Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Research Shows High CO2 Concentrations Will Now Be Permanent

New research published in the June 13 issue of  Nature Climate Change,

shows that this year  atmospheric carbon concentrations will,  for the first time,  exceed 400 parts per million and be permanent.  For comparison, last year the 400 ppm level was attained but monthly concentrations fell back to 397.5 ppm during the summer and fall.  Now, however, based on these new findings there is no going back to pre-400 ppm levels as explained by lead author Richard Betts of the Met Office Hadley Center for Climate Sciences.

In fact, Betts has pointed out the role of El Nino in incepting this latest climate threshold crossed. According to him, quoted in EOS: Earth & Space Science News (Vol. 93, No. 15, p. 5):

"While the 400 ppm mark would have been exceeded this year or next anyway, El Nino has caused the CO2 to rise extra fast this year. We hit the mark earlier than expected."

Worth pointing out also is that in a normal year the water of the eastern Pacific would be about 8 C (14.4 F) cooler than in the western Pacific on account of wind patterns pushing water to the west while bringing cooler, deeper water to the east. But El Nino dramatically altered this  hydrologic cycle, weakening the winds and resulting in warmer water in the eastern Pacific. This  effectively resulted in cascading weather patterns including the increased incidence of drought and fires in the tropical western Pacific.

The Betts et al study is important because while earlier models have simulated El Nino effects on sea surface temperatures none of them predicted the total contributions of the effects to atmospheric CO2 levels.  This was possible because Betts et al used data collected at the historic Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii where rising atmospheric CO was first recorded in 1958. The Betts team built a statistical model using multiple regression analysis to relate sea surface temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

As I observed in the previous blog post (in response to Intertel's resident global warming deniers) this sort of approach is reasonable when one is dealing with stochastic processes. In many ways it bears analogy to my own research using multiple regression to relate the frequency of geo-effective solar flares to sunspot magnetic morphology and area, e.g.

In the case of the Betts et al MR analysis CO2 levels will break historic records this year  and the El Nino effect is predicted to add 0.5 - 1.5 ppm to the existing increment of 2.0 ppm/ year.(This added difference only expected to last as long as El Nino itself)

It is instructive here to reference the European  ENSEMBLES project, which has been primarily concerned with quantifying the (politically relevant) aggressive carbon mitigation scenario. Their fundamental working question: What happens by what time, if we cut CO2 emissions by so much?

Their working scenario thus far (given existing assumptions and variables) leads to a peak in the CO2 equivalent concentration in the atmosphere of nearly 535 parts per million in 2045, before eventually stabilizing at 450 ppm. Even so, the concentration peak is precariously close to what many (e.g. the late Carl Sagan in his essay 'Ambush - The Warming of the World') have claimed is at the cusp of the runaway greenhouse effect

In terms of he current work by Betts et al it's been found that CO2 concentrations around the globe will exceed 400 ppm for hundreds of years. Worse, if the threshold for the runaway greenhouse is passed, it is doubtful concentrations will ever fall below - meaning essentially the planet will be on its way to becoming another Venus.  One of the paper's co-authors, Ralph Keeling, of the Scripps Institution of  Oceanography  has pointedly noted (EOS Earth & Space Science News, ibid.): 

"Carbon dioxide levels will increase unless we dramatically reduce emissions. We can cut the growth rate in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations but total levels will increase unless emissions ae cut by about 50 percent".

This is sobering news for the "Economics Uber Alles" denizens  of  Intertel who find it so easy to castigate genuine science and real climate scientists because the latter's research adversely affects the Libertarian notion of ever increasing GDP.  But they had best pull their heads out of their asses and sign on to reality instead of denying it. They could help themselves immensely by consulting the   "State of the Climate Report" put together by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (Of course, they doubtless are convinced the government science agencies are in the global "alarmist" conspiracy.

But last I checked Earth is their planet too, and only a fool - or a moron to be precise - would risk his habitable abode for the bet that climate change isn't real or is being made up by reputable scientists.

But alas, the world appears to be over weighted to the presence of fools, poltroons and morons, even in high IQ societies - where they use the dubious cover of their IQ test scores to babble any codswallop to justify living in their Libertarian bubbles. Ordinarily we could leave them to intellectually suffocate in those bubbles, but their lying and conspiracy mongering puts everyone else at risk subject to the extent  their BS infection spreads..


Perhaps no one has better explained the connection of global warming to capitalism, than Naomi Klein. Thus her book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. Climate Change, provides perhaps the best antidote to the disinformation and propaganda spouted by the Libertarian element in the high IQ societies.  Basically, as Klein argues, capitalism is unable to affect or alter  the course of climate change due to its dependence on fossil fuels and need for continuous growth. Also,  the time for marginal fixes has expired, thus forcing us to now make radical changes in how we live.  This the Libbies do not want (or they soft soap like Steve Mason does) hence the basis for their hysterical lies and conspiracy theories re: "global warming alarmists".

 Ms. Klein shows we simply don't have the luxury of using all the carbon that lies in the Earth. Yet capitalism's never ending growth engine would demand we do so to support the expansion of new markets for exploitation and wanton consumption. Strange that a subset of high IQ people are unable to get that into their heads. But the power of emotionally invested belief can be stronger than intelligent insight.

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