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Here is a brief roundup

We used to believe that the polar ice caps would be gone sometime around 2080-2100 and that by that time the ocean's sea level rise would be about 1 meter at the most.  We didn't really think that the earth was going to warm up more than 1-3 degrees Celsius before 2100 and that was IF global warming was actually happening due to greenhouse gasses (remember, we used to call it the "greenhouse effect").

Not too much to worry about, at least not for the next 75 years or so. . .

Then we began to see rapid warming and our understanding of aerosol particulates and their cooling effect on the upper atmosphere and how they had been masking the effect of global warming.  We also began to understand that this masking effect was localized, specifically to the northern hemisphere where the emissions came from, and now that the amounts of sulfates in the air were being removed that the northern hemisphere was where the most rapid warming was occurring.  

We then started to grasp the fact that even small changes in regional average temperatures could produce wild swings in temperature patterns, from later freezes to earlier thaws to periodic and unprecedented heat waves to super floods and 500-year droughts.  

To increases in hurricane sizes and frequencies.  

Over the next several years we began to refine our models to include the expansion of the Hadley Cell over the northern hemisphere and began to see that we would lose the Colorado river by around 2025 and that spring rainfall and summer monsoon rains in America's Midwest would decline by 40% (at minimum) by 2100.

And then we began to realize that the permafrost was melting much more quickly than we thought it would, that the polar amplification effect was happening at a rate over 50% faster than our models predicted, that the polar caps were going to be gone sometime around 2045, not 2080.

We began to see that sea level rise was the least of our concerns.

We saw that climate-induced pests (pine beetle) were increasing at an exponential rate and that their effects were beginning to create real economic impact as well as reduce the earth's ability to get rid of the CO2 already in the atmosphere.  We began to see the collapse of northern hemisphere grain production due to prolonged heat waves that prevent germination of crops and droughts that stunt growth.  And that the 40% decline in spring and summer midwest rainfalls was going to happen sometime around 2035 not 2100.

Then we found huge pockets of methane burping out of the arctic tundra, then from the shallow Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf.  We began to realize that the Arctic ice cap was going to be gone sometime around 2020.  We realized that the reflectivity index of the polar cap was going to go from .95 (ice) to .65 (water) and that this would amount to a warming effect equal to 20 years of current CO2 production levels.

We started to see that, even though our models did not include an increase in methane emissions our models were off by 2.5 degrees Celsius and 50 years, so that, instead of 1 to 2 degrees Celsius average increases by 2050 we are starting to see what may be 3.5 to 4.5 degrees by 2050 and instead of 5-6 degrees by 2100 we are beginning to suspect it will become 7-8.5 degrees Celsius under business as usual scenarios.

We then began to realize that for every single degree Celsius rise increase of average temperature, the caloric production capability of the earth would decrease by, at least, 15%. (the 10% was based on calories from grain production rates but, if one factors in the grain feed of beef, pork and poultry calories this total goes up significantly).

We started to realize that the warming signals of the last 12 years were masked by China's sulfur dioxide emissions and now that China has begun aggressively reducing it's air pollution, the northern hemisphere temperatures have skyrocketed in the last 4 years.

And now we see that superstorms are threatening our population centers and mega-droughts and heatwaves are destroying our abilities to feed ourselves and that massive population areas are beginning to experience perpetual drought that will produce forced relocations of millions of people and that the boreal peatlands are going to emit more carbon in the next 10 years than humans have in the last 5.  And that the boreal forests are going to (mostly) burn away in the next 10 years and that the ice caps will be completely gone by June 21, 2020.  

And the AMOC (Atlantic Meridonal Overturning Circulation) current will be effectively halted by 2027, preventing the natural removal of 3% of current atmospheric CO2 each year. And the Arctic and Boreal Forests becoming net carbon emitters instead of capturing carbon (as they currently do).  

Which now will prove to even the most optimistic realist that we are headed for 3.5 degrees Celsius warming by 2035, even in the best case scenario, and 8.5 degrees by 2100.  Unless we decide to devote the entirety of our U.S. domestic economy to combat greenhouse gas production and prepare for the coming climate catastrophes.

And that sea level rise is the least of our worries right now.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The IEPEC 5th revision should open with (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    profewalt, Agathena, tapu dali, forgore

    a Mea Culpa signed by the reviewers of the 3rd and 4th revision where they apologize to the human race for self-censoring their results to be more inline with "political reality".

  •  I've Been Calling for a Mission Directly to Global (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, forgore

    top economic ownership for the reason that our political systems are so corporate controlled that spending time and energy convincing human voters could take generations to win enough political power to act.

    Now, if climate acceleration is going to take off this fast, there should be some sectors of the economy impacted enough that they would willing to make business changes beginning now.

    Right off the top, the insurance and re-insurance sector, because it's a big sector and it is beginning to feel the climate pain as part of its business model.

    --And maybe one of those business changes might be for them to begin lobbying government in favor of appropriate response, countering the lobbying by big dirty energy. After all, greenhouse regulation shouldn't impact the insurance business directly very much at all.

    We don't have time to leave any opportunity ignored.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 12:48:57 PM PST

    •  only 10 more sandy's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, forgore

      will create the force necessary to make the changes that we need to make, and the pain that we will have to endure to survive.

    •  The first words of the victory speech were about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      forgore, New Minas

      the deficit. Maybe soon politicians will be forced to see that the effects of Climate Change are going to increase the deficit by billions. Look at the cost of the reconstruction of the east coast.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 12:58:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Any business with the power to do something (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, forgore, New Minas

      are led by people who believe their wealth will protect them. Almost none of those people care about the companies they work for beyond what they can make from them.

      The insurance companies can always pass it on. If it gets too bad, they can ask for a bail out, or file for bankruptcy, and take whatever they can to their estates.

      I have heard too many wealthy, intelligent republicans talk about "cullings" and "natural selection" of the mass of humanity to think they don't know what they are doing. Not always in the climate change frame of reference, either.

      Not that we shouldn't try, some will be led by decent human beings. But most are not.

      •  If You Ever See My Reply, Totally Agree in Overall (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        forgore, New Minas

        principles. Taking the dark view, I think ownership should be given the opportunity to throw missions out the door, so that we know unambiguously as soon as possible that "we're finally on our own."

        Taking the semi hopeful view, if we start by approaching sectors that suffer economically the earliest, like insurance, maybe we can rally some allies soon enough to make some difference.

        My theory doesn't depend on decency, it's based on greed and self interest, if we carefully target our first sectors.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 09:33:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Total domestic economic mobilization (0+ / 0-)

          is the only way we will retain a semblance of our civilization.

          otherwise, I think a vast underground bunker complex in the water and resource rich chacos of Paraguay is a reasonable alternative, for at least another 100 years or so. . .

          seriously, without total mobilization and a massive transformation of our society's values away from private wealth we will probably lose our technologically advanced culture in the next 80 years.

  •  Excellent diary New Minas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, forgore

    So thank you for your thoughts.


    Unless we decide to devote the entirety of our U.S. domestic economy to combat greenhouse gas production and prepare for the coming climate catastrophes.
    This administration won't. It held meetings in the White House in 2009 with the major environmentalists and told them they [the admin] were not going to use the term Climate Change but rather "Clean Energy Jobs" for political expediency. Bill McKibben was one who voiced his dissent. Here he is with his scary new math:

    If the very words "Climate Change" are censored I can't image it becoming an issue in the near future. Hope I'm wrong.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 12:53:20 PM PST

  •  I have stopped telling people about sea level and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, forgore

    glaciers and animal extinctions. I tell them "Your children are likely to know starvation in their lifetimes. Your grandchildren are certain to. You will probably live long enough to see it yourself. You will see fighting over and food and water. You may even become part of it."

  •  This IMHO is the real reason for acceleration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    forgore, New Minas

    of "GLOBAL WEATHER  DISTORTION". Excuse me but I like to tell it like it is, not "climate change" but GLOBAL WEATHER DISTORTION is what mankind is currently facing. Climate Chamge is what you experience if you take a vacation trip from Maine to Barbados. Which leads me to the real culprit causing the rapid acceleration of violent weather distortions around the globe that we are currently experiencing.

    The world-wide Flying Industry is the mega-polluter that is causing the rapid acceleration in the weather related disasters that the world has recently started experiencing. Specifically it is the huge passenger and cargo jet aircraft that are laying down TONS of burning gases (CO2, H2O, NO2, SO2 and CO) and other hydrocarbons in the upper atmosphere. This is a extremely complicated subject which requires more space than a simple comment so I will try to give readers a "feel" for the problem without getting into the overwhelming technical specifications and measurements.

    First of all comparisons are often made betwen automobile CO2 emissions and jet engine emissions. This leads to an incorrect evaluation as to the damage of the released pollutants. Automobiles don't cruise at 30,000 feet, and the stuff that comes out of a fan-jet engine is far different physically than what exits an automobile tailpipe. The main damage caused by jet engines is that they release their burning gases into the environment of the upper atmosphere at their cruising altitudes. For example the Jet Blue fleet uses  A320 aircraft, the engines of which burn 800 gallons of fuel per hour. However the older Boeing 757 engines burn 50% more fuel or 1600 gallons per hour. Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner is reported to consume  20% less fuel than any similar size and capacity aircraft. For the sake of argument we can say that the skies around the globe will be filled with aircraft whose engines (depending on the age of the aircraft) will be burning fuel and expelling emissions into the upper atmosphere at the rate of from 640 to 1600 gallons per hour.

    The other problem is the accurate tracking of  the number of passenger jet aircraft at cruising altitude every hour around the world for 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. This number is critical in order to calculate an average of the number of global flights in progress. I have a rather old approximation which is something like 4,000 flights per hour. Exempting Dreamliners from my calculations, I used an average fuel burn rate of 1200 gallons/hour per aircraft. This in turn results in a rough calculation of 4,800,000 gallons of fuel per hour being consumed  24/7. This amount of fuel consumption needs to be converted into pounds of exhaust emission for an approximation of the rate annd amount of pollution of the world's upper atmosphere by aircraft jet engines, but you get the idea.

    One further note this approximation is JUST FOR passenger aircraft and does not include private aircraft, cargo aircraft, government aircraft, nor military aircraft. Obviously including pollutants from these sources in all nations will make the final total substantially higher.

    Finally the aircraft engine manufacturers are being driven by their customers to provide greater fuel efficiency. This demand is in direct response to the high cost of oil.  It is obvious that increasing engine efficiency results in less fuel burned and therefore less pollution being released into the outer atmosphere. However, IMHO the rate of the increase in efficiency is much slower that the rate of increase in the number of jet airliners currently being put into service around the globe, and therefore is just too slow to provide any real relief from this most critical pollution problem.  

    •  Thanks for that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I like the calculation of total jet fuel consumed.

      it should be noted that there is currently no regulation for sulfur content in JP-5 and the value is typically 800 PPM but can be as high as 3,000 PPM.

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