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CO2 levels take a sudden jump - Journal of Omnifarious

Oct. 11th, 2004

09:40 pm - CO2 levels take a sudden jump

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This worries me:

Climate fear as carbon levels soar

For background on understanding this, you might go here and read about carbon sinks. Or, you might want to go here and read the better posts from a Slashdot discussion of the topic.

I'm worried that we've managed to find and trigger some nasty positive feedback loop and are going to cause temperatures to rise dramatically in the next 5-10 years.

Current Mood: [mood icon] worried

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:scottscidmore
Date:October 11th, 2004 11:13 pm (UTC)
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I mildly concerned, I'll be much more worried if the levels are up next year and/or they are also up in the southern hemisphere. Two years might be a blip, especially given the larges fires in the last 2 years and the lack of similar change in southern readings.

There's a real problem in that we don't really know what affects the changes might have, and how the near term changes might affect positive and negative feedback loops. It's potentially rather tough on the planet to run the experiment.

For those who wonder why this all is important:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1153513,00.html
http://www.greenpeace.org/international_en/news/details?item_id=415878


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[User Picture]
From:kosmo
Date:October 12th, 2004 06:50 am (UTC)
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I have a hard time putting alot of stock in that theory.

Why? do you ask?

This past winter was one of the coldest on record for the north east. This coming winter is expected to be pretty chilly too.

This past summer was one of the coolest and wettest summers on record for the north east.

We *never* broke 90 degrees in 2004 where I live. Mind you, we dont get many 90 degree days, but we get a handful. We never even got there.

This to me does not sound like warming to me. What do I know? Its only logical to speak of what you are currently experiencing.

On the same note, I will remind you that the same groups of scientists have been pushing the global warming theory around for the past thirty years. We are not significantly warmer now than we were 30 years ago. I am, however, aware that the same group of scientists can "show" that my personal observation is "just not true".

Then, OTOH, there is the other group of scientists that claim that global warming has no basis in fact, and is only weakly supported in theory.

This is rapidly approaching theology. An un-winnable argument.

Overall, Im not going to spend one minute worrying about it, because IF the earth is warming and the ice caps are going to melt, its too late now. You wouldnt be able to stop what is theoretically already happening. We are all screwed. If the caps are melting, then there isnt one thing we can do to re-freeze them.

Like I said, What do I know? Its just something to think about.
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From:omnifarious
Date:October 12th, 2004 07:07 am (UTC)
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Actually, there are a few things we can do to re-freeze them. There are some interesting methods for quickly removing many megatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Largely these techniques store away the carbon so it can be released later, so they just remove the immediate threat.

As far as whether or not it's real, well... I have a couple of things to say about that.

There is pretty overwhelming evidence to show that atmosphereic CO2 levels have had an effect on the weather in the past. The CO2 content of ice has been correlated with other clues in rock strata to show that high CO2 levels do correlate with very warm temperatures.

It seems to me that if you know something has had an effect in the past, you should start being careful about it in the present.

I also consider climate change to be an indicator of warming, not necessarily warming itself. There is a good chance that the northeastern US and Great Britain could become colder because of global warming and the changes it causes in ocean currents. Though, that should actually be a fairly sudden process, happening over the course of a few years, with accompanying obvious changes in ocean currents.

I also consider Florida's ever worsening hurricane seasons to be a good indicator, and the fact that Seattle is getting warmer every summer, and is currently much warmer during the summer than it has been in the past. This trend is such that almost no buildings in Seattle are built with air conditioning, despite it actually being needed this summer and last.

And finally, CO2 reduction techniques are good for the economy overall. They tend to promote energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is a base infrastructure investment that takes several years to pay off, so companies tend not to even consider it in their day-to-day operations. But, when they have paid attention, it's been good for their long-term financial health.

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[User Picture]
From:kosmo
Date:October 12th, 2004 09:48 am (UTC)
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--> There are some interesting methods for quickly removing many megatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Id have to take a gander that methods for refreezing a polar ice cap (BILLIONS of gallons of water) is proably just as interesting and incredible (and more than likely unrealistic in our time) as methods one would use to deflect an asteroid from colliding with the earth. I also have a feeling that such an undertaking would require expense on a scale that would make Donald Trump, the Oil Rich Shieks of the Middle East, or the check writers at the US .fedgov gasp. Just a hunch.

Dont forget in all of this that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. That is a fundamental law.

I did not happen to see much verbage given to deforestation problems. Anyone that says that the clearcutting of forested areas has no impact is fooling themselves. Remember *all* plants need CO2 to live, and return to us an abudant quantity of O2.

--> with accompanying obvious changes in ocean currents.

I dont recall hearing any big news stories about major changes in the oceans currents.

I believe the real situation is that weather patterns are cyclical. Not a year to year or decade to decade cycle, but more on the order of century or centuries per cycle. Remember, that we as human beings havent been tracking weather patterns for very many years in the grand scheme of things. Obvously, this is a belief only based in opinion.

--> And finally, CO2 reduction techniques are good for the economy overall.

That I would definately agree with. However dont forget that CO2 is not exactly considered a harmful pollutant per se. Products have to stop making more genuine pollutants first, with overall CO2 reduction as a secondary measure.

All in all, Its not something that keeps me awake at night. If the world is coming to a cataclysmic end, there is not a damned thing we as the tiny and relatively insignificant group of mammals known as human beings are going to do about it.

It would finally answer one question for one an all... Is(Are) $GOD(S)real? That would be the only way that the earth could be saved from an ongoing cataclysm; A Diety.
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From:omnifarious
Date:October 12th, 2004 11:43 am (UTC)
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The techniques of which I speak are for sequestering huge amounts of carbon, not for re-freezing the ice caps. You have to rely on the earth to get cooler again for that to happen.

Basically, you seed large areas of the Pacific with iron dust. Iron is the limiting nutrient for plankton growth in many areas of the Pacific. So if you throw a bunch of iron dust in the water, you create plankton blooms, which suck up a whole bunch of carbon. The plankton then eventually die and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Eventually, the carbon from them is released back into the atmosphere, but it takes a hundred years or so.

This has been tested on small areas of the ocean with great success. Scaling it up to the 5 * 105 - 3 * 106 square miles necessary is not actually hugely difficult given our current technology. It would be a big project, but not big on the level you're talking.

As for your argument about cycles, that's true. If the sun were showing signs of going to the high-side of it's 5% variable cycle and making life pretty unbearable for us humans, I'd say there wouldn't be much we could do about it other than try to find a way to survive it. But, the climate is something we can affect. In fact, we probably already have. Since we can do something about it, for our own good we should start paying attention and try to keep the cycles from making this unlivable for us.

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