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New Study 'Sounds Alarm' on Another Climate Feedback Loop


#1

New Study 'Sounds Alarm' on Another Climate Feedback Loop

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The loss of Arctic sea ice has already been shown to be part of a positive feedback loop driving climate change, and a recent study published in the journal Nature puts the spotlight on what appears to be another of these feedback loops.


#2

5C. If we hit that, then life on earth will move on from humans to whatever it is that lives on Venus. If we live beyond Donald Chump


#3

There are already enough potential positive feedbacks to make it clear this is an emergency situation. Perhaps the biggest concern is thawing permafrost which could release large amounts of greenhouse gases. Another concern is frozen methane hydrates which hold vast amounts of methane. Some are located deep below the ocean floor but some are near the surface. If that weren't enough there are large areas of peat bogs that could dry out and release carbon dioxide. It is easy to see how the whole situation could completely get beyond human control. And it could happen at a temperature just above 1C where we are now, scientists do not know for sure. All of us can contribute to reducing emissions. We can do everything from installing LED light bulbs to joining protests.


#4

The situation has never been in our control: we've had our foot on the gas (excuse the punny reference), but never really had our hands on the steering wheel; that part has always been an illusion.


#5

Here's a better recent article: http://www.shortcut4life.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Abrupt-Climate-Change-Article-1-Jan-2017.pdf
Why can't authors--as of this Nature article--be more forthright about global warming? Are they afraid of losing their jobs, perhaps?--which is what has happened to ice expert Peter Wadhams, formerly of Cambridge University.


#6

As much as I hate to be that "Mr. Negative guy", I have to be a realist. It is beyond bad. Even here in my state of Florida, and despite cries of "yippee!!" from typical visiting northerners who think this a "Paradise" and that all this heat is great, I feel very afraid of this unrelenting heat, even by Florida standards, which has made Christmas feel like Fourth of July. No real rain in two months,Records for high temps are being broken almost daily, if not weekly. Yes Virginia, even Florida used to get cold-and I mean Cold-for Santa Claus. No more, it seems.
We are now seeing this runaway train of climate chaos rearing its head and the party is just starting. These feedback loops, I fear, will unleash global climate chaos at speeds, and with events, we can scarcely imagine. And Trump is just gonna unleash the drill baby drill idiots to make it worse.


#7

Ill take this opportunity to highlight what is fast becoming my 'go to book' on climate change. It's main focus is ostensibly the little discussed reaction of the solid Earth to 'abrupt climate change', both at glacial terminations but also at onsets of global warming, with many scales in between discussed very thoroughly. These would qualify as positive feedbacks I think - but are really not well understood yet.

An added virtue is the truly beautiful summary of other aspects of climate change more familiar.

Cutting edge all the way - highest recommendation:

PS: For those interested in methane clathrates - earthquakes and underwater landslides are unfortunately able to destabilize these CO2 ice cages very effectively - and very suddenly.


#8

I think at least theoretically it is still under our control, which simply means that if emissions were reduced enough that global warming would be limited before these feedback loops kicked in and began driving global warming. Possibly it is already too late but there is no scientific basis to be sure of that. I think each of us should try to do whatever we can to reduce emissions. Billions of people throughout the world need to have that attitude. Total emissions come from the countless acts that involve burning fossil fuels for energy as well as some other sources such a agriculture and deforestation.


#9

"It is easy to see how the whole situation could completely get beyond human control."

Unfortunately, there is a good possibility that this is already the case. If we stopped all CO2 emissions tomorrow, the temperature will continue to rise. The gigatons of methane are already becoming destabilized. They balance on a knife edge. It looks very, very bad. Maybe Venus bad.


#10

If we stopped all greenhouse emissions tomorrow their levels would quickly begin to fall and the there would be little additional increase in temperature and it would also start to decrease. That is providing these positive feedbacks have not yet kicked in a major way and there is no clear scientific proof that they have. Based on the scientific evidence the situation still is likely to be under our control. People who say it is too late should be ignored because they are spreading misinformation.


#11

We can do an awful lot more than that--and we had better do it asap. We aren't helpless, we don't have to resign ourselves to be ineffectual. But we will have to put up with some serious inconveniences and no small amounts of discomfort. Here's what's possible:
1) We can use the sun to dry our clothes whenever possible (and the wind, on cloudy days that are neither rainy nor overly cold. We can string clothesline indoors for the winter months so that we heat our homes and dry our clothes simultaneously.
2) We can learn to build and use solar ovens in those climates or at those times of year in less opportune climates when this might be possible. We can resort to reheated soups and stews to cut back on energy use indoors for food preparation.
We can stop driving cars for all but the most stringent circumstances. Even in rural areas this is a real possibility, though it can be hard work and time-consuming; but when the difference is between losing the luxury of spare time and losing the luxury of time altogether, our priorities should be pretty clear. At the very least we can revive the car pools of the 1970's for shopping and health appointments.
3) We can reuse as many items as possible for as long as possible; repair rather than replace those products we depend on; radically revise our conceptions of what we need to own to have rewarding, fulfilling, even exciting and inspirational lives.

We're a culture of wusses, a nation of infants. Time we aspire to adolescence.


#12

Nice article. The chart on CO2, CH4 and NOs takes a dip just after 1500 AD, The Little Ice Age. The reason according to this article was the plummet of agricultural populations of the Western hemisphere after Columbus.

The natural reforestation sucked enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to drop temps 1C worldwide. The area reforested was about the size of CA. In the 30s the CCC planted 3 billion trees in 9 years using unemployed youth. So reversing climate change has been done and we can do it again.
The graph also shows a steady rise in CO2 and methane for the last 8-10,000 years, the period of agriculture. If we eat grass fed meat, dairy and eggs and organic vegetables we could all contribute to reversing global warming. If you have a yard, grow your own and have chickens and bees. The 30 year study by Rodale Institute on regenerative agriculture is proof that carbon can be stored in the soil faster than burning fossil fuels can create it.


#13

"The average temperature on Venus is 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius)."
..... https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=webhp&source=hp&q=temperature+of+venus+in+fahrenheit&oq=Temperature+of+Venus&gs_l=hp.1.1.0l10.2406.10638.0.14789.22.16.2.4.5.0.268.1743.13j0j3.16.0....0...1c.1.64.hp..0.22.1754...0i131k1.Fxy-5Koorjg

Come on people. If you don't do your research, and just say the most extreme thing that pops into your head, you lose all credibility.

Besides, isn't that what Trump & his peanut gallery do?


#14

A feature of your explanations pertaining to climate change and the human capacity to control it is the loose manner in which you present it . You stated: “Based on the scientific evidence the situation still is likely to be under our control.” Still is likely? There's a reason Wikipedia calls such terms 'weasel words'.

You stated: “People who say it is too late should be ignored because they are spreading misinformation.” Too late? Too late for what? Who studying climate change is asserting, let alone claiming with scientific certitude, that reversing climate change is impossible? There are claims that 'scientific evidence' gives no indication for reversing global warming, and the consequences from global warming, within similar time frames that took for the global warming to manifest itself in the first place. But apparently there are those as yourself who claim that minus positive feedbacks: “ If we stopped all greenhouse emissions tomorrow their levels would quickly begin to fall and the there would be little additional increase in temperature and it would also start to decrease.”

Even if it was as simple as turning off a valve your comment would be wrong. If humans disappeared from the earth in the next second, your comment would be wrong. If humans disappeared from the earth in the next second, and all the sources of greenhouse emissions directly caused by humans, and the indirect emisions caused by human activity as with the release of stored greenhouse gases in the earth due to warming, including methane which is 2 or 3 dozen times stronger than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, as well as vastly reducing the reflective layer of ice and snow resulting in increased amounts of thermal energy absorbed by the planet, with all of that aside, your comment would still be wrong. There isn't even a hint that the timelines of increased global warming and the result of reversing it are in anyway comparable.

In the actual world, where direct and indirect human caused emissions of greenhouse gases are quite real, where melted and reduced ice formations allow greater thermal energy to be absorbed, where biologists are calling human activity, especially since the start of the industrial age, the 6th Great Extinction, where the bible of capitalism by its very nature will try to destroy anything resembling democracy and left unchecked makes the world's present conditions inevitable, your IF...THEN hypothetical scenario is absolutely meaningless. And no amount of imprecise and/or equivocating language dealing with time, quantity, rates, effect, etc can change that.


#15

Actually if we stopped all greenhouse gas emissions today it would ironically cause a serious RISE in CO2........ for long enough to really screw things up even more. Look it up...
The world we have today is over. We just haven't felt the tsunami wave come back in yet. Light bulbs realistically are not going to have any impact beyond patting ourselves on the back. Not a reason not to switch bulbs and do all the other things but pretending we are not screwed is a dangerous fantasy......


#16

At least 40 positive feedback loops contributing to ACD / Global warming have now been identified. Each one further accelerates the heating of the other 39, meaning 39 accelerating heating loops accelerate the rate of heating of the other 39. What does this mean? That the planet is entering a heating loop overall which cannot be stopped anymore. The global heating will reach thermonuclear temperatures eventually, creating a planetary nuclear implosion that will only end when all fuel is burned - i.e., the entire planet will be incinerated. And then blow away as dust.


#17

What you are saying is that we would like the ecology to be under our control, but since our billions cannot be controlled, then we are not in control: that is not being in control!


#18

Actually, once runaway heating begins there are all sorts of carbon stores hidden away that may come into play. While we are at 405 ppm now, it could go over 1000-1500 ppm in the lifetime of toddlers just born and who knows how much further in the future. So yeah, Venus.


#19

Most of the plans for keeping temperature change to a few degrees rise include re-sequestration. If we halt all carbon releases immediately, the climate inertia will keep things rising for another 40 years to about 3 degrees over the 1850 baseline. Don't forget that industrial agriculture is a source of carbon emissions, so unless organic agriculture (which sequesters carbon) is immediately adopted worldwide, we can't eat unless we release lots more carbon. Reality is not the IPCC strong suit.


#20

Hi merf,
Yes, sad to say I agree with you. Wish I didn't. The deep sadness and pain associated with the knowledge of the level of suffering and deaths due to human behaviors is not something that even the "stages of grief" can help assuage. The breakdown of life support and resultant deaths are ratcheting up ------I do not see signs of a slow down with extinctions of species . . . just the opposite.

I have not been commenting much----trying to take a break from all the gut wrenching , horrific (yes, horrific) news. But it's impossible to ignore the destruction of the biosphere courtesy homo (un) sapiens unless one doesn't go outside (or look out the window ).

Everyone should watch (imo) this short clip from Stephen Chu. It is the truth. He states at the end that he was asked not to speak the truth in this very powerful 2 minute video:
https://climateone.org/video/steven-chu-shares-some-sobering-climate-change-math