Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pliocene Warming and CO2

I am quoting this piece as a reminder about the nature of the global warming discourse.

All mathematical models of the earth’s climate make the built in assumption that the system is inherently stable, yet presumably able to be destabilized for a forcing agent.  This not in itself an unreasonable approach to the problem.  The difficulty of course, is that that the moment a forcing agent is added to the model, the model itself is then moving to a new equilibrium (we hope).   The result is that we get unending reports such as this one.  It does not prove that the effect is real, it proves instead that the model is chasing an assumed forcing agent and prospectively wrong.

That is why the evidence is so totally important.  It is why a decade of declining temperatures following a decade of rising temperatures is solid evidence of no forcing agent whatsoever.  The first decade gave us the speculation that a forcing agent may be at work.  The second decade wiped it out.  That is why the climate gate group where having kittens in their emails.

These items also look at the geological record.  The problem there is that higher temperatures are associated with increased CO2 which on the basis of what we have from the ice cores is derivative of higher temperatures rather than the reverse. 

In the meantime, we observe the effects of a real forcing agent at work in the Arctic.  However conditions vary, the annual ice loss continues in a collapse pattern conforming to an annual excess of warm water.  That excess needs about three more years to clear the Arctic of most of its sea ice.

The known record suggests that this will continue for centuries. Therefore we are on track for a restoration of medieval warming conditions that included surface waters becoming 2 degrees warmer.

Global warming hike may be steeper: research

Indonesia welcomes Copenhagen climate deal

Jakarta (AFP) Dec 20, 2009 - Indonesia on Sunday welcomed the outcome of climate change talks in Copenhagen, a day after a deal reached to fight global warming came in for heavy criticism. "Indonesia is pleased, as (we have) taken a wholehearted stance to save our Earth, to save the children in our country," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was quoted as saying in a statement on his website. The Copenhagen Accord, passed Saturday after two weeks of frantic negotiations, was strongly condemned as a backdoor deal that violated UN democracy, excluded the poor and doomed the world to disastrous climate change. The agreement was assembled at the last minute by a small group consisting of leaders of the United States, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and major European nations, after it became clear the summit was in danger of failure.

It set a commitment to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), but did not spell out the important stepping stones -- global emissions targets for 2020 or 2050 -- for getting there. Nor did it identify a year by which emissions should peak, and pledges were made voluntarily and free from tough compliance provisions. With the deal, "there is a direction for negotiations in the middle of 2010 in Germany," Yudhoyono said, without elaborating. Germany will host a conference on climate change in six months in Bonn to follow up the work of the Copenhagen summit. The final outcome will be sealed at a conference in Mexico City at the end of 2010. Indonesia is the world's third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide blamed for global warming, after China and the United States, if the effects of deforestation are taken into account. While Indonesia has no obligations under the current Kyoto Protocol, Yudhoyono in September committed his nation to a 26-percent cut in emissions by 2020 compared with a "business-as-usual" approach of doing nothing.

by Staff Writers

Paris (AFP) Dec 20, 2009

Global temperatures could rise substantially more because of increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a new study by US and Chinese scientists released Sunday.

The researchers used a long-term model for assessing climate change, confirming a similar British study released this month that said calculations for man-made global warming may be underestimated by between 30 and 50 percent.

The new study published online by Nature Geoscience focused on a period three to five million years ago -- the most recent episode of sustained global warming with geography similar to today's, a Yale Universitystatement said.

This was in order to look at the Earth's long-term sensitivity to climate fluctuation, including in changes to continental icesheets and vegetation cover on land.

More common estimates for climate change are based on relatively rapid feedback to increases in carbon dioxide, such as changes to sea ice and atmospheric water vapour.

Using sediment drilled from the ocean floor, the scientists' reconstruction of carbon dioxide concentrations found that "a relatively small rise in CO2 levels was associated with substantial global warming 4.5 million years ago."

They also found that the global temperature was between two and three degrees Celsius (3.6 and 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than today even though carbon dioxide levels were similar to the current ones, the statement said.

"This work and other ancient climate reconstructions reveal that Earth's climate is more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than is discussed in political circles," said the paper's lead author, Yale's Mark Pagani.

"Since there is no indication that the future will behave differently than the past, we should expect a couple of degrees of continued warming even if we held CO2 concentrations at the current level," he said in the statement.

The study was published on the heels of a 12-day UN conference in Copenhagen that was aimed at providing a durable solution to the greenhouse-gas problem and its disastrous consequences but was labelled a failure by critics.

The meeting set a commitment to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), but did not spell out the important stepping stones -- globalemissions targets for 2020 or 2050 -- for getting there.

The British study released on December 6 had also researched the Pliocene era, between three to five million years ago.

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