Leading indicators

devilsadvoc8
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Leading indicators

Hi all.  I've been lurking here for several years, enjoying the discussions. I posed the following question recently on another website during a heated discussion on global warming et al.

 

Are there any studies which conclude that CO2 levels are a leading indicator of temperature changes?

 

I am not a "denier" as it seems like there is enough evidence that recent global temperatures have been increasing at a rate that is a bit out of the ordinary given our historical knowledge of global temperatures.  Have we as a species emitted lots of CO2 and other gases beyond what nature normally produces?  Of course.  Has it been enough to impact the environment?  That is where I am on the fence.  If someone could show me an authoritative scientific study that concludes that CO2 is a leading predictor of temperature, I'll be ready to start listening to other aspects of this issue such as cost/benefit of remedial actions.  Right now, I liken this problem to someone telling me I need to spend $10,000 for a vaccine for a disease that I am not at risk for.  Prove to me that I am at risk  (i.e. our carbon emmissions are causing this), then I'll consider the cost / benefit of the cure. 

 

TIA

That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence- Christopher Hitchins


Vastet
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The biggest impactor of

The biggest impactor of climate is, obviously, the sun. Changing the orbit of Earth, or the type of star Sol is, could vary temperatures by billions of degrees Celsius/Kelvin.
The second is water in the atmosphere. Without it, Earth would be a frozen wasteland. With too much, the equatorial regions would be uninhabitable, at best.
Somewhere further down the line is Carbon. It certainly has an impact, but not nearly as much of one. I'm going on old memory here, but I vaguely recall the average temperature of Earth can only swing by ten or so degrees Celsius/Kelvin on Carbon alone. Which is significant seeing as how an average requires major local shifts to alter, but isn't so severe that all of Earth is going to become a desert.
Weighing our impact is one of the most complex formulae to exist, in my experience. You have to factor in and measure all human sources, and all non-human sources of Carbon. Then you have to factor in the natural lifespan of Carbon in the atmosphere, and how the Earth absorbs it.

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Then you must calculate

Then you must calculate human impact on the nature of Earth absorbing Carbon (destruction of rain forests as an example). Finally, you must factor out extraneous modifiers (other elements and compounds, the sun, the universe, a volcano, etc.).
Then, if all that weren't enough, you must utilise the conclusions to study the impact on life on Earth to determine the scope of the actual threat.
I can't refer you to any specific article that covers all these factors. Even if one exists, it would still be better for you to look into the data on your own, and arrive at your own conclusions.

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The planet is going to do

The planet is going to do what it does beyond our control. I think the temperature issue is a bad argument. Even if the planet's temperature wasn't affected by CO2 we collectively as a species are producing more and more waste at an increasing population. The waste will get into our resources, such as water and food and fish. Everything from dog poo, to discarded medicine to paint, to plastics to ink. Basically anything you put in your garbage can, multiply that by 7 billion people and a growing population. That IS going to have an affect regardless of whether the temperature changes.

A clogged toilet at the North pole isn't sanitary just because it is cold. Would you make a snow cone out of snow that had mercury or lead or oil in it? Temperature change doesn't mean we are not over polluting the planet. The earth is our home, it cannot be used as a giant landfill. But if our population keeps exploding and we keep increasing our waste, eventually we will end up living in a giant landfill.

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Welcome to the forum.

Welcome to the forum.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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CO2 works to amplify (or

CO2 works to amplify (or not, when not present) changes that are otherwise natural.

CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, only in that it is present in very low concentrations.  But what we've done is raise the "baseline" for how much energy stays in the lower atmosphere -- incoming shortwave radiation (ultraviolet light, etc) is converted into =more= longwave radiation (infrareds) than before.  This causes the temperature to rise.

This small increase in temperature that's attributable to CO2 causes an exponentially larger increase in water vapor, which is then present in much higher concentrations.

The normal feedback cycle with HO2 (water ...) is that warm moist air eventually rains out and water vapor gets reset to a lower concentration, with fewer greenhouse implications.  But with elevated (and rising ...) CO2 levels, the atmosphere doesn't get "reset".

What is critical to understand about water vapor is that the amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold increases exponentially with temperature.  Small increases in temperature result in ever larger increases in water vapor.  The net result is extreme droughts where the temperature doesn't drop below the point where rainfall would occur, or extreme rainfall where it does.  Hotter air is better able to absorb more moisture from land, plants, people, resulting in a more arid environment.  That moisture laden air then moves, through the usual circulatory systems to wherever it normally would rain out.  But since there is more of it, extreme flooding is the result.

So "Global Warming" isn't the only thing that happens, like "Gee, it's 2 degrees warmer, no big deal."  In regions where rainfall is less common, rainfall will generally become even more less common.  In regions where rainfall is more common, rainfall generally will become even more common, and in higher rates.

There will also be changes in the circulation patterns themselves -- the Hadley cells -- so that the locations where air generally rises, carrying moisture into the atmosphere shift, and the locations where air generally falls, carrying moisture back to the ground, shift as well.  Under global warming, these shifts are towards the polls.  And here's the problem there -- the regions where rainfall is needed for crops become smaller and smaller as the latitude increases.  This is the basis for the "global famine" problem.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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I am actually

I am actually pretty new, when it comes to ideas about global warming and such. I would like to know a little bit more about it myself.

I'll have to do some internet searching on that, when I get some spare time.

Can anyone reccomend any good books to pick up on that subject ?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:I am

harleysportster wrote:

I am actually pretty new, when it comes to ideas about global warming and such. I would like to know a little bit more about it myself.

I'll have to do some internet searching on that, when I get some spare time.

Can anyone reccomend any good books to pick up on that subject ?

Start here - http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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I can remember as a kid

I can remember as a kid having longer winters and less extreme day to day changes. But again regardless, at least to me, I don't think it should matter if we are doing it or the planet is doing it or that it is a combo of both(most likely to me).

It still would not change that 7 billion people produce waste that has to be put somewhere. If one lived in Alaska it would still take a garbage truck to haul your trash away. If they did not do that the trash would pile up at your house.

We still are putting all sorts of things into our environment that are dangerous, regardless of the planet's over all temperature.

We are polluting our oceans a that pollution will get into the food sources of the seafood we eat. We are still polluting our water resources. We are even finding now in water samples, discarded chemicals used to make medicine.

The tsunami in Japan swept out tons of trash and entire buildings full of all sorts of chemically based objects.

Our population cannot, no matter what the planet does, even if we are not affecting temperature, continue to explode the world's population and by proxy increase the amount of waste. Our planet is finite no mater what. A full trash can is no less full if it is outside in 0 degree weather.

So again, climate change, while it is important will never change our need to better dispose of waste.

We have to use less, consume less, and what we do make we need to make more natural, so that when we throw it out, it will have less of an affect on our food sources and water sources.

 

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I'm not as concerned about

I'm not as concerned about trash as I am about the climate.  Right now there are companies working on producing electricity from landfill gas, and other companies working to turn trash into useful products.

The huge amount of chemical waste is a major concern, and the more we pay China to pollute the environment, the worse things will be.  The United States, at least, needs to pass laws that say imports will be taxed to the extent the manufacturers of those products don't adhere to US environmental protection laws, to some reasonable degree or other.  Otherwise companies will just export manufacturing to countries that pollute the environment to save a buck.

Right now the greatest obstruction to cleaning up the environment is the stupid belief that someones god isn't going to allow us to destroy the planet.  How right-wing Christians came to believe this is a mystery, but that seems to be what they believe.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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Brian37 wrote:The planet is

Brian37 wrote:

The planet is going to do what it does beyond our control.

No, it's not, the climate is controllable. NASA and others are already doing experiments to deploy sun blocking heat shields.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/24/video-nasa-rockets-inflatable-heat-shield-124-miles-up-deploys/

It's really not terrible technically complicated to build and deploy a large heat shield in orbit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_sunshade

Also CO2 can be stored away:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92921956

 

Also population increase can be slowed with mandatory birth control as we've seen in China. So none of this is beyond our control. The problem is political.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca