Climate 'Tipping Points' May Arrive Without Warning, Says Top Forecaster

Feb 09, 2010
This graphic shows the extent of Arctic sea ice in September 2009 (in white) compared with the median ice extent for September from 1979 to 2000 (in magenta). (U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center/map)

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new University of California, Davis, study by a top ecological forecaster says it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth's natural systems will occur -- a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.

"Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them," said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. "Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning -- systems can 'tip' precipitously.

"This means that some effects of global climate change on ecosystems can be seen only once the effects are dramatic. By that point returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible."

The current study focuses on models from ecology, but its findings may be applicable to other complex systems, especially ones involving human dynamics such as harvesting of or financial markets.

Hastings, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, is one of the world's top experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems. His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species' response to global .

In 2006, Hastings received the Robert H. MacArthur Award, the highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America.

Hastings' collaborator and co-author on the new study, Derin Wysham, was previously a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis and is now a research scientist in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the John Innes Center in Norwich, England.

Scientists widely agree that is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.

And they fear that worse is in store. As U.S. presidential science adviser John Holdren (not an author of the new UC Davis study) recently told a congressional committee: "Climate scientists worry about 'tipping points' ... thresholds beyond which a small additional increase in average temperature or some associated climate variable results in major changes to the affected system."

Among the Holdren listed were: the complete disappearance of Arctic sea ice in summer, leading to drastic changes in ocean circulation and patterns across the whole Northern Hemisphere; acceleration of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, driving rates of sea-level increase to 6 feet or more per century; and ocean acidification from carbon dioxide absorption, causing massive disruption in ocean food webs.

Explore further: UN sends team to clean up Bangladesh oil spill

More information: The study, "Regime shifts in ecological systems can occur with no warning," was published online today by the journal Ecology Letters, in its Early View feature: www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo… l/123276879/abstract .

Provided by University of California - Davis

3.6 /5 (35 votes)

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Caliban
3.8 / 5 (11) Feb 09, 2010
There was an article published here on physorg only a few months ago about the very thing. As ANY system becomes unstable/out of equilibrium, it begins to exhibit slowly increasing variations, and these variations at some place near the tipping point become almost arbitrarily large. It seems to me that this wildly see-sawing behavior would be the tell-tale of imminent change.
As with any equilibrium state, an energetic system is implied. Once the system has reestablished equilibrium, it requires arbitrarily large amounts of energy to change it to a higher or lower equilibrium state. When you consider this on a global, environmental scale, it should be pretty obvious that the effects are irreversible- at least in any real way.
GrayMouser
2.5 / 5 (15) Feb 09, 2010
For Caliban's comment:
The weather, and by extension climate, is not an equilibrium system. It is chaos driven and there fore can not be stable in any sense of the term.

For the article:
The author of the paper is listed as a "theoretical ecologist". Not a meteorologist. Not an atmospheric thermodynamicist or physicist. Were the referenced "tipping points" from computer models or from natural historical events? If it's from models then they need to pile up supporting historical facts, and even then it wouldn't say anything about the hypothetical AGW.
Caliban
3.5 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2010
Gray Mouser-
Gotta disagree with you on the principle of equilibrium. While it is true that weather/ climate is chaos driven on a micro-scale, it is an equilibrium system on macroscale, and therefore subject to change with addition or subtraction of energy, whether that energy derives from intrusive geologically-driven events or from absorption of solar energy, or extra-solar sources. Add to that the possibility of interference through human activity(as in fossil-fuel burning), and you have a quite complicated group of interrelated factors that can affect weather/climate on local and/or global scale.
fourthrocker
3.2 / 5 (13) Feb 09, 2010
For Caliban's comment:
The weather, and by extension climate, is not an equilibrium system. It is chaos driven and there fore can not be stable in any sense of the term.

For the article:
The author of the paper is listed as a "theoretical ecologist". Not a meteorologist. Not an atmospheric thermodynamicist or physicist. Were the referenced "tipping points" from computer models or from natural historical events? If it's from models then they need to pile up supporting historical facts, and even then it wouldn't say anything about the hypothetical AGW.


Just because it is chaotic doesn't mean it doesn't have an overall equilibrium, it does. Caliban is exactly right. I have been saying the same thing for over 20 years, people thought I was nuts back then. Unfortunately for us, some people still think it's nuts. We are putting billions of tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it does not magically disappear or have no effect.
fourthrocker
3.5 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2010
The climate, ecology, everything, is like a sheet of chainmail hanging from a clothsline. We are busily pulling out rings here and there at random while replacing almost none. The sheet is still hanging but sooner or later we will pull out a ring and it will fall apart. It is already hanging in tatters because of our activities and it will not fall slowly, when it starts to fall it will be an avalanche.
stealthc
1.9 / 5 (17) Feb 10, 2010
you people have no idea, the earth seems to adapt into it's own cycle based on the things that have happened to it. When something changes, the system adapts and changes with it, but a lot of things have happened to the earth throughout time that have not made things inhospitable to life. These scientists (or non-scientists as someone pointed out in a remark), still have almost no idea what it is they are talking about. They just pull stuff from out of thin air, and get awarded grants because people get really sold on this doomsday stuff. Enjoy the kool-aid you losers. Obvious sci-ops/propaganda from the establishment, which has a habit of using barely credible sources and can magically shield them with undisputed and credible reports (till they get exposed for the fraud that they are).
mary_hinge
3.3 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2010
I have to totally agree with Caliban and fourthrocker. Prehistory shows us there have been major climate shifts over very short periods of times. I don't think it is coincidence that civilization developed during the last 5,000 years of unusually stable global temperatures. The Earth has bee kept comfortably habitable by complex feedback systems, prehistory also shows us that small changes in atmospheric constituents have major changes in global temperatures. We are presently burning off 3,000,000 years worth of fossil fuel production every year, we now have an energy imbalance equivalent to 35,000 W87 nuclear bombs exploding (forget the radiation and dust issues for this!) every day!!More than enough excess energy to result in extra precipitation, and deflect and alter jet streams. This will not wipe out life n Earth but is not a rosy future for civilization as we have become used to.
mary_hinge
2.4 / 5 (10) Feb 10, 2010
To clarify for those not familiar with yield of nuclear weapons, the yield of the W87 is 300 kilotons, this compares to 'Little Boy' which had a yield between 12 and 15 kilotons.
As we know Little Boy virtually destroyed the city of Hiroshima, the current energy imbalance is the equivalent of approx. 700,000 Hiroshimas being destroyed EVERY DAY!!
The above example is of course purely hypothetical and cannot be tested ;-)so cannot be peer-reviewed but it indicates the amount of energy required per day to raise the mean global temperature by 0.5C since 1960. If you still don't think that this much energy will not change climate patterns..............
MikeyK
2.7 / 5 (14) Feb 10, 2010
but a lot of things have happened to the earth throughout time that have not made things inhospitable to life.

Oh you mean like the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic and Cretacious mass extinctions...hmm
These scientists (or non-scientists...),
They are scientists, unlike Screaming Lord Monckton, new high priest for deniers!
They just pull stuff from out of thin air, and get awarded grants because people get really sold on this doomsday stuff. Obvious sci-ops/propaganda from the establishment,

You really have been at the Conspiracy theorist soup today haven't you!

which has a habit of using barely credible sources and can magically shield them with undisputed and credible reports (till they get exposed for the fraud that they are).

You've really been suckered in by the 'Climategate' nonsense haven't you. Nobody has yet been able to prove any fraud is going on...no one.
Like the bomb analogy Mary, that's a hell of a lot of energy!
Skeptic_Heretic
3.5 / 5 (12) Feb 10, 2010
Oh you mean like the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic and Cretacious mass extinctions...hmm

Want to quantify the driving forces behind those mass extinctions? I'm fairly sure none of the theories around the above were due to a 1% change in quantity of an atmospheric trace gas. You're being overly alarmist and drawing unsubstantiated conclusions. Let the science be done before you pass judgement on a course of action.

Nobody has yet been able to prove any fraud is going on...no one.
There haven't been any reviews of the FOIA request denials and improper handling of data outside of the self interested institutions involved in the initial incidents.
joefarah
1.3 / 5 (13) Feb 10, 2010
I'd be a lot more worried about the tipping point of sin, than that of climate.

By the way, has anyone compared a volcanic eruption to man's affect on the weather (not that there is any)?
jimbo92107
5 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2010
[re a previous article]...As ANY system becomes unstable/out of equilibrium, it begins to exhibit slowly increasing variations, and these variations at some place near the tipping point become almost arbitrarily large....


The global climate system is a complex system of systems. Relative stability appears to be manifested by periodic oscillations in things like temperature, which generates local yearly weather patterns.

If we think of the injection of CO2 as a form of added energy (as it facilitates more trapped heat), then we should see weather oscillations of increased amplitude in addition to an increase in average global temperatures.

Yup, as you add energy to an oscillating signal, its oscillations get bigger. However, how does that relate to thresholds or break points? Sounds like a very complicated problem.
lewando
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 10, 2010
"Climate 'Tipping Points' May Arrive Without Warning, Says Top Forecaster"

Then again, they may not.
rkolter
3.8 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2010
When something changes, the system adapts and changes with it, but a lot of things have happened to the earth throughout time that have not made things inhospitable to life.


I just wanted to comment on this piece - nobody is saying that climate change will make the Earth inhospitable to life. At least, certainly not in the immediate future. They are saying that it will change things. Rising oceans and badly screwed up weather will not end humanity; but it may cause tremendous suffering.
vanderMerwe
2 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2010
LOL! Be afraid. Be VERY afraid! Climate's gonna getcha! Of course if you'll only put your money in the plate as it comes by and change your wicked ways, there's hope for redemption, so give brothers and sisters, GIVE! My grandfather was a tent revivalist and I got this with my mother's milk. The difference between my grandfather and this new religion was that my grandfather had a basic honesty of purpose and message that these new priests of this pseudo-secular religion totally lack. :-D
Loodt
2 / 5 (12) Feb 10, 2010
How Sad!

An 'honest' climate change scientist is painting yet another scary scenario from his computer!

Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
lewando
1 / 5 (9) Feb 10, 2010
Rising oceans and badly screwed up weather will not end humanity; but it may cause tremendous suffering.


Good point. Though you probably meant to say it *will* cause tremendous suffering (heh-heh).

The recorded history of humanity pretty much documents mankind’s tremendous suffering. Why expect anything different from future history-- because we are somehow smarter? Ha.

If anyone thinks climate calamity will happen anytime soon, then sell your beach house, buy real estate in higher ground (in Canada or Mexico depending on what your best climate model projects). Manhattan, if not already, will be fully owned by China by "then" so really a non-issue. Predictions for tremendous economic activity should accompany any predicted suffering.
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2010
Predictions for tremendous economic activity should accompany any predicted suffering.

Reminds me of Zorg's little monologue (right before he nearly chokes to death), from Fifth Element...
lewando
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2010
Good one--had to look that one up. Yes-- sounds a little creepy on afterthought.

I should say: no one wants people to suffer, but people will continue to suffer for all kinds of reasons (standard reasons and new reasons yet to be invented) no matter what I or anyone thinks or does. So what's one more reason? New climate challenges will create opportunity?? Probably, yes.
GrayMouser
1.9 / 5 (11) Feb 11, 2010
Gray Mouser-
Gotta disagree with you on the principle of equilibrium. While it is true that weather/ climate is chaos driven on a micro-scale, it is an equilibrium system on macroscale, and therefore subject to change with addition or subtraction of energy, whether that energy derives from intrusive geologically-driven events or from absorption of solar energy, or extra-solar sources.

There is no reason to believe in "macro" stability in a chaotic system. It would be, by definition, impossible to make that claim and history doesn't support it.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (8) Feb 11, 2010
There is no reason to believe in "macro" stability in a chaotic system.

Really? I have an experiment for you to try. Put a kettle of water on the stove, and bring that water to a boil. Now: has the temperature of the water stabilized? Is the turbulence inside the kettle not chaotic in nature?

A less artificial example: the atoms and molecules in your body are all moving chaotically. Is your body stable, or did it just fly apart? (If the latter, I'm sorry: I meant no harm...)
GrayMouser
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 12, 2010
There is no reason to believe in "macro" stability in a chaotic system.

Really? I have an experiment for you to try. Put a kettle of water on the stove, and bring that water to a boil. Now: has the temperature of the water stabilized? Is the turbulence inside the kettle not chaotic in nature?

A less artificial example: the atoms and molecules in your body are all moving chaotically. Is your body stable, or did it just fly apart? (If the latter, I'm sorry: I meant no harm...)

Neither of these are examples of chaos driven systems.
For a brief introduction you might check Wikipedia:
http://en.wikiped...s_theory
Additionally, try checking their entry on Catastrophe theory:
http://en.wikiped...e_theory
PinkElephant
3.3 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2010
You should read your own references.

For a pot of boiling water, throw in a small plastic bead. Track the trajectory of that bead through time.

Ditto for your body. Take a particular molecule of oxygen, and track its trajectory as it enters and traverses your body.

In both cases, how do the respective trajectories change with a very small perturbation of the initial conditions?

The turbulence in the pot is exactly a chaotic system (as is pretty much any example of turbulence), and here you have the analogy: the turbulence is the weather, whereas the overall average temperature is the climate.
MikeyK
3.3 / 5 (6) Feb 12, 2010
Interesting how one of the anti-science contributors here now uses wicki when the anti-scientists regularly condemn the site for its alleged pro-AGW stance..hmmm.
Interesting as well how they either don't read, or, more likely don't understand the links yet still present them as evidence of their anti-science viewpoint. I have noticed this from a number of anti-science contributors lately.
fourthrocker
4 / 5 (5) Feb 12, 2010
you people have no idea, the earth seems to adapt into it's own cycle based on the things that have happened to it. When something changes, the system adapts and changes with it....


This is correct as far as it goes. It would adapt if the changes weren't ongoing. Adaptation doesn't just happen to a stable system, it will go into oscillation first before it settles down and then only if the changes stop. The changes are not stopping and the system is in oscillation, as evidenced by the new weather records being broken all the time. Higher highs, lower lows, more of this, less of that, etc. Our destabilizing input to the climate continues and is accelerating, the earth would adapt but we aren't giving it a chance to. When we finally do and it stabilizes, we aren't going to like the new climate. The point of no return is close or already past. Sell your shore property.
Skeptic_Heretic
2 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2010
It would adapt if the changes weren't ongoing.

In the absence of stability the only change would be in the rate of adaptation, not in the presence or continuance of adaptation.

You've created a logical inaccuracy, no adaptation is needed when a system no longer oscillates.
fourthrocker
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2010
How Sad!

An 'honest' climate change scientist is painting yet another scary scenario from his computer!

Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!


TRULY sad, "the sky isn't falling, the sky isn't falling, the sk.....OUCH!"
toyo
1 / 5 (5) Feb 13, 2010
Here is another article generating climate change hysteria, when the original study has nothing to do with climate at all.
You'd think the reporter would at least have read the original paper!.
Based as it is on models, I thought a quote of Richard Lindzen's (Professor of Meteorology at MIT) thoughts on specific Climate Change models was relevant. Quote: [ ..current models depend heavily on undemonstrated positive feedback factors to predict high levels of warming. The effects of clouds have been receiving the closest scrutiny. That is not unreasonable. Cloud cover in models is poorly treated and inaccurately predicted. Yet clouds reflect about seventy-five watts per square meter. Given that a doubling of carbon dioxide would change the surface heat flux by only two watts per square meter, it is evident that a small change in cloud cover can strongly affect the response to carbon dioxide.] Unquote.
Draw your own conclusions people; but once again, a GW scam has been perpetrated, IMHO!
Quantum_Conundrum
1.3 / 5 (8) Feb 13, 2010
Mary Hinge:

You are mis-representing where energy comes from...

The amount of energy or power produced by humans is insignificant.

The solar constant is 174 PETAWATTS, which is 11 times the power used by all humans combined in 2010, according to wikipedia articles for Kardasheve scale and solar constants.

Get that straight.

Humans used 16 TERAWATTS in 2010.

The Solar constant for earth is 174 PETAWATTS PER SECOND...
Sancho
2 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2010
Just to inject a little perspective into this debate: the eruption of one large volcano into the atmosphere creates more demonstrable climate change than the cumulative effect of all humanity. It is estimated that 85% of all volcanism occurs undersea. Clearly the only way to save mankind from climate change is get the hell off the planet.
lewando
1.4 / 5 (8) Feb 14, 2010
Excellent point, Sancho. So volcanism would be yet another random, unmonitored climate variable that our models can't handle.
fourthrocker
4 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2010
Pointless, vulcanism adds particles to the atmosphere that settle out in a couple years and it's a one time event. Greenhouse gas emissions take decades to dissipate and it's ongoing. What's more when the processes that absorb and dissipate them become saturated as they are now, they accumulate. Add the ongoing addition and the accumulation and you have impending disaster.
mary_hinge
5 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
Quantum, I wasn't saying that was the energy used by man but the energy imbalance of the Earth since 1960 to produce a global warming of 0.5C (as agreed by 99.9% of scientists the heat retained by earth due to the greenhouse effect) (of course we are now 0.6+C now but allowing for ENSO noise...
Sancho- global cooling by volcanism occurs because of particulates and aerosols emitted by explosive eruption. By their nature underwater eruptions would not eject this matter into the stratosphere (unless they were particularly HUGE eruptions...which we will have noticed I think ;-)!
Rohitasch
5 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
you people have no idea, the earth seems to adapt into it's own cycle based on the things that have happened to it. When something changes, the system adapts and changes with it, but a lot of things have happened to the earth throughout time that have not made things inhospitable to life.


Hello! Do you see any dinosaurs of mammoths around? When "the climate adapts with it", a whole lot of species get wiped out. The ones at the top of the food-chain always do. That is what adaptation means: Cleaning the slate till a stable state is reached. The dirt on the slate happens to be mostly made of carbon. Like us.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2010
Pointless, vulcanism adds particles to the atmosphere that settle out in a couple years and it's a one time event. Greenhouse gas emissions take decades to dissipate and it's ongoing.

Read that again. You're saying the CO2 produced by man, and the CO2 produced by volcanoes have different halflives.

You're incorrect, again.
eurekalogic
1 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2010
1. The biggest green house gas is water not CO2.
2. http://www.cv-hel...est.html sunspots are a key to many issues. 3. The map of the ice does not show thickness or change over time the other way around. How much of an convenient truth that in the 70s were in a ICE AGE panic. You wont see that data because its an incovenient fact the global warming bunch wont publish. Besides that Dupont made a killing when their patent ran out on CFCs almost to the day it was banned. They showed a Ozone hole growing by massaging the data. Someone is going to make a fortune here with the global warming as well. Just know that the powers at be will make us pay no matter what unless the king has no clothes.
VeIanarris
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
Pointless, vulcanism adds particles to the atmosphere that settle out in a couple years and it's a one time event. Greenhouse gas emissions take decades to dissipate and it's ongoing.

Read that again. You're saying the CO2 produced by man, and the CO2 produced by volcanoes have different halflives.

You're incorrect, again.


Oh dear oh dear, this is something the other troll dachpy does all the time! Advice to our Deutche Canadian troll READ OTHER POSTERS COMMENTS CAREFULLY!!!
It is quite clear that the poster was referring to VOLCANIC PARTICLES, NOT CO2!!
Anymore of this and you will be added to the list of trolls who are better ignored so we can have discussions with those who genuinely want to learn.
Alphakronik
1 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2010
I'm pretty sure the tipping point came yesterday when Phil Jones, the key - climategate data provider said he couldn't find the raw data he used on his models, and that "no signifigant warming has happened since 1995".

Game over.
mary_hinge
4.7 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
Eurekalogic- You are right about H2O being the major greenhouse gas but there is a large difference between a greenhouse gas constituent and a driver. A recent post went into this in detail but to summarise H2O is a feedback constituent (a given atmospheric temperature will only accommodate a certain amount of H2O) a whilst CO2 is a driver (the more co2 in the atmosphere the higher the temperatures). Basically any excess H2O over its temperature capacitity is precipitated out within a couple of weeks.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
It is quite clear that the poster was referring to VOLCANIC PARTICLES, NOT CO2!!

Funny, because my education tells me the primary gasses emitted during an eruption in order of most to least are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur either as sulfur dioxide (SO2) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

So which particles are being referred to? The conversation was in regards to gas, and suddenly the term particle was used. I'm guessing you/he are/is talking about ash, which is kind of a joke to really talk about as ash can spend up to a hundred years depending on weight and air currents as well as how high it's ejected into the atmosphere.

Again, I find it interesting that you tend to speak for other posters, when they seem entirely capable of speaking for themselves.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Feb 15, 2010
Humans pump into the atmosphere over 8 gigatons of fossil CO2 per year:

http://en.wikiped...2004.png

Compared with volcanic emission:
Up to 40% of the gas emitted by some volcanoes during subaerial eruptions is carbon dioxide.[24] It is estimated that volcanoes release about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. This is about a factor of 1000 smaller than the sum of the other natural sources and about factor of about 100 smaller than the sources from human activity.

Above excerpted from:
http://en.wikiped...mosphere
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
Humans pump into the atmosphere over 8 gigatons of fossil CO2 per year:

http://en.wikiped...2004.png

Compared with volcanic emission:

Want to point out where I was speaking about volume of natural vs manmade emissions? My statement was in regards to another posters inaccurate discussion of the "non-issue" of volcanic eruption.

Aside from being in a relative state of climate calm, we're also in a state of abnormal tectonic quiet.
mary_hinge
3 / 5 (2) Feb 16, 2010
PE- you are spot on with that analysis. Velanarris is correct though I don't really approve of the tone in his/her comment (message to all, please tone down comments!)I wish people would read other comments before flying off on some random journey, and then criticising someone else for a similar transgression!. Are some people here just arguing for the sake of argument?
mary_hinge
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
Aside from being in a relative state of climate calm, we're also in a state of abnormal tectonic quiet.

So you wouldn't agree with some of your cohorts that it is increasing vulcanism that is heating up the seas, now that's refreshingly honest of you ;-)
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
So you wouldn't agree with some of your cohorts that it is increasing vulcanism that is heating up the seas, now that's refreshingly honest of you ;-)

You'd have to point out where I've been dubious prior in order for it to be "refreshing."

No I can't state that increased vulcanism is the cause as I don't know. We really don't have a solid active subsurface volcano map to go off of, let alone the monitoring equipment in place to determine if that is the case.

It's possible that suboceanic volcanoes are warming the planet, but I'd need to see a lot of data for that to be the fact of the matter.

And no one is my "cohort" in a discussion of observation. Science isn't exactly a team sport. It's either true and verified, or not true and disproved.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
Want to point out where I was speaking about volume of natural vs manmade emissions?

Here:
Read that again. You're saying the CO2 produced by man, and the CO2 produced by volcanoes have different halflives.

You're incorrect, again.

The point wasn't about "different halflives", it was about the fact that human industrial emissions of CO2 utterly dwarf volcanic emissions, already by a factor of 100:1, and continuing to grow rapidly. IOW, modern global civilization is already artificially creating the equivalent of 100 additional volcanic eruptions PER YEAR, every year.

With that in mind, it becomes important to consider how long that additional gas remains in the atmosphere, which would of course determine the ultimate concentration that will be achieved. Apparently, it stays there for a rather prolonged period...

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