Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Climate Hustle

Recent Comments

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff

    Reducing CO2 levels does mean we need to change our economic model towards steady state. Or at the very least we need to develop a system that grows in sustainable ways, and perhaps in the services sector,  rather than being based purely on maximising resource extraction until nothing is left.

    I think a steady state economy is inevitable sooner or later anyway. Take a look at gdp growth trends here and notice the falling trend over the last 40 years in developed countries, despite multiple tax cuts, a huge expansion of the money suppy, quantitiave easing, low interest rates, and endless stimulatory policies. I think anyone who believes high rates of gdp growth are possible in western countries anymore is delusional or will only achieve them very short term, and at the cost of huge debt levels and massive environmental damage.

    Developing countries are a different story. They have room to expand because of market demand for basic essentials of life. But they will reach a plateau eventually like western countries.

  2. Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff

    With several nonlinear positive feedback loops potentially adding to global warming its going to be very difficult to predict the extent of warming we will see, or the size of any rise in sea level over the next 80 years. All the more reason for us to limit the amount of CO2 that we release into the atmosphere.

    It's not really a case of it being too late to do anything, as if we stopped CO2 output now it would have a sigificant effect on curtailing the amount of warming we will see. Given the human race's ability to obfuscate about our addiction to the fossil fuel drug that we have, it's more a case of us being unwilling to tackle the problem and to meaningfully reduce our CO2 output in the time we have before the positive feedback loops kick in.

    Reducing CO2 levels to the degree that we need to means that we will have to change our economic models from expansionist to steady-state Herman_Daly_thinkpiece. Something I don't think that politicians in most countries have the will to do yet alone the ability to achieve. 

  3. Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff

    Through fossil CO2 emissions, people have driven a water vapor increase that triples the warming effect of the CO2 alone.   This should have served up an early warning that Earth's mysterious feedbacks won't magically resolve themselves in our favor, as we unnecessarily party our way through uncharted waters.

  4. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Bob, you might also want to look at the graphs here to put 1930s in perspective with current temperatures. That the effects are so bad is due more to improvements in farming practise, irrigation and other technology.

  5. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    The charts dont tell all the story. The other side would be chart of $ investment in fire suppression and control. I think the forest service in US was created in 1930s in response to some big fires. If that hadnt resulted in change, then it would have been big waste of money. Much more interesting is change since 1970 when infrastructure for forest management is relatively constant but climate is changing.

    Fires are taking place despite huge increase in fire-fighting technology, investment and understanding on fire suppression. I would expect if temperatures increase, then the amount of investment is also going to have a dramatic increase.

  6. What does ‘mean’ actually mean?

    I really enjoyed Kevin's introductory statistics in the Climate Science Denial 101 course. Very stimulating.

  7. What does ‘mean’ actually mean?

    Kevin  Cowtan is very good  at explaining things and making it accessible. I only know part of this math but could get the general idea of where he was going. 

  8. Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff

    The multiple tipping point  scenarios should have anyone worried, however the good news is the time frames in the study suggest theres still much to be gained by keeping emissions under 2 degrees. I get tired of the doom mongers claiming it's too late to do anything.

    However a study shows Antarcticas eastern glaciers are melting as well as the western glaciers, so are probably on the way towards a tipping point.

  9. What does ‘mean’ actually mean?

    A basic requirement for a good statistical analysis is that every member of the population being examined has an equal chance of being chosen in the sample you take.  In this case, each point of longitude/latitude would be the population.  Since sampling at such points around the poles is less likely, the various estimates have to be made with a single point near the poles being taken as the result for the points not sampled.  Not perfect but a pretty good first approximation. 

  10. Philippe Chantreau at 23:26 PM on 15 August 2018
    Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    I wonder how that all looks if considering also British Columbia and Alaska. The past 2 years have been very bad in BC, all years since 2010 have had bad fire seasons. Limiting to the US is not very informative. The atmosphere doesn't care one bit about man drawn boundaries.

  11. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Well, the USDA has a chart for the contiguous states that begins in 1916 and records a huge peak in the mid-1930s. Of course, with that exceptional drought and heat.

    The "Great Falls Tribune" of July 23, 1933 records that the acreage being burned each year is at "41,000,000 each year". There is a scan of the actual story.

    The recent burn rate is about 20 percent of the highs clocked in the 1930s. Included was the number in many millions of board feet, but if I go back to the article, I'll lose what I've posted so far.

    The chart above, the very top one shows the very high numbers recorded in the 1930s, which heat and drought I hope never return.

    Bob Hoye

  12. Flaws of Lüdecke & Weiss

    This is pretty close to a submission that got trashed for many of the same (but not all) reasons at Climate of the Past

    https://www.clim-past-discuss.net/cp-2014-149/

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Link activated. Please use the Link button in the comments editor to create links yourself

  13. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    We can also let the past be our guide to the future, provided we understand the context of our modern era vs that of the past:


    "The data do suggest however that even modest increases in temperature and drought (relative to those being projected for the 21st century) are able to perturb the level of biomass burning as much as large-scale industrialized human impacts on fire.

    More dramatic increases in temperature or drought are likely to produce a response in fire regimes that are beyond those observed during the past 3,000 y."


    And


    "Based on the fire data alone, the levels of burning during the 19th and 20th centuries are not anomalous; there were times (i.e., the LIA) when fire was as low as it has been over much of the 20th century, and times when it was as high as during the 1800s, as around 50 to 1 BCE. When climate is considered however, the past approximately 150 y (i.e., back to 1850) are remarkably anomalous. Although the current rate of biomass burning is not unusual (even allowing for post-1980 CE increases in burning such as in ref. 3), it is clearly out of equilibrium with the current climate.

    Our long-term perspective shows that the magnitude of the 20th century fire decline, while large, was matched by “natural” fire reduction during cold, moist intervals in the past (e.g., LIA). Current fire exclusion and suppression however, is taking place under conditions that are warmer and drier than those that occurred during the MCA, which calls into question their long-term efficacy."


    Marlon et al 2012 - Long-term perspective on wildfires in the western US
    PNAS
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112839109

    US Wildfires last 3,000 years

    Larger version of image

  14. Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

    Yup, M.Sweet@4.

    But digging coal provides jobs! But at the cost of about 1 person for every seven job-years. The math: About 70,000 people have jobs directly mining coal. So 70,000 people work for a year, and 10,000 other people downwind die. Hire 700 more for a year, 100 people die.

    Two miners working for 35 years each, for 70 job-years, and 10 people die. And as a bonus, the Earth gets warmer!

  15. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Bob @5 - no, accurate forest fire records are not available that far back.  In fact they're not very accurate prior to 1983 (see Zeke's post).

  16. wilddouglascounty at 00:06 AM on 15 August 2018
    Climate change science comeback strategies

    Regarding the first strategy, and addressing the "climate change has happened before without fossil fuels in the mix," I like to use the analogy that pretty much everyone can relate to: car troubles. If your car doesn't start, it could be for a whole host of reasons. This is because the car is a complex system with many inputs and outputs, so if the car is out of gas, has a dead battery, has run out of oil or coolant, or has a mechanical failure, it won't start.  In a similar fashion, the complexity of global climate has many inputs and outputs, so that in the past orbital dynamics, volcanic output and natural emissions/absorption of greenhouse gases have driven the observed changes. This time, we've definitively isolated the release of greenhouse gases at a rate that is faster than the earth systems can absorb it as the source of the changes we are observing.  You can ignore the science if you want, but it's kinda like ignoring your mechanic when he says that it's a dead battery and so you put more gas in the tank and expect the car to start. Furthermore, if your mechanic says that he replaced the battery so it should be fine and it still doesn't start, it's time to go to another mechanic.

  17. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    The charts are fascinating.

    The first chart of area burned runs from 1965 to recent.

    The second is of California's temperature history starts in 1895 and runs to recent.

    To be thorough and consistent, the comparison should include the history of area consumed by wildfire from the same approximate date. That is to say about 1895. It is available.

  18. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Just to clarify my rushed comment @18 where I said that sea level rise of 20 m would take thousands of years as ice melts slowly, but I mentioned periods of rapid sea level rise in apparent contradiction to this. The periods of rapid sea level rise appear to relate to very strong regional warming in critical areas of the Americas,  and destabilisation of glaciers causing their flow to speed up.

    Meltwater pulse 1a has its own wikipedia entry and it's quite good.

  19. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Beyond me how someone like Jones avoid defamation/libel court action.

  20. Welcome to the Pliocene

    @ Johnboy - the fastest major sea-level rise that we know about was the one approximately 14,500 years ago, known as Meltwater Pulse 1A. This involved up to 20m change in up to 500 years - or roughly 4m per century: however, its detailed progrssion is still the subject of much research.

  21. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Ubrew12, I came across this recently. Facebook has banned Alex Jones. Great, facebook is a private organisation and can do this. It's also effectively now in the business of news, and needs to maintain a certain standard.

  22. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    So what is causing the White House ignorance  about climate change and forest fires etcetera? Its all certainly a political war against environmentalists, and the other side of politics, and I agree loyalty to the Trump team is seen as more important than the facts.

    Imho Trump is also clearly out to destry rivals like Obama, and will go to extremes to do this no matter how much it hurts America. The GOP seem hypnotised and powerless to deal with this, or perhaps they feel the same. I can understand the GOP concerns about the economy and big government to a point, but its now out of control, and their denial of the science is just so totally risible.

    The northern hemisphere heatwave is genuinely as scary as hell. If warming has disrupted the normal pattern of the jet stream, it could be permanent wouldn't it?  Forest fires would be significantly more frequent. However we are still at least able to stop the pattern getting even worse if sensible climate policies are adopted.

    We have put a lot of faith in planting trees as a carbon sink. It looks like increased wildfires are working against this, almost like a positive climate feedback. The only solution will be better management of the forests, better fire breaks, and please people stop voting for complete fools who don't know when to stop tweeting.

  23. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Johnboy, in very broad brush terms, the change from glacial (22k ybp) to warm (10k ybp) is 4-5 degree C. ie 0.04 degree per century compared to around 0.6-0.8C per century now. However, that is a very smoothed rate of change in a somewhat spiky record. There were short periods of faster warming/cooling especially in polar/temperate regions of both hemispheres (but not necessarily in phase), eg Younger Dryas, Antarctic Cold Reversal event etc. However, unlike the transition from glacial, the rate of forcing is also much higher as DB has said.

  24. Welcome to the Pliocene

    On the topic of adapting to SLR, I came across this 2014 PNAS paper, Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise. From the abstract:

    Without adaptation, 0.2–4.6% of global population is expected to be flooded annually in 2100 under 25–123 cm of global mean sea-level rise, with expected annual losses of 0.3–9.3% of global gross domestic product. Damages of this magnitude are very unlikely to be tolerated by society and adaptation will be widespread. The global costs of protecting the coast with dikes are significant with annual investment and maintenance costs of US$ 12–71 billion in 2100, but much smaller than the global cost of avoided damages even without accounting for indirect costs of damage to regional production supply. Flood damages by the end of this century are much more sensitive to the applied protection strategy than to variations in climate and socioeconomic scenarios as well as in physical data sources (topography and climate model). Our results emphasize the central role of long-term coastal adaptation strategies. These should also take into account that protecting large parts of the developed coast increases the risk of catastrophic consequences in the case of defense failure.

    Can I interest anyone in an un-elevated bayfront house in Hampton Roads?  My brother expects to sell his (so far) perfectly good house as a teardown, and the new owners to build a new, elevated one. He's adapting to SLR by moving 15 ft. uphill!

  25. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #32

    Michael Mann is exactly right. Imho we have to balance both environmental and economic affairs. Nobody will die without owning the latest $1000 smartphone with its "face recognition and reimagined camera".

  26. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Johnboy, my understanding just as a layperson (more or less) is the pleocene was about 2-3 degrees warmer than today, with sea level about 20 M higher, but this developed over thousands of years. CO2 concentrations were similar to today and changes were slow.

    We are forcing change more rapidly, but its a case of how this works out in our reality. On business as usual CO2 emissions we are on track for 4 degrees by 2100 which are Pleocene like temperatures, but because some of the positive feedbacks are so slow, over  millenia we could experience temperatures in excess 4 degrees ultimately. Even if we dont hit 4 degrees by 2100 we will get there eventually  as positive feedbacks work.

    So huge areas of our planet could move to a tropical climate and heatwaves would be on top of that and probably in some of our lifetimes or over the next few centuries after this .

    It would take thousands of years for sea level rise to increase to 20M. Ice melts at a certain rate. We would adapt but there is obviously huge loss of land area and soils, and soils take practically forever to develop.

    However the thing that gets my attention is evidence within these early climates like the pliocene and others is that there were relatively short periods of rapid warming of several degrees per century, and rapid sea level rise of 2-5 m per century, something we would have huge difficulty adapting to. There's also evidence of things like super storms and abrupt climate shifts in the atmospheric and ocean circulations which have huge regional implications.

    If sea level rise was 20 metres over  thousands of years we would adapt to some extent, but rapid sea level rise of more than 1 metre per century, for maybe a couple of centuries  would be catastrophic and much harder to adapt to. Theres already evidence of a speeding up of ice melt in Antractica as a whole, including both east and western glaciers.

    The pleocene world.

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Hot nights  can also be a real killer. Nights are warming faster than days.

  28. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Alex Jones' term 'InfoWars' describes what Trump is doing here.  In War, truth is the first casualty.  Once the fossil-fueled rightwing disinformation network has convinced voters in critical states that 'there's a war on for your mind' (as Jones puts it), then all information becomes a weapon and either acts to defeat the enemy or weakens 'our side'.  Trump is lying, knows he's lying, his troops know he's lying, and the 'enemy' knows he's lying.  It doesn't matter, the information either hurts the other side or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, then it hurts your side.  Consider Trump's claim as a 5 year old would: do rivers, in fact, naturally flow to the sea?  If not, are salmon communists, lying about their progeneration requirements in order to impose One World Government?  You 'have to be carefully taught' to look past the obvious absurdity of what Trump is suggesting CA do, and see his tweet for what it is: a salvo, fired in the face of the enemy, and nothing more.

  29. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Fascinating post and discussions. Can someone speak to the rate of the climate changes under the Eemian and Pliocene relative to what’s happening now. These were changes spanning thousands of years. How different will this be, given the relative speed of this change. What will my grandchildren, who would be in their 90’s by 2100 experience with a 2°C rise? How many generations down the line to see the full effects.

    Maybe a couple alligators or giant tortises showing up near Springfield, Ill. Now would get denialist politicians attention.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] I'm sure that other contributors will weigh in, but as a general note, the maximum rate of change in CO2 concentrations from the ice core records is about 100 ppm over 10,000 years (around 1 ppm per century).

    The current rate of change in CO2 concentrations, OTOH, are about 1 ppm every 20 weeks.

    Now set in motion, SLR from land-based ice sheet losses will continue for literally millennia after the cessation of the burning of fossil fuels.

  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    The Guardian ran an article on how current high temperatures affect cities.  The article describes how 50C temperatures are unlivable so the streets are deserted during the day.  Kuwait could see 60C by 2100.  The damage would be unthinkable.

    Vote climate.

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Anyone that was paying attention knew who Trump was.  The fault lies with Obama and Warren who supported Hillary in the primaries instead of Bernie.  All the poles said that Bernie would beat Trump by a comfortable margin.

  32. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Driving by @15, yes history is littered with examples of civilisations collapsing due to environmental problems ( Jared Diamonds book Collapse covers some examples) although improving understanding of science allowed us to recognise and fix the ozone hole problem. Of course the industry lobbying was on a smaller scale to fossil fuels, and it didn't so directly affect the public and become politicised. However it shows what can be done with policy when we want to.

    I was wondering about the Dutch. They did react well to the problem of sea level inundation, and I guess it was partly because it was so very visible and present, and partly because so much of their land is below sea level that they had no choice. It's just that little bit easier to rationalise that people can migrate inland to escape rising seas.

  33. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Just about any state west of the Rockies has hills covered with brush somewhere.  It should be pretty obvious to anyone there who watches any kind of news that wildfires in that are not fought with firehoses connected to hydrants.  We always here about containment percentages as those fires go on for days, usually until there is a change in the weather.  Between Montana and Arizona, is pretty much Trump country.  He may have some trouble living this one down.

  34. Welcome to the Pliocene

    @nigel, #6

    I certainly hope the scenario I outlined doesn't become real, and somehow the entire world decides to act reasonably about a condition whose effects are mostly (not all, I know) far in the future.  History has far more examples of entire civilizations stumbling into tar pits than it shows them correctly identifying, then planning for and avoiding a future hazard. It's been done - the Dutch and the sea - but it ain't the average. 

  35. Welcome to the Pliocene

    trstyles@10: Interesting stuff about the Eemian in Illinois. I live in St Louis and grew up in southern Illinois. I'd love to read more about these alligators and tortises. Do you have a link?

  36. Welcome to the Pliocene

    BChip @11, I can relate to much of that. Humans are indeed not hardwired to think and act very long term and also think altruistically long term. We are programmed to react strongly to immediate threats which activate our adrenalin system.

    We conceptualise and moralise about very long term multi generational threats, but the motivation for action is not as high on a gut level. We do think of our children, but tend to rationalise that they will find a way to deal with the problem.

    Having said that,  some people do think long term. James Hansen for example. It's always possible to influence people to open their eyes a little. We are a species governend by innate instincts, yet we are not a complete slave to them either.

    In fact many people want to see something done when you look at polls, but frankly the political right have neutralised efforts at carbon taxes and meaningfull deployment of renewable energy, and have abandoned any commensense in their world view. Commonsense would suggest medium size government to me, and I think extremes beyond this in either direction are unwise.

    It's also not entirely economically  rational to expect people to make huge self sacrifices, regardless of the price future generations pay. The system favours fossil fuels and cheap petrol powered cars, and until politicians bend the system to favour renewable energy, it's hard to expect individuals to do too much, although theres no excuse for financially well off people to do nothing. 

    So yes, because of all this it may take a few more heatwaves to motivate people. I think we are going to end up in damage limitation mode, doing what we can.

  37. Welcome to the Pliocene

    We will soon see in the upcoming USA midterm elections if this issue can help refocus the country on existential evironmental threats !

  38. Welcome to the Pliocene

    The next dozen years are going to serve up repetitions of the heat waves, droughts and floods (sometimes in the same suburbs in the same month ie Greece) sufficient to bring climate up-close and personal to the average person on the street.  That has to happen for humans to pay attention to a threat.  It can't be distant, it can't be theoretical.  We didn't evolve a mechanism to handle that. 

    It is socialized, not genetic, this concern for future generations.  So most people have difficulty with it. Georgia without Peaches, or a table without food on it, can get our attention.  

    Homo Sapiens may be an oxymoron but we manage to panic efficiently enough once it is too late to do much... still.. what can be done will be done after the 2x4 events Mother Nature is swinging at our "heads of state" get everyone's attention.  So we won't burn it all.  We WILL stop burning it sometime in the next dozen or so years, in an orgy of panicked reaction.  Too little too late to prevent a lot of damage, but enough soon enough I think, to make that sharp turn. 

    Maybe.   At this point one expects it to be a compound radius "Fishhook". 

    There will of course, be criminal trials for some, should they live long enough to stand trial.  

    The Republican Party of the US will disintegrate or reorganize around its cadre of sane "small government" realists.  Small government IS a valid goal to continuously strive for, but to paraphrase Einstein "...but no smaller",  it has to be at least large enough to do its job.

    So not too late, and not hopeless but damnably bad news for us humans.  We have to survive long enough to evolve our social structures and select for civilization... and we may not remain civilized long enough to do that.

  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Worse yet,Trump isn't the only resident of the USA to believe such nonsense. He is simply parroting the propaganda memes beamed into America's TVs by Fox News. Turn on a radio and you will hear the same repeated verbatim by talk show hosts. Most Americans live far away from the west coast. They have no native understanding of the situation in California so they are very susceptible.

  40. Welcome to the Pliocene

    That greenhouse gases and heat energy added to global systems have surpassed those required to bring about conditions similar to the Eemian is already a potential disaster. Return to the environmental conditions of that warm era will disrupt food production in the Midwest USA and similar latitudes in Eurasia. Much of the world population depends on food imported from these most productive of agricutural regions. Pliocene conditions will almost certainly result in famine, and this seems to be the best we can hope for? Personally, my hair is already on fire!

    Paleontologists from the Illinois State Museum have found alligator teeth in Eemian deposits just south of St. Louis, Missouri. That's the middle Mississippi valley not the deep south. In an excavation of Eemian deposits on the uplands to the east, near Springfield Illinois, excavations recovered remains of a giant tortoise, similar in size and morphology to those of the Galapagos Islands. Pollen from the associated sediment indicates the local environment was a warm parkland, a mosaic of groves of trees interspersed with open glades.

    Alligators can protect themselves in cold weather by surrounding themselves with water or burrowing into rotting vegetation. No such escape for giant tortoises in the uplands. Temperatures in the winter must have been considerably warmer than historic times in which 3 or 4 months of bitter cold have been the norm. Cold snaps lasting more than a few days would have been fatal to the tortoises.

    The sites mentioned are within the southern part of USA's "Corn Belt" famed for it's rich black prairies soils and massive production of maize corn and soybeans. The fertility of the soils here is in large part a happy result of our cold winters. When the ground freezes microbial activity ceases as does burrowing activity that increases aeration and oxidation. Under Eemian climate conditions, let alone those of the Pliocene, soils and crops alike will be out of equilibrium with the new environment. In the minds of most soils are considered rather inert. People will be surprised by the rate at which fertility declines.

    Since the environment here is optimal for the crops grown, any change in weather during the growing season is likely to be detrimental. Long droughts are a distinct possibility, but if weather swings in the opposite direction, increased rainfall can also devastate crops. In hilly areas erosion becomes a problem. In the more typical extensive flat lands water is slow to move off. Many fields require extensive systems of buried "tiles" to ensure drainage (plastic pipes nowadays). Even 3 or 4 days of standing water kills crop plants.

    Just the relatively minor variation in climate through the Holocene has seen the USA's Midwest evolve from near total forest cover to approximately 2/3 tall grass prairie. During the warmest part of the Holocene grasslands extended 100s of kilometers eastward, across the state of Indiana and on into Ohio. All this with changes in temperature and rainfall that were but a fraction of what is already "in the pipe"!

  41. Welcome to the Pliocene

    I live in Holland and we have the most to lose from sea level change (except Bangaladesh amongst others) but all new cars have airco most people use driers and Sunday roads are always clogged with people tooing and frooing.

    If the Ducth who are a very sensible people can't ditch their wasteful habits who can? Interestingly the Swedes are starting to think about taking things more seriously after their wild fires.

    https://www.thelocal.se/20180724/swedens-wildfires-are-everyones-business

    Ok so ther's a political twist but then again there usally is!

  42. Welcome to the Pliocene

    As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

    The biggest issue is that people don't want to give up what they have and why should they! There are lots of 'tips' to save energy and most notably energy saving light bulbs! But what you save in electricty you will spend on a new coat. Everybody has an energy pie which comes from their income and must be spent at all costs, it would seem. Mother nature has saved up all that lovely oil, etc for us to spend and she is the only 'person' to stop us as governements are far too inaffective. I think Mother Nature is starting to get just a little cross withymankind!

  43. Seal of approval - How marine mammals provide important climate data

    Here is an update about the ICARUS project mentioned in the article: it took longer than expected but the antenna is now scheduled to be attached to the I.S.S. during a 6 hours space walk by Russian astronauts Artemyev and Prokopyev on Wednesday, August 15 2018 starting on 11:58am Eastern U.S.

    It will be broadcast live on NASA.TV which you can tune in to here:
    https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

  44. Welcome to the Pliocene

    To keep going on like a broken record, we should abandon all our disparate campaigns and focus on the prime mover.  WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE.  As long as vested interests are allowed to support our politicians, our politicians will do their bidding.  Get this one sorted out and all the other very necessary campaigns will suddenly start to gain traction.  We are doing remarkably well despite our politicians but no where near fast enough.  Just imagine if they were on our side.

  45. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Driving By @4 &5, it's  hard for me to see climate change impacting fertility.  We know widely available contraception, better women's rights, and reasonable but basic health care appears sufficient to lead to small families, from experience in a couple of African countries.  It's hard to see climate change altering this too much. Countries don't need to be wealthy to have lower fertility rates.

    Of course bending the population growth curve down with good social policies is all for the good on numerous levels. Middle range projections have population hitting 10 billion by 2100 then slowly declining. Refer population growth projections on wikipedia.

    Climate change will increase mortality, but my guess is not enough to lead to actual absolute declines in population numbers, or this would at least be a slow process to develop. Of course catastrophic climate change is a possibility. This would all be a negative feedback, but there are much gentler ways of reducing population size, simply by encouraging smaller families and the magic number is 2 children in western countries, and 3 children in poor countries. 

    I dont think the nickel content of electric cars makes them any less effective at reducing emissions. It's more a problem of the availability of supply of nickel, and the terrible conditions in the mines. We will probably end up mining old land fills, but this will be true for all sorts of products ultimately. 

  46. Welcome to the Pliocene

    oops, previous comment needs editing, but cannot be edited once posted. 

  47. Welcome to the Pliocene

    "Most likely we will keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere until the last SUV runs out of gas...."

    Changing your 5000# resource guzzing "suv" for 3400# resource guzzling Prius will do zero of substance to change matters.  If you stop eating food, living in a heated building, traveling over paved roads and having kids, it would.  

    Here's your green car saving the environment:

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/aug/24/nickel-mining-hidden-environmental-cost-electric-cars-batteries

  48. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Welll, here's another thought, albeit speculative. 

    No other species has been able to remove barriers to exponential population growth. The human population grew at a glacial pace until the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution detonated the plodding circle of history.  For a hundred thousand years, there were fewer than 100 million of us, then about a thousand, fewer than a billion of us. For the last one hundred years, our numbers have exploded. 

    Like other animals, we're territorial. We want territory because we need some, and we want more because we want it, and if you give up half of yours others will take it, surround you and then take the rest. That is how humans have always been and always will be. 

    So probably we're headed towards a tipping point, not soon (well over 50 years forward) but inevitable, where people go to war over land and water, then continue wars because fire has its own force.  

    If Climate Change causes a collapse in feritily, then a decrease in population, we'll avert that scenario. World population falling by, say, 2/3rds would free up massive amounts of land for reforestation, it would decrease the massive amonut of fuels used for farming and it would allow societies to move to accomode rising seas. It would also allow for sharp cuts in C02 output, since when one is not in a war for survival the option to act about other things exists.  

    Climate change will bring immense costs and eventually destroy coastal cities - that's most great cities - which have been settled for thousands of years.  It might also save us from something much worse. 

  49. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    And the circus continues, with more simplistic stupidity from Trump. Diverting water that isn't even needed, cutting down the forests, climate change is a chinese hoax. 

    I think we better get used to a hothouse earth, or worse.

  50. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Thanks, John Mason and "JG," for a very clear explanation of the important paper by Steffen et al. It really does seem we're on our way to the Pliocene. The question, as raised by Steffen et al., is whether we can stop there. Some feedbacks will be beyond our control. For a frightening worst-case scenario of what might happen if we continue blindly along the path of business as usual, read James Hansen's forecast of what the Earth might look like in 2525 (pages 260-270 of Storms of My Grandchildren).

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2018 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us