is, on average, ~150 watts per square meter."

    A ~1.5% change is not a significant impact. Its a measurable change.

    The best numbers I can come up with indicate there is 715 or so metric gigatons of CO2 present in the atmosphere each and every day as the natural content of the atmosphere, resulting in the 300 or so ppmv of CO2. People put approximately 7-14 metric tons of CO2 (depending on source) into the atmosphere. So 10 metric gigatons would be a fair point of reference I think. That works out to be 1.3% of the total. Again, measurable but not significant.

    But you have to calculate how many watts of that ~30 is natural occurring CO2 which is roughly 29 of that 30 which is 20% of the total 150 W/m2.

    Measurable? Yes. Significant? No.
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  7. Chris C Registered Member

    The *temperature change* is not very significant from the perspective of "the earth." It is significant for us. The whole problem with global warming, is that doubling the amount of CO2 will give a temperature response of roughly 3 degrees K, which isn't harmful to the Earth but is harmful to organisms which have adapted to a rather stable climate. You could apply the logic of "3 out of 288, not very significant" but then you're just not understanding the idea. Suppose we lower the global temp just "only" 4 degrees: in comparing absolute numbers it doesn't look like much, but is enough to trigger an ice age.
  8. kmguru Staff Member

    Excellent explanations. So, in lay man terms this is what I understand. Please correct if I am wrong.

    1. There are very slight mean temp that is rising
    2. At say 0.2 degree rise, the total BTU input is a lot
    3. This could be natural change for Planet Earth due to solar radiation and Solar movement in Milky way and other cycles.
    4. We do not know what the natural change looked like in the past
    5. Human society is pouring in a lot of CO2 from Fossil burning and cutting down CO2 moppers - the plants.
    6. It is possible we could come out unscathed as the planet could heat balance itself to a new norm.
    7. If we add to the planet's change in amplitude, we could cause a positive feedback and the planet may not be able to balance itself. It is like when you get a feedback to a mike from the speakers and the system oscillates.
    8. If the runaway reaction occurs, we are doomed.

    Then question comes is that are we too late?

    Do we know what percentage change we are introducing in relation to the Earth's normal changes. The reason is nature has a great reserve in its ability to handle change. It is like human body temperature regulation. We can handle 110 degrees, but may not 120 degrees from a 70 degree comfort zone. So are we pushing the temp regulation too far for the planet?
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    If the planet balances "itself " at a new norm of a full couple of degrees C warmer, we will not come out unscathed.

    Meanwhile there is no indication, so far, that the steady forcing accumulation of fossil fuel CO2 is being "balanced". It is this accumulation that needs the balancing. The resulting temperature rise may very well tail off, marginal returns diminishing from additional CO2 past the threshold level we have been holding just under (in intriguing "coincidence" ) for so many millions of years, or some other factor damping in feedback. But it will be a new world with more new than a climate, in this different air.
  10. kmguru Staff Member

    Is there a data as to how much CO2 we generate from mostly burning fossil fuels and how much we produce from the fossil power plants?

    Can we separate the CO2 from the power plant emissions and sequester them deep into the earth? Will that help?

    How much more CO2 we need to extract in major population centers per year to make a dent in the CO2 production?
  11. Chris C Registered Member

  12. kmguru Staff Member


    Superb post. Thank you for taking the time. The reason I put up the post is that I am responsible for several fossil power projects about 3400 MW worth total. I am going to ask our engineers to design in such a way as to extract the CO2 and store it underground. It will be somewhat expensive but my expertise in automation can reduce the cost of operation to offset the CO2 processing cost. Hopefully this will provide an example for others to follow.

    So, it helps to understand exactly what is going on. Thank you again.

    A dumb question: If we fail, will the dinosaurs come back? Wonder what the weather was like then?
  13. Chris C Registered Member

    You may want to look into Carbon Capture and Storage on the internet.

    I'm sure this is nothing you or your engineers haven't heard of, and yes it will cost a bit. I'm not an economist or in the fossil fuel industry, I can only tell you about global warming physics.

    The *climate* was warm back then, and models today use about 4 times the pre-industrial CO2 to get us there, and no, the dinosaurs will not come back.
  14. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

    highly doubtful. Its been theorized that millions of years ago the earths atmosphere was much much more dense than it is now, allowing for growth of all life to be enormous by todays standards.

    Dragonfly's were known to have a 5 foot wing span....
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Especially to Chris & milkweed:

    Please comment on post 59's Rate concerns.

    Do you have information on how long a surface released molecule of methane remains in the atmosphere? (before UV decomposes it at high altitude or it gets oxidized, presumably in an exceptionally rare, high-energy, collison with oxidizing agent (Oxygen, normally but perhaps Cl now sometimes)?

    I guess (and certainly hope) that it is not too late to prevent Earth from switching to the hot stable state, but CH4 is now bubbling up from the sea bed and there is more ghg in the sea floor layers of methane hydrate than all the CO2 man has or will release from all fossil fuels during past and next 100 years.

    One often sees pressure vs temperature "stability" curves for this methane hydrate but I am almost sure that even on the "stability side" there is an equlibrium concentration, much like a gas disolving in water, so any slight warming of the sea floor will release some CH4, as is being observed.

    Both you have called CH4 "long lived." I think it very critical, and unfortunately not much discussed, to know it the rate CH4 is removed is limited by the concentration available due to constant release (a "dynamic equlibrium" state) or if its concentration in the air is growing (possibly an "run-away-instability" that can switch Earth to the hot stable state, HSS.)

    The hot stable state, HSS, of Earth is a cooler version of Venus. HSS Earth has at the surface a high pressure (super heated) steam atmopsphere, during the long period it takes for the oceans to boil away into space. Life on Earth does not exist so we need not be concerned about what happens after the oceans are gone. It will be raining all the time at high altitude, where the adibatic drop in temperature with altitude (and reduced pressure) permits liquid water to exist. It is at least conceivable that some may survive for briefly in special airships there for a few years, but soon the Earth will be steril.

    SUMMARY: Please do not only worry about the effect and magnitude of a small shift of the equlibrium temperature of Earth in the lower temperature stable state. That is not the important question, compared to questions relating to what causes Earth to switch to the HSS. (and is it too late* to stop already with methane bubbling up now)?
    *Clearly if the rate at which atmosphere ghg is added is slow, as it was long a ago, then Earth will be in quasi-equlibrium, only shifting the temperature slightly even if CO2 in atmosphere is higher than today, but if the RATE of ghg like CH4 is being added exceeds the removal RATE significantly, then the STATE of Earth switches to the HSS AND ALL LIFE ON EARTH ENDS.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2008
  16. kmguru Staff Member

    The idea behind the dumb question was that if the climate changes towards Venus type (dense atmosphere, hot, high moisture etc...would new life forms appear and if the climate is like that of dinosaur's time, would there be a change in life forms...assuming it will take many thousands of years...

    Has any University done a climate modeling and tested the results over the last 10 years?
  17. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    Its not significant for any of us, at least up to this point in time. Specialist species go extinct, thats a fact. The number one threat to most of these specialist species is man, but not because of global warming. Deserts began expanding long before Ford came out with his first car. The arctic has melted before, hence the outcry over the headlines "OMG ships are sailing thru the newly opened passage in the arctic" when there is documentation of ships doing this very same thing, again, long before H. Ford was born but not so far back in our history.

    I am not talking about lowering the temperatures of the earth. I dont find the warming significant, nor out of bounds for naturally occurring episodes documented throughout history.

    People talk about this magical earth equilibrium as though it relates to the reality of earth. The next phase of climate change is expected to be an Ice age. I expect the survival rate for 6 billion people (who may number 20 billion by then) to be remarkably lower than the survival rate for this same number on a world a few degrees higher in average temps.
  18. milkweed Valued Senior Member


    If you would have cared to read the sources, you would see IT IS based on the IPCC information

    IPCC, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by J. T. Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, C.A. Johnson, pp. 881, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., 2001.

    Besides, all of the information in the IPCC reports are generated by outside sources and incorporated into their results.

    Role of the IPCC:
    The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. Review by experts and governments is an essential part of the IPCC process. The Panel does not conduct new research, monitor climate-related data or recommend policies. It is open to all member countries of WMO and UNEP.

    But I dont want to hijack the thread into a debate on whether the IPCC has been objective, transparent, comprehensive or open.

    One thing I would also bring up is, if I remember correctly, the human forcing data thrust forth in the 2001 IPCC report was revised downward in the 2007 report as better information was incorporated into their methods. I fully expect this trend to continue.
  19. Chris C Registered Member

    This is my final comment on what the IPCC says. The RF for CO2 is 1.66 W/m-2 which has gone up by about 13% since the IPCC 2001 report, and had nothing to do with "getting better information" but solely due to higher CO2 concentrations since the 2001 report. The radiative forcing for 2x CO2 was revised downward from the second assessment report (1995) to the third assessment report (2001) and remained the same from the 2001 to the 2007 report. It is now around 3.7 W/m-2 and can be calculated rather easy, and the radiation codes are available in public archives. If you really think all the numbers are going to go downhill, it seems like this is just wishful thinking from conclusions you already made up, rather than being indicative of anything scientific.

    If we reach a time of 2x CO2 or more than 2x CO2 by 2100, I do not think it will be a mass extinction, but it will be a noticeable enough climate change that a geologist a million years from now will be able to separate today and 100-200 years from now into two different time periods on the geologic time scale. I think there are some impacts now, but I agree it is nothing bad. I also suspect some good will come out of it within the 1-2 degree range. After 2-2.5 degrees, I'd really start to worry. Mark Lynas' book "Six Degrees" provides great perspective on what would happen for every degree frm 1-6 degrees and is based just about entirely on the primary literature, and the AR4 WG2 report has around 1,000 pages of information on impacts. (http) is also a good read. I don't like it either, which is why something needs to be done; a whole swarm of wingnut disinformation on the internet will not change this.-- chris
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    ? Documentation of ships sailing through an open Northwest Passage before 1900 ?

    Look, where are you getting this stuff, in general? Is this a Creationist website with a sideline in bashing Al Gore ?
  21. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member


    Well I’m assuming life-forms would be larger as there is evidence for that. I am not sure about the university but I remember watching a discovery documentary that had a scientist who was doing tests on life forms in a pressurized environment simulating that of the earth and its atmosphere millions of years ago. He produced a piranha that was 5x the size of normal adult piranhas its age.

    I wish I could remember the specific episode but it escapes me atm.
  22. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    What I expect is as data is added to the WHOLE of climate information, the estimated impacts of the concentrated effort to prove its 'cuz of co2' to be reconfigured to reflect reality rather than hypothesis.

    Debate over How Much is Natural continues

    Greenland Glacial Melting:

    Two Years of melting then return to normal?

    Magma may be melting Greenland Ice:

    Arctic underwater ridge more active than thought:

    Pacific Water Temp Changes:

    Caves and climate:

    African Mega Droughts

    US sand dunes

    The mega droughts of the not so distant past are mind blowing in their reach. There is a fantastic 100 page document which covers the whole of this episode using satellite imaging to find the extent of this US desert area, but I couldnt find the link again.

    It really bothers me when people toss about the term 'wingnut' when discussing such matters. I dont think I have used any wingnut sites when posting my references, but then my focus isnt simply on CO2, nor is it soley reliant on what the IPCC claims in its condensed version of climate (condensed by focus and proxy).

    Added: While the above links are to news sites rather than research sites, I have encountered so many pay per view science documents when looking for further data, one is often left to sorting thru such info for pieces of the whole.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  23. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    I asked you to provide links to previous posts and that request was ignored. Look it up for yourself.

    I find your resorting to implications that my motives are based on something such as religion or politics reflective of your inability to discuss a topic based on its merit.

    Grow up.

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