Climate

High Water: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than expected and could raise East Coast sea levels an extra 20 inches by 2100 — to more than 6 feet

The eastern United States must plan on the very real possibility that total sea level rise by 2100 will exceed 6 feet on our current emissions path. Sadly, the Washington Post got the only story half right.

greenland_ice_melting.jpgThis week I’ll focus on our best understanding of the impacts that Americans face from human-caused climate change.  On Tuesday, the US Global Change Research Program is releasing its long-awaited comprehensive analysis of Global Climate Change Impacts in United States.  We’ll see how it matches up against my not-so-well-funded analysis, “Yes, the science says on our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of U.S. 10 – 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or more, and the SW will be a permanent Dust Bowl.”

First, though, let’s do a comprehensive review of projected sea level rise (SLR), starting with two recent studies on what accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet might mean for us.  The University of Alaska Fairbanks reports on a brand new study in the journal Hydrological Processes (subs. req’d):

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than expected according to a new study….

Study results indicate that the ice sheet may be responsible for nearly 25 percent of global sea rise in the past 13 years. The study also shows that seas now are rising by more than 3 millimeters a year–more than 50 percent faster than the average for the 20th century.

UAF researcher Sebastian H. Mernild and colleagues from the United States, United Kingdom and Denmark discovered that from 1995 to 2007, overall precipitation on the ice sheet decreased while surface ablation–the combination of evaporation, melting and calving of the ice sheet–increased. According to Mernild’s new data, since 1995 the ice sheet lost an average of 265 cubic kilometers per year, which has contributed to about 0.7 millimeters per year in global sea level rise.

This research is consistent with data presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December (see “Two trillion tons of land ice lost since 2003, rate of Greenland summer ice loss triples 2007 record“).  This staggering ice loss is all the more worrisome because it was not predicted by the IPCC’s climate models. As Penn State climatologist Richard Alley said in March 2006, the ice sheets appear to be shrinking “100 years ahead of schedule.” In 2001, the IPCC thought that neither Greenland nor Antarctica would lose significant mass by 2100. They both already are.

And, of course, Greenland is facing an almost incomprehensible amount of warming if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path — see “M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F.”

Especially worrisome for North America is that a new study in Geophysical Research Letters (subs. req’d) finds that sustained high rates of Greenland ice loss could lead to staggering increases in coastal sea level rise.  As reported:

If Greenland’s ice melts at moderate to high rates, ocean circulation by 2100 may shift and cause sea levels off the northeast coast of North America to rise by about 12 to 20 inches (about 30 to 50 centimeters) more than in other coastal areas. The research builds on recent reports that have found that sea level rise associated with global warming could adversely affect North America, and its findings suggest that the situation is more threatening than previously believed.

“If the Greenland melt continues to accelerate, we could see significant impacts this century on the northeast U.S. coast from the resulting sea level rise,” says NCAR scientist Aixue Hu, the lead author. “Major northeastern cities are directly in the path of the greatest rise.”

All that is needed for the 20 inches of extra sea level rise is if Greenland’s melt rate continues at its current rate through 2050.

And the key point of this study is that this 20 inches would be on top of what ever sea level rise is caused by the ice loss in Greenland, Antarctica, and the inland glaciers, plus thermal explanation of the ocean.

How much sea level rise is that?  Well, if you read last week’s WashPost story on the second study, “East Coast May Feel Rise in Sea Levels the Most,” you’d get the bizarrely old SLR estimate from the 2007 IPCC report:

While the rest of the world might see seven to 23 inches of sea-level rise by 2100, the studies show this region might get that and more — 17 to 25 inches more — for a total increase that would submerge a beach chair.

[Note to WP:  Sea level rise is one of the most potentially devastating impacts of global warming to human civilization — so you need a more serious visual metaphor for it than submerging a “beach chair.]

The 7- to 23-inch estimate was out of date the minute it was published in 2007, since the IPCC froze virtually all new science inputs to its Fourth Assessment in 2005.  Why would the WP write an article about the very latest study of possible extra SLR in 2100 and then add it to a very old SLR estimate that was based on an even older literature survey?

Last year, the Bush administration itself explained in great detail that the IPCC’s projection, low-balled the sea level rise number “” see US Geological Survey stunner: Sea-level rise in 2100 will likely “substantially exceed” IPCC projections.  Since big media still gets this wrong, let’s take a quick look at that study, which concluded “based on an assessment of the published scientific literature“:

Recent rapid changes at the edges of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets show acceleration of flow and thinning, with the velocity of some glaciers increasing more than twofold. Glacier accelerations causing this imbalance have been related to enhanced surface meltwater production penetrating to the bed to lubricate glacier motion, and to ice-shelf removal, ice-front retreat, and glacier ungrounding that reduce resistance to flow. The present generation of models does not capture these processes. It is unclear whether this imbalance is a short-term natural adjustment or a response to recent climate change, but processes causing accelerations are enabled by warming, so these adjustments will very likely become more frequent in a warmer climate. The regions likely to experience future rapid changes in ice volume are those where ice is grounded well below sea level such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet or large glaciers in Greenland like the Jakobshavn Isbrae that flow into the sea through a deep channel reaching far inland. Inclusion of these processes in models will likely lead to sea-level projections for the end of the 21st century that substantially exceed the projections presented in the IPCC AR4 report (0.28 ± 0.10 m to 0.42 ± 0.16 m rise).

What does the recent published scientific literature now project?

  • Science 2008:  “On the basis of calculations presented here, we suggest that an improved estimate of the range of SLR to 2100 including increased ice dynamics lies between 0.8 and 2.0 m.”  The IPCC famously ignored increased ice dynamics in its projection.
  • Nature Geoscience 2007 looked at the last interglacial period (the Eemian, about 120,000 years ago) “” the last time the planet was as warm as it soon will be again.  Seas rose 1.6 meters (5 feet) per century “when the global mean temperature was 2 °C higher than today,” a rather mild version of where we are headed in the second half of this century.
  • Science 2007 used empirical data from last century to project that sea levels could be up to 5 feet higher in 2100 and rising 6 inches a decade.
  • Nature 2009 used coral fossil records from the last interglacial warm period 121,000 years ago (when sea levels ultimately reached 15 to 20 feet higher than now).  It concluded “catastrophic increase of more than 5 centimetres per year over a 50-year stretch is possible.”  The lead author warned, “This could happen again.”

And here’s an extra update.  The 2008 Science paper, “Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise” with its 0.8 and 2.0 m projection for 2100, is widely considered to be the most credible, comprehensive, and authoritative recent estimate.  And yet consider just one piece of that analysis — the lower bound projection of the SLR contribution in 2100 from the ice caps and inland glaciers (other than Greenland and Antarctica), which the paper says is 0.17 meters (170 millimeters).

These inland glaciers are melting  unexpectedly fast (see ” Another climate impact comes faster than predicted: Himalayan glaciers “decapitated” and “Another one bites the dust, literally: Bolivia’s 18,000 year-old Chacaltaya glacier is gone.”

A 2009 Geophysical Research Letters paper, “Sea-level rise from glaciers and ice caps: A lower bound,” (subs. req’d) concluded a detailed analysis of actual glacier data:

If the climate continues to warm along current trends, a minimum of 373 ± 21 mm of sea-level rise over the next 100 years is expected from glaciers and ice caps. When compared to recent estimates from all other sources, melt water from glaciers must be considered as a particularly important fraction of the total sea-level rise expected this century.

So you can add a minimum of 0.2 meters to the lower bound of the Science paper — taking that paper’s lower bound to 1 meter.  Given how fast the Arctic is projected to warm on the BAU path, I wouldn’t be surprised if projections of the likely ice loss from Greenland will rise in the coming years.  Same for Antarctica (see “Q: How much can West Antarctica plausibly contribute to sea level rise by 2100?“).

Bottom line:  The entire U.S. should be planning on SLR of 5 feet by 2100 on our current emissions path.  And the eastern United States should plan on the very real possibility that total sea level rise will exceed 6 feet.

75 Responses to High Water: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than expected and could raise East Coast sea levels an extra 20 inches by 2100 — to more than 6 feet

  1. john says:

    Joe:

    Great summary. As a geologist, I look to he empirical evidence from the geologic record for the most accurate assessments of what will happen, and that’s pretty sobering.

    I think a lot of people confuse SLR with encroachment — a 6 foot increase in sea level in some areas would translate to seas moving inland by several miles — New Orleans of course, but also much of the Delmarva penninsula, large swathes of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the Gulf Coast — not to mention areas like Bangladesh.

    This is way more than beach chairs. The good news is, it might reach the Washington Posts printing presses.

  2. MikeN says:

    Greenland has Viking buria grounds under their ice sheets.

  3. Bob Wright says:

    We’re only at 390 ppm CO2. 450 plus will be very, very bad. Kyle might be right about being on fire or under water by 2050.

  4. paulm says:

    >Greenland has Viking buria grounds under their ice sheets.

    What was the sea level then?

  5. Gail says:

    This morning, I found this comprehensive survey, of which the very last point in the summary is:

    “7. Although evolutionary responses have been documented (mainly in insects),
    there is little evidence that observed genetic shifts are of the type or magni-
    tude to prevent predicted species extinctions. ”

    http://cns.utexas.edu/communications/File/AnnRev_CCimpacts2006.pdf

    and I feel scientifically vindicated, though hardly pleased.

    Joe, I hope as part of this series focussing on the impacts of climate change you will include phenological consequences. I truly think that when people link what is happening now to the ecosystem they live in, there will be more support for legislative action.

  6. SamB says:

    So far, June’s chill is one for the records
    By Steve Kahnon June 12, 2009
    WGN chicago
    The cloudy, chilly and rainy open to June here has been the talk of the town. So far this June is running more than 12 degrees cooler than last year, and the clouds, rain and chilly lake winds have been persistent. The average temperature at O’Hare International Airport through Friday has been only 59.5 degrees: nearly 7 degrees below normal and the coldest since records there began 50 years ago.

    More bad weather is on the way Saturday with a cold rain expected to linger through the bulk of the morning. Rainfall could be heavy — especially north of the city, which would be a reversal of Thursday’s deluge that targeted the southern suburbs.

  7. dhogaza says:

    So far, June’s chill is one for the records

    Chicago’s not the world.

    Spain’s having a warmer than normal late spring.

    Thus far, June in Portland, Oregon has been 5C (9F) over normal.

  8. Gail says:

    Sometimes I wonder, why do people who are clearly ignorant of the most rudimentary principles of climate science gravitate towards a blog about climate change in the first place? If they are so convinced that weather = climate, why do they even bother to post a comment? Don’t they have better things to do than repeat tediously silly standard denier points?

    Because if they choose to lurk at a climate change website because they actually possess honest intellectual curiosity, wouldn’t they read just a little bit before posting? Enough to understand how trivial it is to explain a basic notion like, average temperature rise does not equate to steady, linear, even temperature rise everywhere, that places will heat disproportionately, wind patterns will change, and some places will be cooler and wetter??

    I mean, what level of education is necessary to ponder this through? Sixth grade perhaps?

    So to return to the original question, if somebody posts here, not because they are intellectually honest and curious but just a bit slow, but rather are deliberately obtuse, why oh why bother?

    Could it be deep down they really get the science but just can’t stand the policy implications, so they can’t resist the urge to post lame ideas, sort of like prodding a sore tooth, ideologically speaking?

    Go figure!

  9. Peter Croft says:

    Most people are not going to get very excited about a 6 foot SLR by 2200. Unless you own property near sea level I can’t see how it will affact you greatly, certainly not enough to convince the world to give up burning fossil fuel.

    The ultimate SLR that will result from a total meltdown of the polar regions is another matter. A 70 metre SLR would certainly eat up about about half of the UK, for example.

    More concerning within the 2200 timeframe is the risk that the rises are underestimated. If the positive feedbacks really get going it could be far higher that 6 feet.

  10. Ian Forrester says:

    MikeN said: “Greenland has Viking buria (sic) grounds under their ice sheets”. Would you care to give us a reference as to where you found this information. It, of course, is absolute nonsense which is propagated by the deniers.

    What has been found is a farm buried by sand and silt caused by increased melting of the ice cap and coastal glaciers.

    See:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/ma23qj

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/lc584w

  11. John Mashey says:

    Peter: that’s a possible 6-ft rise by *2100*, but there do exist places whose governments take this seriously, and are thinking about a 3-6ft SLR by 2100AD.

    The Netherlands certainly does.

    So does the San Francisco Bay Area.

    A stressful planning exercise is to be give a detailed description of a sea-level town, its population, industry, etc, and be told to work though a 50-year plan given a SLR scenario. Having experienced this kind of exercise, I offer a prediction: really, really ugly politics ahead in some places, especially in those countries that have a lot of sea-level infrastucture.

  12. Gail says:

    To the anonymous commenter who wrote this:

    “I saw the comment you left at climateprogress.org – and it was rude. I hope you do not waste peoples time to voice your opinions on blogs in the future. The idea is everyone is allowed to share their opinions. Who are you to judge?”

    Um, if everyone is allowed to share their opinion, doesn’t that include me? There is a little logical fallacy here methinks.

    Anyhoo, can you answer any of my questions as to why people persist in speciously equating weather with climate change when climate science explicitly eschews such a connection? Or contribute anything significant to the issue of rising seas – how fast that will happen and how people will cope? Or what the enormous loss of biodiversity on our planet will mean to us humans ?

  13. Greg says:

    Since there are those who cling to cold weather phenomena as an indication of lack of climate change they (indeed anyone) may wish to look at the work of Stu Ostro at weather.com. He is a meteorologist, and a former skeptic who has become increasingly disturbed by what he sees happening to our atmosphere and its formerly predictable and relatively stable pressures. He has some excellent analysis of where and why we have been seeing some unusual cold conditions recently associated with unprecedented low and high pressure systems strengths and locations. You can link to much of his work at (http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2008/03/stu-ostro-update-on-global-warming.html)

  14. Steve Bloom says:

    I suspect nobody here was actually confused about this, but for the record Greenland does *not* have “Viking buria (sic) grounds under their (sic) ice sheets.”

  15. dhogaza says:

    I suspect nobody here was actually confused about this, but for the record Greenland does *not* have “Viking buria (sic) grounds under their (sic) ice sheets.”

    I was having difficulty imagining anthropologists organizing digs 2.3 km under the ice …

  16. David Stern says:

    Climate is a lot like the stock market. Theory says that stocks should return more than bonds in the long-run. In the short-run you get the last decade + in the US and many other economies where that is not the case. The same with climate and climate change. Now a lot of people panic and think the stock market will never come back and sell at the bottom or buy at the top. Similarly it is hard for many people to believe that climate change is real.

  17. crf says:

    There could be Viking settlements built during middle ages near the margins of some ice sheets that were later buried when the glaciers advanced. Perhaps some of them could under pretty thick ice right now, as the advancing glaciers overran them.

    But … so what. Saying that there are “settlements under ice sheets” that had been built during a medieval warm period is just not an argument against the theory that the world will be facing an unprecedented rate of climate change over the next several centuries. The fact that the world was warm (and cold) over different periods of the past, for various explainable reasons, isn’t a counter-argument that the world will be warmer in the future, due to the specific reason of the greenhouse effect.

  18. Will Koroluk says:

    John expressed the tongue-in-cheek “hope” that rising sea levels might reach the Washtington Post’s presses. He might also hope the waters reach the presses of the Victoria Times-Colonist, one of Canada’s lesser papers. Follow the link to see why.

    http://www.timescolonist.com/Technology/Settle+science+climate+change/1694688/story.html

  19. FredJJJJ says:

    So if the Greenland melting is 100 years ahead of climate models, does it not indicate the models are seriously flawed?

    [JR: Uhh, did you read the post? The models are missing key amplifying feedbacks that caused an underestimation of impacts.]

    If the models relating CO2 increase to warming (and SLR) are so seriously flawed, does it not indicate that the climate is sensitive other forces of far greater magnitude and importance? Sad to see alarmist scientists using measurements of this kind to confirm their ‘sky is falling’ orthodoxy instead of sceptical inquiry.

    [JR: Yes, when the cancer spreads faster than the doctor says is normal, you should become less worried! Gotta love those denier talking points.]

  20. Jim Eager says:

    Of course, it never even dawns on Fred that it could indicate that because of amplifying feedbacks climate is MORE sensitive to greenhouse forcing than the models assume.

  21. David B. Benson says:

    MikeN did what is known as a drive-by.

    All the more to waste your time.

  22. Leland Palmer says:

    Concerning climate denial:

    We are increasing greenhouse gases thousands of times faster than natural rates.

    Sea level is in fact rising, a fact very hard to explain if overall global warming is not occurring.

    Methane is a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than CO2 when measured over timescales of less than a century.

    The permafrost contains roughly 1.6 trillion tons of organic material, a substantial fraction of which could be released as methane if the permafrost melts quickly.

    The Arctic regions and permafrost, and deeper oceanic methane hydrate deposits contain something like 2.5 trillion tons of pure methane. If that methane is released quicky, in say, less than a century, we could be looking at the mother of all methane catastrophes, with greenhouse effects of tens or even hundreds of times those of current mostly CO2 driven greenhouse effects.

    Methane has an average life in the atmosphere on the order of 10 years, before it is oxidized into CO2 by the hydroxyl radical. If methane is released quickly, that could have a huge impact on global warming, because the methane will not have sufficient time to oxidize into CO2. So the modern rate of change, thousands of times faster than natural rates of change, could send the earth into a methane catastrophe, similar to (or worse than) the Permian/Triassic mass extinction.

    Tropical forests are starting to burn, at increasing rates. A study in Science in 2005 showed a sixfold increase (600% increase) in wildfires in the western U.S. with a temperature rise of less than one degree C. If a one degree C increase in temperature means a sixfold increase in fires, what would a 3 degree C increase mean? A 216 fold increase in wildfires? The U.S. Forest Service knows that fires and fire fighting budgets have rapidly increased, as does Republican governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has hosted conferences on global warming, and who has said “with climate change, we now have fire season all year round”.

    The tropical forests burning could themselves release as much carbon as the entire industrial revolution has – as much as 500 billion tons of carbon by 2100.

    The ice albedo positive feedback is another almost inevitable positive feedback that is now emerging. As the polar icecap melts, the dark waters absorb more sunlight, which itself increases melting – positive feedback.

    Risks are commonly calculated by multiplying the chances of something occurring by the consequences if it does occur. The consequences of runaway, positive feedback driven global warming are so dire that, when multiplied by the probability that runaway global warming is occurring even as we speak, they are off the scale. I do not believe that the human race, and the biosphere itself, have ever faced a risk so great as the one staring at us right now.

    We are staring down the barrel of a really big gun, at runaway global warming. After passing tipping points, there is likely very little that can be done to stop it or turn it around.

    It may already be too late. In twenty years, it will likely be too late. In fifty years, absent radical change, it will almost certainly be too late to do anything about the probable extinction of the human race and possibly all life on Earth.

    We are honor bound, for the good of future generations and to preserve both our own and other species potential for intelligence to try to stop it.

    The truth is, FredJJJJ, you are repeating something you have heard from a paid climate denier, almost certainly. Like tobacco company spokesmen, the people that you listen to, the vast majority of them, are paid to say what they say. If they change their minds, they lose their job.

    Even if we climate alarmists are wrong, we are still right. Even if we are overestimating the risks, we are ethically bound, for the sake of future generations, to do no great harm.

    The consequences are huge, and the probability of runaway global warming occurring is over 50%, in my opinion.

  23. Gail says:

    Leland Palmer, a bravura almost operatic response.

    I give you a standing ovation!

  24. James Allison says:

    How do the climate models account for the current global cooling trend and particularly the lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature during the last decade?

    [JR: Since there is no global cooling trend — as I, Hadley, NASA, and many others have shown — your question is nonsensical, just a long-debunked denier talking point.]

  25. Will Koroluk says:

    Leland Palmer: Good post. Partly because of what it says, and partly because it gives me a chance to plug a book I think should be required reading by anyone serious about science. It’s Doubt is their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens your Health.
    And, no, no one is paying me to plug the book.

  26. Will Koroluk says:

    Sorry. I forgot to mention the author, an epidemiologist named David Michaels.

  27. Yes, Fred JJJ… and MikeN

    As Leland says… this is the company you keep.

    http://one-blue-marble.com/blog/2009/04/21/big-tobacco-big-oil-big-coal/

  28. Neil Howes says:

    Leland,
    The problem with projecting the worst possible climate outcomes in 90 years time is it doesn’t help in focusing efforts on practical measures that can be implemented in the next 5-10 years of our immediate future.

    It would be great if we could shut down all FF tomorrow, but it’s not going to happen. On the other hand, starting to replace coal fired electricity by renewables, nuclear and as Joe suggested a few days ago by using existing NG fired electricity instead or coal, retiring 40 year-old coal plants, and stopping ANY new coal fired plants being built, would eventually get us to creating much lower CO2. It may not be enough, nothing the US, or other countries do, may be, but hand waving and saying we have a 50% chance of runaway GHW is not going to achieve anything except convince people that any action is futile or completely discount what is being said and do nothing.

  29. FredJJJJ says:

    Re: Palmer, Eager, JR:
    So the trustworthy climate models from a couple of years back WERE flawed!
    We were told it was ‘just physics’! Correct, unequivocal and unarguable!
    They speak the truth about the future one hundred years hence!

    But since the SLR can be projected faster, the only deemed scientifically correct cause, CO2, must be even worse than we thought!
    How about looking elsewhere? No way, so much scientific religion invested in the CO2 crusade! Cannot change now!

  30. dhogaza says:

    If the models relating CO2 increase to warming (and SLR) are so seriously flawed, does it not indicate that the climate is sensitive other forces of far greater magnitude and importance? Sad to see alarmist scientists using measurements of this kind to confirm their ’sky is falling’ orthodoxy instead of sceptical inquiry.

    [JR: Yes, when the cancer spreads faster than the doctor says is normal, you should become less worried! Gotta love those denier talking points.]

    Actually, this turd is saying “since cancer spread and caused you to die more quickly than they estimated, doesn’t the mean that cancer doesn’t exits?

    The stupid, it burns.

  31. dhogaza says:

    Sorry, my fingers fail me:

    Actually, this turd is saying “since cancer spread and caused you to die more quickly than they estimated, doesn’t the mean that cancer doesn’t exits?

    Actually, this turd is saying “since cancer spread and caused you to die more quickly than they estimated, doesn’t this mean that cancer doesn’t exist?

  32. SamB says:

    Leland Palmer Says:

    We are staring down the barrel of a really big gun, at runaway global warming. After passing tipping points, there is likely very little that can be done to stop it or turn it around.

    It may already be too late. In twenty years, it will likely be too late. In fifty years, absent radical change, it will almost certainly be too late to do anything about the probable extinction of the human race and possibly all life on Earth.

    Give us exact data that reflects proven tipping points.
    If you can’t then we will take this as an emotional argument.

  33. TomG says:

    The methane release is The Tipping Point in my humble opinion.
    I believe this is the positive feedback that will be self sustaining and won’t stop until its sources runs dry.
    After viewing film clips of methane trying to break free of frozen Siberian lakes in the winter and reading of Russian survey ships last summer in the Arctic Ocean sailing through a sea of methane bubbles, I tend to believe it’s too late to stop its effect.
    Another point I’d like to make is the methane release is obviously in the Arctic but most people seem to think it automatically diffuses throughout our atmosphere immediately and becomes less of a menace.
    The methane is in large quantities in the north because of the constant release and it takes time to spread to other parts of our world. Sorta like a huge forest fire. The smoke from the fire will eventually travel hundreds of kms, but it will remain its worst right at the site of that fire.
    Not only is methane a huge greenhouse gas in its effect….
    it is concentrated in the worst possible place.

  34. Ooops !

    Worse yet: Earth’s magnetic field derived from ocean currents – says recent research paper. Moving masses of salt water carry electric fields like windings in an electric motor.

    And our Global warming triggering ice melt is diluting the ocean currents and weakening the magnetosphere.

    The controversy will be so much greater now. If so then the earth is far more fragile and susceptible to human meddling.

    For more information go to

    http://www.iop.org/News/news_35352.html / http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/39469/ / http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1367-2630/11/6/063015

    Exciting times

  35. paulm says:

    This will be an interesting week…Climate Change becomes Weather Change. Is it already too late? Will their worst case scenarios depict this?

    Met Office predict likelihood of climate change on your doorstep
    The most detailed set of climate change projections ever produced will show the risks of sea level rise, droughts and floods in Britain over the next 80 years to within 16 miles of your front door.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/5532147/Met-Office-predict-likelihood-of-climate-change-on-your-doorstep.html

    Local authorities, the Environment Agency, primary health care trusts, insurance companies and property developers are all eagerly awaiting the content to be revealed …. this week.

    It is expected the results will not only affect larger building projects and flood defences but property prices and insurance claims for people living near the coast or on flood plains.

    ….people will realise the risk of flooding, sea level rise and droughts on their own doorstep for the first time.

    “Ordinary people will be able to see how critical climate change is and how it is going to effect our country…. they see how their little patch of land is affected they will realise how their own lives will be affected and the lives of their children. It will hammer it home.”

    The Association of British Insurers will also be watching.

    “The insurance industry will use the data to better comprehend future risks and to advise customers and policy-makers on how to prevent or prepare for them,” said a spokesman.

  36. Leland Palmer says:

    Sam B-

    Give us exact data that reflects proven tipping points.
    If you can’t then we will take this as an emotional argument.

    All of the modeling being done right now is data driven. You reject the data because paid professional deniers tell you that the modeling is just playing with numbers. The modeling is data driven, and is way too conservative, in my opinion, but the modeling itself shows dire consequences by 2100.

    One of the IPCC group leaders, Chris Field, recently appeared on Democracy Now, and discussed what the models, which are based on mind boggling amounts of data, are telling us about feedbacks:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/2/26/member_of_un_environment_panel_warns

    Above is a link to the video, and a transcript of what he said on that program:

    If we look since 2000, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration in CO2 emissions, so that the actual trajectory of emissions has grown more rapidly than in any of the scenarios that were characterized in detail. The reason I say we’re on a trajectory of climate change that we haven’t explored is that we have only looked at scenarios where the growth of CO2 was limited to in the range of two to 2.5 percent per year. We genuinely don’t know what a climate will look like with the more rapid rate of increase that we’re actually seeing…

    …But what we have seen is that the time since 2000 was a period of rapid economic growth, and it was also a period of time where a large fraction of the economic growth was fueled by electricity based on coal, and coal is the energy source that releases the most CO2 per unit of useful energy that’s released. The consequence of that is that we have seen a very rapid increase in CO2 emissions….

    … The possibility that is increasingly stark and that we really want to be increasingly certain to avoid is one where we end up with climate forcing at the high end of the possible scenarios. The IPCC projected that with the scenarios it explored, we could see 2100 temperatures that were anywhere from as little as two Fahrenheit to as much as eleven to twelve Fahrenheit warmer than possible.

    And what we increasingly see is that with temperatures at the upper end of this warming range, we begin to get a large series of very dangerous feedbacks from the earth’s system. In particular, we see tropical forest transitioning from taking up large amounts of carbon to taking up very little or even releasing carbon. And it looks like there’s an increasing risk that high latitude ecosystems that are characterized by these frozen soils called permafrost may release some of the organic matter that’s stored in this permafrost to the atmosphere. So you end up in a situation where, instead of having ecosystems storing large amounts of carbon, their storing very little or releasing large amounts.

    The calculations to date are that tropical forests—and this is something that is explored in the IPCC—could, at the higher ranges of temperature forcing, release anywhere from a hundred billion to 500 billion extra tons of carbon to the atmosphere by 2100. And that should be put in the context of understanding that during the entire period from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution until now, all of the world societies have only released a little over 300 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere.

    …Well, if I look at the problem, the thing that really strikes me is that we don’t have very long to get an effective climate regime in place. The risk with these ecosystem feedbacks is that once we get past a certain point in warming, the problem gets more difficult every year, because we’re ending up with, you know, essentially less and less help from the oceans and the land. And from my perspective, the really critical thing is that we get a handle on the emissions growth so that we can slow it rapidly and turn the corner, so that we’re looking at a period of decreased emissions moving into the future.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask not only about what’s happening in the Southwest, but a vicious cycle you talked about that could do everything from ignite tropical forests to melt the Arctic tundra.

    CHRISTOPHER FIELD: The idea of these vicious cycle feedbacks is that once warming reaches a certain point, the amount of assistance that we’re getting in terms of carbon storage from the land and oceans tends to go down. And this is quite clear from the IPCC models, and it’s clear from a number of other more recent lines of work. In the IPCC, the models characterize a future in which tropical forests at the high range of warming have a potential to release large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere.

    One of the new numbers that’s a great concern to me is that we’ve been doing studies of how much organic matter is stored in these frozen soils in northern latitudes, permafrost soils, and the new numbers are that approximately a billion tons of carbon is stored in the organic matter in these high latitude soils.[He meant a trillion tons of carbon, and the latest estimates are around 1.6 trillion tons of carbon, in organic material stored in the permafrost] Climate model projections indicate that at high amounts of warming large fractions of the permafrost could melt, and some of the projections have that at from 60 to 90 percent of the permafrost melting.

    And the surprising thing about these permafrost soils is that the organic matter that’s contained within them is not this incredibly stabilized, difficult-to-decompose stuff; it’s basically frozen plants that have been sitting there for, in some cases, tens of thousands of years. And when the permafrost is thawed, these plants decompose quite quickly, releasing their carbon as CO2 to the atmosphere or as methane to the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas that, on a molecule per molecule basis, is about twenty-five times as powerful as CO2.

    The basic risk is that if we reach a certain point in the warming, what we’ll end up with is a vicious cycle, where the warming causes additional permafrost melt, which causes additional CO2 to be released to the atmosphere, which causes additional warming, which creates this vicious cycle.

    We don’t have evidence that it’s a clear tipping point, or we don’t know where there might be a tipping point out there. And one of the things that I’m advocating is that we both advance the science quickly enough to figure out if indeed there is a threshold beyond which this can’t be stopped, but also to take action as a society to ensure that we’re very conservative with respect to how far along this pathway we go.

    AMY GOODMAN: Christopher Field, we want to ask you to stay with us. We’re going to break. When we come back, want to play for you the comment of one of the climate change deniers. A professor from Princeton University was invited also to testify. Then we’re going to be looking at the power of the lobbyists around climate change, and a massive conference is taking place this weekend of grassroots youth activists in Washington called Power Shift. We’ll speak with them and find out about what’s considered to be one of the largest civil disobedience in US history is going to take place on Monday outside a coal plant outside Washington, D.C. Stay with us.

    [break]

    AMY GOODMAN: On Wednesday, our guest, Chris Field, testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The Republican minority invited Princeton University physicist William Happer to testify at the same hearing. He’s a former Energy Department official and chair of the board of directors of the George Marshall Institute, an organization that’s reportedly received $715,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. This is a part of what Professor Happer had to say.

    WILLIAM HAPPER: The increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause some warming of the earth’s surface. The key question is, will the net effect of the warming and any other effects of CO2 be good or bad for humanity? I believe the increase of CO2 will be good.

    I predict that future historians will look back on this period much as we now look back on the period just before we passed the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution to prohibit the manufacturing, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors. At the time, the 18th Amendment seemed to be exactly the right thing to do. It was a 1917 version of saving the planet from the ravages of climate change. More than half the states enacted prohibition laws before the 18th Amendment was finally ratified. Only one state, Rhode Island, voted against it, and my hat’s off to the senator from Rhode Island. I’m sorry he’s not here.

    Well, there were many people who thought that Prohibition might do more harm than good, but they were completely outmatched by the temperance movement, whose motives and methods had much in common with the movement to stop climate change. Deeply sincere people thought they were saving humanity from the evils of alcohol, just as many people now sincerely think they’re saving humanity from the evils of CO2. Prohibition was a mistake, and our country’s probably still not fully recovered from the damage it did. For example, institutions like organized crime got their start in that era. Drastic limitations on CO2 are likely to damage our country in an analogous way. There’s tremendous opportunity for corruption there.

    AMY GOODMAN: Professor Happer of Princeton University. Professor Field, your response?

    CHRISTOPHER FIELD: Well, there’s been a tremendous amount of science to assess the likely impacts of rising CO2 on climate, and the IPCC overwhelmingly concludes that the overall impact is likely to be sharply negative. I think that as we look at new science, we see increasing validation of the conclusions of the IPCC, in terms of the mechanisms of climate change and in terms of the impacts of climate change.

    You know, the assessment of whether the issue of Prohibition is relevant to climate, I think, is really a red herring. There’s essentially never been an activity that’s—where the scientific community has been as coordinated and as careful in its assessment as it’s been with climate change. And to say that, well, sometimes the science is wrong just really doesn’t reflect the amount, not only of careful thinking and coordination, but also the amount of testing of all the ideas that’s gone into the modern scientific assessment of climate change. You know, essentially every component of our understanding has been scrutinized and tested and evaluated from different directions. And although there’s still a lot we don’t understand completely, some of which I have already talked about this morning, the overall analysis of where we’re headed and what the mechanisms are is just deeply well established.

  37. Leland Palmer says:

    I have a long post undergoing moderation. Sorry, I had pasted a long excerpt into the post and was modifying it when I hit the “submit” button by mistake.

    Oh, well I guess it won’t kill us to read Dr. Happer’s opinions.

    Dr. Happer, by the way, is one of the paid deniers that appeared before the Senate.

    Dr. Happer is a member of the George C. Marshall institute, a think tank that has received $600,000 or so from ExxonMobil, but which has also received more than 6 million dollars from a network of conservative foundations including those run by Richard Mellon Scaife.

    The George C. Marshall institute also has a couple of members on Mark Morano’s network of climate deniers, which was being run out of Senator Inhofe’s office by Morano until a few weeks ago.

  38. Phillip Huggan says:

    The two big changes from GWB to Obama I’ve noticed are better foreign policy and a transfer of wealth from oil to finance. But it is clear many of the same business interests that helped steamroll Obama over Hillary have gotten paid. Insuring deposits prevents a run, no need to give bankers more $$…
    P.Krugman and everyone else says it is necessary but not sufficient for recovery to give $4T to bank execs, bond and stockholders. Ummm, no (an easy decision every literate casual labourer I’ve worked with could make). The Soviets did that with Party Officials.

    That $4T would buy 3M wind turbines, I’d guess stimulate employment (and inflation beyond) to bubble levels. That is 4 Terawatts of generation capacity, about 1.3TW actual, global production now is 15TW (20%-33% is where wind maxes out without banking)…groundwork for electric cars and power hungry apps like desalination would be laid out.
    Or you could store enough grain to survive any disaster save an Ice Age. I’m not sure how much the OX40:Ig fusion protein that stops cytokine storm costs for a global supply…I’m not sure how much it costs to get us off industrial farming and on fake meats….I know Obama gave a big slice of his power to the whims of bankers; just give $12000 check to every American instead (would be 3x more money than I’ve ever seen).

  39. BBHY says:

    I see the “global cooling” comment on just about every climate story on the internet.

    I believe they are basing this claim on 2008 being the coolest year of the 2000’s. They conveniently ignore that 8 of the top 10 warmest years have occurred since 2000 and that 2008 was still warmer than all but one of the 90’s.

    It is interesting to compare the stock market and the climate. Both never move in straight lines but have identifiable trends. In the stock market, when short term peaks are higher than the previous ones, and troughs are higher than the previous ones, the market is on a bull run. When the trough is barely lower than the previous peak, it’s a very strong bull market.

    Right now, the climate is on a very strong bull run.

  40. Keith says:

    I am anticipating that our money-corrupted politicians/government will fail us on stemming this problem…so, any suggestions from the climate scientists on the best place to buy land for my young children to start learning subsistence farming? I’m thinking upstate NY or northern New England.

  41. dhogaza says:

    I believe they are basing this claim on 2008 being the coolest year of the 2000’s.

    That and the fact that La Niña has kept the current year cool (by 21st century standards) as well. They’ll be scurrying like cockroaches from the light once the end of La Niña causes a rebound in temperatures.

  42. Leland Palmer says:

    One of the things that concerns me is that there might actually be a sun/climate connection. I’ve thought so ever since reading a book called “Sun, Weather, and Climate” put out by NASA back in the 1970s. I got so interested in it that I wrote a paper on it, for my geophysics class back in the 1980s.

    It is known that solar activity magnetically shields the Earth from high energy particles from space, known as cosmic rays. These particles, originating perhaps in supernovae out in the galaxy, are hugely energetic particles that create large numbers of ions when slamming into our atmosphere. When solar sunspot activity is high, this magnetically shields the Earth from most of these cosmic rays- a known, experimentally verified effect. It may be that these ions, created in ion trails by the energetic cosmic rays, serve as condensation nuclei for droplet or ice crystal formation in clouds, similar to what happens in the experimental physics devices known as cloud chambers.

    This hypothesis has been rejected as unlikely in the past, because the changes in the sun directly transfer only a very small amount of energy to the Earth. What is needed to make the hypothesis work is a trigger mechanism, in which a small change in sunspot activity could trigger large changes in cloud formation on the Earth. One such mechanism might be that the atmosphere contains huge quantities of supercooled water vapor, and the cosmic rays might be modulating or triggering this huge source of “heat of condensation”. This is what happens in cloud chambers and bubble chambers – supercooled or superheated liquid or vapor gets triggered into bubble or droplet trails by high energy particles like cosmic rays.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_chamber

    Counting on this possible, unproven sun/climate connection to save us, as some of the deniers do, though, assumes that the sun will be in a quiet phase in the future, similar to the Maunder sunspot minimum that occurred a few hundred years ago.

    What happens when solar activity becomes high again, as it has on an eleven year cycle for the past several hundred years?

    I’m concerned that the low solar activity right now, associated with cool weather if the sun/climate hypothesis is correct, and the high galactic cosmic ray fluxes we are seeing right now, might be partially masking the CO2 and methane driven overall warming trend.

    What happens when solar activity reaches a maximum five or so years from now?

  43. paulm says:

    Nice point BBHY!

  44. paulm says:

    Keith very likely that you will have to do this anyway.

    Leland recons 50-50, Lovelock is almost 100%. Its looks like to me closer to Lovelock.

  45. paulm says:

    Lealand a lot of us are nervous about the possible consequences of the sun moving into its active phase.

    BTW how come you don’t have your own blog?

  46. paulm says:

    Why doesnt the MSM have more interviews with scientists like Chris Fields in Leland’s link above?

    This is such a tragedy and irresponsible stance by the MSM. These sorts of interviews should have been occuring 5-10yrs ago in the MSM.

  47. Jan L says:

    Why this fascination with the worst case scenarios as if You want it to happen? As usual there is no problem to find peer-review articles showing quite the opposite to the alarm on this blogg. Read for yourself. If anything IPCC is overstating (as usual) the sea-rise that could be expected.

    (And the vikings..I don´t know about Greenland but in Norway they´ve found settlements appearing when the glaciers have retreated. It is not so strange if the same has happened in Greenland. )

    Kerr, R. A., 2009. Galloping glaciers of Greenland have reined themselves in. Science, 323, 458.

    Nettles, M., 2008. Step-wise changes in glacier flow speed coincide with calving and glacial earthquakes at Helheim Glacier, Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters, 35, doi:10.1029/2008GL036127.

    Nick, F. M., et al., 2009. Large-scale changes in Greenland outlet glacier dynamics triggered at the terminus. Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038, published on-line January 11, 2009

    Berge-Nguyen, M., A. Cazenave, A. Lombard, W. Llovel, J. Viarre, and J.F. Cretaux. 2008. Reconstruction of past decades sea level using thermosteric sea level, tide gauge, satellite altimetry and ocean reanalysis data. Global and Planetary Change, 62, 1–13.

    Unnikrishnan, A.S., and D. Shankar. 2007. Are sea-level-rise trends along the coasts of the north Indian Ocean consistent with global estimates? Global and Planetary Change, 57, 301–307.

  48. Gail says:

    Jan L,

    It is sort of like the fascination a person develops when diagnosed with a possibly terminal cancer. You read every article you can put your hands on, and obsess over it, and seek treatment at a qualified facility with expert oncologists.

    Then there are those who take magical herbs and try to wish it away.

  49. paulm says:

    Jan L they are equal other papers and details that point to the likely hood of the worst case.

    I guess you have to review the material and the debate and make your own informed decisions as to what you think the outcomes will be.

    Others in high places should also be guided by the best scientific advice they have available.

  50. Jenny says:

    “…After viewing film clips of methane trying to break free of frozen Siberian lakes in the winter and reading of Russian survey ships last summer in the Arctic Ocean sailing through a sea of methane bubbles, I tend to believe it’s too late to stop its effect…” (TomG)

    I’m working on documenting the effects of climate change in the Arctic through still photography and videography for a couple of MSM projects. TomG, are those film clips you’ve mentioned available online? If so, could you please provide a link? Can you — or anyone else, perhaps Leland — provide contact info for folks doing fieldwork in Siberia on issues re methane release from melting permafrost and from oceanic methane hydrate deposits? I would like to photograph their work.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

  51. acuriousplanner says:

    Let’s go back to the scientific method for one second.

    A Hypothesis: global warming is occurring at a faster rate than normal given the anthropogenic influences (especially the burning of Fossil Fuels).

    Null Hypothesis: global warming is not occurring at a faster rate than reasonably possible without the advent of anthropogenic influences.

    In order for our hypothesis to possibly be true, we must disprove the null hypothesis to a reasonable degree of certainty.

    Can anyone/Has anyone disproven this null hypothesis? I have seen much speculation and several models that are all based upon the assumed impacts of the anthropogenic effects. I have not seen anyone model what the earth will eventually do to take care of itself. We may not be able to inhabit certain portions of the Earth, and I do not dispute that there is a likely correlation between the present climate change patterns and the effects of human civilization, but can we move away from calling it “Global Warming” to calling it climate change. We have “modeled” several things in the past including the magical blunder of water rights in the American Southwest, and to this day we produce 20+ models of a hurricanes path of which more than 50% are incorrect at more than 2 days out, yet we are putting a great deal of stock in models aimed at 2100? Stopping the scare tactics, and moving towards an education of the individual benefits might be a better way to spend our research dollars.

    I’m just sayin’.

  52. dhogaza says:

    Jan L:

    If anything IPCC is overstating (as usual) the sea-rise that could be expected.

    No, they understate it in the last report, because uncertainties in ice sheet melt are so high they just left it out entirely. In fact, you missed the denialist talking of the time – “even the IPCC has reduced its sea level rise estimates!” (ignoring that the number reported went down due to the fact, as was explained clearly, they left a piece out as being to uncertain to include pending further research).

  53. Jenny…

    In my day job, I’ve written a few times about methane studies in the last two years…. This short paragraph is from last August… it was culled from Reuters. If memory serves, these are the scientists who filmed methane roiling up from the Siberian sea. If memory also serves, it scared the bejesus out of them.

    Finally, Russian scientists are warning that, just as expected, methane is being released from arctic permafrost at a fast rate. Researchers at the Pacific Oceanological Institute have conducted 47 recent studies in the arctic, and determined that local concentrations of methane have increased dramatically in the last two years, just as many scientists predicted with the melting of permafrost.

    V.I.Il’ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute…
    http://www.poi.dvo.ru/eng/index.html

  54. Frack…

    Actually, Jenny… I think this is the original story.

    So this researcher might help…

    Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University in Sweden

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-the-methane-time-bomb-938932.html

  55. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi paulm-

    Lealand a lot of us are nervous about the possible consequences of the sun moving into its active phase.

    BTW how come you don’t have your own blog?

    Too lazy and disorganized. I have a url: globalcoolingplan (dot) org. I’ve had it for six months, and finally might get around to getting a website up within a month or so.

    Joe’s doing the hard work, bless his heart. :)

  56. Jim Eager says:

    JanL wrote: “If anything IPCC is overstating (as usual) the sea-rise that could be expected.”

    Sea level rise of 18 to 59 cm is overstated?

    Apparently you didn’t even notice these explicit caveats contained in the IPCC report, let alone read and comprehend them:

    “Model-based range excluding future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow ”

    “Models used to date do not include uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedback nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future.”

    In other words, that 18 to 59 cm range is mostly thermal expansion alone.
    Meanwhile, on the ground research and measurements since 2003 have clearly shown “dramatic dynamical changes in ice flow.”

    Thanks for demonstrating that you have no clue at all.

  57. Jim Eager says:

    Sounds like donny could start with finishing high school.

  58. Actually, Donny… debate is encouraged, and I learn a great deal here. But Joe doesn’t allow readers to regurgitate myths…

    I’m certain that most who frequent this site are just like me… We get exactly zero percent of our climate information from Al Gore (who isn’t a scientist).

    But having said that, Al Gore is on the side of the angels. With a couple of small quibbles, climate science supports every statement he makes.

  59. Gary says:

    Al Gore is on the side of the money!

    One of those “small Quibbles” BTW was that his basic premis was completely backwards and further more, he was well aware of it.

    Oh never mind, one can’t expect to argue science with religious fanatics.

  60. So all the world’s climate scientists are in collusion so they can… What? make Al Gore rich? Your point is laughable.

    Not to mention the fact that Al Gore hasn’t made a cent on his climate change investment. Every cent is donated to a nonprofit.

    Sou obviously don’t understand the fist thing about science.

  61. Jim Eager says:

    And we certainly can’t expect Gary to argue the science.

    Never has, never will.

  62. As an aside to this story…

    The photo that Joe used to illustrate this story was taken by Dr. Roger Braithwaite… He was just one of dozens of scientists who had their research manipulated and distorted by the late Michael Crichton.

    Braithwaite is furious that his old studies often appear on denier sites as “proof” that global warming is a scam.

    How do I know? I asked him about it.

  63. dhogaza says:

    acuriousplanner Says:
    June 15th, 2009 at 2:00 pm
    Let’s go back to the scientific method for one second.

    A Hypothesis: global warming is occurring at a faster rate than normal given the anthropogenic influences (especially the burning of Fossil Fuels).

    Null Hypothesis: global warming is not occurring at a faster rate than reasonably possible without the advent of anthropogenic influences.

    In order for our hypothesis to possibly be true, we must disprove the null hypothesis to a reasonable degree of certainty.

    Can anyone/Has anyone disproven this null hypothesis?

    Science doesn’t PROVE, your favorite sky fairy could change the laws of physcis overnight, after all, but beyond that quibble …

    No known natural phenomena – in particular solar output – accounts for observed warming over the last 30 years. It’s impossible to explain without CO2 forcing and associated feedbacks that follow from fossil fuel consumption increasing CO2’s concentration in the atmosphere.

    Then there’s a whole bunch of work done with paleoclimate that leads to the same conclusion regarding various episodes in earth’s long history – can’t be explained without factoring in CO2 (and other GHG) forcing (though in these cases CO2 concentrations vary due to natural causes).

    The “no known natural phenomena” is why the denialsphere pins its hopes so largely on unknown, speculative things like “galactic cosmic rays are causing warming” and the like.

    Because we have no data on unknown, speculative things of that nature with which they can be refuted.

    I have seen much speculation and several models that are all based upon the assumed impacts of the anthropogenic effects.

    No, you haven’t.

    You’ve seen models that generate a range of sensitivity to doublings of CO2 – REGARDLESS OF WHERE THAT CO2 COMES FROM.

    The direct forcing due to CO2 is known physics. The questions that arise come in regard to feedbacks (thus that 1.5C-4C range for sensitivity).

    …to this day we produce 20+ models of a hurricanes path of which more than 50% are incorrect at more than 2 days out, yet we are putting a great deal of stock in models aimed at 2100?

    Standard weather vs. climate misunderstanding.

    I don’t need much of a model to make a wide variety of climate predictions regarding 2100. For instance, I predict that Fairbanks, Alasksa will have a higher average temperature in July, 2100 than it will in January, 2100.

    And I wouldn’t bet against this prediction being true, if I were you …

    Yet … hurricane forecasting is, indeed, difficult.

    How can that be? Think on it a bit.

    Stopping the scare tactics, and moving towards an education of the individual benefits might be a better way to spend our research dollars.

    Telling the truth is only a “scare tactic” when viewed from a certain ideological lens.

    Is it a scare tactic to discuss the dangers of smoking? Of jumping out of airplanes w/o parachutes? Of a large increase in the average temperature over north america?

  64. 3 cheers for Leland Palmer.

  65. 40 Keith: Try Mars. No place on Earth will be safe. “EXTINCTION” means everybody on the planet.

  66. 50 Jenny Reference: “With Speed And Violence” by Fred Pearce, 2007. He saw the methane lakes in Siberia.

  67. TomG says:

    Jenny, try this link…

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/the-inner-mounting-flame/

    The video is short, but to the point and there are some other links as well.

  68. TomG says:

    BTW Jenny…
    I love that picture of The Salton Sea.

  69. Billy Ruff'n says:

    Re. Paulm
    June 14th, 2009 at 1:01 pm
    >>Greenland has Viking buria grounds under their ice sheets.

    >What was the sea level then?

    Probably not much different from today. See http://www.warbirdforum.com/bluielonghouse.jpg
    for a photo of Eric’s (the Red) settlement in SW Greenland.

    [JR: Who knew they had photos back then!!]

    If the implication of the question was that sea levels must have been much higher than today because the glaciation was less, I think the photo disproves that. Foundations appear to be no more than 12-15 feet above today’s sea level. I don’t think the Vikings would have built their houses on the beach.

  70. Billy Ruff'n says:

    Re. Leland Palmer Says:
    June 15th, 2009 at 1:53 am

    >All of the modeling being done right now is data driven. You reject the data because paid professional deniers tell you that the modeling is just playing with numbers. The modeling is data driven, and is way too conservative, in my opinion, but the modeling itself shows dire consequences by 2100.

    Leland,

    Modeling isn’t proof. It’s just modeling (data + assumptions = output). It’s possible to disagree with conclusions drawn from model outputs without rejecting the data.

    And, remember, all the “deniers” (aka skeptics) aren’t paid and many acknowledge the “data”, they just disagree with some of the assumptions used in the modeling.

    [JR: Way too much mixing of apples and oranges here I’m afraid. The projections of what will come from unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions are based on direct observations of what the emissions and warming to date have been, paleoclimate data, and modeling. The modeling is only one piece of this and frankly given the rate at which humans have been pouring in emissions into the atmosphere, the future impacts are now relatively insensitive to even large swings in assumptions about climate sensitivity. But a central point of this blog has been to clearly show that the climate is MORE sensitive to external forcings then the models have been assuming, which is why the climate has been changing faster than the models had predicted.

    As I have previously blogged, I try to use the term denier for the professional disinformers. The people who have been suckered by their disinformation I try to use the term “delayer” for. Scientists are the professional skeptics here. People who are driven by ideology to reject science cannot legitimately be called skeptics.]

  71. Billy Ruff'n says:

    re JR reply to my post above.
    >[JR: Way too much mixing of apples and oranges here I’m afraid. The projections of what will come from unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions are based on direct observations of what the emissions and warming to date have been, paleoclimate data, and modeling. The modeling is only one piece of this and frankly given the rate at which humans have been pouring in emissions into the atmosphere, the future impacts are now relatively insensitive to even large swings in assumptions about climate sensitivity. But a central point of this blog has been to clearly show that the climate is MORE sensitive to external forcings then the models have been assuming, which is why the climate has been changing faster than the models had predicted.

    Apples? Oranges?

    Projections…based on direct observations?
    Observations: CO2 late 1800s to present day — up, up and up!
    Whereas temp trend (plus or minus a few years):
    – 1900-1910 Down
    – 1910-1940 Up
    – 1940-1980 Up and down, but mostly down
    – 1980-2000 Up!
    – 2000-present day Flat to down

    Paleoclimate? I believe the record (and several posts above) reference times in the paleo-past when temperatures (and CO2, for that matter) were higher than present levels. Implication: Perhaps the current “anomaly” is not that anomalous.

    Models? As I said, models are not proof — just projections based on data and assumptions. Assumptions are just that….however, well informed or peer reviewed.

    And AR, IMHO, people who are driven by ideology cannot legitimately be called scientists. I’m sure you’d agree.

    Kind regards,
    BR

  72. Jim Eager says:

    Billy said:
    “- 1900-1910 Down
    – 1910-1940 Up”

    Both correct.

    “- 1940-1980 Up and down, but mostly down”

    Incorrect.
    The “down” was only ~1945 to 1951, thereafter the trend was short term up and down with a shallow upward long term trend.

    Why?
    1) A huge surge in industrial aerosol dimming during WWII and the post war boom in the absence of pollution controls, plus 2) fair correlation with solar variability.

    “- 1980-2000 Up!”

    Correct.
    US Clean Air Act and similar legislation in Western Europe rapidly reduced aerosol dimming, plus a strong anticorrelation with solar variability, which flattened.

    “- 2000-present day Flat to down”

    Incorrect.
    The long term trend continued up to peak in 2005, the 1998 El Nino influenced outlier not withstanding, with 2007 essentially a tie with 1998. Temps have been down slightly only the past 1-1.5 years due to 1) strong La Nina, 2) very quiet sun, 3) aerosol dimming from Asian Brown Cloud.

    Why is it that those who expect a monotonic rise in CO2 to produce a monotonic rise in temperature also expect the cessation of all other factors and natural variability?

  73. Billy Ruff'n says:

    AR,

    Why did you snip my last post? Did I make a point or two you were uncomfortable with?

    BR

  74. TomG says:

    Billy, I suspect your last post didn’t get snipped because you didn’t make one.
    If it was snipped your 7:15 pm post would be gone as well now wouldn’t it?
    Is this your last resort?
    If you can’t make sense, claim censorship?

  75. m lyster says:

    Fascinating to read some of the comments, although by now some months old. Where, however are the protestations about the antiintellectual and academically dishonest Email traffic among the scientists at East Anglia Universtiy and others?
    Climate. Changes. Always. The recent downtrends in temperatures were conveniently ignored or averaged away by the Global Warming Cabal; they, along with at least some of the commenters here prefer to smear and sneer at critics, rather than debate actual science. And please, don’t bother with the queries of my scientific knowledge: a bachelor’s in economics, a medical degree, and ongoing self education in paleogeography is more than…well, rather more than Al Gore, isn’t it?
    Personally, I hope global warming is real. It’s colder than heck in Chicago just now, and frankly most of us won’t miss New York, San Francisico, or Miami if they DO get flooded. Good riddance.