News


Off Deadline: Impending sea-level rise will affect us all

 

Next month federal officials will release new rates for flood insurance in areas at risk for future flooding, and they will shock many residents required to have such insurance.

Blame the rising sea level. That was one message at an afternoon-long conference that brought together scientists, engineers and city, county, state and federal officials to discuss what's known and not known about a projected rise in sea levels -- meaning also San Francisco Bay -- and impacts on Santa Clara County.

The conference, attended by about 250 people, was held at NASA Ames, located at the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station in Mountain View. It was co-hosted by U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Assemblyman Rich Gordon and NASA Ames Director Eugene Tu. Eshoo and Tu credited Gordon with bringing the issue of sea-level rise to the forefront of national, state and local issues needing to be addressed -- especially the need to begin preparing for it realistically (which Gordon calls "adaptation").

Here's a nutshell summary of the conference:

The risk of rising seas is made greater in the South Bay by serious land subsidence from past pumping of underground aquifers and a weak and ancient system of dikes -- essentially piled-up mud from the construction early last century of salt ponds ringing the shallow end of the bay.

Those concerned about sea levels and climate change have been frustrated by the question of how to alert the public about the risk, or how to convert apathy or denial into concern and action.

Even cities not in the risk zone for flooding will be impacted, officials said, citing potentially millions of public tax and private dollars that will need to be spent to counter the rising seas.

Actions taken in the near future will be far less expensive than actions taken after the impacts begin happening, officials warned. Delays could inflate the costs of property damage and too-late preparations into the billions.

No one is quite sure how high the sea will rise, or when the rise will peak. Much depends on the rate of global warming and consequent melting of glaciers, chiefly in Greenland and Antartica. But the consensus among scientists and a growing number of federal, state and -- recently -- local officials is that the sea will rise between 18 inches and about 3 feet by 2050. Worse, the rise is expected to continue for decades beyond 2050. Yet whatever the ultimate sea level will be, the real threat is when it is combined with storms, due to more volatile weather linked to global warming.

That time frame is easily within the lifetimes of our younger generation in schools today. And certainly it will impact their children. (This struck home with me as I sat in the conference: I just became a great-grandfather this month, with a baby girl named Journey, daughter of my grandson, Noah. I hope his name isn't prophetic!)

Gordon noted that when he first joined the Assembly, the conversation related to the global issue of climate change and atmosphere-warming "greenhouse gas" emissions. There was little discussion of what local communities or counties needed to do to deal with the expected rise in sea levels.

Gordon said he introduced the term "adaptation" to convey the message that local communities, as well as regional, federal and state agencies, need to not only be aware of future threats but to take action to reduce or prevent the worst of the damage and risk.

How immediate is the threat in Santa Clara County? First, about a quarter of high-value homes in southeast lowlands of Palo Alto are at risk of being flooded by several feet of water at current sea levels, or from San Francisquito Creek flooding, as happened in 1998. Additional homes in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto are also at risk from storm runoff or tidal action, or both.

NASA Ames itself is at risk, officials noted, showing an overhead view that showed half the main Moffett Field runway under water with a moderate rise in sea level. Even residents far from the waterline will be impacted by flooding of highways and from health threats throughout the region, speakers noted.

The range of speakers and panelists represented at the conference illustrates the rising level of concern about the challenge, from keynote speaker Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences and professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to Len Materman, executive director of the local San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.

Moderators of the two panels -- one regionally and the other locally focused -- were Will Travis, retired executive director of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and Greg Scharff, a BCDC board member and Palo Alto City Council member.

Beyond the physical threats from flooding there is a serious concern about public health, Susan Stuart, a planner with the Center for Chronic Diseases and Injury Prevention of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, warned sharply.

"It's been said that climate change is the most significant risk to human health" now facing officials and the public, from injuries and infections, to "severe psycho-social stress."

"Thousands of people could be at risk of displacement from homes or jobs. By 2100 over 30,000 people will be at risk," including workers unable to get to work because of flooded roads and those made ill by flooded sewage-treatment plants.

NASA is preparing a video of the conference, and the state is working on a new climate-change database due for release by the end of this year.

Former Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson can be emailed at jthorwaldson@paweekly.com and/or jaythor@well.com. He also posts periodically on his blog on PaloAltoOnline.com.

Related content:

Experts: Rising sea level needs to be top priority

Report: Cities unprepared for sea-level rise

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Wholly Cow
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Everybody relax. Our resident deniers will keep that water at bay.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2015 at 4:54 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by John Englander
a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2015 at 9:57 am

Your article is a very good report of this sobering topic. Even though I was not able to participate in this particular presentation, I have done a number of presentations with ASM Gordon, Dr. Griggs, and Will Travis and know that they are spot on. In fact I give briefings and consult nationally and internationally on the subject of rising sea level and can say that the Bay Area concern is far better than most communities.
The idea that rising sea level is now unstoppable is daunting. This has not happened in over a hundred thousand years making us totally unprepared. We need to begin a new long term attitude to a changing shoreline. This requires adaptation at the same time that we work to reduce the warming.
It's a global challenge. The Bay Area can be a leader, which is part of the reason we are launching a new nonprofit, the International Sea Level Institute, to be based there. www.sealevelinstitute.org


3 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 27, 2015 at 10:16 am

mauricio is a registered user.

I expect at least 20 comment from climate change deniers by the end of the day, telling us how the greenies are again forcing their unsbstantiated doom&gloom agenda on capitalism.


7 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 27, 2015 at 10:24 am

Hulkamania is a registered user.

i need to dust off my Water World DVD.


11 people like this
Posted by Cynic (denier :-)
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

Sea level rise has run around 1.7-3mm/year for the past fifty years. The largest number means 35*3=105mm=4 inches of sea level rise by 2050. "Sea level" is a complicated subject - the ocean surface level varies with waves and tides, and because of Earth density variation "sea level" (in distance from the center of the Earth) varies by more than a kilometer in different places around the planet. So these dire predictions should be treated with some skepticism as we figure out how to allocate our limited tax dollars. We may just want shift real estate development away from the Bay over the next century - if indeed we observe predicted sea level rise.


7 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2015 at 11:07 am

@mauricio wrote:

"I expect at least 20 comment from climate change deniers by the end of the day, telling us how the greenies are again forcing their unsbstantiated doom&gloom agenda on capitalism."

These are the same greenies who want to cap greenhouse gas emissions in California? If so, do you think such a cap is a bad thing?

If sea levels do rise to the point where Palo Alto is in danger of flooding, why not simply build levees. It works for Foster City. Alternatively, we could also do the houseboat thing like Sausalito.


22 people like this
Posted by Steve Case
a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Jay Thorwaldson tells us, that the consensus ... is that the sea will rise ... about 3 feet by 2050.

That's over 25 mm/yr for the next 35 years and over ten times the current rate.

The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level shows us that California has 18 tide gauges from Crescent City to San Diego and 8 of them have records going back 60 years or more. Analysis of the past 60 years in two 30 year time series shows that from 1954 through 1983 those 8 gauges average 1.6 mm/yr of sea level rise, and from 1984 through 2013 those same gauges average 0.4 mm/yr. None of them show an increase.

Globally satellite data kept by Colorado University's Sea Level Research Group goes back 22 years, and from 1992 through 2003 the rate of sea level rise was 3.5 mm/yr and from 2004 through 2014 the rate has dropped to 2.9 mm/yr.

Anyone with some curiosity and modest Excel ability can verify these numbers..

Steve Case - Milwaukee, WI


5 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 27, 2015 at 1:34 pm

But, But the latest science says prepare for Global Cooling..
What are we to do Oh Great Predictors of the Future??


Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm

@Gus, fyi, nice sun photo in that link is from a camera built in Palo Alto.


24 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

"Deniers?" Is this an attempt to shame people that you disagree with? I am very middle-of-the-road on climate change. I want to know all sides and thoughts before I go on any sort of "crusade." Still, it isn't helpful if people try to shame dissent or alternative thoughts/explanations in regard to climate change or environmental views.

Please don't rely on shaming, ridicule or ad hominem. We should let facts (or the presentation of select facts) speak for themselves and trust that intelligent and educated human beings (especially the 99.9% of us who are not physicists, astrophysicists, climate scientists, meteorologists or geological historians) come to a conclusion (or series of conclusions) without fearing public shaming from any politically correct mob that claims to be a consensus.


2 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Carbon emissions 'will defer Ice Age'
Web Link

Maybe the next ice age will start a few decades from now?
Web Link

The hypothesis has also been made that global dimming, due to particulates in the atmosphere, has mitigated the effects of global warming.

Of course, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. That would be like saying "I saw it on a TV show" back in the day.

@Nayeli wrote:

"Please don't rely on shaming, ridicule or ad hominem."

This is an online news site comments section. You were expecting..? I know that doesn't make it right, but it goes with the territory. It is the same in nearly all news site comments sections, not just here.

"We should let facts (or the presentation of select facts) speak for themselves"

That is confusing the facts with The Truth. ;-) Again, it goes with the territory. You make a good point that everyone can use reason and logic, though.


6 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

I'm not a physicist either, but I still know that Earth is round and revolves around the sun, not the other way around. Despite the phony claims of deniers that the science on man caused climate change is not decisive, it is. To be in the middle of the road at on climate change at his stage is utterly ridiculous, but please don't accuse others of ridiculing the deniers, the deniers are doing such a good job themselves.


24 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio: Please don't lecture me. I am "middle of the road" because I learned a long time ago that even scientists can be wrong. I wonder: Which particular studies convinced you that climate change is man-made? Surely you didn't simply base it upon media reports or Al Gore's silly film with good intentions, did you? You had to have looked up specific reports and contrasted them to make sure that there were no valid counterarguments, right?


4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2015 at 5:01 pm

No one should expect reasoned comments in these articles. I'm not even convinced some of these commenters are people from the area but are rather paid shills.


Like this comment
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm

@Anonymous, you are almost certainly right. No registration, people able to 'like' a post multiple times, the ability to create aock puppets is not good. They should switch to Disqus for the comments section instead of whatever they are using now.


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 27, 2015 at 8:39 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

You are right, there were absolutely no valid counter arguments, only idiotic comments by people associated with the energy sector. There is absolutely no doubt by people not getting their news from Faux or listening to Limbaugh and Hannity. Is this a great country or not? Even flat earth imbeciles don't go to prison.


19 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2015 at 11:42 pm

@ mauricio, ... well I am a Physicist, as in Stanford PhD. From your perspective, I am one of those deniers. From my perspective, you are a painful reminder of the lack of adequate science education in this country.


23 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2015 at 12:36 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio: While I am not a regular listener of Fox News (or, as you echoed, "Faux" News), Limbaugh or Hannity, I still think that it is funny that you think that it is prudent to publicly shame people who tune in to those types of shows.

Are there any other groups that you would like to publicly shame? Are there any books that should be mocked or ridiculed, media outlets that should be banned or relics that should be torn down?

I understand that you have great animosity toward these "flat earth" people that you speak of (even though I have never heard of anyone who believes in a flat earth). I understand that you do not like these "science deniers" (although I would again point out that there is a difference between a "denier" and someone who might reach a different conclusion or even someone who wants to thoroughly study the evidence before arriving to a conclusion).

Still, let me clarify my earlier set of questions: What specific studies did you analyze and consider that led you to your own climate change conclusions and which rebuttals did you read that you decided that any counterargument lacked any evidence for a discussion?

I've taken enough Physics, Chemistry and other science courses to realize that even "evidence" and purported "facts" need to be scrutinized. Otherwise, we'll spend 17 years thinking that mysterious radio signals are coming from space rather than a microwave oven in the break room.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Earthling
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:45 am

Spend a few hundred years on the beach and sea level rise could mean moving a few inches closer to or away from the water.
The only sure way is to wait and see.


4 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

mauricio is a registered user.

There are many thousands of studies I have studied and analyzed. You can start by investigating the following:
Satellite Data
Radiosondes
Borehole analysis
Glacial melt observations
Sea ice melt
Sea level rise
Proxy Reconstructions
Permafrost melt

As far as the-earth-is flat-believers, there still thousands of them in the US, and they are faithful Faux watchers.


18 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 28, 2015 at 11:13 am

@Mauricio: You mentioned various methods to measure aspects of climate, yet you do not provide any specific studies. Please do. Most of the studies by the alarmists have been debunked by the skeptics.

You mention glacier declines. Please see the following:

"THE ARCTIC OCEAN IS WARMING UP, ICEBERGS ARE GROWING SCARCER AND IN SOME PLACES THE SEALS ARE FINDING THE WATER TOO HOT. REPORTS ALL POINT TO A RADICAL CHANGE IN CLIMATE CONDITIONS AND HITHERTO UNHEARD-OF TEMPERATURES IN THE ARCTIC ZONE. EXPEDITIONS REPORT THAT SCARCELY ANY ICE HAS BEEN MET WITH AS FAR NORTH AS 81 DEGREES 29 MINUTES. GREAT MASSES OF ICE HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY MORAINES OF EARTH AND STONES, WHILE AT MANY POINTS WELL KNOWN GLACIERS HAVE ENTIRELY DISAPPEARED."

—US WEATHER BUREAU, 1922



21 people like this
Posted by Deniers among us
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2015 at 11:27 am

Quoting a U.S. Weather Bureau release from 1922? And you want to be taken seriously, Laughton?

And "Most of the studies by the alarmists have been debunked by the skeptics"? Yeah, right.

You're a real laugh riot, Laughton. Now go back and watch your Dodgers.


16 people like this
Posted by C Wilson George
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

> There are many thousands of studies I have studied and analyzed

Thousands? Please .. no one has that kind of time to read and comprehend thousands of scientific studies in topic areas where most people would be less than familiar. So far you have failed to offer us any insight into your education/profession that suggests you have access to, or have purchased, thousands of studies on climate change--much less read them.

And what's very clear is that none of our elected officials are even remotely educated in basic science--much less climate science, which depends heavily on mathematical modeling.

By the way .. the earth is oblate, not quite round.


17 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

>Quoting a U.S. Weather Bureau release from 1922? And you want to be taken seriously, Laughton?

Yes, I do. The Arctic meltdown in 1922 was due to a particularly warm Gulf Stream, apparently...not due to a warmer climate. When the currents went back to normal, the melting ended. If this same melt happened today, the alarmists would demand even more severe remedies than they currently are...all to no effect, other than gaining political power (nobody has figured out a way to control the Gulf Stream).

@ C Wilson George: Thank you for a rational post.


26 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Not even one study has been debunked by the deniers. The deniers just label every study as alarmist and as an attempt by some mysterious cabal that apparently all climate scientists belong to, a cabal existing for the sole reason of destroying capitalism. It reminds me of a flat earther I saw on TV back in the 1980's. He claimed that all satellite photos showing that Earth is oblate and not flat are a conspiracy and forgery. I have the same reaction to the ridiculous comments by Laughton and C Wilson George:I roll my eyes and shrug. There are no scientific studies or papers that will convince them, just like there are no satellite photos, or testimony by actually astronauts who went to space, that would ever convince the flat earthers. I'm not going to waste any time debating either of them.


19 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio: I think that you misunderstand. I didn't ask what type of "research" you looked at. I asked which (of the apparent "thousands" of papers) did you feel were the most convincing. Do you have citations of the ones that convinced you to take the position that you have taken? Do you have citations for the counterarguments that you dismissed as "idiotic?"

I am not speaking of reports from news sources or what you parrot as "Faux News." By the way, are there really "flat earth" people watching Fox News? Do you have citations for this too -- or are you just making it up out of religious-like zeal for a cause that you were convinced of by reading "thousands of papers?"

Still, I would urge you to learn the difference between "deniers" and those who apply academic skepticism.


4 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

I have read thousands of papers in the last 10 years on this subject. I have attended talks and meeting as well. I will give you just one of many "citations" as you choose to call them.

Claim 1: Anthropogenic CO2 can't be changing climate, because CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere and the amount produced by humans is dwarfed by the amount from volcanoes and other natural sources. Water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas, so changes in CO2 are irrelevant.

Although CO2 makes up only 0.04 percent of the atmosphere, that small number says nothing about its significance in climate dynamics. Even at that low concentration, CO2 absorbs infrared radiation and acts as a greenhouse gas, as physicist John Tyndall demonstrated in 1859. The chemist Svante Arrhenius went further in 1896 by estimating the impact of CO2 on the climate; after painstaking hand calculations he concluded that doubling its concentration might cause almost 6 degrees Celsius of warming—an answer not much out of line with recent, far more rigorous computations.

Contrary to the contrarians, human activity is by far the largest contributor to the observed increase in atmospheric CO2. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, anthropogenic CO2 amounts to about 30 billion tons annually—more than 130 times as much as volcanoes produce. True, 95 percent of the releases of CO2 to the atmosphere are natural, but natural processes such as plant growth and absorption into the oceans pull the gas back out of the atmosphere and almost precisely offset them, leaving the human additions as a net surplus. Moreover, several sets of experimental measurements, including analyses of the shifting ratio of carbon isotopes in the air, further confirm that fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are the primary reasons that CO2 levels have risen 35 percent since 1832, from 284 parts per million (ppm) to 388 ppm—a remarkable jump to the highest levels seen in millions of years.

Contrarians frequently object that water vapor, not CO2, is the most abundant and powerful greenhouse gas; they insist that climate scientists routinely leave it out of their models. The latter is simply untrue: from Arrhenius on, climatologists have incorporated water vapor into their models. In fact, water vapor is why rising CO2 has such a big effect on climate. CO2 absorbs some wavelengths of infrared that water does not so it independently adds heat to the atmosphere. As the temperature rises, more water vapor enters the atmosphere and multiplies CO2's greenhouse effect; the IPCC notes that water vapor (pdf) may “approximately double the increase in the greenhouse effect due to the added CO2 alone.”

Nevertheless, within this dynamic, the CO2 remains the main driver (what climatologists call a "forcing") of the greenhouse effect. As NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt has explained, water vapor enters and leaves the atmosphere much more quickly than CO2, and tends to preserve a fairly constant level of relative humidity, which caps off its greenhouse effect. Climatologists therefore categorize water vapor as a feedback rather than a forcing factor. (Contrarians who don't see water vapor in climate models are looking for it in the wrong place.)

Because of CO2's inescapable greenhouse effect, contrarians holding out for a natural explanation for current global warming need to explain why, in their scenarios, CO2 is not compounding the problem.


21 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Given any topic or perspective, I'm sure I could engage in a useful and productive discussion with the likes of Nayeli, Craig Laughton, or C Wilson George, even if we were to disagree. From reading the tone of their comments, I have come to respect their opinions.

mauricio, on the other hand, speaks with exaggerated global pronouncements lacking proof. Corrupting reality is the province of politicians, not scientists.

Unfortunately, the climate debate seems more driven by politicians than real scientists.


17 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio - A "citation" (that not only I call it but what everyone calls it) is not a claim or set of claims but a source. A source is what a person uses to stake their claim and can often come from a secondhand origin.

In fact, I used a search engine to search for the source of what you copied and pasted and it came from the website of a magazine called Scientific American -- which is not a peer-reviewed academic journal. The author, John Rennie, has a bachelor's degree in biology and has spent his career as a writer and performing improv.

That is not to say that the information is necessarily wrong. It just means that you're quoting a writer and comedian with a bachelor's degree in biology to validate your views on climate change and to what extent human beings might cause it. To quote Shakespeare, convincing should be made of "sterner stuff." In fact, I suspect that you probably relied primarily upon peer-reviewed academic studies of the "thousands" that you have read, right? This would NOT include newspaper, magazine or online articles ABOUT those studies but the studies themselves.

The level of expertise that might lead to us being "convinced" of something might vary. After all, both the plantiffs and defense might hire "experts" with conflicting opinions, assumptions and views in a court case. I am more inclined to embrace the facts presented by highly educated scientists and researchers than a reporter.

For instance, I might believe a physicist with a Ph.D. from Stanford -- with no dog, err, funding in a climate-change fight -- who presents facts and shares an opinion about it than a professional "climate scientist" or environmentalist who relies upon funding to "reveal" or interpret facts or actively participates with environmental organizations. Of course, that is just me. Still, I think that no one should be "easily convinced" on any side of a debate.

So, again, do you have any citations for the studies that helped convince you to take the position that you have taken? At what point did you take that position (i.e., how many of those "thousands" of studies did you read before arriving to that conclusion)?


2 people like this
Posted by firmer base-higer house
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm

strong arguments for 3-floor homes with rock-solid basement for all


13 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2015 at 4:58 pm

"Unfortunately, the climate debate seems more driven by politicians than real scientists."

True. The debate among scientists is over. The current "debate" is totally politicians stirring up their base for votes.

I'll trust a scientist over a politician anyday.


11 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm

>The debate among scientists is over.

No, not over at all:

Web Link

Note: This is just one example. There many others. The remarkable thing is that there are those who suggest that the scientific debate on an issue as complex as climate is settled...that is true-believer talk, not skeptical science.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm

AGU position -- Web Link -- carefully crafted over ten years.


13 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm

I'd like to pick up on Nayeli's point about seeking credible scientific information, so here is my contribution:

Let's start with Al gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. I'd loose my Physicist license if I gave the movie any credit, but it did mention a guy named Roger Revelle, as the physicist who first studied CO2 levels and inspired Gore's "interest" in the matter.

I'll refer to his last publication,

What To Do about Greenhouse Warming:
Look Before You Leap
by S. Fred Singer, Roger Revelle and Chauncey Starr
Cosmos: A Journal of Emerging IssuesVol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1992

This is a quote from the conclusion:

"Drastic, precipitous and, especially, unilateral--steps to delay the putative greenhouse impacts can cost jobs
and prosperity and increase the human costs of global poverty, without being effective. Stringent controls
enacted now would be economically devastating particularly for developing countries for whom reduced
energy consumption would mean slower rates of economic growth without being able to delay greatly the
growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

This is my take, which largely agrees with Revelle. CO2 has some role in affecting weather, but it is by far not the only ingredient, and maybe not so significant. There are no computer weather models capable of even coming close to reliable predictions. The models leave out key factors such as variations in Solar energy, and complex reactive responses in nature.

Bottom line, there are no computers or scientists able to predict climate in the far future, the problem is massive, and beyond their comprehension.

Yes, politicians have seized on the issue, oversimplifying to further their goals.

Also, some scientists eagerly pursue climate research because that is where the money is. Sadly, we science types are like any other group of humans, some have high principles, some not so much.


11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Terry: Thank you for this post. I will look this up.


8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm

">The debate among scientists is over.
No, not over at all: Web Link "

It is generally a good idea to actually read the material you reference. To quote from your link:

"Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate."

That's pretty unequivocal, wouldn't you say? Your man says "no hoax"

Settled.


2 people like this
Posted by Jack Wolf
a resident of another community
on Jun 29, 2015 at 7:39 am

You can't blame the rising sea for the insurance increases, but you can blame the fossil fuel industry.


8 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2015 at 10:20 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ musical: I missed it earlier, but thanks for that link. I will try to find links for the formulation of that position statement and read the relevant discussions and science that went into it.


8 people like this
Posted by juan olive
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 29, 2015 at 11:10 am

Remember "Sign it first, then I'll let you read it." Nancy Peloski on Obamacare care's documents. There is no debate from the "deniers" because all the media covers is doom and gloom from the ones holding the information that should and still can be debated.
Of course the reason it isn't debated is because they say "There will be too much shouting back and forth." "It is impossible to argue with Mr. Gore's movie" etc…

Read "The sky is falling."


15 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2015 at 11:17 am

>That's pretty unequivocal, wouldn't you say? Your man says "no hoax"

Curmudgeon, you conveniently left out the following, from the same professor (an Obama advisor). Perhaps you didn't read the entire article?

"We often hear that there is a "scientific consensus" about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn't a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences."

The hoax is not that CO2 levels are increasing; it is that the 'science is settled'.

Best to do more homework, Curmudgeon...or at least read the entire articles that I suggest for your critical enjoyment.


2 people like this
Posted by Important issues deserve disciplined discussion.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

I would like everyone (on BOTH sides) to please stop with the personal attacks. This ugly, tiresome bickering would not be tolerated in my home, and it's embarrassing and disturbing to see it in a public community forum.

Individuals on both sides who are doing this are undermining thoughtful, civil discourse on an important issue--and setting an extremely poor example for the young folks in our community of what appropriate civil discourse can be. What new information (not just unbased opinions and aspersions) can you contribute to make this conversation productive?

I'm trying to understand how anyone thinks this is helpful. This behavior discourages substantive contributions to the discussion. Who would take the risk required to contribute information and ideas in this hostile environment? Maybe discouraging others is your goal. Maybe you want to "own" this venue to push an agenda. You've certainly discouraged me.

Let's challenge ourselves to do better discussing this important issue that has enormous implications for our children and grandchildren. Discuss the issues--rather than attacking each other. Set an example for our children and grandchildren that mature adults can engage productively and considerately to solve problems together.




8 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm

>Discuss the issues--rather than attacking each other

@Important issues: Instead of deflecting to personality complaints, why don't you offer some real, substantive conversation about global warming? By this I mean real scientific facts...not emotional feelings.

Also, if your are confident about your facts, then why not use your real name? I do.


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2015 at 12:57 pm

This dialog shows why Reddit banned these commentators. Why bother? Just lock all topics related to climate change.


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Posted by Julius
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jun 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm

We need to get going at some point on the Golden Gate Dam and perhaps new runoff reservoirs feeding the Bay.


11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Anonymous: Why should you block the flow of free speech? Is it because you disagree with the opposing opinion? I haven't seen too many people get out-of-hand or rely upon name-calling. However, calls for censorship in the name of ideology (including ideology in which you feel that you are right) is akin to what is found in nations that lack freedom of speech, thought or a clear-conscience.

Oddly enough, there are bakery owners that are being sued by individuals who feel that they should not be allowed to have an opinion on issues of morality, law or other divisive topics. For-profit corporate websites like the Huffington Post or even Reddit somehow feel that they are immune to clear discriminatory violations of speech or religion because they moderate their own forums.

If anything, we should embrace free speech and the open sharing of ideas, beliefs or positions without fear of censorship or free speech. Otherwise, the narrative for belief is being controlled by those who control the flow of opinions or presentation of positions. After all, the infamous maxim "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" (regardless of who said it) should be something that any free society can rally behind.


10 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm

For those who take either side of this issue an understanding of the vocabulary of science might be in order and lead to more respect dialogue on this thread.

LAW: The proven facts of science; principles of science.

THEORY: The generally accepted viewpoint of the science community.

HYPOTHESIS: A statement made, assumed as leading to a conclusion.

PREMISE: The explanation from education and experience of an event or happening in nature.

There is plenty of room for respectful debate on climate change/global warming when you understand the definitions above.

Climate Change/Global Warming is purely theoretical. Many in the science community agree with the hypothesis and premise that there is a causal relationship to the earth's warming attributable to man and what can be done about it.

There are also just as many in science who do not agree with that hypothesis and premise and can argue just as effectively for their side.

The bottom line is that climate change and global warming have not been proven to have a specific cause. We can all respectfully debate the subject. That's what makes science interesting.

And it doesn't even have to be political.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2015 at 5:30 pm

"as far as the computer models go, there isn't a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences."

I concur the author seems to repudiate his own approach to physics.

However, that could well be a quote from the NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who compares current conditions to the geologic data record to understand the effects of CO2 injected into the atmosphere by human activity. Hansen's data-based conclusions agree with Laughton's heroWeb Link. So, one more data point showing the science is settled.

I highly recommend Laughton's link Web Link. It has very constructive suggestions about how to formulate policy to deal with the coming crisis.


2 people like this
Posted by Lee Thé
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 29, 2015 at 7:45 pm

Lee Thé is a registered user.

The debate over whether dangerous, man-caused global warming is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately ended a decade ago. Vigorous climate research continues to refine our models and understanding of the particulars, but the Big Question is no more debated within the scientific community than the questions of whether tobacco causes cancer or whether lead is toxic in any quantity to humans.

This where my training in sociology kicks in. In the cases of lead and tobacco and CO2 emissions, science was turned into politics by wealthy, powerful special interests who stood to profit in the billions from keeping the public from pressuring the government to regulate the relevant industry (and in the case of climate change, to also stop the taxpayer dollar handouts and to give substantive support to alternate energy development).

Yet as you can see from this thread here in the heart of Silicon Valley, the are people who appear to be completely unaware of the facts that the science is settled and the propaganda campaign is using the same playbook the tobacco and lead industry used.

But also, even here in Palo Alto, many people are lazy thinkers. Climate is a difficult area of study. In the whole world there are at most around 10,000 actual climate scientists across 70-odd countries. Not meteorologists, not astrophysicists. Climate scientists.

I have decent analytical skills, and some scientific training, but I wouldn't presume to think I know more about climate science than those hardworking 10,000 men and women who have made this field of study their life's work.

Which leaves me wondering what sort of hubris could lead someone who isn't a climate scientist to second-guess the experts in such a field? That takes some serious chutzpah.

I look at the reasons they give for their positions--you can read some on this thread--and it's a case study in self-deception--confirmation bias, cherrypicking data, serious innumeracy without realizing it--believing anything ill of the opposition and nothing ill of those in one's tribe (however you conceive "tribe")...

These are errors of thinking that are not confined to the political right. Many leftists' opposition to nuclear power, to GMOs, to vaccination (also opposed by lots of right wingers), even to acknowledging that there's such a thing as race, to failing to consider the consequences of one's political positions (on immigration particularly)--all show the same sorts of lazy, truncated, emotions-driven thinking that so many right wingers display about global warming.

Ideology ruins minds. But it's so tempting. Adopt a political ideology and you get to live in an us-good them-bad world where you feel at once perpetually aggrieved and perpetually cosseted by those who pander to your side.

Lastly, denying global warming has nothing to do with conservatism, logically. But it has everything to do with being reactionary. No one on Earth says "I'm a reactionary." But when someone who says he's conservative starts denying reality this way, that's when he reveals his true colors.


16 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Lee Thé:

You wrote: "The debate over whether dangerous, man-caused global warming is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately ended a decade ago."

The problem with this statement is that it automatically invalidates any alternative thoughts, theories, etc... It makes the assumption that "global warming" is a "dangerous, man-caused problem."

The debate is not a black-and-white issue where one side is undoubtedly right and the other is undoubtedly wrong (or vice versa). Most people will acknowledge that many scientists have detected a rise in temperatures over the last half-century and, more accurately with more reliable measurements and instruments, over the last two or three decades. People who label (or try to "shame") alternative thoughts often do so under the pretense that people "deny" that certain scientists have detected measurably warmer temperatures.

Rather, the debate is multi-faceted.

One question that is oft-debated is the extent that MANKIND plays in measured warming versus other potential causes (e.g., solar activity, solar maximums/minimums, spacial-distance placement during orbital revolution (also accounting for gravitational pulls of outer planets), forest fires, etc...).

Another question is whether or not measured temperature change is actually due primarily to natural "suspects" or if they are part of a natural long-term climate cycle. After all, the Earth has been cooling, warming and cooling again for millions of years and there is no such thing as a "normal" temperature. It was warmer millions of years ago (when dinosaurs walked the earth) than it is right now. Climate cannot be detected over a short-term period -- and even five centuries since Columbus first arrived in the Americas is really "short-term."

I think that the narrative of those who aren't "sold" on the idea of global warming and, more accurately, the indictment of mankind as the primary cause has been controlled to the point that it seems to now shame alternative thought. Like I wrote, it isn't a black-and-white issue in which one group can feel so morally superior to the other that they can shame the other. It isn't so set-in-stone that all skepticism, hesitation, reluctance, desire for greater proof, questions of causality (or faulty causality) or all other alternative notions should be silenced for fear of shame. This is unscientific.

Science welcomes scrutiny. This should be a mantra of all scientists. I would also point out that some people might value one scientist over another. For instance, I am a bit more receptive to a planetary physicists than a climate scientist whose bread and butter relies upon a particular narrative. Others might respect the views of the climate scientist under the belief that there are no financial or agenda-related motivations behind their vocation. Still, there are stories that circulate about climate scientists who fudged their findings to fit a narrative. That can damage the respect for their work.

I think that it is healthy to not be easily-convinced. Before we "believe" one way or the other, we should have a healthy degree of skepticism. Instead of relying upon journalists, politicians, pundits or alarmists (on either side of the debate), we should be willing to look at first-hand sources and examine and scrutinize the evidence and ask those sources the questions that we might have.


15 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Lee The,

Please do us all a favor, and provide the three most significant data sets that supports your contention that "dangerous, man-caused global warming is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately ended a decade ago"

I am all ears!


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2015 at 9:43 pm

"The problem with this statement is that it automatically invalidates any alternative thoughts, theories, etc... It makes the assumption that "global warming" is a "dangerous, man-caused problem."

There is no assumption that "global warming" is a "dangerous, man-caused problem. The science is unequivocal. Read the text at Laughlin's citation Web Link .


13 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2015 at 11:27 pm

@ Nayeli, well said. Your clarity of reason is much appreciated, at least by some of us.


15 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2015 at 12:05 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Curmudgeon: I am not so easily convinced by a newspaper article written by a hand-selected member of a politician's administration. To claim that "the science is unequivocal" is ludicrous because it most certainly isn't (which is why there is a debate in the first place).

To try and shut up or shame those with whom one disagrees by claiming "the science is unequivocal" or "the time for debate is over" is a tactic used by some groups to control a narrative. They aren't correct no matter if they use the media to shout this same statement (or statements like it) over and over again.

Otherwise, I have some wars in the Middle East that I would like to quickly sell.


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 30, 2015 at 6:24 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The debate about the science has been over for at least 10 years now, the science is indeed unequivocal. The deniers are an exercise in self deception and falling for the incessant propaganda financed by the Koch brothers.

[Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by farmer james
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 30, 2015 at 9:30 am

"Science welcomes scrutiny. This should be a mantra of all scientists."

Oh, it is!

For every 3 deniers, there are 97 scientists who have scrutinized the Exxon/Koch funded 3, and are telling you that those 3, and the loons that believe those 3 and Exxon, are wrong.


Fact:

- The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880.

- This also marks the 38th consecutive year (since 1977) that the yearly global temperature was above average.

- Including 2014, 9 of the 10 warmest years in the 135-year period of record have occurred in the 21st century. 1998 currently ranks as the fourth warmest year on record.


NOAA Web Link


Go ahead and tell us how you read some Newsweek article 40 years ago...


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2015 at 10:06 am

Here's an example of global atmospheric temperature not rising as fast as the IPCC models predict -- Web Link (from real climate research scientists). Accompanying commentary explains the fallacy of "denialists" who try to exploit such discrepancies. The models are incomplete, and aren't able to accurately tell us every twist and turn of the future. But we're on the right track based on the proven fundamental principles behind those models.

Steve Koonin's "Climate Science Is Not Settled" article (Wall Street Journal, linked several times above) points out the unknowns of ocean influences and of water vapor feedbacks. He flat out says CO2 from human activity is indeed influencing the climate, probably at the same magnitude as natural variability. But the unknowns still loom large, and it would be disingenuous for science to claim that it's settled how much the sea will rise by 2100 if we don't act.

Climate policy should ignore both the deniers and the alarmists, and figure out what trade-offs 7,000,000,000 people are willing to make in face of admitted uncertainty. Most people seem to have bigger problems.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2015 at 10:40 am

"To claim that "the science is unequivocal" is ludicrous because it most certainly isn't (which is why there is a debate in the first place)."

The debate is not scientific, it is political, pushed by professional politicians pandering votes from their nonscientific base, which is a much larger pool than the scientifically literate populace. Give politicians credit: they are much smarter than their constituents [Portion removed]. (The incendiary SCOTUS gay marriage decision may deflect the pols from climate skulduggery for a time, however)

But I digress. I knew that showing how a citation posted by our Denier in Chief actually supported the warmie case might be a bit difficult for some to follow, but the irony of the WSJ being so subtly snookered was too delicious to pass up.


17 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2015 at 11:07 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ "farmer james:"

You wrote: "Oh, it is! For every 3 deniers, there are 97 scientists who have scrutinized the Exxon/Koch funded 3, and are telling you that those 3, and the loons that believe those 3 and Exxon, are wrong."

First of all, real scientists (those who don't rely upon funding or wages gained from assigning blame for issues) don't resort to name-calling.

"Deniers."
"Loons."
"Koch Brothers."
"Faux News."
"Exxon."
"Halliburton."
"Big Oil."
"Debate is over."
"Less intelligent."
"Shameful."

Words (like those above) are thrown around by people who are trying to control a narrative -- not individuals who simply presenting evidence to validate a conclusion. It is also devices used through timeless ad hominem tactics -- the attempt to discredit the opposition in order to advance one's own argument. These sort of words are far more politically-inspired than science-inspired. They serve to distract from evidence by creating rabbit trails of debate rather than focusing upon evidence and the proper scrutiny of evidence.

Are you seriously arguing that anyone here is "funded by the Koch Brothers/Exxon?" Seriously? Hey, if they were willing to fund me with big money to find evidence of something, I might have considered it if I didn't have thing thing called a CLEAR CONSCIENCE." To be frank: Your argument makes no sense from the get-go because you're arguing from the get-go that people are paid to be part of some well-funded conspiracy to discredit climate change.

However, despite the "boogey men" argument levied against the Koch Brothers/Exxon as well as some of the people in this comments section, I will address my issues with the "facts" that you presented:

1.) NOAA said that the year 2014 was the warmest surface-temperature year on record since records began in 1880. HOWEVER, accurate temperature measurements -- on a global scale -- were not measured in 1880, 1930 or even 1960. It wasn't until 1980 that standardized measurement techniques were adopted. Interestingly, this is when the most notable "warming" trend was identified. Web Link Even now, NASA, NCDC, UEA and other organizations, agencies or universities use different methods to calculate "average global temperatures." Moreover, 2014 was minutely warmer than 2005 (the previous record) with most years indicating cooler temperatures between 2005 and 2014 (with 2008 and 2011 being about the same average as 1995). Why the fluctuation (drops and spikes) and lack of uniform increases?

A more accurate statement would be "The year 2014 was measured to be the warmest year (across global land and ocean surfaces) in modern times and potentially since records began in 1880."

Of course, no one is actually debating the statement (except, perhaps, to question the anecdotal use of 135 years worth of inaccurate measurements over the more accurate 35 years of more recent measurements) -- and the failure to remind the reader that even 135 years of measurements (accurate or not) is less than a drop in the bucket and not enough to identify climate "averages" and "norms."

Most importantly, it is a measurement of effect rather than cause. This is not necessarily an indictment on mankind or even industry. Since we know that the Earth always warms, cools, warms again, cools again, etc..., what other issues might affect short term (i.e, 35-135 years or more) temperature climbs?

2.) "Above average" - This term is misleading because the "average" is a modern number. There is no ongoing, unchanging number that is the "average" in terms of global temperature. Why? The planet is always warming and cooling and often experiences cycles that result in higher or lower temperatures. There have been numerous ice ages and subsequent warming periods. Fluctuations in the amount of insolation (incoming solar radiation) are the most likely explanation of large-scale changes in Earth's climate during the most recent Quaternary period. In other words, variations in the intensity and timing of heat from the sun are the most likely cause of the glacial/interglacial cycles -- perhaps caused by Milankovitch cycles (which occur approximately ever 26,000 years) and result in what is referred to as "astronomical seasons" (and which occur on other planets orbiting the Sun too).

3.) Again, the 135-year record is a bit misleading because we have to question the uniform accuracy of temperature measurements prior to 1980. From 1880 to 1980, those measurements might be as accurate as having four mercury thermometers in four areas (living room, bedroom, bathroom, garage) of your home in 1980 to come up with an average versus having a hundred digital thermometers (five placed along specific spacial increments in every room of the house -- including the kitchen) in 2015.

Most importantly, the temperatures spikes over the last 135 years (but more importantly and accurately over the past 35 years) don't necessarily indict mankind. Perhaps mankind is solely to blame. Perhaps mankind is partially to blame with other factors accounting for other issues. Perhaps there are other factors that might be primarily to blame and mankind is being used as a scapegoat. The point is that temperature measurements are just that -- temperature measurements. They do not point the finger. There are different THEORIES to the causes of a steady, albeit minuscule rise in temperatures (mostly since 1910 -- but with some spikes and drops from one year to the next).

Human beings are just one potential cause. There are many other factors that influence climate and weather. We can observe temperature and weather changes on other planets and even theorize climate change on Mars roughly over the same cyclical nature as what is measured on Earth.

So, to be clear: No one is denying that the temperatures on Earth are being measured to have increased over the last 35 or even 135 years. Few people would argue that -- although some might want to see, verify or scrutinize that data (especially over the last 35 years). The big question is the role that humans potentially played in that warming trend. Human beings did not cause the last ice age or subsequent warming period. Human beings didn't cause the last "baby ice age" or subsequent warming period. Human beings didn't cause the last cooling trend (that ended around 1911 by the same measurements relied upon to measure warming trends). By the way, it is interesting the the last cooling trend dipped about 0.6 degrees below the "average" (as stated by climate scientists) while the current warming trend indicates a similar 0.6 degree increase above that same average (as stated by climate scientists) since 1911.

Source: I don't read Newsweek very often and would never "cite" it as proof for anything. However, I still have my textbook from an Astrophysics class that I took in college a few years ago. I also use Bing, Google and Google Scholar (as well as scholarly journal search engines). :-)


6 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 30, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Curmudgeon,

I don't think you realize the trap you have set for yourself. The link I provided (shown below, again)is a sober case that the science is NOT settled, especially with regards to future predictions. I invite all to read this article (the full article, without stopping to cherry pick a sentence here or there). Have you done that yet, Curmudgeon?

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2015 at 2:31 pm

"Have you done that yet, Curmudgeon?"

Yes, and I encourage everyone to do likewise, including especially my challenger, Mr Laughton. For easy reference, here is the link Web Link

Koonin specifically states:

"Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate."

That is a ringing clear refutation of the deniers' thesis. Nothing he says elsewhere in his article cancels that.

BTW, my friends call me Curm.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm

"I still have my textbook from an Astrophysics class that I took in college a few years ago."

Excellent! Here's a relevant problem you should be able to solve.

Given an integrated solar flux S incident on the earth, an earth albedo a, and earth emissivity e, find the temperature of the earth in radiative equilibrium with the sun. Plug in realistic numbers and tell us the range of results. This is an open-Google quiz.


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

There are millions who swear that the Universe is 6000 years old. They use the mumbo-jumbo "intelligent design" as their scientific reference point to make their silly arguments on the origins of the Universe. Climate change deniers should be treated with the same eye rolling and shoulder shrugging ridicule. There is no debate anymore. Man caused climate change is not in doubt, accept by those with a political and financial agenda like the Koch brothers and those fooled by their propaganda.


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Posted by z
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

>> There are millions who swear that the Universe is 6000 years old.

The Bible gives no date for the Creation. Misguided clergy find that number by applying Godless arithmetic, a Harlot of Satan, to the Bible's sacred narrative.

Surely their thoughts shall be counfounded unto the end of days, and the truth shall elude them.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm

>> "Man caused climate change is not in doubt"

Yup, certainly between 0 and 100% of what we observe, though we can't really model it. The rest is natural.


14 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio: Really? Seriously? You bring up a group's religious doctrines in a discussion about climate? I actually wondered when someone would do this.

What should we do? Since Christian fundamentalists are such a threat to the progress of the state, why don't we arrest them all, tattoo numbers on them, take away their ability to teach, close their churches, burn their books and banish them to reeducation camps?*

*Yes, I am being sarcastic.

BTW, religious groups all over the world have different sets of beliefs. I suppose that we could allow you to go through them -- one by one -- and publicly mock as "silly" every belief that you disagree. We could begin with Christianity (since you already started mocking those beliefs) and them move to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and continue until every last religion has their beliefs scrutinized.

No?

Okay then. Can we stay on topic rather than digress to conversations about religious groups and their beliefs that you feel so egregiously are apparently disgusted by?


13 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 30, 2015 at 6:36 pm

I would highly recommend reading the link in question. I don't like cherry picking, however since the alarmists insist on doing it, here is one nugget that they prefer to overlook:

"Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century."

Note: Facts matter. We have been abused by alarmist tactics and propaganda. It is time to settle down and pay attention to facts. For example, the Antarctic ice cap is not seriously melting down, and neither is the Greenland ice. The polar bears are not drowning. The earth surface temperature is not increasing, even though CO2 levels are increasing. Ice core data demonstrates that increased temperatures precede CO2 levels (not the other way around).


8 people like this
Posted by Sheeple
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Could not agree more Mr Laughton


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Bravo! Marvelous cherry picking there, Laughton, marvelous. Absolutely nothing in context.

Again, from your man Koonin Web Link , with feeling:

"Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself."

Nothing in your hero's article contradicts that.

Cherries, or sour grapes?


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm

@Nayeli

How're you doing with that little astrophysics problem I set for you on Jun 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm?


You and the readers will find the result very instructive.


11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 1, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Curmudgeon: Why should I answer your "little astrophysics problem?" This is called a "rabbit trail" (or straw man). My concentration in college and graduate school was not in Physics. While I took an Astrophysics course (and a couple of other Physics courses) as an undergraduate student and earned all A's in my math courses in the university, I'm not exactly in practice right now.

Instead of wasting my time, why don't you explain it yourself and why it is relevant to the discussion (other than to prop yourself up -- apparently as an Astrophysicist). Since there are other accomplished physicists here (like Terry), he could verify your answer and address whether it has any real relevancy in this discussion.


9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 1, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Ok, Curm, I'll bite. As all frosh physicists would say, it's intuitively obvious to the casual observer that for radiative equilibrium, energy_in equals energy_out. And here the energy_in factors are solar flux, cross section of earth, and (1 - albedo), while energy_out is earth's surface area x emissivity x sigma T^4 (Stefan's familiar law). Cross section to surface area for a sphere is simply 1/4. So by inspection, and using your letter symbols, we have:

S (1-a) /4 = e sigma T^4

For S = 1362 W/m2, a = 30%, e = 0.7, and sigma = 5.67E−8 W/m2/K4,
we get T = 278 kelvin, or +41 F.

The next step of course is to add an absorbing and reradiating atmospheric layer of greenhouse gas. The real world gets much more complicated, which makes the earlier point that no matter how much the best modelers have added, we can't predict the future (or past) with much accuracy, and localized results are literally all over the map.


5 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm

>Again, from your man Koonin Web Link , with feeling

Thank you, Curmudgeon. The more mentions of the link, from the Obama advisor, the better. I encourage everyone to fully read it. The science is NOT settled, despite the desperate claims to the contrary by the true-believer alarmists.


6 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2015 at 12:20 am

Well, I was hoping this conversation found a graceful end, but I was wrong.

@ Curmudgeon, your June 30 "rabbit trail" is illustrative of the real problem we are dealing with. Hopefully, musical satisfied your need for math, but the freshman problem you offer is only useful for maybe calculating the temperature of a tennis ball floating in space, ( as in who cares?). In the case of the earth, all of the variables are a function of time, and there are factors beyond our imagination influencing emissivity. But the real point is that the problem is vastly oversimplified, just as the computer models used form the "ominous predictions", which don't even consider critical variables such as solar flux variation.

Now I want to agree with mauricio, I am sure the Global Warming Science was settled 10 years ago, ... for mauricio. But unfortunately I missed the memo. If Global Warming Science is settled, could someone tell me what event, what conference, what definitive research actually extinguished the debate? And yes, what was the date it was officially settled?

For me, the saddest thing about this conversation is not about the global waring issue, but the first hand observation of a few closed minds. Fortunately, a number of enlighten souls have joined the debate, and that gives me hope.








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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 2, 2015 at 6:16 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The continued debate exists only in the imagination of the deniers. There is no debate anymore. There are people who still claim earth is flat and the Universe is 6000 years old. Who cares?


8 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2015 at 10:18 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio: Can you cite me examples of 100 individuals who believe that the Earth is really flat? This notion was rejected long before Columbus sailed to the New World.

Straw man?


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm

@musical

Bravo! You've done the zero-th order climate model. (Some authors use e=1, which gives T=0 deg F.) As you aptly point out, the atmosphere has a profound effect, a major one being to trap some outbound heat (lowering the effective emissivity) and raising our global temperature.

As every engineer learns, you get 90% of the answer with the first 10% of labor.

The next step is to recognize that CO2 is a heat-trapping gas. Although it is not the only one, it is the one being increased daily by human activity. One only needs a modicum of smarts to see the implication: global warming.

Supercomputer-based climate modeling, which denialists mistake for the main story, is details.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm

>The next step is to recognize that CO2 is a heat-trapping gas. Although it is not the only one, it is the one being increased daily by human activity. One only needs a modicum of smarts to see the implication: global warming.

The problem with theoretical models is that they need to match with actual observed facts. Fact: CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing. Another fact: Measured earth temperatures (from satellites) are not increasing. Must be a problem with the theoretical model...could it possibly be emissivity sensitivity? If it is, then the alarmist claims that CO2 levels are critical are not critical thinking. Then again, there is much non-critical thinking by the alarmists...I am still waiting for them to explain the 1922 meltdown in the arctic.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm

@Curm, hardly that simple. CO2 absorbs infrared only at specific wavelength bands, and was already opaque at those bands when at a natural atmospheric amount of 280 ppm. An anthropogenic doubling of CO2 will not double its opacity any more than doubling the thickness of a picket fence.

Technically not opaque, but "optically thick", and we're launched into equations of radiative transfer and approximations of local thermodynamic equilibrium.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2015 at 12:07 pm

"@Curm, hardly that simple. CO2 absorbs infrared only at specific wavelength bands, and was already opaque at those bands when at a natural atmospheric amount of 280 ppm. An anthropogenic doubling of CO2 will not double its opacity any more than doubling the thickness of a picket fence."

It's hardly even that simple. You need to account for spectral leakage due to collisional and Doppler line broadening. Here's a popularized account (which doesn't use those words but explains the effects) Web Link

But we're gettinto too much detail. The point is that the earth would be much chillier without the greenhouse effect. Atmospheric heat trapping is real.


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Posted by Sheeples
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2015 at 11:37 pm

"But we're getting into too much detail". Exactly, the details reveal the facts which you apparently don't want to acknowledge


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

"Exactly, the details reveal the facts which you apparently don't want to acknowledge"

Would you be so kind as to share those details with us? To be really rad, the facts also?


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Posted by Sheeples
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Quite a few have already tried very patiently and with pure science not biased by politics. It's obvious you do not want to acknowledge or see any other viewpoint, it's your way or no way.

What's been most enlightening (and promising) is to see not everyone has drunk the Koolaid.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I find it kind of alarming how uneducated our population is on certain things
like climate change, and ... uh, science.

Sure, science has made some big mistakes in the past, and we will never have
everything right or know it all. Science is a process and even political.

That does not mean that the circumstances are the same in the two cases of
past climate and future climate. It is the variables involved, not the people or
process involved. That will always, hopefully be being worked on, and even
improving. .

Because of population demographics and this will probably be true for the
foreseeable future, most of the scientists that ever existed exist today, and there
is more knowledge faster more reliable and easier to get at than every before,
not to mention analysis techniques. There is an explosion of science, engineering
and data collection, as some other commenters have even mentioned when they
want to support the opposite conclusion that there are no problems in the world
that technology cannot solve.

The point is that the planet we live on today is unlike planet Earth in any other
era sufficiently enough so that pointing to the past as an indicator of the future
is, should be, almost embarassing.

It's not even that there is not much more to be learned about climate, and
how it changes, and the environment ... there is no doubt that there were great
extinctions too in the past ... but human beings did not exist then, could not
do anything about it, and did not depend on an environment to maintain
planetary norms. To make such an argument, that because the past was one
way the future is going to be that way too, is just the suggesting that non-
thinking is somehow acceptable argument. Nope, it's not.

Maybe for an ostrich.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 8, 2015 at 2:05 pm

>There is an explosion of science, engineering
and data collection, as some other commenters have even mentioned when they
want to support the opposite conclusion that there are no problems in the world that technology cannot solve.

The major point, regarding technology today, is that it is exponential, not linear. Such exponential technology WILL be the solution to abundance for every person on this planet...with less environmental degradation.

An even greater misconception that the alarmists spew is scarcity. It simply is not true! This scarcity scare is the old Paul Ehrlich sermon...and he was proven wrong. People can have greater abundance and an improved lifestyle, using less resources...just think of your own computer. It is also possible to provide much of electrical and motive power, going forward, without using fossil fuels (if you are foolish enough to insist on that).

This is, indeed, a new era, and we should be demanding more technological development, not less. Above all, we should reject alarmism.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 5:21 pm

>> Such exponential technology WILL be the solution to abundance for every person on this planet.

Craig, you don't seem to get it, technology may have to bring about a solution .... but most of us don't want to live in air-conditioned domes and wear space-suits when we go outside ... I don't give a rat's patootie. Technology can never bring back what we have lost once we lose it. Why don't you seem to get that?

All the Soylent Green and Soma they can manufacture may be an acceptable solution to you, but why do we need to find out? Fix it before it breaks.


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Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

And today we find out that Exxon was aware back in 1981 of man caused global warming but preferred instead to fund the deniers for 27 years before admitting that climate change is indeed a fact.
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by AirPollution
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Palo Alto becoming SFO's dumping ground is much more of a concern than this!


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm

>Craig, you don't seem to get it, technology may have to bring about a solution .... but most of us don't want to live in air-conditioned domes and wear space-suits when we go outside ... I don't give a rat's patootie. Technology can never bring back what we have lost once we lose it. Why don't you seem to get that?

I don't get it, because it is absurdly alarmist. Technology has already cleaned up the smog that was prevalent 40 years in Palo Alto (and LA basin). It also provides enormous efficiencies among lifestyle choices. Nuclear power (gen IV) promises enormous advantages, including saving the wild lands in many poor areas, where collection of firewood is a big factor in deforestation. BTW, nuclear does not produce CO2 while in operation.

The scarcity/warmie alarmists are guilty of stifling a much better future for the planet. We will all be better off with abundance and prosperity.


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Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Technology, yeah. But get with modern technology. Dump your antiquated nineteenth century petrofossil technology.


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Posted by sheeples
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:25 pm

sigh


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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