Climate change - what could happen?

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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby BarKing » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:24 am

Sea Level rise will be one of many issues to be faced in a climate changed world (whether anthropogenic or natural).

Initially some of the sea level rise claims seemed incredible to me. For example a seven meter sea rise if the Greenland ice sheet melts - the world's oceans seems so large and while Greenland is large it is nowhere near the size of the oceans. I had to do the calculation myself to convince myself that the figure was possible.

Volume of Ice in the Greenland Ice sheet is 2,800,000 cubic kilometres. The surface area of the earth is 510,072,000 square kilometres with the ocean making up 361,132,000 square kilometres. So if the volume of ice is spread over the surface area of the ocean the sea level rise will be (volume divided by surface area) 2,800,000 / 361,132,000 = 0.00775 kilometres = 7.75 metres. And this doesn't take account of expansion of warmer water.

(Similar figures to this are available on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet which says a 7.2 metre sea rise would occur with the melting of the Greenland Ice sheet. It would take centuries (or millennia) to melt completely - unless there was dramatic warming.)

So the rise of seven metres if the Greenland icesheet melts is more than possible due to global warming. This would have major impacts on all coastal cities and populations on low level lands. And the Greenland icesheet is just one of the world's land based ice volumes. If the Antarctic ice shelf melt we will be looking at a 25m sea level rise or more. It all seems unbelievable until you realise that the ocean has been this high and higher in the past - if it has happened before it can happen again. And this is just one of the many impacts of Climate Change.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby davidh » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:19 pm

Worst case scenario from doing nothing.

The Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is a similar volume to Greenland, so that adds another 7 metres to that, making 14 metres and counting. The bigger issue is the rebound of the earth's crust as all that weight pressing down from the WAIS lifts off and goes elsewhere as redistributed water.

This will cause shifts in gravity distribution, shifts in the tilt on the axis, changes in seasonal activity in the northern & southern hemispheres, and increased tectonic plate activity; the planet could be in for some wild volcanic activity in a few centuries as a a result (much more than the baseline stuff we see at present), which of course will (eventually) lead to much more volcanic ash in the atmosphere, which then leads to global dimming, and a new ice age, and so it starts all over again (eventually); in the mean time it all gets hotter overall for a while because of the current warming & the shorter term feedbacks from nature. Yes, the planet can "heal", but at what cost do we continue increasing the risk of it happening more rapidly than could occur naturally? We are feeding warming at an unpredented rate, in a way that has never occurred before. No wonder Greg Craven feels burned out from trying to get people to understand the problem (see follow up videos to the one posted on this forum).

Just to add to that, the volume of ice in the rest of Antarctica is about 90% more than the WAIS, so if all that goes, that means about another ... you do the math ... it's a big change in the coastline.

The new ice age thing will be long after we are all dead, and will happen because of all the inevitable longer term feedback mechanisms, but that does not mean we should not make an effort to slow down what we are doing now.

Cheers, David
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Re: Climate change - what to do?

Postby Joey » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:10 pm

davidh wrote:Joey,

Joey wrote:
Firstly , there is no "Rapid" climate change but there is definitely climate change



By what basis do you say it is not rapid ... depends on the baseline you are comparing to doesn't it?

if there was any precedence even on a micro scale that changing what we do will turn earths climate in humans favor ,


There is a great deal of micro scale evidence ... you only have to look at the heat island effect in cities, and the changes in humidity and rainfall when rainforests are clear felled.

All evidence to date has only proven we are just passengers on earth , if we are to believe science earth is about 50 billion years old , as you even mentioned yourself they also believe there has been 5 great extinctions , also times where the earths atmosphere was too toxic for life , there have also been ice ages , meteors hitting earth , volcano's beyond our comprehension , it goes on and on and earth did what ever it does , we still don't have the knowledge , understanding , tools or ability to alter nature anymore than we did 50 billion years ago , we can still only observe and record it.


I'm an optimist Joey, so I prefer to believe that if we all make an effort, than we can reverse some of what we are doing (not all of course). Psychology research shows that people make the fundamental error of viewing climate change as remote in time and distance, and not immediate to their everyday life. As you said above it is happening, and all the observed evidence, from multiple teams from multiple countries says that it is acellerating. Yes, there will be inevitable feedback mechanisms we have little control over, but there are some feedin mechanisms that we have direct control over. In fact, if climate change is acellerating, than that is all the more reason to acellerate our response to reducing all the gigatonnes of CO2 and other greenhous gases we are dumping into the atmosphere. Remember, never before in history has so much greenhouse gas been dumped into the atmosphere preceding climate change. In the past, there has been CO2 & CH4 increase as a feedback response to warming, and which further feeds warming, which means we are still in for more warming over the coming decades and centuries, but this does not mean we should give up and do nothing. On the contrary, it is an urgent signal for action, and since we cannot leave the planet, we should look after it as best we can, no matter how insignificant that may seem on an individual level. If all 6.7 billion odd humans were to take the attitude that "I should take responsibility for this", than we can make a difference.

cheers, David


David ,

Glad Michael jumped on the first comment regarding rapid climate change , This is another part of the debate that gets my back up , firstly it is totally undecided if we are the cause of climate change or if its part of earths normal cycle , but then to stick on "rapid" insinuates hysteria .

The great deal of micro evidence you refer to is again like everything else is observation "after" the fact , still no evidence man has ever created anything to reverse an observed negative effect on the climate.

I understand you say you are an optimist David , but you write after that really says , I'm not sure but I "hope" .
I am a realist David, show me something works then I'll be on the job "rapidly".
Last edited by MichaelB on Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: This post has been moved from another thread as it was off topic for that thread.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby Joey » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:53 pm

What could happen is scary!! with the emphasis on "could" , like the video Michael attached if we pass it on to enough people and scare enough people by trying to convince them that every negative natural event is caused by us , the hysteria alone will soon become more of an issue than Climate Change.
I was listening to some twit on SkyNews yesterday saying that the Chile earth quake is proof of global warming and why it was stronger than almost any ever recorded . of course with the emphasis on "recorded".
So as we can clearly see Global warming has been proven , probably broadcast to more people than the attached video will ever reach.
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Re: Climate change - what to do?

Postby davidh » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:14 pm

Thanks Joey,

The bit about rebounding of the earth's crust due to the shifted weight of the Antarctic melting is real, but I think we haven't seen anything like how big volcanic and tectonic plate activity can get if the Antarctic continues to melt and breakup. It really depends on how quickly that the mass of the Western Antarctic Ice Shelf lifts off. Could be true, but until we have evidence that most of the mass has lifted, these effects are an unknown quantity.

Joey wrote:
firstly it is totally undecided if we are the cause of climate change or if its part of earths normal cycle , but then to stick on "rapid" insinuates hysteria .



As conveyed in the video posted on this forum, there is no such thing as "totally" in science, and whether we have contributed or not is irrelevant if you consider the entire argument presented in the video. If we have contributed (and are continuing to contribute), the price of doing nothing is higher than the price of doing something. If we have not contributed, then the price of doing something is relatively small because we are going to need to change how we get our energy anyway, at some point, so we just do it a bit quicker. In this case, people still make money, the economy still keeps going, and we help the environment along the way ... it's win, win, win, as long as we make the change.

If you are wrong Joey, then to do nothing is a loss for the environment, loss for the economy (big time), loss for health, and absolute chaos.

I asked the basline comparison question, because in science it is usual to state the basis of your argument, because without a baseline comparison, there is no debate.

Joey wrote:The great deal of micro evidence you refer to is again like everything else is observation "after" the fact , still no evidence man has ever created anything to reverse an observed negative effect on the climate.


"after the fact" is not unlike a great deal of scientific discovery ... and we know that we can reverse these micro changes, there is plenty of evidence that if you replant trees and give them care and attention till they grow back into forests, clear felling can be reversed, given time; we can clean up rivers; we can change the heat island effect in cities; which means we could reverse bigger changes if we are willing to take responsibility. Personally, I think that the solar panels, solar hot water, low power globes, and other efficient items I've installed are a good start, but I still think I could do more. When I've paid these things off I will do more. In the mean time, I'll keep working in a way that contributes as little as possible to greenhouse gases.

Joey wrote:I am a realist David, show me something works then I'll be on the job "rapidly".


There is no "rapid" magic here; like the observed changes, these things take time, and are done incrementally in our everyday actions bit by bit. If we change even one thing we do, that creates a chain reaction. Think about the frog jumping into a pond analogy: There are ripples on the surface of the water, these ripples hit the air above, the molecules in the air above hit other molecules, and so on; the water in the pond under the surface sends compression waves in all directions, stirring the bottom of the pond; other animals react, and so on. Every action we make has a conseqence.

I like the attitude of scientists that give freely with the intention of only doing good for the planet. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to understand the science, but thousands of highly respected not-for-profit scientists have done it already, and have agreed that climate change due to human intervention is happening, and that we are contributing to it by our lifestyle.

Cheers, David
Last edited by davidh on Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby MichaelB » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:31 pm

I don't think that folks like the science teacher are trying to create hysteria, just to give people more to contemplate. Give pause for thought? Yes. Create real concern? Yes. Hysteria? No, that isn't productive. Hysterical people don't make good decisions, they throw out the baby with the bathwater and then sometimes follow up with a swift kick to it as well.

As for the Sky News dude, I never saw it, can't comment on that specifically or if the earthquake is somehow linked.

However, many in the media don't care if global warming is happening or not - it's whatever is the best story of the day. Is it the earthquake? Is it the senator calling global warming the biggest scientific scam ever? They tend to jump from one side of the fence to the other as it suits them to boost their circulation figures and ratings.

Sure, there are some on the "pro" side who are quite happy to create hysteria as they feel this is the best way to get action. This is misguided. The "con" lobby also could be accused of attempting to create hysteria too.

But if nothing is done and negative effects start happening at an increased pace - won't there also be hysteria? Shouldn't folks be prepared and perhaps attempt to take some form of remedial action to possibly reduce impact? If those actions have other positive benefits, such as preserving a species, a chunk of rainforest, seeing increased investment in renewable energy - aren't these good things too?

Again we arrive at the same point. It gets back to what that video is actually about - risk management - buying insurance for a car you'll likely never crash, a house that will likely never burn etc.
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Re: Climate change - what to do?

Postby Joey » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:09 am

Joey wrote:firstly it is totally undecided if we are the cause of climate change or if its part of earths normal cycle , but then to stick on "rapid" insinuates hysteria .


davidh wrote:As conveyed in the video posted on this forum, there is no such thing as "totally" in science, and whether we have contributed or not is irrelevant if you consider the entire argument presented in the video. If we have contributed (and are continuing to contribute), the price of doing nothing is higher than the price of doing something. If we have not contributed, then the price of doing something is relatively small because we are going to need to change how we get our energy anyway, at some point, so we just do it a bit quicker. In this case, people still make money, the economy still keeps going, and we help the environment along the way ... it's win, win, win, as long as we make the change.

If you are wrong Joey, then to do nothing is a loss for the environment, loss for the economy (big time), loss for health, and absolute chaos.

I asked the basline comparison question, because in science it is usual to state the basis of your argument, because without a baseline comparison, there is no debate.


Honestly David I don't consider the argument in the video at all , it's exactly what I would expect to see from someone who believes there is a problem that we may or may not be contributing too , totally based on if's and maybe's, if you do then maybe or maybe not , we can live our entire doing things just in case it might do something .

Joey wrote:The great deal of micro evidence you refer to is again like everything else is observation "after" the fact , still no evidence man has ever created anything to reverse an observed negative effect on the climate.


davidh wrote:"after the fact" is not unlike a great deal of scientific discovery ... and we know that we can reverse these micro changes, there is plenty of evidence that if you replant trees and give them care and attention till they grow back into forests, clear felling can be reversed, given time; we can clean up rivers; we can change the heat island effect in cities; which means we could reverse bigger changes if we are willing to take responsibility. Personally, I think that the solar panels, solar hot water, low power globes, and other efficient items I've installed are a good start, but I still think I could do more. When I've paid these things off I will do more. In the mean time, I'll keep working in a way that contributes as little as possible to greenhouse gases.

Thank you , after the fact is all global science has ever been , absolutely massive amounts of accumulated data that some people have spent their lives collecting , yet all that has done is informed us of the past , what did happen , might have happened and could happen , Not we have proof we need to do X+Y to save the planet , just we must try T because Z = D-K but try it anyway because it might = X+Y .
We don't even know if CO2 is slowing down a major catastrophe , should I make more just in case it is ?? The decision is should I try to reduce life giving CO2 or make more because it is shielding us from Global Warming that would already be out of control without us pumping heaps of it into the atmosphere.

Btw , being an energy forum , I do actually have a 4kw System and make all the power we use plus sell some back to the grid , have solar hot water , all low energy appliances etc but it's all because it's so I can self sufficient and insulated from the price rises , blackouts etc .
I have no idea if this is harming the environment, no doubt in 10 years time we will find out that it is solar panels that are causing the global problems.
Look at the figures , as Solar uptake rises so does global temperatures :)

Joey wrote:I am a realist David, show me something works then I'll be on the job "rapidly".


davidh wrote:There is no "rapid" magic here; like the observed changes, these things take time, and are done incrementally in our everyday actions bit by bit. If we change even one thing we do, that creates a chain reaction. Think about the frog jumping into a pond analogy: There are ripples on the surface of the water, these ripples hit the air above, the molecules in the air above hit other molecules, and so on; the water in the pond under the surface sends compression waves in all directions, stirring the bottom of the pond; other animals react, and so on. Every action we make has a conseqence.

I like the attitude of scientists that give freely with the intention of only doing good for the planet. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to understand the science, but thousands of highly respected not-for-profit scientists have done it already, and have agreed that climate change due to human intervention is happening, and that we are contributing to it by our lifestyle.

Cheers, David


It would be nice if good intentions were the answer David , If we are in fact responsible for the Climate Changing , It will be impossible to do anything to reverse it while the world and it's population is only expanding.

Thanks for always Sharing Michael , really enjoy your posts and hearing other views in a non hostile forum.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby Joey » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:15 am

MichaelB wrote: seeing increased investment in renewable energy - aren't these good things too?


When it's been a passion all your life investing in renewable energy is a real good thing , Finally not being at the mercy of an electricity supplier ! priceless ., oh yeah and being insulated from price rises is also great.
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby davidh » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:03 am

Joey, thanks for your honest reply ... I very much appreciate it.
So you installed a 4kw solar power system and low power appliances etc. ... fantastic stuff ... and you say you did this for the following reason:
but it's all because it's so I can self sufficient and insulated from the price rises , blackouts etc . I have no idea if this is harming the environment, no doubt in 10 years time we will find out that it is solar panels that are causing the global problems.


Apart from repaying the carbon footprint of the power used to make the panels (which takes a few years for some panels if they were not made in a solar/wind powered factory), solar panels are carbon negative, which means they give back over their lifetime, and as you suggested, they are sustainable, in more than just a financial way.

and ...


after the fact is all global science has ever been , absolutely massive amounts of accumulated data that some people have spent their lives collecting , yet all that has done is informed us of the past , what did happen , might have happened and could happen , Not we have proof we need to do X+Y to save the planet ,


Well, actually, what happens in climate science is also experimentation, with prediction of what will happen, and definitely not saying something caused an event because it followed the event ... that is the opposite of science.

Some of the scientific evidence comes from experiments where they start with theory, then make a prediction, then set up the design: it could be something like,

put set quantities of atmospheric gases in an enclosed space, and expose it to infrared light radiation, to see what happens.

At the same time have several parallel enclosed spaces (of the same size) running with different quantities of gases, but the same amount of infrared.

Does the absorbed heat in the atmosphere change?

They could vary this in other ways, such as a set of experiments that were over a given volume of water, again to see what happens to the temperature in the water and the atmosphere, with specific changes in ratios of greenhouse gases.

Yes, the outcome is observed "after" the experiment, but the predictions are made before the experiment. If the observations fit the predictions, then the experiment is repeated to make sure no mistake was made. If the observations do not fit the predictions, then it's back to the theory to make changes and new predictions for new experiments. This goes on until things in the laboratory start to approach what is happening in reality at a global scale. It is all about making predictions and testing them, until some acceptable degree of probability is reached (usually 95% sure, but sometimes, if being very careful, might go for 99% sure). In this way, it is possible to see what was associated with warming, and was not.

It is also possible to model some of what could happen on a larger scale. Obviously it isn't possible to build a whole planet sized experiment, so for planetary evidence we need to look at other planets with varying quantities of gases, such as venus.

These are just two examples of what gets done in science, but in reality it is the entirety of many predictions and confirmations of those predictions, and has little to do with waiting for events to happen, and then trying to figure it out. Yes, obervation after the event happens also, but is a relatively minor part of the overall science (when experiments are accounted for). As you suggested, association after the fact simply tells us that there was some kind of association of these events; and in that situation we don't know which came first, which is why we need experiments to confirm or disprove theory.

Cheers, David
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Re: Climate change - what could happen?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:25 am

Joey wrote:To Quote myself again : I say do nothing because no matter we do it will achieve nothing , unless of course someone can produce evidence that we have ever been able to influence climate , weather , sea levels or the amounts of ice globally.


Ever heard of cloud seeding to change the amount/distribution of rain/snowfall? It's practiced in quite a few countries, including Australia.

We most certainly have never been able to reverse or prevent a single naturally occurring event in the history of man kind.


Humans have caused much disturbance to natural systems by our destructive ways. Acid rain has killed a lot of forests in Germany, do you think that was not caused by industrial pollution?
Destruction of forests and ecosystems caused by industry/agriculture/forestry/introduction of feral animals is well known and documented. Loss of large areas of forests is thought to have changed rainfall patterns in some regions.

Are you advocating that we continue business as usual?
IMHO thats a recipe for disaster!
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