Sunday, January 1, 2017

#4 Debating Republican Disconnect From - Climate Science History

A good way to continue this debate is to first take a moment to review the milestones of Climate Science achievements.  This will offer a more realistic portrait than E.M.’s assessment:  “Climate science (in the scope of science) is relatively new”  The list starts with Joseph Fourier discovering the greenhouse effect in 1824 and was compiled by Dr. Spencer Weart the retired Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.  

After the list I will return to the above sentence and its related paragraphs.
The History of Modern Climate Science
Second edition (revised and updated 2008)
The history of climate science goes back to the early 1900's. This section contains a chronological listing of relevant climate science discoveries and events related to anthropogenic global warming. The information here was compiled by Spencer Weart the retired Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.

The Short History:
1824 - Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect.
1859 - John Tyndall discovered that H2O and CO2 absorb infrared confirming the Fourier greenhouse effect.
1896 - Svante Arrhenius proposed human CO2 emissions would prevent earth from entering next ice age (challenged 1906).
1950’s Guy Callendar found H2O and CO2 did not overlap all spectra bands, therefore warming from CO2 expected (countered the 1906 objections against Arrhenius).

1955 - Hans Suess identified the isotopic signature of industrial based CO2 emissions.
1956 - Gilbert Plass calculated adding CO2 would significantly change radiation balance.
1957 - Revelle/Suess suggested oceans would absorb less CO2 causing more global warming than predicted.
1958/60’s - Charles David Keeling proved CO2 was increasing in the atmosphere.
70’s/80’s Suke Manabe and James Hansen began modeling climate projections.
Current: NCAR, GISS, Hadley, CRU, RSS TLT, UAH, MSU, Glacier Melt, Sea Level Rise, Latitudinal Shift all confirm models.
The (more) Detailed History:
Level of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) in the atmosphere, as later measured in ancient ice, is about 290 ppm (parts per million). Mean global temperature (1850-1870) is about 13.6°C.
First Industrial Revolution. Coal, railroads, and land clearing speed up greenhouse gas emission, while better agriculture and sanitation speed up population growth.
Joseph Fourier calculates that the Earth would be far colder if it lacked an atmosphere. =>Simple models
Tyndall discovers that some gases block infrared radiation. He suggests that changes in the concentration of the gases could bring climate change. =>Other gases
Arrhenius publishes first calculation of global warming from human emissions of CO2. =>Simple models
Chamberlin produces a model for global carbon exchange including feedbacks. =>Simple models
Second Industrial Revolution. Fertilizers and other chemicals, electricity, and public health further accelerate growth.
World War I. Governments learn to mobilize and control industrial societies.
Opening of Texas and Persian Gulf oil fields inaugurates era of cheap energy.
Global warming trend since late 19th century reported. =>Modern temp's=>Climate cycles
Milankovitch proposes orbital changes as the cause of ice ages.
Callendar argues that CO2 greenhouse global warming is underway, reviving interest in the question. =>CO2 greenhouse
World War II. Grand strategy is largely driven by a struggle to control oil fields.
US Office of Naval Research begins generous funding of many fields of science, some of which happen to be useful for understanding climate change. =>Government
Ewing and Donn offer a feedback model for quick ice age onset. =>Simple models
Phillips produces a somewhat realistic computer model of the global atmosphere. =>Models (GCMs)
Plass calculates that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will have a significant effect on the radiation balance. =>Radiation math
Launch of Soviet Sputnik satellite. Cold War concerns support 1957-58 International Geophysical Year, bringing new funding and coordination to climate studies. =>International
Revelle finds that CO2 produced by humans will not be readily absorbed by the oceans. =>CO2 greenhouse
Telescope studies show a greenhouse effect raises temperature of the atmosphere of Venus far above the boiling point of water. =>Venus & Mars

Mitchell reports downturn of global temperatures since the early 1940s.=>Modern temp's
Keeling accurately measures CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere and detects an annual rise. =>CO2 greenhouse The level is 315 ppm. Mean global temperature (five-year average) is 13.9°C.
Cuban Missile Crisis, peak of the Cold War.
Calculations suggest that feedback with water vapor could make the climate acutely sensitive to changes in CO2 level. =>Radiation math
Boulder, Colo. meeting on causes of climate change: Lorenz and others point out the chaotic nature of climate system and the possibility of sudden shifts. =>Chaos theory
Emiliani's analysis of deep-sea cores shows the timing of ice ages was set by small orbital shifts, suggesting that the climate system is sensitive to small changes. =>Climate cycles
International Global Atmospheric Research Program established, mainly to gather data for better short-range weather prediction, but including climate.International
Manabe and Wetherald make a convincing calculation that doubling CO2 would raise world temperatures a couple of degrees. =>Radiation math
Studies suggest a possibility of collapse of Antarctic ice sheets, which would raise sea levels catastrophically. =>Sea rise & ice
Astronauts walk on the Moon, and people perceive the Earth as a fragile whole. =>Public opinion
Budyko and Sellers present models of catastrophic ice-albedo feedbacks. =>Simple models
Nimbus III satellite begins to provide comprehensive global atmospheric temperature measurements. =>Government
First Earth Day. Environmental movement attains strong influence, spreads concern about global degradation. =>Public opinion
Creation of US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the world's leading funder of climate research. =>Government
Aerosols from human activity are shown to be increasing swiftly. Bryson claims they counteract global warming and may bring serious cooling. =>Aerosols
SMIC conference of leading scientists reports a danger of rapid and serious global change caused by humans, calls for an organized research effort. =>International
Mariner 9 spacecraft finds a great dust storm warming the atmosphere of Mars, plus indications of a radically different climate in the past .=>Venus & Mars
Ice cores and other evidence show big climate shifts in the past between relatively stable modes in the space of a thousand years or so, especially around 11,000 years ago. =>Rapid change
Oil embargo and price rise bring first "energy crisis". =>Government
Serious droughts since 1972 increase concern about climate, with cooling from aerosols suspected to be as likely as warming; scientists are doubtful as journalists talk of a new ice age.=>Public opinion
Warnings about environmental effects of airplanes leads to investigations of trace gases in the stratosphere and discovery of danger to ozone layer. =>Other gases
Manabe and collaborators produce complex but plausible computer models which show a temperature rise of several degrees for doubled CO2. =>Models (GCMs)
Studies show that CFCs (1975) and also methane and ozone (1976) can make a serious contribution to the greenhouse effect. =>Other gases
Deep-sea cores show a dominating influence from 100,000-year Milankovitch orbital changes, emphasizing the role of feedbacks. =>Climate cycles
Deforestation and other ecosystem changes are recognized as major factors in the future of the climate. =>Biosphere
Eddy shows that there were prolonged periods without sunspots in past centuries, corresponding to cold periods .=>Solar variation
Scientific opinion tends to converge on global warming, not cooling, as the chief climate risk in next century. =>Public opinion
Attempts to coordinate climate research in US end with an inadequate National Climate Program Act, accompanied by rapid but temporary growth in funding. =>Government
Second oil "energy crisis." Strengthened environmental movement encourages renewable energy sources, inhibits nuclear energy growth. =>Public opinion
US National Academy of Sciences report finds it highly credible that doubling CO2 will bring 1.5-4.5°C global warming. =>Models (GCMs)
World Climate Research Programme launched to coordinate international research. =>International

Election of Reagan brings backlash against environmental movement to power. Political conservatism is linked to skepticism about global warming. =>Government
IBM Personal Computer introduced. Advanced economies are increasingly delinked from energy.
Hansen and others show that sulfate aerosols can significantly cool the climate, raising confidence in models showing future greenhouse warming. =>Aerosols
Some scientists predict greenhouse warming "signal" should be visible by about the year 2000. =>Modern temp's
Greenland ice cores reveal drastic temperature oscillations in the space of a century in the distant past. =>Rapid change
Strong global warming since mid-1970s is reported, with 1981 the warmest year on record. =>Modern temp's
Reports from US National Academy of Sciences and Environmental Protection Agency spark conflict, as greenhouse warming becomes prominent in mainstream politics. =>Government
Ramanathan and collaborators announce that global warming may come twice as fast as expected, from rise of methane and other trace greenhouse gases.=>Other gases
Villach Conference declares consensus among experts that some global warming seems inevitable, calls on governments to consider international agreements to restrict emissions.=>International
Antarctic ice cores show that CO2 and temperature went up and down together through past ice ages, pointing to powerful biological and geochemical feedbacks. =>CO2
Broecker speculates that a reorganization of North Atlantic Ocean circulation can bring swift and radical climate change. =>The oceans
Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention imposes international restrictions on emission of ozone-destroying gases. =>International
News media coverage of global warming leaps upward following record heat and droughts plus testimony by Hansen. =>Public opinion
Toronto conference calls for strict, specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions; UK Prime Minister Thatcher is first major leader to call for action. =>International
Ice-core and biology studies confirm living ecosystems give climate feedback by way of methane, which could accelerate global warming. =>Other gases
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established. =>International
Level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 350 ppm.
Fossil-fuel and other U.S. industries form Global Climate Coalition to tell politicians and the public that climate science is too uncertain to justify action. =>Public opinion
First IPCC report says world has been warming and future warming seems likely. =>International
Mt. Pinatubo explodes; Hansen predicts cooling pattern, verifying (by 1995) computer models of aerosol effects. =>Aerosols
Global warming skeptics claim that 20th-century temperature changes followed from solar influences. (The solar-climate correlation would fail in the following decade.) =>Solar variation
Studies from 55 million years ago show possibility of eruption of methane from the seabed with enormous self-sustained warming. =>Rapid change
Conference in Rio de Janeiro produces UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, but US blocks calls for serious action. =>International
Study of ancient climates reveals climate sensitivity in same range as predicted independently by computer models. =>Models (GCMs)
Greenland ice cores suggest that great climate changes (at least on a regional scale) can occur in the space of a single decade. =>Rapid change
Second IPCC report detects "signature" of human-caused greenhouse effect warming, declares that serious warming is likely in the coming century. =>International
Reports of the breaking up of Antarctic ice shelves and other signs of actual current warming in polar regions begin affecting public opinion. =>Public opinion
Toyota introduces Prius in Japan, first mass-market electric hybrid car; swift progress in large wind turbines and other energy alternatives.
International conference produces Kyoto Protocol, setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if enough nations sign onto a treaty. =>International
"Super El Niño" causes weather disasters and warmest year on record (approximately matched by 2005 and 2007). Borehole data confirm extraordinary warming trend. =>Modern temp's
Qualms about arbitrariness in computer models diminish as teams model ice-age climate and dispense with special adjustments to reproduce current climate. =>Models (GCMs)
Criticism that satellite measurements show no warming are dismissed by National Academy Panel. =>Modern temp's
Ramanathan detects massive "brown cloud" of aerosols from South Asia. =>Aerosols
Global Climate Coalition dissolves as many corporations grapple with threat of warming, but oil lobby convinces US administration to deny problem. =>Public opinion
Variety of studies emphasize variability and importance of biological feedbacks in carbon cycle, liable to accelerate warming. =>Biosphere
Third IPCC report states baldly that global warming, unprecedented since end of last ice age, is "very likely," with possible severe surprises. Effective end of debate among all but a few scientists. =>International
Bonn meeting, with participation of most countries but not US, develops mechanisms for working towards Kyoto targets. =>International
National Academy panel sees a "paradigm shift" in scientific recognition of the risk of abrupt climate change (decade-scale). =>Rapid change
Warming observed in ocean basins; match with computer models gives a clear signature of greenhouse effect warming. =>Models (GCMs)
Studies find surprisingly strong "global dimming," due to pollution, has retarded arrival of greenhouse warming, but dimming is now decreasing. =>Aerosols
Numerous observations raise concern that collapse of ice sheets (West Antarctica, Greenland) can raise sea levels faster than most had believed. =>Sea rise & ice
Deadly summer heat wave in Europe accelerates divergence between European and US public opinion. =>Public opinion
In controversy over temperature data covering past millenium, most conclude climate variations were not comparable to the post-1980 warming.
=>Modern temp's; =>Solar variation
First major books, movie and art work featuring global warming appear. =>Public opinion
Kyoto treaty goes into effect, signed by major industrial nations except US. Work to retard emissions accelerates in Japan, Western Europe, US regional governments and corporations. =>International
Hurricane Katrina and other major tropical storms spur debate over impact of global warming on storm intensity.
Level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 380 ppm.
Fourth IPCC report warns that serious effects of warming have become evident; cost of reducing emissions would be far less than the damage they will cause. =>International
Many experts warn that global warming is arriving at a faster and more dangerous pace than anticipated just a few years earlier. =>International
Level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 385 ppm.
Mean global temperature (five-year average) is 14.5°C, the warmest in hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
Source “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart

E.M. writes:
I would like to articulate now the ONLY point I was trying to make at any point of this discussion: AGW is real. That is clear. That is obvious. I am making no sort of denial of this fact nor am I being “disingenuous” by stating that we don’t fully understand the way the climate system operates over a long period of time… Climate science (in the scope of science) is relatively new and we certainly can and will improve our holistic knowledge in the subject in the coming months, years, and decades.
I’m curious, other than screaming headlines that don’t hold up under scrutiny - can anyone point out the last time something truly revolutionary and game changing has happened in climate science?  Lindzen's Iris Effect certainly didn't pan out as advertised.  Others?

I’ve spent decades trying to keeping up on the science (To be clear, I'm a layperson so it’s through judicious science reporting rather than comprehending the detailed science papers themselves.) and it seems to me its been nothing so much as a steady refinement.  I know that the fundamental understanding I was taught in high school back in the early ‘70s remains our fundamental understanding today.  

Only big change is the revolution in observational abilities, which have offered details never before imagined.  Those have provided huge surprises about the nuts and bolts of our global heat and moisture distribution engine's fine details but no radical game changers.  In fact, the increasingly refined instruments have shown that Earth Scientists are consistently erring on the conservative side compared to what’s actually unfolding upon our planet.

E.M. writes at #19a:
It’s not the funding I dislike, it’s the bureaucratic nature of the funding process and the lack of accountability that follows this funding. I would simply like to see a tightening in program oversight with measurable goals and a desire to actually create solutions; not an endless tap of funding that produces minimal results. 

Such vague but damning insinuations.  So many feel comfortable never producing concrete examples, but there they are gushing insinuations, suspicion bordering on the paranoia seems all they need.  That’s not a constructive dialogue.

Why can’t E.M. first produce some examples before offering 'his' self-certain judgement of “missing oversight”?

What do you mean measurable goals are missing?  Where?  Explain?
What minimal results?

What would you change?  Specifically?  Why?


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