Runaway Global Warming

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Facial, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Quite literally true; CO2 is rising about 2ppm per year and O2 is declining at 4ppm per year. But because there is so much more O2 than CO2 it's just not a big deal. (It's like saying that your body's H2O levels are declining by 10ppm a day and your arsenic levels are climbing at 1ppm per day. You'd be a LOT more concerned about the arsenic levels.)
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  3. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    No I disagree, you really need to read the report that I am quoting from more thoroughly.
    Given the authors' credentials, I believe DR Mae Wan Ho has a certain credibility in the field.
    BTW I am not saying that he/she is right or wrong, just quoting the article in support of the possibility of O2 depletion being more important than we realize.
    Of course O2% at sea level would show miniscule change in % but at higher altitudes the decrease would be more pronounced.
    Also the human body requires the oxygen % to be at a certain pressure and not just % If I am not mistaken.

    I guess they will have to abandon this monastery (4980 m). If they haven't already.

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    Rongbuk Monastery Tibet

    Also from comments posted to that article, this little excerpt:

    k**y v** h*** Comment left 3rd February 2013 23:11:25

    "One thing that most people are missing in the o2 discussion is the impact of aircraft jet engines running in the upper atmosphere. As a retired airline captain, I can assure you that jet aircraft are responsible for burning huge amounts of oxygen every day. I have heard from reliable industry sources that one Airbus A380 flight across the Atlantic burns more oxygen than the whole human race uses in a 24 hour long day. It scares me to death!!!!"


    If indeed there was a significant reduction on O2 at altitude the airlines would be able to demonstrate this in their flight fuel data and engine calibration data. (the jets would be running "rich" as they used to say in automotive vehicle circles.)
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
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  5. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Repeat post due to software glitch:

    Thanks Billy T.. a good read...
    Just briefly, as I must go exercise...
    It reminds me of my experience on the beaches of Natal (north coast) when chatting to a German male tourist who used to walk around with a 100 usd note poking out of his back pocket...and how he used this trick to commit a fraud on the local community of prostitutes and street people [Of which there are many as you know and 100 usd cash is worth over half a years income for most]
    I guess what we are talking about is what is referred to as "unconscionable" conduct by International Wealth being misapplied to those who are desperately seeking a way to exist. Abusing the power of privilege in a way that will, in the end, hit them in the face.

    I agree, that the slash and burn of the Amazon-ia is one such example as you mention IMO.

    more later...
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Right - and I am saying that it is self-limiting; we don't have enough fossil fuels to use up all the oxygen. (And once we run out all that CO2 starts getting converted back to oxygen - provided all that CO2 hasn't damaged the planet too much, of course.)

    It would actually be less pronounced in terms of PPM, about the same in terms of percentage. (Of course, if you were at 25,000 feet, ANY change is going to be more significant to you because that's the ragged edge of where people can live.)
    Yes, the term is partial pressure of O2.
    That's only 15,000 feet. People have lived higher than that; there's a town in Peru (La Rinconada) where thousands live at 5100 meters.
    Again, since there is 200,000 parts per million O2 in the atmosphere, the loss of 4ppm a year just isn't going to make a dent for centuries. The effect will get lost in the noise.
  8. river Valued Senior Member

    Really , we focus on the CO2

    So lame
  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Do not underestimate it.
    If we recognize it's potential, then our potential for control increases dramatically.
    We have had a symbiotic relationship with the primary producers since the beginnings of animal life on this planet/within this biom.

    Faster tree growth = more O2, less CO2
    However, trees cannot run as fast as animals, so give 'em a little time to catch up.

    Worry is a worthless waste of time and brain power.
    Awareness and the focus of the mind is the best we have to offer.
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Yep. Just as if you had liver failure, your doctor would concentrate on your liver and not your hangnail.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That depends on other circumstances. Which trees are growing faster, where are they, and what happens to them, governs their influence on atmospheric gas concentrations.

    The phytoplankton's role will overwhelm them anyway, if that huge oceanic collective metabolism changes significantly.
  12. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    How serious is the effect, that a significant decline in oceanic oxygen levels has regarding the atmospheric co2/o2 mix?
    Do you think?
    Can the oceans be used as a "mirror" to determine atmospheric health?
  13. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    until he finds out that the liver failure was due to an unusual infection of the nail....

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  14. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

  15. Bells Staff Member

    Well, we had a stupid spring in Queensland (Australia). 40 degree temperatures mid spring, sweltering heat and humidity and wilder storms. They are getting worse year by year, here. We are known for our big summer storms, but really, this is getting stupid.

    The last occurred late last week, with a massive hail storm hitting the city just before 5pm.

    I have now lived through 4 once in a life time near catastrophic and damaging weather events (all really bad storms) in the last 12 years.

    This is now the new normal.

    The only reason we did not lose all of our windows last week to the massive hail, was because we had storm shutters installed. They are dented to within an inch of their lives, but they somehow or other managed to hold and my house just caught the edge of it. My kids were with their father that afternoon, cowering in the hallway at his house as all of his windows exploded from the hail. My former sister-in-law lost all her windows also, roof damage, car is a write off. Last year I was at my parent's house down the coast when they were hit with a massive hail storm with hail the size of golf ball size and a few much larger ones thrown in occasionally during the 15+ minutes of solid hail falling down and winds that defied belief. Severe property damage.

    A few years before that, when we lived at The Gap, we lost just about everything to The Gap Storm and a mudslide a few days later (what wasn't lost in the storm went in the mudslide a few days after the storm - thankfully we had managed to evacuate our children out that night when the inlaws were able to get through the debris on the road in their 4x4 before all the roads were closed by emergency crews after our panicked phone call right as the storm ended and the lines went down for a week). Truth be told, however, The Gap storm was probably the worst I have ever been through (and I have been through actual cyclones). What amounted to a few minutes of sheer terror as we were hit by a microburst that we actually thought we were going to die to be honest, and at one point during it all, we had taken our then very small children towards the back of the house, away from the rising water that was smashing into the front of the house, getting ready to get them out if the doors or windows did not hold out and hope like hell we were not felled down by the debris that was then flying through the air from the houses nearby that had virtually exploded from it and screaming over the sound of the wind outside about how we were going to survive this. Which isn't surprising when you consider the winds had reached over 180kmph.

    And a few years prior to that, we were hit with another huge hail storm that left hail knee deep outside.

    All of these are each supposed to be once a life time things. That you see once and will be unlikely to experience again for a very long time.

    Weather events are becoming much more extreme and much more common. Queensland is used to the big storms. But what we have been seeing over the last few years go beyond that. Extreme weather events are now so common place that it is expected that we will see multiple events that were once deemed "once in a lifetime" just about every year. Between November last year and November this year, I have seen 2 such events.

    Sadly, we have a Government that does not believe in global warming or climate change.

    It cannot be ignored anymore. If something isn't done, then it will just get worse.
    Quantum Quack likes this.
  16. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    I believe the cyclone season is about to start for QLD.... best of luck up there..
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    The weather has been just as crazy in Sydney this past spring.
    Let's hope we wake up before it is too late...if it is not too late already, which I suspect maybe the case.
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Just a note from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
    The reservoir for most of the state of Sao Paulo got down to ~5% of capacity - low spots the water can not gravity flow out of. That water is called (in translation: "dead water"} and it is divided into two classes - some that can be syphoned to a lower spot and some that can not be, I think defines the two types of dead water.

    Use of the second class that needs pumps was just being authorized at the start of November, the beginning of the "rainy season" and then there were a few heavy storms - washed some car into the river, flooded lower homes, etc. They filled the reservoir to almost 10% of capacity, but then only light rains. In the last week the level fell from 8.8% to 8.7% of capacity. November turned out to be the driest ever recorded! I fear my 90 liters of bottled water may be needed after all. The closed and guarded complex of high rise apartments I live in does have one modestly large and three smaller artificial pounds in the internal park. I can get buckets of water from them to flush toilets once per day. Currently we take showers standing in large metal tube and use that captured water to flush toilets - our effort to reduce water consumption.

    The forests are drying, and trees are dying - more CO2 released than taken up, but the worst thing is that large part of the Rain Forests may burn - sending soot high up via Hadley cell, that cover half the earth (From -30 S to +30 N latitude). Currently at least 2/3 of the solar energy on them is reflected back into space but with only about 1 soot particle in ~1000 water droplets their absorption would double - 100% increase in solar energy being absorbed by them! If that happens, about half of humanity will die in less than a month. Then the right drawing below is not a joke. It is "gallows humor."

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    Note Hadley pumps vapor and soot very high.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2014
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So cloud tops at 20,000 feet (common for thunderstorms) receive about 1250 watts per sq m of energy. From your claims above, that means absorption would increase by 400 watts per square meter - and that this would happen commonly during large fires.

    Do you have any proof for this?
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but first: The large fires I speak of would not be common as they burn about half of the Amazon and other rain forests, one at a time. They do this (instead of the typical few dozen significant but smaller fires each year) because of the positive feed back the desending dry air a strongly driven Hadley cell brings down in the 25 to 30 degree band N & S - See drawing of my prior post. - Sort of a dry-air-feed, strong-wind "fire storm." I can not prove this will happen, but it certainly might. It did, on smaller scale twice without intent just from bombing raids in WWII and once by intent with weeks of careful planning when for no justifiable reason (WWII was already won) Dresden* was destroyed. Figure below is showing the albedo, but they call it the percent reflected.

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    The very high top circulation of the Hadley cell clouds is very clean (soot free, normally) and ~2/3 of solar radiation is reflected back into space, so yes if that albedo becomes 1/3 by soot loading your 400W/m^2 increase of solar heating is about correct.

    Now the question becomes what reduction in albedo does a small fraction (say 0.001) of the water drops or ice crystal with soot in them in the cloud make?
    This is a very complex question - worth several Ph.D. thesis as it depends upon the size distributions of both soot particles and water drops, the spatial distribution of both, and that is a strong function of how far from the "edge of the cloud' the photons are. Obviously spatial density is low nearer the "edge" but that is where the sun's rays enter and the angle they do so depends on time of day and the season. What the soot is, both chemically and its mico-structure also can be important.

    However, the most important fact, few know about is how the cloud reflects - very differently from a solid. Cloud reflect by huge number of small angle scattering. For spherical water drops, more than half of the scatterings change the direction of photon travel by less than 7 degrees! (I have reference to that already posted somewhere.) Thus the photon which does escape back out of the cloud has on average been scatter by something like 1000 drops of water to have "random walked" with tiny (on average <7 degree steps) adding up to 180 degree reversal of it entrance directions. Many (probably most) photons will get more than 100 meters** inside the cloud before they have even started to head back towards the surface (and may still turn to go even deeper). They only once in this effort to escape need to hit a soot particle to die (be absorbed).

    That is why a very very small fraction of soot content can make the albedo drop to essentially zero, but I assumed it only dropped from 2/3 to 1/3 to make a 100% increase in solar heat absorbed.

    * Dresden was chosen as it had not been bombed - Bombers could not fly that far east until they could take off and land from German air fields already captured. The fire storm quickly consumed all the ground level O2 and then smoldered for about four days. Civilians hiding in the basements or shallow bomb shelters suffocated, which was a blessing, as their fat was rendered out of their bodies and made a few centimeters of "lard" on the floors, when those "shelters" had cooled enough to enter.
    IMO this intentional killing of almost all citizens of Dresden, just to impress Stalin, is far more immoral than quickly ending the pacific war with the A-bomb as that saved many more lives than the A-bombs killed. I visited Dresden about 15 years after WWII had ended (still many destroyed buildings) - I have never been so ashamed to be an American - what the US and Brits did there is inexcusable.

    ** Based on my observations while in an airplane as it enters a cloud, I think the "half will penetrate distance" is well above 5,000 meters! The dimming of the light field outside the plane's window is much too slow to even notice!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2014
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

    OK, good. So we have a previous example. Dresden was burned in early 1945, and thus we should see a spike in temperature if we really saw such a massive increase in energy absorption. But 1945 was a historically cold year, and indeed 1940-1970 had a net negative temperature slope.

    So a tiny fraction of soot in a cloud would make clouds in the area black (akin to fresh asphalt) when observed from overhead? Since that has never been observed by aircraft or satellite, even though we've had plenty of sooty fires (both large and small) that's something that's probably not happening.
  22. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    you would need to assess in the infra red spectrum surely?
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Albedo is, canonically, across all light frequencies, and most often used to express reflectivity of visible light. Long wave infrared is important in the greenhouse effect (i.e. our atmosphere is opaque to many long-IR frequencies) but something with an albedo of "essentially zero" will be black, and will absorb almost all the light energy it receives.

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