Saturday, 16 June 2012

Comment on Denialist Arguments


Climate Doubting Thomas' have a bunch of false or confused points

In A Nutshell

They think these are significant points:
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the air are less than 0.04%;
    • This is correct yet is it relevant? It is not just the amount which matters, but how effective it is. Almost 100% of warm body radiations is in the wavelength bands of interest and will be blocked within the distance of a few houses: Our atmosphere is much taller than that.

  • Annually, all human activity produces 3% of Earth's CO2, Nature 97%, 32 times more;
    • This is a misleading statement:

Nature is acting as a carbon sink actually offsetting some of man kinds CO2 output, the flows are large but the magnitude of the carbon cycle is getting larger because of man kinds output. nature has a net zero input of CO2 into the carbon cycle. Mankind is actually nearly 100% of it. 

  • Driven by temperature, oceans release and absorb CO2. Oceans contain in dissolved form, fifty times the CO2 contained in Earth's entire atmosphere;
    • But as you can see on the conceptual diagram above, the seas are net sink - so why do climate deniers talk up the 88 gigatonnes of CO2 released when the seas absorb 90 gigatonnes on a yearly basis?
  • The absorption of human and industrial CO2 into oceans and plants is the same as for CO2 produced by Nature;
    • the isotope of carbon in the atmosphere has been changing to the fossil form.
  • Residence time for CO2 is only 5 to 7 years. It is then recycled back into sinks such as plants, oceans and soils. Some studies show recycle time is only 12 months;
    • misleading: its true that a single carbon molecule might find itself in a blade of grass, then in a cows body, and then back in the air within a few years - that is just a comment on the magnitude of the carbon cycle - not the net Source / Sink of carbon.
    • Climate deniers often use this argument to suggest there is a sort of half life of carbon in the atmosphere such that if we stopped producing CO2 at a rate 100 x natural volcanism per year would resolve itself - They have selectively ignored the fact that nature releases the carbon it absorbs at the end of a season. 
  • Carbon dioxide is a natural trace gas essential for all life on Earth. With Nature annually producing 97% of all CO2, CO2 is obviously not a pollutant;
    • the particulates associated with burning carbon rich fuels are blotting out a lot of light changing sunlight levels. Plants need carbon, they also need light.
  • There has been no increase in global atmospheric temperature since 1998. 'Global warming' is not happening;
  • Climate Doubters refuse to use 5 year running means - why?
    • 5 year running mean shows different:

  • Climate varies naturally with inherent variation in Nature's cooling-warming-cooling cycles. Accurate temperature measurements by satellite and weather balloons show no net warming. El Nino and solar activity explain temperature variation;
    • Nature can vary the climate too. Nobody disputes this.
  • Ocean temperatures have been flat or slightly cooling since 2003;
    • Energy is stored in a host of ways, in the seas, in the glacier concentrations, in rainfall patterns:
      • evaporation keeps temperatures static, but it costs energy to dump the enhanced levels of rainfall to the worlds great rainfed basins.
  • (LIE) Oceans are alkaline. Earth's oceans thrived for extensive periods with the air's CO2 20 times that of today. Anyway, when oceans warm they release CO2 into the atmosphere; 
    • THE OCEANS ARE NOT A NET SOURCE OF CARBON! The carbon cycle is getting bigger because more carbon is being injected into the carbon cycle.
    • Ocean Acidification; as anybody knows, fizzy drinks are made fizzy and (acidic) with carbon dioxide injected in - accelerating acidification must be good evidence that the oceans are net sink.
  • Australia's sea levels during the last 15 years have risen only 0.3 mm per year. In 100 years that will be just over one inch. The most extensive study measuring Pacific island sea levels shows no rise since measurements began in 1992. Sea level projections by the government and its taxpayer funded Climate Commission rely on unvalidated computer models themselves relying on temperature guesses proven wrong;
    • Sounds a bit regional for a global issue - Globally sea levels continue to rise and can only accelerate unless there is a hole all the water is disapearing to, different methods of observation can be normalised easy enough as they can match an obvious cycle with a trend.

  • (Unfair) There has been no increase in storm activity or strength. In falsely claiming increased storms, the UN IPCC's chairman contradicted and overrode the IPCC's storm expert, Chris Landsea. In protest, Landsea resigned from the UN IPCC;
    • IPCC had different levels of certainty for different statements
      • Very Likely (90% confidence) of human forced warming
      • Likely (60% confidence) that we will see increased storm power and activity
        • As we can see, it is not correct for climate doubters to savage the IPCC on a matter it isn't itself very sure about. 

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