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Everything you wanted to know about Thresholds

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  • francis cote
    Buried in the Scientese of the citation below is the notion of threshold effects . These effects make the experiment (author s term) with earth s climate
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 5, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Buried in the Scientese of the citation below is the notion of
      "threshold effects". These effects make the "experiment" (author's term)
      with earth's climate regulation machinery humanity is currently conducting
      so unbelievably stupid.
      Thresholds provide surprises if you don't know what to expect. If you
      heat a resistance wire with an electric current in a room filled with
      gasoline vapor saturated air, nothing will happen till you reach the
      kindling temperature of the gasoline vapor/air mixture. At that point things
      start to move real fast,.. lots of positive feedback loops kicking in the
      expanding shock wave (the flame front heats adjacent air + vapor which, in
      turn, "kindles", liberating more heat for more kindling..), etc.. You get an
      explosion.
      The author proposes that non-linearities may account for some of the
      observed non-correlation between past CO2 level estimates and estimated past
      global temperatures which critics of GW use as ammo.
      The climate machine gives nasty hints, from ice core records, etc.,
      that
      it, too, has the capacity to flip states rapidly between radically different
      states (EX: long ice age alternating short interglacial warmings like the
      one we live in).

      This observation raises the question: Why, then, do we - as a planetary
      species - insist on messing around with our planet's life-support systems
      when we do not fully understand how it works? Example: raising the
      atmospheric CO2 level when it is "close to certain" that CO2 functions as a
      major planetary temperature - and hence climate - regulator). Further, the
      things we are doing to our atmosphere are the very kinds of things you
      should want, logically, to AVOID doing to a threshold and positive feedback
      ridden system whose "healthy" functioning our well being depends upon. Why?
      How can a supposedly intelligent species be so incredibly myopic? Is our
      greed so great as to imperil future generations? Why? To drive SUVs? The
      goal of existence then..

      ________________________________________________________________________

      Source: Reducing uncertainty about carbon dioxide as a climate driver. Lee R
      Kump, Nature 419, page 188-190 (year 2002)

      Mismatches in the CO2–climate relation
      Despite these successes in linking variations in greenhouse gas
      concentrations to climate change in the geologic past, the oxygen isotope
      palaeotemperature record from 600 Myr ago to the present displays notable
      intervals for which inferred temperatures and pCO2 levels are not
      correlated1. One of these occurred during the early to middle Miocene (about
      17 Myr ago), a time well established as a warm interval (relative to today),
      but with proxy evidence for low atmospheric pCO2 (ref. 2). Moreover, whereas
      climate models predict tropical warming in response to elevated pCO2,
      geologic data — in particularly the oxygen isotope record — indicate muted
      warming or even cooling at low latitudes while higher latitudes warm (the
      'cool tropics paradox'10, 11). A better understanding of what controls the
      latitudinal temperature gradient is clearly needed (see review in this issue
      by Pierrehumbert, pages 191–198). It is possible, however, that this paradox
      and the longer-term mismatch between pCO2 and temperature proxies are
      artefacts, the consequence of inevitable blurring of the signal by
      geochemical processes that act on sediments after deposition on the sea
      floor3, 12.

      Is the CO2–climate relationship refuted by these apparent mismatches? I
      think not. Even if the proxies survive further scrutiny and the mismatches
      remain, we should not expect highly correlated records of volcanism and
      other external forcings, atmospheric pCO2 and climate. In intricately
      coupled systems such as the climate system, with components acting on a wide
      range of timescales, responses of system state to stimuli can lag forcing
      significantly. CO2 build-ups can lag elevated CO2 inputs by millennia to
      millions of years because other processes damp the forcing; in such a case,
      we would expect the evidence for elevated inputs (for example, volcanic
      activity) to correlate instead with the rate of increase in atmospheric
      pCO2. Similarly, a CO2 increase whose radiative forcing drives a
      slow-changing climate component (for example, the extent of continental ice
      sheets during glaciation) could produce a proxy climate record (for example,
      ice-sheet volume as expressed in the oxygen isotopic composition of the
      ocean; see review in this issue by Lambeck et al. pages 199–206) that was
      poorly correlated with the CO2 forcing.

      This explanation for the out-of-phase relationship between climate and
      atmospheric pCO2 may apply to the Miocene mismatch, but is best illustrated
      in the 'snowball Earth' scenario proposed for the Late Precambrian (750–600
      Myr ago; see review in this issue by Pierrehumbert). The frozen Earth
      accumulates CO2 from volcanoes for millions of years until the level is
      sufficiently high (perhaps hundreds of times the present level) to create a
      greenhouse effect that can overcome the cooling effect of highly reflective
      continental ice sheets and global sea-ice cover. Theoretically, CO2 is
      highest at the end of the snowball interval, and then drops during the
      warmth of the ensuing deglaciation. A similar scenario was proposed for the
      more modest Late Ordovician glaciation (440 Myr ago)13. Moreover, if
      thresholds must be overcome before the system can change state, then
      relationships become highly nonlinear and may exhibit long periods of no
      correlation. Switches in ocean circulation patterns and their attendant
      effects on climate are good examples of threshold effects (see review in
      this issue by Rahmstorf, pages 207–214).

      Perspectives
      We have made the natural world our laboratory, but the experiment is
      inadvertent and thus not designed to yield easily decipherable results.
      Consequently, we will have difficulty isolating the effects of our
      manipulations from natural variations in climate until the signal has risen
      well above the noise (and the climate perhaps has been detrimentally
      altered). In looking into the past history of the planet for clues to the
      future, we find general support for the notion that an increase in
      atmospheric pCO2 will cause global warming. However, in detail the
      relationship is neither linear nor in phase on all timescales. Proxy
      indicators of global warmth do not always coincide with proxy indications of
      elevated pCO2, and when they do, as in the Late Pleistocene, there is no
      lead–lag relationship from which one might hope to assign cause and effect.
      Fortunately, improved models evaluated against expanded high-fidelity
      palaeoclimate databases are on the horizon, and should be adequate to
      support policy decisions concerning the reduction of fossil-fuel CO2
      emissions. In the meantime, there are unsettling indications that these
      models are underestimating rather than overestimating the climatic
      consequences of greenhouse gas build-up.

      _________________________________________________________________
      Charla con tus amigos en línea mediante MSN Messenger:
      http://messenger.yupimsn.com/
    • John Shotsky
      I think you are absolutely right. Since earth spends 90% of it s lifetime in ice ages, we should determine exactly what causes these miserable interglacial
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 5, 2003
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        I think you are absolutely right. Since earth spends 90% of it's
        lifetime in ice ages, we should determine exactly what causes these
        miserable interglacial periods and prevent them in the future. Clearly,
        we should not be driving SUV's...We should permit earth to revert back
        to normal as soon as possible!!!


        John

        -----Original Message-----
        From: francis cote [mailto:dionysios2100@...]
        Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 16:48
        To: globalwarming@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Global Warming] Everything you wanted to know about Thresholds



        Buried in the Scientese of the citation below is the notion of
        "threshold effects". These effects make the "experiment" (author's term)
        with earth's climate regulation machinery humanity is currently
        conducting
        so unbelievably stupid.
        Thresholds provide surprises if you don't know what to expect. If
        you
        heat a resistance wire with an electric current in a room filled with
        gasoline vapor saturated air, nothing will happen till you reach the
        kindling temperature of the gasoline vapor/air mixture. At that point
        things
        start to move real fast,.. lots of positive feedback loops kicking in
        the
        expanding shock wave (the flame front heats adjacent air + vapor which,
        in
        turn, "kindles", liberating more heat for more kindling..), etc.. You
        get an
        explosion.
        The author proposes that non-linearities may account for some of
        the
        observed non-correlation between past CO2 level estimates and estimated
        past
        global temperatures which critics of GW use as ammo.
        The climate machine gives nasty hints, from ice core records, etc.,

        that
        it, too, has the capacity to flip states rapidly between radically
        different
        states (EX: long ice age alternating short interglacial warmings like
        the
        one we live in).

        This observation raises the question: Why, then, do we - as a
        planetary
        species - insist on messing around with our planet's life-support
        systems
        when we do not fully understand how it works? Example: raising the
        atmospheric CO2 level when it is "close to certain" that CO2 functions
        as a
        major planetary temperature - and hence climate - regulator). Further,
        the
        things we are doing to our atmosphere are the very kinds of things you
        should want, logically, to AVOID doing to a threshold and positive
        feedback
        ridden system whose "healthy" functioning our well being depends upon.
        Why?
        How can a supposedly intelligent species be so incredibly myopic? Is our
        greed so great as to imperil future generations? Why? To drive SUVs? The
        goal of existence then..

        ________________________________________________________________________

        Source: Reducing uncertainty about carbon dioxide as a climate driver.
        Lee R
        Kump, Nature 419, page 188-190 (year 2002)

        Mismatches in the CO2�climate relation
        Despite these successes in linking variations in greenhouse gas
        concentrations to climate change in the geologic past, the oxygen
        isotope
        palaeotemperature record from 600 Myr ago to the present displays
        notable
        intervals for which inferred temperatures and pCO2 levels are not
        correlated1. One of these occurred during the early to middle Miocene
        (about
        17 Myr ago), a time well established as a warm interval (relative to
        today),
        but with proxy evidence for low atmospheric pCO2 (ref. 2). Moreover,
        whereas
        climate models predict tropical warming in response to elevated pCO2,
        geologic data � in particularly the oxygen isotope record � indicate
        muted
        warming or even cooling at low latitudes while higher latitudes warm
        (the
        'cool tropics paradox'10, 11). A better understanding of what controls
        the
        latitudinal temperature gradient is clearly needed (see review in this
        issue
        by Pierrehumbert, pages 191�198). It is possible, however, that this
        paradox
        and the longer-term mismatch between pCO2 and temperature proxies are
        artefacts, the consequence of inevitable blurring of the signal by
        geochemical processes that act on sediments after deposition on the sea
        floor3, 12.

        Is the CO2�climate relationship refuted by these apparent mismatches? I
        think not. Even if the proxies survive further scrutiny and the
        mismatches
        remain, we should not expect highly correlated records of volcanism and
        other external forcings, atmospheric pCO2 and climate. In intricately
        coupled systems such as the climate system, with components acting on a
        wide
        range of timescales, responses of system state to stimuli can lag
        forcing
        significantly. CO2 build-ups can lag elevated CO2 inputs by millennia to
        millions of years because other processes damp the forcing; in such a
        case,
        we would expect the evidence for elevated inputs (for example, volcanic
        activity) to correlate instead with the rate of increase in atmospheric
        pCO2. Similarly, a CO2 increase whose radiative forcing drives a
        slow-changing climate component (for example, the extent of continental
        ice
        sheets during glaciation) could produce a proxy climate record (for
        example,
        ice-sheet volume as expressed in the oxygen isotopic composition of the
        ocean; see review in this issue by Lambeck et al. pages 199�206) that
        was
        poorly correlated with the CO2 forcing.

        This explanation for the out-of-phase relationship between climate and
        atmospheric pCO2 may apply to the Miocene mismatch, but is best
        illustrated
        in the 'snowball Earth' scenario proposed for the Late Precambrian
        (750�600
        Myr ago; see review in this issue by Pierrehumbert). The frozen Earth
        accumulates CO2 from volcanoes for millions of years until the level is
        sufficiently high (perhaps hundreds of times the present level) to
        create a
        greenhouse effect that can overcome the cooling effect of highly
        reflective
        continental ice sheets and global sea-ice cover. Theoretically, CO2 is
        highest at the end of the snowball interval, and then drops during the
        warmth of the ensuing deglaciation. A similar scenario was proposed for
        the
        more modest Late Ordovician glaciation (440 Myr ago)13. Moreover, if
        thresholds must be overcome before the system can change state, then
        relationships become highly nonlinear and may exhibit long periods of no
        correlation. Switches in ocean circulation patterns and their attendant
        effects on climate are good examples of threshold effects (see review in
        this issue by Rahmstorf, pages 207�214).

        Perspectives
        We have made the natural world our laboratory, but the experiment is
        inadvertent and thus not designed to yield easily decipherable results.
        Consequently, we will have difficulty isolating the effects of our
        manipulations from natural variations in climate until the signal has
        risen
        well above the noise (and the climate perhaps has been detrimentally
        altered). In looking into the past history of the planet for clues to
        the
        future, we find general support for the notion that an increase in
        atmospheric pCO2 will cause global warming. However, in detail the
        relationship is neither linear nor in phase on all timescales. Proxy
        indicators of global warmth do not always coincide with proxy
        indications of
        elevated pCO2, and when they do, as in the Late Pleistocene, there is no
        lead�lag relationship from which one might hope to assign cause and
        effect.
        Fortunately, improved models evaluated against expanded high-fidelity
        palaeoclimate databases are on the horizon, and should be adequate to
        support policy decisions concerning the reduction of fossil-fuel CO2
        emissions. In the meantime, there are unsettling indications that these
        models are underestimating rather than overestimating the climatic
        consequences of greenhouse gas build-up.

        _________________________________________________________________
        Charla con tus amigos en l�nea mediante MSN Messenger:
        http://messenger.yupimsn.com/



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      • F Cote
        Ah, c mon John that is a bit disingenuous. If our friend Banzai and his link to the Woods Hole Oceanography center chief is correct, SUVs, by accelerating
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 6, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          Ah, c'mon John that is a bit disingenuous. If our friend Banzai and
          his link to the Woods Hole Oceanography center chief is correct,
          SUVs, by accelerating short term warming, could actually trigger a
          rapid slide into a cooling trend (Threshold effect!) including even a
          premature ice start. (Did you even READ the article or at least the
          citation?)
          Why are you so against Sustainable development? That's the point I
          don't get. Even in the developed world, LABOR intensive sustainables
          could, if managed well, actually create more jobs than are lost. You
          don't know if you don't try, dammit!
          And the third world? You wrote to me in an e-mail around Christmas
          that you favor third world development especially in public health
          related areas. But what about economic development? Doesn't that play
          a major, truly major role in public health in poorer countries? It
          seems to me that low scale solar energy (thermal especially) in
          tropical countries could kill multiple birds with one stone:

          1- economic development (including local infrastructures),

          2- foreclose future CO2 rises (by shifting economic development onto
          a renewable path right from the inception, avoiding later re-
          conversion to renewables when non-renewables run out) and

          3- greater political stability since it is rather pathetically
          obvious that the current, inefficient "top-down", centralized, 1st
          world "charity"/ third world "client-recipient" model sucks.

          Bemused and confused,

          Frank

          PS: thanks again for the refs you gave, in case you didn't see my
          thanks buried in the Christmas time wave of postings.

          --- In globalwarming@yahoogroups.com, "John Shotsky" <shotsky1@h...>
          wrote:
          > I think you are absolutely right. Since earth spends 90% of it's
          > lifetime in ice ages, we should determine exactly what causes these
          > miserable interglacial periods and prevent them in the future.
          Clearly,
          > we should not be driving SUV's...We should permit earth to revert
          back
          > to normal as soon as possible!!!
          >
          >
          > John
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: francis cote [mailto:dionysios2100@h...]
          > Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 16:48
          > To: globalwarming@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [Global Warming] Everything you wanted to know about
          Thresholds
          >
          >
          >
          > Buried in the Scientese of the citation below is the notion of
          > "threshold effects". These effects make the "experiment" (author's
          term)
          > with earth's climate regulation machinery humanity is currently
          > conducting
          > so unbelievably stupid.
          > Thresholds provide surprises if you don't know what to expect.
          If
          > you
          > heat a resistance wire with an electric current in a room filled
          with
          > gasoline vapor saturated air, nothing will happen till you reach the
          > kindling temperature of the gasoline vapor/air mixture. At that
          point
          > things
          > start to move real fast,.. lots of positive feedback loops kicking
          in
          > the
          > expanding shock wave (the flame front heats adjacent air + vapor
          which,
          > in
          > turn, "kindles", liberating more heat for more kindling..), etc..
          You
          > get an
          > explosion.
          > The author proposes that non-linearities may account for some
          of
          > the
          > observed non-correlation between past CO2 level estimates and
          estimated
          > past
          > global temperatures which critics of GW use as ammo.
          > The climate machine gives nasty hints, from ice core records,
          etc.,
          >
          > that
          > it, too, has the capacity to flip states rapidly between radically
          > different
          > states (EX: long ice age alternating short interglacial warmings
          like
          > the
          > one we live in).
          >
          > This observation raises the question: Why, then, do we - as a
          > planetary
          > species - insist on messing around with our planet's life-support
          > systems
          > when we do not fully understand how it works? Example: raising the
          > atmospheric CO2 level when it is "close to certain" that CO2
          functions
          > as a
          > major planetary temperature - and hence climate - regulator).
          Further,
          > the
          > things we are doing to our atmosphere are the very kinds of things
          you
          > should want, logically, to AVOID doing to a threshold and positive
          > feedback
          > ridden system whose "healthy" functioning our well being depends
          upon.
          > Why?
          > How can a supposedly intelligent species be so incredibly myopic?
          Is our
          > greed so great as to imperil future generations? Why? To drive
          SUVs? The
          > goal of existence then..
          >
          >
          ______________________________________________________________________
          __
          >
          > Source: Reducing uncertainty about carbon dioxide as a climate
          driver.
          > Lee R
          > Kump, Nature 419, page 188-190 (year 2002)
          >
          > Mismatches in the CO2–climate relation
          > Despite these successes in linking variations in greenhouse gas
          > concentrations to climate change in the geologic past, the oxygen
          > isotope
          > palaeotemperature record from 600 Myr ago to the present displays
          > notable
          > intervals for which inferred temperatures and pCO2 levels are not
          > correlated1. One of these occurred during the early to middle
          Miocene
          > (about
          > 17 Myr ago), a time well established as a warm interval (relative to
          > today),
          > but with proxy evidence for low atmospheric pCO2 (ref. 2). Moreover,
          > whereas
          > climate models predict tropical warming in response to elevated
          pCO2,
          > geologic data — in particularly the oxygen isotope record — indicate
          > muted
          > warming or even cooling at low latitudes while higher latitudes warm
          > (the
          > 'cool tropics paradox'10, 11). A better understanding of what
          controls
          > the
          > latitudinal temperature gradient is clearly needed (see review in
          this
          > issue
          > by Pierrehumbert, pages 191–198). It is possible, however, that this
          > paradox
          > and the longer-term mismatch between pCO2 and temperature proxies
          are
          > artefacts, the consequence of inevitable blurring of the signal by
          > geochemical processes that act on sediments after deposition on the
          sea
          > floor3, 12.
          >
          > Is the CO2–climate relationship refuted by these apparent
          mismatches? I
          > think not. Even if the proxies survive further scrutiny and the
          > mismatches
          > remain, we should not expect highly correlated records of volcanism
          and
          > other external forcings, atmospheric pCO2 and climate. In
          intricately
          > coupled systems such as the climate system, with components acting
          on a
          > wide
          > range of timescales, responses of system state to stimuli can lag
          > forcing
          > significantly. CO2 build-ups can lag elevated CO2 inputs by
          millennia to
          > millions of years because other processes damp the forcing; in such
          a
          > case,
          > we would expect the evidence for elevated inputs (for example,
          volcanic
          > activity) to correlate instead with the rate of increase in
          atmospheric
          > pCO2. Similarly, a CO2 increase whose radiative forcing drives a
          > slow-changing climate component (for example, the extent of
          continental
          > ice
          > sheets during glaciation) could produce a proxy climate record (for
          > example,
          > ice-sheet volume as expressed in the oxygen isotopic composition of
          the
          > ocean; see review in this issue by Lambeck et al. pages 199–206)
          that
          > was
          > poorly correlated with the CO2 forcing.
          >
          > This explanation for the out-of-phase relationship between climate
          and
          > atmospheric pCO2 may apply to the Miocene mismatch, but is best
          > illustrated
          > in the 'snowball Earth' scenario proposed for the Late Precambrian
          > (750–600
          > Myr ago; see review in this issue by Pierrehumbert). The frozen
          Earth
          > accumulates CO2 from volcanoes for millions of years until the
          level is
          > sufficiently high (perhaps hundreds of times the present level) to
          > create a
          > greenhouse effect that can overcome the cooling effect of highly
          > reflective
          > continental ice sheets and global sea-ice cover. Theoretically, CO2
          is
          > highest at the end of the snowball interval, and then drops during
          the
          > warmth of the ensuing deglaciation. A similar scenario was proposed
          for
          > the
          > more modest Late Ordovician glaciation (440 Myr ago)13. Moreover, if
          > thresholds must be overcome before the system can change state, then
          > relationships become highly nonlinear and may exhibit long periods
          of no
          > correlation. Switches in ocean circulation patterns and their
          attendant
          > effects on climate are good examples of threshold effects (see
          review in
          > this issue by Rahmstorf, pages 207–214).
          >
          > Perspectives
          > We have made the natural world our laboratory, but the experiment is
          > inadvertent and thus not designed to yield easily decipherable
          results.
          > Consequently, we will have difficulty isolating the effects of our
          > manipulations from natural variations in climate until the signal
          has
          > risen
          > well above the noise (and the climate perhaps has been detrimentally
          > altered). In looking into the past history of the planet for clues
          to
          > the
          > future, we find general support for the notion that an increase in
          > atmospheric pCO2 will cause global warming. However, in detail the
          > relationship is neither linear nor in phase on all timescales. Proxy
          > indicators of global warmth do not always coincide with proxy
          > indications of
          > elevated pCO2, and when they do, as in the Late Pleistocene, there
          is no
          > lead–lag relationship from which one might hope to assign cause and
          > effect.
          > Fortunately, improved models evaluated against expanded high-
          fidelity
          > palaeoclimate databases are on the horizon, and should be adequate
          to
          > support policy decisions concerning the reduction of fossil-fuel CO2
          > emissions. In the meantime, there are unsettling indications that
          these
          > models are underestimating rather than overestimating the climatic
          > consequences of greenhouse gas build-up.
          >
          > _________________________________________________________________
          > Charla con tus amigos en línea mediante MSN Messenger:
          > http://messenger.yupimsn.com/
          >
          >
          >
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        • Tom Gray
          There is always a problem when ideology is mixed with science, on whatever side of the debate one favors. ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 6, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            There is always a problem when ideology is mixed with science, on
            whatever side of the debate one favors.

            At 09:39 PM 3/6/2003 +0000, you wrote:
            >Ah, c'mon John that is a bit disingenuous. If our friend Banzai and
            >his link to the Woods Hole Oceanography center chief is correct,
            >SUVs, by accelerating short term warming, could actually trigger a
            >rapid slide into a cooling trend (Threshold effect!) including even a
            >premature ice start. (Did you even READ the article or at least the
            >citation?)
            >Why are you so against Sustainable development? That's the point I
            >don't get. Even in the developed world, LABOR intensive sustainables
            >could, if managed well, actually create more jobs than are lost. You
            >don't know if you don't try, dammit!
            >And the third world? You wrote to me in an e-mail around Christmas
            >that you favor third world development especially in public health
            >related areas. But what about economic development? Doesn't that play
            >a major, truly major role in public health in poorer countries? It
            >seems to me that low scale solar energy (thermal especially) in
            >tropical countries could kill multiple birds with one stone:
            >
            > 1- economic development (including local infrastructures),
            >
            > 2- foreclose future CO2 rises (by shifting economic development onto
            >a renewable path right from the inception, avoiding later re-
            >conversion to renewables when non-renewables run out) and
            >
            > 3- greater political stability since it is rather pathetically
            >obvious that the current, inefficient "top-down", centralized, 1st
            >world "charity"/ third world "client-recipient" model sucks.
            >
            > Bemused and confused,
            >
            > Frank
            >
            >PS: thanks again for the refs you gave, in case you didn't see my
            >thanks buried in the Christmas time wave of postings.
            >
            >--- In globalwarming@yahoogroups.com, "John Shotsky" <shotsky1@h...>
            >wrote:
            > > I think you are absolutely right. Since earth spends 90% of it's
            > > lifetime in ice ages, we should determine exactly what causes these
            > > miserable interglacial periods and prevent them in the future.
            >Clearly,
            > > we should not be driving SUV's...We should permit earth to revert
            >back
            > > to normal as soon as possible!!!
            > >
            > >
            > > John
            > >
            > > -----Original Message-----
            > > From: francis cote [mailto:dionysios2100@h...]
            > > Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 16:48
            > > To: globalwarming@yahoogroups.com
            > > Subject: [Global Warming] Everything you wanted to know about
            >Thresholds
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Buried in the Scientese of the citation below is the notion of
            > > "threshold effects". These effects make the "experiment" (author's
            >term)
            > > with earth's climate regulation machinery humanity is currently
            > > conducting
            > > so unbelievably stupid.
            > > Thresholds provide surprises if you don't know what to expect.
            >If
            > > you
            > > heat a resistance wire with an electric current in a room filled
            >with
            > > gasoline vapor saturated air, nothing will happen till you reach the
            > > kindling temperature of the gasoline vapor/air mixture. At that
            >point
            > > things
            > > start to move real fast,.. lots of positive feedback loops kicking
            >in
            > > the
            > > expanding shock wave (the flame front heats adjacent air + vapor
            >which,
            > > in
            > > turn, "kindles", liberating more heat for more kindling..), etc..
            >You
            > > get an
            > > explosion.
            > > The author proposes that non-linearities may account for some
            >of
            > > the
            > > observed non-correlation between past CO2 level estimates and
            >estimated
            > > past
            > > global temperatures which critics of GW use as ammo.
            > > The climate machine gives nasty hints, from ice core records,
            >etc.,
            > >
            > > that
            > > it, too, has the capacity to flip states rapidly between radically
            > > different
            > > states (EX: long ice age alternating short interglacial warmings
            >like
            > > the
            > > one we live in).
            > >
            > > This observation raises the question: Why, then, do we - as a
            > > planetary
            > > species - insist on messing around with our planet's life-support
            > > systems
            > > when we do not fully understand how it works? Example: raising the

            <snip>
          • John Shotsky
            Frank, My comment was meant tongue in cheek. Concerning SUV s - why do you think they make them? It s because people want them. Why? Because they are a
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 6, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              Frank,

              My comment was meant tongue in cheek.

              Concerning SUV's - why do you think they make them? It's because people
              want them. Why? Because they are a cross between a low occupancy
              pickup and a low hauling capacity sedan. You can haul a bunch of
              people, or a bunch of stuff. In a pickup, that stuff is subject to
              weather and is easily stolen; in an SUV it is protected better. I
              discount the 'status symbol' mentality, even though some people might
              think that way. When spending that kind of money, you choose what will
              fit your needs best.

              There are more pickups on the road than SUV's. Pickups get no better
              gas mileage, and generally haul fewer people than SUV's do. Pickups,
              not counting those that actually use them in their line of work, are
              used as sedans for those (mostly guys) that cannot be seen in a sedan or
              a minivan. I believe pickups have a larger CO2 contribution per
              passenger mile than SUV's, and could probably find numbers to support it
              if I was inclined, but I'm not. I do have a pickup and a sedan. I only
              use the pickup when the sedan won't do my bidding. I pay two insurance
              bills instead of one, and, in a year's time, I realize that I could get
              rid of the pickup and rent one from U-haul when I need it, and probably
              pay less. However, that is a huge inconvenience to me.

              I believe that it is 'right' for the world to go about providing clean
              air and water (and land) for everyone and for future generations. I do
              not believe that CO2 is a pollutant, OR that we need to worry about it.
              After all, nature provides over 95% of it, and nature varies by as much
              as 10% annually - human contribution is less than 5% per year - and we
              have no proof whatsoever that our miserly contribution causes *any*
              harm. Unlike the bad air and water that kills millions of people -
              every year. In fact, the only documented change that can be attributed
              directly to CO2 is better plant growth. Now, before everyone points to
              'global warming', just remember that we don't know whether any observed
              warming is connected to CO2 or not. We do know for certain that CO2
              follows temperature changes, but we don't have any record, anywhere,
              that CO2 changes have caused any temperature changes, either in past
              history of earth, or now. Not in ice cores, not in seabed cores, not in
              any proxies. In short, we don't know what the 'extra' CO2 is doing, and
              if it is good or bad.

              I'm not against sustainable development. However, I understand market
              forces, and know that you can't force more expensive energy onto people
              when they can get it cheaper elsewhere. Let's take my power grid as an
              example. We have a connection to the grid, but we have a menu of 'where
              our power comes from'. If we choose 'green' power (wind, solar, etc) we
              get to pay more. If we take the cheapest form of energy, we pay less.
              Guess what? If EVERYONE chooses the lower price, we're getting the
              'premium' power for the price of the cheaper power. And they'll phase
              it out, because it costs them more to create it, and they can't realize
              a sufficient return on it to satisfy the stock holders. Who wants to
              pay more for their energy these days, especially when the likelihood is
              that you'd be paying 'extra' for 'cheapest' energy most of the time
              anyway.

              What does it take to make the elements of 'renewable' energy? Why, it
              takes traditional energy sources. We smelt our metals with giant ovens,
              that, I'm afraid, don't run off solar power or windmills. It takes
              'fossil fuel' to make almost everything of substance, and that's just
              unlikely to change for hundreds of years. Once you use the fossil fuel
              to 'create' 'renewable' energy sources, those sources 'owe' the energy
              used to create them back just to break even. It is only after they have
              paid back their energy costs AND CONTINUE TO PRODUCE USEFUL ENERGY that
              renewables make any sense. From what I've seen, by the time they pay
              back their manufacturing costs in energy, they are close to the end of
              their lifetimes. It is no wonder that they are not more successful.
              I'm afraid that undeveloped countries will not opt for 'the premium
              spread' first - they will take whatever is cheapest because it is all
              they'll be able to afford.


              John

              -----Original Message-----
              From: F Cote [mailto:dionysios2100@...]
              Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 13:39
              To: globalwarming@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Global Warming] Everything you wanted to know about
              Thresholds


              Ah, c'mon John that is a bit disingenuous. If our friend Banzai and
              his link to the Woods Hole Oceanography center chief is correct,
              SUVs, by accelerating short term warming, could actually trigger a
              rapid slide into a cooling trend (Threshold effect!) including even a
              premature ice start. (Did you even READ the article or at least the
              citation?)
              Why are you so against Sustainable development? That's the point I
              don't get. Even in the developed world, LABOR intensive sustainables
              could, if managed well, actually create more jobs than are lost. You
              don't know if you don't try, dammit!
              And the third world? You wrote to me in an e-mail around Christmas
              that you favor third world development especially in public health
              related areas. But what about economic development? Doesn't that play
              a major, truly major role in public health in poorer countries? It
              seems to me that low scale solar energy (thermal especially) in
              tropical countries could kill multiple birds with one stone:

              1- economic development (including local infrastructures),

              2- foreclose future CO2 rises (by shifting economic development onto
              a renewable path right from the inception, avoiding later re-
              conversion to renewables when non-renewables run out) and

              3- greater political stability since it is rather pathetically
              obvious that the current, inefficient "top-down", centralized, 1st
              world "charity"/ third world "client-recipient" model sucks.

              Bemused and confused,

              Frank

              PS: thanks again for the refs you gave, in case you didn't see my
              thanks buried in the Christmas time wave of postings.

              --- In globalwarming@yahoogroups.com, "John Shotsky" <shotsky1@h...>
              wrote:
              > I think you are absolutely right. Since earth spends 90% of it's
              > lifetime in ice ages, we should determine exactly what causes these
              > miserable interglacial periods and prevent them in the future.
              Clearly,
              > we should not be driving SUV's...We should permit earth to revert
              back
              > to normal as soon as possible!!!
              >
              >
              > John


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Tom Gray
              John Shotsky writes, in part: ... No, this is incorrect. Many studies show that the energy payback on wind turbines is sizable--ratios vary, but I ve seen
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 9, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                John Shotsky writes, in part:

                At 09:01 PM 3/6/2003 -0800, you wrote:
                >What does it take to make the elements of 'renewable' energy? Why, it
                >takes traditional energy sources. We smelt our metals with giant ovens,
                >that, I'm afraid, don't run off solar power or windmills. It takes
                >'fossil fuel' to make almost everything of substance, and that's just
                >unlikely to change for hundreds of years. Once you use the fossil fuel
                >to 'create' 'renewable' energy sources, those sources 'owe' the energy
                >used to create them back just to break even. It is only after they have
                >paid back their energy costs AND CONTINUE TO PRODUCE USEFUL ENERGY that
                >renewables make any sense. From what I've seen, by the time they pay
                >back their manufacturing costs in energy, they are close to the end of
                >their lifetimes. It is no wonder that they are not more successful.

                No, this is incorrect. Many studies show that the energy payback on wind
                turbines is sizable--ratios vary, but I've seen numbers as high as 80:1. And
                the studies date back to the 1970s--this is old news. See article following
                my signature, below.

                Seems that once disinformation is out there in the public domain, it is almost
                impossible to get rid of it.

                We have a persistent critic--I can tell he is either an ideological
                fanatic, or being
                paid off by the fossil fuels folks, because he doesn't have a single
                positive thing,
                ever, to say about our technology--who includes in every paper he writes that
                wind turbines are "huge machines" that "produce very little electricity."
                Well, here's the math: a 1.5-MW turbine is somewhat larger than a Boeing
                747, so it certainly isn't small. But over a 25-year lifetime, it will
                generate as
                much electricity as 50,000 tons of coal, or a line of 10-ton dump trucks 18
                miles long.

                Tom Gray
                Deputy Executive Director/Director of Communications
                American Wind Energy Association
                PO Box 1008
                Norwich, VT 05055
                (802) 649-2112 (voice)
                (802) 649-2113 (fax)
                tomgray@...

                [from Wind Energy Weekly #521, 9 November 1992]

                ENERGY AND EMISSION
                BALANCE FAVORS WIND
                By Paul Gipe

                The energy generated by wind turbines pays for the materials used
                to make them in a matter of months, according to three separate
                European studies.

                The question, thought by industry analysts to have been effectively
                answered during the 1970s, has been raised anew recently by some
                critics of proposed new wind power plants, who have questioned
                whether the energy produced by a wind turbine justifies its
                construction.

                The question possibly arises from now-dated findings on the net
                energy payback of solar photovoltaic cells, according to Jos
                Beurskens, manager of renewable energy for the Dutch national
                energy research center ECN.

                Early solar cells had a negative energy balance, Beurskens said,
                but more recent products perform far better and pay back the energy
                consumed in their manufacture within ten years. As the performance
                of photovoltaics improves, so too will their energy balance.

                In contrast to photovoltaics, Beurskens said, wind turbines
                typically pay for themselves in a matter of months.

                With the assistance of Beurskens, Birger Madsen of the Danish firm
                BTM Consult, and Armin Keuper of the Deutsches Windenergie
                Institut, Wind Energy Weekly has pieced together statistics from
                two Danish and one German examination of wind's energy balance.
                The results, including full citations, are presented in the
                accompanying tables for use by the industry.

                The German study, by far the most extensive, examined wind
                turbines from 10 kW to 3 MW in size, while both Danish studies
                considered a "typical" Danish wind turbine of the period. The
                results of all three studies are comparable: utility-scale wind
                turbines installed in areas with commercially usable wind resources
                will pay for themselves within one year.

                As expected, much of the energy used to manufacture the turbine is
                contained in the rotor and nacelle. But more than one-third of the
                total energy consumed by the wind turbine is contained in the
                concrete foundation and tower.

                The Danish study for the Ministry of the Environment also
                estimated that a coal-fired power plant emits 360 times more SOx,
                NOx, and carbon dioxide to generate an equivalent amount of
                electricity over the 25-year life of a wind turbine.

                ENERGY BALANCE (PAYBACK) OF WIND TURBINES

                Wind
                Turbine Energy Energy Generated Payback
                Diam Power Consumed [Wind Regime]
                (m) (kW) (MWh) (MWh/yr) (months)
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                ["Average Danish production"]

                95 58 210 3.3

                Source: Erik Grum-Schwensen, "The Real cost of Wind Turbine
                Construction," Wind Stats, Spring 1990, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp 1-2.


                Wind
                Turbine Energy Energy Generated Payback
                Diam Power Consumed [Wind Regime]
                (m) (kW) (MWh) (MWh/yr) (months)
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                [Roughness Class
                0 1 2]
                -------------
                150 212 529 395 315 4.8/6.4/8.1

                Source: A. Gydesen. D. Maimann. P. B. Pedersen, "Renere Teknologi
                pa Energiomradet," Energigruppen, Fysisk Laboratorium III, Danmarks
                Tekniske Hoejskole, Miljoeministeriet, Miljoeprojekt Nr. 138,
                Denmark, 1990, pp. 123-127.


                Wind
                Turbine Energy Energy Generated Payback
                Diam Power Consumed [Wind Regime]
                (m) (kW) (MWh) (MWh/yr) (months)
                -------------------------------------------------------------------
                [Average Annual Wind
                Speed at 10 m Height
                7 m/s 5.5 m/s 4 m/s
                16 mph 12 mph 9 mph]
                ----------------------
                12.5 45 49 132 94 55 4.4/6.3/10.7
                27 225 169 787 533 305 2.6/3.8/6.7
                32 300 296 1,049 710 411 3.4/5.0/8.7
                80 3,000 2,817 8,989 6,025 4,027 3.8/5.6/8.4

                Source: G. Hagedorn. F. Ilmberger, "Kumulierter Energieverbrauch
                fuer die Herstellung von Windkraftanlagen," Forschungsstelle fuer
                Energiewirtschaft, Im Auftrage des Bundesministeriums fuer
                Forschung und Technologie, Muenchen, August 1991, pp. 79, 98, 100,
                111. NOTE: In this study the primary energy used to construct the
                wind turbine was given in units of kWh. However, only 35% of the
                energy burned in a power plant is converted to useful work. To
                present the data from this study in a format consistent with that
                from the other studies, the kWh consumed has been multiplied by
                0.35.


                PRIMARY ENERGY PAYBACK

                Payback
                Plant (months)
                ---------------------------------------
                Nuclear 0.7
                Coal 0.7
                Wind @ 7 m/s 2.5-7.5
                Wind @ 5.5 m/s 3.8-11.4
                Wind @ 4 m/s 6.3-22.7

                Photovoltaic
                -----
                Monocrystalline @ 1,000 W/m2 87
                Monocrystalline @ 2,200 W/m2 44

                Multicrystalline @ 1,000 W/m2 85
                Multicrystalline @ 2,200 W/m2 43

                Amorphous @ 1,000 W/m2 56
                Amorphous @ 2,200 W/m2 28
                -----------
                Source: G. Hagedorn. F. Ilmberger, "Kumulierter Energieverbrauch
                fuer die Herstellung von Windkraftanlagen," Forschungsstelle fuer
                Energiewirtschaft, Im Auftrage des Bundesministeriums fuer
                Forschung und Technologie, Muenchen, August 1991, pp. 79, 98, 100,
                111.


                EMISSION COMPARISON BETWEEN A WIND TURBINE
                AND A COAL PLANT OVER 25 YEARS


                SOx NOx CO2
                (tons) (tons) (tons)
                ----------------------------
                Wind [40 kg] 0.3 87
                Coal 14 108 31,326
                -----------
                Source: A. Gydesen. D. Maimann. P. B. Pedersen, "Renere Teknologi
                pa Energiomradet," Energigruppen, Fysisk Laboratorium III, Danmarks
                Tekniske Hoejskole, Miljoeministeriet, Miljoeprojekt Nr. 138,
                Denmark, 1990, pp. 123-127.
              • John Shotsky
                Yes, the payback appears to be far better than I had read elsewhere. There is plenty of disinformation or misinformation floating around on the internet.
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 9, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  Yes, the payback appears to be far better than I had read elsewhere.
                  There is plenty of disinformation or misinformation floating around on
                  the internet.

                  Thanks for that update...


                  John

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Tom Gray [mailto:tomgray@...]
                  Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2003 05:10
                  To: globalwarming@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [Global Warming] Everything you wanted to know about
                  Thresholds


                  John Shotsky writes, in part:

                  At 09:01 PM 3/6/2003 -0800, you wrote:
                  >What does it take to make the elements of 'renewable' energy? Why, it
                  >takes traditional energy sources. We smelt our metals with giant
                  ovens,
                  >that, I'm afraid, don't run off solar power or windmills. It takes
                  >'fossil fuel' to make almost everything of substance, and that's just
                  >unlikely to change for hundreds of years. Once you use the fossil fuel
                  >to 'create' 'renewable' energy sources, those sources 'owe' the energy
                  >used to create them back just to break even. It is only after they
                  have
                  >paid back their energy costs AND CONTINUE TO PRODUCE USEFUL ENERGY that
                  >renewables make any sense. From what I've seen, by the time they pay
                  >back their manufacturing costs in energy, they are close to the end of
                  >their lifetimes. It is no wonder that they are not more successful.

                  No, this is incorrect. Many studies show that the energy payback on
                  wind
                  turbines is sizable--ratios vary, but I've seen numbers as high as 80:1.
                  And
                  the studies date back to the 1970s--this is old news. See article
                  following
                  my signature, below.

                  Seems that once disinformation is out there in the public domain, it is
                  almost
                  impossible to get rid of it.

                  We have a persistent critic--I can tell he is either an ideological
                  fanatic, or being
                  paid off by the fossil fuels folks, because he doesn't have a single
                  positive thing,
                  ever, to say about our technology--who includes in every paper he writes
                  that
                  wind turbines are "huge machines" that "produce very little
                  electricity."
                  Well, here's the math: a 1.5-MW turbine is somewhat larger than a
                  Boeing
                  747, so it certainly isn't small. But over a 25-year lifetime, it will
                  generate as
                  much electricity as 50,000 tons of coal, or a line of 10-ton dump trucks
                  18
                  miles long.

                  Tom Gray
                  Deputy Executive Director/Director of Communications
                  American Wind Energy Association
                  PO Box 1008
                  Norwich, VT 05055
                  (802) 649-2112 (voice)
                  (802) 649-2113 (fax)
                  tomgray@...

                  [from Wind Energy Weekly #521, 9 November 1992]

                  ENERGY AND EMISSION
                  BALANCE FAVORS WIND
                  By Paul Gipe

                  The energy generated by wind turbines pays for the materials used
                  to make them in a matter of months, according to three separate
                  European studies.

                  The question, thought by industry analysts to have been effectively
                  answered during the 1970s, has been raised anew recently by some
                  critics of proposed new wind power plants, who have questioned
                  whether the energy produced by a wind turbine justifies its
                  construction.

                  The question possibly arises from now-dated findings on the net
                  energy payback of solar photovoltaic cells, according to Jos
                  Beurskens, manager of renewable energy for the Dutch national
                  energy research center ECN.

                  Early solar cells had a negative energy balance, Beurskens said,
                  but more recent products perform far better and pay back the energy
                  consumed in their manufacture within ten years. As the performance
                  of photovoltaics improves, so too will their energy balance.

                  In contrast to photovoltaics, Beurskens said, wind turbines
                  typically pay for themselves in a matter of months.

                  With the assistance of Beurskens, Birger Madsen of the Danish firm
                  BTM Consult, and Armin Keuper of the Deutsches Windenergie
                  Institut, Wind Energy Weekly has pieced together statistics from
                  two Danish and one German examination of wind's energy balance.
                  The results, including full citations, are presented in the
                  accompanying tables for use by the industry.

                  The German study, by far the most extensive, examined wind
                  turbines from 10 kW to 3 MW in size, while both Danish studies
                  considered a "typical" Danish wind turbine of the period. The
                  results of all three studies are comparable: utility-scale wind
                  turbines installed in areas with commercially usable wind resources
                  will pay for themselves within one year.

                  As expected, much of the energy used to manufacture the turbine is
                  contained in the rotor and nacelle. But more than one-third of the
                  total energy consumed by the wind turbine is contained in the
                  concrete foundation and tower.

                  The Danish study for the Ministry of the Environment also
                  estimated that a coal-fired power plant emits 360 times more SOx,
                  NOx, and carbon dioxide to generate an equivalent amount of
                  electricity over the 25-year life of a wind turbine.

                  ENERGY BALANCE (PAYBACK) OF WIND TURBINES

                  Wind
                  Turbine Energy Energy Generated Payback
                  Diam Power Consumed [Wind Regime]
                  (m) (kW) (MWh) (MWh/yr) (months)
                  -------------------------------------------------------------------
                  ["Average Danish production"]

                  95 58 210 3.3

                  Source: Erik Grum-Schwensen, "The Real cost of Wind Turbine
                  Construction," Wind Stats, Spring 1990, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp 1-2.


                  Wind
                  Turbine Energy Energy Generated Payback
                  Diam Power Consumed [Wind Regime]
                  (m) (kW) (MWh) (MWh/yr) (months)
                  -------------------------------------------------------------------
                  [Roughness Class
                  0 1 2]
                  -------------
                  150 212 529 395 315 4.8/6.4/8.1

                  Source: A. Gydesen. D. Maimann. P. B. Pedersen, "Renere Teknologi
                  pa Energiomradet," Energigruppen, Fysisk Laboratorium III, Danmarks
                  Tekniske Hoejskole, Miljoeministeriet, Miljoeprojekt Nr. 138,
                  Denmark, 1990, pp. 123-127.


                  Wind
                  Turbine Energy Energy Generated Payback
                  Diam Power Consumed [Wind Regime]
                  (m) (kW) (MWh) (MWh/yr) (months)
                  -------------------------------------------------------------------
                  [Average Annual Wind
                  Speed at 10 m Height
                  7 m/s 5.5 m/s 4 m/s
                  16 mph 12 mph 9 mph]
                  ----------------------
                  12.5 45 49 132 94 55 4.4/6.3/10.7
                  27 225 169 787 533 305 2.6/3.8/6.7
                  32 300 296 1,049 710 411 3.4/5.0/8.7
                  80 3,000 2,817 8,989 6,025 4,027 3.8/5.6/8.4

                  Source: G. Hagedorn. F. Ilmberger, "Kumulierter Energieverbrauch
                  fuer die Herstellung von Windkraftanlagen," Forschungsstelle fuer
                  Energiewirtschaft, Im Auftrage des Bundesministeriums fuer
                  Forschung und Technologie, Muenchen, August 1991, pp. 79, 98, 100,
                  111. NOTE: In this study the primary energy used to construct the
                  wind turbine was given in units of kWh. However, only 35% of the
                  energy burned in a power plant is converted to useful work. To
                  present the data from this study in a format consistent with that
                  from the other studies, the kWh consumed has been multiplied by
                  0.35.


                  PRIMARY ENERGY PAYBACK

                  Payback
                  Plant (months)
                  ---------------------------------------
                  Nuclear 0.7
                  Coal 0.7
                  Wind @ 7 m/s 2.5-7.5
                  Wind @ 5.5 m/s 3.8-11.4
                  Wind @ 4 m/s 6.3-22.7

                  Photovoltaic
                  -----
                  Monocrystalline @ 1,000 W/m2 87
                  Monocrystalline @ 2,200 W/m2 44

                  Multicrystalline @ 1,000 W/m2 85
                  Multicrystalline @ 2,200 W/m2 43

                  Amorphous @ 1,000 W/m2 56
                  Amorphous @ 2,200 W/m2 28
                  -----------
                  Source: G. Hagedorn. F. Ilmberger, "Kumulierter Energieverbrauch
                  fuer die Herstellung von Windkraftanlagen," Forschungsstelle fuer
                  Energiewirtschaft, Im Auftrage des Bundesministeriums fuer
                  Forschung und Technologie, Muenchen, August 1991, pp. 79, 98, 100,
                  111.


                  EMISSION COMPARISON BETWEEN A WIND TURBINE
                  AND A COAL PLANT OVER 25 YEARS


                  SOx NOx CO2
                  (tons) (tons) (tons)
                  ----------------------------
                  Wind [40 kg] 0.3 87
                  Coal 14 108 31,326
                  -----------
                  Source: A. Gydesen. D. Maimann. P. B. Pedersen, "Renere Teknologi
                  pa Energiomradet," Energigruppen, Fysisk Laboratorium III, Danmarks
                  Tekniske Hoejskole, Miljoeministeriet, Miljoeprojekt Nr. 138,
                  Denmark, 1990, pp. 123-127.



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                  Hi John, ... wrote: Frank, ... Gotcha there - so were mine! ; ) Then you continued, I do ... it. ... much ... we ... attributed ... points to ... observed
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 11, 2003
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                    Hi John,


                    --- In globalwarming@yahoogroups.com, "John Shotsky" <shotsky1@h...>
                    wrote:
                    " Frank,
                    >
                    > My comment was meant tongue in cheek."

                    Gotcha there - so were mine! ; )

                    Then you continued,


                    " I do
                    > not believe that CO2 is a pollutant, OR that we need to worry about
                    it.
                    > After all, nature provides over 95% of it, and nature varies by as
                    much
                    > as 10% annually - human contribution is less than 5% per year - and
                    we
                    > have no proof whatsoever that our miserly contribution causes *any*
                    > harm. Unlike the bad air and water that kills millions of people -
                    > every year. In fact, the only documented change that can be
                    attributed
                    > directly to CO2 is better plant growth. Now, before everyone
                    points to
                    > 'global warming', just remember that we don't know whether any
                    observed
                    > warming is connected to CO2 or not. We do know for certain that CO2
                    > follows temperature changes, but we don't have any record, anywhere,
                    > that CO2 changes have caused any temperature changes, either in past
                    > history of earth, or now. Not in ice cores, not in seabed cores,
                    not in
                    > any proxies. In short, we don't know what the 'extra' CO2 is
                    doing, and
                    > if it is good or bad."

                    John, I do not believe CO2 is a pollutant. It is the source of
                    our physical existence in the sense that it is the vector by which
                    solar energy is captured by green plants and elaborated into energy
                    rich polymers (sugars, starches, oils and fats) but also structural-
                    reactive materials (lignine, cellulose, proteins, nucleic acids)
                    which form the very base of life. No CO2, no you, no me.. Most
                    definitely not a pollutant.
                    The problem is the CHANGE in the amount of CO2, not the gas
                    itself. A one half of one percent rise per annum gives a dangerous -
                    according to some people - level of CO2, not because any realistic
                    amounts of CO2 release would poison us but rather because of negative
                    indirect impacts on climate/agriculture/demography/economics. I wish
                    I had my calculator at hand to give an example. Try plotting
                    a "compound interest" curve with a 1/2 % interest rate and notice how
                    this EXPONENTIAL curve "elbows up" rapidly at some point in time. Use
                    (1.005)^Y where the karat sign, ^, indicates raising to a power and Y
                    the number of years elapsed. This sudden rapid rise is typical of
                    exponential curves and here corresponds to a potentially dangerous
                    rise in a climate regulating greenhouse gas, CO2. This is a game one
                    can compare to Russian roulette. (My point being why do we want to
                    continue to crank up the CO2 level "just to see" if it becomes
                    dangerous, very quickly as an exponential rate of growth implies. I
                    think an exponential rate is realistic given the huge size and need
                    of 3rd world needs)

                    Then you continued,

                    "We smelt our metals with giant ovens,
                    > that, I'm afraid, don't run off solar power or windmills. It takes
                    > 'fossil fuel' to make almost everything of substance, and that's
                    just
                    > unlikely to change for hundreds of years."

                    But in physical terms, energy is energy. Energy from a solar source
                    like hyrdroelectric power (the hydrological cycle is driven by solar
                    induced evaporation) is just as good for smelting as that derived
                    from nukes or coal (except for the pollutants like N and S oxides and
                    excess CO2 which our ecosystems can't completely handle). Proof?
                    Aluminum smelting plants built in Quebec Province, Canada. Why? To
                    exploit the CHEAP "solar" (i.e. hydroelectric) potential the
                    province's hydrology provides! Efficiency can also go an unbelievable
                    way to reducing energy consumption in high energy processes making
                    such operations more accessible to renewable energy sources. You can,
                    for example, recycle aluminum which is less energy intensive than the
                    wasteful "chuck 'n dig up more ore to replace". You can partly
                    replace aluminum with recycled glass which gives more bang for the $
                    in terms of energy savings. Modern plasma smelting techniques, if I
                    am not mistaken, use something like one SIXTEENTH (6 percent) the
                    energy per kg of iron extracted when compared to medieval coke oven
                    technology. One sixteenth! Conservation/efficiency is a pipe-dream,
                    maybe.. maybe.
                    As for turn around times required to recoup original energy
                    investments, I think Tom Gray answered that recently much, much
                    better than I could.

                    However, one line stikes me as curious indeed..


                    " From what I've seen, by the time they pay
                    > back their manufacturing costs in energy, they are close to the end
                    of
                    > their lifetimes. It is no wonder that they are not more successful.
                    > I'm afraid that undeveloped countries will not opt for 'the premium
                    > spread' first - they will take whatever is cheapest because it is
                    all
                    > they'll be able to afford."
                    >
                    "Renewables" with "lifetimes"??? I thought the point, by
                    definition, of a renewable was that it's lifetime was
                    (practically) "infinity", no?! Why else would it by called renewable
                    as opposed to a non-renewable with a (practically) limited time-to-
                    commercial-exhaustion?

                    I would like to continue this debate - especially on the question
                    of the interpretation of the Vostok ice corings. It was actually one
                    of our discussions that started me doing some research in the
                    journals on the ice core issue (which I am grateful to you for).
                    However, I do not believe the correlation between CO2 and (estimated)
                    global temps is null. I RECALL (I would have to check to be sure) r
                    square (Pearson's correlation coeff) in the range of .64 for "un-
                    treated" Vostok core data and much higher correlations when more
                    sophisticated models were run on the data to correct for regional
                    circulation and temp anomalies.

                    I hope there are not too many typos in this. Unfortunately, I
                    gotta run. Sorry if there are gaffes which remain..



                    Take Care,

                    Frank
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