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Old 06-18-2006, 08:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"Mass Balance" of Antarctica is positive

The article below from CanadaFreePress.com made me wonder even more about the political agendas of those who try to use the enviroment as a cause celebre. I always have skeptical views of those from either political party when they start sounding off on issues such as this. After all Al Gore did invent the internet...but I digress.

The subject of CO2 emissions and their overall impact on the environment has long been an ongoing if not entirely public debate in the scientific community. If you read the entire article you will gain a perspective on the level of the debate and the wide spread views that are not entirely consistent with those who would polticize this topic.

I honestly don't know what to think about this. I want to believe the nah-sayers and poo-poo the polticos with the understanding that we still need environmental controls in place to prevent wide spread destruction of the very planet we live on. I also know that in Florida where I'm currently working there are already wild fires burning along the coast that have made entire stretches of I-95 and A1A impassable at times. What to believe...hmmmm... I found this article interesting. It tells a differnt tale about the melting ice shelf than that which you've heard reported in recent weeks.

I've heard a similar story about the recovery of the polar bear population in the arctic but I have not been able to locate the data from that study. If I can find that I'll post that (assuming there is enough interest generated by this story).

What do you think? Are we headed for a climatological catastrophe?


QUOTE: the 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off.


LINK: Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe

Quote:

"The Inconvenient Truth" is indeed inconvenient to alarmists
By Tom Harris
Monday, June 12, 2006


"Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it," Al Gore sensibly asserts in his film "An Inconvenient Truth", showing at Cumberland 4 Cinemas in Toronto since Jun 2. With that outlook in mind, what do world climate experts actually think about the science of his movie?

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of "climate change skeptics" who disagree with the "vast majority of scientists" Gore cites?

No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.

Even among that fraction, many focus their studies on the impacts of climate change; biologists, for example, who study everything from insects to polar bears to poison ivy. "While many are highly skilled researchers, they generally do not have special knowledge about the causes of global climate change," explains former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball. "They usually can tell us only about the effects of changes in the local environment where they conduct their studies."

This is highly valuable knowledge, but doesn't make them climate change cause experts, only climate impact experts.

So we have a smaller fraction.

But it becomes smaller still. Among experts who actually examine the causes of change on a global scale, many concentrate their research on designing and enhancing computer models of hypothetical futures. "These models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios," asserts Ball. "Since modelers concede computer outputs are not "predictions" but are in fact merely scenarios, they are negligent in letting policy-makers and the public think they are actually making forecasts."

We should listen most to scientists who use real data to try to understand what nature is actually telling us about the causes and extent of global climate change. In this relatively small community, there is no consensus, despite what Gore and others would suggest.

Here is a small sample of the side of the debate we almost never hear:

Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"

Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.

Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore's dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. "The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier," says Winterhalter. "In Antarctica the temperature is low enough to prohibit melting of the ice front, so if the ice is grounded, it has to break off in beautiful ice cascades. If the water is deep enough icebergs will form."

Dr. Wibj–rn KarlÈn, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden, admits, "Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems."

But KarlÈn clarifies that the 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, Ball explains, there is an increase in the 'calving' of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans. When Greenland and Antarctica are assessed together, "their mass balance is considered to possibly increase the sea level by 0.03 mm/year - not much of an effect," KarlÈn concludes.

The Antarctica has survived warm and cold events over millions of years. A meltdown is simply not a realistic scenario in the foreseeable future.

Gore tells us in the film, "Starting in 1970, there was a precipitous drop-off in the amount and extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap." This is misleading, according to Ball: "The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology."

KarlÈn explains that a paper published in 2003 by University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov shows that, the region of the Arctic where rising temperature is supposedly endangering polar bears showed fluctuations since 1940 but no overall temperature rise. "For several published records it is a decrease for the last 50 years," says KarlÈn

Dr. Dick Morgan, former advisor to the World Meteorological Organization and climatology researcher at University of Exeter, U.K. gives the details, "There has been some decrease in ice thickness in the Canadian Arctic over the past 30 years but no melt down. The Canadian Ice Service records show that from 1971-1981 there was average, to above average, ice thickness. From 1981-1982 there was a sharp decrease of 15% but there was a quick recovery to average, to slightly above average, values from 1983-1995. A sharp drop of 30% occurred again 1996-1998 and since then there has been a steady increase to reach near normal conditions since 2001."

Concerning Gore's beliefs about worldwide warming, Morgan points out that, in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean; the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. Morgan explains, "Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (which doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance."

Gore's point that 200 cities and towns in the American West set all time high temperature records is also misleading according to Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. "It is not unusual for some locations, out of the thousands of cities and towns in the U.S., to set all-time records," he says. "The actual data shows that overall, recent temperatures in the U.S. were not unusual."

Carter does not pull his punches about Gore's activism, "The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science."

In April sixty of the world's leading experts in the field asked Prime Minister Harper to order a thorough public review of the science of climate change, something that has never happened in Canada. Considering what's at stake - either the end of civilization, if you believe Gore, or a waste of billions of dollars, if you believe his opponents - it seems like a reasonable request.


Tom Harris is mechanical engineer and Ottawa Director of High Park Group, a public affairs and public policy company. He can be reached at letters@canadafreepress.com
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, you do have to keep an open mind, but that's difficult to do. For example, even the article you just posted was written by a PR/lobbying agency, the High Park Group.

I went over to their website -- they're for for hire to anybody who wants their services, and no particular ideology or point of view is specified. Tom Harris, the author, is a media relations guy who has (according to the website) "worked with private companies and trade associations to successfully position these entities and their interests with media and before government committees and regulatory bodies." The article lists him as a mechanical engineer first, but his full-time job is to help private corporations get what they want.

It doesn't mean he's wrong. It does mean he'd be saying that whether he was right _or_ wrong, 'cause that's what he's being paid to do. By somebody. And that's not made clear. Intentionally.

So you've got a choice between academics who may or may not be hysterical, and a whole lot of others urging calm, who may or may not believe what they're saying, or at any rate are possibly being paid to the have the point of view that they do.

Weigh everything yourself, _and_ check the sources of all the information you get, and who they're related to. Also check the quality of the information: even if it comes from somebody with "Professor" in front of his name, it's questionable goods if it hasn't been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. And some -- not all, but some -- of the biggest global warming debunkers have just never gotten around to that.

Last edited by Rodney; 06-19-2006 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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As an armchair environmentalist, I know that the Earth will survive. Humans might die off, but it's survival of the fittest at work. Yes, it is harsh, but humans are unbalancing the system. Maybe it is CO2 from power plants and cars. Maybe it is CO2 from 6 billion humans. Maybe it is due to the fact that we are cutting down trees and natural wooded areas. Maybe it is because there are 6 billion humans who are all giving off heat at 98.6 F.

It seems like everyone is looking at the past to predict what will happen in the future. 450 million years ago, if the planet was hotter, it wouldn't matter. There wasn't billions of people that would die if the crops wouldn't grow. If the temperature goes up a few more degrees, would we be able to adapt? Would the rest of the animals be able to?

The "Mass Balance" of Antarctica will definitely be positive right now, it is winter there now.
But, what happens if the North Pole melts? Will there be more rain, storms, and wind? Will major cities flood?

While the scientists might be a little too active and alarmist. The right-wing politicians and businessmen are way too passive, and don't care because they are safe regardless.

I'm still concerned much more about other air pollution and water pollution (Although it is better now than in the past).
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASU2003
As an armchair environmentalist, I know that the Earth will survive. Humans might die off, but it's survival of the fittest at work. Yes, it is harsh, but humans are unbalancing the system. Maybe it is CO2 from power plants and cars. Maybe it is CO2 from 6 billion humans. Maybe it is due to the fact that we are cutting down trees and natural wooded areas. Maybe it is because there are 6 billion humans who are all giving off heat at 98.6 F.

It seems like everyone is looking at the past to predict what will happen in the future. 450 million years ago, if the planet was hotter, it wouldn't matter. There wasn't billions of people that would die if the crops wouldn't grow. If the temperature goes up a few more degrees, would we be able to adapt? Would the rest of the animals be able to?

The "Mass Balance" of Antarctica will definitely be positive right now, it is winter there now.
But, what happens if the North Pole melts? Will there be more rain, storms, and wind? Will major cities flood?

While the scientists might be a little too active and alarmist. The right-wing politicians and businessmen are way too passive, and don't care because they are safe regardless.

I'm still concerned much more about other air pollution and water pollution (Although it is better now than in the past).
If the north pole melts won't the world sea levels remain constant or actually drop? Ice shrinks when it changes into water. If you have a glass of water with ice cubs heaped over the rim, it never floods over. Of course there's probably some key fact that I'm missing.

Also, I agree that global warming shouldn't be as high on the list as air and especially water pollution.
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samcol
If the north pole melts won't the world sea levels remain constant or actually drop? Ice shrinks when it changes into water. If you have a glass of water with ice cubs heaped over the rim, it never floods over. Of course there's probably some key fact that I'm missing.

Also, I agree that global warming shouldn't be as high on the list as air and especially water pollution.
If the north pole were under water yes... but the north pole is not all under water.
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rekna
If the north pole were under water yes... but the north pole is not all under water.
Yes but the density difference makes up for it. If anyone is interested:


Now what actually happens with regards to the sea level is rather complicated and not easy to predict.

Quote:
Arctic sea level has been falling by a little over 2mm a year - a movement that sets the region against the global trend of rising waters.

A Dutch-UK team made the discovery after analysing radar altimetry data gathered by Europe's ERS-2 satellite.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5076322.stm
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am also mostly very skeptical about "scientific" opinions, especially from non-scientific sources or from sources with vested interests. That's not to say I disagree with all of them, sometimes I agree.

But to my way of thinking, I am NOT interested in pushing the environment to the limits and then stepping back from the edge of destruction. Humans already pollute way too much on all levels and we need to cut back dramatically. I am not satisfied that air quality is so good that we can cut back environmentally friendly restrictions; I am not satisfied that water quality is so good that we can ease up. Motor vehicles are still too dirty and inefficient.

It seems to me that if we move in a positive direction with these types of environmental issues, that's about the best we can do.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yeah...

"Global Warming" is an older term. Current scientists tend to use the term "Global Climate Change". the fact is, we can't know exactly what changes are occuring with the global environment. we don't have enough data from enough centuries to really make a quantitiative analysis. But what we do know is that there are drastic climate changes occuring currently. Tropical storms, hurricanes, abnormal regional cooling trends, massive coral bleaching, and so forth. Some specialists attribute these occurances to climate change. Others do not. The point that environmentalists are trying to make is that the human population is polluting, causing more harm than good, potentially rendering the earth uninhabitable to fellow humans, native plants, animals, etc.

the goal of environmentalists is to minimize impact.

[rant/] the goal of the imbiciles that write crap like the aforementioned article is to convince the masses that one should be a rabid consumer, continue to drive their gas-guzzling vehicles to their unnecessary shopping malls, and continue to live the american dream as though it has no impact on the world around them. [/rant]
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aKula
Yes but the density difference makes up for it. If anyone is interested:


Now what actually happens with regards to the sea level is rather complicated and not easy to predict.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5076322.stm

But that assumes solid perfect ice right? Ice usually has pockets of air in it which adds to the boyancy. In addition of the north pole melted the south pole probably would also meaning the sea level would definatly rise as the south pole is on land.
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well my excercise was more something I did for fun, of course it isn't really applicable to the arctic sea as a whole. I mean if all the ice melted I'm sure it'd have many other effects on for example, the salinity.

As for the article in OP, from what I've gathered in the second post in this thread and on slashdot was that the information has come from a non-reliable source.

I don't think we'll be able to reverse the unusually rapid global climate change that seems to be occuring. If people actions are a major contributer, greenhouse gas emissions will not be cut back anywhere near far enough to effect a change. If people's impact is negligible it still seems as there may be major and relativley rapid changes to the world's climate we'll have to deal with.

This doesn't mean that I think we shouldn't try to reduce these emissions. Not many people would be up for a major lifestyle change to do that though, so progress is rather slow.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Maybe we should have NASA put a huge (HUGE (1000 mile diameter) solar panel array in orbit so it is always between the Sun and the Earth. It will track along the equator as the Earth spins, but also take 365.25 days to orbit the Sun. I think they are called lagrange points. It will block out some of the Sun's energy from reaching the Earth, but also provide power.

Technically, it is where they should have parked the MIR, SkyLab or space station once they are done with it.

And it would look like the Death Star to any aliens that might stop by. And I'm sure we have beamed Star Wars into space, so they won't mess with us.

Maybe we should have NASA put a huge (HUGE (1000 mile diameter) solar panel array in orbit so it is always between the Sun and the Earth. It will track along the equator as the Earth spins, but also take 365.25 days to orbit the Sun. I think they are called lagrange points. It will block out some of the Sun's energy from reaching the Earth, but also provide power.

Technically, it is where they should have parked the MIR, SkyLab or space station once they are done with it.

And it would look like the Death Star to any aliens that might stop by. And I'm sure we have beamed Star Wars into space, so they won't mess with us.

Last edited by ASU2003; 06-20-2006 at 05:18 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samcol
If the north pole melts won't the world sea levels remain constant or actually drop? Ice shrinks when it changes into water. If you have a glass of water with ice cubs heaped over the rim, it never floods over. Of course there's probably some key fact that I'm missing?
The polar ice cap isn't the issue in and of itself, although there are problems when it melts (no big cap of white ice to reflect energy back into space). The real problem up that way is the Greenland ice sheet, which _is_ mainly on land, and currently is melting faster than snow is accumulating on top of it.

The worry is that at some point the internal structure of the ice sheet will have become weakened enough by warmer temps, and well-lubricated enough by melt water, for extremely large hunks of the ice sheet to get into the ocean pretty quickly. If all the ice in Greenland went into the sea, global sea level would rise ~30 feet. If even just a third of that went into the sea, we'd have a _lot_ of coastal inundation and millions of refugees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASU2003
Maybe we should have NASA put a huge (HUGE (1000 mile diameter) solar panel array in orbit so it is always between the Sun and the Earth. It will track along the equator as the Earth spins, but also take 365.25 days to orbit the Sun. I think they are called lagrange points. It will block out some of the Sun's energy from reaching the Earth, but also provide power.
There's a somewhat easier, if also more dire and perhaps more uncontrollable solution: shoot a whole bunch of atomic sulphur up into orbit; let it spread out into a big cloud. Sulphur is white, and it reflects sunlight _really well._ If we could get enough sulphur up there, we could block a lot of the sun's energy. The question is, what happens if we put _too much_ up there? And how do you get rid of it when you don't want it anymore?

Last edited by Rodney; 06-20-2006 at 09:15 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've done golbal warming to death, if you want to get a bit of whats going on from one of the few semi-qualified people on the board, please do a search for global warming, and global cooling on the board.

The political nature of golbal warming is such that all you need to know is that greedy right wingers are all liars and that only socialists can save us all from the looming catastrophy...

Just ask them to comment on the fact that the earth was WARMER in the 1300's and much warmer around 5000 BC to hear the crickets chirp.
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Old 07-01-2006, 08:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Back in 1300 and 5000 BC there weren't 6.2 billion people to feed and keep alive either. There were more rainforests, trees, and natural areas. There weren't miles of concrete and billions of buildings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
There's a somewhat easier, if also more dire and perhaps more uncontrollable solution: shoot a whole bunch of atomic sulphur up into orbit; let it spread out into a big cloud. Sulphur is white, and it reflects sunlight _really well._ If we could get enough sulphur up there, we could block a lot of the sun's energy. The question is, what happens if we put _too much_ up there? And how do you get rid of it when you don't want it anymore?
Everything not in geosyncronus orbit will fall back down to Earth eventually. The only thing is, would it keep the heat generated from the Earth in? Rain clouds during the day keep it cooler, but rain clouds at night trap the heat.

And that would take a ton of trips with the space shuttle or some type of rocket to cover a large enough area to make a difference.
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASU2003
Back in 1300 and 5000 BC there weren't 6.2 billion people to feed and keep alive either. There were more rainforests, trees, and natural areas. There weren't miles of concrete and billions of buildings.



Everything not in geosyncronus orbit will fall back down to Earth eventually. The only thing is, would it keep the heat generated from the Earth in? Rain clouds during the day keep it cooler, but rain clouds at night trap the heat.

And that would take a ton of trips with the space shuttle or some type of rocket to cover a large enough area to make a difference.
Since I wrote what you quoted, I read a pretty good article in the NY times online about geo-engineering: the science of stopping global warming by engineering means, like the sulphur idea. The rationale is: cutting greenhouse gases is the best approach to solving global warming, but we're doing a piss-poor job at that and we'd better have some drastic measures ready!

Anyway, one of the schemes -- floated by a Nobel Laureate, I believe -- involved putting the sulphur into the stratosphere, not space, with a fleet of jumbo jets. Sulphur's value is mainly it's reflectivity; and while it might bounce back some light trying to escape the earth, I suspect that its effect in shielding the much brighter rays of the sun would counterbalance that. Just top-of-the-head thinking, though.

Here's the article in total, which is well worth reading and considering:

Quote:
June 27, 2006
The Energy Challenge | Exotic Visions
How to Cool a Planet (Maybe)
By WILLIAM J. BROAD

In the past few decades, a handful of scientists have come up with big, futuristic ways to fight global warming: Build sunshades in orbit to cool the planet. Tinker with clouds to make them reflect more sunlight back into space. Trick oceans into soaking up more heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Their proposals were relegated to the fringes of climate science. Few journals would publish them. Few government agencies would pay for feasibility studies. Environmentalists and mainstream scientists said the focus should be on reducing greenhouse gases and preventing global warming in the first place.

But now, in a major reversal, some of the world's most prominent scientists say the proposals deserve a serious look because of growing concerns about global warming.

Worried about a potential planetary crisis, these leaders are calling on governments and scientific groups to study exotic ways to reduce global warming, seeing them as possible fallback positions if the planet eventually needs a dose of emergency cooling.

"We should treat these ideas like any other research and get into the mind-set of taking them seriously," said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.

The plans and proposed studies are part of a controversial field known as geoengineering, which means rearranging the earth's environment on a large scale to suit human needs and promote habitability. Dr. Cicerone, an atmospheric chemist, will detail his arguments in favor of geoengineering studies in the August issue of the journal Climatic Change.

Practicing what he preaches, Dr. Cicerone is also encouraging leading scientists to join the geoengineering fray. In April, at his invitation, Roger P. Angel, a noted astronomer at the University of Arizona, spoke at the academy's annual meeting. Dr. Angel outlined a plan to put into orbit small lenses that would bend sunlight away from earth — trillions of lenses, he now calculates, each about two feet wide, extraordinarily thin and weighing little more than a butterfly.

In addition, Dr. Cicerone recently joined a bitter dispute over whether a Nobel laureate's geoengineering ideas should be aired, and he helped get them accepted for publication. The laureate, Paul J. Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, is a star of atmospheric science who won his Nobel in 1995 for showing how industrial gases damage the earth's ozone shield. His paper newly examines the risks and benefits of trying to cool the planet by injecting sulfur into the stratosphere.

The paper "should not be taken as a license to go out and pollute," Dr. Cicerone said in an interview, emphasizing that most scientists thought curbing greenhouse gases should be the top priority. But he added, "In my opinion, he's written a brilliant paper."

Geoengineering is no magic bullet, Dr. Cicerone said. But done correctly, he added, it will act like an insurance policy if the world one day faces a crisis of overheating, with repercussions like melting icecaps, droughts, famines, rising sea levels and coastal flooding.

"A lot of us have been saying we don't like the idea" of geoengineering, he said. But he added, "We need to think about it" and learn, among other things, how to distinguish sound proposals from ones that are ineffectual or dangerous.

Many scientists still deride geoengineering as an irresponsible dream with more risks and potential bad side effects than benefits; they call its extreme remedies a good reason to redouble efforts at reducing heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. And skeptics of human-induced global warming dismiss geoengineering as a costly effort to battle a mirage.

Even so, many analysts say the prominence of its new advocates is giving the field greater visibility and credibility and adding to the likelihood that global leaders may one day consider taking such emergency steps.

"People used to say, 'Shut up, the world isn't ready for this,' " said Wallace S. Broecker, a geoengineering pioneer at Columbia. "Maybe the world has changed."

Michael C. MacCracken, chief scientist of the Climate Institute, a private research group in Washington, said he was resigned to the need to take geoengineering seriously.

"It's really too bad," Dr. MacCracken said, "that the United States and the world cannot do much more so that it's not necessary to consider getting addicted to one of these approaches."

Martin A. Apple, president of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, said of geoengineering at a recent meeting in Washington, "Let's talk about research funding with enough zeroes on it so we can make a dent."

The study of futuristic countermeasures began quietly in the 1960's, as scientists theorized that global warming caused by human-generated emissions might one day pose a serious threat. But little happened until the 1980's, when global temperatures started to rise.

Some scientists noted that the earth reflected about 30 percent of incoming sunlight back into space and absorbed the rest. Slight increases of reflectivity, they reasoned, could easily counteract heat-trapping gases, thereby cooling the planet.

Dr. Broecker of Columbia proposed doing so by lacing the stratosphere with tons of sulfur dioxide, as erupting volcanoes occasionally do. The injections, he calculated in the 80's, would require a fleet of hundreds of jumbo jets and, as a byproduct, would increase acid rain.

By 1997, such futuristic visions found a prominent advocate in Edward Teller, a main inventor of the hydrogen bomb. "Injecting sunlight-scattering particles into the stratosphere appears to be a promising approach," Dr. Teller wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "Why not do that?"

But government agencies usually balked at paying researchers to study such far-out ideas, and even ones that were more down to earth. John Latham, an atmospheric physicist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, told how he and his colleagues had unsuccessfully sought for many years to test whether spraying saltwater mists into low ocean clouds might increase their reflectivity.

"We haven't found a way in," Dr. Latham said of government financing. "It's been a bit dispiriting."

Other plans called for reflective films to be laid over deserts or white plastic islands to be floated on the world's oceans, both as ways to reflect more sunlight into space.

Another idea was to fertilize the sea with iron, creating vast blooms of plants that would gulp down tons of carbon dioxide and, as the plants died, drag the carbon into the abyss.

The general reaction to such ideas, said Alvia Gaskill, president of Environmental Reference Materials Inc., a consulting firm in North Carolina that advocates geoengineering, "has been dismissive and sometimes frightened — afraid that we don't know what the consequences will be of making large-scale changes to the environment."

Dr. Gaskill said small experiments would let researchers quickly pull the plug if such tinkering started to go awry.

Critics of geoengineering argued that it made more sense to avoid global warming than to gamble on risky fixes. They called for reducing energy use, developing alternative sources of power and curbing greenhouse gases.

But international efforts like the Kyoto Protocol — which the United States never ratified, and which China and India as members of the developing world never had to obey, freeing the current and projected leaders in greenhouse gas emissions from its restrictions — have so far failed to diminish the threat. Scientists estimate that the earth's surface temperature this century may rise as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Geoengineering's advocates say humankind is already vastly altering the global environment and simply needs to do so more intelligently.

Dr. Angel, the University of Arizona astronomer, told members of the science academy of his idea for an orbital sunshade, calling the proposal less important than the goal of encouraging bold thought.

"This could engage a whole generation," he said in an interview. "All I'm saying is, let's start thinking about these kinds of things in case we need them one day." Such visionary plans are still far from winning universal acclaim. James E. Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, who attended the talk and strongly advocates curbing emissions, belittled the orbital sunshade as "incredibly difficult and impractical."

Dr. Crutzen, the Nobel laureate from the Max Planck Institute, has also drawn fire for his paper about injecting sulfur into the stratosphere. "There was a passionate outcry by several prominent scientists claiming that it is irresponsible," recalled Mark G. Lawrence, an American scientist who is also at the institute.

The stratospheric plan called for fighting one kind of pollution (excess greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide) with another (sulfur dioxide), though it appeared that any increase in sulfur at the earth's surface would be small compared with the tons already being emitted from the smokestacks of coal-fueled plants.

Dr. Cicerone of the science academy helped broker a compromise: Dr. Crutzen's paper would be published, but with several commentaries, including his own. They will appear in the August issue of Climatic Change. The other authors are Dr. Lawrence of the German chemistry institute, Dr. MacCracken of the Climate Institute, Jeffrey T. Kiehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Lennart Bengtsson of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany.

In a draft of his paper, Dr. Crutzen estimates the annual cost of his sulfur proposal at up to $50 billion, or about 5 percent of the world's annual military spending.

"Climatic engineering, such as presented here, is the only option available to rapidly reduce temperature rises" if international efforts fail to curb greenhouse gases, Dr. Crutzen wrote.

"So far," he added, "there is little reason to be optimistic."
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The orbital sunshade would be difficult, but if we could use Moon dust, it might work. But I agree that there are people who won't change and help stablize the temperature, unless forced by the government (like the CFC ban). And we should at least dream and come up with wild ideas just in case, there might be something that we could do.

I don't understand the sulfur dioxide thing at all though. Not only would it increase air polution, the airplanes would need to burn lots of fuel. And gravity would bring the S02 down pretty quickly.
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Do either of you two remember when 'scientists' recomended putting some sort of black coating over the artic regions due to global cooling in the late 70's?

They complained people wouldn't do anything helpful then as well. Interesting don't you think?
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Ust, if all real scientists were right the first time then we'd only have four elements and phlostigon would be the key secret ingredient that causes all combustion. They get it wrong until they approximate the truth and get all the way there. Saying somebody was wrong once, so you shouldn't believe any of it, is pretty bogus logically.
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Old 07-02-2006, 06:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rodney
Ust, if all real scientists were right the first time then we'd only have four elements and phlostigon would be the key secret ingredient that causes all combustion. They get it wrong until they approximate the truth and get all the way there. Saying somebody was wrong once, so you shouldn't believe any of it, is pretty bogus logically.
You miss the point entirely. We didn't understand climate shifts then, we don't understand them any better now. They still can't explain the global cooling of the 70's any more then they can explain the warming of the 90's (oh and recent data seems to show its stabilizing in the 2000's here but I don't have a link). Doing something radical like attempting to lower the average temperature of the whole planet could have catastrophic results.

Just imagine if governments had listened to the scientists who predicted world wide famine in the 90's back in the late 70's and tried to RAISE the earths temperature? Where would we be right now with this warming trend?

The earth was warmer in the 1300's and much warmer 5000 years ago. Was that the result of fossil fuels? Did we have a bigger ‘carbon footprint’? Should they have tried to do the ancient equivalent of global cooling?

Not ONE, not a single fucking climate model predicting global warming can be used to show the trends of the past, and yet we are suppose to trust them to predict the future? They don’t fucking work and you think we need to cool the whole planet? Its not logic, its hubris to think that something that doesn’t work for any testable scenario is somehow going to predict the future and that we should act on it on a global scale.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:00 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I wouldn't want to live through an ice age either. Thousands or millions of years ago, having 20 feet of snow year round wasn't a big problem. Neither was having polar ice caps melt. The Earth will survive whatever humans do. But there could be a lot of problems for billions of humans if the climate changes too much.

Humans have the ability to solve problems. Even if the project would be huge, I would want to get started (or at least come up with workable ideas) before it got really bad.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:06 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ustwo
You miss the point entirely. We didn't understand climate shifts then, we don't understand them any better now. They still can't explain the global cooling of the 70's any more then they can explain the warming of the 90's (oh and recent data seems to show its stabilizing in the 2000's here but I don't have a link). Doing something radical like attempting to lower the average temperature of the whole planet could have catastrophic results.

Just imagine if governments had listened to the scientists who predicted world wide famine in the 90's back in the late 70's and tried to RAISE the earths temperature? Where would we be right now with this warming trend?

The earth was warmer in the 1300's and much warmer 5000 years ago. Was that the result of fossil fuels? Did we have a bigger ‘carbon footprint’? Should they have tried to do the ancient equivalent of global cooling?

Not ONE, not a single fucking climate model predicting global warming can be used to show the trends of the past, and yet we are suppose to trust them to predict the future? They don’t fucking work and you think we need to cool the whole planet? Its not logic, its hubris to think that something that doesn’t work for any testable scenario is somehow going to predict the future and that we should act on it on a global scale.
just because people have died of natural heart disease in the past doesn't mean there can't be more than natural causes going on when some dies of it (like obesity, smoking or sedentary lifestyle).
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:28 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hannukah harry
just because people have died of natural heart disease in the past doesn't mean there can't be more than natural causes going on when some dies of it (like obesity, smoking or sedentary lifestyle).
Ugh...........

Deep breaths......

Happy place ....... happy place...... happy place

Ahhh there.

Of course there could be more going on, but the point is we don't KNOW we don't have a fucking clue really. The models don't work, and the past is ignored. We don't know why it was warmer in the 1300's, we don't know why it was MUCH warmer 5000 years ago, we don't know why it got so damn cold in the 1700's, we dont' know why it was getting colder in the 1970's.

We have some untestable theories and nothing more. Are YOU confident enough in them to change the global climate on purpose based on an entire set of unknowns? What if the cooling of the 70's returns? We don't know why we had it then, we don't know if it would come back. What if we decide to seed the atmosphere and then we have a major krakatoa type eruption? That could put us in another ice age! What if what if what if. Acting for the sake of acting because 'something must be done' when we don't even know what the problem is, is beyond foolish, its just stupid.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:44 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Ugh...........

Deep breaths......

Happy place ....... happy place...... happy place

Ahhh there.

Of course there could be more going on, but the point is we don't KNOW we don't have a fucking clue really. The models don't work, and the past is ignored. We don't know why it was warmer in the 1300's, we don't know why it was MUCH warmer 5000 years ago, we don't know why it got so damn cold in the 1700's, we dont' know why it was getting colder in the 1970's.

We have some untestable theories and nothing more. Are YOU confident enough in them to change the global climate on purpose based on an entire set of unknowns? What if the cooling of the 70's returns? We don't know why we had it then, we don't know if it would come back. What if we decide to seed the atmosphere and then we have a major krakatoa type eruption? That could put us in another ice age! What if what if what if. Acting for the sake of acting because 'something must be done' when we don't even know what the problem is, is beyond foolish, its just stupid.
i never claimed to support doing something drastic to change our climate. no one here has. if you read the article, you'd see they're talking about researching for a "worst case only" scenario. but i'm confident enough in the science that's been done that shows that humans have and are continuing to contribute to *this* period of global warming that we should be doing more to curb our contribution to it. we could do more. it would cost more in the short term, but it's worth it if it means a potential disaster could be avoided.

i don't plan on having kids, but i'd think it'd be swell if your grandkids and their grandkids had a habitable planet to live on.
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Old 07-02-2006, 08:58 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hannukah harry
i never claimed to support doing something drastic to change our climate. no one here has. if you read the article, you'd see they're talking about researching for a "worst case only" scenario. but i'm confident enough in the science that's been done that shows that humans have and are continuing to contribute to *this* period of global warming that we should be doing more to curb our contribution to it. we could do more. it would cost more in the short term, but it's worth it if it means a potential disaster could be avoided.

i don't plan on having kids, but i'd think it'd be swell if your grandkids and their grandkids had a habitable planet to live on.
Thanks for thinking about my kids man, I'm glad someone is thinking of the children here.

I'm sure the symbolic and totally useless gesture of lowering some human created CO2 emmisions and wrecking the global economy to do so will help them greatly.

I suppose this is what frusterates me so much about the alarmest mindset on this. Results don't matter but motives are what is important. Doing SOMETHING, even if it makes a problem worse, is ok as long as you do it for the right reasons. Education, welfare, the enviroment, its all about feeling good, not good results.
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:11 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Thanks for thinking about my kids man, I'm glad someone is thinking of the children here.
it's not so much that i'm thinking of the kids as that i believe in returning things in the same, if not better, condition as i recieved them.

Quote:
I'm sure the symbolic and totally useless gesture of lowering some human created CO2 emmisions and wrecking the global economy to do so will help them greatly.
i doubt if i could find the numbers again, since i don't remember where i saw them (but i'll give it the old college try and edit if i can find it), but basically humans are responsible for something like 500x what the earth normally puts out through volcano's, etc. we don't contribute a negligable amount of co2.

Quote:
I suppose this is what frusterates me so much about the alarmest mindset on this. Results don't matter but motives are what is important. Doing SOMETHING, even if it makes a problem worse, is ok as long as you do it for the right reasons. Education, welfare, the enviroment, its all about feeling good, not good results.
i suppose what frustrates me most is that the people who seem to claim nothing is wrong or that we don't have anything to do with it are usually backed up by science funded by the people who have the most to lose from policy changes geared at protecting the environment.

motives are very important. doing nothing because of motives is just as bad as doing something because of motives. it's just a matter of whose motives are better. i don't see reducing co2 making things worse. and that could and should be done for the right reasons. if you really want to bring welfare, education, etc, into this, start a new thread. otherwise, keep the threadjacks out of it. (not that you're necissarily putting it there to threadjack, but one mention of something unrelated can snowball).
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:33 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hannukah harry
i never claimed to support doing something drastic to change our climate. no one here has.
I thought that we should look into doing something to change the temperature. And it would have to be drastic, because the Earth is a big place. The thought of building a structure bigger than Texas out in space at a lagrange point between the Sun and Earth would be drastic. And it would have to be able to have panels that could rotate to let the sunlight through.

There would be a lot of ideas that would be much easier to pull off.

And I'll agree that we don't really know what the future temperature will be, and I think that there are other things that are more important than stopping global warming. But, the temperature needs to stay within a certain acceptable range.
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:38 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I thought that we should look into doing something to change the temperature. And it would have to be drastic, because the Earth is a big place. The thought of building a structure bigger than Texas out in space at a lagrange point between the Sun and Earth would be drastic. And it would have to be able to have panels that could rotate to let the sunlight through.

There would be a lot of ideas that would be much easier to pull off.

And I'll agree that we don't really know what the future temperature will be, and I think that there are other things that are more important than stopping global warming. But, the temperature needs to stay within a certain acceptable range.
maybe i had misunderstood you when you posted that. the impression i had was 'lets look into it.' the article itself promotes a 'worst case scenario only' picture. i defiantly think we should look into all options, but by no means does that mean i think we should act on it unless absolutely necessary. after all, you wouldn't knaw your arm off under normal circumstances, or even difficult ones, but if you're going to die because you're arm is trapped under a rock in the middle of no-where, you'll lose the arm to give yourself a chance to live.
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:05 AM   #28 (permalink)
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the only thing i can contribute here at this time is that the glaciers here in Iceland at this moment are getting smaller. This is visible just as a matter of fact from those that lived under them for the past decades.

Does it mean global warming? Not enough information to tell, but all they know for sure is that the waters around Iceland are warming causing them to no longer fish for scallops and the glaciers are in retreat.
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:00 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Imagine, if you will, a graph which depicts the US economy from the first day of independence. No one here would argue that the GDP/GNP/DOW/NASTAC (or any other scale you wish) would increase by a huge margine.


Now, pick yesterday's DOW:

Quote:
Dow Jones Industrial Average
5 Jul
09:50 11161.51 -66.51 -0.59
http://indexes.dowjones.com/mdsidx/i...event=showHome

This shows a decrease in the DOW. Does this mean that this reflects a catastrophic change? Does this in any way, shape, or form determine a repeated event? Does it reflect the changes to the economy over the past 230 years?

Now you will clearly say "That is only one day!" Well in the span of Earth's recorded existance, this one day in our 230 years of existance equates larger than our recorded history of the earth.

230*365 = 83,950

Our recorded sea temperatures date from Franklin as he measured the NE'erly Currents. Taking on belief that these measurements were accurate, personally I dont belive they could be very reliable being their date, but taking these to be accurate we can stack on another year or two (I dont remember the date of the measurements).

So our nations' 84k as a ratio of 1. 1.19E(-5)

Compared to say, 86k days (give it 3 years) in a span of 6 billion years. 1.43 E(-5)

Now obviously the first one is more accurate and dependable. However no one would dare suggest it's reliable.

Ironic?

Last edited by Seaver; 07-05-2006 at 06:05 AM..
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:58 AM   #30 (permalink)
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seaver - that was a pretty cool analogy. earth is a pretty good place. everything i've read recently (no expert here, just what i happen to have read and i would rather not get attacked for saying something) that the science is still unresolved and hasn't proven anything.

the world is a pretty big place. i've heard other things give off a lot of various emisions, even cows since there are so many more than centuries ago.

if there have been cycles than it stands to reason that we're in another cycle and it will be difficult to prove humans caused this cycle.

we'll probably never know!
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Old 07-18-2006, 02:11 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASU2003
While the scientists might be a little too active and alarmist. The right-wing politicians and businessmen are way too passive, and don't care because they are safe regardless.
Sadly it's the right and the left...we are way too comfy to disturb the apple cart even though we make sounds to that effect...few if any on this planet make any real effort to look to the future and the future of our kids/grandkids...just like the economy we worry about instant gratification...let our decendants worry about all that...I'm more middle of the road with leanings toward the left just to qualify where I stand politically...
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