Climate science bedeviled by 'tipping points'

January 19, 2017 by Marlowe Hood
Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere today are higher than any time in the last three million years, and are increasing more rapidly than at any point in the last 66 million years

Of the many things that keep climate scientists awake at night, tipping points may be the scariest.

To start with, these thresholds for deep, sometimes catastrophic change in the complex web of Earth's natural forces, caused by man-made , are largely invisible.

You can't see them on the horizon, and could easily cross one without noticing.

Also, there is no turning back—at least not on a human timescale.

Ice sheets with enough frozen water to lift sea levels more than a dozen metres; powerful ocean currents that keep bone-chilling winters at bay on both sides of the Atlantic; monsoon rains upon which hundreds of millions in Asia depend for food—all are at risk of irretrievable disruption.

"There are points-of-no-return where, for example, a certain amount of warming triggers unstoppable collapse of glaciers off of Antarctica, even if the planet cools again," explained Ben Strauss, vice president of the US research group Climate Central.

Think of someone leaning back on two legs of a chair, suggests Sybren Drijfhout, a professor at the University of Southampton.

"The tipping point is when you're exactly in between two states," he said. "A tiny perturbation"—a gentle shove—"will make the system tip over."

In the case of ice sheets, how this might happen is well understood.

Thick ice shelves astride land and sea in Greenland and Antarctica act as giant bulkheads, preventing even larger inland ice masses from sliding into the ocean.

West Antarctica's would lift the global watermark by at least six metres.

Permafrost (not)

Were these ice dams—eroded by warming water (below) and air (above)—to fall away, "the blocking features may not be able to re-form even after hundreds of years of cooling," Strauss told AFP.

As if by way of illustration, an ice block nearly 100 times the size of Manhattan is poised to break off West Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf within months, scientists said earlier this year.

But if experts agree on the mechanics, they sharply disagree on how much a region would need to warm up to trigger collapse, or how long it would take.

2016 the hottest year

"We don't know exactly when we might pass these points—or whether we already have crossed some of them," Strauss added.

James Hansen, former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has argued that West Antarctica could disintegrate rapidly, adding up to a couple of metres to ocean levels this century.

But most experts say humanity is still within a "safe operating space" for the ice sheets, even if the margin for error has become uncomfortably thin.

Other tipping points could trigger the natural release, on a massive scale, of the same greenhouse gases that humans have spewed into the atmosphere, further destabilising the delicate balance that has made our planet so liveable over the last 11,000 years.

Methane and CO2 locked in the increasingly misnamed permafrost of Russia, Canada and northern Europe is equivalent to roughly 15 years worth of global emissions from fossil fuels at today's levels.

The release of these gases—negligible so far—would, in turn, aggravate the problem in a vicious circle of warming, what scientists call a positive feedback loop.

Likewise, rock-like formations in shallow ocean waters called methane hydrates, prime suspects for episodes of rapid global warming millions of years ago. Little is known about what it would take to trigger their disintegration today.

No perfect analogue

"Even if global warming is limited to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)"—the red line drawn in the 196-nation Paris climate pact—"some important tipping elements may already be harmed or transformed," Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, commented recently in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Even so, the promise of holding global warming "well below 2 C" is a reasonable guarantee that such scenarios can be avoided, he said.

But scientists also admit their tools are better at measuring steady, linear progressions than sudden shifts.

"In general, climate models are too stable," said Drijfhout. "They are calibrated to the present climate, have difficulty simulating the abrupt changes we have witnessed in the geological past."

Looking for lessons from the past also has limits, notes Didier Swingedouw of the University of Bordeaux.

"The problem is that there is no perfect analogue to what we will experience in the near future."

Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere today are higher than any time in the last three million years, and are increasing more rapidly than at any point in the last 66 million years.

Explore further: Huge Antarctic ice block set to break off: scientists

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JohnDonohue
1.8 / 5 (12) Jan 19, 2017
The most gigantic, looming, awesome tipping point that could arrive any second is: the plunge into the next glaciation. It is due.

I've asked many climate scientists when that will be. Here are the three most frequent responses:
1) our models and understanding are not advanced enough to say;
2) AGW wipes out the monumental forces of the 2-million year old ice cycles, there won't be another glaciation unless humans stop burning fossil fuels;
3) what a stupid question

What this means is: they have no control study, no baseline. It's scary that they don't, and that they don't care that they don't.
JohnDonohue
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 19, 2017
"Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere today are higher than any time in the last three million years, and are increasing more rapidly than at any point in the last 66 million years."

No. CO2 concentration goes higher than today (400ppm) at the start of every interglacial, and there have been aprox. seventeen interglacials. Ice core evidence does not resolve small intervals, such as 300 years, and these past spikes are invisible to it. Other proxy studies find them.
workforlivn
1 / 5 (6) Jan 19, 2017
Short of a massive human die off, there is nothing to be done. Even were we to half current fossil fuel use, the increase in population plus the increase output of the third world dwarves any reductions.

What I would like to see is a study of end-of-the-world news reporting from around 1850 to the present and the outcome of each warning.
letshaveagoodtm
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 19, 2017
This article hints at the basic issues of Climatology. The core science and math that underlie Climatology is statistics. All of the models are based on statistics. The fundamental aspect of statistics is that variables have a linear relationship with other variables. Unfortunately, this rarely if ever happens in natural systems. So a fair dose of skepticism is appropriate when any discussion of climatology is engaged in. It is also one reason that discussion on Climatology often become an almost religious discussion. They are saying trust us, have faith in us without ever acknowledging the fundamental flaws in the science. Virtually all climate models are also fundamentally flawed.

Until models are built on the emerging Complex System Science they will never be able to model the climate. And those models will be far more complex and difficult to construct.
MadScientist72
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 19, 2017
Other proxy studies find them.

@JohnDonohue: Do you have a link to these "other proxy studies"? I'd like to see the evidence.
Short of a massive human die off, there is nothing to be done. Even were we to half current fossil fuel use, the increase in population plus the increase output of the third world dwarves any reductions.

@workforlivn: Even if we were to immediately _stop_ all fossil fuel use, we would still need to address the exploding population problem before it completely consumes vital resources.
The fundamental aspect of statistics is that variables have a linear relationship with other variables. Unfortunately, this rarely if ever happens in natural systems.

@letshaveagoodtm: The devil in the details for climate science is the sheer number of variables at play. Climate scientists don't really know how they all interact - and I strongly suspect that they don't even know for certain what all of them are.
letshaveagoodtm
1 / 5 (5) Jan 20, 2017
MadScientist, yes the number of variables is huge and many are unknown. My point is that statistics is simply the wrong method to model nonlinear relationships. For instance, a simple variable that is nonlinear is the absorption and release of energy for water transitioning between ice and water and then to steam or vapor. Similarly, if the Atlantic Conveyer ceases to flow then there is a very nonlinear effect on the climate.

These are simply two variables, among perhaps thousands, that cannot be modeled using statistics. Thus the entire "science" of Climatology is profoundly flawed.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (6) Jan 20, 2017
As if by way of illustration, an ice block nearly 100 times the size of Manhattan is poised to break off West Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf within months

Isn't it amusing how the only place in Antarctica that the AGW Cult can find their wishful behaviour of CO2 is exactly where there is extensive geothermal and seismic activity.
JohnDonohue
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 20, 2017
@MadScientist
In general, plant stomata work. This link is a start, and also explains the crudeness of ice core work to resolve short intervals, during which spikes can occur.
http://www.geocra...ata.html

There are counter arguments, such as "Ice cores provide direct measurement of gases, while plant stomata studies are 'once removed.' However, others counter that with substantiation of the validity of stomata measurements, and repeat the "slush" argument about ice cores.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (2) Jan 20, 2017
@MadScientist
What is your best idea for stopping or reducing global population growth?
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
Let's see how many ways all this bafflegab is wrong.

Glaciations don't start from tipping points. They start after changes in the Earth's axial and orbital parameters, driven both by natural precession of the spin axis and by perturbations of the orbits due to the other planets. The current interglacial is forecast to be a long one, 35,000-50,000 years long. We do, after all, have good enough math to calculate the Earth's orbit and the perturbations from the other planets for the next several million years. This isn't controversial in any way. We've known this for decades. It's just orbital mechanics.

[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
[contd]
Whether humans can affect the climate enough to put off the next glaciation (and that's all we can do, put it off) depends on just how badly we screw up the atmosphere. We might put it off for an extra 10,000 years or so if we increase atmospheric CO₂ to ten times it's current concentration.

We can do that; there's enough coal. Atmospheric concentrations of CO₂ at the end of the Cambrian were circa 4,000 ppmv, about ten times today's. By the end of the Carboniferous, they were down to near 200 ppmv, about half today's; this was due to the explosion of plant life across the land, before the animals colonized it from the ocean. The plants sucked much of the CO₂ out of the atmosphere and turned it into what would eventually be coal. The Karoo Ice Age resulted, which spanned 100 million years, from the end of the Devonian through the Carboniferous and into the beginning of the Permian.
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
[contd]
The Karoo was the longest ice age so far of the Phanerozoic, the current Eon. It's the third longest in Earth's history, after the Huronian and Cryogenian, both of which happened during the Protoerzoic Eon, before the current Phanerozoic. Whether the Quaternary ice age, the current one, lasts longer than the Karoo remains to be seen; check back in a hundred million years or so. We're only a few million years into the Quarternary Ice Age. A short time as such things go.

So, burn all that coal, and we'll return to concentrations of CO₂ not seen since the end of the Cambrian, as a reminder circa 4,000 ppmv. That's a time so long ago that almost nothing lived on land.

Getting back to the article at hand, are there tipping points in the climate between where we are now and ten times more? If you asked most climate geophysicists (to give these scientists their proper name), they'd probably say, "Undoubtedly." In fact, most of them would probably say, "Many."
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
[contd]
The Cambrian ended half a billion years ago; 485 million if you want to be detail-oriented. Would that result in a mass extinction? You better believe it. Simple fact of the matter is, we can't afford to burn all that coal.

And also consider this: it took only one-fifth that high a concentration, not far below 1,000 ppmv, probably along with other factors including vulcanism, plate tectonics, and release of methane hydrates, as current hypotheses go, to cause the greatest extinction event in the history of the planet: the Great Dying. The Permian Extinction. The Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction, if you want to get technical.

So there's the paleontological viewpoint.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (5) Jan 21, 2017
Now, what can we glean from all this? Two things:
1. The largest effects on climate cycles and ice ages are the Milanković cycles (those perturbations and precessions I was talking about), and the CO₂ concentration. Actually, the second is more properly the global warming gas concentration; there are other GWGs than CO₂, like methane for example.
2. If we burn all the coal we will virtually certainly cause a mass extinction event.

Now, that also doesn't account for the fact that it took thirty to fifty million years for the CO₂ to build up to only about 2 to 2.5 times what it is today between the end of the Carboniferous and the end of the Permian, and it ended up with the Great Dying. We're set to do it ten to a hundred times as fast. What can we expect?

Simple as that.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2017

We do, after all, have good enough math to calculate the Earth's orbit and the perturbations from the other planets for the next several million years. This isn't controversial in any way. We've known this for decades. It's just orbital mechanics.

from skeptical science

''For instance, while we know changes in the orbit pace ice ages, the precise way the three Milankovitch variations conspire to regulate the timing of glacial-interglacial cycles is not well known.''
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Jan 21, 2017
@JohnDonohue, I've never seen any study that has the CO₂ at the beginning of the current interglacial at 400 ppmv CO₂. The current interglacial started with the CO₂ at under 250 ppmv CO₂ and was caused by the Milanković cycle, and driven forward after several thousand years by positive feedback from animals in the ocean and on land, building CO₂ up to pre-industrial levels around 285 ppmv CO₂.

This all took nearly 10,000 years, starting some 20,000 years ago and culminating in the "beginning of the current interglacial" around 11,000 years ago. Five or six thousand years ago, humans had had time enough to start agriculture and civilization. This happened in China, in the Indus Valley, in North and South America, and in the Fertile Crescent in Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamian and Chinese cultures and their offshoots have become the dominant cultures today.
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Jan 21, 2017
[contd]
The Indus Valley civilization has continued, but not become dominant; I would class it third in the great civilizations today. The American civilizations have fallen, and there are only remnants of the South American ones. The Mesopotamian has been the most successful so far though the Chinese is gaining fast, but only in population so far, not in land area.

Now, if you have links that deny any of this, please provide them; I have used Wikipedia and well-known paleontology to gather all this information together, and will if challenged provide the links. Just for grins I suggest looking up the following articles in Wikipedia: Cambrian, Permian, Carboniferous, Ice Age, Karoo Ice Age, Quaternary Ice Age, Milankovitch Cycles, Indus Valley, Fertile Crescent, Interglacial, Holocene, and others that will occur to the curious mind. This will set most inquiring minds at rest.
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2017
another cycle; plants - coal & coal - plants

freeman dyson
https://www.youtu...fWdXXfIs
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
Now, I'll pause here and point out that none of this data depends deeply on climate models.

These are all well-established historical and paleontological facts. Climate models are necessarily short-term estimates in the kinds of timescales we're talking about here; a few to tens of thousands of years are the best we can do. Our best ice core data is barely a few hundred thousand to a couple million years deep. The things we are talking about here go from tens of millions to major fractions of a billion years, which are timescales one to six orders of magnitude greater. Heck, our orbital data are six million years, more than twice the longest ice core records, and far less vulnerable to methodological or technical errors.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
Sorry, @snoose, I only bother with serious people. Dyson is a physicist, not a paleontologist. And you're taking Skeptical Science out of context. In fact, the orbital variations that make up the Milanković variations are well-known out and back to six million years before and after the present, a span of some twelve million years. You might want to consult current ephimeredes.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
Re world population: we definitely have a problem. I suggest that if population is not controlled by gentrification, there will be wars-- likely nuclear-- that will correct the problem. It's the Malthusian Solution. Very ugly; it's been referred to as "nasty, brutish, and short." Raise your hand if you think this is a Good Idea. Can we avoid it? Heck, I dunno. I hope so but I am not optimistic.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2017
@MadSci, you make good points. I hope you gather some interesting information from what I've posted.

The big question here is, how big a deal are these tipping points? And the answer is, that depends on the timescales you want to talk about, and how long you expect the human species to endure. On a timescale of thousands of years, this looks like misery. On timescales of tens of millions of years, it's a blip, but a significant one. On timescales of hundreds of millions to billions of years, it's not really all that important. Choose your assumptions and make your argument.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2017
To be blunt, I expect "stop having babies or we will nuke you" to become dominant foreign policy for many industrial democracies, and I think the Chinese saw it first and instituted it as domestic policy decades ago. I hate to say it because I don't like their style, but I think they averted a major national catastrophe, and I think the rest of the world will be dealing with these kinds of internal concerns before the end of this century.

Having babies will not, by that point, be a human right, I would guess.

@JohnDonohue, I expect that what anyone wants will be trumped by what everyone needs, and it remains to be seen if that will happen soon enough. If we leave it to chance, I suspect the results will be Malthusian and horrible. The question here is, what you *you* want, not what anyone else wants.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
@Da Schneib
Alt-hypothesis: During each interglacial for the past 2 million years, the defrosting world released CO2. It spikes over 400 ppm sometimes. Moreover, during the interglacial, fluctuations of CO2 reach 300-325 ppm regularly. I've asked many climate change scientists to prove to me that the current 400 ppm is not a natural spike with a man-made chaser. They ususally say it doesn't matter, and ignore the evidence of high CO2 during ~17 interglacials.

The ice core evidence is not high resolution for a tiny interlude of, say 300 years. it can't detect the natural spikes.

Study of plant stomata can:
WAIT! Link no longer working to this PDF. That is VERY VERY interesting. I have the .pdf on my hard drive, however.

showing 2000 years of high CO2 spikes in the early Holocene
JohnDonohue
3 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
I found this study at the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
https://www.journ...-reviews

Now it "page not found"

I am not clear if I can simply upload a link to it on my own server.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
What's the title and who are the authors?
JohnDonohue
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
Here is the scientist:
http://www.geo.su...p;uid=37

This is the study, listed at her site;
Steinthorsdottir,M.,Wohlfarth,B.,Kylander,M.E., Blaauw, M. and Reimer,P.J.,
Published in 2013.
Stomatal proxy record of CO2 concentrations from the Last Termination suggests an important role for CO2 at climate change transitions.
Quaternary Science Reviews 68, pg 43-58.

Steinthorsdottir found evidence of high spikes of CO2 in the early Holocene, and throughout. Being a good climate scientist, believing that CO2 levels are critical drivers of temperature, she believed her study supported the idea that CO2 contributed to the end of the the glaciation. However, this finding goes against 40,000 tons of claims that CO2 was low all the way up to the famous 1850+ spike.
I'm going to do some poking into this study, and why it is not available at the original link.

JohnDonohue
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2017
I found this link,

https://www.resea...nsitions

JohnDonohue
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2017
I took one of her graphs, turned it horizontal, and cleaned it up to show just the CO2 line.

http://jrdonohue....ntal.jpg

JohnDonohue
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2017
Wow, she seriously defended her paper.

https://www.resea...er_Dryas
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
Thanks, I'll check it out after I eat.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
Interesting, but I see only 3 excursions to about or above 350 ppmv and only one to 400 ppmv. Mostly it seems to have stayed below 300 ppmv and spent a lot of time in the low 200s.

I think I agree that CO₂ feedbacks contributed to deglaciation and the onset of the current interglacial, but I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion that it was the *most important* factor, and I also note that she is very careful to note that the onset of deglaciation was due to the Milanković cycle. I definitely don't agree that these few short excursions point to CO₂ being the *most important* factor. That's not enough time for it to contribute much to the global temperature balance.

I'll also point out that this evidence is only for the most recent interglacial. I'd like to see more data on previous interglacials indicating prolonged natural excursions above 400 ppmv. Without that I don't think your conjecture is well supported.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
In addition to all of this, one need merely open an almanac and see how much coal and other fossil fuel we are burning to see where the increase in atmospheric CO₂ is coming from. That's just simple accounting, nothing complicated. So your conjecture that this is somehow a natural phenomenon is in very serious trouble right there.

To top it all off, note that records of CO₂ are available from various proxies over the last 10,000 years (since the beginning of the interglacial), and these all indicate that CO₂ stayed around 250-280 ppmv over thousands of years until the industrial revolution, and has quickly climbed to over 400 ppmv in the last couple hundred years.

Overall, I'd say Steinthorsdottir's research rather more bolsters AGW than denying it.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
And one last point: the fossil stoma are a *proxy* of CO₂, not a *cause* of it. What she's saying is that they're a more reliable proxy, and a higher resolution one, than air bubbles in ice cores, and she's probably right about that.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
BTW, @JohnDonahue, not bad. Probably wrong, but not dumb, and not dishonest. Decently supported, though not well enough, I think. Keep trying, you have the right instincts. Gave you some 5s.
snoosebaum
3 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
To be blunt, I expect "stop having babies or we will nuke you"

there's a rare admission , the bilderburger plan , guess you mean the muzzies or the ruskies, pardon my french
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
Probably not something the US is going to do given we don't have much border to defend.

I don't think any conspiracy theories need enter into it. Check out India, Pakistan, and China. Multiply by two, and consider the water from the Himalayas. I'd bet that's where it'll start. Not much, though.

The Russians have all of Siberia, so something Sino-Russian is another possibility.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
I've thought about it some more, and there could be trouble in Africa or South America, but first, there's nobody with nukes there and practically nobody even with ambitions for them, and second, both are a bit more insulated from the really catastrophic effects of AGW than the continents in the Northern Hemisphere. If anything happens in the Southern continents, I'd expect brushfire wars, not nukes. Could be some pretty nasty brushfires, though.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2017
Speaking of nukes and water wars from AGW, we could be real glad we made the nuke deal with the Iranians in a decade or two. If idiot Trump doesn't blow it.

The North Koreans are going to be a really major problem before we're done, though. Too bad Shrub blew that one.
JohnDonohue
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
Da Schneib >>> Interesting, but I see only 3 excursions to about or above 350 ppmv and only one to 400 ppmv. Mostly it seems to have stayed below 300 ppmv and spent a lot of time in the low 200s. […] I'd like to see more data on previous interglacials indicating prolonged natural excursions above 400 ppmv. <<<

1) I ran an average of the 19 data points on her graph: 271.42ppm
2) I suspect your use of the word "prolonged" is influenced by seeing so many ice-core graphs, which are intrinsically smoothed. The real reality per stomata is: noise and spikes. With spikes as normal, today's Mauna Loa graph is easily seen as a side of a spike. It could turn down any time, even if man-made continues, due to a downtrend in the underlying natural.
3) I read that plant stomata evaluation extends only 40,000 years, so you/we would have to seek other non-ice hi-res proxy methods for prior interglacials, which is a daunting task.
JohnDonohue
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
Da Schneib >>> To top it all off, note that records of CO₂ are available from various proxies over the last 10,000 years (since the beginning of the interglacial), and these all indicate that CO₂ stayed around 250-280 ppmv […] <<<
I've seen some, and also seen some refuted. Can you link me to your most trusted non-ice, non-smoothed proxy studies of CO2 in the Holocene?
humy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2017
The most gigantic, looming, awesome tipping point that could arrive any second is: the plunge into the next glaciation. It is due.

Not for thousands of years.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
Da Schneib >>> Overall, I'd say Steinthorsdottir's research rather more bolsters AGW than denying it. <<<
No. She "thought" she was bolstering AGW by exposing high, spiking early Holocene CO₂, but her excitement was contingent on the hypothesis that CO₂ significantly forces local temperature (with the Milankovitch cycles forcing glacial/interglacial cycle.) Her graph is an embarrassment to AGWers claim that today's 400ppm is vastly unprecedented over millions of years, etc. What emerges is the possibility that today's 400 is one of the normal spikes, to, say, 271 or even 350, or more, with a booster to 400 from man-released gases.

humy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2017
The fundamental aspect of statistics is that variables have a linear relationship with other variables.

This is simply not true ( I have studied statistics ). Where non-linear relationships are known, those non-linear relationships are incorporated into the statistics. This includes the statistics used in climatology. Do you really think all these scientists are such morons that they wouldn't think of doing that?
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2017
@Da Schneib
My conjecture, as conjecture, is quite solid. it is merely that the CO2 graph for the Holocene is spiky and noisy, and that today's 400PPM could well be a natural spike from release due to natural warming, with a man-made chaser on top. My intention is to counter the hockey stick image with reality: spiky above and below 280ppm for the entire Holocene, including today.

[over to you]
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
@humy
if homo sapiens had not evolved, what would be the date for the end of the Holocene and start of the next glaciation? Plus or minus a thousand years.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
The fundamental aspect of statistics is that variables have a linear relationship with other variables.

This is simply not true ( I have studied statistics ). Where non-linear relationships are known, those non-linear relationships are incorporated into the statistics. This includes the statistics used in climatology. Do you really think all these scientists are such morons that they wouldn't think of doing that?

You are empirical evidence that studying and comprehending can be mutually exclusive.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2017
@Da Schneib
Hmm. I've been looking, but I am having trouble finding high-resolution non-ice proxy studies on Holocene CO2
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
1) I ran an average of the 19 data points on her graph: 271.42ppm
I'll buy that. I'll also point out that it's just a little bit less than pre-industrial levels in the eighteenth century.

2) I suspect your use of the word "prolonged" is influenced by seeing so many ice-core graphs, which are intrinsically smoothed.
No, I'm thinking more of how long it takes to warm things up really significantly. We're going to have sustained levels above 400 ppmv for hundreds of years, but it's only supposed to warm things up a few degrees C at the most, if we can keep it from going much higher.

The real reality per stomata is: noise and spikes. With spikes as normal, today's Mauna Loa graph is easily seen as a side of a spike. It could turn down any time, even if man-made continues, due to a downtrend in the underlying natural.
A downturn due to what?
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
[contd]
What we're seeing isn't "noise." It's a continuing increase in CO₂ that's been steady over human history that's directly traceable to almanac figures on how much fossil fuel we've been burning. There's no "down" so far. Only "up." And unless we stop burning so much fossil fuel, and maybe even start directly taking carbon out of the atmosphere to make our fuel, it's going to keep going up.

One of the things to keep in mind about noise is that it's fractal; in this context, that means it's self-similar across scales. These data aren't; they's smoother at large scales and spikier at small scales.

3) I read that plant stomata evaluation extends only 40,000 years, so you/we would have to seek other non-ice hi-res proxy methods for prior interglacials, which is a daunting task.
δC¹³ is the main one other than ice cores. There is some work going on with lake bed cores.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
Da Schneib >>> To top it all off, note that records of CO₂ are available from various proxies over the last 10,000 years (since the beginning of the interglacial), and these all indicate that CO₂ stayed around 250-280 ppmv […] <<<
I've seen some, and also seen some refuted. Can you link me to your most trusted non-ice, non-smoothed proxy studies of CO2 in the Holocene?
The one we're looking at here seems to have stayed around that level according to your own calculations. 271.42 ppmv, I believe you said.

Ice cores give about the same results over the same period. That's what "smoothed" means.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2017
Overall, I'd say Steinthorsdottir's research rather more bolsters AGW than denying it.
No. She "thought" she was bolstering AGW by exposing high, spiking early Holocene CO₂, but her excitement was contingent on the hypothesis that CO₂ significantly forces local temperature (with the Milankovitch cycles forcing glacial/interglacial cycle.)
Not sure I agree with that. Part of the problem here is what was removing the CO₂, because our problem right now is how *we're* going to remove the CO₂. There isn't any natural phenomenon in sight that will. During the Allerød/Younger Dryas (YD) transition, the abrupt climb to ca. 480 ppmv was followed by an abrupt drop to ca. 200 ppmv. What do you propose will accomplish this on today's Earth? Also, that is a transition period due to the changing Milanković cycles; we're not transitioning any more.

Also, in her spirited defense of her findings, she noted that they are not local.
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2017
Her graph is an embarrassment to AGWers claim that today's 400ppm is vastly unprecedented over millions of years, etc.
It's certainly unprecedented in the last 12,600 years. And in fact it's not CO₂ that the claims are being made about, it's temperature.

What emerges is the possibility that today's 400 is one of the normal spikes, to, say, 271 or even 350, or more, with a booster to 400 from man-released gases.
And here's the problem: from what? This isn't a natural process; an almanac can tell you that. All you have to do is take the CO₂ concentration, figure out how much carbon that means there is in the atmosphere, and take the almanac coal and oil figures and figure it out.

Whatever may have happened in the Allerød, it's not what's happening now, and the climate was in flux due to a confluence of Milanković cycles that isn't happening now and won't change much for 35,000 to 50,000 years.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2017
My conjecture, as conjecture, is quite solid. it is merely that the CO2 graph for the Holocene is spiky and noisy,
But your data don't show that. The Holocene doesn't start for another thousand years after the time you're talking about.

and that today's 400PPM could well be a natural spike from release due to natural warming,
From what source? And how come the almanac figures account for it if it's natural warming?

My intention is to counter the hockey stick image with reality: spiky above and below 280ppm for the entire Holocene, including today.

[over to you]
But the hockey stick graph isn't of CO₂; it's of temperature. We're talking about CO₂. As for the rest, I've answered that all above.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2017
@Da Schneib
I'm disappointed in your answers, and will not respond.

@others
Please challenge me or agree or contribute, if anyone else reading this wishes to consider my conjecture, as follows:
CO₂ levels from now back to the start of the current interglacial have fluctuated in a noisy, spiky graph-line from the low 200s to over 400s, with a median of aprox 280. Ice core study cannot see these spikes. Plant stomata studies see them. Direct measurement (Mauna Loa) sees them. It is entirely possible that the current level of ~400ppm represents one of the normal high natural spikes, with a strong element of man-release carbon dioxide on top of it. This paradigm challenges the consensus view that the current spike is both unprecedented in height over 3 million years, and rising faster than ever (by far) during that time.
Thank you,
John Donohue
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2017
@humy
if homo sapiens had not evolved, what would be the date for the end of the Holocene and start of the next glaciation? Plus or minus a thousand years.
Considering the forecast for the onset of the next glaciation is 35,000 to 50,000 years, an error bar of 15,000 years, it's silly to ask anyone to make a projection with an error bar of 1,000 years.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2017
@Da Schneib
I'm disappointed in your answers, and will not respond.
That's a shame, but it's your choice. I'm sorry but I take this to mean that you don't want to admit you confused CO₂ concentration with temperature, don't have any explanation for what natural process you think is going to magically cause CO₂ concentration to decrease, and don't want to admit we haven't been talking about the Holocene, since the Younger Dryas and Allerød precede it. You also don't seem to want to talk about almanac data.

Good luck with all that.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2017
@humy repeating my question, with a kicker...Are you there?? You said "not for thousands of years."

if homo sapiens had not evolved, what would be the date for the end of the Holocene and start of the next glaciation? Plus or minus a thousand years.

And please point to the science that nails down the time.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2017
The science that nails down the time is the Milanković cycles. Demanding a one-thousand year error bar on an estimate that already has known error bars of fifteen thousand years is, as I said before, silliness.

You're starting to BS and play games with the facts and confuse one measurement with another, just like all the climate deniers do, @JohnDonohue. It's dishonest, and it's transparent: everyone can see it. I expect it won't be long before you're ranting about models. Climate deniers always do.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2017
BTW, @humy, next time you can say "35,000 to 50,000 years" when someone asks you about the onset of the next glaciation. It's the truth; if you'd like links I have them.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2017
I think it's a real shame about climate deniers. It always comes out the same; they always think they have the one killer argument, and they always wind up twisting facts and confusing data, citing scientific papers out of context and claiming victory without evidence, and when you won't go along with it, either descending to lies and insults, or refusing to talk about it any more.

It's just a sorry shame.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2017
This is about complex systems and Stable States.

I have been ragging on it for a long time. We are destabilizing our climate.
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2017
I think it's a real shame about climate deniers.........

It's a real shame about Da Tard, he imagines that he "thinks", when all he spews is regurgitated shite from the AGW Cult.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2017
anti, please go back to Twitter for your grade-school level nonsense.

This is an important issue.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2017
It is time for all of us to read Catastrophe Theory.

The book is remarkably easy to understand.
philstacy9
1 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2017
A tipping point in federal funding for political science recently occurred which will allow people to get more sleep.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2017
Hi everyone. :)

Before anyone gets too 'enthusiastic' (on either side), it bears remembering that for years now I (independent objective researcher and observer/commenter on the ongoing science/humanity discourse) have often cautioned against depending on naive/simplistic modeling (using incomplete data and naive assumptions/methodologies/interpretations etc) when making an intelligent observation/decision about what is actually happening in reality. The climate system, like any complex thermodynamic system having complex feedback loops and excursions at destabilization nodes/stages etc in the various sub-processes making up the whole-system dynamics, will be most unstable during TRANSITION stages between equilibration nodes in the 'chaotic interplay' of all the variable factors within and between sub-processes until the whole system reaches a NEW global climate equilibration of the thermal energy flows/patterns.

A major TRANSITION is happening NOW.

...cont'd next post.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2017
...cont'd.

During a major transition phase, the many variables contributing to the chaos processes at any place/juncture across the global system will wax and wane in 'current dominance' at various stages/times in the transition trajectory timeline. Which makes naive/simplistic approaches useless for anything other than as a trend indication. No specific conclusions can thus be drawn DURING the transition phase regarding any particular players/outcomes, due to the variables involved; such as, for example:

- Supervolcanism epochs can (and have) triggered 'ice ages' because of 'blanket' of volcanic particulate/chemical; and IRRESPECTIVE of added CO2 from said supervolcanism ejecta into atmosphere.

- Asteroid/Comet strikes can also mislead naive assumptions, as the evidences have since been smoothed/recycled by oceanic/storm weathering, plate subduction, and further volcanism 'burying'.

- Oceanic currents can affect regional temps DESPITE atmos CO2.

...cont'd next post.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2017
... cont'd.

The various variables, and present 'bufferings' associated with them, will be EXHAUSTED or OVERWHELMED eventually; unless the warming is stopped/reversed BEFORE such 'nodes' (tipping points etc) are reached; beyond which the various variables/bufferings no longer 'dominant' enough to slow/stop/reverse whatever heat excursions the global system is liable to once the transitional 'brakes' are 'off'.

Hence fears of Runaway Greenhouse if we don't act to prevent transition to temps/storm regimes which will overwhelm all other variables/buffers within the system.

No good 'fiddling while Rome burns'.

Sure, some may 'enjoy' the naive/emotional political/religious argy-bargy which feeds egos of those too unwitting self-serving types who put profit/ego/politics etc before reason and future children's fate (eg, those trying to prevent reasonable abortion/overpopulation measures are in denial; and will doom the extra children to horrible heat/storm/drought deaths).

End.
ForFreeMinds
1 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2017
Climate science tipping point - when researchers figured out they could earn a living by writing pieces on chicken little scenarios of human caused global warming, to satisfy power hungry politicians who want to control and tax our energy use.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2017
when researchers figured out they could earn a living by writing pieces on chicken little

You don't really have a clue what scientists get paid for, do you?
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2017
Climate science tipping point - when researchers figured out they could earn a living by writing pieces on chicken


thats no joke, looks like a huge industry albeit i guess a low paying one , all those expensive degrees and all that [non dischargeable in bankrupt] debt , what to DO ? And Hanson was still completing his degree when he latched onto this wasn't he ?
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2017
Once again, jobs in science are not like your jobs. Everything must be reproducible, repeatable, verifiable. Even fudging is death in science.

Stop projecting your character onto scientists.
JohnDonohue
1 / 5 (2) Jan 30, 2017
@gkam "Everything must be reproducible, repeatable, verifiable. Even fudging is death in science."

Good. Maybe you can finally be the one who links me to the website that forms the control/baseline for climate, which understands the Milankovich cycles so well, it can give the date for the start of the next glaciation -- with high precision -- had our species not evolved. If climate scientists are so positive of the danger of AGW, they ought to have this control model firmly under their thumbs.

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