23 October 2010

Hiatus to extend

Oh well.  I'd been blogging less (none) because I've been using that time to work out an idea for publication.  That is now finishing up ok.  But I went out for a run yesterday, to get away from my desk, get the blood flowing, and hope for some ideas to flow on how to handle the 'last' nagging issue on the paper (graphical, not scientific).  Instead, I took a pretty impressive fall and broke my wrist.  Since I'm left-handed, it had to be my left wrist.  This will crimp my blogging for a few weeks, as I can only type one-handed, which is about 20% the speed of my normal typing.  (and error rate is up about 5x as well).  Grr.

Still, I can hit the 'approve' button for comments, and there are several good topics which are getting comment.

And, by way of a chance for me to listen, this seems like a good time to open the floor for suggestions.  One commenter a while back mentioned a blog-usable LaTeX processor.  I'll look in to that.  Other ideas for the presentation?  Content you'd like to see?

It's been a recurring thought from readers that I really need a better way of organizing, or at least displaying the organization, the content here.  I agree with this.  The idea I've had regarding how to do it is either to test it out on a wiki, or to use the wiki as the main place.  I've set up one for experimentation.  If you're interested in the idea, please send me an email (bobg at radix dot net) and I'll add you to the list of editors (and tell you where it is).  That address gets a lot of spam, and I'm liable to be intermittent, so a follow-up message a couple days later won't be a bad idea.


Anonymous said...

Hope you have a good recovery Bob!

Kristen said...

Hi Uncle Bob!
I was browsing YouTube for science-y things and I found this awesome song about quarks: http://dft.ba/quarks

I hope your wrist heals fast! C:

Robert Grumbine said...

Thanks both!

Niece Kristen:
Have a listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmwlzwGMMwc
Your mother and I grew up listening to that record. Might explain a few things.

Liked the quark song.

Maybe you can write a guest column on lizards while I'm recovering? Or let me post that older one you emailed Vickie and me?

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

[You asked if I would post my WUWT comment here, so I will]:

Here are some charts which show that CO2 levels follow temperature changes:

click2 [same chart data, different source]
click3 [5 month time scale]

On very long time scales, the correlation breaks down and CO2 has no relation to temperature, or to Ice Ages and interglacials:


There does seem to be an ≈800 year correlation:


The evidence shows that additional atmospheric CO2 is very beneficial:


The evidence clearly shows that CO2 concentration follows temperature. Effect cannot precede cause, therefore the current rise in CO2 is a function of past warming, not a significant cause of current warming. This should help explain the mechanism.

And the evidence shows that CO2 is quite beneficial to the biosphere – but there is no evidence showing that more CO2 is harmful in any way.



[PS: Sorry to hear about your wrist. It should have happened to me instead, since I've become adept at typing with one hand.☺]

Anonymous said...

Get well soon.

Robert Grumbine said...

Thanks for the note smokey. as I said, it'll be a while, but I'll get there.

thanks tb.

update: Surgery and installation of a plate next week.

amoeba said...

Best wishes and get well soon.

Jim Eager said...

Smokey, your argument that CO2 follows temperature and thus does not cause warming is a recurring one. It stems from a misunderstanding of what the lag between temperature and CO2 in the ice core record means.

Your first two links show exactly what was predicted: that a change in atmospheric CO2 did not initiate the warming or cooling during the glacial-interglacial cycles over the past 800,000 years (only 400,000 years in your two links). But we already knew that since we know that what does initiate the warming or cooling are changes in the distribution of sunlight falling on Earth's surface (insolation), in particular an increase or decrease in northern hemisphere high latitude summer insolation. This change in insolation is caused by small changes in the shape of Earth's orbit and tilt of its axis, which are known as the Milankovitch cycles.

Sufficiently lower insolation prevents melting of all of the preceding winter snow pack, leaving part of it to compress to ice beneath the following winter snow pack, thus gradually building up an ice sheet. Sufficiently higher insolation melts all of the preceding winter snow pack, *plus* some of any underlying ice, thus halting and then reversing growth of the ice sheet.

But we know that these changes in insolation are not sufficient to cause or fully terminate a continental glacial stade. There must be and are feedbacks that amplify the initial changes in insolation.

One is as the ice sheet grows or shrinks Earth's albedo (reflectance) changes, which changes the amount of sunlight that is absorbed or reflected back out to space. More ice area means more sunlight is reflected which means more cooling. Less ice area means less sunlight is reflected which means more warming. There are other amplifying feedbacks.

Beyond the edge of the ice sheet proper is a large area of permafrost and bogs, which contain a substantial amount of organic material that is prevented from decomposing. As an ice sheet expands more carbon is locked in this frozen organic material and locked out of the atmosphere and the active carbon cycle. As the ice sheet contracts more of this frozen carbon can melt and return to the atmosphere as methane and CO2. Since both are greenhouse gases, both will amplify the initial warming or cooling.

Another amplifying feedback is the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. Warmer air holds more than cooler air, so as the growing or shrinking ice sheet cools or warms the atmosphere the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere will change, and since water vapour is a greenhouse gas it will provide more or less amplifying warming.

And then there is the ocean, which holds an enormous reservoir of dissolved CO2. How much is determined by temperature: colder water holds more, warmer water holds less. As the northern hemisphere ice sheets wax and wane, the ocean is warmed and cooled, but because the ocean has a huge mass it has an equally huge thermal inertia: it takes a long time to warm and cool to equilibrium with changes in the atmosphere. About 800-1000 years, which is about the length of lag between temperature and CO2 in the ice core record.

What your links do *not* show is that CO2 does not cause warming as a greenhouse gas. In fact the magnitude of the warming and cooling shown in the ice core record shows the exact opposite since the change in insolation alone is not sufficient to cause either the formation or termination of a continental glaciation. Full glaciation or termination can only be explained by the addition of the amplifying feedback from changes in albedo and changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases, including water vapour, methane and CO2.

Jim Eager said...

What your links also do *not* show is that CO2 always follows temperature in this way, since they only cover 400,000 years of ice core record during a period when we know that major changes in atmospheric CO2 was not the initial climate forcing. To reason that they thus demonstrate that CO2 *always* follows temperature is an example of faulty logic. Earth's long geologic history provides abundant examples of changes in CO2 preceding changes in temperature. Some of the more well known are:

- The long, slow drawdown in atmospheric CO2 and consequent decrease in global temperature in the wake of the collision of India and Asia ~50 million years ago, which thrust up the Himalaya mountain range and the Tibetan plateau, exposing enormous quantities of silicate rock to chemical weathering, which removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

- The sudden CO2 (from methane) spike that caused the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum ~55 million years ago.

- The massive build up of atmospheric CO2 caused by the formation of the Siberian Traps flood basalt ~251 million years ago, which resulted in the super greenhouse event that caused the End-Permian mass extinction event.

- The even more massive build up of CO2 that ended the periods of Snowball Earth global glaciation during the Cryogenian period 850-650 million years ago.

Finally, your argument that higher levels of CO2 are beneficial to plants, which is completely irrelevant to the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, is predicated on all other factors affecting plant growth remaining unchanged, or even being optimized to match higher CO2 levels, as in a commercial greenhouse.

Robert Grumbine said...

Jim: thanks for the response.
It'll be even better if you could provide some links to the science articles that establish what you say. Smokey and others can then follow up to see the gory details of how those points were established.

Jim Eager said...

Robert, I agree that supporting links and cites for each main point would be best, but right now I just don't have the time to track them down and add them.

However, John Cooke is already doing exactly that for the arguments at skepticalscience.com .

But in any case, in my experience most posters like Smokey seldom bother to follow the links and read the supporting cites anyway, and even those that do are rarely swayed by any argument, no matter how well cited and supported.

Robert Grumbine said...

While I can sympathize with your sentiments, it's still a point here to make it possible for people to follow up and learn more. I'll probably do some citation-collecting myself soon. The thing is, for the middle school students, they haven't seen the deeper arguments and data sources before. The ones who do take that interest, I'd like to support. Plus, since smokey did the work of coming over here, I'll do the curtesy of providing sources for him to follow up with. If he doesn't, well, the chance was there.