Associated Press is reporting that NASA is reading a report a report reviewing suggestions on how to slow down global warming. One NASA scientist describes some of these proposals as ranging from "great" to "idiotic."
Some of the more bizzare proposals include...
The Giant Sun Shade:
Launching an enormous fleet of small spaceships into orbit to form a giant umbrella in an effort to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth.
The Man-Made Volcano:
Some scientists suggest simulating volcanic eruptions by using cannons, balloons or jet engines to launch sulfate particles into the atmosphere.
According to the AP article , one company in California is already implementing the "Geritol" solution by dumping tons of iron dust into the ocean, to encourage massive algae bloom that will absorb carbon dioxide.
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Climate scientist 'duped to deny global warming' - Ben Goldacre and David Adam, yes David Adam, Environmental Corespondent for the Guardian, the same David Adam that blogged his comments on the program without even watching it first! (03/10/07)
Climate change: An inconvenient truth... for C4 - This expert in oceanography quoted in last week's debunking of the Gore green theory says he was "seriously misrepresented" - By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor (03/10/07)
Less than 48 hours after this controversial new documentary challenging some of the assertions that man made CO2 is causing global warming aired on British TV, one of it's participants is claiming that his views were "grossly distorted" by the film. Professor Carl Wunch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology continued to say that not only was he "totally misled" and "completely misrepresented" but also that the film was "as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War II."
According to Independent , Professor Wunsch also said...
"I am angry because they completely misrepresented me. My views were distorted by the context in which they placed them. I was misled as to what it was going to be about. I was told about six months ago that this was to be a program about how complicated it is to understand what is going on. If they had told me even the title of the program, I would have absolutely refused to be on it. I am the one who has been swindled".
The Professor went on to say that he believes it is
"an almost inescapable conclusion that if man adds excess CO2 to the atmosphere, the climate will warm".
After viewing these comments by the professor only hours after watching the program, I was shocked. I decided to go back and analyze the scenes in which the good professor appeared, and see if I could possibly imagine a "context" in which the actual words uttered by Professor Wunsch would have had a significantly different meaning. I could not. Maybe you can. I have printed the Professor's words as they appeared in the film, and the time at which they appeared. The film is currently available on Google Video but I don't know how long it will be there.
In this portion of the discussion, Professor Wunsch begins by explaining how the ocean's surface temperature plays a role in the exchange of carbon dioxide. He later comments on the vastness of the oceans, and their extremely slow reaction to any changes in climate as a result of such vastness.
25:43 The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.
26:44 - The ocean has a memory of past events ugh running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example, if somebody says oh I'm seeing changes in the North Atlantic, this must mean that the climate system is changing, it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago who's effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.
In this portion of the film, the professor is speaking about the complexity of climate models and how their results can be greatly influenced by the input data they are given.
49:22 - The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.
50:46 - Even within the scientific community you see, it's a problem. If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it's not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there's is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that's a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That's what it's about.
I've watched this video several times now and I can't believe the comments made in the film, and those in the above mentioned articles came from the same man. In my opinion, the Professor's words speak for themselves. I don't see how they could mean anything other than what they mean.
And speaking of bullshit...below is a great article by Alek Boyd, editor and founder of vcrisis.com.
The Great Global Warming Swindle - By Alek Boyd - One of the added benefits of having read Geology is that one can easily tell apart the bullshit from the science when it comes to earth's matters. (03/10/07)
To be fair, here is the actual letter from Carl Wunsch to WAG TV - (03/10/07)
In doing some further research on Professor Wunsch, I found this article from March of 2006. In it Professor Wunsch begins...
People ask "is it clear that human activity is directly responsible for climate change?" The context for answering this question must be another question: to what extent can the climate change all by itself? The answer to the alternative question is: "a very great deal."
He also states...
"we know that it (climate) is capable of remarkable changes without human intervention."
Finally, he closes with...
"it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof."
First, I reccomend you read the entire article for the full context of Professor Wunch's remarks.
I think this last paragraph is very telling. I don't think I'm very comfortable with making policies based on probabilities. If we were to do so, what percentage of probabilities are we to make such policies based on? 90%? 70%? 50%? 25%? Precisely what percentage constitutes a probability? Should we only require 50% compliance with a policy that was enacted based on a 50% probability. Now I'm really confused. I think this mind set of the "let's do something now" crowd that disturbs me the most about this issue.
I also found this summary below. The Professor's summary is reprinted in it's entirety. Pay particularly close attention to the last two sentences:
Summary of Abrupt Climate Change: An Alternative View by Carl Wunsch (2006) - A Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) event is a rapid climate fluctuation, taking place at the end of the Ice Age. Twenty-three such events have been identified between 110,000 and 23,000 years before present. A widely held view of abrupt climate change during the last glacial period is that these D-O events are at least hemispheric, if not global and caused by changes in ocean circulation. It has been hypothesized that there may be abrupt climate change similar to a D-O event because of ongoing global warming and its oceanic affects. Underlying the major conclusions about D-O events and abrupt climate change there are several assumptions, including (1) the 18Oxygen variations appearing in ice cores are viable as a proxy, (2) climate fluctuations in Greenland reflect those on a hemispheric or global basis, (3) the cause of D-O events can be traced to major changes of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and perhaps failure of the Gulf Stream, and (4) apparent detection of a D-O event at a remote location in a proxy implies local climatic importance. In this article Wunsch reexamines these assumptions in order to assess their relevance, specifically focusing on (2) and (3). In terms of using 18Oxygen in the Greenland ice cores as a climate proxy, Wunsch found that although is was relatively accurate for central Greenland, when aligned with other locations a visual similarity would appear on the spectral graph, but that there was actually little statistical correlation; this occurred when comparing time periods of less than 900 years. While this does not disprove the hypothesis of a large impact of the D-O events, it cannot be used to support this assumption. There are three possible explanations for the disappearance of covariance for these periods less than 900 years. First, although both records have wide variability, it is primarily regional in character and there is no simple relationship between them. Second, the age-model (the calibration of age versus depth in the core) error has a larger influence on the short period variations than the long period ones. Third, different physical processes dominate the proxies at high frequency in the two separate locations, but they have roughly similar low spectral moments. Any of these factors could affect the lack of covariance between geographical locations. Subsequently, the assumption that there exist large-scale hemispheric correlations with the D-O events is neither proven nor disproven. The heat flux associated with meridional overturning (the sinking and spreading of cold water and dispersion of heat) of the ocean has the most direct impact on the atmosphere in terms of oceanic circulation patterns. The contribution of the oceanic Northern Hemisphere to this pole-ward circulation falls very rapidly as heat is transferred to the atmosphere. At the 40th latitude North, the oceanic contribution is less than 25% of the atmospheric contribution. Hypothetically, if warming continues, and the Northern Atlantic is injected with fresh water from glacial melting, the meridional overturning circulation would be dramatically reduced, resulting in a D-O-like event. However, models attempting to construct this theoretical climate change have not been successful, mostly in that they have not taken into account the overlying wind field response to this event. Since much of the temperature flux of the North Atlantic is carried in the Gulf Stream, scenarios requiring wind shifts sufficient to shut it down are likely a physical impossibility because of the need to conserve angular momentum in the atmosphere. 90 Coupled models that have been claimed to show an atmospheric response to oceanic flux shifts are so simplified and lack adequate resolution that they cannot be skillfully integrated over the time periods required to describe true climatic time scales. Again, these models are only indicators of processes that can be operating but with no evidence that they dominate. While the abrupt climate changes in Greenland may not have occurred in other parts of the globe, there still is the question of why it occurred in Greenland. One apparent observation is that the D-O events ceased in the Holocene and have been remarkably placid since. As such, the operative mechanism causing the D-O events must have also disappeared. The answer is the disappearance of the Laurentide and Fennoscandian ice sheets. Two enormous mountain ranges of high albedo (reflection factor) were removed. In a study by Jackson (2000), he noted that small, regional changes in the ice sheet elevations had a large effect on the atmospheric stationary wave patterns. As a standing wave, the wind encountering the ice sheets had more than one equilibrium state. Major local climate change could appear with a slight shift in the wave pattern of the wind system. While the model for this hypothesis is rough, other studies have indicated great influence of the ice sheets on atmospheric scales as well. The body of these theories suggests that the most important and sensitive determinant of oceanic circulation is wind, and not the temperature flux. Similarly, the widely accepted view that D-O events were of global impact and may occur as a result of recent warming is based on four assumptions, which in turn are based on ambiguous data and a high degree of uncertainty. As such, to make conclusions about such events would be imprudent without first addressing the uncertainties in the age-model as well a cautious reinterpretation of proxy signals.
So I guess from this summary, probability lies somewhere between 0% and 100%. Now I get it! The sky is falling...maybe.
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