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Author: AstroPhool Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 55167  
Subject: Re: Climate Groundhog Day Date: 9/8/2013 4:51 PM
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Reason 52,321 that climate change research is not science ... [and] isn't even a loose approximation of science. Its doomsdayism that wraps itself in scientific sounding jargon and as expounded by preachers with scientific credentials.

I disagree profoundly!

We are in the midst of carrying out a grand experiment on the climate of our planet by running up atmospheric CO2 concentrations to levels (400 ppm at present) not seen for at least 10 Myr. If we continue on this course of rampart fossil-fuel burning for another 50 years or so (accumulating CO2 at the rate of 3 ppm/yr), we will reach CO2 levels of 550 ppm, a level not that has not occurred on the Earth for 40 Myr, and double that of the Holocene (275 ppm). This doubling of atmospheric CO2 will provide an additional radiative forcing of +4 W/m^2, an amount greater than any of the changes in climate forcings over the 800 kyr Antarctic ice core record (which changed by about 3 W/m^2 at most over the period). Now, the most casual inspection of the ice core record shows the Earth's climate has been anything but steady during this time. Instead glaciations have come and gone repeatedly over this 800 kyr, accompanied by sea level changes of up to 125 m over and over again. I am merely pointing out that by subjecting the Earth to even larger radiative forcings than occurred naturally over the past 800 kyr, we are likely to see this scale of sea level changes taking place again. Actually, we will be spared the worst extremes because most of the ice that was on the Earth during the 800 kyr (on average) is now gone. So the most we can expect is the 70 m sea level rise that would result from the melting of all polar ice.

I do not think it alarmist to point out that we should expect a climate/sea level response similar to what has (repeatedly) happened before, as a result of climate forcings similar to what we are imposing today on the climate system. This is the classic "this time is different" response by people confronted with situations well outside their realm of personal experience. But the paleoclimate record tells us this happened. We know the forcings that will happen as a result of doubling CO2. We know the last time the Earth had CO2 levels above 500 ppm (40 Myr ago), there was no polar ice left on the Earth. Ockham's razor says it would prudent to expect the same again -- this is the conservative position.

Maybe this time the Earth's climate system will respond differently than it has in the past. But I don't see those individuals calling my position "alarmist" offering evidence to support their case. When people resort to name calling in lieu of logic, reason and evidence, it usually means that they don't have any of these to offer.

DB2: Do you have some links to papers?

Most of the supporting paleoclimate evidence can be found in Hansen's (2013) paper: Climate Sensitivity, Sea Level, and Atmospheric CO2: http://arxiv.org/abs/1211.4846

More evidence of the tight link between CO2 and global temperature can be found in: Parrenin et al. (2013), Science, 339, 1060.

Evidence supporting a long residence time for atmospheric CO2 is from Gillett et al. (2011), Nature Geoscience, 4, 83.

Ultimately, the conclusions I presented here are mine. But the evidence is there for all to see.

Phil
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