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This article provides a brief and essentially non-technical evaluation of some aspects of the global warming discussion, mainly concentrating on the inadequacy of the Kyoto Protocol as a result of two oversights. The first is the failure of the Kyoto conference on the environment to encourage a larger deployment of nuclear energy in the main industrial nations, while the second is the bizarre promotion by that gathering of global emissions trading (or cap-and-trade schemes) as an efficient scheme for the large-scale reduction in greenhouse gases. Much of the argument in this article is an extension of the chapter on global warming in my new Energy Economics textbook (2007), however that chapter failed to foresee the recent decision by President George W. Bush to acknowledge scientific evidence relating to global warming.
If the world were as rational as portrayed in most conventional economics textbooks, this contribution would be quite unnecessary. But as George Monbiot (2004) informed his readers: “The dismissal of climate change by journalistic nincompoops is a danger to us all”. I think that we can remove “journalistic” from that sentence (and substitute ‘eminent’), because I doubt whether, at the present time, the ladies and gentlemen of the press are much different than most of us where this topic is concerned. They too have become more sophisticated in that they are no longer willing to believe that ‘scientific truths’ retailed by self-appointed ‘gurus’ are worthy of their attention. It might also be useful to note that while the word “nincompoops”, or its equivalent, is not unknown in my daily conversation, I prefer another description for most of the persons that I occasionally encounter who believe it imperative to repudiate global warming: well meaning but slightly misguided believers in pseudo-scientific bunkum.
Under no circumstances do I regard my understanding of this topic as comprehensive or special, even though it takes up a fairly long chapter in my new energy economics textbook (2007), but I feel that one item deserves to be repeated to acquaintances and students until it becomes as ingrained as the General Orders that infantry recruits were compelled to learn in the United States Army when my ‘friends and neighbours’ voted me into that delightful club. There are still a few deluded scribblers in circulation who want us to believes that the overwhelming majority of scholars who say that climate warming is the real deal are anti-American loony-tunes, while the miniscule number of academic first-raters who insist that the talk about global warming is hysterical nonsense deserve to be honoured as paragons of scientific virtue!
As an example I turn to the superstar journalist Paul Johnson, whose intellectual firepower and sustained success puts him streets ahead of the know-nothings identified by Mr Monbiot as climate warming doubters. I must confess that from time to time I have greatly enjoyed what Mr Johnson has written, and strangely enough this also applied to his article in the Spectator (2004) in which he tells us to “pay no attention to scientific pontiffs” (in the matter of global warming) – unless, I suspect, they are ersatz scientific pontiffs. What I particularly liked about that fruitcake advice was that it furnished a modicum of proof that Johnson’s high intelligence and access to the corridors and restaurants of power did not make him a wiser human being than those of us who for one reason or another have come to roost much lower on the social scale.
To make a long story short, Johnson regards these scientific pontiffs as snotty neurotics who, because of their shortcomings in dress and/or manners, have no right to interfere in matters dealing with the climate. His principal negative roll models are the late Oxford University scientists Henry Tizard and Lord Cherwell, both of whom were scientific advisers to the UK prime minister Winston Churchhill during World War II, but who when summarily banished to academia after the war, morphed into bad-tempered misfits.
Tizard is a man whose life and longings are a complete mystery to me, but I know – which Johnson apparently does not – that Cherwell risked his life during the first world war to show that a spinning aircraft could be pulled out of a dive, and he was also a key player in the design of the UK air defence in the crucial years before the second world war. (I won’t bother to go into here what could have happened if that air defence had failed.) Johnson’s idea of a real scientist – or “boffin”, to use his language – is Bjorn Lomborg of Copenhagen Consensus fame, who is a total non-participant in the genuine scientific literature on any level, and whose recent appointments in the great world of Danish higher education suggests to me the kind of gratuitous welfare handouts that characterize Swedish higher education. As for The Copenhagen Consensus, this is a conclave of well-placed academics who were brought to wonderful Copenhagen on several occasions to discuss topics about which they knew little or nothing, and given their backgrounds and specialities cared less. The only consensus that could be associated with the participants in this half-baked charade was that travel and lodging at the expense of Danish taxpayers is even more gratifying than drinking beer in Copenhagen’s Tivoli on a summer evening.
Among other things, Johnson said the United States has done more research on “so-called” climate warming than the rest of the world put combined (which is almost certainly true), and this was why – he claimed – President Bush refused to comply with the Kyoto Protocol. Ostensibly, that very expensive research failed to establish a definite link between climate warming and man-made emissions.
Perhaps this described the situation when Johnson’s precious composition went to the printer, but it definitely is not the case at the present time. Just a few days ago President Bush said that “Science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it.” It has also opened new “possibilities” for understanding certain related prospects that, according to Sir David King, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, might eventually have the same ruinous impact on life and property as a succession of large-scale terrorist attacks. By that he was undoubtedly alluding to physical security and the overall economic outlook. This does not mean that the Chief Executive has become a partisan of the Kyoto ‘talkathon’, or accepted the scam known as ‘emissions trading’, but for one reason or another he has decided that he has enough on his plate without challenging the opinions of the overwhelming majority of qualified scientific expertise who reject scepticism in this matter.
One final observation needs to be made here. Monbiot labels the climate warming sceptics “tools of the fossil fuel lobby”. I’m not sure that he is correct with that designation, because according to the economics and finance that I teach, the oil and gas people do not need a “lobby” to go to sleep at nights with thousand watt smiles on their faces. On this point it is interesting to note how climate warming sceptics have a tendency to flaunt other strange beliefs, one of which inevitably focuses on what they think is the plenitude of energy resources. The gadfly Lomborg, for example, once declared that we do not need to start worrying about an oil shortage in the present century.
I can complete this introduction by confessing that global warming is a topic that I once considered removing from my new textbook – until I became aware of which way the wind was blowing. By that I am not talking about research grants or plane tickets, but the gradual acceptance by the present and the next president of the United States – regardless of his or her name – that global warming deserves serious reflection. I think that mainstream economic theory has no problem proving that the well-off (as a class) would be more discomfited by the melting of glaciers at Courchevel and the flooding of waterfront real estate in Carmel (California) than the poor, even if many footloose plutocrats were still able to afford apartments in e.g. Dubai that are on the block for five million dollars a room, or at the other end of the scale, cosy hideaways on the great south side of Chicago or in Soweto. Wehrmacht Sergeant Christian Diestl in Irwin Shaw’s brilliant war novel ‘The Young Lions’ spoke of the US as “untouched and untouchable”, but as things now stand, some extremely choice properties in North America would be in the danger zone in the event of a severe climate meltdown.
NOT THE GLOBAL WARMING MOVIE
“The mind that has feasted on the luxurious wonders of
fiction has no taste for the insipidness of truth.”
- Samuel Johnson
The purpose of this brief section is to exploit the presentation of global (i.e. climate) warming outlined in a recent book by David Goodstein, who is provost and professor of physics at California Institute of Technology (2004). Goodstein’s thesis, simply put, is that global supplies of fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) are limited, and will largely be exhausted during the present century. Even worse, the carbon dioxide (CO2) that they will generate during this exhaustion process could provide the basis for an environmental catastrophe that begins with excessive climate warming’ (i.e. the widely publicized ‘greenhouse effect’).
There have, of course, been traumatic catastrophes before, however a few decades or so usually sufficed to erase most of their visible traces. I’m thinking here of various plagues that swept across Europe during the Middle Ages, or even the physical and economic devastation that I encountered shortly after World War II when I was an unwelcome guest in Germany and Japan. But the catastrophe being referred to above might take a much longer time to go away. In fact, it is possible to envisage a drastic scenario where, for all practical purposes, it will play a decisive role in the entire future human experience.
The sub-title of Goodstein’s book – The end of the age of oil’ – is to some extent misleading, because the main issue is not oil but climate warming. But oil is important for the exposition, because the hypothesis being offered is that when it becomes clear that oil is a relatively scarce commodity, there could be a panicky rush into coal (which in theoretical work is sometimes labeled the backstop resource), and while there may not be enough economically attractive coal in the crust of the earth to keep the global economic machine operating at full blast for longer than the remainder of this century, there might be an amount that can produce a quantity of CO2 that is capable of throwing the climate of this planet into an undesirable state. (Remember also that e.g. motor fuel can be produced from coal.)
What we are dealing with here is a theory and not a fact; but since I think that I am still in possession of enough thermodynamics to understand the basis of Goodstein’s reasoning, I have decided that it deserves more attention than the sort of thing that we constantly encounter in academic economics, where a few Nobel laureates and Nobel candidates in economics display a comprehensive lack of scientific literacy, and in some cases are little more than agents of various special interest agendas.
The “undesirable state” referred to above would be characterized by a great deal of privation, the consequences of which Goodstein wisely chooses not to consider at great length. However a recent study carried out under the direction of the US Department of Defence (i.e. the Pentagon) drew the conclusion that the television audience will not take kindly to the suggestion that they should assume a non-motor fuel state of mind, which would be highlighted by the need to exchange Cadillacs for canoes in order to paddle down flooded roads to the nearest shopping mall. Instead, their political masters might conclude that a less objectionable lifestyle could be obtained if various military resources were used to expropriate the assets of neighbouring states, to include valuable bits of territory.
Goodstein opens himself to attack on two fronts: the first concerns this matter of the exhaustibility of fossil fuels, while the second has to do with the probability of a climate meltdown. I have discussed both of these topics to a limited extent in both my energy economics textbooks (2007, 2000), and in my opinion he is absolutely correct about the first. Fossil fuels are definitely scarcer than the popular imagination is prepared to concede, and it shouldn’t take much more than another decade to bring this distasteful fact home to the most obdurate flat-earth economist – as certain self-appointed energy experts are sometimes called. (Readers can also refer to the Organization for Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) for an exhaustive review of this topic.)
As for the second, there is still some question as to the magnitude of the probabilities that are appropriate – at least where I am concerned – because I cannot compel myself to entertain the degree of certainty enjoyed by Professor Goodstein. Let me make it clear though that if I were forced to choose, I would go with the overwhelming majority of world class scientists (and especially climatologists) who say that global warming is not science fiction, and steps must be taken immediately to reduce the output of greenhouse gases that result from various transportation and production activities. At the same time let me confess that I would not be optimistic about an arrangement in which the opinions of non-scientists, to include myself, were judged to be worth a great deal in this matter, other than when those opinions had to do with identifying certain kinds of charlatans – to include charlatans in the financial world who are manoeuvring for seats in the first-class coach of a possible emissions trading gravy train: the kind of scheme that is akin to the major defect in the blunder known as electricity deregulation.
Even if many academic economists are intent upon confusing theoretical contrivances and econometric overkill with scientific proficiency, a few of us have started to review the policies that are or should be adopted to deal with global warming. As alluded to above, this will require a much closer scrutiny of the effectiveness of marketable emissions permits as a tool for limiting the output of greenhouse gases, and also making a fair assessment of the advantages of using nuclear energy. A modicum of assistance may have been received from Hollywood in the form of a ‘scare’ film with the title ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, however even if Hollywood truth and objective truth are usually not the same thing, it should be appreciated that this film might help to introduce the general public to some of the background and vocabulary of climate warming.
Although I cannot imagine any enticement short of a very large cash payment that would cause me to personally view this film, I do not take the position of a past chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is that Hollywood has done the scientific community a disservice with this ‘project’. That gentleman once noted however that if we do not go far beyond what was achieved at Kyoto, then greenhouse gases will continue to increase in the next decade in the same way that they have in the past twenty years. Consequently, I infer that this might be the kind of outcome that is best explained to the voters by a Hollywood extravaganza, instead of a gathering of climate scientists and/or Nobel laureates, or on the other hand a crank congress like Bjorn Lomborg’s ‘Copenhagen Consensus’. Why do I think this? I think it because Sweden is one of the most literate countries in the world, and yet the ‘cream’ of international economists were unable to explain to the Swedish electorate that it was an enormous economic and social mistake to become a part of the European Union (EU), or to accept electric deregulation.
The United States government failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but even so that country is such an impressive supporter of climate research that I cannot help believing that if the Kyoto Protocol made economic sense, then President Bush would not have any problem supporting it, since it was his father who signed into existence the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which initiated the process leading to Kyoto.
But to my way of thinking it does not make ANY economic sense at all , although for reasons that do not correspond to those originating in the West Wing. To begin, if the 2500 delegates to the Kyoto meeting had been serious people, then a large number of them would have insisted that immediate steps should be taken to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, instead of waiting ten years to install what the prominent New Zealand economist Owen McShane has termed a pseudo market for trading emission permits. Insistence was not their way of doing things however, because first and foremost many of them did not want to risk not receiving invitations to subsequent global warming jamborees.
The Kyoto meeting also ignored the obvious beneficial effects that nuclear energy has in the matter of reducing the stock of atmospheric CO2. This unfortunate oversight can perhaps be indulged, because regardless of the personal beliefs of voters about nuclear energy, to include the fact that a majority of them are favourable, most politicians are capable of recognizing that (anti-nuclear) environmentalists often have an amount of political power that is completely out of proportion to their numbers, and this has been particularly true in countries like Sweden and Germany. I would like to suggest though that in the kind of world in which these environmentalists claim that they want to live, an increase rather than a decrease in nuclear based power might turn out to be the optimal strategy.
In the film referred to above, the son of the hero finds a place in the Manhattan Public Library to rest his weary bones from the havoc raging in the streets of ‘The Big Apple’. The implication is that in a library which contains a large slice of the world’s wisdom, it should be possible to uncover the kind of scientific knowledge that will keep New York City from ending up at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. But in my candid opinion it would have been more appropriate if that young man and his friends sought refuge in a phone booth with a direct line to people like Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis, because there is nothing in any book ever written, or perhaps can be written, that is capable of explaining how to restore the kind of life that we enjoy today in the wake of a climate warming catastrophe. Instead, what we require is access to platoons of Eastwood/Willis ‘space cowboys’ or ‘astroid tamers’ – noble men and women who, assuming that they exist in the real world as well as on the silver screen, possess the kind of charisma, street smarts and metaphysical assets that would allow them to plunge down into the depths of the Gulf Stream and deal with nature on its own terms.
According to Marshall and Lynas (2003), every scientific institution and national government in the world now endorses the conclusions advanced by the IPCC that global warming is a major threat to the planet’s future. This sounds to me like a slight exaggeration, although it is compensated for by their presentation of a quotation by John Gray in his book Straw Dogs: “The mass of mankind is ruled not by its intermittent moral sensations, and still less by self-interest, but by the needs of the moment.” I completely agree, because exhaustive self-interest involves thinking ahead, and so the implication is that the “needs of the moment” will prevent even intelligent people from taking action on things like climate change until its effects are extreme. Of course, by that time, where this particular phenomenon is concerned, it will probably be too late. This is a major reason why I am against meetings of the Kyoto and Rio variety: they reinforce the impression that significant progress can be made in solving any problem merely if the right signatures are put on this or that document.
My recommendation where the climate warming issue is concerned is to go beyond mastadon conferences, and to work at the highest political level. The reason is that if this problem is not solved, we may eventually find ourselves confronting something that cannot be put right by the expenditure of trillions of dollars, or the ruining of tens or hundreds of millions of lives: something characterized by the kind of complexity that run-of-the-mill conference delegates without immediate access to the best available scientific expertise cannot possibly be expected to comprehend, even if by some miracle they were inclined to do so.
But should it happen that these delegates comprehended it perfectly, there is no guarantee that they would take the optimal action, because as Marshall and Lynas would probably suggest in a more comprehensive analysis, it might disturb the particularly acute form of self-denial that characterizes the people who foolishly paid for their plane tickets and hotel rooms of this travelling circus. My memory may be vague on this subject, but if I remember correctly the looks on the faces of men and women in the badly damaged cities of Germany and Japan were mostly expressions of confusion. They simply couldn’t figure out how things could have gone so badly for such wonderful people as themselves, although if they had asked and if I had known at that time (which I didn’t), I would have been more than happy to clarify the situation for them. I wouldn’t however have said that it was a matter of “implicatory denial”, or “cognitative dissonance”, to use the terminology of Marshall and Lynas, but simply referred to a famous old adage: when you dance, you eventually have to pay the piper – and this is true even if he is a rotten musician!
The thing to take notice of is that in a situation where dancing and its joys is a metaphor for an increasing rate of consumption of increasingly scarce fossil fuels, an illogical faith in renewable energy, a sanctimonious rejection of intrinsically safe nuclear energy, a naive resort to gimmicks like emissions trading, and the counterproductive tolerance shown climate-change deniers who confuse the issue by calling world-class climate scientists propagandists and myth-makers, paying the piper could easily involve something bordering on bankruptcy for a large part of the human race, particularly if the global warming wolf turns up at the door in his take-no-prisoners mode.
Part 2 of this paper will be published tomorrow on EnergyPulse.
For information on purchasing reprints of this article, contact sales. Copyright 2013 CyberTech, Inc.
Professor Banks - With some exceptions, I am glad to see your article here. Without a doubt, you will, eventually, see a broad spectrum of complaints, ranging from "Huh? WHAT did he say???" to claims that an academic such as yourself has no appreciation of "real world issues".
The former may be somewhat deserved , but the latter is certainly not, IMHO, as you seem to have a good grasp of the very real possibility of calamity within a century.
Where I disagree with you: 1 - Cap and trade emissions programs can work just fine, as they have done well in the US for NOx and SOx reductions. The caps have to be agressively targeted, and have some serious financial teeth to enforce them. If current total US emissions of 5.7 giga-tonnes of CO2 per year were offset by existing "carbon credits" bought from the European system, or from our own Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), would cost us a mere $57B per year, less than 1% of GDP. The technological and economic activity that would result from trying to meet the demands of a strong cap-and-trade system would be a huge economic stimulus, spanning many industries, and benefitting millions of workers.
2 - There really is enough fossil fuel, much discovered yet not recovered, plus much yet undiscovered, I am confident, to last us for a long time if we choose to do so. That is NOT a good thing, however - it is in fact TOO MUCH of a good thing. Fossil fuels permitted us to successfully start and then "enjoy" the Industrial Age. But just as the Bronze Age and the Iron Age gave way to the superior Age of Steel, so must the Fossil-Fuel Age give way to a superior "Age of Benign Energy", which we can only characterize now by what we think the possibilities will be - Nuclear, Solar, Wind, Renewable Carbon-Hydrocarbon, Hydro, etc. I very frequently refer to 'abandoning 19th century energy technologies and supplanting them with 21st century ones' - this is what we need to be on track for, and doing, starting yesterday...
What I am hoping to see in the second half of your article (which I'll be reading within minutes), is that we are only going to be convinced of the need to affect the current situation by very strong political leadership, from both our actual political leaders, and our socio-political leaders (public figures whom we admire and trust), with a good dose of dramatization thrown in. After all, the visions of nuclear devastation which were quite public during the Cold War are what drove us and our leaders to avoid it.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.14.07
Thank you for the comment, Richard, it's just what I need to begin this discussion. First of all, let me make it clear that where the mechanics of global warming are concerned, I am strictly a babe-in-the-woods. There are a large number of very intelligent persons contributing articles and comments to this forum who will have to take charge of that very complicated issue.
But I do know a few things about economics. Emissions trading functioned in the US (they say) for NOx and SOx because the market was domestic. If you look at the contributions of David VIctor (at Stanford) and Ruth Greenspan Bell (at Resources for the Future), they provide explanations as to why it probably won't work internationally. Incidentally, several of the top economics theorists in the US have now come out in favor of carbon taxes, and this is true also of at least one important economist at the Cato Institute - which is a super free-market facility. Let me also note that I would never - in any circumstances - trust the advertising of organizations like the CCE and (in Europe) Nordpool in a matter such as this. They are in the business of making money and not suppressing CO2. At the same time I want to point out that I was one of the first economists to praise the work of derivatives exchanges in the US and Europe where managing energy risk is concerned, and you will find a chapter on derivatives in my new energy textbook.
As for cap-and-trade providing a strong economic stimulus, many industry people in Sweden and Germany have said that it will be a disaster. Consumers in this country (Sweden) should also feel that way, given what has/could happen to the electricity price. In the matter of there being enough fossil fuel, I am prepared to agree that there is a lot of coal in the crust of the earth, but I would never make the same statement about oil and gas. Yes, there is a huge amount of oil and gas available in the form of known reserves, and more will be discovered, but mere availability doesn't impress me given what I know about the distribution of these reserves, and a few other things. For instance, talk has already started going around about the possibility of an oil price of $80/b. In the light of the other financial market worries, that would not be a good thing.
Finally, where political leadership is concerned, they are finally moving in the right direction. And you are right when you say that a good dose of dramatization is useful. The venue at the Asian Institute of Technology was packed when the film of Al Gore was shown. Unfortunately I found it impossible to attend, because Mr Gore is NOT my favorite guru.
Len Gould 8.14.07
Absolutely agreed on all poinits, Professor Banks, though perhaps I might suggest a short discussion as well of "odds". eg. from my investigations I've concluded that the odds of a future catastrophy caused by GHG emissions are actually fairly low, likely "in the range of" less that 10% liklihood. However, given the scale of the events possible within that 10% chance, it is IMHO just not something that anyone with a whit of human empathy, esp. for their own grandchildren, should countenance. It appears to me that a lot of the mislabeled "denier" crowd are simply in fact persons who would agree on my estimation of odds, but consider that a fair chance to take.
But then again, I may be wrong in that perception.
Jim Beyer 8.15.07
Let me see if I can add meaningfully to this very interesting post. I recently read Jared Diamond's "Collapse" wherein he examines civilizations that fall and those that don't. One of the more common themes he discovered when investigating such places as Easter Island, The Mayans, and the Vikings in Greenland is how things tend to go bad fairly quickly, and not long after their civilizations have "peaked". Environmental change often played a role in these collapses. Most of the collapses were triggered by growth of civilizations beyond the level that the available resources could sustain them.
One could argue with our tightly interconnected society, it is possible that a significant environmental change (but short of a true catastrophe) might nonetheless be enough to severely disrupt the global economy. For many people, that would be just as bad for them as an environmental calamity.
It seems most likely that as oil and NG stocks become depleted, humanity will turn to using more and more coal. It will take enormous will and discipline on the part of humanity as a whole to refrain from this likely scenario. People will have to ask themselves: Do I make my life and my children's lives harder so that THEIR children's lives will be easier?
Malcolm Rawlingson 8.15.07
Well Fred - once again a brilliantly written and very entertaining article.
The notion that it really does not matter whether CO2 climate change is real or imagined took me a while to digest. But of course you are right - the real issue is that we are going to run out of fossil fuels in the not too distant future....and that of course would be a REAL catastrophe if we have not found a replacement in the meantime.
The attendees at the various climate change meetings who have burned up hundreds of thousands of tons of fossil fuels getting to their conferences and staying in expensive air conditioned hotel rooms so that they can pontificate on how bad the rest of us are at burning fossil fuels really tells all - they are really not serious about climate change themselves. As you say - if they were seriously worried or concerned about it nuclear power would be a major plank in their arsenal of technologies...but of course it is not and they are not serious at all. That truth is self evident.
However arguing till the cows come home about whether the garbage science used is right or wrong is entirely irrelevant to the issue. The greatest benefit will be a massive increase in the use and deployment of nuclear energy which will get us off the fossil fuel addiction once and for all....and that is a good thing.
So for persuading me that it is not worth arguing with fools - I thank you very much indeed. If the net result of the mad dash to get away from fossil fuel use is to shutdown all the coal and gas plants in the world, the result will be either blackouts (political suicide) or a widespread use if nuclear energy with a few windmills thrown in to make the Al Gore clones of the world look good.
But I have one worry Fred and maybe you can allay my fears on this score. If we are able to convince ourselves that faulty consensus science is good what if the next round of faulty science leads us to a consequence that is not so desirable. What I see is the destruction of the scientific method which is based upon provable and repeatable demonstration of a theory.
Milliken (a REAL scientist) devised an experiment where the weight of an electron was determined as one one thousand eight hundred and fortieth the weight of a proton can be repeated by any scientist worth his or her salt. The weight of an electron is not and never will be based on consensus just as the value of Pi (3.142......) .is not the subject of consensus but provable and repeatable mathematical derivation.
I fear that if we let this (Kyoto Krapola) go unchallenged then we will have lost the very basis of the developed world and we might as well use spells and magic to devise the next scientifice breaththrough.
The loss of the scientific method bothers me a great deal.
While I have I have resisted the temptation up until now but can resist no longer. I do feel obliged to point out some new scientific evidence that points to the basis of climate change science to be seriously flawed. I am not a climate scientist - all I understand is neutron chain reactions - so I read the work of people whose work is well researched and respected - NASA in this case.
NASA recently (and rather quietly) corrected its temperature data - the very data used to make the case that the world is getting warmer - especially so in recent years. It has been shown to be wrong and NASA corrected their errors. The data nowshows 1934 (not 1998) to be the hottest year on record. The data on which the climate change experts based their pronouncements is not correct - the data now shows that in fact the 1930's was the warmest decade and contained most on the hottest years on record. Not the 1990's. Here is the link to the source of that information. You can call NASA to confirm if you like.
But if you do not value proper scientific method then who cares about the correction of such errors.
We all need to care greatly. We need more scientists of the caliber of Galileo and Copernicus to challenge the consensus and fewer political opportunists like Gore who will be shown to be wrong...very very wrong.
However I have decided to start a campaign to name the next Nuclear plant built in the USA after Al Gore - as a monument to his great work of promoting nuclear energy. Very fitting I think.
Jim Beyer 8.15.07
I don't think the global warming problem is about faulty science. The problem with global warming is that (PERHAPS) we need to act now to avert a real problem. It would be nice to have all of our ducks in a row on this, but we don't and we may not have time.
What I think is a good counter-example to AGW was the CFC findings. They were determined (also by NASA) to be eroding the ozone layer. Well, were they really? How sure were we of that? The simple reality is that it wasn't that hard to replace CFCs, so no one fought the findings to the extent that AGW is fought. If CFCs had been more vital and/or harder to replace, I'm sure we'd have had an array of experts disputing the findings of CFC damage to the ozone layer as well.
The accepted validity of scientists' viewpoints is dependent on the economic implications of their findings. This is wrong, but highly understandable. (They were the same or similar scientists, with the same level of training, etc.)
I guess another example would be the Y2K bug. Remember that? Did all that rushing around checking code actually prevent a big problem? Who knows? We may never know.
50 years from now, a number of humans could be sitting somewhere, looking at a devasted planet, and a collapsed society and think "Why didn't they heed those warnings?" Alternatively, 50 years from now, a bunch of people could be yakking in a bar about how stupid people were with the "Great Climate Scare of 2010". We don't know which it's going to be.
We are already running out of oil and natural gas. That should be reason enough to exercise prudence. Coal is somewhat problematic anyways (long term) as a fuel, so looking beyond coal is not unreasonable either. It would seem to me that a reasonable course of action is to begin making steps toward less CO2 emissions, and as more data comes in to confirm global warming, move faster in that direction. But let's not just stand here and wait for the absolute confirmation to arrive. It probably never will. Like the Y2K bug, it's possible that we'll never know for sure if we averted something bad.
And yeah, build more nukes. If AGW is as bad as proponents claim, they can't really argue that the risks of nuclear power are worse.
Jim Beyer 8.15.07
In following Malcolm's link, apparently the NASA error was caused by a Y2K bug! I guess Y2K WAS a problem!
Malcolm Rawlingson 8.15.07
Thanks gentlemen for these interesting comments.
I was (and still am) a supporter of phasing out ozone depleting substances from the atmosphere - because the science was valid it was provable and the mechanism for it was very clear and repeatable. The science most definitely WAS there for the fact that man-made CFC's were causing damage to the protective ozone layer. So I take your point above that some judgement is needed and our reaction to things is somewhat less scientific.
The fact is I have no idea what the result of holes in the ozone layer is...I think it is not good but don't really know.
The link between ozone depletion and increased rates of skin cancer was not there. We have been plastering our children (and ourselves) with SPF lotions because we are now paranoid about UV exposure. Now we are causing Vitamin D deficiencies because we are blocking ALL UV radiation.
So I don't disagree that there must be some subjectivity on what to do once the science is proven but unlike the ozone issue CO2 science is far from proven.
Almost every day the IPOCC work is being challenged. There is now an active debate on whether CO2 sequested in ice samples is actually representative of the CO2 that was in the atmosphere at the time....hallowed ground for the IPOCC but scientitsts are questioning the truth of that assumption - and it may in fact be erroneous. That of course is what science does question question question....and the process should be allowed to freely continue without poltical interference.
And yes Jim is right the NASA problem was a Y2K issue not caught by all the frenzy before 2000. There was a good computer science basis for the Y2K work - tests were done and potential problems were routed out before hand. The science WAS verifiable and provable....of course the very things I see lacking in the CO2 debate.
Jim and our good professor are right on of course in that if the IPOCC REALLY believes what they say nuclear power plants would be the sensible way to go and they would be promoting that solution vigorously.
There is another agenda and it has zero to do with the climate. That is just the excuse and to support it any old science will do.
Len Gould 8.15.07
Malcolm: "scientific method which is based upon provable and repeatable demonstration of a theory" -- As Jim says, how will you prove this? Propose to me the experiment which you want to see the outcome of before you're convinced, and I'll decide whether I'm willing to let the experiment be done. However, i'll warn you in advance that I'm not prepared to accept "Lets just carry on as usual for another 100 years and see what happens." You'll need to do betteer than that, given the irrefutable logic of the probable effect of adding IR blockers to a planets atmosphere whose average temperature is already maintained significantly above that of it's near neighbor, the moon, by exactly those IR blockers.
Paranoia is not science either.
Jim Beyer 8.15.07
Maybe I'm being paranoid, and don't take this the wrong way, but I'm not sure I believe you. If remediating CFCs would have cost 1 Trillion instead of 1 Billion dollars (or whatever the replacement cost was/is) then I'm sure people would be re-analyzing the CFC findings carefully. You are right that Science questions, questions, questions, but it is the scientists that decide WHAT to question. At some point the judgment call on CFCs was made, and part of that judgment call was the reasonable cost of remediation. That's how I see it.
I'm not even disputing the validity of questioning global warming more severely. Since the implications are so grave, it is an extraordinary claim that does demand extraordinary proof. But I don't think the AGW naysayers have found the smoking gun yet. The Kilmanjaro issue is valid, but Greenland is still melting away. The NASA data problem is also valid, but it still doesn't change overal global temperature findings by more than 0.1 C or so. Overall, the temperature is still rising.
There is never a complete resolution to some matters, even among scientists. There are probably some degreed people that argue that the Earth is flat, or that Americans never landed on the moon. People can debate topics forever. The point is that we may not have time to debate this endlessly. At some point we have to make a judgment call.
You also said : "There is another agenda...."
What agenda?? I think I am more paranoid than most, and I see no agenda. :) Why would this green conspiracy or whatever construct an agenda that would present nuclear power in such a favorable light, given their known antipathy to nuclear power in the past? It doesn't make any sense.
Some could argue that Gore is adopting the Machavellian strategy of creating an imaginary threat, which is then dispatched, and thus garnering praise and adolation of the masses. The problem with that is Gore is not running for office, and more importantly, global warming cannot be so quickly dispatched, either in reality or in some fantasy scenario, due to its very nature.
Len Gould 8.16.07
The nuclear industry needs to come up with an intelligent counter-action to jobs like this Greenpeace Accomplishments (Warning - don't go there if you risk problems from high blood pressure. ^_^). One can easily see how non-scientifically educated people, especially younger people, can get caught up in that. Of course the real solution is high-quality scientific education for everyone, witness Finland, but even if implemented, that's quite a long-term solution.
Malcolm Rawlingson 8.17.07
Len, I enjoy your questioning attitude. It is much appreciated and makes me think.
The effects of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere are very difficult to prove or disprove. The global warming advocates have their theories. But there are other theories out there that equally well explain the apparent increases in temperature. They need to be given equal "air time". But it certainly is apparent to me that any one who dares to question that the CO2 camp has it wrong is almost burned at the stake as if questioning a non-proven theory is somehow now unnacceptable.
That is really what I was getting at. When people so vehemently oppose another equally valid scientific view the scientific method has broken and that is a dangerous precedent in my opinion. In fact it is that very reaction to alternate ideas and theories that leads me to believe there are othere motives. Why else would you oppose them when you have no idea your theory is correct? Is your guess better than someone elses guess - apparently the CO2 camp thinks so.
Since you confirm that the theory of CO2 induced global warming cannot be proven (right or wrong) then why are other theories discounted. If you can't prove it then you are guessing. And if you are guessing then there may be an equally valid guess out there.
Scientists listen to them all - they are not scientists if they do not.
On the Greenpeace topic. I will not give that website the time of day. If they had any scientific data to support their position I would maybe get some benefit and would be an avid visitor to it....but I doubt I can learn anything useful from them. The nuclear industry has been dealing with that vocal minority for many many years and the public is getting tired of the same old nonsense. The best way is let them rage on. The public is not stupid nor as uneducateed as some might think.
My neighbours often as questions about the safety of the plant I work at - and so they should. But they see me arrive home safely every day. So when they read the Greenpeace diatribes and compare it with what they see every day the discrepancy is quite obvious. There is no point in even addressing such material. The industry will just keep providing the facts - and the electricity - year after year very safely and very economically. And if the public wants us to shut them down we will. But we will explain the consequences to them clearly first. Public confidence in our operations is number one priority.
Right now public confidence in nuclear power plants is very high and has been so for many years. If a few young enthusuiasts want to run society without nuclear energy then they will need to explain the consequences of doing that to the public. Most of them have not set a foot inside a nuclear power plant so they are not qualified in my opinion to judge. But they are indeed entitled to their opinion even if it is the wrong one.
My direct observation is that members of the public are much less likely to believe a 23 year old Greenpeace activist than someone who has worked in these facilties their whole life and has a bunch of very healthy adult kids and grandkids.
As the old adage goes. Actions speak much louder than words.
We do produce alot of electricity. We do not injure or kill people and we contribute massively to the health and well being of the public we are there to serve.
Our job is to keep the lights on and industry running. Their job is to write meaningless factually incorrect diatribes for a website. I will let the public decide who they want to believe.
Edward Reid, Jr. 8.18.07
Len Gould 8.18.07
Malcolm: Agreed last section. Right on.
However. Re : "When people so vehemently oppose another equally valid scientific view the scientific method has broken and that is a dangerous precedent in my opinion. In fact it is that very reaction to alternate ideas and theories that leads me to believe there are othere motives." What's your immediate reaction when say a good friend informs you that they've discovered an investment opportunity which involves a new means of energy generation based on Tesla's magnetics which needs no fuel input and has been suppressed for decades? They've desided to pitch in theie life savings?
Can you or anyone else disprove the new system scientifically? No. So do you let your friend invest without comment? (I won't, in fact I just went through this a couple of weeks ago.)
My point is that logic is a much larger part of the scientific method that you claim, and logic says "GHG levels to 2x or more what has ever been seen in the past 620,000 years is too risky given what we know about IR blockers and how earth achieves it's energy balance".
Jim Beyer 8.20.07
I don't know why the pro-nuke folks are so anti-AGW. It doesn't even make sense for them strategically. Maybe it's that AGW is the enemy. And GreenPeace is the enemy of AGW. So the enemy of my enemy is.... STILL MY ENEMY!!!
More seriously, to you pro-nuke folks: stay away from gabbing about AGW! It's not your main area of expertise anyway (obviously) and your vehement pressing of poorly supported objections to the theory of global warming will only serve to reflect badly on nuclear power itself. "If this guy is so wacko about global warming, then what would they know about nuclear power?" This reminds me of when Exxon took such a strong stance against global warming, even though oil plays such a small role in CO2 emissions (relative to coal at least). It wasn't their fight. Shell and BP recognized that long before.
I'm not saying their aren't issues with global warming (or wind power, or solar power) that need some further investigation. But it doesn't serve the interests of a pro-nuclear effort to recite lame claims against alternate energy and AGW. Just say how awful coal is and how nuclear would be better than coal.
Maybe there's a huge amount of backed up bile in nuclear advocates that has to come out one way or another. Well, go ahead, rant about this post, and then be done with it.
Kenneth Kok 8.21.07
It is interesting to see the arguments sway back and forth relative to such topics as global warming which get discussed on this site. I recently came accross a report, which may have been referenced here, entitled Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding. It is available at www.keystone.org. The interesting part about the report is the process that is used to bring out the discussion of various topics. The participants very from the Union of Concerned Scientists and NRDC to the Nuclear Energy Institute, Utilities, the NRC and many others. The report is endorsed by this wide variety of participants. The factual information is laid out and points of agreement and disagreement are discussed. It seems that this provides the basis for identifying issues where additional information is required to reach agreement rather then disagreement.
Applying this techniques in the climate change discussion might be a useful technique. I suggest all of you might want to take a look at what results from the use of this process.
Jim Beyer 8.21.07
I looked over the site (www.keystone.org), and found the report interesting. It's quite diplomatic, and in finding agreement, they also didn't say too many controversial things. I thought it was interesting that they stated the unsubsidized cost of nuclear power at around 8-11 cents per kw-hr, which is higher than nuclear proponents would like to think, but also not the $3.00 per kw-hr that the anti-nuke people would have you think either.
BTW, I know this is a thread from Part 2, but if we need 6000 more nuclear reactors, it is easy to find 6000 more sites with adequate cooling (water) to support them? Just wondering.
Andrew Dodds 8.22.07
Tiny pint you failed to mention, NASA's correction was to US surface stations only, represeting only 2% of the globe.. where 1998 and 1934 went from being a stastical tie to being a statistical tie. The effect on Global temperatures was way below significance.
The ironic thing about the ice core closing time (which has ALWAYS been known to be an issue, contrary to what you think), is that it makes the 'Co2 lags temperature' claim highly suspect.
Personally I seriously doubt that significant oil or gas will ever be 'shut-in'[ as a result of even the most aggressive anti-AGW action; the worldwide demand and potential demand is too high. Ultimately it's about keeping coal in the ground; little else matters.
In a coal-replaced-by-nuclear scenario, I suspect you could reuse the old coal plant grounds, which should have access to cooling water. Grid connections and other infrastructure would also be in place..
Rachel Freeman 8.22.07
The attitude expressed here with regards to Kyoto is typical of the US.
The US Government has so far not made any binding international agreements on reducing global GHG emissions. Instead, they criticize and mock the only one that is *actually in place* and being worked with by the signatory countries. Meanwhile US emissions keep on rising and rising.
One of the Stern Report's findings was that international cooperation would be essential in reducing man-made GHG emissions. Creating a workable agreement between so many countries, each one with their own agenda, is extremely difficult, especially when everyone is saying "You first."
Diplomacy has not up to now been great American tradition, but I think it needs to become one. According to the latest climate science, we don't have much more time to play nationalistic political games on the world stage.
Paul Stevens 8.22.07
Rachel, I recently saw a report (within the last week) that US emissions actually slowed down for the years 2005/6 and are now going up at about half the rate of the EU. I suspect that if they had bought into the Cap and Trade system currently in place in Europe, this might not have happened because it would have cheaper for industry to buy credits then try and curry public favour through action.
Len Gould 8.22.07
Paul: Good strong argument against "Cap and Trade". Excellent. Agreed a carbon tax is only way to go.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.23.07
Rachel, I miss your point completely. The Kyoto exercise had little or nothing to do with effective action against global warming. It was for the most part an impotent talkathon - a burlesque - attended by half-educated jet setters.
About Professor Stern. Admittedly, he is a first class mathematical economist, but what you call The Stern Report - a large part of which is the work of Stern's foot soldiers - has no scientific value. And please don't say (or think) that I wouldn't say that to his face, because I would have said it, and he would have taken it and liked it. Unproductive posturing is what that sort of thing amounts to.
Len Gould 8.23.07
One additional point. International agreements which cover at least the largest part of the world's population are imperative to addressing GHG emissions. The whole issue is economics. We can't have group A businesses being forced to shoulder burden A while group B takes a different, percieved less burdensome, approach, at least among economic competitors. That will simply result in defections among Group A (witness present situation). An independent national strategy can work to fight pollution IF the pollutant remains local, eg. SOx, mercury, etc. But for CO2, it can't work. There's no such thing as US CO2 levels or German CO2 levels. Problem is similar to CFC's. We gotta work this thing out.
Edward Reid, Jr. 8.24.07
What happened to your feigned willingness to allow the Chinese and Indians to continue to emit CO2 until they have emitted the same cumulative total as we have?
Anything less than a global solution is doomed to failure, as you said above.
Todd McKissick 8.25.07
I view the Kyoto and similar agreements as critical to success. It keeps the politicians busy long enough for the technical solutions to materialize before the policies kill them with unintended consequences. It would be hard to pick the winners before all the entrants registered.
Len Gould 8.25.07
Ed: Global rules are still required. If those rules should take into account history of emissions, then that too must be negotiated.
Malcolm Rawlingson 8.26.07
Thanks to all of you for so many informative comments. There are three that caught my eye and deserve a reply.
The first is Jim Beyers question about why nuclear proponents would question global warming theory when it is clearly in their best interest to support it.
Jim, that is simply because we believe it to be wrong and the science to be flawed. Nuclear people are very used to manuipulation of data to achieve political goals , we see it daily. The throwing out of erroneous assumptions as though they were factually based. The use of scare tactics to goad politicians and their supporting public to spend huge sums unnecessarily. We have seen it all before. We see the same tactics being used with the supposed warming of the planet. The opinions of those who stand to gain from listening to all of this nonsense ought to be listened to. We have no axe to grind except getting the correct data presented to the public. We see exactly the reverse of that.
The second item was from Rachel. Thanks for your comment. I am not sure why the United States needs to enter into international agreements to reduce CO2 and other gas emissions. As Paul Stevens points out even without such agreements the US is already curbing its release of these gases to the atmosphere and in fact is surpassing other countries in that regard. So where is it written that in order to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions one needs to have an international agreement. The two are not connected. And of course Kyoto almost let China and India off the hook entirely which makes something of a nonsense of the whole show to me. If you were really serious in your belief that CO2 emissions were causing the Earth to heat up then China and India would be central players along with the USA. But as we all know they are excluded as though CO2 produced in the far east is less effective than Western produced CO2. By way of example, every two years the Great Peoples Republic of China is adding more coal fired generating capacity than the entire United Kingdom grid. The UK took over 100 years to develop its grid. China is doing that every two years. Without China being a key player (and of course they will not be) any international agreement is simply laughable and that is why the US government chooses to ignore Kyoto. They prefer to actually DO something about it more so I might add than any other nation. And lastly to my good friend Len the magnetic fields investor. An interesting conundrum Len. Firstly investing is about making money not proving the validity of scientific theory. Fortunately for me I never get the two mixed up. My approach to your friend is simple. First show me the mathematics of how this idea works. That does not involve much money just some time and some effort. The next step would be to set up a small scale demonstration. If it will work on a small scale then it could possibly work on a large scale. If it does not work on a small scale then it simply doesn't work. The third piece of advice would be to explain to me how this technology apparently defies all known laws of physics. You say that it requires no fuel input which I take to mean that there is no energy going in just energy coming out. Nice idea but I think Einstein said that energy can neither be created nor destroyed so one needs to ask the daft question where the energy is coming from. Is your friend is an investor in perpetual motion machines too!!
Thanks to all of you for the most interesting thoughts and observations....and for the record we produced another 600,000 Megawatt hours of emissions free electricity this week. 100% full power all week rain or shine, wind or no wind, day and night. That is reliable power. But Kyoto doesn't support nuclear energy - why?
Jim Beyer 8.27.07
I don't find your answer responsive. I admit that global warming, if real, is scary. As are "scare tactics", so perhaps it is hard to distinguish something that is truly scary from something that isn't. I guess I can see the problem there.
What I can't understand is your lack of trust of climatologists. When you say "we believe it is wrong and the science to be flawed" Are you saying this as trained climatologists? If not, do you have any business whatsoever in even making a statement like that? Can you see how nuclear engineers making statements of strong belief outside their domain of expertise is damaging to their credibility in general? Even in their own area of nuclear power? Perhaps Malcolm feels the overall belief in global warming of respected climatologists is part of some grand conspiracy. Well, I don't believe in conspiracies (even in the nuclear power industry -- I think Karen Silkwood was just a lousy driver).
The Skeptical Inquirer (not known for its liberal viewpoints) recently published a two-part article on explaining the sophist arguments used by anti-global warming proponents. It was an unusual article in that it took pains to debunk the debunking of global warming. I'd never seen anything like that in the Skeptical Inquirer. Of course, Malcolm will feel they have been co-opted as well.
Even if global warming wasn't real, there are credible reasons to move away from coal anyway. Like the mercury emissions, even the emissions of radioactive particles (far more radiation is spread by coal plants than nuclear power plants). Also, 180 Chinese and 9 Americans recently killed in coal mines attest to the continuing dangers of using this resource for power generation.
The point is, there is no substantive, credible evidence to debunk the overall notion of global warming. That's why 70% of REPUBLICANS in the United States believe it is real. That's why Exxon, BP, Shell Oil, Chevron and other oil companies believe it is real. Now, you can say a lot of oil companies, but they are smart. They "know" (one way or another) whether global warming is real, to the best degree than anyone can in the world today. They choose to state publicly that they think it is real.
Contrast this to the nuclear power industry, which ranks (along with perhaps the Palestinians) as the politically least savvy organization or group ever. Like nickel and diming the training needed for their workers, allowing to make a small problem at 3 mile island worse (only a few weeks after "The China Syndrome" opened no less). Like not screaming at the top of their lungs how dangerous the Russian reactors were (and are).
We could have a larger portion of our electricity today from nuclear power, but the arrogance from the industry only succeeds in brewing further distrust from the public, and frankly, I don't blame them. Malcolm says he's used to manipulation of data to achieve political goals. Well, I'm used to the strategic blundering and ham-handedness of the nuclear power industry to encourage loathing and distrust from a wary public. The main thing wrong with the nuclear power industry is NOT the technology, but the short-sighted thinking and hubris of the people that are within it.
Malcolm Rawlingson 8.27.07
Jim, Interesting observtions. To a large extent I agree with you but your thinking is based in the 70's. I do not agree that the public has a distrust of the nuclear industry. Which "public" are you talking about?The French public supports nuclear power to the tune of about 85 to 90%. Not much distrust there. There have been no serious accidents and the French have a great deal of faith in their engineers and technical staff. Recent surveys also indicate the same is occurring in the United States. So you make an incorrect assumption that the "public" does not trust nuclear power plant operators. My local community is fully supportive of the power plant we operate and would like us to build more. That does not sound like distrust to me. Similaerly in Finland the Finnish people seem to be quite supportive of their nuclear industry...apparently no significant distrust there either.
If by the "public" you mean wealthy individuals like Jane Fonda and Al Gore who flit around from environmental meeting to climate change meeting in private jets and limousines then yes you are probably right they of course don't trust nuclear engineers. I don't trust movie actors or politicians to resolve energy issues.
I also disagree that ALL climatologists agree that CO2 emissions by people are causing the planet to warm up.. They do not and there is a range of opinions and much scientifc debate. Only SOME of them agree. Indeed a renowned climatologist from New Zealand who was chairman of one of the IPCC subcommittees agreed in public when interviewed that the prognostications of climate forecasters are probably right only 50% of the time. ie they are about as good as a guess. You are correct in that some parts of the nuclear industry demonstrate arrogance but that attitude is largely a thing of the past. Most certainly not the part I work in. We regard it as a total privelige to operate our plant in this community and we do not take that privelige for granted - not even for a second. But we recognise that we have little influence on other plant operators although we do our best to influence them through organisations such as WANO (World Association of Nuclear Operators).
But I think you would agree that irrespective of whether you like or dislike a particular technology this world of ours is going to require a massive energy source once oil is done. On the scale required there is only one viable alternative and that is nuclear power.
Much of the ham handedness you attribute to the nuclear industry has its roots in political manipulation not in the real people that run this industry. You need to learn to differentiate the two.
In any case it really does not matter much what peoples opinions are. The public is going to have to make a stark choice in the not too distant future between using far less elctricity than they do now or building more facilities either coal oil gas or nuclear. Global warminga activists seem to leave us no choice but nuclear.
Wind and solar may contribute a little but unless you are going to dramatically reduce the standard of living of billions of "public" then it appears to me you have no choice. That is not arrogance. That is fact.
Todd McKissick 8.27.07
Stating something as "fact" when you've proven that you not only know nothing about it, but you repeatedly ignore facts presented to you is definitely arrogance.
Ignoring nuclear's issues that I brought up in the other thread and dismissing without support the scope available for other alternatives despite worldwide support that tops nuclear's support. That is arrogance.
Ignoring the almost daily reports of nuclear projects dealing with local public outcries to stop them is arrogance.
Claiming the France has no issues with nuclear power when large groups are organizing against them for their abuse of the streams and lakes is arrogant.
Discounting the fact that roughly 70% of climatologists are on the GW side by stating the credentials of a single opponent is arrogant.
Ignoring peer reviewed studies that state that nuclear power costs much more than the nuclear industry's estimate is arrogant.
Placing the blame for nuclear's arrogant appearance on political manipulation and the accuser's unawareness is blatent arrogance.
The phrase the comes to mind, Malcolm, is "the pot calling the kettle black".
Despite your extremism pushing me away from nuclear power, I still believe we should consider it in our future mix. That may not be the case for everybody though. If I were you, I would stop the fearmongering about renewables putting the world back in cave man times and start addressing the serious concerns that the real public has with nuclear power.
Jim Beyer 8.27.07
Your second response is again, largely unresponsive.
What public? Umm, the U.S. public. The public that hasn't allowed a new plant build since 1985. That public. I agree that France is somewhat more nuclear friendly. They also have built about half of their reactors close to and upwind of the German border, so if anything untoward happens, it won't affect France all that much.
I never said that ALL climatologists believe that CO2 emissions is causing global warming. You are creating fantasy phrases to try to support your position. There is no credible evidence to debunk the overall notion of global warming. Some climatologists may disagree with that, but most do not. Does that mean absolutely that global warming is real? No. Does this mean we should move forward as if it is real until we learn otherwise? I think it does.
No, I do NOT agree that irrespective of whether you like or dislike a particular technology this world of ours is going to require a massive energy source once oil is done. As I have stated before, I think the problem of oil depletion and global warming are largely separate and separable issues. Global warming is relatively unaffacted by the presence or absence of oil. In the long run, global warming is about the burning of coal, of which the planet has a several century supply. More coal, many think, than we have atmosphere to absorb the CO2 emissions.
Well, I think YOU are being ham-handed. Does that mean you are a political manuipulator?
It absolutely matters what peoples opinions are. (Look back at all the nuclear power plants that have been built in the U.S. since 1985 if you don't believe me.) Yes, they will have to make stark choices. I 'd like to think they will choose nuclear power in those choices. But with attitudes like yours, I can see why they flee from nuclear energy in droves. To quote myself: "If this guy is so wacko about global warming issues, how can we trust what he says about nuclear power?"
To the nuclear power lobby: You might want to speak with Malcolm. He's not helping your cause.
Jeff Presley 8.27.07
AS usual, I agree with what you're saying and as usual, your very intelligence has caused the peanut gallery to attack like a school of sharks, en masse and relentlessly. Even though spending time here is tantamount to wasting time here for me, I can't stand to see so many pile on at once, just because you're not going along with the party line.
First the AGW debate continues for the obvious reason that AGW proponents can't definitively prove their case. People like Len come up with the obviously fallacious and specious argument that the miniscule chances of human caused global warming have to be weighted against the vast scale of the "possible" disaster. This argument is easily disposed of on any number of points, not the least of which is that the extent of the "disaster" can't be predicted and the "best" methods for figuring it out are based on clearly flawed climate models that can't predict... sh*t. That's why the "scientists" won't release their algorithms or allow their models to be critiqued. As Malcolm has so eloquently stated, any theory that can't be proven is at best a guess.
ALL climatologists don't AGREE about anything, as I've proven in other forums here time and again. Yes it is a fact that many MORE individuals are employed as so-called climatologists than 15 years ago and it is an undisputed fact that the BUDGET for climate research has gone up 500 fold in those same 15 years. Now calling out that human caused global warming is a fraud is not the most conducive method to continued employment so even those honest individuals with "reservations" are more than reluctant to state same, and as we see here, because of the political element, speaking out is a GUARANTEED method to attract attack from people who apparently don't have anything better to do with their time...
For Todd, that lack of nuclear plants built since 1985 is based on a number of factors. You can't use that to "prove" that the public doesn't want them. There IS a vocal minority who don't want them, but there are plenty who do, or would, if the facts were available. Clearly economics play a vital role in nuclear plants in this country, and as long as natural gas was cheap, viable and politically expedient, they won the financing day. After NG went through the roof, coal became the next option. The finance people are understandably reluctant to finance nuclear plants because of what happened with WPPSS back in the 1980's. If you don't know about that, you're not as informed as you pretend.
Saying "no one" wants nukes is like those who say "no one" wants WalMarts. That flies in the face of the reality and the millions who shop at them each and every day. The truth is no one wants a WalMart RIGHT in their backyard, but near enough they can shop there conveniently. For all the complaints about WalMart, CUSTOMERS like cheap quality goods, just like they like cheap quality power. If CUSTOMERS got to choose, there'd be a lot more nuclear power plants, but we have "gatekeepers" who have insinuated themselves into the process, like Greenpeace, Sierra Club and politicians pandering to fear and uncertainty and if it isn't already there, they manipulate opinion to try and cause it.
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.28.07
I think that I'll book time with a psychiatrist, because I can't stop repeating that Norway (with 95+% hydro) and Sweden with 43-45% nuclear and probably 47-48% hydro have the lowest power costs in the world. (Note - cost NOT price). Given the attitude of the government in Sweden toward nuclear, a very small amount of algebra should show that Swedish nuclear is about as cost effective as Norwegian hydro, which happens to be the lowest cost - note cost not price - power in the world most of the time. What about the cost in other countries? Answer, who cares: in your neo-classical economics textbook the only cost that counts is the lowest, because the assumption (in that book) is that the others can produce at the same cost if they stay off the sauce, weed, and power naps during working hours, or perhaps just before.
Jim Beyer 8.28.07
Jeff and Macolm,
I don't want to continue to rant against your comments. I am trying to extract the essence of the dispute. From what I can figure out, you both have a mix of doubt concerning the validity of global warming (understandable) and pent up anger concerning the "press" (I can't think of a better word) that has surrounded nuclear power for the last 25-30 years. You often speak of people not knowing the "true facts" and others "manipulating opinions" and how the public wants something but "gatekeepers" keep them from having it. This all sounds Nixonian ("they are all out to get me") and not a little paranoid. Let me give you a little hint: THERE ARE NO CONSPIRACIES. Just a bunch of different people with different skills and different insights trying to figure things out. That's it.
That said, you have made some valid complaints about the validity of global warming. How real is it, how can we know, etc. Well, I gave it some thought, and I have a definitive, provable, relatively verifiable test for you to use to hold global warming advocates to their claims. My test is a question.
Is the Greenland ice sheet melting?
If it is, then we most likely have global warming. If it's not, then we most likely don't. I think this is a good test in many ways. Greenland is BIG, so isolated weather effects won't matter. Greenland is important, because if all or even just some of its ice melts, we will have substantial coastal flooding worldwide. Greenland's ice melt may also perhaps affect the Gulf Stream. Greenland is in a Northern area, so it reflects the notion that polar regions are more acutely affected by a global warming situation. I think it's a good test.
So, is the Greenland ice-sheet melting? Well, it seems to be. In fact, it seems to be melting even faster than it was melting a few years ago.
As to the nuclear power plant building in the U.S. I have an alternate scenario. When 3 Mile Island happened, nagging concerns about nuclear power (perhaps begun with such incidents as Fermi I) became panics and made certification much harder. Projects like WPPSS (Yes, I know about WPPSS, I interned at Hanford in 1981) and the Midland, Michigan plant got bogged down in regulation, causing cost overruns and bankruptcies. Then Chernobyl happened (along with cheap NG) and everyone basically gave up even trying to build nuclear power plants. There were non-starters.
And yes, the customers "chose" that in the sense that if a politician pushed for nuclear power at that time, that politicians voters would "choose" someone else.
I think an issue with both of you is that you hold strong beliefs and you seem angry and annoyed when many people don't agree with you. Well, I can understand that. But either way, this is YOUR problem, not ours. Either your own beliefs are faulty and you need to re-assess them, or you are correct, but are piss-poor at expressing them in a way that people can understand and support. Frankly, I think you are probably right about the validity of nuclear power, and probably wrong about your assessment of global warming.
Several years ago, when I first started ranting about the problematic nature of the hydrogen economy, I got lots of push-back on that as well. But I didn't blame THEM (the pushers). I correctly blamed MYSELF, because I was not articulating the issue well enough for them to understand. So I worked on explaining my position better. Fortunately, hydrogen seems to have mostly died out now, a natural death due to thermodynamic extremism....
If I conveyed the impression that I think there is a conspiracy - my apololgies. I do not believe that - I am an engineer not a flat earthist and facts and figures is how I make my living. I feel there is a need to question assumptions always. Whoever makes them including nuclear proponents and opponents.
I do believe there are many people out there who stand to make an awful lot of money or gain power by scaring the daylights out of people and who are quite prepared to misrepresent data to do it. Al Gore is one.
I would also like to correct the impression that I do not believe the temperature of the earth is changing. It may well be. It has done in the past and it will do in the future. The Greenland Ice Sheet was once not as large as it is now since the Vikings were able to graze cattle there. I can only assume that the earth was as warm then as it is going to be in a few years. While I am not as old as all that I don't believe there were coal burning power plants or cars in the Viking days so there was likely another mechanism at work. I would be listening to the people that have theories that can explain that. Perhaps it is the same mechanism at work today...perhaps it is that plus carbon dioxide. One thing for sure is that the temperature of the earth has gone up and gone down with absolutely no contribution by people. But THIS temperature change is being attributed to people only. I am sceptical of that conclusion based on the data I have seen.
Regarding nuclear power, it was really only the United States that stopped building nuclear power plants. The following countries all have built significant nuclear power industries and are continuing to expand and much of the development has occurred since Three Mile Island. They are. India, China, Russia, Pakistan, France, Canada, Romania, Argentina, South Korea, South Africa, Japan, Finland. I may have missed some out but certainly it is not correct to say that nuclear power plants stopped being constructed after the TMI 2....only in the US.
I am pleased that you agree with me on the validity of nuclear power Jim. It is the numbers not my ability to express the case that should convince you. However I do find it most annoying when certain groups deliberately distort and manipulate numbers to make a false case. I find that tactic quite reprehensible.
I do not disagree with you that the nuclear business has been deficient when it comes to doing things on budget and on time. We can do better. As I have maintained on other posts the key to lowering the cost (substantially) for nuclear plants is to mass produce them..all the same ...exactly the same.
A major problem in past years has always been the irresistable temptation by engineers to make them bigger better and totally different from each other - even within the same technology. It is much smarter to build a series of them all exactly the same as the French have done. That way all the spares are the same, all the maintenance and operating procedures are the same...a much cheaper and much more efficient way of doing business.
To do that of course needs an energy policy that assures manufacturers that there will steady production of plants so that they will invest in the technology to mass produce them. And that is what has been sadly lacking from just about all Western governments....perhaps with the exception of France.
Yes Jim it does make me angry when I hear of miners being killed with hardly a word from Greenpeace and the like. Apparently it is OK to kill miners by the thousand in coal mines but when it comes to some insignificant event in a nuclear power station - well one would think the world had ended according to them. That is total hypocrisy on their part. Please answer me this question Jim....why are these anti nuclear people not camped outside the mines of China telling the Chinese Government to stop killing their miners - FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE EVERY YEAR - just in China alone....a hundred thousand miners or more killed since Three Mile Island which killed -----let me think now.....NOBODY.
Please tell me Jim that you don't see something terribly terribly wrong with that.
Malcolm Rawlingson 8.28.07
Todd, It is irrelevant whether you or I support nuclear power or not. I really don't care either way. The choice is obvious to any thinking person that the scale of energy demand is outstripping our ability to supply it. Professor Banks knows it with oil and our ability to get at readily mineable coal will be challenged soon enough.
The public (whoever that may be) will be faced with a choice between dramatic reductions in standards of living (one option - demonstrated quite well in Africa if you want to see what that is like) or to try and make the paltry supplies of wind and solar energy (actually they are both Solar fuelled) meet the need.
I did not and have never said that nuclear power has a spotless track record. It does not. Neither does any industry...including solar and wind and all the methods you vigorously favour. I encourage you to read the book "The Solar Energy Fraud...why solar energy won't run the world" by Professor Howard C Hayden who is Professior emeritus of Physics at the University of Connecticut. This is a very clever man who has spent his lifetime studying numbers. I quote from his book
"For decades, dreamy-eyed solar proponents have predicted that we would soon get 20% to 100% of our energy from solar sources - biomass, hydro, wind, solar, solar thermal photovoltaics and others. their predictions all failed because they were based on emotional urges and political agendas rather than honest assessments based on scientific and engineering realities"
He explains with energy facts and in very plain language why solar power cannot and never will be able to run a modern industrial society.
I am sure there are at least ten people in France who oppose nuclear power. I don't know what you mean by the word large so I use the number 10 because that is large to me. It does not matter to me whether there are people in France or wherever who don't like nuclear power - there are, always have been and always will be those people. But the FACT is that in France MOST people DO support nuclear power. Is that every man woman and child in France - well of course not. But the simple facts of the matter are whether you like it or not is that they would rather have a nuclear power plant than depend on their electricity being generated from imported coal and oil. I am sure that there are at least 30% of French people that dislike nuclear power (that is more than 10) but they have the choice to shut them all down and use windmills...they don't. Actions always speak louder than words. If people are so opposed please tell me why communities in that country clamour for their opportunity to host a plant and those that already have them want more of them built....if there is so much opposition tell me why that occurs.
If I am arrogant in spelling out the facts to people then I agree I am. If by telling people that they cannot run aluminium smelters, steel plants, nickel smelters, car plants, chemical plants and all the other industries that make our lives more liveable by operating a few windmills that don't produce anything 80% of the time then yes that is arrogant for sure. But the facts are the facts. I can't change them and neither can you. It is a fact as I have stated that on the hottest day of the year in our Province 400 Megawatts of installed wind capcacity was only able to produce 4 Megawatts of electricity. I did not make it up - that is a fact. If that makes me arrogant - well I guess that is the case.
The energy demands of the USA would be far greater than they are right now if hundreds of factories had not shipped their production and energy consumption to China and India. The lights would have gone out a long time ago.
I do applaude you for your efforts to try and find a better way and I certainly do appreciate those who place "their money where their mouth is" so to speak as you have done.
But whether you regard me as arrogant or not the future is going to be nuclear. There is no choice.
Jeff Presley 8.29.07
Go to the following site, watch the video called "Mega Movers Glacier Girl". There you'll see how they recovered a "Lightning" P-38 from under 26 STORIES of ice. Ice that had been built up JUST SINCE WWII, 1942 to be exact. That was over 260 FEET of NEW ICE. So, you tell me, is the icecap melting??? Or just not GROWING AS FAST??? Is it a global climate requirement that Greenland gains 7 feet of new ice every year?
< a href="http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Video_Clips&content_type_id=50607&display_order=5&mini_id=1467"> Glacier Girl
As to your link, what can I say about a so-called research project that went up TO PROVE SOMETHING. People's jobs depend on that satellite giving the sky is falling result that it did, so magically it does just that. Was Gavin Schmidt thrilled that his pet project covered his a$$ after the fiasco with the invalid measurements Malcolm told you about above. Here's a quote from YOUR link: Both the Nature and Science studies use data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which measure monthly changes in Earth's gravitational field.
Liquid water is denser than ice and so has a stronger gravitational pull.
The satellites can therefore measure changes in Greenland's mass over time to determine the rate at which ice is melting.
Gravity Recovery? Climate Experiment? Do we KNOW for a fact that their "science" is COMPLETELY VALID? Are we just stacking MORE unknowns and suppositions on an already deep and unwieldy stack? If the ice sheet has GAINED > 270 feet in the past 50 years, how much is it allowed to LOSE before we are at "equilibrium" (whatever that is)?
I'm just too much of a skeptic to eat all this BS that's being shoved down my throat. I don't care how many people disagree with me, when push comes to shove, the "experts" refuse to come clean with their statistics, their methodologies or anything else that allows their results to be critiqued, and that tells me something is fishy in... Greenland.
Read up on Steve McIntyre's website and you'll get an understanding of these issues. He's right there in your backyard, maybe you could take him out for a beer. :)
Jeff Presley 8.29.07
that link again, with new and improved syntax:
< a href="http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Video_Clips&content_type_id=50607&display_order=5&mini_id=1467"> Glacier Girl
Well it is past midnight here, I'm looking for time slots to waste on this site that won't make me feel guilty about not working on the things I should. :)
Ferdinand E. Banks 8.29.07
I think that the experts are prepared to come clean with their statistics, Jeff, but whether you are prepared to do the work necessary to understand them is another matter. Incidentally, I'm NOT prepared, which is why I stick with the things that I have some insight into. What are these, well, one is that genuine climate scientists know more about climate warming than President Havel, Michael Chrichton, Bjorn Lomborg, scribblers playing games with 'hockey stick diagrams', and your good self - among others.
Let's skip to the bottom line. The way to APPROACH this warming thing is with more nuclear and a portfolio of renewables. How much more nuclear, and which renewables? Damned if I know, but I might recognize the correct answer if I saw it, although I'm not sure. AND NO EMISSIONS TRADING!
I saw a French drama-documentary a few nights ago: 'La fin de petrole (The end of oil).' They seemed to feel that hydrogen was the right answer, but many of the people contributing to this formum have a very different opinion. How is this controversy going to play out colleagues?
Jim Beyer 8.29.07
If I am going to be completely honest, coal miners getting killed in mines is somewhat different than people getting killed from a nuclear power plant accident. The former are (more or less) willing participants in an enterprise they know is dangerous. The latter are civilians leaving near something they were assured was safe by a higher authority.
I think there is the small death count vs. big death count thing going on too. This is akin to why more people are afraid of flying in planes than driving in cars, even though cars are much more dangerous to travel in. But worse case, a car crash doesn't usually kill more than a few people, whereas an airliner augering into the ground creates far more fatalities. So I think there is a human nature element going on here.
For what its worth, I don't think Greenpeace should be camped out in either place. Greenpeace, to put it politely, seems to be very poorly informed about the subjects with which they comment upon. Granted, we probably shouldn't be killing too many whales, but other issues seem to be too complex for them to handle. (Maybe someone should try to talk with them instead of cursing them?)
I think it is part of human nature to fear something as ethereal as nuclear power or radioactive fallout. Invisible and deadly. Just like germs, and we can see how germophobic so many people our these days. Nuclear power has a horrible presentation in that sense. Yes, it is a safe technology, but when things go wrong, you have invisible deadly things scattered about. And how do you know if you are safe? Some government or industry authority tells them "Just trust us".
I suppose electricity is ethereal too, but it hasn't the longetivity/cleanup issues. If something goes wrong, zap! you die. End of story. Kind of like a coal mine collapse. You are just as dead, but there as it least closure to the incident. Chernobyl enjoys much less closure. Though, to be fair, not nearly as many people have died from that as many would have suspected. But I think we can agree that it is bad enough. Fair or not, Chernobyl was nuclear power's Hindenburg, so your PR has taken a huge hit with that one.
You have some justifiable confidence that nuclear is the only option remaining (I guess you DO think the Greenland ice sheet is melting) but that doesn't make it a slam dunk. As Dr. Banks is aware, most of the Western World (except for a few countries, which you have noted) right or wrong, is scared to death of nuclear power. The threat of global warming is changing that to some extent, but they will eye any possible alternative quite strongly. Again, not really my beliefs, but human nature.
Jim Beyer 8.29.07
According to National Geographic, the Greenland ice sheet lost a net amount of 59 cubic miles of ice in 2005. You can doubt their science all you want, but yes, they base their measurements on accepted techniques. People have been measuring ice cover for a long time.
As to "Glacier Girl", I don't think it snowed a total of 250 feet on the aircraft. What probably happened is that the craft slowly sank into the snow/ice over time. As the website says, the craft had also drifted more than a mile from its crash site, so other forces seemed to have been at work as well.
I also wouldn't doubt that similar equipment and techniques used to find the P-38 are also used to measure the ice sheet in general.
Jim Beyer 8.29.07
My 10 cents.
Top 10 important technologies to move to a future without oil and without coal (by choice)
1. Conservation/Efficiency 2. Smart Grid (huge efficiency improvements may be possible) 3. PHEVs 4. More Nuclear 5. CHP/Energy Storage (some minor miracles needed here) 6. Thermal Solar 7. anaerobic digestion (renewable methane from biomass) 8. Wind Power 9. HCCI (engine technology) 10. Solar PV? (if something really fantastic happens)
I should also add "Population Control". Maybe that should be number 0. As in "Zero Population Growth"
If we completely avoided fossil fuels, the future energy mix will be 80% electric, 10% biomass-derived fuel of some sort (if we are lucky) and 10% wholly synthetic fuel (electricity -> H2 -> methane/other)
Len Gould 8.29.07
Jeff: "I don't care how many people disagree with me," etc etc. Point is Jeff, greenland icecap is melting at the same time a) GHG levels are rising b) Earth orbit variations should be sending it back into a cooling phase; and no other mechanism proposed can come up with any measurable evidence for why. Lots of proposed possibile alternate villains, from cosmic rays to who-knows-what, but evidence?
If one is hard-headed like me, one prefers to see evidence. I am also not the least bit interested in just the next 100 years, either. If our current activities leave "a lot" of the greenland icesheets or antartica intact by 2100 but totally melted by 2250, then we've likely by our own arrogance / ignorance doomed civilization as we know it. Most civilizations that fail do so by over-exploiting their natural resources. The one resource that this issue scares me on is river delta cropland. Sure, with our wide open spaces in N Amreica we could likely still feed ourselves in 250 year even if an 80 meter rise in sea levels obliterates most of the missippi lowlands, california, florida etc. But China, India, Bangaledesh, Egypt, Iraq? You want your great---children to know that you knew about this problem's potential and decided to do nothing?
Easter island's civilization flashed out like a lightbulb when they cut down their last trees to use as rollers for erecting statues to their gods.
Jeff Presley 8.29.07
I watched the actual show, and yes indeed, the craft was buried under falling snow year after year, that's how glaciers are formed, LOTS and LOTS of snow. The movement of the craft was because it was on a moving glacier, and you can't be so certain that in the heat of the moment in 1942 the accuracy of the wreck's position was certain. If for instance they used a compass they were already off by about 9 degrees or so at that latitude.
Bottom line on Greenland is it was certainly clear of ice during the time of the vikings, not even that long ago and the oceans were certainly not 80 meters higher (where DO these imaginary numbers come from? o_)
Len wants to panic about 200 yrs hence, when in geological time, that is not quite the blink of a hummingbird's eye. I've stated as clearly as I can that mankind's contribution to global CO2 cannot POSSIBLY be as high as mankind wants to pretend it is. It is narcissistic hubris pure and simple. A few cubic miles of ocean can outproduce mankind's output hands down. Other sources are misrepresented, guessed at and worse. Plants are assumed to be at CO2 equilibrium because they breathe in CO2 during the day, and breathe it out at night. Of course the equilibrium only exists at the equator where there are 12 hrs of each, north and south of there other issues exist, including winter stasis, but the "average" is all that is ever looked at, and it is wrong.
Here's the fundamental problem, and I've seen it elsewhere here in energy discussions. First someone gets to "an average" number, say watts of electricity used per home. Then they multiply that "average" by the number of expected homes, then start playing what if games about percentage usage etc. and pretty soon the numbers are all out of whack. What happened? Mathematically speaking, an average is useless without knowing other things about it, like the population it came from, and the standard deviation from the norm, etc. On the global warming front, a LOT of the numbers are out of whack, starting at the baseline temperatures as Steve McIntyre et al have demonstrated. It has gotten to the point where scientists refuse to relinquish their data to Steve, because he chews it up and spits it out. Steve is a numbers guy, and he knows the numbers are bogus. Now we have a house of cards built up on bogus numbers, and yet that house of cards is deleteriously influencing public policy and our ability to navigate out of the looming energy crises ahead.
Now to the other premise of this discussion; nuclear. I am certain that some future society is going to laugh as much at us for the way we "do nuclear" as we laugh at middle ages "doctors" who used leeches and bloodletting to "cure" fevers. We still treat it only as a heat source and go backwards technologically and use steam to turn turbines to make power. There HAS to be a better way, and hopefully some bright people will figure that out. Unfortunately, in the US, where the money and the resources exist, the actual brainpower has to be imported because "our" bright young minds are horribly educated and/or go on to become lawyers or some other useless profession.
Jim Beyer 8.29.07
This statement is incorrect:
"Bottom line on Greenland is it was certainly clear of ice during the time of the vikings, not even that long ago and the oceans were certainly not 80 meters higher (where DO these imaginary numbers come from? o_)"
The Vikings survived in two small colonies on the Western coast of Greenland. The climate may have been different then, but the vast portion of Greenland was still covered in ice, as it is now. Jared Diamond's book, "Collapse" is one book that clearly explains where the Vikings lived in Greenland, when, and for how long.
If the P-38s were covered with snow, fine. I will concede that point.
But the findings shown in Nature/Science stated a net loss of 57 cubic miles of ice from the Greenland ice sheet. That accounts for any addition of ice due to snow fall.
To the present, the ocean has been a net CONSUMER of CO2. Until a few years ago, climatologists were confused where about half the CO2 was going (the atmosphere "should" have had an even higher concentration). They finally figured out that the ocean had been absorbing this missing portion.
Jeff Presley 8.29.07
We don't know that Greenland was full of ice like today in the first millennium, clearly it wasn't. There were three large settlements then started by Eric the Red, large by the standards of the day (thousands of people). But of course the medieval warming period (MWP) ended and the rest is history. There are a number of good sources on this. Your contention is that it was covered by ice except for these outposts where Eric and his crew lived. My contention is if it were covered by ice anything like it is today, there would be no reason to colonize there in the first place. The settlers were on the southwest portion of the continent because that was on the trade route. The same can also be said about Iceland frankly, and the historical record indicates there wasn't much ice to be had there, until the MWP ended. The presence of drift ice changed the trade routes and frequency of trade with Greenland, and that also contributed to the settlements' demise.
But instead of getting into the weeds with you on this, let's look at it another way. How many cubic miles of ice were missing from Greenland during the MWP? IF they were missing, how deep were the oceans at that time? Remember there were cities like Venice at that time DURING THE WARM PERIOD that were on dry land! Later the oceans came in AS IT WAS COOLING. Isn't this exactly OPPOSITE of the current dire predictions?
The P-38's were under ICE not snow. The reason it was on a show called mega movers was the huge machine they had to invent to cut through the ICE to get to the planes. If it were snow, they could have used a backhoe, instead they used superheated water and a custom setup. This was all BRAND NEW ice, less than 60 yrs old and 26 stories deep. If that ONE area had 260 feet of new ice, how much over an entire continent? If THAT ice is missing, is the climate REALLY changing? Is it a requirement that Greenland keep accumulating ice at the rate of 7 feet per year?
Your final point about CO2 shows the ignorance of the press on these things. The myopic viewpoint is that since mankind contributes AS MUCH AS 3% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere, then ALL of mankind's contribution AUTOMATICALLY is additive to the atmospheric total. This is faulty reasoning on so many fronts I can't even begin to address it here.
To put it a different way, we are like toenail cells and the earth is like a human body. We can observe the corpuscles running around, but we truly have NO IDEA what is really going on. Mankind is TRULY tiny in the big scale of things, only occupies 3% of the earth's surface and has far less impact than you imagine. On the pecking order of impact, I think we just barely have termites beat, just barely.
Jim Beyer 8.30.07
There really isn't much point debating with you. If every point that most would considered established facts need to be debated and contended, no one can get anywhere. Fine, if you think 80% of scientific publications are packs of lines, then yes, NOTHING is as it has been written. So your viewpoint then has a way of being plausible (even though the specifics has no scientific backup whatsoever). So fine, we can ignore the vast about of ice core samples that have tracked the ice sheet over many thousands of years. We can ignore the extensive archeology performed at the two sites in Greenland. (A third site was found in Newfoundland.) We can even ignore the spotty written record by the Vikings concerning the settlements themselves. All of those disparate researchers, working over several decades, in different disciplines, are lying cheats that forged data (over 600 years, if you include the Vikings) just to prepare for the HUGE LIE of global warming, to be perpetrated on us by Al Gore. You go ahead and think that, Jeff.
Would that it be that Mankind is truly tiny to the scale of the earth. That would be great! If we were so tiny, then I guess we can fish for Cod in the NE Atlantic. Oh wait, that population collapsed. Hmm, let's shoot a passenger pigeon. Oh wait, they are all dead. Let's pet a Baiji river dolphin. Oh, they are all dead too. Recall also that it was plant life (a lifeform) that eventually poisoned the atmosphere with that stuff we now call oxygen. Our use of fossil fuels is in effect magnifying the respiration of human life. So instead of our atmosphere being exposed to the output of 6 billion apes, it is instead receiving the output of 6 billion modern humans, equivalent to 60-600 billion apes.
Len Gould 8.30.07
Jeff: That bit about the P-38 on the glacier in south america is completely irrelevant (are you sure it wasn't the european twin-engine passenger aircraft I saw on a Discovery documentary?). Everything that goes into a glacier comes out again. The fact it came out is of no interest, unless you have detailed data on when it was expected to come out and why it's actual appearance at the time and place it did was significant. Which of course you don't. Most of the rest of your stuff is just opinion. Evidence please, re- Greenland ice cover, Venice's annual rate of subsidence over centuries, Icelands ice coverage. Ahh, what's the use?
Len Gould 8.30.07
Greenland's Ice-cap is melting.
Jim Beyer 8.30.07
Len: Jeff is talking about the 6 P-38s and 2 B-17s that crashlanded in Greenland in 1942. All crewmembers survived, but the planes were left on the ice. As time passed, there was interest in trying to recover one or more of the planes. Eventually, one P-38 was recovered from the ice. As Jeff as stated, it was under about 260 feet of ice. The plane recovered was renamed "Glacier Girl" and finally flew again after many years of restoration.
What is unclear to me is what does this mean? Apparently, it was part of a glacier, as the planes themselves had moved more than a mile from their original crash sites. Could a glacier lose water from the bottom, to be replaced by snow at the top? (60 years means that about 4.5 feet of ice would accumulate per year.)
Jeff sort of raises a good point (sort of) but Nature/Science was clear that overall, the Greenland ice-sheet lost a net total of 57 cubic miles of ice.
To be fair, it should be noted that even with horrific global warming, the Greenland ice-sheet could not be expected to completely melt for several hundred years. But even if a portion of it melted, it could still adversely affect coasts.
What is 57 cubic miles of ice? I dunno. Let's round it to 50 cubic miles of water. 1 mile is 1,609,344 mm, so a total of 80,467,200 mm*miles^2 of water is released. How many square miles of ocean? Total area of the earth is 197,000,000 square miles so 70% (sea) of that is 140 million square miles. Divide that out and you have a little more 0.5 mm of water height rise. I think NASA quoted a number lower than that so some other factors must also come into play. But close enough.....
Jeff Presley 8.31.07
I'll happily talk with you about this, Len I'm not so sure, I pointed him directly to the source and he thought it was South America, so we know how well HE pays attention.
Here are my concerns, about ice cores, satellite analysis and everything. What are the underlying fundamentals?
The ice cores make assumptions (which may or may not be correct) about rare isotopes that might be markers of warmer temperatures or greater CO2 concentrations. The corroborating evidence for that is thin at best but a LOT of PhD's reputations are riding on it, so there isn't going to be much dissent on the subject.
The satellite analysis is assuming that the microscopically different density (on a global scale) between ice and liquid water allows them to accurately measure the difference in the ice cap. Now I don't doubt NASA can show me reams of computer printout that shows they've calculated this to the gnat's eyebrow, but this is the SAME NASA that sent a vehicle some hundreds of meters INTO Mars, due to a "slight" miscalculation. That 59 cubic miles is such an ACCURATE sounding number isn't it? They didn't say approximately 60 miles, they made it SOUND like they'd really worked it out. But have they really? Have they done the experiments ON EARTH that demonstrate they can accurately measure the gravitational difference between ice and water, the test should be easy to setup, but I doubt they had the "budget" for that.
And by the way, why use such an esoteric method? They have decades of practical experience with RF, infrared and visual satellites, why aren't they using those? Oh, it is because THOSE didn't give them the answers they wanted! By visual, infrared and microwave analysis, the ice sheet is GROWING. And of course if you're on the ground in Greenland, trying to recover a plane that crashed ON THE SURFACE and it is now buried 260 feet under ice, well you're clearly mistaken aren't you?
Jim, I'm a skeptic for a reason. I've been fed a bill of goods in the past and can smell it pretty well when I'm being fed one in the present. I don't even doubt that the world might be in a warming trend, JUST LIKE the middle ages warming period in fact. The authors of the book concerning the 1500 year cycles would surely agree this is part of a natural process. But people like Len, who suffer from severe cognitive dissonance wouldn't even be able to PICK UP that book if it were on the table in front of them, let alone read it. Of course those authors KNEW they'd face a heap of criticism, so they've used exactly the same weapons as the AGW crowd to support THEIR arguments, and instead of meeting them head-on, debating point by point, the AGW crowd attacks them personally and impugns their motives.
The politics, the hysteria, the hype, the lack of full disclosure by so-called peer publishers and the greed surrounding anthropogenic global warming tells me everything I need to know about its veracity. It IS a bill of goods, billions will be made from it on the part of "CO2" traders and NOTHING will change the inexorable march of natural climate change. It is ALL about political power and money and nothing to do with science. I'd expect a smart guy like you not to carry water for them, unless of course you've worked out a way to personally profit, or perhaps there's a political future in Mr. Beyer's outlook? :)
Len Gould 9.1.07
Jeff: I didn't follow up your reference because it has absolutely zero relevance. If you had the impression that individual points on glaciers remain static, then you're even more wrong than I thought. They move very slowly, agreed. Some more slowly than others also agreed. None of them remain static, however, though there are some in the Antartic which can take several hundred of thousands of years to reach the sea. And the point of that still escapes me reference ANY airplane.
John K. Sutherland 9.2.07
Re: Greenland ice sheet growing? shrinking? Please read the accounts in the reference below. It's up to you whether or not to believe any of it.
'...So what did Johannessen et al. find? Below 1500 meters, the mean change of ice sheet height with time was a decline of 2.0 ± 0.9 cm/year, qualitatively in harmony with the statements of Alley et al.; but above 1500 meters, there was a positive growth rate of fully 6.4 ± 0.2 cm/year. Averaged over the entire ice sheet, the mean result was also positive, at a value of 5.4 ± 0.2 cm/year, which when adjusted for an isostatic uplift of about 0.5 cm/year yielded a mean growth rate of approximately 5 cm/year, for a total increase in the mean thickness of the Greenland Ice Sheet of about 55 cm over the 11-year period, which was primarily driven by accumulation of increased snowfall over the ice sheet. These results turn the central conclusion of Alley et al. (that the Greenland Ice Sheet is shrinking) on its head; and they signal the existence of serious problems with the climate model they cited as agreeing with their faulty view of reality.
In conclusion, it is finally clear that over the past decade or so, at the apex of a global warming that has been characterized as having been the greatest of the past two millennia (Mann and Jones, 2003), the Greenland Ice Sheet has not been wasting away, as climate alarmists claim and as even reputable scientists have been led to believe. It has been growing, and growing at a very respectable pace.'
Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso
Jim: Once an aircraft's wings are covered with ice, it can no longer serve as a heat sink for solar energy and cannot melt down into the ice unless is has its own source of heat melting the ice beneath it. The recovery of the WWII planes was described by Ballard - 'Lost Squadron'. Jeff is correct. Ice built up over it in the intervening years.
As the Greenland ice sheet is about 2.85 million km3, then a loss or gain of about 226 km3/a represents a relatively small percentage (less than 0.006%) which I suspect is well within the error of mesurement of this very uncertain quantity.
Just think of the positive prospecting and mining opportunities too, as well as bigger resettlement, if the ice continues to retreat. Or how they will be locked away from us for a lot longer if it grows.
Skepticism folks! Skepticism!
John K. Sutherland.
Todd McKissick 9.2.07
I'm not sure how this plays into the position of the P-38s, but there's an old science experiment where two weights are hanging from opposite ends of a string draped over a block of ice. In a short time, the string will melt through the ice (and remelt above it's path) due only to the weight. Obviously the force on any one point of the string would be higher than that of the plane, but wouldn't that just change the time for the journey down? String moving 3" in half an hour vs. airplane moving 260' in 57 years is a 488:1 ratio, counting the distance traveled. Does anyone know if the gravitational force of the plane is about 1/488th of the string in the accepted science experiment? Even if it doesn't explain the entire distance traveled, it certainly should reduce the distance traveled due to the ice was building up on top of the plane.
Todd McKissick 9.2.07
As this shows, the issue of global warming due to natural vs. manmade causes is a very complex issue. Nearly all arguments on BOTH sides have factors that are unaccounted for. I really get tired of 'ponents ("O" or "Pro") using incomplete analysis for their side. It's too complex to make a definitive call. Discrediting authorities on either side due to monetary gain is just as pointless but at least that's a societal truism that we expect. My view is that this tactic is equal on both sides at the moment.
Back to the original topic. The question for me is pitting the entrenched fossil fuel profiteers against those trying to eliminate that oligopoly. There are only two arguments that big fossil can make. One is the economic one. If that can be dispelled, then all the other arguments become moot. As the good Dr. Banks likes to say, "I'm in favor of lower prices..." The other is the natural resource one. This includes all forms such as pollution, how much land is used and how many finite resources are used up.
These lead to the question of how to displace fossil with a cheaper solution that fares well on the resource side as well. It seems that argument morphs into nuclear vs. renewables time and time again. Both sides have the capability of solving both problems if done right, but what some say, neither can do it all by themselves. I propose we work to discuss how they can be used in conjunction rather than in isolation.
Renewable costs get bad press because they're not a mature industry yet. Their prices are still high and no info seems trustworthy in where they're headed yet. Nuclear OTOH seems to have an ongoing war with opposite sides claiming wildly different numbers.
I have many times requested details on nuclear's hush hush externalties and can't seem to get a clear and concise answer. If people are to ever consider it as a viable option, wouldn't full disclosure be the first requirement? Malcolm above says:
"Current large plants are 1700 Megawatts more than double the power density we have now for the same land use. So by simply placing new plants on existing sites we could quite easily double or triple the current capacity with no additional land use."
This statement fails to disclose how much land is mined so it becomes meaningless. It also fails to mention that doubling a plant's output (and thusly, it's land density) will also halve it's transmission line land density. We can assume that it's mine land use density will remain the same. On the surface, this looks like a net zero, or a 'wash', but isn't it true that for a given plant, the transmission land use is the largest of the three? So net increase. (To be fair, this applies to all central generation facilities but I'm only comparing nuclear to renewables in this context.)
He continues with:
"However it is a rhetorical question that one could ask of any power source. So I would ask you the question how much of the worlds would the equivalent amount of solar energy consume? Can you provide those numbers in detail? All energy production uses the worlds resources. Solar, wind, geothermal - all of these use the worlds resources. Nuclear is just more efficient at it because the pwoer density is higher. Diffuse energy sources are less efficient at using the worlds resources because you require many many more units to produce the same amount of power."
These questions assume that all the renewables will use single use land and other resources. In the case of solar, it can be beneficial as shade or actual roof materials. This should count as a negative so the statement that "All energy production uses the world's resources." is false. I could list many other negative uses but the biggest one is the very nature of distributed generation eliminating transmission needs. The renewables I know of except for PV, have many dual uses and are all fully recyclable which I don't think can be said for nuclear. It has a large percentage of contaminated metal and and even larger percentage of concrete.
If there are still unanswered questions on the solutions that we want to use in our fight against big fossil, how can we expect to turn the tides that way?
John K. Sutherland 9.2.07
Todd, the wire (not usually string) goes through the ice because of very high pressure across the small diameter of a length of wire weighted down with relatively large weights. The P.38 mass per square inch would be much less than ice because of internal volume or air which would be trapped in the fuselage. None of the planes were flattened by the ice on them.
Also, as-mined uranium has almost 17,000 times the energy density of Coal in a once-through reactor (50,000 kWh per kilogram versus 3 kWh/kg). If the uranium grade is only 1%, one would expect that to get the same energy out as from coal one would need to mine only about 170 times less of a volume (assuming only coal is mined and not bed-rock or roof-rock or overburden). Richer uranium deposits, of which there are many, would have even less of a footprint. Also, in terms of coal mining deaths and accidents, consider that half of the rail rolling stock in the US is moving coal. That represents one very large social effect (accidents, wear and tear) as well as causing logistics problems moving coal from mine to generator, as the massive coal fields in Wyoming are all too aware, with some severe bottlenecks.
John K. Sutherland.
Jeff Presley 9.2.07
It doesn't surprise me AT ALL that you didn't follow the link, you NEVER follow a link, because you are a textbook example of someone suffering from dissociative cognitive dissonance. You won't follow THIS link either, but everyone else will, to be amused along with me at the inside joke. The mark of the mature intellect is to overcome such dissonance with creative willpower. Hence I have NO PROBLEM reading views that conflict with my own, but keep my focus on the issue at hand, and assiduously utilize critical thinking to ensure that I'm not guzzling someone else's Kool Aid.
Your dissonance filter is set so high, that it is virtually impossible to break through it. However, in a forum like this, others are seeing the real story come through, THEY follow the links, THEY see that 260 feet of NEW ICE formed over the airplanes and THEY have the intelligence to question how something can be shrinking and growing at the same time. THEY are the ones I am talking to, since convincing you of anything that isn't already in your world view is totally impossible. BTW I personally changed my mind on AGW after looking into it, at first I accepted it, then when I looked at BOTH SIDES, the correct answer was obvious, as was the hype from the scientifically invalid but politically connected side. However I STILL look at the pro-AGW papers, trying to find some glimmer of scientific breakthrough or rational thought to replace the rationalizations that occur instead, such as your, "it might not be REAL, but the consequences are so disastrous that we HAVE to do something" <--- not a real quote, but recollection from your various posts, a position shared by multitudes in the pro-AGW camp.
At least our esteemed author Ferdinand admits to his filters, and at his age I suppose he is entitled to seek peace of mind by whatever means are available. However, you're still young enough that you shouldn't lock yourself into sclerotic thinking. I think far less people than you imagine will be aghast if you actually change your mind about something, you needn't worry about offending your "fans". Fans are fickle anyway, never worth the trouble. :)
Len Gould 9.2.07
John: Given how this works, it seems one needs to be really pre-disposed, to claim complete proof from a single paper, even one in scienceexpress. I think I'll wait for coroboration. eg. question. That uplift they're including, is that common across all continents of unique to Greenland? Seems to me that an increasing icecap shouldn't be causing an uplift..... ?
Jeff: ""it might not be REAL, but the consequences are so disastrous that we HAVE to do something" <--- not a real quote," is definitely not a real quote.
So, is the Greenland Ice sheet melting?
Len Gould 9.2.07
From a position paper in John's link above: "Even though the world has warmed substantially during the period of the industrialization of the planet - due to who-knows-what (for it cannot be proven that the contemporaneous rise in atmospheric CO2 was responsible for the warming) "
So, John, has the world warmed substantially since industrialization?
Jeff Presley 9.2.07
Len, Here's a REAL quote from you and I've seen others of their ilk, this one is the most erudite and conveniently was one of the first posts in THIS forum, meaning I didn't have to exert any effort to find it. Amusingly I can recall others that were less than erudite from earlier discussions that were more in line with what I'd said above.
"I've concluded that the odds of a future catastrophy caused by GHG emissions are actually fairly low, likely "in the range of" less that 10% liklihood. However, given the scale of the events possible within that 10% chance, it is IMHO just not something that anyone with a whit of human empathy, esp. for their own grandchildren, should countenance. It appears to me that a lot of the mislabeled "denier" crowd are simply in fact persons who would agree on my estimation of odds, but consider that a fair chance to take.
But then again, I may be wrong in that perception.
Of course then this begs the question of how MUCH less than 10% those odds are. I can clearly recall your posts before that indicated substantially greater certainty than that. Perhaps these discussions are actually managing to crumble that psychic wall you've built after all?
Is Greenland melting? I don't know, counting from when to when? Your psyche can't handle looking up the link I posted above, so you'll refuse to see the evidence of 268 feet of NEW ice since 1942 to when they melted the planes out 50 years later (not this year, they brought it to the surface in 1992). Perhaps THIS is a link you can manage to click on hopefully to learn some interesting history and maybe learn something about NEW ice on Greenland during a supposed period of global warming. Interestingly following as many searches as I cared to view all essentially saying the same thing, I could never corroborate Jim's claim that the planes had moved a mile from the crash site, suppose you can give me a link to that story Jim and explain why the official website doesn't mention that little trinket? Here's something that talks about the other planes, which are still there by the way, and having piloted planes myself, this is a reasonable distance to put down away from each other since you obviously wouldn't want to crash into an already landed plane. So Jim, put up or shut up. Glacier Girl FAQ
So Len, Jim, is the icecap melting? I don't know, those planes are STILL 270+ feet under ice, perhaps you believe they should be under ANOTHER 20 feet or so? IF the icecap had been measured in 1900 and was found to be just as thick in 2000 does that mean it isn't melting? We'll never know, because it wasn't measured then, and NASA won't release their contradictory satellite measurements because then congressmen would question why all that money was wasted on the GRACE systems. Visual, laser, microwave and infrared agree that the sheet is growing, but an "experimental" [unproven] system says something different, so that's what gets press.
And Len, why don't you provide the link to that "position paper" you claim had the quote above, because I certainly didn't find it, including using search terms from your "quote". Also I wonder if it says the same thing "in context" as you are claiming. This is the site I linked to here about 9 months ago so I'm pretty familiar with the articles. Perhaps instead of looking at length for the ONE thing that supposedly supports your world view, why not look at this link for support of what I said above: Greenland Summary
John K. Sutherland 9.3.07
Todd: And a little addition: All of the coal in Wyoming and much in the Appalachians (and elsewhere in the world) is strip mined with a lot of overburden removal.
Also, about one third of the uranium extraction (at least prior to about 2005) is by In-Situ-Leach, which does not have any significant footprint as there is no mining. Also, again, some uranium is a byproduct of other mining operations (Gold, Phosphate) and therefore has no footprint of its own. One h... of a lot of uranium (and other nuclear fuel - plutonium) is recycled from reprocessed once through fuel and from recycled warheads and re-visiting depleted uranium for future reactor cycles. When we get to sensible fast breeder reactors again, only a few tons of uranium are required each year for each breeder reactor. If you only need say 3 tons U per reactor instead of 100 tons plus (compared with 2 milion tons of coal), then of course the footprint will be less.
All in all, uranium extraction has a footprint that is probably a few thousand times less than that of comparable coal, or even oil. Try and get back to the references and reading assignment I suggested. Most of it is in there. At least try the one on environmental comparisons that seemed to hit some nerves and was widely read.
John K. Sutherland.
John K. Sutherland 9.3.07
Len, Whether you view the climate as warming or cooling at any time depends upon the base-line you choose for measurement. If you Choose your baseline as the end of the Little Ice Age (As Gore does), of course its got mostly warmer. If you choose it from the Med. Warm Period, then no, we are still struggling to get back there. If you screw up your met. measurements manipulations as Hansen did, (1934 now the hottest year! again)and ignore UHI effects then anything can be made true (Anthony Watts has a gorgeous site for this).
I lost your address. I have a wonderful paleo-climate graph (for gross changes in T and Carbon dioxide) I can send you showing Average Global Temp (impossible to know and entirely stupid to try and estimate or place any significance upon), but it does show carbon dioxide levels many times higher than today with an entirely thriving biology associated with it.
Climate Changes. I don't have to invoke a calamity over it, or even try to pin it all on Man, at least not when other planets are warming too. I guess it's still the sun. However, I still have an open mind. Show me the science and I will be prepared to change my mind. No-one has been able to convince me that it is not the sun, just yet.
John K. Sutherland.
Jim Beyer 9.3.07
Well, I think I figured out the deal with the planes. I did a bit more research on glacier activity and confirmed what I had suspected, glaciers melt from the bottom up. I think this is because of the pressure of the ice above and also perhaps the interaction with the ground/rock that the glacier moves against.
If you can imagine a 2-D vertical slice of a glacier, moving from left to right, it has a fairly constant height, but has a triangular leading edge (it moves lower in height until the actual leading edge is just a tiny bit above the ground). So snow falls along the top and water drains out the bottom at the leading edge.
So an object (such as a plan) dropped on top of such a structure would move with the glacier, both toward the leading edge (which may not actually be moving itself, but it constantly eroding away) and also downward, as the material below it drains away as water.
So if the P-38 dropped down 260 feet and also moved laterally about a mile (5280) that's a rise/run of about -0.05 indicating a leading edge angle of about 3 degrees. Probably reasonable.
So the fact the P-38 was under 260 feet of ice doesn't say anything about the Greenland ice sheet melting one way or another. The planes moved laterally (quite a bit) from the locations that were documented on their landings, and noted by the rescue parties, so some glacier activitiy was occurring. But along with the lateral movement is the descent into the ice, because for a glacier to flow forward, it needs a continual supply of mass (as snow) to replace the melted water that drains away.
I thought about the high pressure water thing to, but the planes would probably not be dense enough compared to the ice to create that level of pressure. The same pressure, against the rockbed, is enough to melt ice at the bottom, however.
So that's how the plane got into the ice. I think even climatologists would've noticed a NET GAIN of 260 feet of ice around Greenland. No one's ever mentioned anything like that.
John K. Sutherland 9.3.07
Jim, It didn't 'descend' into the ice. It was covered by snow which became ice. As climatologists were not looking there, of course there was nothing to say, never mind noticing it - Greenland is a big and inhospitable place, and weather is usually about where people are, with rare exceptions. But in any case the 270 foot burial is another inconvenient - empirical and therefore real - truth, it has nothing to do with lateral movement of the ice. Eventually all debris in an ice sheet that is moving, winds up at the snout of the glacier.
John K. Sutherland.
Jim Beyer 9.3.07
I think its amusing that you bring up this issue of cognitive dissonance and then write something like "....tells me all I need to know about its veracity (global warming)". Sounds like a cognitive shutdown to me.
Also, with further research I found that CFC issue did indeed meet strong industrial push-back since the phenomena was first discovered in 1974. Many industry groups worked hard to deny the problem and question the validity of the science. In effect, the same thing that's going on now with global warming.
No, I have nothing the gain politically or economically from my viewpoints. I don't think energy is a particularly attractive field to make money in. And I don't think I'd fare well as a politician. I've found that an honestly expressed middle-of-the-road position can make EVERYONE mad at you.
So, I guess I can make the politically incorrect statement that the anti-AGW debate is lost. Even the Bush administration concedes to it. As does every Republican running for President today, and of course all the Democrats. And the EU and the UN. And, with somewhat wavering levels of enthusiasm, the Far East and Australia. Basically everyone.
So Jeff and a few others are tiny fish wriggling in the shrinking pond of dissent about global warming. A tiny pond that is drying up.
So the debate is lost. But who is right? I dunno about others, but I would like to know as well. I think the details are extremely unclear, but overall notion is reasonably sound. Jeff, when you try to wave off all of the science of ice cores, satellite data, archeological findings, in "questioning the fundamentals" that to me is, simply crazy. People have been examining and monitoring ice floes for 60 years. I worked with researchers that would hike out onto ice floes and make detailed recordings to provide ground truth for satellite data. This was done decades ago, far before anyone even thought about global warming. When someone builds a nuclear power plant, would it make sense for anyone off the street to question whether each and every bolt was tightened correctly? How can you be sure? What are the fundamentals?
Science is not perfect. It is quite imperfect. A good example of this would be the scientists that assured Great Britain that is was fine to feed cattle spines and brains of other cattle. Well, it wasn't. Hello mad cow disease. And hello extreme skepticism about GM foods by UK and others. Fool me once.....
What you forget about science is there is an incentive to go against the flow on an idea, especially if it has merit. (E.g. Eugene Shoemaker proving that the Winslow, AZ asteroid crater was not of volcanic origin.) I have faith that if AGW is bad science, then the scientists will figure that out. But not blind faith, if there is a problem, I'd like to know about it ASAP. I don't see any huge problems with AGW at this point. (I wish I did, it's a bad problem....) Jeff doesn't really bring anything forward other than to doubt science in general. John S. is a little better, but he's basically picking at nits (the NASA temp fixes really don't change anything -- the corrected hockey stick is now a scythe, still going upward).
Again, if I was a politician, I'd not waste my time on you little fish, wriggling in your shrinking pond. Not worth the time. But I seek the truth, and would like to see something from YOU that is substantial and meaningful. I will be generous and not say the burden of proof is on you to say AGW ISN'T happening (though it sort of is) but I think I will ask for more proof than: "I question the fundamentals of the science (that has been performed in these areas for over 50 years)".
Jeff: P.S. This is from www.damninteresting.com/?=p297
"In 1988, two explorers sponsored by the Greenland Expedition Society finally found a lead. Patrick Epps and Richard Taylor led an expedition to the the ice cap which used steam to bore a hole and locate airplane parts buried under the Greenland ice. The two men found that in the forty-six years since the planes had crash-landed, an astonishing 268 feet of ice had accumulated over them, and they had been carried three miles by the drifting glacier."
So I have put up. Does this mean YOU will shut up for awhile?
Jim Beyer 9.3.07
The planes were covered with snow, which over 60 years, became 260 feet of ice. The ice at the bottom of the glacier melted, eroding away the ice that the planes had originally landed upon. So as ice was added from above, it was melting from below. The overall height of the glacier did not change (much) but the planes' position in the glacier moved downward from the surface, until they reached 260 feet below the surface where they are today.
Jeff Presley 9.3.07
Jim, if it weren't a vacation period for me (labor day) I'd have already shut up, because arguing with some people is like arguing with a drunk in a bar, useless to try, AND I have a day job, unlike others here who apparently... don't.
Thanks for the link about the drift, I now have found others that state it moved ONE MILE, this hardly corroborates your (3 mile) link but I accept that the planes possibly drifted (although I know enough about the imprecision of navigation in those days to give a substantial haircut to ANY supposed location, therefore the precise distance is of course imprecise). Try flying an airplane with no VOR, no NDB, no RBI, no INS, no GPS, no computer, and tell me how you can give EXACT coordinates. The squadron went down on that plateau BECAUSE they were so horribly LOST. They were found because they were actively sending radio messages, which the searchers could home in on. The location wasn't 89 degrees 44minutes 28.23 seconds, it was turn left at this mountain range and look for the planes on the ground with a bunch of guys waving at you. This was WWII, things were far more primitive than you imagine. I certainly concede that the plane was a mile from where the 1988 searchers expected it to be.
As to your moving glacier theory accounting for the planes somehow getting rolled UNDER the glacier. That's pretty laughable. Next time you're impressing the waitress at your favorite watering hole, take a large icecube out of whatever substance you're drinking, place it on the table, place something very tiny on top of it and slide it along. Tell me how the item on top gets underneath. Now make that icecube several million square miles, put the tiny item in the middle and do it again. You jumped to this idea in the first place because of your discomfort with the idea that so much new ice had accumulated in 50 years in Greenland, shooting down your pet idea. Taking a page from Len's book, you come up with a convoluted theory RATHER THAN SIMPLY ADMITTING THAT NEW SNOW FELL, CREATING NEW ICE. And you're not even a climatologist. Now take a GOOD look at what they are doing, and the convolutions they engage in to support their shaky house of cards. This is the reality I see precisely because I'm not wearing blinders. Notice that the graph on this link EXCLUDES Greenland, and ask yourself WHY? There WAS a graph that INCLUDED Greenland, but the data went the wrong way, so they changed methods and came up with GRACE to fudge it the way they wanted. This is about funding, this is about careers, this is about political power, this is ultimately about perpetuating a myth. As John says: Is the world warming? Compared to WHEN? Are we still coming out of the little ice age? Yes. Are we as warm as we were in past epochs? Not even CLOSE. Is this a looming disaster? Highly unlikely.
I don't distrust ALL science, in fact I love science and always have. What I distrust are half-baked theories that don't stand up to the light of day, don't accept criticism, and jump to "consensus" before all the facts are in. That is PRECISELY what is happening here with AGW, it is a gold rush, and you my friend are going to pay higher prices for EVERYTHING because of it. I don't like what is going on, but can see that it is a political and economic reality, just like the tax code, so modify my behavior accordingly. I can tell you for a fact that I AM going to make money from this scam even though I KNOW it is a scam and even though I'm against it AS a scam. I'm no fish, so I'm not "trapped" in a shrinking pond, I can stand up and move to the big ocean of money that is going to be made on this hype still cluck-clucking about how stupid everyone is. And I'm on record NOW as saying it is a scam, so that when and if the truth emerges my conscience will be clear. AND I'll be able to comfortably afford the excessive energy costs that will cause pain and suffering to so many - for no good reason.
Jim Beyer 9.3.07
www.co2science.org is a crackpot website.
Check the staff. All of them are from some family. They all have the last name of Idso.
From www.sourcewatch.org, I read that co2science.org has received funding from ExxonMobil and the "Greening Earth Society," a front group for the Western Fuels Association.
Quit with the crappy sources. It just makes your case worse, and makes you seem that more desperate.
Jim Beyer 9.3.07
Jeff: you didn't read what I wrote. I admit that 260 feet of ice/snow covered the planes. Also, about 260 feet or so of ice melted under the planes. I don't know why that's so hard to understand.
I was indeed trying to figure out what happened to the planes, because you made an interesting point. I looked around and came up with something plausible - what I believed what happened. You responded by initially denying the drift of the planes, and now not even reading what I wrote.
If I thought the ice built up over the planes was indicative of something related to the global warming controversy, I would've admitted so. But I don't see anything there.
John K. Sutherland 9.3.07
Jim, I and a thousand others here would like to see your reference to the 260 feet of ice melted beneath this location while 260+ feet of ice built up on top. Of course I will understand if, like Mann, Hansen, and others you are lothe to share that info with us poor proles in case we can't handle it.
There is an old saying 'better to be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and convince others of it.' You should try and remember it.
Last time I checked even Gore and Hansen belonged to some family, but as the Idso's deal with referenced and verifiable science that, unlike you, they don't invent themselves, I think I'll take their pronouncements over yours any-day.
Keep up the good work Jim, even your friends must be feeling uncomfortable over your endless gaffes by now.
John K. Sutherland.
Jim Beyer 9.3.07
John: Not even any nits this time, just insults....
Reference showing snow descending into a glacier at zone of accumulation:
Jim, clearly you've never piloted a plane because you don't LAND on a steep slope as seen in 10ae-4 you CRASH into it. Since those planes landed safely an intelligent observer would conclude (correctly) that they landed on a level plateau, as they did. In your grasping for straws you came up with a bizarre theory to account for the new ice accumulation on TOP of the planes. Now you've added another theory to say that everything is even-steven and that 268 feet of ice was SUBTRACTED from the bottom at exactly the same time, all this on a level plateau?
From www.sourcewatch.org you state that CO2Science is a crappy site? www.sourcewatch.org is a freaking WIKI site, YOU could have written the post yourself stating they were funded by Exxon. THAT is a crappy site. However, Co2science.org may or may not be run by a family, Mcintire's site (climateaudit.org) is run by himself but the PAPERS referred to on the sites are NOT written by them, they have been peer reviewed, published etc.
This is and has been an unfair fight. Amateurs against WELL FUNDED professionals and the pros are on the pro AGW side and always have been. Those who stand up to them are attacked, just as you've attacked me and others on this website. We're attacked for asking intelligent questions and pointing out the flaws in the research that has been published. McIntire has done the same, but you haven't been to his site have you? Keep going to your coolaid fountain (websites), guzzle it, snort it, take it by IV, it won't change the facts that are wending their way into the websphere and blogsphere from poor amateurs fighting the well-funded behemoth that is AGW hype. Your statement about Exxon is typical and boorish and false. Exxon WANTS AGW, because Exxon knows how to make money from it.
Read this article, or just skip to the bibliography at the end. Ask yourself how it is that a family can be so devoted to getting the truth out that they would somehow FAKE all those entries? Obviously they didn't, they're just trying to get the other side published including using sources that have an AGW agenda but aren't faking the data completely.
Almost a year ago here on Energy Central I named the 3 legged stool that is AGW. First global warming has to be real, second leg, it has to be accelerating and third leg, it has to be caused by mankind's CO2 emissions. If any of these legs are wrong, AGW is wrong. A lot of people THINK global warming is real, unfortunately the evidence isn't in on that yet, especially if, as John demonstrated, the baseline is properly set. The satellite temperature data wasn't agreeing with the land data, the satellites didn't see ANY warming trend, but the earth stations, plugged up with debris, sitting under airconditioning output vents and in other nasty urban locations say it is getting warmer and the IPCC uses THOSE numbers instead. IF it were accelerating, it would be even EASIER to see but the hottest year on record is STILL back in the 30's. Finally we have the embarrassment of whether or not CO2 increases come before or after a warming trend, unfortunately the ice core data tells the WRONG story there, and shows CO2 goes up AFTER the warming has occurred. Too bad for the AGW stool. But it is being shimmed and propped up by any number of forces including politicians, the press, academia who've seen their climate research budgets go up 500 fold and even you Jim, coming up with the most convoluted theories to deny an obvious fact.
If you'd have followed John's link and gone to that site you hate (because it doesn't agree with your worldview and your filter is on high) you'd have discovered that the glaciers in Greenland are GROWING above 1500 meters and shrinking below that altitude. You can stop reading here at the italics, save your dissonance So what did Johannessen et al. find? Below 1500 meters, the mean change of ice sheet height with time was a decline of 2.0 ± 0.9 cm/year, qualitatively in harmony with the statements of Alley et al.; but above 1500 meters, there was a positive growth rate of fully 6.4 ± 0.2 cm/year. Averaged over the entire ice sheet, the mean result was also positive, at a value of 5.4 ± 0.2 cm/year, which when adjusted for an isostatic uplift of about 0.5 cm/year yielded a mean growth rate of approximately 5 cm/year, for a total increase in the mean thickness of the Greenland Ice Sheet of about 55 cm over the 11-year period, which was primarily driven by accumulation of increased snowfall over the ice sheet. These results turn the central conclusion of Alley et al. (that the Greenland Ice Sheet is shrinking) on its head; and they signal the existence of serious problems with the climate model they cited as agreeing with their faulty view of reality.
Faulty view of reality really kind of says it all don't it?
Jim Beyer 9.4.07
'm not sure why I seem to bring out the shrill in some people. I guess it's a gift.
Jeff, the figure you reference is obviously a drawing, used to illustrate a concept. The second reference shows the flows with a bit more realism. Your concern that a plane could not land on such a slope is ridiculous. First you deny that the planes moved. I got a reference. Then you deny that the planes could have sunk down in the ice. I got a reference. Two, in fact.
As to my "theory", well Jeff, you have already validated it yourself, right? According to Johannessen, if the planes landed in the highlands, then the accumulation was +5cm/year. If lower, then it was -2cm/yr. Either way, it's nothing like the 4 feet of accumulation per year experienced by the planes. It could be an abberration, but then again, if it's an abberration, then the planes being buried in ice is irrelevant to the larger issue of the ice sheet anyway. You can't have it both ways. As I said earlier, the fact that the planes were under all that ice proves nothing with respect to global warming either way. I stand by that.
Here's a good link that explains the Johannessen work with respect to the more recent GRACE findings:
I double-checked the sourcewatch.org references. They were accurate. Of special interest is that the two videos produced by co2science.org were paid for by the Western Fuels Foundation (a group associated with coal producers, among other company). Here is what co2science said in response to a question about their funding (this is on their own website):
Q: I think the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change is funded by Western Fuels Association.
A: [In spite of what you think, you could be wrong. But as we do not divulge this information, you may also continue to think that you are right. In either case, we are not inclined to confirm or deny your conclusion. Also, don't you think your time would be better spent in trying to understand the issue than by trying to find out who funds us? There is so much new work reported almost daily that we spend nearly all our waking moments studying the latest research on the subject of carbon dioxide and global change. If you want to know how the world of nature functions, you will never discover the answer by wasting your time on trying to divine the sources of people's funding.]
"In spite of what you think, you could be wrong" ? What does THAT mean? I think the source of people's funding is relevant, I think that's why politicians let's see, have to report the sources of their funding! That's a really squirrelly response to a very reasonable question.
If you follow Sherwood Idso's history back, you find a lot of links to other corporate-backed groups that were formed to provide pushback to environmental causes. What gets to me is that there seem to be so few scientists of this type willing to take this position. So you keep running into the same dozen names or so. If this position was so strong, why can't they find more people? (Sherwood had to recruit his own kids to keep his organization running.)
I really liked the paragraph about the unfair fight. A David and Goliath affair. With Exxon in the role of David! How much profit did Exxon make last year? 40 Billion? I'd say any side that Exxon takes is likely to be well-funded.
My worldview is that I want to figure out what's happening. Someone has said the sky is falling. Well, is it? Maybe. Maybe not. A lot of climatologists seem to be concerned. They seem to know what they are talking about, though I can't understand everything they say. A few seem to think the other way. Much (but not all) of their work seems less persuasive to me. I am persuadeable. I have not been persuaded so far. I am not impressed when someone citing an anti-AGW argument brings out some tired reference from oism or co2science. That's not a good sign! Find something from Science or Nature or some other publication. (Yeah, Science and Nature sometimes publish crap. I know this. But even they can appreciate the value of a contrarian opinion. The Idsos should get something published there.)
I think I've been keeping an open mind about this. Enough to admit that the issue with the ice entombed planes deserved some investigation. Jeff and John needed no investigation on that point. A plane in the ice was 'proof' that global warming wasn't occurring. If you bring up a counterpoint, they don't believe you. If you provide evidence, they pick at nits. If you bring up a scientific finding, they question the fundamentals. These are the tactics of people that don't really have anything to offer, other than the occasional reference from some corporate-backed front organization.
John K. Sutherland 9.4.07
Jim, there is an unkind story about a statistician drowning in a river that he knew had an average depth of only 1 foot. He didn't allow for the 20 foot deep channel that occured in the very middle of it. An average (mean) growth of 5 cms per year, like all averages can be a misleading number. It does not put the lie to the empiricism of finding planes 270 feet deep in the ice after only 45 years and suggesting tthat it cannot possibly be true that hey got there by ice covering their wings and building up. Where I live the average depth of snow on some falls is only a few inches, but where it drifts into the lee of a structure it can be many feet deep.
I prefer to go after the science than the politics or who funds who and I think you would be wise to do the same. However the AGW crowd is funded to about 100 or a 1,000 times more than the anti-AGW crowd, some of whom risk losing their funding and/or their jobs by being too honest with their political bosses. there is no profit or advanatge in being anti-AGW but there is a lot in being pro.
Some of what the actual scientists said, who worked on the IPCC report is most illustrative of the manipulation that went on by politicians after the fact. When they said that they would issue the (politically correct) summary that they decided upon first (after removing uncertainties and cautionary statements about the state of scientific knowledge behind the Chapters) and then make sure that the 'scientific' conclusion matched that summary afterwards, the smell became overpowering, but apparently not to you. It is not to be expected that too many would complain overmuch about that, as working for the IPCC is a very lucrative business and most people like to be employed for their lifetimes rather than just for a couple of years.
John K. Sutherland.
Jim Beyer 9.4.07
If we can agree that it is informative to know who is holding the leash on the IPCC, then we should also be able to agree that it is informative who holds the leash on co2science.
You story about the statistician is misused. I agree the planes were covered with snow. 270 feet of it. But given Johannessen's average depth of 5 cm, this is no indication of substantive snowfall during that period. So, unlike a previous post of yours, this depth of ice over the plane is NOT an inconvenient truth of any sort.
Either the planes were covered in a 'drift' of 270 feet, but the average snowfall is much less than that. Or, the planes were covered in a typical snowfall of 270 feet, but a nearly equal amount of ice also eroded beneath it. (My theory, which you think is whacked; fine.) Either way, the planes encasement in ice says little about global warming either way.
John K. Sutherland 9.4.07
Jim, Politicians of all stripes and governments and the UN itself hold the leash on the IPCC and NGOs and politicians (mostly) and not the actual scientists who wrote the Chapters, are the ones massaging the summary to fit what they want the plebs to believe, and the gullible media to publish for them. After all, there are billions of dollars sloshing around here in the UN for this purpose alone and much more in government support in individual countries.
The IDSO's and not their supporters or funders, hold the leash on CO2 science. I doubt that they make enough money to make ends meet, as most anti AGW individuals don't, and are not in it for the money - I'm not. I can smell a rat when I smell one, as with the IPCC reworkings. The IDSO's do not play with science, they merely point out what others choose NOT to want to point out, as doing so would provide info. that they do not want you to know, as with Mann's Hockey schtick information base (still hidden), or Hansen's hidden Al-Gore-ithm to massage met. data while getting it wrong (still being unravelled).
Further the Greenland ice sheet alone, is about 2400 km long by about 1100 kms wide, bigger than many other entire countries in the world, so an average really means very little other than an undoubtedly misleading overall summary of the bigger picture, like speaking of an average sea level or an average world temperature. However, it proves nothing except to possibly bring a sober set of data to suggest AGAIN, that Al Gore is being extreme and playing to paranoia and fear.
John K. Sutherland.
Jeff Presley 9.4.07
Jim, I believe I already posted (8/29 above) about how jumping to averages and extrapolating from them can often be misleading. You've taken an average for an entire landmass that if bigger would qualify as a continent and extrapolated it to a single locale, obviously false, but amusing nevertheless. I believe John above has served to clarify things for you, but if not, take a look at the average rainfall for the entire contiguous United States (ie lower 48), and see if THAT number jibes with for instance the rainfall in your city, or Seattle. You'll have high rainfall areas mixed together with deserts and vast land areas, and in the end the number you get is virtually meaningless.
Also sometimes numbers just seem big, when in fact they aren't. From the nakedscientists website the following little trinket should help you to understand just how SMALL even large numbers get when scaled across large areas:
Seany Hero Member ***** Posts: 3372 England Live your life to the full!
MessageID: 75967 14/04/2007 18:52:56 » Well, do we do anything with this rapeseed? Do we make oils out of it? Or it's just there, because it is excellent at reproducing..?
Also, isn't methane a gas that comes from our farts? grin So, if everyone in China farts at the same time, our Earth will be full of green house gases! shocked. Yes, no offence to the Chinese.
Also, if everyone in China smokes at the same time, there will be a massive fog.
Also, if everyone in China wees at the same time, there will be a flood!
Am I correct in saying that, if all the population of China comes to the UK? grin
Bored chemist Hero Member ***** Posts: 665 UK
MessageID: 76012 14/04/2007 20:24:17 » Rapeseed oil is a commercial crop. It is harvested for the oil in its seeds. The direct production of methane in human guts is a small effect compared to the methane produced by farm animals. I read once that this, in turn is much less than that produced by termites.
There are something like 1.3 billion people in China. If they all came to Englang and relieved themseles then that would be something like 0.65 billion pints of pee. Converting that to metric gives 370000 cubic metres.
The area of the UK is about 243,000 square kilometres or 243,000,000,000 square metres. Dividing one by the other gives us the average thickness of the layer of wee. It turns out to be a bit over a milionth of a metre deep; not much of a flood. Even if they all went to London and took a leak there (and I know some who say that's the best thing to do with London) it would still be less than a milimetre. On the other hand that's enough piddle to fill a couple of hundred or so swimming pools so it's not something to be sniffed at. If they all flushed afterwards that would (with a typical flush taking 2 gallons) be about 16 times as much water. Not enough to flood the UK, but it would certainly cause problems for the capital.
No, it is not clear at all to me. Please explain it to me. I'd really like to know specifically where my logic has gone awry.
By your own reference, Johannessen cites a snow buildup of 5 cm/yr. The planes are under 270 feet of snow, equal to more than 4 feet of ice/year build up. This seems to me that either:
1) The ice build up near the planes is an abberration, and does not reflect the typical snow buildup per year (it is much higher)
2) The NET buildup of ice/snow may well be about 5 cm/yr, but this involves several feet of snow falling, and some amount of ice loss as melt (from below) as the glacier progresses.
Neither of these cases are particularly indicative (or non-indicative) of the overall melting or accumulation of the ice sheet itself (other than the 5cm/yr, if you are fully in agreement with Johannessen).
If this is erroneous, please tell me why. Don't just say it is "misleading" or make some quip about a statistician in a ditch. Actually refute it with something of substance.
Jeff Presley 9.4.07
Jim, Your question indicates that you are either being purposefully obtuse or are really obtuse. I would hope it is the former, for your sake.
Since you are having a problem with direct information, perhaps if I spoon-feed it to you, it will get through that... filter you have.
Here's your quote, CORRECTED: By your own reference, Johannessen cites a snow buildup of 5 cm/yr. ACROSS THE ENTIRE GREENLAND LANDMASS!!!!!!!
Now let's not make you a land 'm' ass of yourself and see how stupid the rest of your remarks look now. Take your little calculator out, multiply 1100x2400 km and you get 2.64x10^6 km^2 of landmass. You didn't 'get' the humorous "pee" item above, but to put it into perspective HOW MUCH ICE WOULD YOU NEED TO ADD 5cm ON SUCH A LARGE LANDMASS PER YEAR? Refer back to the pee post, which ultimately ONLY referred to LONDON's area, not the entire British Isles, which incidentally are substantially SMALLER than Greenland, by a factor of 10 or so. You also skipped my US example, apparently because of the same filter or? I warned you before about averages, and yet you try to make a point USING the average while totally IGNORING where it came from.
So, which is it, obtuse on purpose or?
Todd McKissick 9.4.07
It would seem relevant to ask two questions. 1) What's the 'terminal thickness' of ice at Greenland's mean temp? 2) What's Greenland's current ice thickness. (at the locations with the greatest effect)
Rough calculations based on .92 g/ml density of ice tell me that the pressure under 260 feet of ice is about 100 PSI or 7 bar. At that pressure, what's the ice's melting temp reduced to? What does 1 degree difference of mean temp do to the terminal thickness? What happens to the water that melted under the sheet due to this pressure increase? Does it cause the sheet to move or does it leak out the sides creating a perceived growth or shift?
Ok, that's more than two questions but it still shows that these issues are more intricate that the simplistic conclusions jumped to above. The prudent thing for those unwilling to account for ALL factors would be to not go around spouting that it's a hoax but rather to weigh the risk of being on the wrong side. That risk should include the current generation as well as all future generations. Even 250 years out is short sighted. I know many feedback systems that, over time, can be thrown out of balance by 1% external (uncompensated for) factors. Aren't we currently creating more greenhouse gasses than that?
Todd McKissick 9.4.07
Jeff, I fail to grasp how you aren't claiming the same 'averages' issue. When originally presented with the concept that Greenland's ice sheet is melting, did YOU not post the story of the P38s, et. al.? Was that not using an isolated location to discount an 'average' statement?
You have yet to discount Jim's explaination of the ice melting from the bottom at the same rate as the buildup from above. I'm quite sure he gets the analogy of spreading a thin layer over a vast land area. I'm just guessing he's giving you enough rope to hang yourself.
Jim Beyer 9.4.07
Jeff: I guess I must be purposely obtuse. However, Todd seems to understand what I am trying to say, so perhaps I'm not the obtuse one.
Yes, I get it that Johannessen thinks the ice sheet is expanding. NASA thinks it isn't. I left a good link explaining the viewpoints in a rational manner.
No, I don't get why the ice pack over the P-38s is relevant. You have not convinced me otherwise.
To be 100% fair, the real issue is the size of the ice sheet itself. It has a volume of 2.85x10^6 km^3. That's about 680,000 cubic miles. So an outflow of 57 cubic miles of ice is not much, only about 0.008 percent of the field. (The accumulation cited by Johannessen would not be that much either.) So, can scientists really measure the outflow (or accumulation) of such an ice sheet that accurately? Maybe, who knows? Realistically, the flow needs to increase, perhaps to 1,000 cubic miles per year, in order to be absolutely sure. Trouble is, by then it might be too late.
I for one, am willing to believe the scientists, and not some people in a blog site that can't seem to link one logical statement to another. (So there you have it; the best critique of my viewpoint comes from...me.)
Jeff Presley 9.5.07
Todd, Jim, I'm glad you have each other's back. Bottom line, NASA data said Greenland's ice sheet was considered to be GROWING for several years. This was an embarrassment to their (well Schmidt and Hansen mostly) pet belief. Therefore they came up with the GRACE project and erased their old weblinks. Their revisionist methods have been criticized but they don't care, they're counting on people like YOU to carry their water.
I guess you don't know how to operate a calculator Jim (proven by your icesheet volume number), so I guess you didn't understand the pee on London example over a relatively paltry area. I'll leave it as an exercise for the student to calculate how much ICE is required to raise the surface of the entire massive island 5.4 cm average. You have your X, you have Y and you have Z do the math. Actually I can't stand the suspense, and the number is (almost) in the link below; the VOLUME of ice in Greenland is 4.22 x 10^6 km^3 so now work out 5.4 cm additional PER YEAR over that area. Not large as a percentage, but vast in absolute terms. Your "1" and "2" questions above show you have no clue and are only NOW catching on to the idea of averages. You've dodged your embarrassing... lapse completely by claiming irrelevance, but it hasn't cured it, just covered it up.
You AND Todd are avoiding the subject by any and all means possible. You quote a satellite number that has the word EXPERIMENTAL in its name that uses a questionable method to claim 59 cubic miles are missing EVEN THOUGH THE VISUAL (and time domain reflectrometry) ANALYSIS SAYS THE OPPOSITE!!! Here's one link Note that this link is NOT from a blog site, and in general this author is in favor of the AGW theory, it is just unfortunate that the data don't quite line up with the theory, the EXACT thing Malcolm is concerned about. He can measure the mass of an electron and get EXACTLY what the book says it should be, but NO ONE has successfully replicated or predicted climate based on THEIR theories.
I used the airplane example because if you asked the poor man on the street, he'd assume Greenland was nearly bereft of ice by now, because he's being fed nothing but hype by the media. You were surprised that 270 feet of NEW ice showed up somewhere on the island, when in fact this has been observed for decades. But of course not ALL places. In point of fact the lowlands in Greenland are indeed losing ice while the highlands (which are MUCH more of Greenland's landmass) are gaining. Interestingly you could look at, oh, Europe and say the same thing is happening. The alps can gain ice, but the lowlands in Holland don't.
You floundered around about that 270 feet, first calling it snow, then saying the planes had moved, then saying the glacier had somehow rolled over the plane, then saying precisely that much ice had melted below, then giving up entirely and stating that it has no relevance. Do I have that essentially correct? If that is an example of your logical thinking don't bother sending me a resume.
Now I'm going to bed and tomorrow to work, so I'm going to stop posting so much here. You can wallow in your... thought process to your heart's content and if you feel you've "won" so be it, just remember that others can see what you've written and come to their own conclusions.
Finally you claim you aren't making any money from standing up for the vastly over funded, vastly larger media and political connections of the pro AGW side. So here's your big chance, $100,000 cash money
Good luck with that.
Jim Beyer 9.5.07
The volume of the greenland ice sheet can be found from:
click on "ice sheets" and you will find the value of 2.9x10^6 km^3.
Based on an 1100km by 2400 km area, that means an average of 1.0985 km of ice in height.
Ok, ok, let's figure out what 5.4 cm/yr means. (Johannessen just cited height, and didn't specify this was ice versus snow (NASA stated the volume loss in cubic miles of ice), but let's just assume it is ice anyway.
So, we get a change of 0.005 percent (increase) from Johannessen's work, an even smaller number than what NASA says the ice sheet is decreasing. (0.008 percent) The Johannessen number actually should be even smaller because I assumed ice, and the measurement was only for height, making no assumption about the density (Snow is less dense than ice.).
I find the contest interesting. Not much different than the various prizes offered by creationists to prove evolution. One such prize, the Life Science Prize, offered by Mastropaolo, brought on this comment:
"Never wrestle with a pig; you both get dirty, and you soon discover that the pig enjoys it. The challenge itself reveals that Mastropaolo is scientifically inept. (A scientist would know that one does not need a courtroom to debate evidence. And one term states that "Evidence must be scientific, that is, objective, valid, reliable and calibrated." Calibration applies to equipment, not evidence.) People who ignore the challenge are labeled "Debate Dodgers" who practice a "pagan Cebelese religion" (Brayton 2004). Such statements remove the challenge from the field of life science and place it squarely in the realm of crackpottery. Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of the theory of evolution, once accepted the challenge of another crackpot, John Hampden, to demonstrate the earth's curvature. Wallace did so, but Hampden's subsequent legal and other harassment caused Wallace to consider accepting the challenge a big mistake." (Raby 2001, 206-207)
This contest is an act of desperation, put forth by Steve Milloy of junkscience.com, who also questions such things as the dangers of tobacco, the clean air act of 1970, and the theory of evolution. Note that in the rules of the contest, junkscience.com gets to be judge AND jury. Well, that's rather convenient, don't you think?
I am glad these notes have been posted and that anyone can see them. It certainly has been a wrestling match. I will leave it to the reader to determine which of us was the pig.
Todd McKissick 9.5.07
Jeff, I fail to grasp how you aren't claiming the same 'averages' issue.
You have yet to discount Jim's explaination of the ice melting from the bottom at the same rate as the buildup from above.
Jeff Presley 9.5.07
Jim I got my volume from one source, you got yours from another, but I'll accept yours it is irrelevant to me. I think the thing we can BOTH agree on is that the overall thickness of the ice in Greenland is 2.3 kilometers. Here's the quote from the link previously supplied and you'll see that I multiplied the numbers together to get the volume The ice sheet covering Earth's largest island of Greenland has an area of 1 833 900 square kilometres and an average thickness of 2.3 kilometres. It is the second largest concentration of frozen freshwater on Earth and if it were to melt completely global sea level would increase by up to seven metres.
That 7 meter number coincides nicely with your link that says the same thing. Therefore I easily could have made a mistake or simply relied on the wrong source, but the question is, if the base numbers are so different why are the results the same (7')?. These numbers have an interesting way of propagating around the Internet, if I were so inclined I'd double-check all the references and see where they start. For my purposes your number is better since it is smaller, then a 5.4 cm rise is a GREATER percentage of the whole.
Why does my source say 1833900 while we've been talking about 1100x2400? Well it turns out that not ALL of Greenland is covered by an icesheet. Imagine that! Therefore some of the other math is suspect. This all just goes to underscore my point made last week about not trusting averages until you know their source. The fact is, this is not my full time job, I don't have a deep and abiding interest in Greenland, never have. I read and understand information from multiple sites, but don't have an opportunity to go back to the source documents. My reading is often more critical than most because I don't like the way some information gets presented as "gospel' and then hides the uncertainties in the fine print. Your link above does exactly this; I'd cut and paste it here, but unfortunately it is a .pdf file that hasn't granted those rights to my viewer.
Todd, every time Jim floats a balloon I'm not going to shoot it down just because you say so. It is self-evident that if the ice were melting as fast as it is accumulating someone would have mentioned it by now. Height on vast scales (Greenland IS the largest island on earth, by far) is a tricky business. If you understand thermal mass, you realize that heating on the surface can take a LONG time to work its way down through 2.3 kilometers of ice, VERY LONG. In fact several thousand years of human history including your grandparents utilized the COOLING effects of ice in things like ice boxes to keep food fresher, longer. Wonder how that worked?
As I reread some of my posts, I realize that I sound a bit cranky when I'm up past midnight typing these things. At the moment I think I'm being amusing, but can easily see how it can sound offensive in the cold light of day. Right now I'm skipping lunch so I can type this, but realize that I might be getting just as cranky from missing out on my food. Therefore I apologize if I've offended, much of what I've said is intended to sound tongue in cheek, but your blood sugars would have to coincide I suppose to ensure that msg is received properly. Now, back to work. :)