JASON arrives

Do you ever have the experience of a book you’ve bought from abe or ebay turning up, and you can’t remember why you bought it? I got “The long-term impacts of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide” by MacDonald today (The Long-term Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels, By Gordon James MacDonald, Published by Ballinger, 1982, ISBN 088410902X, 9780884109020, 252 pages) , and thought “hmm thats interesting, but why *this* book?”. Now I’m at home, I can find the answer: its really the JASON report. Aha.
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Ho ho

Inel notes that Monckton thinks he was misrepresented on Earth: The Ratings Wars. Which is most amusing: something at last that Monckton and I agree on: E:TRS is misleading (though we’re talking about different progs in the series, of course). Or you can read TLstake on it instead.

He sez: I was interviewed for 90 minutes and all my views were backed up by sound scientific data, but this was all omitted. They made it sound as if these were just my personal views, as if I was some potty peer. It was caddish of them. The last bit is wonderful: clearly playing Bertie Wooster to the hilt; does he taken any of this seriously? Obviously no-one takes him seriously, but I thought he thought he was playing for real.

Oh, and since I’m here: go read Austin…where even the atheists worship on Sunday by Jules.

Abrupt climate change is a potential menace that hasn’t received much attention

Or so says some spam for terradaily that made it to my inbox (which is just a rehash of the Berkley press release, though thankfully without the stupid flood picture). This is obvious b*ll*cks, as google shows. The wiki page is a bit rubbish, largely because the only example anyone can ever think of is the Younger Dryas, and we aren’t going to have another one of those (yes yes I know). Its certainly the only one terradaily can think of. Woods hole too. And there is a whole NRC report on ACC. And indeed if you look for “rapid” climate change you’ll find Spencer Wearts history.

But TD is pushing a new programme called IMPACTS, and they say: “climate change has occurred with frightening rapidity in the past and will almost certainly do so again” which seems just a bit strong. But they have decided to investigate four potential ACC’s:

1 instability among marine ice sheets, particularly the West Antarctic ice sheet;
2 positive feedback mechanisms in subarctic forests and arctic ecosystems, leading to rapid methane release or large-scale changes in the surface energy balance;
3 destabilization of methane hydrates (vast deposits of methane gas caged in water ice), particularly in the Arctic Ocean; and
4 feedback between biosphere and atmosphere that could lead to megadroughts in North America.

1 is exciting, but probably isn’t a runner; reading further down I think it just amounts to trying to model ice shelves properly, which as they say of western civilisation “might be a good idea”. 2 and 3 are probably OK, methane is in the news recently. 4 doesn’t excite me but then I don’t live there and I’m very insular.

Just to be clear: I’ve no objection to research on rapid climate change, just their pretence that this is a new thing, which I find irritating.

Book club: Nierenberg. Part II: Future CO2

I decided to skip over the synthesis – how can I judge that, before reading the chapters its supposed to synthesise? I’ll come back to it.

Previous: Part I.

Chapter 2 “Future carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels” is by Nordhaus and Yohe; and by Ausubel and Nordhaus. Eli has laid into this, but he largely based his post on Oreskes et al. (henceforth, OCS), and I no longer think thats such a good thing to do. They say: Chapter 1, written by Nordhaus, Ausubel, and Gary Yohe,… but this is, a teensy bit wrong. The chapter in question is chapter 2 (chapter 1 is the synthesis) and OCS have glossed over some subtleties. Its actually in two parts. The first is by N+Y, and is their model and their predictions. The second (p 153) is by Ausubel and N and is a review of previous work. [Update: or is it possible that in the preliminary report, it was chapter 1? And really was joint between NYA? That would be confusing, if true]
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Methane Data

AL (and V1S, sorry!) pointed me to http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/, which lead me to http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/, from which I selected Barrow, as being in the Arctic, and CH4, as being methane, and 2000-2008, as being a small enough interval that you can see whats going on, and I got:

i-f55b85ea17081c40765e0f113a9db880-methane-image-2000-2009.png

So there you have it: methane isn’t shooting up precipitously. Its a bit higher this year than last. OK, I know, those are preliminary data. But I think thats enough to rule out any major changes.

Its worth pointing out (JA has said this, but I forget where) that methane is an awful long way below the “std” BAU scenarios. I can’t find a recent one now, but the IPCC ’90 BAU scenario would have us at about 2200 ppbv by now.

BTW, Nuture says that CO2 [corrected] *emissions* are now increasing at 3.5 % a year, which is higher than it was. Don’t immeadiately know what concentrations are increasing at.

[Update: Small side note: here we have Nature linking to wiki. I didn’t know they did that -W]