« The 11th Key Science Moment of 2016 | Main | EGU 2017 call for abstracts »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

michael sweet

Tamino's stuff is always on the mark. These posts are a good way to keep the blog going over the freezing season.

Winnipus's (sp?) graph of global sea ice extent would be unbelievable if it were not the actual data. Not even the most alarmist poster on this board would have guessed the ice would go so low so soon.

Elisee Reclus

It should be pretty clear by now that the denialists are not mistaken, they know exactly what is going on and they are using their rhetorical tricks to deliberately obfuscate and mislead the public. They are not representing a difference of opinion, they are lying and they know they're lying.

The only motivation I can see for this behavior is greed. They are on somebody's payroll, which tells me they are not just wrong, they are evil.

People naturally tend to persuade themselves that what is best for them must be best for everyone else, too. So they manage to convince themselves that if there is a problem, it is not as bad as the alarmists think. That is crazy thinking, but it is understandable.

But this is different. These people are deliberately manufacturing elaborate lies to confuse and mislead the public and our lawmakers. They know exactly what they are doing, and they enough of the truth to employ it skilfully in their lies.

They are not fools. They are criminals.

wayne

A Dutch-Canadian artist friend of mine suggested we forego politicians running science Departments, in other words, some Government run by scientists, hence no more crazy ying yang back and forth policy changes at every election. That is the only viable solution for the future.
The current US department of Energy was run very ably by a very good nuclear scientist, the next guy is a yahoo from Texas believing in things, this and that, science one of these things, and crazy ideas some of that, if only he can remember the name of the Department in question....

AnotherJourneybyTrain

Science has always been political- because it's power. Science is simply method... and thus power itself.

The status quo is methodical or it wouldn't be the status quo.

A river either grows or it stagnates and dies.

AnotherJourneybyTrain

Hmmn, I don't believe I've finished my thought:

The people lead and governments follow.

Would you believe that Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger said that?

Are we victims? No, seriously: are we victims and victimising our own kids by being not very good parents?

We need to individually look at ourselves in the mirror and decide whether we care about anything or not. Hey, I know: let's all go watch Carrie Fischer in star wars because she is so attractive.

In Australian newspapers the other day- the West Australian or the Sunday Times because I live in Perth, Western Australia, to be more specific- Mark Hamill said that he was a bigger star wars collector of paraphernalia than anyone because he got to ask G Lucas for the stuff that didn't make it to screen.

He went on to say that his brother was doctor and he was telling him how important movies and the collection of such things were because life can be a grind and escapism is of such import.

We all love Hollywood but it is literally killing us. I loved, and still love, all those Hollywood stars but it is what it is: escapism from the grind that is the nuts and bolts of the real world.

The party ends...

AnotherJourneybyTrain

In other words: propaganda works! It's THE industry..

Hans Gunnstaddar

http://psc.apl.uw.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/ice_volume/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrentV2.1_CY.png

Segue from extent for a moment, ice volume keeps tracking at new record lows.

Captain Nemo

Just think that much of this harmful anthropogenically-caused warming could have easily been prevented.

If only someone had acted 50 years ago, and had promoted the widespread use of contraceptive medications and surgeries to eliminate all unplanned, unwanted and unneeded pregnancies, then the world's human population would have stabilized at about half of what it is today.

Of course, those persons who live in denial that too many humans cause adverse detrimental effects to the world's climate system and ecosystems; are quite often the same persons who needlessly and thoughtlessly over-reproduce.

More stupid humans does not make it more better; it just makes it more stupid.

As it turns out, the proverbial canary had been singing for thousands of years (Plato, Aristotle, Tertullian, Malthus, Muir, Carson, among others), but we were too stupid to listen or care.
Too late now.
Too little, too late.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"More stupid humans does not make it more better; it just makes it more stupid."

That about sizes it up CN, because humans 'act' no differently than animals, expanding in population until some limiting force acts as a barrier to higher numbers. For animals the forces active in determining population limits is usually clear and present. Unfortunately for us, with massive amounts of fossil fuels at our disposal the only governing factor would have had to be a conscious awareness and decision to limit population numbers to avert future problems. That didn't happen, so we are now committed to experiencing those long overdue limits. Since we are at the top of the food chain, and because we've juiced the system to overheat, limits will pincer us into smaller geographic areas via sea level rise, greatly reducing food from crops and livestock, increasing disease, and so on.

In short, a failure to control population ourselves, means forces beyond our control will set limits, but also those limits will continue for decades to further constrict until only a small percentage pass through a bottleneck. If we could have controlled ourselves the population could have remained at a higher level than what will be left after the bottleneck, but that's the price paid for failure to control ourselves. Unabated, uncontrolled exuberance always has a price.

AnotherJourneybyTrain

A bottleneck for resources is the main danger I"m led to believe. It always was important to secure resources for ones own, as it were, but rates of change equal panic and economies react in complex ways creating fear in the first from anticipation of such. (Just call me Shakespeare ;>)

Jevons Pardox is the idea that the more efficiently we learn to use a resource the more of that resource we actually use. Not only fossil fuels, which is the subject that bore its concern, but it must also apply to the way such vested interests use propaganda.

There must be a way to use the concept for good....

NeilT

The canary doesn't sing, it stops singing, or dies. Allowing the miners time to protect themselves from the present danger or exit the mine.

This, I believe, is the time to trot out the Monty Python Parrot sketch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218

You can see who is denying what...

It is a sad fact that few democracies are doing enough about CO2 emissions which cause Climate Change.

Two of the strongest proponents, right now, are China and the EU. Neither of which are representative, or accountable, governments.

There is a message there somewhere. Something like the old joke about a man who falls out of a window in a high rise. He can be seen to be saying something. On opening a window he is heard to be saying:

"Looking good so far".

I prefer Forrest Gump. "Stupid is as Stupid does".

AnotherJourneybyTrain

January 4, 2017

Australia’s wild parrots, which are increasingly being exposed to some of the world’s highest temperatures, have evolved to grow longer wings to cope with the extra heat.

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame Australia have found that the wings of ringneck parrots, which live in Western Australia, have grown by 4-5mm over the past 45 years.

Researchers claim the adaptation means the birds, commonly called 28s after their whistled “twen-ty-eight” call, have adapted so they can shed more heat when they fly.

Dylan Korczynskyj said the enlarged wings could be attributed to climate change because the extremities of animals in the hottest climates tended to be longer.

“The change in these parrots fits with what biologists call ‘Allen’s rule’ — in warmer climates, appendages such as wings get larger to help shed unwanted heat,” Professor Korczynskyj said.

source:


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/scientists-hail-climate-change-and-evolution-at-a-stretch/news-story/56c1452803ca035a4af834f5c23d88f7

navegante

What are the chances of observing such evolution of a macroscopic species within ...45 years? Skeptical... not too many generations of parrots in such a short time. With a lifespan of fifteen years or more, that is three generations or less.

navegante

Correction: there may be much more than three generations if the parrot gets adult soon enough.
Still...

D-Penquin

How on Earth do we get from Global Warming to Parrots and get the message out at the same time? The Canary...well, ok BUT parrots...!?

The train crash is still happening in slow motion AND Nevin has a cold.

Neven will survive...not so confident about the passengers on the train...many of them have already coped it!

D-Penquin

I'm pretty sure Neven will survive...I recommended a hot toddy and teaspoon of honey...

NeilT

Watch the youtube link.

The Monty Python parrot sketch is a classic on denialism and hugely funny too.

NeilT

To paraphrase, to Python fans, saying "this climate is dead" would elicit the right response immediately...

AnotherJourneybyTrain

My Dad is in the reporting process: he still laughs at that Python stuff and amazingly so do I because it earns me a beer... nah, he's got nice guitars and he can play them which has always amazed me.

It's all good apart form the myi melting... meh, lololololol,..............NOT!

Wade Smith

Don't worry. The Global Population will stabilize somewhere around 12 billion.

Think about all those people breathing out CO2, and the cow farts of methane!

Oh My!

AnotherJourneybyTrain

The global population stopped growing exponentially a long time ago.

D-Penquin

Reply to: NeilT | January 04, 2017 at 14:44

LOL - You are 'dead' right.

Following the conclusion by Neven that our discussion with Rob Dekker et al was 'banter and ranter' and an attempt to 'start an atomic troll war', does this put an end to serious debate on this blog?

How do you get the message out? Take our argument on the need for 'Mitigation', 'Sequestration' and 'Direct Solar Insolation Reduction' as a simultaneous response to the problem, direct to the science community and others?

Neven
does this put an end to serious debate on this blog?

Not to all serious debate. Like I said, I haven't read the whole discussion. All I saw, was the word troll appear here and there, and when someone like Rob Dekker then asks everyone to stay civil, I know enough.

How do you get the message out?

I don't know. You may ask yourself whether this is the ideal place for such an endeavour.

But you know what the good thing is? We're talking about solutions, and not about whether there's a problem. That's always been one of the main goals of this blog.

Susan Anderson

Thanks Neven. The attacks were distressing and it occurred to me that it was wrong that the absence of your gentle but firm guidance had resulted in these escalations. I didn't know the people well enough and wasn't paying close enough attention to untangle it, but you put it so clearly and simply that this should be the end of it. We're all worried, but circular firing squads only make it easier for those who want to discredit honesty in this political nightmare.

It would help if the "D" who is not FishOutofWater/George were to identify him or herself with some brief label in their comments.

NeilT

I'm with Neven on that. As long as we can talk solutions, then it is better than talking doom all the time.

Yes, I don't like being called a troll just because I don't agree with the mainstream. But I'm a big boy and will get over it. It won't stop me posting what I think.

I recall reading a speech by Obama, just a few weeks after I had publicly defended his stance on climate change. His speech writer had lifted chunks of my post Alost verbatim.

You never know who is reading or what the impact of what you write will be. So better to write it than not..

D-Penquin

I have changed my name from 'D' to 'D-Penguin' and added an image.

D-Penquin

"We're talking about solutions, and not about whether there's a problem. That's always been one of the main goals of this blog."

Before solutions comes definition of the problems.

In particular, the 'Committed' heat already in the system leads to a >2.4deg.C increase in average Global temperature above pre-industrial level.

When CO2 and CO2e emissions reach zero, temperatures will continue to rise but more slowly, at approximately 0.2deg.C per decade, until the Solar flux comes back into balance. Sea levels will continue to rise for a period of 1,000 years (or more).

On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: Formidable challenges ahead

V. Ramanathan* and Y. Feng

Edited by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved July 24, 2008 (received for review May 1, 2008)

http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14245.full

So, reduction of CO2 and CO2e to zero emissions will not solve the problem; it will only 'Mitigate' the problem.

Therefore, it would appear that the solution would be 'Sequstration' and 'Reduced Direct Solar Insolation' assisted by 'Mitigation'

NOTE
The IPCC state that a temperature rise above 2.0deg.C would be catastrophic.

David Nemerson

AJbT: Global population is currently growing at about 1.11%/yr. That is exponential growth.

"Population in the world is currently (2017) growing at a rate of around 1.11% per year (down from 1.13% in 2016). The current average population change is estimated at around 80 million per year. Annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at 2% and above."
http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

NeilT

Ah the joy of statistics.

1969 2.1%, 3.6billion people. Annual growth 72 million.

2017 1.1%, 7.4 billion people. Annual growth 81.4 million.

Slowing? Yes, only on a spreadsheet.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I'm on the look out for an article providing information on 2016's global temperature rise above pre-industrial vs. 2015. Haven't found an article yet, but still early in Jan. Anyone with a link would be appreciated.

Paddy

David,

Population growth has been pretty linear around 75 to 80 million people a year from 1980 to 2015. It's now expected to slow down as a much higher proportion of people worldwide become elderly, with death rates expected to climb in consequence while birth rates continue to fall.

But... There are still a number of places worldwide where some fundamental drivers of the demographic transition to a low fertility rate population just aren't there. Particularly drivers such as women's access to education, work and contraception. And if we support enabling such access further, we may be able to v sightly speed the transition and thus also put the brakes on population growth very slightly sharper.

navegante

Exponential growth which exponent decreases with time ... is not exponential growth

David Nemerson

At a 1.11% growth rate a population doubles every ~63 years. That is exponential growth. If the growth rate slows in the future then the doubling time will increase. But a population with any positive, intrinsic rate of growth, measured at a moment in time, is growing exponentially.

Is this a true statement?: "Exponential growth which exponent decreases with time ... is not exponential growth." I honestly don't know. I would think that as long as the growth rate remains above zero it is growing exponentially because the population will grow indefinitely and in a compound fashion. What if you knew the growth rate would asymptote at 1.00%? "r" would still be falling every year but would you really say it was not growing exponentially as the doubling time would also asymptote at ~70 years?

FWIW, I have little doubt that the exponent will fall to zero and go negative, likely within a few decades.

Neven

D-Penquin, thanks for making the effort to change your name, much appreciated. And thanks also for your profile image which will remind us all of the importance of friendship. ;-)

One thing I'd like to quote from your comment:

Before solutions comes definition of the problems.

I agree, but what you have done subsequently - no disrespect intended - is describe the consequence of the problem. Granted, AGW with its potential outcomes ranging from bad to catastrophic, is so large and complex that it may look like it's the problem. But, it actually is one of many consequences of a root cause that has to be tackled in parallel, if we want any solution to AGW to stand a chance of actually working.

For a long time I have thought that the root cause of a variety of problems, from AGW to resource wars, from financial bubbles to deteriorating public health, was exponential economic growth as defined by neoclassical theory. You know, the absolute need for economies to grow forever (something classical economists warned against). I even wrote a Planet 3.0 guest article about it many moons ago, called Infinite Growth And The Crisis Cocktail.

But then I realized it goes even deeper. As I wrote back in 2011:

Now, of course there is nothing wrong with growth per se. It is an essential and universal part of nature. But normally things stop growing. Children stop growing when they reach adulthood, as do trees. Economic growth is a great thing when an economy needs to be developed, as we saw after World War II when Europe was in shambles. People needed housing and food, and putting economic growth on top of the agenda was the most efficient way to get all those things, fast. Developing nations such as India and China are doing the same as we speak. In principle there is nothing wrong with this kind of growth, but the idea that growth is always good and can be infinite is fallacious and dangerous. A thing that doesn’t stop growing, is cancer. Until it destroys its host, of course.

After most basic needs were met in the developed world somewhere around the 60’s and 70’s of the last century exponential economic growth stopped being a means and became an end in itself.

Why did it become an end in itself? That's the question I failed to ask at the time. Who benefited from this switch between means and end? Of course, it's what has now become known as the 1%, or the 0.1%, or the Super Rich.

As long as everyone on this planet and even the planet itself has to dance to the tunes of the game the Super Rich are playing, everything will go down the same way it always has in the past when inequality became too big.

There's a limit to everything, it seems, except to how much a person can own. Somehow, it's inconceivable that there's a lid on material and monetary possessions. A bit like the idea that the King was God's representative on Earth in olden days.

Obviously, if we want to have any chance at solving the consequences of this systemic insatiability (and I say systemic, because I don't even think it's something the Super Rich want consciously, they're just playing along with the system, like we all do), if we want to have a chance at changing the current, all-dominating economic paradigms, we need to put a number on how much a person can own. Anything beyond this number needs to become a taboo, such as primitive tribes employed to promote social cohesion and increase chances of survival.

Mind you, I'm not advocating communism, with everyone receiving 500 dollars per month for sweeping the pavement. I'm not talking about a forced equality, but rather about a fixed amount of inequality. The wealth cap could be as high as 100 million dollars, 500 million dollars, a billion dollars even. Whatever it is that people could agree upon. But there has to be a number. The sky is not the limit.

That's the basic idea. If you go beyond basic, it becomes something filled with complexities, nuances, contradictions and impossibilities. As always with everything.

So, to recap, I think it's interesting to think about and discuss what needs to be done to solve the AGW crisis, but in my opinion a cap on (extreme) wealth is an absolute prerequisite for creating the space and resources needed to solve AGW (and many other problems).

I can't think about both things at the same time. And I don't have to. Maybe if I manage to reduce my (self-imposed) stress levels and increase my attention span, I could stir up an interest in the engineering solutions to AGW, which definitely are highly interesting.

Either way, the purpose of this blog is to alert as many people as possible to the fact that there really is a problem. Here and now, not somewhere in the future, maybe. As for solutions, the wealth cap is the best I can offer. And I'm hoping to expand on it in the near future, because it's a fascinating subject with many angles.

Glenn Doty

Neven,

I agree with you in terms of a kind of cap on inequality, but that would be very hard to define in terms of fixed nominal wealth in a world of fiat currency.
;)

It would be easier just to struggle to achieve more progressive taxation, and the inequality would take care of itself and eventually become impossible past a certain degree.

But while inequality MUST be examined on one end of the spectrum, the other and more critical end of the spectrum lies in population. That has to be looked at as well, and in fact controlling population would be the easiest means of controlling inequality. If the planet had 10 billion people living the lifestyle that is enjoyed by the median American household, it would require something along the lines of ~10 times our current global consumption... We aren't venturing into the lifestyles of the upper 0.1%, just the median American... and it's too much to contemplate for a population of 10 billion.

In fact, the median lifestyle of a person in Europe would be far too great to imagine for 10 billion people.

So the population portion of the equation must also be examined, as of course must efficiency - in both energy and other forms of consumption... and of course as much renewable and nuclear energy as we can build out as quickly as possible.

David Nemerson

I think the super rich are more of a symbol of the problem than the problem itself. A cap on total wealth would do nothing to tame the material ambitions of the two billion eager to enter the global consumption class. There has to be a more universal change in the global zeitgeist that values non-material goods like leisure, community, togetherness, quality, arts, health and more, over material acquisition.

The median lifestyle of a European would be far too great to imagine for the 7.4 billions humans now, much less the 10 billion of the future.

Rob Dekker

D-penquin said :

In particular, the 'Committed' heat already in the system leads to a >2.4deg.C increase in average Global temperature above pre-industrial level.

quoting Ramanathan et al as evidence.

If we eliminate all aerosol emissions, but still keep GHG concentration at 2005 level, then indeed our planet will eventually (on centennial time scale) reach 2.4 C above pre-industrial.

Neil and D-Penquin then argue that this temperature increase is unavoidable, even if we stop emitting today, and that therefor we should also employ solar-shield solutions to stay below 2 C.

However, as I attempted to point out in the the-11th-key-science-moment-of-2016 thread, if we stop emitting today, we will not only eliminate aerosols, but also half the GHG levels, which will result in only about 1.3 C increase, caused by CO2 only.

Allow me to explain this point in more detail in this post.

First, let us look at the forcing chart :

Right-click to see the full image.

Note that apart from CO2, all the negative (aerosol) and positive (methane, NOx, tropospheric ozone, black carbon etc) forcings ALL have half-times of less than the 50 years that it takes to for the equilibrium temperature to realize.

If we stop emitting today, tropospheric ozone is eliminated in a matter of days, NOx in a week, aerosols in a matter of weeks, halocarbons degrade in about a decade, and methane in about 25 years. So after 50 years, all that is left of the forcings is CO2, which at this point will bring the equilibrium temperature to about 1.3 C above pre-industrial (as I calculated in the previous thread).

So the problem is not so much the aerosols, or CO2 or any individual GHG forcing. The problem is our use of fossil fuels. If we stop that (or reduce it) we simultaneously (over decadal time frame) reduce some negative and positive forcings, with the end result of reaching equilibrium temperature determined by the amount of CO2 that we emitted (since CO2 has by far the longest atmospheric half-time).

In summary : the problem is bad, but not as bad as Ramanathan et al makes us believe. But the longer we wait, the worse it will get in the long run.

NeilT

Rob, there are some quite large error bars on that chart. Also the Direct effect Aerosols would go away almost immediately, which are as large or larger than N2O and Halocarbons.

We would expect CH4 to continue or even increase with the breakdown of the cyroshpere due to increased warming and also due to cloud warming effect in the Arctic at least.

I don't have time to read the entire article, but that table doesn't read to me like we'll get 1.3 warming only.

Also we have the heat budget in the Oceans which will be released over at least 40 more years from when that article was written.

Still not looking like 1.3C to me.

I recall the rapid warming of the late 90's. I also recall it was at a time of world wide efforts to reduce Sulphur from the atmosphere because of acid rain.

Of course Sulphur is a reflectant and adds to the Aerosol albedo effect.

I just don't believe we can blithely assume that we will get Utopian heat increases with a total removal of gas emissions tomorrow. I believe we need to plan and engage to do multiple things at the same time. I happen to think our window of opportunity for only doing one thing at a time has expired and that people really need to take that on board.

That's my belief.

Jeff Kuper

Thanks for the dialogue all but I do have a question regarding what NSIDC came out with yesterday.

In their January update they said that "Sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic set record low extents every day in December".

https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

However, they note further below that December 2010 had a lower average extent than December 2016 despite December 2016 setting the record low every single day.

They go on to explain that the reason is how their algorithm adjusts for quickly advancing or retreating ice. However, I find that answer perplexing and I was hoping that the brain trust here could it explain it to me in a way that makes more sense.

Any takers?


David Nemerson

There is a good discussion on the Forum about this issue. See here, starting with Bill Fothergill's post #1761:
http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1611.1750.html

Robert S

Great discussion of the drivers, consequences and potential solutions to GHG driven warming. I agree that population, lifestyle and inequality are the elephants in the room. Inequality is particularly problematic because the lives of the rich become the aspirations of the many, driving the lifestyle problem deeper into unsustainable places. I also agree, NeilT, that we need to continue thinking about engineered solutions at a conceptual and design level, to have plans for what might be possible if we get into an out of control temperature ramp. However, I also think that these solutions are dangerously alluring to the "have our cake and eat it too" crowd, who don't want to address the elephants... I also think that we may be continuing to under-estimate the scale of effort needed to simply reduce emissions substantially, and that that effort is likely to eat massive amounts of capital/intelligence/resources - possibly precluding simultaneous implementation of geo-engineered approaches. I think I may have mentioned it before, but I've seen what happens to an advanced G-7 country when the fossil fuels are shut off. Because of just-in-time management of just about everything, civilization is well on its way to ending within a week. We need to replace that entire system with a low/zero emission system, which means a near complete ground up rebuild. For my part, I think we focus our engineering talent on that before we focus on space shields... but I do understand your thought, NeilT, that maybe we need a yet more extreme leap.

Susan Anderson

The animations from the forum suggested in reply to the questions trouble with the 15% extent issue are beautiful and useful, if grim. http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1611.1750.html

As a US resident, I am troubled by our buy-in as wholly owned subsidiaries of marketing and infotainment. While I appreciate why Neven suggested a limit with which almost noone could argue with as a starting point for civilized discussion, avoiding getting into the thickets, my own observations in another culture are troubling. It is easy for us here to ignore that many in the world would find hot and cold clean running water and reasonable access to food and comfortable shelter and necessary transport a luxury beyond attainment. (Sometimes I'm even inclined to think climate deniers argue logically with the more honest and compassionate because they see the unpalatable truth of what must be faced, and prefer to argue against it rather than the truth.)

Oops. Friends and colleagues (if I may claim you as such), please, let's hold off on this discussion, despite my lapse, and stay on topic.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 06, 2017 at 07:14

After zero emission date CO2 levels continue to rise.
- There is a release of CO2 from 'committed' heat in oceans and other heat sinks of the biosphere back into the atmosphere.
- There is a temperature 'surge' feeding back to the heat sink of the biosphere.
- Agricultural production and livestock must increase (currently responsible for 17% of anthropomeric transmissions).
- There are other CO2 feedback factors
- The CO2 that is present and further accumulations in the atmosphere will remain for 1,000 to 8,000 years
NOTE
On 5th January CO2 level was at 405.6ppm despite slight recent reductions in CO2 emissions.

CH4 cannot be omitted from the equation. It is about 25 times more powerful per molecule than carbon dioxide over a century, but more than 84 times over 20 years and under-represented or omitted from current climate models.

Loss of the albedo effect from increasing sea ice and land based ice loss cannot be ignored. Furthermore this adds to the existing committed heat gain, particularly of the ocean, followed by later releases of CO2 back into the atmosphere.

When the equilibrium temperature is reached it will be well up the hockey stick handle and we will be long gone.

CONSIDER
Preliminary data shows that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to an assessment by the World Meteorological Organization (Provisional WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2016).

If the equilibrium temperature is going to be an extra 1.3deg.C...then we are up to 2.5deg.C above pre-industrial level.

PS
Sequstration and Direct Solar Insolation Reduction, I would suggest, are the topics for another occassion. First, we have to define the causes of the problem before considering solutions, including the part played by elimination (sic) of CO2 emissions by way of Mitigation (but not as I respectfully submit as a solution).

Rob Dekker

D-Penquin,
You make a large number of statements, some false, some true, but I fail to see your point.

Are you trying to tell me that my claim (that if we stop burning fossil fuels today that Earth will stabilize at about 1.3 C above pre-industrial, caused my almost exclusively CO2) is not correct ?

Regarding your first point :
"There is a release of CO2 from 'committed' heat in oceans and other heat sinks of the biosphere back into the atmosphere."

That can't be true.
Currently, the oceans absorbs something like 50% of our 36 Gton/year CO2 emissions. That is a rate of 18 Gton CO2/year that goes into the oceans. That rate of absorption is not going to stop immediately if we stop emitting CO2 today. Ocean absorption will continue until the balance between the CO2 concentration on the ocean/air boundary is restored.

So, if we stop emitting today, CO2 concentration will drop a bit, not increase as you assert.

Bill Fothergill

@ Rob & D-P

Rob's assertion regarding continued CO2 absorption into the oceans appears broadly correct. See, for example, this paper from the Scripps Institute...

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2013/07/03/how-much-co2-can-the-oceans-take-up/

The final paragraph is particularly relevant to your discussion...

"...The oceans as a whole have a large capacity for absorbing CO2, but ocean mixing is too slow to have spread this additional CO2 deep into the ocean.

As a result, ocean waters deeper than 500 meters (about 1,600 feet) have a large but still unrealized absorption capacity, said Scripps geochemist Ralph Keeling. The rapid emissions growth is unlikely to continue much longer as the reserves of conventional oil, coal, and gas become depleted and steps are taken to reduce emissions and limit climate impacts. As emissions slow in the future, the oceans will continue to absorb excess CO2 emitted in the past that is still in the air, and this excess will spread into ever-deeper layers of the ocean. The ocean uptake, when expressed as a percent of emissions, will therefore inevitably increase and eventually, 50 to 80 percent of CO2 cumulative emissions will likely reside in the oceans, Keeling said."

Exact numbers on this aspect of the (fast) Carbon Cycle vary depending upon which paper/report one looks at, but, VERY approximately, the present uptake rate of emissions is in the ratio 1:1:2 for ocean:land:atmosphere respectively.

The way annual emissions are currently spread between the various sinks (ocean:land:atmosphere) is an example of factors which are pushing in opposing directions. Just considering the ocean sink, the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration affects the Partial Pressure and leads towards greater absorption in the ocean. However, increasing ocean temperatures reduce CO2 solubility.

Working out the resultant effect is way beyond my abilities, but the linked paper shows the way the Scripps Institute was thinking a few years back.

wayne

"The rapid emissions growth is unlikely to continue much longer as the reserves of conventional oil, coal, and gas become depleted "

Bill,

We can burn all the drilling we want, fracking adds untold billions of barrels worth of CO2, along with new localized earthquakes and destroyed aquifers, still pulverize many mountains worth of coal, return Earth to 1000 ppm CO2, bringing us back to when Dinosaurs thundered the ground. No one with great power or influence is, except a poor lot of non billionaires and the U.N. , is trying to stop this. Strong odds are we are doomed, but not without a fight to the proverbial end. My money for hope is on the Climate being sort of like Moses, in one instance ordering present day Pharaohs, the rich and powerful dumb and dumber puppeteers, Murdoch, Koch brothers etc, in love with the virtues of pollution, exemplified by their private gold platted jet toilets, to spare the Environment. Perhaps by some catastrophe, whipping out Margo Largo Golf course or some freak weather sinking their 400 million dollar cruise ships, or sea level rise flooding their precious properties. But since they are rich, they'll just buy other ego driven toys. Which brings us back to the second instance of hope, by climate disasters convincing the voters to get things done politically, instead of injecting politics in science, let scientists actually run key aspects of our planet. Is a matter of explaining to people as many as possible, to elect people who are scientifically literate.

Sea ice is a very important subject needing the attention of a greater audience. Once we attain critical voting mass, 51% in most countries, we will be saved. Currently the environmental movement is not there yet, i'd say we are about 10%. Will never get there with this NSM 24/7 beast requiring a different story a day.

Bill Fothergill

@ Wayne

Perhaps I should have redacted that part of the quotation from the Scripps Institute article.

My aim in including that quote was purely to illustrate the viewpoint that the oceans are likely to remain a sink, rather than a source, for quite some time to come. I had no intention of opening any other cans of worms.

See the comments immediately above mine.

wayne

No can of worms Bill,

I thought I'd be positively brimming with a grande finale solution about this matter. Yes , we are left with, as always, very fragile democracies to solve all mega problems. We fail often to mention ocean acidification as well, oceans may be a sink, but injected CO2 will unnaturally re-select all sea ecologies to a lower pH, a messy thing while in transition. However, the public must be informed and individual actions by the billions may go a long way.

Sea ice at present is showing glimpses from the past, here and there, not hopeful at all, "au revoir", sort of , of the old ways. We have to inform the public about this as best we can.

NeilT

RobertS, yes I had the same problem with my Grandson. "We're clever we'll just fix it if it's really a problem".

My response was simple. "It's already more than a problem, it's going to impact your later life more than any event we have seen in the 20th century and unless you get your head around it and learn about it and make your politicians do the right thing now, then you are totally screwed. Your generation is already screwed. Me, I'll be dead, so it won't be a concern of mine".

But I totally understand your fears, they are mine too. Introduce some kind of "quick fix" and they will procrastinate.

It's why I'm careful to say that we need to do ALL of the fixes but if we don't do THAT one the end result will be a lot worse.

Nothing in my life to date has confirmed that doing one thing badly and praying it will have the desired effect, even though the evidence is that even 1.3c warming will be catastrophic, is as constructive as working out all the things we could do then driving forward on all of them.

Yes we have scarce resources. Yes we need to change attitudes. But, no, failure is not an option and we've been doing far too much of that.

My day job is to ensure that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train coming. To ensure that you have to anticipate the bad stuff and do everything you can to head it off. It's also to anticipate the actions of others and put in place a regime which will deliver despite them.

Rob Dekker

Bill,
Thank you for posting that Scripps paper.
What is clear from that paper is that the main problem at this point is the fast RATE at which we emit CO2 to the atmosphere.

If we would slow down the RATE of emissions, global warming as well as acidification of the top surface layer, as well as reduced nutrient upwelling would be less of an issue, since the deep oceans would absorb and more evenly spread carbon across the deep.

Back to first principles: if we eliminate CO2 emissions today, atmospheric CO2 would go down at a rate of about 50% (25% to oceans and 25% to land plants). This suggests that if we would cut emissions by 50% today, that atmospheric CO2 levels would stay level (at least for a little while).

A cut of 50% by 2050 would therefor be a viable goal, which may save us from more than 2C and above global warming...

D_C_S

Rob Dekker:

The conclusion that atmospheric CO2 concentration would stay level if we were to cut emissions by 50% today is false. If we were to cut emissions by 50% today then the atmospheric CO2 concentration would rise about half as fast.

NeilT

Rob is assuming, based on current findings, that the planet would absorb the other 50%. Leading to a complete halt to any growth in CO2.

Can't fault the logic behind the argument.

I just don't believe we'll do it.

Bill Fothergill

@ D_C_S

As Neil says, Rob's logic is quite reasonable.

Given that the mean global CO2 level for December was around 404ppm(v), this implies that there is something in the region of ~800 gigatonnes of carbon already up there. That pre-existing atmospheric load totally dwarfs annual fossil fuel emissions, which are "only" in the order of ~10 or ~11 gigatonnes C per annum.

The existing atmospheric load is far and away the primary driver as to how carbon leaves the atmosphere and gets sequestered into either land or oceanic sinks. As the present partitioning ratio of emissions is approximately 1:1:2 for land:sea:air respectively, Rob is making the case that, should emissions drop by 50%, this should have virtually no impact on land & sea uptake, as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would still remain at a bit >400ppm(v) - but, and this is the important bit, would cease climbing at the present rate of >2ppm(v) pa.

Obviously, this is not exact and may (will?) alter in the future, especially if any present sink becomes saturated.

As Neil also states, achieving this laudable aim ain't happening any time soon.

D

FishOutofWater here

I suspect that we would approximately halve the rate of CO2 increase if we cut global emissions rates in half. It certainly would not go to zero.

Emission rates at some point in the 20th century were half of today's levels and [CO2] was rising back then.

Obviously, if we cross some critical point where permafrost degradation releases CO2 and methane we may see a temperature jump from 1.5 to 2.0 C or greater that we cannot stop by eliminating emissions. There is evidence that at 1.5 C above pre industrial that Siberian permafrost undergoes a progressive collapse.

Climate change is very complicated. Beware of simplistic answers.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 07, 2017 at 08:17

Yes; in my opinion, your claim is incorrect.

When the emission of GHGs from the burning of fossil fuels reach zero:
* Industrial processes continue to rise
- The 'advanced' nations want more, when they already have more than they need.
- Third world countries want more than they need.
- Those that have nothing just want what they need.
(So, the unvirtuous cycle continues.)
* Forest Fires continue to increase in location, frequency, intensity and duration.
* Desert lands expand with the loss of trees and vegetation.
* RISK Release of Methane from shallow Artic continental shelf and Tundra.

All of the above add or potentially add CO2 and CO2e into the atmosphere.

In various proportions, the above will enter into the Short Term or Long Term Carbon Cycle.

* The Atmosphere/Ocean CO2 flux shifts to neutral in the Short Term Carbon Cycle.

The driver of the Atmosphere/Ocean CO2 flux is the 'rate' at which CO2 and CO2e is being added to the atmosphere and not per se the 'concentration' in the atmosphere. As SST rise the efficacy of the surface ocean to absorb CO2 diminishes and the Flux sign could change from negative to positive; the ocean then becomes a net contributor of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Indeed the capacity of the deep ocean to absord CO2 is almost limitless until it becomes a boiling acid.

However, under present conditions, only ~2Gt per yr of CO2 sinks into the deep ocean as ocean sediments; this is the equivalent to the ~2Gt per yr component entering the ocean from the total of ~9Gt per yr emissions from burning of fossil fuels. The other ~90Gt absorbed from the atmosphere is released back into the atmosphere to retain equilibrium. River and estuary flows add to coastal acidfication of the near land ocean.

After CO2 emissions from the the burning of fossil fuels cease and assuming that that the 'natural' Short Term Carbon Cycle can cope a baseline date is established for Global Average Temperature and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

In reality, CO2 levels will increase up to the baseline date.

AGW started with a CO2 concentration of ~280ppm and has increased at an accelerated rate to the present day with a concentration of ~405ppm. A CO2 concentration of 560ppm, it could be more or less, seems to have some consensus that might relate to the baseline date (IPCC 2100, say).

If ~280ppm was the start of AGW and ~405ppm is causing accelerated AGW, why would accelerated AGW not continue at 560ppm?

In the final analysis, it is the Global Energy Balance that is the driver and final arbiter of the Global Climate and until this is under control the Planet, as a liveable habitat, is at risk.

If I have connected the wrong 'dots' in the wrong order and the picture I see emerging is a 'false image' then..I stand, to be corrected.

Rob Dekker

D-Penquin said

The driver of the Atmosphere/Ocean CO2 flux is the 'rate' at which CO2 and CO2e is being added to the atmosphere and not per se the 'concentration' in the atmosphere.

That is really not true, D-Penquin.
The ocean and land plants do not know what the 'rate' is of our CO2 emissions. They only knows what the 'concentration' of CO2 in the atmosphere above it. They will exchange carbon accordingly, so the rate at which it absorbs CO2 is related to the concentration of atmospheric CO2, which means, at this point, that some 18 Gton CO2/year gets absorbed by oceans and land, regardless of our rate of emission. Thus if we stop emitting, 18 Gton/year CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere which means a DROP of some 2ppm/year.

And consequently, if we cut CO2 emissions by 50% today, atmospheric CO2 will remain level. At least for a while until some (ocean or land) buffer starts saturating.

Please re-read Bill's post above, who explained this effect a lot better than I did. Or re-read the Scripps paper.

Rob Dekker

Neil, I agree with you that cutting emissions by 50% (by 2050 or earlier) is a monumental challenge.

Before we can cut emissions, we first have to flatten the trend in this image. And that may be hard enough given the politicians that come to power in the US in just a few days.

I really hope that other nations realize the urgency of halting and reversing the trend, since any delay will make the problem worse for our planet and our future generations.

Bill Fothergill

@ D-Penguin & FoW

Notwithstanding George's very valid warning regarding the dangers of over-simplification in matters pertaining to the climate system, perhaps a very simple analogy may be of some help in this debate. Here goes with the thought experiment...

Imagine a large cylindrical reservoir tank that is presently only (say) about half filled with water, but is being continually topped up by a hose. (The water-level is the analogue of current CO2 atmospheric concentration, with the current emissions being represented by the "topping up" process.)

Imagine also that there are two holes near the bottom of the tank, one on the left side and one on the right. (Unsurprisingly, I am using these to represent the land and oceanic carbon sinks.)

Which factor do you suppose has the biggest effect on the leakage rates out of the two leakage (i.e. sink) holes? The height of the water level above the holes, or the flow rate through the hose?

It is obviously true that, at some point in the 20th Century, emissions were approx 50% of today's values and that atmospheric CO2 was increasing at that time. In fact, I can tell you when. Looking at the graphic in the attached CDIAC link, annual carbon emissions first hit 5 gigatonnes* (C) in the late 70's. (*Sorry, but spellchecker has just offered me "gallstones" as an alternative to "gigatonnes". LOL)

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/prelim_2009_2010_estimates.html

Back then, about 40 years ago, the atmospheric CO2 concentration level would have been around 335 ppm(v), or about 70 ppm(v) lower than current levels.

ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_annmean_gl.txt

As Rob so eloquently put it (dammit, I wish I had thought of it first) - " ... The ocean and land plants do not know what the 'rate' is of our CO2 emissions. They only knows what the 'concentration' of CO2 in the atmosphere above it."

Obviously, the current temperatures also have a impact on sequestration rates, as well as whether the "effectiveness" of either sink is undergoing fundamental change. As I observed in my post from yesterday... "... Obviously, this is not exact and may (will?) alter in the future, especially if any present sink becomes saturated."

Your hypothesis is that a 50% reduction in emission rate would result in an approximate 50% reduction in each of: land uptake rate, oceanic uptake rate and atmospheric concentration growth rate. For this to be true, there would need to be some mechanism which informs the land sink and oceanic sink that they should immediately (well, within 12 months) cut back dramatically on their CO2 take-up - and this needs to happen despite the fact that they are still experiencing an ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

It beats the hell out of me how that's supposed to happen.

NeilT

I was careful to talk about current scientific articles and logical deductions.

What bothers me more is that our CO2 emissions levelled in 2013, but our CO2 ppm count continued to rise.

Yes there was a huge El Nino, yes EN raises CO2 levels. But, our emissions were flat but the jump was significant. 2.9ppm globally in 2015. 2016 is still to be seen but ML came out with 3.3ppm. What Global will be we won't know till mid Feb, but I'm betting it will be over 3ppm.

So my problems are three fold and overlap D-Penguins issue too.

1. Fristly we're not going to reduce emissions any time soon. Simply put, it will take at least 2 more decades to engineer the worst excesses of fossil fuel dependency out of the environment and to engineer the replacement solutions in place.

2. The planet has a finite CO2 uptake capability and we don't know what that is. We don't know if we have already exceeded it or not. So postulating that x will happen when y action is done, in an environment which is not fully quantified, is a logical strategy but carries risks which are not fully mitigated

3. There are feedbacks in place which we already know but are not fully reflected in scientific articles because they are logical deductions and not observed effects (so far). Those feedbacks amplify the CO2 growth for the same input. So I worry if we have already passed one CO2 amplification milestone without recognising it and that it will take us a decade of recording to prove and document it in a peer reviewed paper.

It is two decades since I used my rolling stone as an analogy for what we are doing to our climate and our biosphere.

It is like rolling a huge stone (miles in diameter), up a hill towards a saddle. The emissions to around 2000 rolled the huge stone up to the top. The emissions since are rolling it over the flat top land, faster and faster. If we don't start putting retarding barriers in place, it's going to start rolling down the hill. At the bottom of which is going to be Village Earth, blithely unaware of what is rolling down on them.

It is harder to push the stone if you make the ground more resistant. It is harder to generate momentum, downhill, if you put retarding force on it.

Once you have it over the edge, it doesn't matter if you stop pushing or not. Momentum and gravity will do the rest.

This analogy and the way the climate works is what leads me to say that just stopping pushing is not going to do the trick. We need to kill some of the momentum we've already imparted to it and we need to try and halt it before it starts going downhill and we need to make those retarding actions stronger and stronger.

Stopping is one thing. Assisting nature in retarding is another.

But.

In the end.

The momentum, heat, has to be reduced.

I don't want to be here, 20 years from now, having finally stopped emissions, only to find that 10 years ago we pushed the climate over the edge and it's happy on it's own finishing the job for us.

Which is why I say active mitigation activities today are a vital tool in the armoury of the fight against AGW. Not the only one, but, potentially, the most important in the long run.

I won't be standing here 20 years from now saying "Hmmmm, I wonder how long it will take us to actively get rid of all that climate destroying heat". I might be standing here 20 years from now saying "I told you so".

That would be very sad.

D_C_S

Bill Fothergill:

Yes, the oceans are absorbing added CO2 in response to the atmospheric CO2 level, the quantity of CO2 already in the oceans (in whatever form), and other factors. This reflects (indirectly) on the relationship between the rate of added atmospheric CO2 and rate of absorption of added CO2 by the oceans in such a way that the proportion of the added CO2 that is absorbed by the oceans should remain about the same if the rate of added CO2 were to halve. So a halving of the emissions rate should result in about a halving of the rate of absorption by the oceans.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 10, 2017 at 07:14
Bill Fothergill | January 10, 2017 at 12:52

Please refer to the following links:-

A) GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE
https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-7-3.html

The link shows what happened to the pre-industrial Atmospheric/Carbon Sink fluxes compared with the period 1990s.

Reducing CO2 emissions will NOT increase the -ve flux of the carbon sinks allowing greater uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere as carbon emissions decrease.

It gets worse.

B) THE REALITY CHECK
http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/news/NegativeEmissions.html

The Paper Abstract shows all the necessary facts. In particular, as CO2 in the atmoshere decreases the Atmospheric/Oceanic CO2 flux changes sign from -ve to +ve and the oceans become net contributors to atmospheric CO2.

As we approach 'the reality check' you will note the increasing references in papers, articles and abstracts to NETs (Negative Energy Technologies - sequestration); necessary for the extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere to 'achieve targets'.

Rob, I know you like 'figures' and 'the maths', here are a few interesting ones to play around with:-

104 ppm CO2 is needed to increase the temperature by 1 degree.
1 ppm CO2 = 2.12 Gt of CO2

It will cost trillions if they commit now to, design, development and deployment. If they only rely on 'mitigation' and a 'wait and see' mentality, it will cost many trillions more (with or without a commercial incentive).

To offset the cost?
WHAT VALUE SHOULD WE PUT ON PLANET EARTH?

Rob Dekker

DCS,
Yes, the rate of emission does affect ocean carbon uptake, but the effect goes opposite of what you assume :

If we increase the rate of emissions, the oceans will take up less (percentage-wise), and if we decrease the rate, the oceans will take up more (again, percentage-wise).
This effect is easy to imagine since the faster we increase the atmospheric carbon concentration, the less time the oceans have to absorb it. In effect, the oceans do not have enough time to move carbon down to the deep. Besides that, the rapidly increasing rate of CO2 emissions causes rapid global warming, which further slows down the ability of the oceans to transport/mix carbon down to the deep.
The Scripps paper that Bill quoted above outlines the problems this causes very nicely :

global warming leaves surface water in place to an increasing degree thus slowing down the transfer of CO2 from the ocean surface deeper into the ocean. It’s as if the pump removing CO2 from the atmosphere into the surface water and then on deeper into the ocean had slowed down.

This slowing of ocean mixing may have another effect. It stifles the transport of nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate from deeper waters to the surface, which diminishes the growth of phytoplankton, which store carbon in their tissue as a product of photosynthesis. The sinking tissue takes the carbon with it to the deep ocean when the organisms die. It’s another way that carbon can be removed from the ocean surface.

All this adds up to what scientists expect to be a gradual slowing of ocean CO2 uptake if human fossil fuel use continues to accelerate.


Needless to say that if we would slow down the RATE of emissions (like, we cut it in half), not only will atmospheric CO2 stabilize, but the oceans have some time to mix carbon down, so the time constant will be longer too.

None of this takes away Bill's and my explanation that if we cut emissions in half today that atmospheric CO2 will stabilize for at least a little while.

D-Penquin, you are all over the place with that post. Not sure what you want to say.

NeilT

Rob, I think the article D-Penguin linked is pretty clear.

It assumes that human CO2 emissions will continue, but decrease, until 2050. Then it assumes that Negative Emissions Technology (NET's) will take the CO2 towards negative in the next 50 years, finally going negative within the following 50 years.

The following is the findings of the article (you have to read it).

•2000–2050. The application of NETs begins but anthropogenic activity remains dominated by positive emissions (figure 4(a)). Land and ocean sinks persist. The AF remains close to half of emissions and CO2 concentration continues to rise.
•2050–2100. Fossil fuel emissions decline and NETs grow further in this scenario. The anthropogenic total is still positive but much smaller (figure 4(b)). Natural sinks persist—a little reduced but still absorbing carbon due to past history and therefore CO2 begins to decrease, despite the anthropogenic total still being positive.
•2100–2150. NETs exceed fossil inputs and human activity removes more CO2 than it emits at a global scale (figure 4(c)). During this first 50 years of anthropogenic net carbon removal, the natural sinks weaken significantly due to the rapid decrease in atmospheric CO2. Hence there is an atmospheric CO2 reduction due to the combination of net negative anthropogenic emissions and land and ocean still absorbing carbon, however not as strong as might have been expected if strong natural sinks had persisted.
•2150–2200 and on to 2250. Behaviour is qualitatively similar to figure 4(c), but now natural sinks have weakened further and CO2 decrease is slowed. Towards 2250 natural sinks are all but gone. In fact 3 out of 4 ESMs simulate a reversal of the land carbon sink to become a source.
•2250–2300. In the final stage the land and ocean system has become a net source of CO2. Most ESMs still simulate the ocean as a sink, but the overall (land plus ocean) flux is positive (figure 4(d)). The atmospheric CO2 decrease is weakened as the natural carbon cycle is releasing carbon to the atmosphere, working in the opposite direction to the anthropogenic removal via NETs.

In short, the faster we stop producing CO2 the faster the natural sinks stop absorbing. The faster the CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, the faster the carbon sinks (including the oceans), will start to emit carbon back into the atmosphere.

This makes sense, because in the natural scheme of things, without humans, the planet always trends towards balance. Humans have been acting like a strong solar brightening. So the CO2 emitted is sored away for the next solar dimming. Because that CO2 will be needed to keep the planet warm and the biosphere as close to liveable as possible.

What this article, essentially, says, is that the faster you stop emitting CO2, the faster the carbon sinks will stop absorbing it. It also says that the faster you remove CO2 from the atmosphere, the faster the carbon sinks will top it back up again.

In short if we want to bring the planet back to balance, we're going to have to remove ALL the carbon we put into the atmosphere and ALL the carbon we put into the carbon sinks, using NET's such as forestation or even direct CCS from the atmosphere.

In the meantime what about all that heat we're going to sequester?

This just goes full circle. All over again, about what I'm saying. There is no quick fix like "just stop emitting". Because of the signature lag in the natural carbon sinks recognising the stopping of emissions, this article, essentially, says that the carbon sinks themselves will cause the flip from net consumers to net emitters.

In essence if we just stop what we are doing now, the planet will finish the job for us by flipping backwards and forwards between emitting and absorbing whilst maintaining the CO2 levels close to 400ppm.

If we reduce our emissions to 50%, the oceans, within a decade or two, will reduce their absorption to ensure that our emissions continue as a net growth.

The article states that

Reducing uncertainty in projected carbon sinks behaviour, especially under low emissions scenarios, is a pressing research priority.

No Kidding!

AnotherJourneybyTrain

I just read something from wikipedia:

"..the period of sunlight at the poles is slightly longer than six months."

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_sun

Can this be of any significant relevance to the subject at hand?

Sam

NeilT,

Said more simply ... the system is buffered. It is akin to charging up a battery or putting air pressure into a tank.

We've gotten to the point we've gotten, and there is no easy road back.

Worse than this though, along the way we've triggered and we will now inexorably trigger the system to release immense stores of carbon that were sequestered long ago by the natural systems. In time the system will rebalance and achieve a new equilibrium. That may or may not involve putting the carbon back into storage. Whether it does or not depends upon the equilibrium the system achieves. And the timeframes unfortunately are not ones most people can think in.

In the long history of the earth, the quasi stable equilibrium states have seldom looked like the one primates grew up in. Usually it has involved one of two boundary states, either hothouse earth or ice house earth. The most likely new equilibrium is the hothouse earth state.

But, if we are incredibly fortunate and we collectively act immediately with all hands to the tiller, we might just barely be able to hang onto a quasi stable state near what we had. That is now highly unlikely. It is even more unlikely that we will act together, act immediately, or act strongly enough.

What this means for the ice is melting, lots and lots of melting. That then changes the dynamics of the system and at some point the natural carbon stores begin their release. When that release rate approaches human caused release rates we exceed our own ability even with everyone acting together to reverse the process. At that point what we humans do will cease to matter. Th system will do what it will do. All we can do then is to try to slow the transition to allow for some limited degree of adaptation and response.

Sam

AnotherJourneybyTrain


Wipneus
ASIF Governor
Posts: 3036
View Profile Arctische Pinguin Email

Re: The Nares Strait thread
« Reply #895 on: Today at 20:43:53 »
Need a stronger floe.

source: https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,176.msg98844/topicseen.html#msg98844


<<
I know I am guilty of other, but what we need is quantitative argument as all else is useless.

Anyway, the above is from Wipneus from the forum. I can't post on the forum anymore for good reason. I agree with it- I was not being quantitative enough with my argument.

Fair enough_ I respect Nevens decision and will respect this blog and his allowance to let me post here. I just want to save the world.

D_C_S

Bill Fothergill, NeilT, Rob Dekker:

The suggestion that rate doesn’t matter supports my conclusion and does not support conflicting conclusions.

If the rate doesn’t matter, then a change of atmospheric CO2 concentration from say 400 ppm to 410 ppm would correspond to a fixed additional absorption of CO2 by sinks, regardless of the duration of the change from 400 ppm to 410 ppm. In that case, the average rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration, as it goes from 400 ppm to 410 ppm, would be proportional to the corresponding average rate of absorption of CO2 by sinks, as they would happen over the same duration. This is consistent with my claim that if the CO2 emission rate were to halve then the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration would halve. It is also consistent with a halving of the rate of increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration as a result of a halving of the CO2 emission rate. It is not consistent with the claim that if the CO2 emission rate were to halve then there would be no change in atmospheric CO2 concentration, nor to any other change in the rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration other than halving, from a halving of the CO2 emissiom rate.

In other words, if rate doesn’t matter, then, going forward from a given state, atmospheric CO2 concentration thereafter is a function of CO2 emission thereafter, which function does not include time as a variable. Atmospheric CO2 concentration and CO2 emitted would each be a function of time, but the relationship between them (forward from the given state) would not depend on time. In such a case, during a change from one given state to another given state, the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration would be proportional to the rate of emission, regardless of the time interval.

In reality, rate does matter to the relationship between emitted CO2 and atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, because of the relatively very high current CO2 emssion rate, the effect of the rate on that relationship is negligible over relatively short time scales (such as over a few years), in the context of a halving of the CO2 emission rate.

While the absorption rate by sinks can slow gradually over time, that effect is negligible in the context of whether a change from 400 ppm to 403 ppm of atmospheric CO2 concentration happens over 1 year or over 2 years, for example.

So a halving of the current CO2 emission rate would result in about a halving of the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration, as measured on an annual basis.

D_C_S

Bill Fothergill, NeilT, Rob Dekker: PS

Here's maybe a better way of putting it:

CO2 molecules are constantly moving between the atmosphere and the oceans, in both directions. If the rate of transfer is the same in both directions at a certain location and time then the atmospheric and near-surface oceanic CO2 levels are in equilibrium at that place and time. If the atmospheric CO2 concentration were to change from 400 ppm to 403 ppm, then a new equilibrium would result, and would be about the same whether the change were to occur over 1 year or over 2 years. There are longer term effects that can affect the oceanic CO2 absorption rate, but those wouldn't make much difference between a 1-year period and a 2-year period. So a halving of the CO2 emission rate would result in about a halving of the rate of increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Bfraser

The problem with D_C_S's argument is that the atmosphere isn't in equilibrium.

If we ignore the long term effects, then the oceanic CO2 absorption rate at any point in time is driven by the current CO2 concentration. In other words, I agree with the other posters who don't see how the rate of emissions affects CO2 absorption at all in the short-run.

Bill Fothergill

For anyone trying to understand what happens to the various carbon fluxes when emissions are being reduced, I would suggest that a good starting point might be to gain some familiarity with the concept of Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). These were introduced in Assessment Report 5, and have replaced the earlier Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES).

AR5 introduced four of these RCPs: RCP8.5, RCP6, RCP4.5 and RCP2.6. In each case, the numerical suffix relates to the forcing (in watts/sq metre) relative to pre-industrial levels that each RCP is expected to attain by the year 2100. Of specific interest to this ongoing debate about flux trajectories is RCP2.6, as this pathway is predicated upon a peak and decline in emissions.

Sadly, we are already about to lose ground, as RCP2.6 anticipates the peak in emissions being reached in the very near future. Under this pathway, emissions then drop over the forthcoming decades, and reach about half of current emission values just before the middle of the century. Rather optimistically I think, emissions are then supposed to continue dropping to significantly below a quarter of current levels by the end of the century.

Skeptical Science has a good beginners guide to RCPs written by Graham Wayne...
https://skepticalscience.com/rcp.php?t=1

Graham has also done an overview for the Guardian...
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/aug/30/climate-change-rcp-handy-summary

This Guardian article is particularly useful, as it has side-by-side graphs showing emissions and atmospheric concentrations.

These resources should be educational.

Bill Fothergill

Oops, a premature posting there - how embarrassing!

For anyone who chooses to dig a bit deeper, I also meant to include this link...

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-011-0152-3

Rob Dekker

Neil said


In essence if we just stop what we are doing now, the planet will finish the job for us by flipping backwards and forwards between emitting and absorbing whilst maintaining the CO2 levels close to 400ppm.

That's not really what the paper is saying.
It tells that if we follow the RCP2.6 scenario (which cuts emissions to zero by 2070, and then turn to negative emissions (by scrubbing CO2 out of the atmosphere)) that then even after 2 centuries the biosphere will start to return some carbon, although the oceans are still a carbon sink.

Over these two centuries (of carbon sinking into oceans and land, and scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere) of course the atmospheric CO2 levels dropped substantially by the end of 2300, and are certainly much below 400ppm.

So yes, if you take away enough carbon from the atmosphere, eventually the oceans will give some of the carbon back that they stored there since we started emitting.

But the takeaway message is that (similar to what the Scripps paper concluded) the oceans have a tremendous amount of potential to absorb CO2 (up to 80% of accumulated emissions), most of of which is currently not used since we decided to very rapidly increase our emissions over the past century (only 25% of our emissions currently go into the oceans). If we slow down emissions, the oceans have more time to absorb CO2 and if we wait long enough, the oceans can take up the difference (80%-25%=55%) of all accumulated emissions, and thus substantially lower the CO2 atmospheric concentration.

Planet Earth is trying what it can, but is asking for a break so it can fix the CO2 pulse that we have inserted into the atmosphere over the past century.

Rob Dekker

Neil, now that we know that the oceans can and will store an additional 55% of the carbon we ever emitted, the same thing may be true for the 'heat' that came with the high levels of CO2.
Think about it : the oceans are absorbing tremendous amounts of heat but since we increased the temperature of the planet so rapidly, there is still a lot of heat absorption potential in the deep oceans.

So the best way to help the planet heal itself (at least contain the damage we are doing) is to REDUCE our emissions. The oceans will continue to absorb both CO2 and heat for quite some time.

But I guess we all knew that already.

NeilT

Rob, I never said that reducing emissions was not desirable. Not only is it desirable, it's critical.

What I said was that waiting to see if emissions reductions will do the job, before starting on other mitigations, either in CO2 reductions or heat budget reductions, was not such a good idea and might do us in over the long run.

The fact that the article finds that the biosphere responds to the forcing and, essentially, grows to "eat" the CO2 being emitted, therefore, most likely shrinking when the CO2 shrinks, is a concern.

The fact that we have overwhelmed the ocean annual absorption rate is also seriously bad news. I was still working on the 50% figure. If it really is only 25% then things are much worse than I had expected and is the answer, in itself, as to why annual CO2 ppm increases continue to grow even though we have levelled off in emissions.

I have no argument that cutting CO2 emissions right now is critical. I have issues that it is enough. I'm a cup half full kind of person. I prefer to plan for the worst. The issue right now is that we're not even planning for the very best possible case, we're planning for some wet dream vision of what life could be like if physics was not a real and ever present factor. What the arguments are over is whether we need to do enough for the very best possible case.

Not only are we not planning for the worst. We're still arguing about whether the very best case will happen or not.

My nightmare scenario is that we fight the good fight for a decade, get the world to "dig shallow" and reduce CO2 emissions, only to find that two decades after that we suffer the middle range catastrophe instead of the E.L.E.

It's a slightly different position. The opposite of delaying, I want to run much faster. I'd rather convince Trump that a US base on the moon with a permanent colony is something the US really needs; in order to meet my goals; than try and force reductions in fossil fuels down his neck when I know he won't go for it.

In fact if you look at it from my viewpoint, going all out for CO2 reductions ONLY on the basis that they'll do the job then playing "wait and see"; is a delaying tactic. Inflammatory as that statement might be I really don't want to cause offence or upset as we really are all arguing for the same thing. We just have different views as to how it will be achieved.

D_C_S

BFraser:

Of course it's not quite in equilibrium. The issue is how quickly it moves towards equilibrium. It moves towards equilibrium quickly enough that a halving of the rate of CO2 emissions would result in about a halving of the rate of absorption by the oceans.

The situation isn't like the response to the energy imbalance, in which it takes decades for the heat content of the oceans to catch up to the current greenhouse gases level, because of thermal inertia.

The equilibrium for a given atmospheric CO2 concentration can change over time because of longer terms effects (such as ocean circulation, long term change in ocean heat content, etc), but these effects wouldn't have much effect over the short term with respect to the topic at hand.

D-Penquin

Hans Gunnstaddar | January 05, 2017 at 14:39

Sorry to interupt the thread but Hans was looking for this information.

https://climate.copernicus.eu/news-and-media/press-room/press-releases/earth-edge-record-breaking-2016-was-close-15%C2%B0c-warming

The first global analysis of the whole of 2016 has confirmed last year as the warmest on record and saw the planet near a 1.5°C warming, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

Rob Dekker

DCS said

The issue is how quickly it moves towards equilibrium.

In other words, how quickly do the oceans adjust to a change in atmospheric CO2 concentration ?
The paper that D-Penquin above quoted shows that even after 2 centuries and significant drop in atmospheric CO2 that the oceans still are a carbon sink.
The Scripps paper notes that very short term, the oceans cannot absorb much carbon, but longer term they absorb a lot (up to 80% of accumulated emissions).
Deep ocean circulation is still an active subject of study, but it is clean that it takes centuries to circulate the oceans (estimates of 800 years to 1000 years for a full cycle).

Also, based on first principles, it should be clear that the oceans are not a simple linear buffer. Short term (years to decades) only the top layers are mixed, resulting in a small quantity buffer with a short time constant. But longer term (decades to centuries) the deep ocean comes in resulting in a much bigger buffer with a much longer term time constant.

So overall, short-term the oceans are sensitive to sudden changes, but their buffer in not large enough to do much about it. Longer term, oceans are a massive buffer capable of absorbing up to 80% of all accumulated emissions.

Either way (short or long term) your continued assertion that oceans would magically adjust to our RATE of emissions is unfounded.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 12, 2017 at 07:02

The Scipps 'paper' you refered to was a Blog frontpiece on the Scipps website managed by a journalist, Robert Monroe.

The comments made reference to a respectable scientific paper and the reporting was fairly accurate. Then, Monroe revert to type, with a conclusion in his own words that were not supported by the referenced paper.

Sorry Rob, journalists' interpretation are not acceptable.

Rob Dekker

D-Penquin,
If you really think that Monroe's summary of the Scripps paper is not "acceptable", then why did you link to it ?

AnotherJourneybyTrain

Are D-Penquins interpretations assumed to be more acceptable?

If so, by whom??

Rob Dekker

D-Penquin, I am really looking forward to your explanation of where Monroe's summary was "not supported by the referenced paper" as you claim.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 13, 2017 at 05:42

The ocean has, as you quite rightly assert, the capacity to absorb almost limitless amounts of CO2 (possibly all the free CO2 in the atmosphere - but that would not be a happy event if it did).

The problem here is not the capacity of the ocean to absorb but the basic scientific principles that control the exchange rate between CO2 molecules in air and water respectively.

Because of the present day concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere their hydrostatic molecular pressure is greater than those in the water at the Atmospheric/Oceanic interface.

The CO2 molecules in the air displace those in the water (absorption). A proportion of the CO2 molecules are 'churned' in the mid-ocean depths and return to the top ocean. The CO2 molecules present at the surface ocean are released back into the atmosphere in the form of water vapour.

The above proces is called -ve Atmospheric/Oceanic CO2 flux.

The opposite process (when hydrostatic molecular pressure is reversed between Atmosphere and Ocean) is called +ve Atmospheric/Oceanic CO2 flux.

The release of CO2 from the ocean into the atmoshere is called 'ungassing' (very descriptive).

In simple terms 'what goes in comes out'

Both of the above processes occur within the Short-Term Global Carbon Cycle time-frame (defined as within a human lifetime).

NOTE
During the 'churning' process a relatively small proportion of the molecules break out and settle at the ocean bottom as sediment and become part of the Long Term Carbon Cycle and locked in for millennia.

So, rather perversely, reducing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, reduces hydrostatic molecular pressure at the Atmospheric/Oceanic interface and thereby reducing the CO2 actually absorbed.

Again, more in and more out; less in and less out.

So, what's already up there is there to stay for a very long time, plus what we add before we can stop.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 13, 2017 at 07:03

Bill Fothergill linked to it. I just read it. If a comment is posted, I think it only curtesy to read it before making comment. In this particular case I really didn't think the blog frontpiece and the conclusion of a journalist warranted a response. However, when I saw that you had also refered to the link I thought the quality of the reference should be noted.

D-Penquin

AnotherJourneybyTrain | January 13, 2017 at 07:04

To whom are you addressing your question

Personally I do not give interpretations, just express opinions and where appropriate try to give the best credible references I can.

You are free to agree or disagree with my opinions.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 13, 2017 at 07:15

You implied that Monroes conclusions on a blog where 'authoritive' and used it to support your position. Would it not have been better to give a more authoritive reference?

I think it is rather a matter of why you think that Monroe's conclusion was justified. Did you fully read the link on Monroe's blog to the scientific paper he was referring to? I did and that is how I formed my opinion.

Neven
Are D-Penquins interpretations assumed to be more acceptable?

If so, by whom??

Stay out of this discussion and don't ask so many questions.

PatrickLogicman

Elisee Recluse says: "they are lying and they know they're lying."

"The only motivation I can see for this behavior is greed."

"These people are deliberately manufacturing elaborate lies to confuse and mislead ..."

I would love to tell you all about my struggle with such people, but it is sub judice. I plan to reveal all when it is 'done and dusted', as we say in England.

Re: Monty Python - big fan! I saw the parrot sketch performed live by an amateur dramatics group in Riyadh. The replacement was a camel!

D_C_S

Rob Dekker:

As I had stated in earlier comments, I'm referring to a short-term equilibrium, with respect to near-surface ocean. I stated that the equilibrium can change over the longer term, and I mentioned some reasons for that. In the context of whether or not a halving of the current rate of CO2 emission would result in approximately a halving in the current rate of CO2 absorption by the oceans (which it would). it's the short term that matters.

If the equilibrium that is relevant to the current emission rate and the current absorption rate by the oceans were to only be achieved over centuries then we would not observe the current high absorption rate by the oceans that we observe.

NeilT

I have a few issues here. Showing that the deep ocean has a "capacity" without having a clearly proven mechanism for transferring that CO2 absorption between the layers does not inspire confidence when the stakes are so high.

Also the articles linked so far tend to be based on research which mainly end around 2005, more than a decade ago. Even research which is published in 2011 tends to lean heavily on decade old research.

Just today, whilst looking over the articles, I found a NASA publication which shows that the CH4 being emitted by the Arctic through natural mechanisms is "massively" underestimated and that CH4 is being emitted for a large part of the winter by dry, higher, ground, not the wetlands.

As the papers I did read rely heavily on the "assumptions" of where CO2 and CH4 is being produced, it tends to highlight errors. In fact the publication being discussed above and the conclusions written in Scrips clearly states that they assume the biosphere is absorbing all naturally occurring CH4. When the "assumptions" as to the levels of CH4 and where it comes from is incorrect, based on 2015 research, how much reliance can we put on the studies which attempt to determine the absorption capacity of the oceans in the future under certain conditions?

The more I look, the more I find that I get more questions than answers. Not a position to make me believe that just reducing CO2 is going to do it.

D-Penquin

D_C_S | January 13, 2017 at 19:17

"In the context of whether or not a halving of the current rate of CO2 emission would result in approximately a halving in the current rate of CO2 absorption by the oceans (which it would)."

It is important to remember that if the CO2 absorbed by the oceans is halved then the same quantity is returned to the atmosphere.

There is no reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere by halving the CO2 entering the ocean.

If more goes in more comes out and if less goes in less comes out.

So, 'absorption' is perhaps a confusing term because people think that if CO2 is 'absorbed' in the ocean then it will stay there but this is not the case.

'Absorption' and 'Degassing' are more or less equal over the Short-Term Global Carbon Cycle.

A relatively small amount is lost and deposited as bottom ocean sediment and enters the Long-term Global Carbon Cycle.

D-Penquin

Rob Dekker | January 13, 2017 at 05:42

"The paper that D-Penquin above quoted shows that even after 2 centuries and significant drop in atmospheric CO2 that the oceans still are a carbon sink."

What the paper actually says is that by significant intervention with NETS (Negative Energy Technologies) over a period of 200 years, the oceans would eventually return to an Atmospheric/Oceanic CO2 -ve flux.
NOTE
This does not mean that the oceans would then revert to nett removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The oceans do not act as a Carbon Sink over the timeframe of the Short-term Global Carbon Cycle (Short-term defined as 'within a lifetime').
The oceans only act as a Carbon Sink over the timeframe of the Long-term Global Carbon Cycle (Long-term defined as 'hundreds of years to millennia').

D_C_S

D-Pemguin:

I already mentioned absorption and degassing in earlier comments. I think that I've explained my position that a halving of the CO2 emission rate would result in about a halving of the CO2 absorption rate by the oceans in the near term. I'm out.

D-Penquin

D_C_S | January 14, 2017 at 18:47

It is because you did not mention 'degassing' in any of your earlier comments that I thought my posting might be helpful to give some clarity to others that may be reading the comments. That is, the oceans are 'nuetral' with regard to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere during the Short-term Global Carbon Cycle.

D-Penquin

NeilT | January 14, 2017 at 01:58

"I have a few issues here..."

The issues you refer to are very well founded.

The oceans have no effect on atmospheric concentration of CO2. The oceans are not a carbon sink in terms of the Short-term Global Carbon Cycle. This is a fact, not an idea, a scientific fact. The present uncertainties about the rates of exchange between the mid and top ocean cycles, including photosynthesis of surface organisms do not change this fact.

It is no coincidence that the IPCC have not called for any papers on 'Ocean Use and Management' because it is not relevant to the concentration of atmospheric CO2. What goes in comes out. However, there are many papers on 'Land Use and Management' because this is relevant.

I find it really difficult to understand why so many comments posted have denied or resisted acknowledging the fact that oceans play no part in the solution of reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

I also find it disappointing that a consensus of opinion was not reached, that would have allowed the discussion to progress from the stage of identifying causal effects to solutions (making sure that the light at the end of the tunnel was not a train travelling in the opposite direction,,,to paraphrase one of your quotes).

For example, in a previous post you mentioned one of your ideas about transporting energy, compression engine or something...I did not have a clue what you were talking about but I sure as hell would have liked to hear more because it sounded like thinking 'outside the box'.

A brainstorming session about 'solutions' would have been much more exciting. In particular, a fairer world not based on 'greed' and 'fear' but a world that distributed benefits fairly according to need. I know that these humanitarian questions are now also of primary importance to Neven.

Maybe the problem of AGW will prove to be the catalyst for restoring balance to the atmosphere and humanity.

Rob Dekker

DCS said :

I think that I've explained my position that a halving of the CO2 emission rate would result in about a halving of the CO2 absorption rate by the oceans in the near term.

Yes. You have asserted that 'position' for four or five times now, but that does not make it correct. You seem to be impervious to reason and evidence, and just continue to assert your 'position' without presenting any evidence yourself.

Based on first principles (like that oceans and plants respond to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, not our RATE of emission) we can expect that the current carbon sink of the oceans and land plants (absorbing some 5 Gton Carbon/year; about half of our current emission rate of 9.3 GtonC/year according to the Scripps paper) is not going to change much unless we substantially change the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Thus, if we cut our emission rate in half, we will see a leveling off of CO2, NOT a halving of the rate as you assert.
And if we cut emissions to zero, we will see a decline of 5 GtonC/year (about 2ppm/year) in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Here is another piece of evidence that you are wrong and Bill and Bfrazer and me are right :
Look at the RCP2.6 scenario simulations. Here is the emission rate going forward to 2100 :

and here is the resulting atmospheric CO2 concentration :

Note that the CO2 concentration peaks (levels off) around 2045, which coincides with an emission rate of about half our current rate.
And note that when emissions go to zero (at around 2070), that the atmospheric CO2 rate is on a 2ppm/year downslope.

Which is consistent with the view that the oceans and land plants absorb carbon based on atmospheric CO2 concentration, NOT based on our rate of emission.

Rob Dekker

D-Penquin said


I find it really difficult to understand why so many comments posted have denied or resisted acknowledging the fact that oceans play no part in the solution of reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

That is a very strange comment to make, D-Penquin, since the very paper that your quoted yourself
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/9/095012
shows (in figure 3 for example) that the oceans are are very significant carbon sink, and even under the RCP2.6 scenario will continue to do so until at least 2300.
What were you thinking when you wrote "The oceans have no effect on atmospheric concentration of CO2. " ?

D_C_S

Rob Dekker:

You must have misunderstood my comments, or missed reading some of them. I stated that the sinks respond to the atmospheric CO2 concentration, not the rate, as you did. The graphs that you posted do not contradict my comments.

I'm not going to repeat my earlier comments.

Rob Dekker

DCS, In an effort to understand your comments I read this from you :

So a halving of the current CO2 emission rate would result in about a halving of the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration, as measured on an annual basis.

which is in direct contradiction to the RCP2.6 simulations in the figures I posted above.

Are you now convinced that halving the current CO2 emission rate would result in a leveling off of atmospheric CO2 concentration, instead of the halving of the rate that you assert, or not ?

D_C_S

Rob Dekker:

Note that atmospheric CO2 concentration graph that you posted is not a rate. The rate would correspond to the slope of the graph. Note that the CO2 emissions graph that you posted is a rate, so the rate corresponds to the the vertical position.

So the slope of the green concentration curve at about year 2040 should be about half of its slope at about year 2014, given that the blue emission rate curve's value at 2040 is about half of the emission value in 2014. That appears to be roughly the case.

In any event, as I stated more than once, I was referring to the short-term effect of a short-term halving of the CO2 emission rate, over a time period of a year or a few years, as opposed to over decades or centuries. If the emission rate were to halve in the short term, then the absorption of CO2 by the oceans would about halve in the short term.

I’ll explain some details of my position again, hopefully better this time. I’ll avoid using unnecessary arcane math, such as systems of differential equations.

1. The effect of transfer of CO2 between the atmosphere and the near-surface ocean is fast compared to significant effects of longer term processes (such as ocean circulation and removal of carbon from the ocean as dead plankton sink to the bottom and end up in the sediment). So as CO2 is emitted on an annual basis, a corresponding proportion of it goes into the oceans on an annual basis. It states "The gas-exchange rate is fast enough to ensure that surface-water CO2 is near equilibrium with the atmosphere (except in ocean regions where vertical water exchange is vigorous) … The global mean delta-pCO2 is so small because surface sea water reaches chemical equilibrium with the atmospheric CO2 concentration within a year, whereas the timescale for downward transport from the surface to deeper layers in the ocean is considerably longer." on page 121 of the article at this link: https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/us9301.pdf

2. As about 30% of added CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans on an ongoing basis, the short term relationship between emitted CO2 and CO2 absorbed by the oceans is approximately linear in the short term.

3. If there is a linear relationship between two variables (that are each a function of time), such as y = m x + b (x & y variables, m & b constants), then the rates of change of those variables are proportional. In the example, (delta y / delta t) = m (delta x / delta t) for average rates, and (dy / dt) = m (dx / dt) for instantaneous rates.

4. If the rate of CO2 emission were to halve in the short term then the rate of CO2 absorption by the oceans would about halve in the short term. If CO2 emission were to stop in the short term then CO2 absorption by the oceans would almost stop in the short term, but would continue at a slow rate due to longer-term effects.

michael sweet

DCS,

You need to look up some peer reviewed papers. When you do you will see that Rob Decker is completely correct and your logic is completely incorrect. The absorption of CO2 into the ocean is proportional to the atmospheric concentration of CO2, not the emission rate. If emissions were cut in half today for the next few years the absorption by the ocean would be the same as it is now, not half current absorption. Over long periods it is more complicated.

This: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648&type=printable Hansen paper discusses the response of the global carbon cycle when emissions are reduced. It only discusses ocean absorption a little.

This https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2013/07/03/how-much-co2-can-the-oceans-take-up/ Scripps article describes how most of the carbon absorbed into the ocean will eventually end up in the deep ocean. Warming of the surface layer slows transfer of CO2 to the deep ocean.

Several of the current prolific posters on this blog never reference peer reviewed papers and just speculate on what seems correct to their uninformed minds. You are wasting everyone else's time. Please provide peer reviewed data to support your conclusions. Unsupported internet ramblings do not lead to constructive discussions. If you cannot find peer reviewed papers that support your conclusions perhaps you need to consider if your logic has a flaw.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)