Public comment excerpts on draft U.S. Strategic Plan (18 Jan 2003)
- Public comment excerpts on draft U.S. Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) - 18 Jan 2003
"The state of California takes climate change quite seriously. We are concerned about the potential costly impacts of climate change on water, energy, and other key economic and environmental systems in the state. In recent decades, for example, stream flow records show a trend toward earlier snowmelt in the principal water supply for the state, the snow pack for the state, the snow pack of the Sierra Nevada: a likely early manifestation of climate change. " ... STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory: We need to
make clear to all readers what is certain. "We know that major greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere over the past century at rates higher than anytime in the historical record. We know that the increase in CO2 is related mostly to fossil fuel emissions. We know that a diverse group of global models cannot replicate the 20th century increase in temperature without involving the observed greenhouse gases." NOAA-CMDL
"Human-forced global climate change is a problem of steadily growing importance that calls for responsible action now. There is so much momentum inherent in the several components of the Earth system that respond to greenhouse gas forcing, and so much momentum inherent in the socioeconomic system that is responsible for steadily increasing greenhouse gas emissions, that there is no room for the luxury of another decade of the scientific studies to finely tune response measures" (Craig) SIERRA CLUB
"This issue (global warming) has been studied to death. It is time to act. Stop stalling and start listening to scientific reports already compiled." WYNDAM, CITIZEN
"The Strategic Plan Emphasizes Research Efforts Geared Toward Adaptation Policies and Fails to Address Adequately the Immediate Need for Mitigation Policies, which Should Be Implemented Simultaneously with the Strategic Plan."
"After decades of research and debate, there is now a clear consensus
among scientists, which has been accepted by the United States, that
climate change is occurring and that the combustion of fossil fuels by
humans is the primary contributor. See e.g., U.S. Climate Action Report 2002, U.S. Dept. of State, Washington, D.C., May 2002 ("Climate Action Report") at 5."
"Most scientists also agree, as discussed in detail by the United States in the Climate Action Report, that global climate change will cause devastating, disruptive, and wide-ranging impacts to climate, ecosystems, and public health and welfare. Climate Action Report at 81, et seq., (Chapter 6). See also, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, National Research Council ("NRC"), National Academy of Sciences (2001) ("NRC"2001") at 18-21 (Chapter 6)."
"Regardless of what the specific, regional changes will be, and despite
some potentially beneficial localized changes, it is beyond dispute that harmful environmental and climate changes will occur. Among the types of likely changes that the United States has projected are the loss of sensitive ecosystems such as barrier islands, altered agricultural patterns, increased droughts and flooding, and increased infectious and heat-related diseases and illnesses."
OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERALS FOR MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, MAINE, AND
Chapter 2: Research Focused on Key Climate Change Uncertainties
"Time is of the essence and it would be irresponsible to substitute
unnecessary research for implementation of commonsense solutions. If we
begin reducing our greenhouse gas emissions now, it will take a lot less time to stabilize the climate." http://www.bluewaternetwork.org/
CRISTINE CORWIN, BLUEWATER NETWORK
[This statement from the SPCC is referenced in the public comment shown below: "radiative balance and cloud structure from increased
upper tropospheric water vapor is potentially quite large and could be positive or negative." ] "This statement is incorrect. The feedback from increased tropospheric water vapor is invariably positive." RAYMOND PIERREHUMBERT, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
"This is a misleading statement at best, especially if the intent is to
divert attention from CO2 as the main driver of anthropogenic climate
change. Unlike CO2, water has a short atmospheric lifetime, can coexist
in three phases, and has a highly variable atmospheric distribution.
While water vapor provides baseline greenhouse heating, CO2 and other
GHGs supply the perturbation driving climate change."
DAVID L. WAGGER, PH.D., SELF
"There is really very little basis for thinking that the upper
troposphere water feedback process could be negative, despite what
Lindzen suggests. Were it negative, it would be very hard to have had an ice age (as it would have induced a warming influence to prevent it), we never could have had an ice ball Earth (as there would be to much water aloft), we could never have had Cretaceous warmth as the cooling effect would have countered that, plus the amount of water vapor in the upper troposphere increase from pole to equator (so from cold to warm conditions). The IPCC has reviewed studies of this and there is just very little reason to indicate it is possible, and it may well create important inconsistencies with past climates. Phrasing this as if there is an equal chance or positive versus negative is irresponsible. MICHAEL MACCRAKEN, LLNL (RETIRED)
I think that there is a high level of certainty that: "While water vapor provides baseline greenhouse heating, CO2 and other GHGs supply the perturbation driving climate change."(DAVID L. WAGGER, PH.D., SELF)
All dewpoint and relative humidity data from historical records should be made available in digital format for modeling and analysis. Preliminary data indicates that dewpoints have increased 2 to 4 degrees F from 1997 to 2002 in 15 Midwest states. Improve climate modeling by better modeling of feedbacks associated with the hydrologic cycle including evaporation, transpiration, and irrigation. Improve climate modeling by accounting for latent heat energy released from condensation of water vapor on snow and ice, which increases melt rates of snow and ice. Improve climate understanding by developing models to simulate the conditions that occurred during the Cenozoic geologic era, focusing on the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum (LPTM) of 55 million years ago. Evidence exists that the LPTM was a period of rapid global warming that resulted in the widespread extinctions.
Account for the following statements and reference material in climate
modeling: " A period of global warming, called the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum (LPTM) occurred around 55 million years ago and lasted about 100,000 years. Current theory has linked this to a vast release of frozen methane from beneath the sea floor, which led to the earth warming as a result of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." The vast release of frozen methane was preceded by climate warming from the emissions of greenhouse gases by heavy volcanic and flood basalt episodes.
"ten million years later (55 million years ago), a warm spell led to
significant global warming, with Palm trees in Alaska and crocodiles in
the Arctic." http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/beyond.html
"In the late Paleocene temperatures started to rise, which caused change in the vegetation." "Increasingly warm conditions at the start of the Eocene caused the extinction of some prominent species of the prior epoch." " The forests that had housed numerous primate relatives were replaced with denser, often tropical, forests. Species either adapted to the new climate and environments or died out. The pleisiadapiform species that thrived during most of the epoch dwindled and left only a handful of species in the Eocene" (The Smithsonian's Human Origins Program).
"The Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum is relevant because it is the most
abrupt warming event ever documented." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/horizon/sept98/sea.htm
"The striking correspondence between the quantities of carbon introduced without man's influence 55Ma (million years) ago and those now being put into the atmosphere by us, would alone justify this Geological Society meeting." "A 25-27 March 2003 three day international meeting on the geological aspects of coping with climate change, will be held at the Burlington House, London."
Further study of the "Paleontology of the Theodore Roosevelt National
Park"may unlock important information on the LPTM.
Also see: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClimateConcern/message/5889
Chapter 3: Climate Quality Observations, Monitoring, and Data Management
Please, add: Temperature data by itself is inadequate in monitoring changes in climate. Changes in enthalpy (temperature, humidity, phase change - latent heat exchanges) are very important. It can be misleading to look only at temperature measurements without considering changes in humidity (dewpoints). Near surface humidity is very important in determining the rate of snowmelt, and ice thaw due to the latent heat exchange from the condensation of water vapor on cold surfaces. PATRICK NEUMAN
Chapter 8: Land Use/Land Cover Change
"Land cover change is not only a product of direct human disturbance and modification, but may arise as a consequence of climate change. The
effects of changing seasonality of precipitation, temperature regimes, or disruption of hydrologic processes (e.g. the loss of perched soil water when permafrost melts) may have important effects on carbon uptake, biogenic emissions, dust, or other direct effects on the atmosphere in addition to potential changes in surface albedo."
CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD
"While it is important to understand the past, it is not always a good
guide to the future. Increased globalization is likely to drive land use change in ways not easily predictable from past history. One could infer from language in several places in this chapter that globilization is a key driver but it deserves more explicit recognition." CALIFORNIA RESOURCES AGENCY
Chapter 9: Carbon Cycle
"Derscriptions or the atmospheric and terrestrial knowledge, needs,
products, and payoffs are more detailed than for the oceans. However, it is thought that the oceans regulate about half of the CO2 uptake and
global primary production (some recent publications have reduced the
sequestration numbers). Therefore, the oceans role should be represented in a more balanced manner." MCCLAIN, NASA
"the carbon cycle includes the emissions of isoprene and monoterpene
hydrocarbons as well as a number of other trace gas species..." These
emissions are quite large and are now known to play a role in determining the atmospheric composition of the troposphere on regional and global scales. Indeed their presence in areas where there are anthropogenic emissions of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, can lead to increased levels or regional ozone and fine aerosols that are important in radiative balance considerations"
>snip< Ozone is a potent plant phytotoxin. Increased tropospheric ozone (a greenhouse gas) levels will lead to the stomatal resistance being increased leading to reduced uptake of carbon dioxide, less water emitted through evapotranspiration, and less emission of volatile organic carbon (i.e. isoprene) from plants. Carbon sequestration under ozone exposures have been shown to reduce carbon uptake in FACE experiments even at moderate levels ...". "At 60 ppb levels carbon dioxide uptake even under high carbon dioxide exposure was reduced significantly due to this interaction. This type of feedback is not really addressed in this document."JEFFREY GAFFNEY, ARGONNE NAT'L LABORATORY
"A reasonable estimate of the rate of ocean saturation suggests that by
the end of this century under BAU, we will have effectively saturated the ocean. Further air/ocean transfer will occur, but it will require
proportionally larger increases in atmospheric levels and much more
time." NED FORD, SIERRA CLUB
"What's missing is that climate change itself could significantly affect our predictions for the carbon cycle even if we understand carbon dynamics pretty well. CH4 is specifically mentioned here and Human Dimensions pops up." NOAA/CMDL
End public comment excerpts: draft Strategic Plan CCSP 18 Jan 2003