Global Warming Question

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by FL_Prius_Driver, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    Relative to models of climate, lets remember that these are SCENARIOS of CO2 change, the results are NOT predictions as any climate modeller will tell you. The models do the best they can with poor understanding of most processes, assuming a given change in CO2.

    The models at present do not include anything like methane release in the arctic, they can't possibly predict or model the cooling effect of clouds, they do not include Malankovic cycles (the orbital variations and tilt of the earth) which are what really controls climate, they do not model sunspots or solar output. And the known global carbon budget is still missing a gigaton or two of C every year, something like 20%, so we don't even know where or how C is sequestered.

    In short, we are clueless about what may happen to the climate--but the modellers get lots of grants to model, and we spend lots of time talking about it.
     
  2. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Mainer, the biological C cycle is getting a bit better constrained. But I agree that more better would be ...more better.

    The Japanese CO2 satellite will probably help. THe US satellite would have helped but it is sleeping with the fish in the Pacific now.
     
  3. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Mainer re#40, to make sense of all this, one needs to realize that the 'natural' biological C cycle, and the anthropogenic (dominated by fossil C combustion and cement manufacture) are different things. part of the same thing really, but if you mix them up and take a %tage of the wrong thing, confusion is entirely possible.

    Free, data-based info on all aspects of the C cycle are available online. If you start there, most of the confusion will go away.

    Mojo#38, if you have not done so already, visit the Idso's web site about CO2 science. There you will find much support for your point of view. But if you also read the scientific literature about plant responses to CO2 (not only Idso' interpretation of it) you will realize that mutiple factors limit plant productivity. In greenhouses with water and nuntrients supplied in excess, CO2 can be the strongest limitation. In the outside world, other factors are most often limiting.

    You can also learn that increased CO2 increases herbivory on plants, changes the competitive relationships among species (often favoring invasives). That adding CO2 causes roots to release more sugars to the soil, which increases the ability of microbes to convert soil organic carbon to CO2.

    It is no small taks to learn all of these things but if you do, you will see that caling CO2 plant food (which of course it is) is not a sufficient degree of understanding. If anyone wants to appoint themself as the Earth's CO2 manager, they had better get quite a bit deeper into the topic.
     
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  4. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    clueless? no! in the dark? somewhat.

    It is not really easy to accurately model even relatively simple and well understood systems, much worse poorly understood complex ones. Not for lack of trying.
     
  5. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    Agreed, not easy to model even simple systems. There are two camps of scientists when it comes to modelling. One camp portrays their models with predictive capability. The other camp uses models as teaching and learning tools that help us understand systems a bit better, but doesn't do predictions, recognizing that we really can't model any systems with any accuracy. I'm in the latter camp as you might guess.
     
  6. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Consider the equivalent of modeling hurricane tracks and hurricane wind strengths. None of the hurricane models is worthy of being called "accurate" but most of the models are worthy of being called useful. The total collection of models is extremely useful. With those we do a lot more than talk about them, we take serious actions based on model results. It makes a very significant positive impact on my life to carefully react to hurricane track models.
     
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  7. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...from Wikipedia Greenhouse Gas...seems to be verified by other references.

     
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