Gaia and soot
- From New Scientist...
Global warming's sooty smokescreen revealed
Smoke is clouding our view of global warming, protecting the planet
perhaps three-quarters of the greenhouse effect. That might sound
good news, but experts say that as the cover diminishes in coming
decades, we are in for a dramatic escalation of warming that could be
or even three times as great as official best guesses.
This was the dramatic conclusion reached last week at a workshop in
Dahlem, Berlin, where top atmospheric scientists got together,
Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin,
chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPCC scientists have suspected for a decade that aerosols of smoke
other particles from burning rainforest, crop waste and fossil fuels
blocking sunlight and counteracting the warming effect of carbon
emissions. Until now, they reckoned that aerosols reduced greenhouse
warming by perhaps a quarter, cutting increases by 0.2 °C. So the 0.6
of warming over the past century would have been 0.8 °C without
Two views of future warming
But the Berlin workshop concluded that the real figure is even
aerosols may have reduced global warming by as much as three-
cutting increases by 1.8 °C. If so, the good news is that aerosols
prevented the world getting almost two degrees warmer than it is now.
the bad news is that the climate system is much more sensitive to
greenhouse gases than previously guessed.
As those gases are expected to continue accumulating in the
while aerosols stabilise or fall, that means "dramatic consequences
estimates of future climate change", the scientists agreed in a draft
report from the workshop.
Past calculations of the cooling effect of aerosols have been
from "missing" global warming predicted by climate models. But direct
measurements reported in Science (vol 300, p 1103) in May by Theodore
Anderson of the University of Washington in Seattle show a much
parasol effect. Anderson says climate sensitivity could be larger
climate models suggest.
The Berlin meeting also heard evidence that past warm eras had higher
temperatures than they ought to, if estimates of the atmospheric
composition at the time and greenhouse models are correct. Again this
suggests greater sensitivity.
"It looks like the warming today may be only about a quarter of what
would have got without aerosols," Crutzen told New Scientist. "You
say the cooling has done us a big favour. But the health effects of
aerosols in smog are so great that even in the poor world, they are
already cutting emissions." For good reasons, aerosol levels look set
Moreover, most aerosol emissions only stay in the atmosphere for a
days. Most greenhouses gases remain for a century or longer. So as
goes on, aerosols will protect us less and less from global
warming. "They are giving us a false sense of security right now,"
'Sooner, not later'
One tentative estimate put warming two or even three times higher
current middle-range forecasts of 3 to 4 °C based on a doubling of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is likely by late this
That suggests global warming well above the IPCC maximum forecast of
C. Back-of-the-envelope calculations now suggest a "worst case"
of 7 to 10 °C.
Will Steffen of the Swedish Academy of Sciences says the message for
policy makers is clear: "We need to get on top of the greenhouse gas
emissions problem sooner rather than later."
Once these scientists admit particles are a forcing (and forget about
admission they have already made about clouds as a forcing), you have
go back to the depths of time to pre cellular life, when nucleotides
a particle in clouds and that life hadn't even evolved proteins.
In a capacitive coupling, does the dielectric contant of water differ
from that of air and what does that mean to the electrical forces
upon on cirrus clouds between ionosphere and oceans? This is a real
interesting question that should have been asked in the discussion by
former IPCC members who have the above linked new study on
particles "cooling" things "temporarily" as CO2 stays in the air,
leads to CO2's forcing as a GHG to be underestimated. In this
the REAL question, not a warming and cooling one, is whether the
based modulations of a living earth can overcome the growing
the biosphere to modulate conductivities because the air is so full
of CO2 that gas exchange based increases in conductivity choatically
caused by winds across the ocean cannot be overcome by local,
biological activity based increases in conductivity. It's more a
signal noise issue--but on the modulation side of the equation. (Now
that is bio math for those who think that the Einstein approach to
the natural world is the only dice that God plays with).
But I have another math question. What is the probability that with
eight quarters thrown into the air all of them land heads? What does
this have to do with the implausability that life formed by chance?
Is a biological probability more like flipping the eight coins, and
then re flipping the tails until they are all heads, or is it
something like removing the tails and replacing them with the coins
that went heads. Can a coin be weighted? Now, to the relevance. What
does the new science of DNA, which by Crick and Watson, is such a
young science that the inventers are still alive, have to do with
cirrus clouds and a living earth?
Shrub said we won't have to address the issue of climate change for
12 years. He is saying that there is all there is to know, so let's
war for oil and create this supply side policy on energy. It's
absolute ignorance and policy based on ignorance. Pre cellular Gaia
includes forcings that have to do with ionosphere to ocean electrical
movements (brand new science), insulative methane hydrate fields (new
science), cirrus heat trapping (new science), particle movements--
electrical and ambiant and albedos (new science), ecological systems
(new science), evolutionary microbiology (new science). And Bush says
there is nothing else to debate . . .