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Less feedback forcing than previously guessed at

Most of the long-term climate models show feedback from an increase of carbon dioxide that ultimately creates more carbon dioxide. The theory is that as CO2 increases, the temperature increases. As the temperature increases, it forces more CO2 to be released from CO2 sinks or it causes less CO2 to be absorbed. This extra CO2 causes a dramatic increase in temperature – which releases more CO2. Many of the models that predicted the end of world had this increase in CO2 and temperature. It really wasn’t the CO2 from man that was the problem, it was the tipping point that was reached by man’s CO2.

Scientists and Engineers are upset

If you read this site often, you will know that I am an engineer by training (even though I don’t currently practice). I tend to respect this profession a great deal as being fairly straight-forward and hard working. As a group, they also tend to be a pretty smart bunch.

One of the major trade rags in engineering is C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News). It is edited by Mr. Rudy Baum. If you aren’t in that trade, you would probably never pick up an issue so you may not be familiar with it. I haven’t read the publication in a long time but was recently made aware of a bit of controversy by Climate Depot. While the readers of C&EN are likely not climatologists, the science of CO2 and its affect on the atmosphere is very steeped in chemistry which their target market knows a bit about.

Could we be wrong about global warming?

There is an article in the USAToday (that is based on an article in Nature Geoscience) that is getting a lot of web traffic lately.

While few people would call me a global warming alarmists, I do think it is important to have relatively balanced perspective on all of this.  In fact, that is the essence of this blog.

Most reputable scientists without an agenda (which likely excludes anyone associated with Al Gore) had concluded long ago that it wasn’t the CO2 concentrations that would deliver the doom and gloom of the alarmists.  Rather, the concern was a feedback loop that would be accelerated by a fairly rapid expansion of carbon dioxide.  One theory is that this CO2 increase would cause temperatures to increase slightly which causes an increase in H2O in the atmosphere which further increases the temperature in an escalating fashion.

Climatologist slams RealClimate.org for ‘erroneously communicating the reality of the how climate system is actually behaving’ – Rebuts Myths On Sea Level, Oceans and Arctic Ice

I have talked about RealClimate.org many times in the past. In general, the gentlemen over there are pretty smart but they do tend to be one-sided in their analysis. They consistently take the side of “global warming is caused by humans” and they don’t treat others with much respect.

I started questioning their partisanship when they lashed out at the UK judge that said that “An Inconvenient Truth” was not 100% factual. They didn’t like me calling them out on that.  They then spiked some of my comments on their site when degraded scientific discussion to a challenge of who has a bigger wallet.

The Conveyor Belt is broken!?!?

I am shocked and dismayed! (Not really – just being a bit sarcastic and melodramatic)

One of the foundations of predicting the climate is that we have some idea of how water moves around the planet. That water can be in the form of water vapor or liquid water that is flowing in streams, lakes and the oceans. Since the Earth is approximately 2/3 water and water vapor is the single largest greenhouse gas, the way it acts is very important for understanding climate and predicting the future of climate.

Powerline graphs – how about some background?

Powerline is a very popular blog and forum for those that follow a conservative movement within the US. I am sure that their membership measure many multiples over this site.  Therefore, I am hesitant to be too condemning of one of their recent posts but I need to talk about it a little bit.

To their credit, they encourage readers to go to the original sources to get the complete story but, frankly, that is not good enough.  They have published the information in a way that is incredibly one-sided and is also not consistent from one chart to the next.  That is the true problem with the article, one cannot see the filters or data sources in this presentation so the inconsistencies are too strong.

Scientists find bigger than expected polar ice melt

There is no question that our climate has changed slightly compared to 20 years ago.  Most of the data points to increases of temperature and the most significant (and obvious if you are in the Arctic) is the diminished amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean.  While there is some question as to the cause of this melting (see my ocean currents article), there is little question that it is occurring.

This article discusses some of the observations that scientists have seen regarding the ice melt and some possible repercussions.  The article is somewhat refreshing though in that it focuses on what can be observed rather than focusing on what might be causing the warming.  Since it was so evenly reported, I felt it was of significant interest to my readers.

NASA satellite searching for global warming clues crashes near Antarctica

It looks like we are going to have to wait for awhile now for better data on what is really going on with our atmosphere and climate.  The satellite that NASA sent up to study the flow of carbon dioxide developed technical difficulties and crashed.

Once again, we see that our ability to travel outside of our world is still quite experimental and we struggle to do it with the repeatability of plane flights.  If I was a conspiracy fearing individual (which I am not) I would question if scientists deliberately sabotaged the flight so that real data that could prove or disprove climate models could not be gathered.  Such speculation is obviously foolish though.

In Science, Ignorance is not Bliss

Launch Magazine – July/August issue

Walter Cunningham is one of the astronauts of Apollo 7.  He writes about global warming in the latest issue of Launch Magazine and his comments bear considering.

Mr. Cunningham is important in this discussion because of his obvious intelligence and past leadership but also in his strong ability in analyzing scientific and political events and drawing conclusions.

What I find to be most compelling are:

  • his ridicule of climate models.
  • his discussions of correlation and causation.
  • the replacement of scientific discussion with emotional arguments.
  • the condemnation of Mr. Hansen – one of the early warning voices of global warming and an employee of NASA.

Military Supercomputer Sets Record

New York Times – June 9, 2008

I have been ranting for quite some time on the need to dedicate more intensive computing resources to climate models.  This would allow the models to become more granular and to take into account real world data in the analysis as opposed to just boundary conditions.

As always, the military gets the really cool computers. It appears, thought, that their new amazing computer is going to be available for climate scientists for a little while before it gets dedicated to solving nuclear bomb design issues.

An American military supercomputer, assembled from components originally designed for video game machines, has reached a long-sought-after computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second.