Ocean Circulation Doesn't Work As Expected

May 13, 2009 By Monte Basgall
This model of North Atlantic currents has been called into question by new data from Duke University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Image: Archana Gowda, Duke

(PhysOrg.com) -- The familiar model of Atlantic ocean currents that shows a discrete "conveyor belt" of deep, cold water flowing southward from the Labrador Sea is probably all wet.

New research led by Duke University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution relied on an armada of sophisticated floats to show that much of this water, originating in the sea between Newfoundland and Greenland, is diverted generally eastward by the time it flows as far south as Massachusetts. From there it disburses to the depths in complex ways that are difficult to follow.

A 50-year-old model of ocean currents had shown this southbound subsurface flow of cold water forming a continuous loop with the familiar northbound flow of warm water on the surface, called the Gulf Stream.

"Everybody always thought this deep flow operated like a conveyor belt, but what we are saying is that concept doesn't hold anymore," said Duke oceanographer Susan Lozier. "So it's going to be more difficult to measure these signals in the deep ocean."

And since cold Labrador seawater is thought to influence and perhaps moderate human-caused climate change, this finding may affect the work of global warming forecasters.

"To learn more about how the cold deep waters spread, we will need to make more measurements in the deep ocean interior, not just close to the coast where we previously thought the cold water was confined," said Woods Hole's Amy Bower.

Lozier, a professor of physical oceanography at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Bower, a senior scientist in the department of physical at the Woods Hole Institution, are co-principal authors of a report on the findings to be published in the May 14 issue of the research journal Nature.

Their research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Climatologists pay attention to the Labrador Sea because it is one of the starting points of a global circulation pattern that transports cold northern water south to make the tropics a little cooler and then returns warm water at the surface, via the Gulf Stream, to moderate temperatures of northern Europe.

Since forecasters say effects of global warming are magnified at higher latitudes, that makes the Labrador Sea an added focus of attention. Surface waters there absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And a substantial amount of that CO2 then gets pulled underwater where it is no longer available to warm Earth's climate.

"We know that a good fraction of the human caused carbon dioxide released since the Industrial revolution is now in the deep North Atlantic" Lozier said. And going along for the ride are also climate-caused water temperature variations originating in the same Labrador Sea location.

The question is how do these climate change signals get spread further south? Oceanographers long thought all this Labrador seawater moved south along what is called the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC), which hugs the eastern North American continental shelf all the way to near Florida and then continues further south.

But studies in the 1990s using submersible floats that followed underwater currents "showed little evidence of southbound export of Labrador sea water within the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC)," said the new Nature report.

Scientists challenged those earlier studies, however, in part because the floats had to return to the surface to report their positions and observations to satellite receivers. That meant the floats' data could have been "biased by upper ocean currents when they periodically ascended," the report added.

To address those criticisms, Lozier and Bower launched 76 special Range and Fixing of Sound floats into the current south of the Labrador Sea between 2003 and 2006. Those "RAFOS" floats could stay submerged at 700 or 1,500 meters depth and still communicate their data for a range of about 1,000 kilometers using a network of special low frequency and amplitude seismic signals.

But only 8 percent of the RAFOS floats' followed the conveyor belt of the Deep Western Boundary Current, according to the Nature report. About 75 percent of them "escaped" that coast-hugging deep underwater pathway and instead drifted into the open ocean by the time they rounded the southern tail of the Grand Banks.

Eight percent "is a remarkably low number in light of the expectation that the DWBC is the dominant pathway for Labrador Sea Water," the researchers wrote.

Studies led by Lozier and other researchers had previously suggested cold northern waters might follow such "interior pathways" rather than the conveyor belt in route to subtropical regions of the North Atlantic. But "these float tracks offer the first evidence of the dominance of this pathway compared to the DWBC."

Since the RAFOS float paths could only be tracked for two years, Lozier, her graduate student Stefan Gary, and German oceanographer Claus Boning also used a modeling program to simulate the launch and dispersal of more than 7,000 virtual "efloats" from the same starting point.

"That way we could send out many more floats than we can in real life, for a longer period of time," Lozier said.

Subjecting those efloats to the same underwater dynamics as the real ones, the researchers then traced where they moved. "The spread of the model and the RAFOS float trajectories after two years is very similar," they reported.

"The new float observations and simulated float trajectories provide evidence that the southward interior pathway is more important for the transport of Labrador Sea Water through the subtropics than the DWBC, contrary to previous thinking," their report concluded.

"That means it is going to be more difficult to measure climate signals in the ," Lozier said. "We thought we could just measure them in the Deep Western Boundary Current, but we really can't."

Source: Duke University (news : web)

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GrayMouser
3.8 / 5 (12) May 13, 2009
"Everybody always thought this deep flow operated like a conveyor belt, but what we are saying is that concept doesn't hold anymore,"
If it ever worked like that to begin with?
GrayMouser
3.6 / 5 (16) May 13, 2009
Oh, never mind. I forgot that the science is already settled.
Sean_W
4.1 / 5 (18) May 13, 2009
Wait, this sounds perilously close to using observed data to overturn a climate model. I don't think you're allowed to do that in climatology.
Fazer
4.4 / 5 (13) May 13, 2009
Gosh, more importantly, it means that movie "The Day After Tommorrow" was pure fantasy. I just don't know what to believe anymore!
LuckyBrandon
2.5 / 5 (10) May 13, 2009
it makes me wonder if we had it right, and the conveyor belt effect has already stopped and were too late....not like we wouldve stopped it from stopping anyways (if it ever existed)
Damon_Hastings
3.7 / 5 (25) May 13, 2009
Come on, guys, revisions like this are how science works. There's no such thing as "settled" science -- science is, by definition, uncertain. If you want certainty, go to a church.

Nowhere in this article does it say, or even hint, that this discovery in any way challenges the evidence for climate change. It just says that the propagation of climate change signals through the deep oceans will be "harder to measure". If this causes you to just give up and discard all climate models as bogus, then you might be overreacting a wee bit.

Last week I read an article purporting to "turn the entire field of cosmology on its head" by proving that there is no such thing as dark matter. Suppose that article is true. Does that mean we should discard the entire field of cosmology? Should we tell NASA they'll get no more funding until their science is "settled"? I mean, come on, it's like you guys have never read science news before. Of *course* they're revising the models. They're *always* revising the models, in *every* field of science. That's how science makes progress!

And, yes, just about every scientific theory we currently have is wrong in some way. We know this. But in this imperfect world, we are sometimes forced to make important policy decisions even in the face of imperfect knowledge. We cannot afford to paralyze our national policy while waiting for a perfect certainty that will never come.
perspicio
2.6 / 5 (9) May 13, 2009
Thank you, Damon.
mikiwud
3.9 / 5 (15) May 14, 2009
Damon,
I think everyone is having a dig at "the science is settled" mindset, not at this research. This article shows that measured data trumps playstation climate predictions everytime, and there is still a LOT to learn.
arcticireland
3 / 5 (2) May 14, 2009
This article shows that measured data trumps playstation climate predictions everytime


??

from the item

"Since the RAFOS float paths could only be tracked for two years, Lozier, her graduate student Stefan Gary, and German oceanographer Claus Boning also used a modeling program to simulate the launch and dispersal of more than 7,000 virtual "efloats" from the same starting point."

Are we being asked to believe that all the water flowing north remains up here?
MatthiasF
4.8 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
Are we being asked to believe that all the water flowing north remains up here?


Maybe you should try reading the article. It states that a southern-bound cold conveyor does not exist. The warm water runs northward in giant streams, but once it cools the flow has no particular direction. It's still moving, though.

I wonder how many climate models relied on this?
arcticireland
5 / 5 (3) May 14, 2009
Maybe you should try reading the article. It states that a southern-bound cold conveyor does not exist. The warm water runs northward in giant streams, but once it cools the flow has no particular direction. It's still moving, though.


;) how do you do tongue in cheek?



But if it wanders and meanders and stops off for rest here and there,it still makes it back south to run northward again in giant streams of warm water so why should I worry?


QubitTamer
3.7 / 5 (9) May 14, 2009
Damon - the point of the sarcasm is that this article shows exactly what we so called 'AGW Deniers' have been saying all along - The Earth's climate MAY in fact be in a warming period but there is no such thing as 'Settled science' when it comes to something like the earth's climate...

Go watch the Gore movie or talk to one of the mind numbed drones that have Global Warming as their religion... according to both the science is DONE... SETTLED... No room for questions or arguements.

You are precisely right Damon practically NOTHING is ever settled in science because new ways of gathering empirical data are always being invented. From plate tectonics to cosmology and everything in between science MUST rely on wholly unbiased analysis of empirical data from real experiments. Claiming Canon from highly speculative models is as lunatic and anti-science as witch-duck-rock-float logic from the days of the Inquisition.

Damon_Hastings
2.1 / 5 (8) May 14, 2009
Damon - the point of the sarcasm is that this article shows exactly what we so called 'AGW Deniers' have been saying all along - The Earth's climate MAY in fact be in a warming period but there is no such thing as 'Settled science' when it comes to something like the earth's climate...

...or physics, or biology, or anything else. I agree with you here.
Go watch the Gore movie or talk to one of the mind numbed drones that have Global Warming as their religion... according to both the science is DONE... SETTLED... No room for questions or arguements.

I also agree with you here. There is no shortage of zealots (and just plain crazy people) in the environmentalist movement. Likewise with the conservative movement, and any other movement. But I would hope that you don't assume that climate science is bogus just because certain people make it into a religion, any more than you would discard quantum mechanics as quackery because of the huge number of "quantum mysticists" and other new-age prophets basing their religions off it.
Claiming Canon from highly speculative models is as lunatic and anti-science as witch-duck-rock-float logic from the days of the Inquisition.

The models came first (and yes, the early models were pretty rough), but now we also have a body of empirical evidence. The temperature increase is no longer some speculative future possibility. It's here, it's now, and it's measurable. You can argue with a simulation, but it's harder to argue with a thermometer.

Now, of course, we're not really using thermometers -- we're using complex measuring devices which examine ice cores and geologic records and such, so there's still plenty of room for doubt there. But there will *always* be room for doubt, and our measurements of past temperatures will *never* be perfect. So if we wait for perfection before acting, then we will *never* act. We will just keep doing science forever, and will forever ignore its results.

Right now we're at a point where our best (though still imperfect) science is giving us an 80% to 90% confidence that AGW is real and is going to hurt... a lot. If it's real and we do nothing, the global economy will see a depression that makes the 1930's look like a bad hair day. On the other hand, if we take action but AGW turns out to be fake, then we have wasted some money creating unnecessary (but still useful) technology. So our policy makers are balancing an 80% to 90% chance of a global economic meltdown against the 10% to 20% chance of wasting a small fraction of the world's treasury creating what essentially amounts to a "public works" project for scientists.
Velanarris
4.1 / 5 (9) May 14, 2009
Damon,

Nowhere in this article does it say, or even hint, that this discovery in any way challenges the evidence for climate change.
Actually it does. It means every climate model that takes ocean currents into account is wrong. Which invalidates all climate models as the ones that don't take ocean currents into account are wrong.

Right now we're at a point where our best (though still imperfect) science is giving us an 80% to 90% confidence that AGW is real and is going to hurt... a lot.
No, no we're not at that point. We're not even approaching 10%.

On the other hand, if we take action but AGW turns out to be fake, then we have wasted some money creating unnecessary (but still useful) technology.
Firing sulfate pollutants into the sky to dampen the effects of our sun is not useful, or for that matter, safe.
denijane
3.8 / 5 (4) May 14, 2009
Damon, don't bother. Or do bother, if you feel like it. The problem is not what people think, but that they don't think at all. It's much easier to believe-in religion, in medias, in politics, even in science.

Anyway, as you said, in science, there's nothing certain, but the fact that we still don't know it all. We have theories, which work in certain approximation, but they are not settled. Is gravity settled? No. There are many questions and alternative theories (of relativity). But that doesn't stop us from making planes and rockets. I have no idea why some people think that first, the scientists have to find a common position about global warming and then, the rest of the planet should act. Well, scientists are never on the same opinion, even for trivial things. But that has nothing to do with reality. And you either deal with a problem or you deal with the results. Your choice.

And, last but not least, I think that if Gulfstream stops functioning, the world might become VERY interesting. So...well, I don't want to be nasty, but curiosity is the number one human virtue and vice :)
Modernmystic
3.5 / 5 (8) May 14, 2009
Which science tells us that the Earth warming by a few degrees will give us a depression that makes the 30's look like a bad hair day?

Why do warmer temperatures always have to be bad (the PETM was quite good for mammals actually)? I think the assumptions about AGW and climate change in general (whether or not man made) are many, specious, and far outside the scope of the disciplines of the scientists quoting them as fact.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
And, last but not least, I think that if Gulfstream stops functioning, the world might become VERY interesting. So...well, I don't want to be nasty, but curiosity is the number one human virtue and vice :)
It'll certainly be a cold day in London.
Damon_Hastings
4 / 5 (7) May 14, 2009
Nowhere in this article does it say, or even hint, that this discovery in any way challenges the evidence for climate change.

Actually it does. It means every climate model that takes ocean currents into account is wrong.

Please show me where in the article it says that.

But I agree with you in principle that there are flaws in the models. It is widely accepted that there are flaws, and the models are constantly improving. They'll never be perfect.

Right now we're at a point where our best (though still imperfect) science is giving us an 80% to 90% confidence that AGW is real and is going to hurt... a lot.
No, no we're not at that point. We're not even approaching 10%.

And this is based on your superior knowledge of climate science compared to the vast majority of the worlds' climate scientists?

On the other hand, if we take action but AGW turns out to be fake, then we have wasted some money creating unnecessary (but still useful) technology.
Firing sulfate pollutants into the sky to dampen the effects of our sun is not useful, or for that matter, safe.

Agreed. The space mirror is probably also a bad idea. As is a return to pure agrarianism. There are a lot of bad (and just plain silly) ideas out there. I'm willing to reject the bad ones, if you're willing to at least consider the rest.
superhuman
2.8 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
You are precisely right Damon practically NOTHING is ever settled in science because new ways of gathering empirical data are always being invented.


There are many things which are settled in science.

Newtonian dynamics for example is settled and unless physical laws vary in time it will remain that way forever.

Climatology however is a young and very challenging discipline and few things are settled.

Climate models should be treated like all other scientific models - they should not be trusted until they are shown to make accurate predictions. I know it may take decades or more before we have such proven models, and I know our current situation may prove to be urgent, forcing us to act much sooner, but this doesn't make our climate models any more trustworthy.
Damon_Hastings
3.4 / 5 (5) May 14, 2009
Anyway, as you said, in science, there's nothing certain, but the fact that we still don't know it all. We have theories, which work in certain approximation, but they are not settled. Is gravity settled? No.

And in fact, gravity is far less settled than climate science! Physicists *wish* they could get 90% of their community to agree on gravity (or even 30%)! Scientists are a notoriously contentious lot, and a 90% consensus on such a new theory is almost unprecedented in the history of science.
Damon_Hastings
3.7 / 5 (3) May 14, 2009
There are many things which are settled in science.

Newtonian dynamics for example is settled and unless physical laws vary in time it will remain that way forever.

It's actually kind of funny that you were writing this post at the same time I was writing a post about fewer than 30% of physicists agreeing on a model for gravity. ;-)

Oh, and NONE of those physicists still adhere to the old Newtonian model. Newton was half a dozen models ago.
Damon_Hastings
2.3 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
Which science tells us that the Earth warming by a few degrees will give us a depression that makes the 30's look like a bad hair day?

I would suggest reading the IPCC report, but I already know you never will. ;-) But if you really want to know which science backs up everything I've been saying, the IPCC report is a good synopsis for most of it. In fact, it is the consensus statement of the world's scientific community.

Why do warmer temperatures always have to be bad (the PETM was quite good for mammals actually)?

Actually, you bring up a good point. Warmer temperatures *will* be good for most mammals. Great, even. Forests will expand and thrive. Life will push into areas previously too cold or dry. It will be great for the Earth.

Just not for us. ;-)

For details, I would again refer you to the IPCC report. Droughts, floods, storms, submerged cities, crop failures, displaced people, yada yada.
Damon_Hastings
2.7 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
I should also remind everyone that those flaws in the models cut both ways. Sometimes they mean AGW has been overstated; sometimes they mean AGW has been understated.

And I could make a strong argument that AGW has been understated, based on the fact that the Arctic is melting far faster than expected. The original IPCC report predicted a melt by 2100 or later; but now they've cut the time in half! The IPCC is actually a fairly conservative group, scientifically speaking, and there is a lot of evidence for AGW that they rejected as not yet mature. However, some of that evidence has matured since the last IPCC report, which is why the IPCC report turned out to be too optimistic on the Arctic ice pack's survival.
Velanarris
4.1 / 5 (9) May 14, 2009
And this is based on your superior knowledge of climate science compared to the vast majority of the worlds' climate scientists?
This is based on the mountainous amounts of research that come out almost daily stating completely contrary results.

If we take a look at historical temp recreations, no two models or proxies agree to within an acceptable result. Current modeling is of a similar vein, as well as climate modeling.

I'm willing to reject the bad ones, if you're willing to at least consider the rest.
I'm willing to consider all rational plans of action, assuming there is a need for any action at all.

Let's get this straightened out right up front.

I've never said the climate is not changing. The only constant about climate IS change. I disagree with the sources and suspects of "global warming", and I disagree with some of the science that's been touted by the more radical among the warmists. There have been a great many things that are very positive about the global warming debate, prime example: reduction of energy dependence on fossil fuels, exploration of alternate grid technologies and architecture. The whole AGW camp isn't without merit, but to state we're 80 to 90% certain of anything smacks of the IPCC papers which have been mostly discredited (largely due to their politicization).

Damon_Hastings
2.5 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
If we take a look at historical temp recreations, no two models or proxies agree to within an acceptable result.

For all its faults, Wikipedia actually has a fairly decent graph of all major temp recreations: http://en.wikiped...ison.png

You are correct that there is wide variability among them (especially beyond 100 years ago), but they all agree quite well on one thing: a very steep upward slope during the past 100 years. The steepest on record. Is it just coincidence that the steepest slope on record corresponds with the advent of global heavy industry?
denijane
1.8 / 5 (4) May 14, 2009
Oh, why, nobody said that global warming will be bad for all.

For example, while president, Putin joked that that they have no problem with global warming in Russia since it's quite cold there.

And if you think about it, the main problem when it comes to climate, will be for islands and places with ocean influence (or those which rely on them for their seasons, like India).

Sure, it's likely that climate everywhere will change, but whether it will be for good or for bad, it's hard to tell. Certainly, some nations would benefit, other would suffer. But, one thing is sure, without Gulfstream, England will be quite cold place.

I think that most Americans are under the heavy influence of their political party. But actually, it has nothing to do with parties. Yes, democrats use the whole drama for their benefit. Yes, the republican use the whole drama to point against the annoying democrats. But science has nothing to do with politics. Politics decides how to react on scientific prognosis, but that's all. So, take the heat off the discussion, forget whether you are a democrat or a republican and just consider the issue on its own. Let's say that there is 50% chance that global warming is artificial. Don't you think we ought to try to prevent any more damage being done, even if the chance is only 50%? Especially since, most that is done to prevent that damage is beneficial for us on its own-like more efficient appliances and more efficient cars.
QubitTamer
4.5 / 5 (4) May 14, 2009
None of it matters anyhow. Eventually over the span of millions or even billions of years humanity is doomed unless we get off this rock and populate younger solar systems elsewhere. The sun will eventually become a red-giant which will expand out to beyond the present orbit of the earth, then it will become a white dwarf... Burn then freeze. So it really does not matter what happens any more than the melting of the Bering sea ice bridge matters to anyone living today. If oceans rise over coastal areas people will move inland. If islands are covered people will abandon them. If an ice age comes people will cluster around the equatorial latitudes...

I personally think that we will get off the planet in relatively short time via robot-probe type spaceships carrying human embryos and some means of artificial wombs to get things going once a habitable planet is found. Maybe in the next 2000 to 3000 years that will happen. What amount of contact those future travelers will have with us is hard to say but at least we will have beaten our eventual fate on this solitary rock...

denijane
1.5 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
Am, and where will people from the islands go? Will USA take so much emigrants? Will France or Italy or any other developed country just accept millions of people? Or should those people go live in Africa?

You have to understand it's not about how we won't survive. It's about how our way of life will survive. Our economy, our moral, our politics. Physically, we're more than able to survive the warming.
superhuman
3.9 / 5 (7) May 14, 2009
It's actually kind of funny that you were writing this post at the same time I was writing a post about fewer than 30% of physicists agreeing on a model for gravity. ;-)

Yes but the picture you are painting is quite misleading in that the vast majority of physicists accepts both Newtonian model and general relativity, what they disagree on is the next extension, a model valid on cosmic scales.

Oh, and NONE of those physicists still adhere to the old Newtonian model. Newton was half a dozen models ago.

It's not about adhering to models it's about using models, there are plenty of problems for which Newtonian model is by far the best and of course everyone uses it in such cases.
Velanarris
4.4 / 5 (7) May 14, 2009
I think that most Americans are under the heavy influence of their political party. But actually, it has nothing to do with parties. Yes, democrats use the whole drama for their benefit. Yes, the republican use the whole drama to point against the annoying democrats. But science has nothing to do with politics. Politics decides how to react on scientific prognosis, but that's all.
Yes, I agree, however, politics as a whole are funding scientists. The politicization of science has made it one ugly monster indeed.

Am, and where will people from the islands go? Will USA take so much emigrants? Will France or Italy or any other developed country just accept millions of people? Or should those people go live in Africa?


Can you please show me an island that has lost land area as a direct result of Global Warming?

This item is brought up over and over yet I haven't seen reports of any displaced islanders that had their land loss associated directly with global warming. Sure, tsunamis and hurricanes have displaced thousands of islanders and coastal dwellers, but none of that has been linked to global warming.

Now, if catastrophic sealevel rise did occur, the US would probably be the first country to accept these people. Only issue is they'd be stuck in New Orleans.
arcticireland
4 / 5 (8) May 14, 2009
The IPCC is not a scientific body,never was,never will be .Amen.
It is a political creation made in the likeness of the Lord AlGore.
arcticireland
3.7 / 5 (9) May 14, 2009
but they all agree quite well on one thing: a very steep upward slope during the past 100 years. The steepest on record. Is it just coincidence that the steepest slope on record corresponds with the advent of global heavy industry?



"They" all agree ? who are they? And where did you get that idea of this "steepest slope on record " from? Do you ever read the geological research as posted on this very site or are you confined to edicts from th discredited IPCC?
GrayMouser
3.2 / 5 (9) May 14, 2009
If we take a look at historical temp recreations, no two models or proxies agree to within an acceptable result.


For all its faults, Wikipedia actually has a fairly decent graph of all major temp recreations: http://en.wikiped...ison.png



You are correct that there is wide variability among them (especially beyond 100 years ago), but they all agree quite well on one thing: a very steep upward slope during the past 100 years. The steepest on record. Is it just coincidence that the steepest slope on record corresponds with the advent of global heavy industry?

The chart you point to is one that GISS has "corrected" to show the proper results.

Try these:
http://icecap.us/...SPPI.JPG
http://icecap.us/...SPPI.jpg
http://icecap.us/...KPDO.JPG
http://icecap.us/...CTIC.jpg
rwinners
3.7 / 5 (6) May 14, 2009
Are we being asked to believe that all the water flowing north remains up here?




Maybe you should try reading the article. It states that a southern-bound cold conveyor does not exist. The warm water runs northward in giant streams, but once it cools the flow has no particular direction. It's still moving, though.



I wonder how many climate models relied on this?


I doubt that this has much effect on climate modeling. As you say, the water is still moving, but is 'seeping' rather than flowing. I wonder where the idea of a 'river' flowing southward came from in the first place.
Damon_Hastings
2.4 / 5 (7) May 15, 2009
Oh, why, nobody said that global warming will be bad for all.

And if you think about it, the main problem when it comes to climate, will be for islands and places with ocean influence (or those which rely on them for their seasons, like India).

Actually, about 30% of the world's population hugs the coasts, not to mention the major industrial centers. Look at where all the major cities are on a map. And then of course there's the droughts, floods, storms, crop failures, famine, plague, etc. The effect will be global, not just along the coasts.
Damon_Hastings
1.8 / 5 (5) May 15, 2009
but they all agree quite well on one thing: a very steep upward slope during the past 100 years. The steepest on record. Is it just coincidence that the steepest slope on record corresponds with the advent of global heavy industry?

"They" all agree ? who are they?


Um... "they" are the lines on the graph I linked to. Not people.

And where did you get that idea of this "steepest slope on record" from?


During the past 100 years the temperature rose at least 0.8 degrees Celsius. Have you looked at the graph? That graph at least covers the past 2000 years, and it's pretty clear that the rise from 1900 to 2000 is unmatched during any other century of the past 2000 years.

And there are other graphs that go back further -- like this one: http://upload.wik...emps.png (When interpreting this graph, be aware that it uses a logarithmic time scale.) You can see some major temperature spikes during the Pleistocene well illustrated on that graph, but those spikes are pretty rare -- only once per 100,000 years or so -- and even then, their steepest upward slopes still come nowhere close to the 0.8 degrees/century rise that we are currently seeing. (The resolution on this graph is just barely good enough to estimate the slopes of those spikes, but you can find finer resolution graphs with some digging. I've found them before but did not bookmark them, unfortunately.)
Damon_Hastings
2.7 / 5 (7) May 15, 2009
The chart you point to is one that GISS has "corrected" to show the proper results.

If you're talking about the same correction I read about last year, that correction was minor, and only applied to one or two of the data sources shown in my graph. Can you clarify?

Try these:
http://icecap.us/...SPPI.JPG
http://icecap.us/...SPPI.jpg
http://icecap.us/...KPDO.JPG
http://icecap.us/...CTIC.jpg

Um... ICECAP is an advocacy group well known for leading the charge in "debunking" the global warming "myth". It would be like me using Al Gore's website to back up my statements. Would you take me seriously if I did that? If you would, then I have a whole *bunch* of links to include in my next post. ;-)
Velanarris
3.9 / 5 (7) May 15, 2009
Damon, you've drunk the kool-aid.

It's become very clear that even unbiased evidence will not sway your views one iota. I can understand that, however, being more open minded will greatly assist you in understanding what's actually at play.
Damon_Hastings
3 / 5 (6) May 15, 2009
Ah, the ad hominem attack. Guess that marks the end of this thread, then. If you consider ICECAP unbiased, then there's really not much more I can say anyway. ;-) I had fun, though, thanks for the lively debate!
Velanarris
4.3 / 5 (6) May 15, 2009
Ah, the ad hominem attack. Guess that marks the end of this thread, then. If you consider ICECAP unbiased, then there's really not much more I can say anyway. ;-) I had fun, though, thanks for the lively debate!
It's not ad hominem if you direct your review of the evidence to be based upon it's origin rather than it's merit without a factual review of the origin.


I may think Hansen and Mann are morons, but if they write a paper and I don't review it based on the paper itself rather than my dislike of the authors then my statements are nothing more than opinion.
GrayMouser
4.2 / 5 (5) May 15, 2009
The chart you point to is one that GISS has "corrected" to show the proper results.


If you're talking about the same correction I read about last year, that correction was minor, and only applied to one or two of the data sources shown in my graph. Can you clarify?

The difference is additive. Here's the difference between NOAA and NASA data after the corrections are applied: http://www.climat...nasa.gif
http://wattsupwit...ure2.png

Also notice that the references cited in the Wikipedia page are all AGW advocates. This makes it a dubious source at best and pure propaganda at worst.


Try these:

http://icecap.us/...SPPI.JPG


Um... ICECAP is an advocacy group well known for leading the charge in "debunking" the global warming "myth". It would be like me using Al Gore's website to back up my statements. Would you take me seriously if I did that? If you would, then I have a whole *bunch* of links to include in my next post. ;-)

I could point you to the Remote Sensing Systems website (http://www.remss.com/)or Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (http://www.uah.edu)and you can look at the raw data. I looked in the historic temperatures for my area and found that they the winters have a slight warming trend and the summers have a slight cooling trend since 1890.
blackle4ps3
not rated yet May 16, 2009
hot water, top cold water bottom ,gulf stream flows north? google earth and thermal detecting satellites could show flow,global warming or radioactive warming
jeffsaunders
5 / 5 (5) May 17, 2009
One of the articles here in physorg pointed out only a few weeks ago that none of the current climate models even take cloud cover into account.

Now I cannot say if the article was pulling my leg or not but it made me wonder if the models are any use whatsoever. Even if a model happens to coincide with reality for a while it would probably only be a coincidence.

We all know (I think we do anyway) that water vapor is the biggest most important greenhouse gas and cloud cover probably the biggest most important cooling effect perhaps except for the ice caps. But these two do not appear to cancel each other out so any models that shift CO2 to a greater level of importance than water vapor are also pretty useless.

Ocean currents is important research and finding that some are less important or more important than previously thought is usefull for all sorts of reasons including weather forecasting short and long term.

Referring everything the Man Made Global Warming all the time just seems to me that it is scientists wanting to jump on the popularity bandwagon rather then letting their research stand on it's merits.

I know politics plays a big important part in funding and grants - but I can still dream about scientists doing scientific research scientific reasons.

During the last 2,000 years the planet has warmed up several times and quite suddenly and also cooled down quite suddenly these events are documented anecdotaly as well as through ice cores and sedimentation geological studies, I am surprised that the graphs quoted above do not show them. Perhaps it is because we do not actually have temperature readings going back 2,000 years only estimates based on anecdotal and gelogical records and these are interpreted by the users whatever way they want to interpret them.

When the vikings moved to Iceland and then could only stay 40 or 50 years because it got too cold to grow crops i wonder what the global temperature was dating that 50 years time period and the 50 years prior and post that time period. Taking into account the greater change in temperatures that appears to occur in the arctic.

Anyway as has been pointed out the world will get hotter or colder and we all grow old and die anyway. Species come and go (including ours) that is no reason to deliberately destroy the planet however, but it is no reason to attribute major changes to climate to human activity either. I am sure we can affect the climate and I am sure we have made noticeable changes already it is just that I am not sure that we are in fact making the planet hotter. We could well be holding the planet back it could be a lot hotter if we were not making so much pollution. It is a good idea to find out. Just not helpful that everything boils down to politics where the winner is not necessarily the person that is right.
freethinking
3.3 / 5 (7) May 17, 2009
Ill put my 2 cents in too..... Man Made Global Warming is Settled Science, Anyone who disputes that is a moron, idiot, beholdant to the Oil Industry. Its just as Settled as the Ocean Circulation pattern, anyone who doesnt believe this is a moron, the science proves it. Woops..... what???? Ok.... change in ideas..... Man Made Global Warming is Settled Science, just like the science that shows UFO are from the planet Kripton...
ealex
5 / 5 (2) May 18, 2009
Yes. You can keep your 2 cents. Thanks.

More to the topic, I agree that cloud cover and cloud formation mechanisms are hugely being ignored by climatology, as is at this point, or pretty largely so, the involvement of oh say.. THE SUN.. in all of this global warming, mostly seeing that we tend to forget that is is the actual source of it all.

Theories that corelate sun activity with temperature variations on Earth may not be very well corellated, but I still don't think they should be as discounted as they currently are. On the other hands none of the other temperature graphs really seem to be either and there are so many, and often so contradictory, that it is becoming almost impossible to figure out which one is a trustworthy source.

It is is indeed sad that a quite vital domain of science has become so politicized and so prone to mistrust, and not mistrust of certainty, but mistrust of honesty and truthfulness.
denijane
1 / 5 (3) May 18, 2009
Ok, I was away for the weekend, but I'd like to just add that the fact that today there are no displaced people because of global warming doesn't mean that they won't be any such people tomorrow.

And note, it doesn't have to be a huge wave with a sign "AGW" on it. It could be a hurricane, it could be something else. If a huge chunk of glacier fall into the ocean and because of the change of the pressure on the crust, there is an earthquake somewhere that leads to a tsunami, could you say it's definitely global warming? I think this is very premature argument.

And as for Newton-you can go trough arxiv.org-general relativity and see how often there are articles about modifications to general relativity. The fact that one theory describes certain events well, doesn't mean there isn't a better theory. And it's not about an extension-general relativity is supposed to describe all the gravitational interactions. If it fails at some point, then it's particular case of a more general theory that we still don't know. And that definitely doesn't make it "settled science".

And finally-sorry, but I doubt that USA will take so much immigrants. WW2 is a good example to consider. I don't think that any country will gladly accept so many people. It's best to avoid that scenario. Not that I mind sexy islander joining our genome.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (5) May 18, 2009
jane, what on earth are you talking about?
It could be a hurricane, it could be something else. If a huge chunk of glacier fall into the ocean and because of the change of the pressure on the crust, there is an earthquake somewhere that leads to a tsunami, could you say it's definitely global warming? I think this is very premature argument.
I could always say I was late to work because of global warming. The increase in temperature led to an unprecidented warming of the air in my tires causing a blowout.

Or I could call a spade a spade and say I got a flat tire. Global warming is being used regularly as a scapegoat. Neither thermal expansion, nor meltwater have budged the landmass of even the threatened islands in the caribbean, south pacific, or coastal africa.

but I doubt that USA will take so much immigrants. WW2 is a good example to consider. I don't think that any country will gladly accept so many people.
The US adds about 1 million people per year via legal immigration, another 2 million through the foreign national program and asylum process. That's just what's on the books. If we count illegals and foreign nationals families that's probably another 500,000.

All the lands of Oceania and the South Pacific amount to 33 million people. That's including 20 million in Austrailia and 5 million in New Zealand.

So assuming all the rest are threatened, yeah, the US would take in 8 million people. We probably wouldn't bat an eye at it either.
denijane
3 / 5 (4) May 19, 2009
Ok, let me ask you something, if you cut the trees in a mountain and you get a land-slide in the next rain which bury a village nearby, what would you call it? Natural disaster or irresponsible land use? Obviously they are both correct, but the reason is very obvious in this case.

Well, when we talk about global climatic events, it's not so obvious. We don't know so much about Earth to be able to trace all the reasons and consequences. But that doesn't mean we can't make a good guesses. As I said, I don't think climatic changes should be politicised and I beg you not to connect me with any american political movements-right, left or green. I'm a scientist and form an opinion based on facts and intuition. I'm not making global warming a scapegoat. Maybe just a flagship for something more general.

Humanity have to start thinking in terms of sustainability. Yes, we can survive most climatic changes (well, apart from nuclear winter, I guess). Yes, we can profit from them. Yes, they may be natural this time (or we can pretend they are). The point is that in the optimistic case, human kind won't get less than what it is now. We'll expand, we'll need more resources and more energy. We'll affect our environment even more. That's why I think that it's best to start thinking about the problem now and to take measures to solve it before it's really late. Because sooner or later, this problem will come up. It's simply inevitable. Why not to use this warning to deal with it on time and on our terms? And note, I am convinced we're playing a big part in the current warming and that if we don't act, it could get nasty. I just don't think this is the essential issue. The essential issue is sustainability. Why waste resources and money when we can use them in a smarter way?

As for climatic emigrants...I don't think you'd take 8 million people. I simply don't. I know they are not that much for such a big country, but those wouldn't be just random people from random nationalities craving to become americans. They will be a highly homogenised mass of people sharing a nationality and craving for their home and their own culture. And I think most countries would consider them a threat to national security. Again, I hope I'm wrong and I hope I never find it out, but still that's what I think in the moment.

Finally, I'm Deni or Denitsa, not Jane :)
Velanarris
5 / 5 (3) May 19, 2009
I'm on board with you right up until here:
Why not to use this warning to deal with it on time and on our terms? And note, I am convinced we're playing a big part in the current warming and that if we don't act, it could get nasty.
Well, because in my opinion it's disingenuous. If you want people to change, don't lie to them about it. As for your views on the causation of warming I disagree, but that's just our disagreement.

I think the largest changes that man can be blamed for are land use changes, which would have some effect on warming, but not to catastrophic extent. The CO2 issue is a method of society control on societies that are too financially and militarily significant to control in any other manner.

They will be a highly homogenised mass of people sharing a nationality and craving for their home and their own culture. And I think most countries would consider them a threat to national security.
I'd agree however, the US did just spend 20 million dollars to relocate Hamas refugees to within the borders of the US.

I'll say again, the US just spent 20 million dollars to relocate their biggest "enemy" to within their borders. If that's not a threat to national security, then I don't know what would be.

Finally, I'm Deni or Denitsa, not Jane :)
Apologies, I won't make the mistake again.
GrayMouser
2.3 / 5 (3) May 19, 2009
One of the articles here in physorg pointed out only a few weeks ago that none of the current climate models even take cloud cover into account.

Another problem with the politically correct models is that they have a half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere that is orders of magnitude greater than any study supports. This artificially exacerbates the effects of any CO2 source while minimizing the effects of any CO2 consumers.
lengould100
1 / 5 (1) May 21, 2009
Ah, the ad hominem attack. Guess that marks the end of this thread, then. If you consider ICECAP unbiased, then there's really not much more I can say anyway. ;-) I had fun, though, thanks for the lively debate!
It's not ad hominem if you direct your review of the evidence to be based upon it's origin rather than it's merit without a factual review of the origin.





I may think Hansen and Mann are morons, but if they write a paper and I don't review it based on the paper itself rather than my dislike of the authors then my statements are nothing more than opinion.



Well, your last sentence is correct.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) May 22, 2009
Well, your last sentence is correct.

And as usual, your contribution to the discussion has been exceptional and without equal, Len.