Monday, January 26, 2009

Some Climate Damage is Already Irreversible

Many damaging effects of climate change are already basically irreversible, researchers declared Monday, warning that even if carbon emissions can somehow be halted temperatures around the globe will remain high until at least the year 3000.

"People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that's not true," climate researcher Susan Solomon said in a teleconference.

Solomon, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., is lead author of an international team's paper reporting irreversible damage from climate change, being published in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

She defines "irreversible" as change that would remain for 1,000 years even if humans stopped adding carbon to the atmosphere immediately.

The findings were announced as President Barack Obama ordered reviews that could lead to greater fuel efficiency and cleaner air, saying the Earth's future depends on cutting air pollution.

Said Solomon, "Climate change is slow, but it is unstoppable" — all the more reason to act quickly, so the long-term situation doesn't get even worse.

Also a PNAS paper, but I can't see it still.


Anonymous said...

“Before the industrial revolution the air contained about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That has risen to 385 ppm today, and politicians and scientists have debated at what level it could be stabilized. [Susan} Solomon's paper concludes that if CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.” - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory

Picture a huge skylight over a city, an opening in the clouds if you will, 1000 feet wide by 1000 feet long or three football fields in each direction. Through this 1,000,000 square foot skylight the sun is shining. Now picture 1 foot by 1 foot black squares painted on the skylight approximately 40 feet apart in each direction. That is 24 squares in one direction, 25 squares in the other, 600 squares total. Question: Would the black squares block the sunlight from reaching the city? Would the black squares block the view of the blue sky? If not, I ask the scientists at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory to explain how 600 carbon dioxide parts in each 1,000,000 parts of the atmosphere can have any material effect of the planet? And furthermore, if the pre-industrial planet was fine with 280 parts of CO2, how will adding 320 to the other 999,400 parts cause 1000 years of irrevocable damage? And justify the $ billions per fewer part it will require to maintain, and improve, the quality of life on the planet in the next 100 years?

Will Baird said...

"Nice" strawman there.

I'm deciding whether or not to put you on the queue to reply to or not.

I am loathe to nuke comments, but I your anon reply is damned close to trolling.