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Discussion > Leave Fossil Fuel in the Ground and We will Join it Very Soon

Martin A

" well understood" in the sense normally used in physical sciences."

We have come back to the " impossible accuracy" straw man.

The physical sciences you refer to are studied in laboratories or particle accelerators. You can measure to the limits of your equipment, control all your variables and do as many replicates as your funding allows.


I would love to see you duplicate the measurement quality of your laboratory science in the field, perhaps in the middle of a peat bog in the rain, on the deck of a ship in a gale or in the darkness of an Antarctic snowstorm at -30C.

Oct 19, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I would love to see you duplicate the measurement quality of your laboratory science in the field, perhaps in the middle of a peat bog in the rain, on the deck of a ship in a gale or in the darkness of an Antarctic snowstorm at -30C.

Oct 19, 2015 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Not knowing what you said, you said it. It is both a valid reason for the use of computer models, and a stark reminder of their limitations.

Oct 19, 2015 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Thank you, Paleoclimate Buff. More evidence to support my theory that high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 are indicative that life does not exist, and has never existed, on a planet. Where can I get funding (lots of it will be required, of course – I have a whole world to cover!) to follow through with research?

So, correct me if I am wrong, EM, but you agree that the term “greenhouse effect” is actually incorrect, and, “colloquial shorthand” or not, such a label is scientifically wrong? If that is the case, then the term “greenhouse gas” will also be erroneous, surely? Given those points, what would be a more accurate term to use, given that using terms that are so wilfully incorrect can only be considered an abrogation of science?

Oct 19, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Martin A

There are three main reservoirs of carbon in the short-term carbon cycle. These are the biosphere, the atmosphere and the ocean. They trend to equilibrium.

Think of three connected tanks. They settle to the same level. Add water to one tank. The level in that tank rises at first, then drops back partway as the levels rise in the other tanks.

If you add extra CO2 to one reservoir, it tends to distribute over all three. Thus extra CO2 added to the atmosphere does not all stay in the atmosphere. Some of it is taken up by the biosphere and some dissolves in the ocean. This is why the rate of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere is about half the rate of human production.

If Salby is claiming that the increase in biomass invalidates the science, he is mistaken.He has made a normal and expected change into another straw man.

Oct 19, 2015 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Radical Rodent

The correct term is radiative forcing.

It is more technically accurate, and indicates what is actually measured. It is also less transparent to a layman.

"Greenhouse effect" is less technically precise but better describes the end result.

The soil under a greenhouse is warmer than without the greenhouse. The surface under an atmosphere with greenhouse gases is warmer than the surface without them.. That is the point that the term is intended to convey.

You are getting pedantic in your old age. I remember when you used to complain about my pedantic distinction between theory and hypothesis.

Oct 19, 2015 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM

You said this to Martin A:

"I would love to see you duplicate the measurement quality of your laboratory science in the field, perhaps in the middle of a peat bog in the rain, on the deck of a ship in a gale or in the darkness of an Antarctic snowstorm at -30C."

The burden of proof lies with you and it is unfortunate if you find that difficult.

Oct 19, 2015 at 6:47 PM | Registered CommenterDung

There are three main reservoirs of carbon in the short-term carbon cycle. These are the biosphere, the atmosphere and the ocean. They trend to equilibrium.

Think of three connected tanks. They settle to the same level. Add water to one tank. The level in that tank rises at first, then drops back partway as the levels rise in the other tanks.

If you add extra CO2 to one reservoir, it tends to distribute over all three.
Oct 19, 2015 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


If you believe your own words (and I often suspect you don't) you are not even close to thinking about it correctly, EM.

The land based carbon-sink fluxes are nowhere near close to equilibrium with the deep oceanic ones. Saying they "trend to equilibrium" says almost nothing. You need to get away from this economist-type belief that positing a potential equilibrium means that an equilibrium exists.


If I urinate into your draining bath at the drain hole, it really doesn't matter to you as long as you are sitting upstream of the drainhole. Equilibrium is often irrelevant.

Oct 19, 2015 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Sorry, EM, but your use of the term “forcing” is enough for me to ignore whatever you might say next. It is a term that seems to be unique to climate “science”, so can quite easily be dismissed, as climate “science” is quite demonstrably not a science.

"Greenhouse effect" is less technically precise but better describes the end result.
No, it doesn’t! Let me correct your statement for you:
The A surface under an atmosphere with greenhouse gases is warmer than the a surface without them.
There. Fixed it for you. Nothing whatsoever to do with greenhouses, more to do with… well, atmospheres. Or, if you really, really, really want to have an analogy... ...insulation.

Don’t ask me to provide you with references, links, etc. to back my statements; I have had a little too much red wine to really be bothered offering arguments other than: "You are talking utter baloney”.

(And, yes, I will be sober in the morning, but you will still be talking baloney… Ooh! Hasn’t someone said something like that before?)

I remember when you used to complain about my pedantic distinction between theory and hypothesis.
Perhaps I have grown up a little since then. Have you?

Oct 19, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

We have come back to the " impossible accuracy" straw man.

“Impossible accuracy” is your invention EM, not mine. I seem to remember you coming up with that one previously when you wanted to claim that a thing is understood beyond doubt even though it cannot be confirmed by measurement.

Sorry but I don't buy it. For every sort of physical situation where you want to understand what is going on, there is an appropriate level of measurement/observation precision. Greater precision than is necessary usually does not help you much more. But if you can't measure things with the minimum necessary precision that you need, then all you can do is be honest and say something along the lines of “Sorry, we just don't know for sure, but here is our best guess”.

If you continue to maintain that you what you are studying is “well understood” (your words), even though you can't actually measure well enough to confirm your guesses, you are into the zone of faith and belief. If that's what you believe, no problem. Just please don't claim that it is science and “well understood”, when it is actually somebody's guess and you have found what they said convincing.

There are three main reservoirs of carbon in the short-term carbon cycle. These are the biosphere, the atmosphere and the ocean. They trend to equilibrium.

Think of three connected tanks. They settle to the same level. Add water to one tank. The level in that tank rises at first, then drops back partway as the levels rise in the other tanks. ...

Yes, yes, EM, we all know about box models for CO2. Some time back I think I remember that when I mentioned that their differential equations have the same properties* as the differential equations of electrical networks containing nothing but positive resistors and capacitors you said some not very complimentary things about my views on dynamical analogies.

* Characteristic equation with roots only on the negative real axis etc.

....If you add extra CO2 to one reservoir, it tends to distribute over all three. Thus extra CO2 added to the atmosphere does not all stay in the atmosphere. Some of it is taken up by the biosphere and some dissolves in the ocean. This is why the rate of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere is about half the rate of human production.
Yes, we often hear that.

True Believers frequently state something along the lines “half of human CO2 emission is absorbed rapidly; the other half remains in the atmosphere almost forever” - without explaining how some CO2 knows it must disappear quickly while the rest is doomed to remain almost forever. (Presumably they don't explain how it is possible because such a thing is in fact not possible, if a linear box model finding its equilibrium state is assumed - as they do assume.)


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
[There is in fact a simple explanation of the 50:50, based on the response of a linear box model which is driven by an input consisting of a growing exponential function, but this explanation seems to have eluded climate science. You just need to write down the differential equation for the box model and solve for its 'particular integral' (as my maths teacher used to call its response to an input signal) when it is driven by a growing exponential with the same rate coefficient as the growth in atmospheric CO2. It just happens that the observed growth in atmospheric CO2 is approximated pretty well by a growing exponential and the solution turns out to be a pretty well constant 50% absorbed, 50% remaining (but only as long as the input remains a growing exponential – not forever as cli-sci claims).]

Oct 19, 2015 at 7:58 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I do wonder what the “scientific” claim will be when the temperatures are irrefutably declining yet CO2 continues to rise.

Oct 19, 2015 at 8:06 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Even more heat is hiding in the ocean.

Oct 19, 2015 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Radical Rodent re your

"theory that high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 are indicative that life does not exist, and has never existed, on a planet"

Life existed on earth in the form of bacteria for at least a billion years, perhaps as much as two billion years before the Phanerozoic era and their excreted oxygen reacted with iron to form banded iron formations. When the available iron was oxidised the excess oxygen started to accumulate in the atmosphere, thus starting to dilute the Nitrogen and CO2 concentrations until O2 comprised about 20-30 % of the atmosphere by the Carboniferous

It is not apparent that during the era of Banded Iron formation accumulation, the Proterozoic, there was any marked change in the atmospheric CO2 concentration ( which would have been high - perhaps as much as 10,000 ppm). If this is the case it would indicate that life can exist, perhaps for as much as a couple of billion years, in conjunction with high atmospheric concentrations of CO2.

Oct 19, 2015 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaleoclimate Buff

Paleoclimate Buff: I am not disputing that; my hypothesis (okay, I mistakenly referred to it as “theory” – so, slap my wrist… unless you prefer something more…corrective… oh… sorry, my mind was wandering, there…) is that a planet that has high concentrations of CO2 in its atmosphere has no life, and has had none. Perhaps I should have said, “Planets as old as those in our stellar system.” What you have said does indicate that high concentrations could have existed in past eras – but how high were they? Similar to those that presently exist on Venus and Mars?

It is a hypothesis, and needs to be refined for further research.

Oct 19, 2015 at 11:28 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Paleoclimate Buff/Radical Rodent
For clarification what do you mean by "High concentrations"? PC has 1% as high, RR I assume you're talking >10%? As the air in submarines runs at 8000ppm I'm in the >10% camp as being high. It's a complex thing but I believe that concentrations of 10% CO2 will cause death in humans in less than an hour. Other lifeforms can survive this I think.

I like the hypothesis for carbon based lifeforms, it will moving into Theory territory soon as we're now looking at planets and moons in the Solar System evermore closely and also exo-plants are being viewed in increasing detail.

Oct 20, 2015 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Keep up, SandyS! My comments about my hypothesis have always related to the level of concentrations found on Mars and Venus – basically, in excess of 90%. I am not sure what PB considers high concentration; perhaps any apparent disagreement is more of a communications glitch.

Not sure about 10% CO2 being potentially fatal; surely, there has to some relation with the amount of oxygen present? It is the level of CO2 in our system that dictates our breathing – the higher the level, the more we will pant; presumably, there could be panic generated by the high levels causing excessive panting, with there being a factor feeding the other in a cyclical process. I understand that high levels of CO2 can replicate alcohol intoxication; perhaps alcohol inhibits the expulsion of CO2 from the body? More thinking aloud: perhaps, if the oxygen levels are at appropriate levels, there could be the risk of there being basically a system burn-out if the CO2 is too high. I do know that we are perhaps more sensitive to the level of oxygen than other gases – we are happy at the normal level of 20.8%; notice when it gets below 19%, are affected when it gets lower than about 18%, and lose consciousness around 16%. I have no doubt I will be corrected if I am too wrong, but don’t hold it against me.

Oct 20, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

I found this online
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/co2-comfort-level-d_1024.html

"Extreme and Dangerous CO2 Levels
•slightly intoxicating, breathing and pulse rate increase, nausea: 30,000 ppm
•above plus headaches and sight impairment: 50,000 ppm
•unconscious, further exposure death: 100,000 ppm"

Oct 20, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung/RR keep in mind that CO2 comes out of your body (and huge swathes of the biosphere) at about 4%. That is 40,000 ppm, into an environment of 400 ppm.

I think the best analogy is to compare it to how water/sewage drains from house. It does so under gravity until it finds its 'local level'. If your house is on top of Ben Nevis, Snowdon or Scafell Pike, you really don't care about sea-level or flooding backing up your drains. With regard to atmospheric CO2 changes and toxicity, much of the living planet is effectively living on top of Mt Everest.

Even more of the living planet sucks up CO2 as hard as it can. It is difficult to drown a fish by adding some extra water to the lake. Even dishonest people like the vwwwussell thing know this full well.

Oct 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart