Ecocentric

Climate Change Could Make Hurricanes Stronger—and More Frequent

Existing research suggests that hurricanes could become stronger but less frequent thanks to climate change. But a new study says both could happen.

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Photo by NASA via Getty Images

A satellite image shows Hurricane Sandy as it approached the East Coast on Oct. 28, 2012

Maybe Mayor Michael Bloomberg would have gone through the trouble of putting together a 430-page report outlining a $19.5 billion plan to save New York from the threat of climate change had Hurricane Sandy not hit  last year and inflicted some $20 billion in New York City alone. But somehow I doubt it. There’s a reason that a satellite image of Hurricane Katrina highlighted the poster for An Inconvenient Truth, or that belief in man-made global warming tends to spike after extreme weather. Heat waves are uncomfortable and drought is frightening, but it’s superstorms—combined with the more gradual effects of sea-level rise—that can make climate change seem apocalyptic. Just read Jeff Goodell’s recent piece in Rolling Stone about what a major hurricane might be able to do to Miami after a few decades of warming.

But there was one hopeful side effect to climate change, at least when it came to tropical storms. The prevailing scientific opinion—seen in this 2012 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—is that while tropical storms are likely to become more powerful and rainier as the climate warms, they would also become less common. Bigger bullets, slower gun.

(MORE: The Most Destructive U.S. Hurricanes of All Time)

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, suggest that we may not be so lucky. Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts institute of Technology (MIT) and one of the foremost experts on hurricanes and climate change, argues that tropical cyclones are likely to become both stronger and more frequent as the climate continues to warm—especially in the western North Pacific, home to some of the most heavily populated cities on the planet. But the North Atlantic—meaning the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast—won’t be spared either. Bigger bullets, faster gun.

(MORE: Tornadoes Were Just the Beginning. This Hurricane Season Is Going to be Stormy)

Emanuel is going up against the conventional wisdom and much of the published literature with this paper. But the reality is that we don’t have a very good grasp of how tropical cyclone formation or strength might change in the future. As Adam Freedman points out at Climate Central, hurricanes may be huge, but they’re still too small to be easily tracked by computer climate models, which do better on a larger scale. Emanuel embedded higher-resolution regional and local models into an overarching global framework. Emanuel’s “downscaled” model simulates the development of tropical cyclones at a resolution that will increase as the storm gets stronger. For each of the six IPCC global climate models, Emanuel simulated 600 storms every year between 1950 and 2005, then ran the model forward to 2100, using an IPCC forecast that has global carbon dioxide emissions tripling by the end of the century.

Emanuel’s simulations found that the frequency of tropical cyclones will increase by 10 to 40% by 2100. And the intensity of those storms will increase by 45% by the end of the century, with storms that actually make landfall—the ones that tend to smash—will increase by 55%. As Emanuel told LiveScience:

We see an increase, in particular, toward the middle of the century. The results surprised us, but we haven’t gotten so far as to understand why this is happening.

(MORE: Why Dwindling Snow — Thanks Largely to Climate Change — Might Dry Out Los Angeles)

OK, big caveats here. Emanuel is a very well-respected climatologist, but it always takes more than a single study to overturn existing scientific opinion—especially if that opinion is itself a little wobbly. Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry, who falls on the more skeptical side of the scientific debate on climate change, told this to Doyle Rice of USA Today:

The conclusions from this study rely on a large number of assumptions, many of which only have limited support from theory and observations and hence are associated with substantial uncertainties. Personally, I take studies that project future tropical cyclone activity from climate models with a grain of salt.

We’ll see in the decades to come whether Emanuel is right. But in a way, it may not matter all that much. As Sandy showed, hurricanes already pose a tremendous threat to our coastal cities. And that threat will continue to grow no matter what climate change does to tropical storm frequency or intensity because we’re putting more and more people and property along the water’s edge. Remember Miami? In 1926 the city was devastated by a Category 4 hurricane. (Sandy barely ranked as a Category 1 by the time it made landfall.) The difference is that there wasn’t much of a Miami back in 1926—the city’s population had just passed 100,000. Today more than 2.5 million people call Miami-Dade county home, and a hurricane of the same sort that hit in 1926 that hit now would cause $180 billion in damages. Whatever climate change does to hurricanes, we need to be ready.

MORE: Food Recycling: Composting the Big Apple

183 comments
Discursions
Discursions

Global warming hysterics: Hurricanes are now going to be more frequent

Headline today: No hurricanes yet this year, a first for August

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

I have looked into this articles claim.

Here is the latest science from NASA .... http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/brown-ocean-can-fuel-inland-tropical-cyclones/#.UebJkYJP2VI

'Brown Ocean' Can Fuel Inland Tropical Cyclones July 16, 2013

In the summer of 2007, Tropical Storm Erin stumped meteorologists. Most tropical cyclones dissipate after making landfall, weakened by everything from friction and wind shear to loss of the ocean as a source of heat energy. Not Erin. The storm intensified as it tracked through Texas. It formed an eye over Oklahoma. As it spun over the southern plains, Erin grew stronger than it ever had been over the ocean.

Erin is an example of a newly defined type of inland tropical cyclone that maintains or increases strength after landfall, according to NASA-funded research by Theresa Andersen and J. Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia in Athens.  

Before making landfall, tropical storms gather power from the warm waters of the ocean. Storms in the newly defined category derive their energy instead from the evaporation of abundant soil moisture – a phenomenon that Andersen and Shepherd call the "brown ocean."

"The land essentially mimics the moisture-rich environment of the ocean, where the storm originated," Andersen said.

The study is the first global assessment of the post-landfall strength and structure of inland tropical cyclones, and the weather and environmental conditions in which they occur.

Scientists produced a schematic to categorize inland tropical cyclones, highlighting a newly described sub-category called tropical cyclone maintenance and intensification events, or TCMIs.Image Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen

DavidNutzuki
DavidNutzuki

Why should we believe an arm chair amateur climatologist like you when not even the REAL scientists have ever said their crisis is "inevitable", just possible and likely and maybe and....

Prove me wrong!

edro3111
edro3111

TIME magazine in 1977: Beware the Coming Ice Age.,  But then TIME magazine 2006: Be Very Afraid of Global Warming. 

So which is it? If Sandy's path had been 50 to 75 miles more easterly of New York and New Jersey, we never would have heard all the crap. 

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

BULLCRAP......BULLCRAP.......DUDUPILE......AGAIN ....THESE ENVIRONMENTAL WACKOS.......ARE AT IT AGAIN.....1N 1970.....THEY ORDUCTED THAT NEW YORK CITY AND OTHER CITIES NEAR THE OCEAN WOULD BE FLOODED........NO SUCH THING OCCURED.......AL BORE GORE.....MADE BILLIONS .....SCARING PEOPLE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING.....THEN IT STARTED GETTING COLD......SO THEY INVENTED.....CLIMATE CHANGE !!!

IDIOTS.....THE CLIMATE OF THE WORLD IS NATURALLY......NATURALLY......NATURALLY .....CHANGING.....EVERY DAY.....AND IN A MILLION YEARS.....WHO KNOWS WHAT THE CLIMATE IS GOING TO BE!!!

BUT.....WHATEVER IT IS....MAN WILL ADAPT!!!!

ENVIRONMENTAL WACKOS ARE CONTROL FREAKS...IT IS THE NEW COMMUNISM/SOCIALISM.....SAO ANYBODY THAT PROMOTES IT.....IS A TRAITOR TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.

VALENTINE, WORLD HISTORIAN, COMEDIAN....LOL

Tec9
Tec9

Ironically, the people who complain about Big Oil's exorbitant extortion of the public are also their staunchest political supporters.

POKERROOSTER
POKERROOSTER

I know many do not want to be confused by the facts, especially when they do not agree with alarmist opinions and such. But the facts are clear, tropical cyclone activity and intensity are DECREASING. NOT INCREASING. The following study cited below clearly contradicts the alarmist and politicians who want to take your money by increasing costs and taxes for this so called climate change. Go read:

Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity

Ryan N. Maue

Article first published online: 20 JUL 2011

Look at the data, WITHOUT welding goggles for glasses and you will see that both hurricane/tropical cyclone intensity and frequency are declining over the past 40 years.


KevinLenihan
KevinLenihan

They've been predicting stronger hurricanes for several years, and the opposite keeps happening. Sooner or later, just by chance, they will be right...and they'll say "aha! We told you!"

Why would any single person in the world believe any predictions made by climate scientists? Astrologers have a better record.  That's pure simple fact. 

putesputes@yahoo.com
putesputes@yahoo.com

Given the odds regardless of climate change,  I'll be surprised if a bad hurricane would not be coming. 

Let's call this article .... "Let's scare the hell out of people so they spend billions of tax payer's money on government programs that get politicians elected and corporations rich."


LukeHildebrand
LukeHildebrand

The chaos in the weather, government, economy and earth changes is no pattern or trend. These are all the warning signs of the coming great tribulation AND rescue event of God’s TRUE faithful/believers (and young children) that are living for Him and His commandments. Confess you are a sinner. Ask for complete forgiveness/cleansing through the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Believe and accept the free gift of salvation Jesus offers everyone. Have faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Turn from the world/satan and you will be saved eternally.

billraa
billraa

Humans have been recording and observing the weather/climate for such a small amount of time that we have no real idea of what a natural cycle will bring.  Yes, we can get an idea from fossil records, and other scientific/historical observations, but we have been around and really paying attention for about 100 years.  What scares me more are the people at DARPA and what they are doing with HAARP.

Tortfeasor
Tortfeasor

A lot of things "could" happen. I've also heard that climate change will increase wind activity, killing many hurricanes before they even begin.

RyanHoss
RyanHoss

I thought it was super storm sandy?

DanRamsey
DanRamsey

Oh please .... I've been reading / hearing this crap for the last 15 years and I'm still waiting for the rash of "killer hurricanes" that are going to destroy us all. 

In fact, not only have the promised hurricanes not materialized with either the frequency or severity that the doomsayers have been breathlessly predicting, but on balance the last ten years have seen below-average hurricane activity.

It seems to me that the true "deniers" these days are those who still cling to global warming dogma despite steadily mounting evidence that the climate models which are the foundation of the entire scam are, quite simply, wrong.

RebekahDanielle
RebekahDanielle

Your headline is incorrect. Even in your article, you state that hurricanes will become more intense, less frequent. See Emanuel et al. 2008. 

Jebus
Jebus

The science deniers will scream that global warming isn't real right as the roof is being ripped off their house.

EngineerInTraining
EngineerInTraining

According to the 2011 BP statistical review of World Energy (2012 report just came out, haven't got the numbers, yet), the global annual consumption of gasoline was a little over 4 trillion kg.  Given that about 19.6 lbs of CO2 is generated for each gallon of gasoline, and applying some conversion factors, one can do the simple calculation that about 13 trillion kg of CO2 is generated by the annual consumption of gasoline.  Performing the same calculation for Coal (10.7 trillion kg CO2) and Natural Gas (5.9 trillion kg CO2) results in an estimate of about 30 trillion kg CO2 generated per year.  Do the same calculation for human exhalation of CO2....4% CO2 in exhaled breath, 12 breaths per minute, 500 mL per breathe, 6 billion breathing people, and my estimate (assuming I am still concentrating) is about 3 trillion kg CO2 generated per year.  So, there is about ten times as much CO2 generated from burning those forms of resources than there is from human exhalation. So what?  Think about taking a bath.  The drain has a certain capacity to discharge the water.  If you increase the flow rate of water into the tub by a factor of ten, you increase the probability that the tub is going to overflow.  If you don't like the analogy then use an elevator which has inadequate ventilation for the number of CO2-generating occupants.


Well, the other side of the mass balance is the consumption of CO2 by plant life (and probably undesirable absorption by oceans, etc.).  Unfortunately, our species is chopping down trees and not replacing them with CO2-consuming entities.   I won't belabor the details, but the bottom line is that we are accumulating CO2 in the atmosphere of this planet (our own bath tub or elevator, if you will).  It shouldn't be a surprise that scientists aren't sure what will happen as a result of this unprecedented process, and you especially shouldn't be surprised that they can't predict the timing or occurrence of hurricanes in the future.   However, it is indisputable that CO2 is accumulating as a result of man's activities (do the math), and that this will have profound effects on our planet.  It will be a slow process of decay and discomfort.

Best of luck.

FLIGHTofINQUIRY
FLIGHTofINQUIRY

HELLO  - Nuclear Bomb Practice Grounds? 

There are these glass globes you can buy filled with shrimp, plants, and material in them.. entirely enclosed in glass.  They are called "ecospheres".  Earth is the same of course --  one enclosed sphere.  In this vein - you blow-up something in one part of it, the water and air will respond in the other parts of the enclosed globe.

Already people are very aware of pollution from cars in China and India hanging-out over the US.. and vice-versa.

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the possibility of nuclear bomb practice residuals?

It blows my mind that no one has talked about the fact that governments - including our own - could be practicing nuclear bombs out in the ocean and the Poles... in turn affecting the tides / the weather.  Those areas are known for this practice.. and yes nuclear bombs do create a change in temperatures / ocean levels / among dead animals that float to shore (notably a couple of whales and loads of dolphins within the past couple of years at least on the California coast - no known cause determined at those times). 

Global Warming my foot -  Let's get some good conversation going on another very real possibility on this tiny and very watched world of ours.. Like where are governments practicing their nuclear bomb drops?  There may be a correlation with the hurricanes and polar ice melts going on.

clearfog
clearfog

@POKERROOSTER 

For starters the paper has a misleading title, it should have read:
“Ryan_Maue_FSU_Global_ACE_ levels_historical_lows”
because ACE is a one eyed indicator of actual cyclone intensity and doesn't serve as an accurate measure of a cyclone's total energy expenditure, nor its potential destructive power.

Maue uses the ACE method for rating hurricanes.  For anybody that knows anything about hurricanes, this is such a primitive measure that it hardly deserves serious consideration. 

“The ACE index is a wind energy index, defined as the sum of the squares of the maximum sustained surface wind speed (knots) measured every six hours for all named storms while they are at least tropical storm strength.”

ACE does not take into account moisture/water content, nor does it factor in cyclone size. 

ACE happens to be the easier data to collect and has it purposes, but when trying to understand global warming’s impact on cyclones, it is decidedly horse’n buggy stuff that has no right being waved around without seriously considering the full spectrum of the available science, something Deniers refuse to do.   

A far more accurate and revealing methodology is the Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE) scale which measures total kinetic energy.  On that scale, Sandy was the second most energetic hurricane in recorded history.


I recommend that you quit getting your science from political sites like the weatherman's WUWT and from fossil fuel shills who are bought and paid for and instead go to such sites as the NOAA, NASA, and the NSF.

clearfog
clearfog

@KevinLenihan They have not been wrong, that is just more Denier nonsense.  Sandy was the second most energetic hurricane in recorded history. 

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@GeraldWilhiteThe question of global warming stopping is often raised in the light of a recent weather event - a big snowfall or drought breaking rain. Global warming is entirely compatible with these events; after all they are just weather. For climate change, it is the long term trends that are important; measured over decades or more, and those long term trends show that the globe is still, unfortunately, warming.

clearfog
clearfog

@GeraldWilhite

You might go to serious sites like NOAA, NASA, the IPCC, the US National Research Council, USAUSC.org, the EPA, and National Geographic, all of which confirm sea level rise and not the GWPF, which is the two dollar ho of the fossil fuel industry.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is a think tank in the United Kingdom, whose stated aims are to challenge "extremely damaging and harmful policies" envisaged by governments to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.[3][4]

The foundation has rejected freedom of information (FoI) requests to disclose its source of funding on at least four different occasions. As a charity, it is would normally not be required to report its sources of funding. [12] The judge ruling on the latest FoI request, Alison McKenna, said that "the GWPF wasn't influential enough for disclosure to be merited"[citation needed]. Bob Ward, the policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, commented:

"These [FoI] documents expose once again the double standards promoted by ... the GWPF, who demand absolute transparency from everybody except themselves...The GWPF was the most strident critic during the 'Climategate' row of the standards of transparency practised by the University of East Anglia, yet it simply refuses to disclose basic information about its own secretive operations, including the identity of its funders." [12]

 

jay.alt4
jay.alt4

@Tortfeasor True.  Wind shear makes them hard to form.  

But that very basic idea was included in the modeling. 

sburns54
sburns54

@DanRamsey Oh please...You are such a good example of the ignorant person that chooses to ignore the mountains of evidence that climate change is real, and that it will have (and already HAS had) far-reaching effects. Vanishing sea ice, shifting ecosystems, stronger storms, islands being inujndated..."I don't see any killer hurricanes, so it can't be true"... Give me a break and use your brain!  The consensus among scientists much more educated and knowledgeable than you is that climate change is real. What kind of mentality construes a "conspiracy" by the scientific community to mislead the public on global warning?

HeatherOMalley
HeatherOMalley

@Jebus - Substitute "Jesus" for "Science", and you would see why realists are not buying into the pseudoscience of global warming. You are welcome to your dogma, though. How bout that weather?

MikeKelter
MikeKelter

@EngineerInTraining

OK EIT:  here's something to chew on in preparation for your PE exam.   The reference is linked below:

http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/04/30/what-you-cant-do-about-global-warming/

According to the government, the US emits 5.3 billion metric tonnes of CO2 annually in 2012, or 5300 mmt (million metric tons) CO2.

According to the IPCC it takes about 14,138 mmt CO2 to raise atmospheric concentrations by 1 part per million (ppm).  Assuming that IPCC data is correct (which is currently a debate topic) CO2 concentration has increased by 120 ppm since pre-industrial times and temperatures have increase by 3 degrees celsius.  These assumptions mean that temperatures will increase by 1 degree for every 40 ppm CO2.

Here's some simple math:

14,138 mmt/ppm CO2 X 40ppm/degree Celsius =565,520 mmt CO2/degree celsius.  In word form this means that cutting 565,620 million metric tonnes of CO2 results in a temperature decrease of 1 degree celsius.

If the US quits discharging all CO2--all 5,300 mmt CO2--we wind up with a temperature decrease of only 0.009 degrees celsius.  We have no cars, no heat, no electricity (except a little solar and wind) and no industry and we can lower world temperatures by 0.009 degrees celsius.  

There are things affecting our temperatures other than CO2.

regards,  Mike Kelter, PE

DanRamsey
DanRamsey

@EngineerInTraining   Yeah, it's really "accumulating" all right. At 400 parts per million it's now a whopping 4/100ths of 1 percent of the planet's atmosphere. The actual increase over the last 150 years is only about 100 parts per million ... or about 1/100ths of 1 percent.

So mankind, at his fossil fuel-burning worst, has, over a span of 150 years, only managed to alter the composition of the planet's atmosphere by 1/100th of 1 percent.

Is it any wonder that the average global temperature hasn't risen over the past 17 years? 

Only an idiot could seriously believe that a 1/100th of 1 percent increase in the amount of CO2 in the planet's atmosphere can, in and of itself, cause the planet to warm. Apparently, there are a lot of them out there.

KevinLenihan
KevinLenihan

@clearfog @KevinLenihan There you go, picking out one storm as proof. Hurricanes have been significantly less frequent and less severe for several years now. And each of those years they predicted the opposite. I think the last strong year was the Katrina year. Look it up.

Warming has stopped for the last 16 years. Ice is accumulating in the ant-arctic. Oceans are rising mostly at the same rate that they have for the last 3000 years(some acceleration, but nothing like predicted). 

Everything the climate is doing is completely consistent with conditions expected for a climate emerging from a centuries long cooling period. Which it is(the little ice age).

I don't deny that possibility of anthropomorphic warming. I deny that the people studying it are doing science. They resist contradictory data like medieval priests. We need to apply some real science here to see what's going on.

GeraldWilhite
GeraldWilhite

@TroyOwen @GeraldWilhite -- I have to disagree with you. It will be very unfortunate for all of us if the globe is no longer warming. A colder Earth is the future that the research of many highly respected scientists in the EU and Russia indicates we may be facing. Of course our climate science in the USA is so superior that the MSM ignores what the rest of the world is doing. 

Are you actually suggesting that a cooling Earth would be better than a warming Earth? 


GeraldWilhite
GeraldWilhite

@clearfog @GeraldWilhite 

Clearfog, your passion is commendable, except for the nasty ad hominem inference of your "two dollar ho for the fossil fuel industry" comment. 

Your analysis is wrong. You have overlooked a huge point.  The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a public research university, and the Global warming Policy Foundaion is a private charitable UK foundation. Serious transparency advocates agree that there is no question that UEA's operations and funding should be completely transparent. They would also agree that the GWPF should not be financially transparent. 

The Global Warming Policy Foundation is like the Rockefeller Foundation or the Ford Foundation, neither of which are financially transparent. The same can be said for the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the National Rifle Association, and the Catholic Church for that matter. 

Logically there is no way to compare the GWPF with the University of East Anglia. Therefore your whole critique is invalid and misleading. Personally, if I was king of the world I would require ALL publicly registered corporations, public and private, to be financially transparent.  

Besides, virtually all of the GWPF article contributors are leaders in EU and UK politics, business and technology, and virtually all use the sites you mentioned to prepare their articles. It's a good site.

POKERROOSTER
POKERROOSTER

@sburns54@DanRamseyUse your eyes sburns54. And stop reading politicians comments on weather events like nanny Bloomber as if they are facts.

Extreme Weather Events are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before — Reason Foundation, September 22, 2011.

• Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity: In the past 5-years, global tropical cyclone activity has decreased markedly — Geophysical Research Letters, 2011.

• Downward trend in strong (F3) to violent (F5) tornadoes in U.S. since 1950s — former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, May 24, 2011.

• Drought Trends, Estimates Possibly Overstated Due to Inaccurate Science: Study suggests that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years — CBS reporting on findings published in the journal Nature, November 19, 2012.

• Are US Floods Increasing? The Answer is Still No: A new paper out today shows flooding has not increased in U.S. over records of 85 to 127 years — University of Colorado environmental studies professor Roger Pielke, Jr., October 24, 2011.

Hate to confuse you with the facts...

sburns54
sburns54

@HeatherOMalley So it's the "realists" that don't believe the mountains of evidence and the near- unanimous consensus among scientists that climate change is occurring? What are you, a flat earther, too?

wandmdave
wandmdave

@HeatherOMalley @Jebus People who believe in supernatural beings and happenings they can never observe, study, or prove one way or the other are deemed realists now?

WarhammerTwo
WarhammerTwo

@MikeKelter

@

EngineerInTrainin

Your overall point here, Mr. Kelter, I will not argue.  In fact, here, read this: 
"The Dangerous Myth That Climate Change Is Reversible"

It's from ThinkProgress, no less. 

From the article:
"The fact is that, as RealClimate has explained, we would need “an immediate cut of around 60 to 70% globally and continued further cuts over time” merely to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of CO2 – and that would still leave us with a radiative imbalance that would lead to “an additional 0.3 to 0.8ºC warming over the 21st Century.” And that assumes no major carbon cycle feedbacks kick in, which seems highly unlikely.
We’d have to drop total global emissions to zero now and for the rest of the century just to lower concentrations enough to stop temperatures from rising. Again, even in this implausible scenario, we still aren’t talking about reversing climate change, just stopping it — or, more technically, stopping the temperature rise. The great ice sheets might well continue to disintegrate, albeit slowly."

But you and the blog to which you link come off like, "Well, since we can't really change anything, why bother at all?" See, the myth that the ThinkProgress article is talking about is that stopping and actually reversing climate change can be done quickly.  But it can't.  That's why it's so important to cut whatever we can now and fast track alternative energy sources as much as we possibly can.  We're kinda stuck with the damage we caused now.  And it will take a loooooooooooong tim to fix.  Which is why we need to start now.  Otherwise we could end up with permanent drought in the southwest and parts of our coastline being permanently underwater. 

Again, from the article:
"Finally, I recommend RealClimate’s 2009 post, “Irreversible Does Not Mean Unstoppable“:
But you have to remember that the climate changes so far, both observed and committed to, are minor compared with the business-as-usual forecast for the end of the century. It’s further emissions we need to worry about. Climate change is like a ratchet, which we wind up by releasing CO2. Once we turn the crank, there’s no easy turning back to the natural climate. But we can still decide to stop turning the crank, and the sooner the better.
Indeed, we are only committed to about 2°C total warming so far, which is a probably manageable — and even more probably, if we did keep CO2 concentrations from peaking below 450 ppm, the small amount of CO2 we are likely to be able to remove from the atmosphere this century could well take us below the danger zone.
But if we don’t reverse emissions trends soon, we will at least double and probably triple that temperature rise, most likely negating any practical strategy to undo the impacts for hundreds of years."


TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@DanRamsey

Climate sensitivity is the estimate of how much the earth's climate will warm in response to the increased greenhouse effect if we double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  This includes feedbacks which can either amplify or dampen that warming.  This is very important because if it is low, as some climate 'skeptics' argue, then the planet will warm slowly and we will have more time to react and adapt.  If sensitivity is high, then we could be in for a very bad time indeed.

KevinLenihan
KevinLenihan

@TroyOwen @KevinLenihan Also keep in mind: 

(1) real science embraces skepticism, rather than name calling(not you, but others who refer to "deniers".

(2) real science does not hide data and methods(as global warming "scientists" famously do).

(3) real science consists of: observe, theorize, predict. If the predictions do not work well, there are problems with the theory. Admit the problems, and continue on. Don't force damaging solutions on the world when the theories have not had much predictive power. That's politics, not science.

(4) if you want to recognize that some skeptics might be funded by the fossil industry, you need to look beyond the surface. The companies making the most money out of green energy...DRUM ROLL PLEASE...the fossil fuel industries! Look it up. The energy companies have learned to capitalize on green energy. They are actually funding much of "green" science.

Also, you can't think that the global warming science does not have its own funding problems. Do you suppose that ANYONE in the science community whose study results don't confirm warming will get funded? No fricking way! You want funding in that field, you better play ball. Heck, if you want a degree in climate science, chances are you are already a screaming Leftie, but if not, you will not go far. You don't think this bias impacts the way data is tabulated and represented? Just like politicians know how to skew their polling, so do scientists with their data. Thus the determination to pillory any skeptics.

Nope. It ain't science.

KevinLenihan
KevinLenihan

@TroyOwen @KevinLenihan

(1) ant-arctic sea ice is actually growing:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/100816-global-warming-antarctica-sea-ice-paradox-science-environment/

(2) satellites have not been around long at all, a fraction of a second on the global time scale. 

(3) as I said, we are in a natural warming period, and there is no serious doubting that. Is there manmade warming also? Maybe, but we would be warming either way. Until we hit the next ice age.

(4) arctic ice and glaciers are in mild retreat. Not even close to what the models predicted. They are retreating exactly as would be expected under natural warming conditions. And we ARE in a warming period.

(5) Saying "look around for the past 50 years" is evidence of a non-scientific approach. I've heard others argue "don't you believe we are harming the planet?" Yes! I do believe that, with all my heart. We are destroying the oceans among other things. But this has NOTHING to do with global warming! It's a separate issue. 

I will take a moment to provide the answer I thought you were going to to my question above: if CO2 increases are caused by warming from solar changes, and then the CO2 in turn fuels global warming on its own, why doesn't warming cycle out of control?

The scientists answer is that the warming causes ice to melt, which cools the oceans, which cools the climate. So there is an oscillation.

But that does not answer the question in a satisfactory way. You said above that CO2 is causing increased energy in the system,with nothing to balance it off. Ice melting would temporarily cause a rebalancing, but in the long run, it would still be the case that energy is being added to the system. So if true, than the oscillation should be a gradually rising one. Correct? It should oscillate between warming and cooling, but each time the warming should be stronger. Is this what the record indicates?

No. Simply, no.



TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@KevinLenihanThe question of “which comes first, the temperature or the CO2 rise?” has been much like the proverbial “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question.

But there are no Glaciers advancing, the snowline for the entire Himalaya's is 500 feet higher than 50 years ago we now only have 14 of the 50 or so Glaciers in Yellowstone.

September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 11.5 percent per decade, relative to the 1979 to 2000 average. Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September.  The September 2010 extent was the third lowest in the satellite record.

Data from NASA's Grace satellites show that the land ice sheets in both Antarctica and Greenland are losing mass. The continent of Antarctica (left chart) has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002.

These are things that are seen and measured. You may argue "Man isn't a main factor." but just looking around for the past 50 years tells me that we are.

30 Billion tons a year should tell you that much, comparing Volcanoes to that, Volcanoes emit 1% or so.

KevinLenihan
KevinLenihan

@TroyOwen @KevinLenihan Nope. CO2 goes up after warming. I'll use a graph on a pro-Global warming site.


http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm


Now, this site goes on to explain that CO2 goes up AFTER planet warming because the oceans warm. There is a lag of 600 to 1000 years. But the reason CO2 goes up is conjecture. Some of the CO2 rise is likely due to increased biomass, or possibly from other sources such as volcanic. 

The article then explains that the CO2 fuels the planet's warming which was initially caused by solar changes. But again, that is pure conjecture, and likely is made to support the theory. And it leads one to wonder what eventually causes the climate to cool again, since the CO2 should lead to runaway warming, if it's true that warming leads to increased CO2 which in turn leads to more warming. 

You see the problem? Scientists agree that warming is produced historically by solar changes. Global warming scientists say this warming was enhanced by CO2 increases, and the current warming is initiated by CO2 increases. Let's look closely at this.

(A) climate scientists version: in the past, warming was initiated by solar changes, then enhanced by CO2 rises.

(B) skeptics: in the past, warming was initiated by solar changes and CO2 rises followed but had little impact on climate

If A is correct, the problem is this: how did the planet ever cool? How did it ever come out of the warming cycle? Wouldn't the CO2 increase cause a runaway effect?

If B is true, the climate cools when the solar activity returns to normal. 

If A can not be explained, then the theory has a major, major problem.

And: yes, we know how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere. I never questioned that. What I questioned was the degree of its effect.

As far as the glaciers, well, some are advancing, some are retreating. It would seem more are retreating, but that is to be expected...because we ARE in a period of warming. Even if man never existed, we would be in a warming period. The little ice age ended a century and a half ago, and we are slowly returning to the warmer temperatures that dominated before the little age age. Evidence suggests it was warmer a thousand years ago than it is now.

You might question this evidence that it was warmer during Roman and medieval times. Good! That's science. Now start questing ALL the evidence, and you'll be taking a scientific approach. 

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@KevinLenihan@TroyOwen Actually CO2 goes up AFTER the Earth cools. Not warms. That is part of the problem, we are in a warming phase set to become cooler we have more CO2 now than anytime in 600,000 years. It has never been seen by this planet since.

Look at the satellite data from NASA, no theory no computer model. 

Look at EVERY Glacier on the planet, no theory there either. 

Yes we do know how much CO2 and greenhouse gasses we produce every year.  The burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use results in the emission into the atmosphere of approximately 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year worldwide, according to the EIA.

I look at evidence I can see, and I am seeing it.

KevinLenihan
KevinLenihan

@TroyOwen @KevinLenihan (1) CO2 also goes up when the planet warms. So the causal relationship is not clear. In fact, the record shows CO2 going up AFTER the climate warms. Even in Gore's video, if you look closely and ignore his misdirection. (2) no one disputes CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but it certainly IS in dispute how much warming will occur due to rising levels. (3) the past indicates the climate is always changing. Do you wish to stop all change? Just man made change? How do we know how much of the change is man made? (4) is it possible that man made warming is just enough to prevent the coming ice age? When I say coming, I mean within the next few thousand years, but possibly soon. (5)since the climate is ALWAYS changing and always has been, what is this balance you seek? Since it has never existed, do you propose we create one? (6) I have looked at the science. And I don't advocate ignoring it. It should be studied vigorously. But science by definition means formulating theories and testing them by making predictions. So far the predictions have not worked well at all. They just haven't. To deny that is unscientific. 

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@KevinLenihanNatural climate change in the past proves that climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance. If the planet accumulates heat, global temperatures will go up. Currently, CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Past climate change actually provides evidence for our climate's sensitivity to CO2.

Start looking at the science http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence.

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@GeraldWilhite@TroyOwen Not so much, we should be at the end of a warming phase, then a natural ballance of cooler atmosphere is suppose to come along.

We now have more CO2 than has been seen by this planet since 800,000 years ago.

We are screwing up the natural cycle, and no, we don't know what we may be doing to this natural process.

But at 30 Billion tons of greenhouse gasses every year, volcanoes around 30 million tons, we have to look at decreasing that number. And it's only getting worse.

We do have tools that much of the UK and Europe don't have, lotsa satellites taking measurements all day every day some form 25 years ago.