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Author Topic: Are climate skeptics right that there is no link between CO2 levels and temperature?  (Read 56057 times)

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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They also show a direct correlation between temperature rises and sun spot activity.
So, if that's true, we know what sunspot activity has been like for the last 800,000 years.

https://robertscribbler.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/ice-core-co2-record-800000-years.jpg

Just trace either one of those two graphs, and you have a plot of sunspot activity all the way back to Neanderthals.

By the way, I'm totally being sarcastic right now. Just thought I should qualify my statement, based on previous experience.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2016 17:35:31 by Craig W. Thomson »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Farmers aren't looking to maximize total accumulated biomass, they are looking to maximize edibility of their crop. Therefore, I think farmers harvest whenever the fruits (or veggies) are ready. Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall... For annuals like corn, it makes sense to me that the best yield would be found at the time of year when growth is fastest--why sit around waiting for every last drop of sunshine when the bugs won't?
On my planet, or at least the northern hemisphere of it, most crop is harvested in the third quarter of the solar year. Some soft fruit ripens earlier and it's a good idea to eat it before the birds do, but apples, wheat, barley, corn, rice, potatoes, grapes, olives, and indeed pretty much everything we eat, is harvested from mid-August to mid-October, by which time the plants have slowed or stopped growing. And Seville oranges are harvested from December, when the trees are completely dormant.
 

Offline alancalverd

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To the best of my knowledge, they picked Mauna Loa specifically because it was way out in the middle of the ocean, far away from things like large deciduous forests and dense urban metropolises, and I also notice that it's not that far from the "intertropical convergence zone." As such, it's one of the best locations on the globe to get a sense of an "average" reading of CO2 content of the atmosphere, as air arriving in Hawaii has been thoroughly mixed by air currents by the time it gets there.

Absolutely. So it's a good measure of the average concentration of everything, except that there's very little exchange of gases across the equator and at 19.5 deg north their measuirements are dominated by the northern hemisphere climate.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Your response made me think of something I think has been overlooked. When we harvest things like wheat and corn, we don't eat the whole plant. We take the edible grain and throw away the rest. Same with crops like tomatoes or green beans, we pick the edible fruit, the rest of the plant withers and decays. It's not the grain and fruit that contains the most greenhouse gases, but rather the green parts of the plant, like the grass that cows eat. I'm not a farmer or agriculturist, but it seems like "crop waste" of this sort could contribute a fairly large amount of CO2.
No.

That CO2 was sucked out of the atmosphere by the plant when it grew, and is released back there when the material breaks down, so (with some subtle caveats relating to boundary conditions) there's no net effect.
 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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Your response made me think of something I think has been overlooked. When we harvest things like wheat and corn, we don't eat the whole plant. We take the edible grain and throw away the rest. Same with crops like tomatoes or green beans, we pick the edible fruit, the rest of the plant withers and decays. It's not the grain and fruit that contains the most greenhouse gases, but rather the green parts of the plant, like the grass that cows eat. I'm not a farmer or agriculturist, but it seems like "crop waste" of this sort could contribute a fairly large amount of CO2.
No.

That CO2 was sucked out of the atmosphere by the plant when it grew, and is released back there when the material breaks down, so (with some subtle caveats relating to boundary conditions) there's no net effect.
Correct, except I wasn't talking about a "net" effect. I was talking about the seasonal fluctuations mentioned by another poster. He suggested it's counterintuitive how CO2 goes up and down in relation to crop harvests, so I suggested this as an explanation. We grow crops, CO2 comes out of the atmosphere. We harvest the crops, CO2 goes back in. I never said anything about a net effect.

Edit: Here's the quote I was responding to from alancalverd:

"The question in my mind is why the concentration of CO2 rises during the period of most rapid growth of vegetation (Jan-June) when anthropogenic emission is decreasing, and declines throughout the fall/harvest/winter period with a minimum in October/November when deciduous trees are dormant and anthropogenic emission is increasing. Surely that is counterintuitive and suggests that there must be a third mechanism involved?"
« Last Edit: 07/03/2016 15:22:08 by Craig W. Thomson »
 

Offline JoeBrown

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Analysis of past coČ release following a global thaw most likely is a consequence of carbon fossils frozen, then decomposing after a severe freeze. Takes a while for carbon absorbing life forms to get a foot hold on carbon released from carbon trapped in long term permafrost.

But you have to understand way back then, there weren't ppl cutting down forests upon forests, which capture carbon, nor were there ppl burning billions of fossils every day either...

We don't know the "exact" balance necessary to maintain climate we prefer, ocean temperatures (IMO) are the leading indicator of change that will affect our ability to enjoy the climate we currently experience. 

The faster water evaporates from those bodies of water, the more extreme it will rain back down.  Rising oceans also means there is more surface area from which water will evaporate into the atmosphere.  In the near term the most pronounced effect of a changing climate is going to be in an increase of rainy weather.

Past analysis has some utility, but because human activity didn't exist in previous episodes of freezing and thawing of Earth, such comparison are like comparing apples to ozarks.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2016 17:36:20 by JoeBrown »
 

Offline puppypower

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I think the link between CO2 and temperature is 97% drivel.

3% true.

There seems to be some slight temperature increase due to increased CO2. Nothing at all to worry about though.
The only science plumbers have to know is that crap flows downhill. Politicians don't even have to know that much. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Take a look at the periodic table of elements. Different atoms have different properties, lining them up in nice, neat columns. Put those atoms together into molecules, and those molecules have specific properties too. One of the things that makes a carbon dioxide molecule special is that it is particularly good at absorbing long-wave radiation, or heat energy, then re-releasing it. That has a tendency to keep heat from escaping into space, trapping enough to make the planet habitable. Without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the planet would be too cool for life. Too much carbon dioxide, and the planet gets too hot for life.

Shrugging that off as nothing to worry about is 100% drivel.

If CO2 can absorb and release IR from the surface of the earth and act as an insulator, that means the CO2 should also be able to  do the same with the IR energy and heat coming from the sun. The CO2 should be able to absorb and reflect solar IR heat back into space. About 50% of the solar energy output is in the IR range.

The greenhouse analogy may not be an accurate visualization, since it implies transparent windows which trap the heat inside the greenhouse. This models CO2 as a one way IR valve. A better analogy may a greenhouse with windows that are covered in semi-opaque white plastic, which allows some light transmission but reflects heat in both directions. This type of greenhouse house never gets as hot as expected, since it traps less input heat than transparent windows. All the models predict 100-1200% more temperature rise than observed, which could be explained by the white plastic on the windows.

Water is the main thermal regulator of the earth. Below is the absorption spectrum of water: Water will absorb any X-rays from the sun. Water gets more transparent from UV into the visible spectrum, then it  begins to absorb heavily in the IR and microwave regions.

 

Offline JoeBrown

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If CO2 can absorb and release IR from the surface of the earth and act as an insulator, that means the CO2 should also be able to  do the same with the IR energy and heat coming from the sun. The CO2 should be able to absorb and reflect solar IR heat back into space. About 50% of the solar energy output is in the IR range.

COČ in the atmosphere is in the form of gas.  Most of the radiation from the sun (is not IR) becomes heat energy at the surface. Mostly by oceans (Earth surface is 71% ocean).

Much of this heat radiates back into space, through the cycle of weather (our climate).  Energy traveling at the speed of light doesn't like to stop in gases of the atmosphere. Some is absorbed and reflected there, but only a small fraction.

Because the composition of the atmosphere changes, its insulating capacity also changes.

We must appreciate this cycle, because it provides a nice climate for life.  The balance has changed, it is changing and will probably always be in a state of flux.  Human activity is increasing COČ in the atmosphere.  I suppose you can deny that fact every time you start your car or flip a light switch or charge your phone...  The FACT of the matter is: The bulk of human activity produces more COČ than its reclaimed by natural (or engineered) forces. 

This effects the balance (of the climate) on the planet, we call home.
« Last Edit: 08/03/2016 14:05:46 by JoeBrown »
 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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If CO2 can absorb and release IR from the surface of the earth and act as an insulator, that means the CO2 should also be able to  do the same with the IR energy and heat coming from the sun. The CO2 should be able to absorb and reflect solar IR heat back into space. About 50% of the solar energy output is in the IR range.

The greenhouse analogy may not be an accurate visualization, since it implies transparent windows which trap the heat inside the greenhouse. This models CO2 as a one way IR valve. A better analogy may a greenhouse with windows that are covered in semi-opaque white plastic, which allows some light transmission but reflects heat in both directions. This type of greenhouse house never gets as hot as expected, since it traps less input heat than transparent windows. All the models predict 100-1200% more temperature rise than observed, which could be explained by the white plastic on the windows.

Water is the main thermal regulator of the earth. Below is the absorption spectrum of water: Water will absorb any X-rays from the sun. Water gets more transparent from UV into the visible spectrum, then it  begins to absorb heavily in the IR and microwave regions.
1) That's not how the so-called Greenhouse Effect works. A lot of the Sun's energy that would "bounce" off the Earth and back into space is what gets trapped.

2) Analogies are never perfect. That's what makes them analagies. You can't learn anything comparing a greenhouse to another greenhouse. They are both greenhouses, so of course they are the same. The atmosphere is "like" a greenhouse though it is not actually a greenhouse. It's still a useful comparison.

3) No, water is not the main thermal regulator of earth. Water is a wild card thermal regulator. Oceans absorb heat. However, frozen water, or ice, reflects the sun's light (albedo), causing a net cooling effect. Water molecules can act as a greenhouse gas, but on the other hand, clouds are white and produce shadows, so cloud cover can have a cooling effect. Melted fresh water running of Antarctica freezes faster than salt water, so temporary ice sheets form around Antarctica. The amount of water in the atmosphere can vary greatly; the other gases in the atmosphere regulate the climate, which would be unstable and irregular if water was the main thermal regulator.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Sorry, Craig, but not even the IPCC can repeal the laws of physics. Water is the only significant greenhouse gas in the gas phase (see puppypower's graph) as it has umpteen different IR absorption bands due to the bent shape of the molecule and its abilioty to form dimers, trimers and all sorts of short-range associations even in the gas phase. H2O gas can account for about 10% of the mass of air.

CO2, being a rigid linear molecule of negligible concentration, is a trivial contributor to the greenhouse effect - as can be seen from the surface temperature of Mars.

The problem with water is that its concentration is variable and it exists in all three states (solid, liquid and gas) in the atmosphere, with so much energy involved in the phase transitions that it causes thunderstorms, hurricanes, and pretty much every atmospheric phenomenon you can think of that involves the transfer of energy below the tropopause, including heating and cooling the surface of the planet. Plus, as you mention, vast and largely unpredictable changes in albedo at all levels - just compare a cloudy night with a cloudfree one to see how much influence it has on infrared emission. 

Now the nice thing about CO2 is that it can be measured and only exists in one phase, so it's fun for pseudoscientists to play with, whilst the entire herd of elephants called H2O tramples through the sky causing weather, climate, and everything in between.

The one honest statement made by the IPCC was a footnote in their first report, admitting that they had no idea how to model the overwhelming effect of water, so they were going to ignore it.

Yes, there is a strong correlation between temperature and CO2, but all the science shows that temperature is the cause (thermostat) and CO2 is the effect (thermometer).  At least that was he case until recently when, during a coincidental warming period, homo sapiens started adding a bit more CO2 to the atmosphere and thus distorted the data.

But annoyingly for governments (who profit from "green" nonscience) the Mauna Loa data does not lie.

 

Offline cheryl j

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I wont attempt to engage in an argument that I really don't understand anything about, but from a sort of Bayesian standpoint, why do you guys disagree with the world wide consensus on climate change - what is it that most climate scientists have gotten wrong and why? Or am I wrong in thinking there is a consensus that human activity and emissions is affecting climate?
 

Offline JoeBrown

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Cheryl, I think it has to do with human nature.  More specifically the addict's mentality.  A lot of ppl get stuck in the state of denial.  There's no reason to admit a problem, nor find a resolution if you don't have a problem.

Humans have become addicted to burning fuels, over the past few hundred years. Determining how long we can survive denial is a hot topic, even if the act of denial is ignored.

80 degrees Fahrenheit in Washington DC this early in March is going to give some "important" ppl pause.  Senator Jim Inhofe would probably eat his snowball, if it hadn't melted this early in the year.
« Last Edit: 09/03/2016 11:39:07 by JoeBrown »
 

Offline puppypower

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Quote
"The question in my mind is why the concentration of CO2 rises during the period of most rapid growth of vegetation (Jan-June) when anthropogenic emission is decreasing, and declines throughout the fall/harvest/winter period with a minimum in October/November when deciduous trees are dormant and anthropogenic emission is increasing. Surely that is counterintuitive and suggests that there must be a third mechanism involved?"

The image below shows the absorption spectrum of liquid water. The two peaks shown are connected to high and low density water, which both exist in liquid water. These differ by the nature of the hydrogen bonding in water clusters. Low density water (LDW) tends to form a more expanded hydrogen bonding network, while high density water (HDW) tends to form a more contracted hydrogen bonding network. Both exist in liquid water with the LDW due to more partial covalent character in the hydrogen bonds, while the HDW due to a more polar character in the hydrogen bonds.



The organics of the living state can induce both high and low density water based on surfaces. 

When CO2 dissolves in water, it forms weak hydrogen bonds with water. This bonding should form easier in HDW since this water has higher activity due to polar hydrogen bonds. HDW defines higher enthalpy and entropy and is more consistent with the transient nature of CO2 hydrogen bonding to water.

Quote
The CO2 may form a hydration shell from a symmetrical dodecahedral arrangement of 18 water molecules where each CO2 oxygen atom is hydrogen bonded to three water molecules. Such hydrogen bonding is likely to be weak, transient and exchanging between a continuum of structures. This allows some cooperation between the hydrogen bonding at both ends of the CO2 molecule.

Trees tend to give a cool feel to the earth, instead of making the earth warmer. In the top graph, this suggests the surfaces of leaves tend to induce LDW which absorbs less in the IR. The LDW is also less conducive to CO2 forming hydrogen bonds in water. This destabilizing of CO2 hydration in water is useful because the CO2 is released from the water cage for easier photosynthesis and  entry into the air.

As the plants slow photosynthesis in the fall, plant surfaces change, which will change the LDW/HDW equilibrium at the surface more in line with the higher ratio of HDW in pure water. This allows CO2 to form hydration cages causing the water of life to pick uo more CO2; for next year.

 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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CO2, being a rigid linear molecule of negligible concentration, is a trivial contributor to the greenhouse effect - as can be seen from the surface temperature of Mars.

Yes, there is a strong correlation between temperature and CO2, but all the science shows that temperature is the cause (thermostat) and CO2 is the effect (thermometer).  At least that was he case until recently when, during a coincidental warming period, homo sapiens started adding a bit more CO2 to the atmosphere and thus distorted the data.
False. Mars has less surface area than the Earth, plus, it's about 50% farther from the Sun than we are, plus it has a thinner atmosphere that holds less heat. That's why it's colder.

False. Humans haven't contributed "a bit more" CO2 to the atmosphere. In about 50 years, CO2 levels have risen a full 20%, to 20% higher than they have been in at least 800,000 years that we know of.

There's a huge hole in your "coincidental warming period" idea. The Earth has been covered with oceans for hundreds of millions of years. There have always been clouds and rain to dissipate unevenly distributed warming in that atmosphere. That NEVER caused CO2 levels to rise above 320 ppm. Current CO2 levels and temperature rises are anthropogenic in nature. It's related to the fact that we've applied combustion to about 100 million years worth of fossil fuels in only 150 years, not a coincidence.
 

Offline alancalverd

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False. Mars has less surface area than the Earth, plus, it's about 50% farther from the Sun than we are, plus it has a thinner atmosphere that holds less heat. That's why it's colder.
The partial pressure of CO2 on Mars is about 6 millibar. On Earth it is about 0.4 millibar. Correcting for the lower gravity of Mars means that the Martian atmosphere contains 37.5 times as much carbon dioxide per unit area as ours. Being twice as far from the sun means that it receives one quarter of the solar power input, so if CO2 is the principal determinant of surface termperature it should be hotter then Earth, not colder.

Anyway I've just found a really good reference http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming-2/ice-core-graph/ which is either a pack of lies or clear evidence that CO2 follows temperature, not the other way around. And if you look back at the Vostok data  you will find a few places where the temperature was higher than the present day, but the CO2 level was lower.
 

Offline alancalverd

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I really don't understand anything about, but from a sort of Bayesian standpoint, why do you guys disagree with the world wide consensus on climate change - what is it that most climate scientists have gotten wrong and why?

(a) the physics of CO2-driven warming is nonsense

(b) ice core data (the only reliable historic record) shows that temperature fluctuations precede changes in the CO2 level

(c) there is no room for consensus in science: phlogiston, caloric, aether, geocentricity, and the impossibility of heavier-than-air flight are all matters of historic expert consensus, along with the 20th century statements of the US Academy of Science ("there is no conceivable military use for the airplane") and the British Academy ("five computers will suffice for the UK's needs"). Scientific progress is made by mavericks, not followers

(d) Geologically, we know for instance that East Anglia was a tropical swamp ldess than 500,000 years ago and probably supported hippos, rhinos and elephants at the same time as humans. The appearance of chimneys in European buildings was sudden, around 1200 AD. However you look at it, the climate, at least in the inhabited parts of the world, was a lot hotter before we started burning fossil fuel, even within recorded history.

But why the consensus? Because it pays the rent. You can't tax a non-problem, and most climate scaremongers are paid from tax revenues.
« Last Edit: 09/03/2016 16:52:09 by alancalverd »
 

Offline JoeBrown

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But why the consensus? Because it pays the rent. You can't tax a non-problem, and most climate scaremongers are paid from tax revenues.


It's ironic that anyone would fuss about the amount of money spent on climate concerns.

Government spends about 5.3 trillion annualy on fossil fuel incentives.  100 billion on climate concerns amounts to less than 2% of that expenditure.  Climate studies and coČ reduction don't pollute like fossil fuels.  So even if the "climate change" was a hoax, it pails in comparison to the alternative.

COČ increases change the ph balance in the oceans.  I kinda like sea food.  But when I see toxic runoff working its way into the ocean everywhere near me, I'm afraid to eat anything I might catch.  How about you?
« Last Edit: 09/03/2016 20:16:39 by JoeBrown »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Different problem. Toxic runoff consists of all sorts of stuff from artificial fertilisers to natural sewage and a bit of mining waste (in those countries where there is still a mining industry). Carbon dioxide is a gas, not a liquid, under ambient conditions.

And don't be too critical of raw sewage! Shellfish and several bony fish (particularly mullet - delicious!) like to hang around sewage outlets. The problem there is that human pathogens in poo are much more dangerous to your health than a bit of sulfuric acid from a mine, and fish will avoid most inorganic toxins.

Government expenditure on "climate concerns" (mostly, it seems, on ridiculous transport and security costs for pointless conferences) is not the point. By claiming some green credential, governments can impose massive taxes on fossil fuel, so the global warming swindle is perpetuated because a direct tax on food, health and all the other things that use fossil fuel, would be considered immoral. Some of the tax revenue filters back to the scaremongering industry: a very efficient use of your money to extract more.
 

Offline puppypower

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Hydrogen bonding, within water, has both polar and covalent bonding characteristics. The polar aspect of hydrogen bonding is based on charge attraction, with this type of hydrogen bonding trying to get as close as possible to lower the charge potential. The covalent aspect of hydrogen bonding is different.

A covalent bond is less about charge difference and more about the overlap of covalent bonding orbitals; wave functions. In the case of water, the covalent bonding aspect of hydrogen bonding, needs to expand to allow proper orbital and wave function overlap. This is why ice expands when it freezes. Water is sort of unique in terms of expanding when freezing, with Antimony the only other natural substance to do this. The binary of hydrogen bonding adds a wild card to water, with water showing over 70 anomalies with respect to normal materials.

These two possible bonding states of a hydrogen bond, impacts the physical properties of the local water. The polar aspect defines higher enthalpy (internal energy), higher entropy and less volume (contracts), while the covalent aspect defines lower enthalpy (internal energy), lower entropy and more volume (expands). This binary in the hydrogen bonding impacts the absorption spectrum which is shown above.

In the diagram below, a is polar and b is covalent, with the two states stable and separated by a small activation energy hill. The hydrogen bonds in water is a binary switch that can switch back and forth with only a slight energy change. The hydrogen bond never have to break, but adjust physical parameters with only a slight energy tweak.



The containment of CO2 in liquid water benefits by the more reactive polar hydrogen bonding (a), since the polar defines higher activity. CO2 forms only weak hydrogen bonds with water, therefore benefits by more potential in water. Anything that can shift the balance in the binary switch, can also shift how CO2 interacts with water. Life can control the switch or rather the switch has an impact on life.

In my last post, I used the more commonly used terms high density water (HDW) and low density water (LDW) to differentiate the polar and covalent hydrogen bonding. Liquid water does not exist as separate water molecules due to hydrogen bonding. Rather water will form clusters. The dynamic equilibrium between the two states of the binary, can cause clusters to collapse or expand, based on the ratio of polar to covalent bonding. CO2 in water has more room and better access to the hydrogen bonding when the clusters collapse; polar.

[img] http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/images/cluster_equilibrium_2.gif

Studies using magnetism and electric fields on water have shown this can shift the binary.

Quote
Due to the partial covalence of water's hydrogen bonding, electrons are not held by individual molecules but are easily distributed amongst water clusters giving rise to coherent regions [1691] capable of interacting with local electric [1692] and magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation

Theoretically, movement in the magnetic field can change the absorption spectrum of local water so pockets of warmer or cooler water can form, due to a change in the binary absorption spectrum. This shift can also impact CO2 by making it easier to harder to be stay absorbed.


 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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False. Mars has less surface area than the Earth, plus, it's about 50% farther from the Sun than we are, plus it has a thinner atmosphere that holds less heat. That's why it's colder.
The partial pressure of CO2 on Mars is about 6 millibar. On Earth it is about 0.4 millibar. Correcting for the lower gravity of Mars means that the Martian atmosphere contains 37.5 times as much carbon dioxide per unit area as ours. Being twice as far from the sun means that it receives one quarter of the solar power input, so if CO2 is the principal determinant of surface termperature it should be hotter then Earth, not colder.
False. You're conveniently forgetting that the atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than ours. If you took everything out of Earth's atmosphere but the carbon dioxide, then added 100 times more carbon dioxide, that would NOT be enough to keep the planet warm.
 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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But why the consensus? Because it pays the rent. You can't tax a non-problem, and most climate scaremongers are paid from tax revenues.
False. I don't know how many times I have to say this. When they say, "97% of climate scientists agree," that means not just liberal Democrat scientists in the U.S. The IPCC is comprised of scientists from all countries including Russia (not a liberal democracy) and China (not a liberal democracy) and countries of all political stripes.

On a more personal note, if you can't figure out the relationship between applying combustion to 100 million years worth of fossil fuels and a rise in global temperatures, you might as well join the Flat Earth Society.

Furthermore, scientists operate using what we call the "Scientific Method." That method was adopted to get the politics, religion and personal feelings out of science. You're basically calling all these people liars, hundreds of thousands of people, accusing them of ignoring the scientific method, the very foundation of their occupation. Maybe you're projecting your own lack of integrity on others ??

Do you work for an oil company ??

If I ignore facts and make stupid arguments, can I be a Global Moderator too ??

Here's another quick point. You and I can't agree, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone in this forum and at physforum.com spends every single day telling everyone else that they are completely wrong about absolutely everything. Think about that. Now, you really expect me to believe that hundreds of thousands of scientists of different ethnicities, nationalities and political beliefs in countries all around the world are able to agree 97% on ANYTHING AT ALL, let alone work together to advance an agenda ???

Give me a break. That alone rules out the idea that climate change is a hoax.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2016 15:34:12 by Craig W. Thomson »
 
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Offline Craig W. Thomson

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Sorry, Craig, but not even the IPCC can repeal the laws of physics.
You're the one trying to repeal the laws of physics, Alan. Mass/energy conversion does what it does despite your protests. Trees convert energy to mass. That's called "photosynthesis." Apply combustion to 100 million years worth of fossil fuels in 150 years, and you're going to get a rise in temperatures when all that stored solar energy is released.

You really need to let go of your confirmation biases and accept facts here. Combustion of fossil fuels produces heat, CO2 and entropy. Actions don't occur without reactions. That's physics. That's reality. Deal with it.
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Sorry, Craig, but not even the IPCC can repeal the laws of physics.
You're the one trying to repeal the laws of physics, Alan. Mass/energy conversion does what it does despite your protests. Trees convert energy to mass. That's called "photosynthesis." Apply combustion to 100 million years worth of fossil fuels in 150 years, and you're going to get a rise in temperatures when all that stored solar energy is released.

You really need to let go of your confirmation biases and accept facts here. Combustion of fossil fuels produces heat, CO2 and entropy. Actions don't occur without reactions. That's physics. That's reality. Deal with it.

Craig, I agree with you that the greenhouse effect is a real, significant and anthropomorphic force, but I don't think arguments such as these ↑ are very helpful.

A) Please try to be more polite. We are all here for scientific discussion and debate, so when the debate happens it should be done using the same language we use when we discuss. It is so easy for flame wars to erupt from ad hominem attacks because of the online medium (I caution ALL of the participants in this discussion to avoid snarking, even moderators such as myself)


B) Claiming trees convert energy into mass by photosynthesis is at best misleading. The increase in apparent mass of a tree due to the stored chemical energy is insignificant compared to the mass of biomass required to form that biomass. Trees get almost all of their mass from matter inputs such as CO2 and H2O, which they convert into sugars (C6H10O5)n, storing about 17.35 kJ per gram. If a tree has stored 500 kg worth of energy as cellulose, that works out to about 86.7 GJ. Using E = mc2, I calculate that it adds just over 965 micrograms of mass.

C) Similarly, the heat being released by combustion is insignificant compared to the effect of the CO2. We currently use energy at less than 20 TW globally. If we assume that all of it ends up as heat, and compare that to the heat the Earth receives from the sun 176000 TW globally, plus the heat from the decay of radioactive isotopes in the core (about 44 TW, also insignificant), then anthropogenic combustion adds about 0.01% to the energy coming in. And since radiative loss scales with T4, and ambient surface temperatures are typically between 250 and 350 K, this additive increase in energy flux will have no significant force on the temperature.

However, increasing the insulation of the atmosphere by increasing the retention of IR radiation can decrease the rate of radiative cooling by several % for a given T, so increases of several degrees can be produced.

D) I will agree with you as far as the money goes. Alan, I can't think of anyone making money from scaremongering, at least nothing close to the money that is generated for fossil fuel producers. If we want to think that this discussion is biased due to monetary concerns I don't think that it is is side asking for regulations is the place to look... Governments and/or industries need money to perform services. Just as you pay to have your sewage treated or your garbage hauled off, you need to pay to mitigate the harms cause by using fossil fuels.

I am libertarian in many ways, but I think that taxes or fines on negative externalities (harming commonly owned resources, like the atmosphere) make perfect sense to combat "Tragedies of the Commons." A "carbon tax" makes a lot of sense to me.
 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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Craig, I agree with you that the greenhouse effect is a real, significant and anthropomorphic force, but I don't think arguments such as these ↑ are very helpful.

A) Please try to be more polite. We are all here for scientific discussion and debate, so when the debate happens it should be done using the same language we use when we discuss. It is so easy for flame wars to erupt from ad hominem attacks because of the online medium (I caution ALL of the participants in this discussion to avoid snarking, even moderators such as myself)

B) Claiming trees convert energy into mass by photosynthesis is at best misleading. The increase in apparent mass of a tree due to the stored chemical energy is insignificant compared to the mass of biomass required to form that biomass. Trees get almost all of their mass from matter inputs such as CO2 and H2O, which they convert into sugars (C6H10O5)n, storing about 17.35 kJ per gram. If a tree has stored 500 kg worth of energy as cellulose, that works out to about 86.7 GJ. Using E = mc2, I calculate that it adds just over 965 micrograms of mass.

C) Similarly, the heat being released by combustion is insignificant compared to the effect of the CO2. We currently use energy at less than 20 TW globally. If we assume that all of it ends up as heat, and compare that to the heat the Earth receives from the sun 176000 TW globally, plus the heat from the decay of radioactive isotopes in the core (about 44 TW, also insignificant), then anthropogenic combustion adds about 0.01% to the energy coming in. And since radiative loss scales with T4, and ambient surface temperatures are typically between 250 and 350 K, this additive increase in energy flux will have no significant force on the temperature.

However, increasing the insulation of the atmosphere by increasing the retention of IR radiation can decrease the rate of radiative cooling by several % for a given T, so increases of several degrees can be produced.

D) I will agree with you as far as the money goes. Alan, I can't think of anyone making money from scaremongering, at least nothing close to the money that is generated for fossil fuel producers. If we want to think that this discussion is biased due to monetary concerns I don't think that it is is side asking for regulations is the place to look... Governments and/or industries need money to perform services. Just as you pay to have your sewage treated or your garbage hauled off, you need to pay to mitigate the harms cause by using fossil fuels.

I am libertarian in many ways, but I think that taxes or fines on negative externalities (harming commonly owned resources, like the atmosphere) make perfect sense to combat "Tragedies of the Commons." A "carbon tax" makes a lot of sense to me.
A) Sorry. I've grown increasingly frustrated and impatient over the years. I just turned 47. In 1988, I read Jeremy Rifkin's "Entropy: Into the Greenhouse World" for the first time. I became an avid environmentalist. I studied science specifically to understand this issue better. I have watched the predictions in his book come true, everything falling like a line of dominoes. This is not the time for politeness. It is time for Flat Earth climate change skeptics to wake up and smell the coffee, whether or not they prefer instant or fresh ground.

B) I'm not trying to be misleading. I'm trying to strip down the process to its bare essentials. People get too caught up in side arguments, like how much carbon dioxide is too much, how many snowballs there are in Washington D.C., etc. You can believe me, or you can not believe me, but I will tell you in no uncertain terms, I understand this issue in great detail. I know a lot about the minutiae, like that fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt water, so no, Antartica is not "expanding," it's still melting, that's just a temporary freshwater ice shelf pointing to a larger problem. The minutiae are what give people things to argue about. The minutiae are the trees, I want people to see the forest. The simplest explanation and best generalization of climate change that even a layman can understand is that solar energy is stored in plants by photosynthesis, and when you apply combustion to 100 million years worth of stored solar energy in the form of fossil fuels, that produces a lot of heat, plus a lot of extra carbon dioxide that helps prevent some of that extra heat from escaping into space. In the simplest scientific terms possible, photosynthesis is a process whereby energy from the sun is stored in molecules, and combustion releases that energy. The mass/energy conversion is going the opposite direction in both cases. In photosynthesis, the photon's energy becomes "binding energy," which is what holds those high energy fuel molecules together, and yes, when a photon is absorbed by an atom in a molecule, the atom and molecule containing it increase in mass by the tiniest fraction. Energy is literally converted to mass in that case. When combustion releases the energy in a fossil fuel, the opposite reaction occurs. The photons are released, and the molecules they held together break apart, again, as per mass/energy conversion, but in the other direction. I'm not trying to be misleading. I'm trying to simplify things rather than get bogged down in arguments about trees when the forest is what's most important.

C) All I can really say about that is that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has not risen above 320 ppm for at least 800,000 years, according to this chart:

https://robertscribbler.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/ice-core-co2-record-800000-years.jpg

In about 50 years, the blink of an eye on a geological time scale, carbon dioxide has risen to about 400 ppm, about 20% higher than it has been in 800,000 years. Changes like that are what I would consider "unprecedented," and even when the CO2 fluctuates by 20%, that is supposed to take thousands or tens of thousands of years, not 50. Now, considering how temperatures move in lockstep with carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere in that chart, is it any surprise that the "hottest year on record" has become a recurring news story lately?

D) I agree with you about all this. I would like to add a point addressed to alancalverd. Apparently, he has either forgotten about or is not aware of the fact that the biggest oil producers in the US receive tens of billions of tax breaks and subsidies from the government every single year. That whoops the tar out of the amount of grant money scientists get to study climate change.
 

Offline Craig W. Thomson

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Was February yesterday?  Na, week or two ago, it's also the 1st time in ~23 million years COČ concentration in the atmosphere has been as high as 400ppm.

Coincidentally this past February is also the warmest month on record.  Correlation or coincidence?  Me thinks the jury is still hung.
Thanks for your comment. However, CO2 actually surpassed that mark before.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-400-ppm-global-record-18965

Here's what the Mauna Loa data look like since recordkeeping began:

http://blog.ucsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/mlo_full_record.png

As you can see, the earth basically takes one "breath" per year. The forests act as a sort of lungs for the planet. During the growing season, forests inhale, then exhale in the winter. So, carbon dioxide content goes up and down a little bit each year, giving a peak and a trough of a few parts per million. The problem is, the overall curve is on an upswing. What you are correctly reporting as "we reached 400 ppm" this February is actually just the beginning of another peak that will actually take us PAST the 400 ppm mark.

If the exponential curve indicated by the graph of that information continues unchecked, in a few years, CO2 won't drop below the 400 ppm mark at all. Here's a closeup of the end of that chart to include more recent information broken down by month:

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_trend_mlo.png
 

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