21 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Who wants to stop a cheap and viable solution to at least some part of climate change and why?

    Yeah, no prizes for guessing.

    Perhaps we could try it a little more traditionally. I mean, adding iron sounds so … industrial.

    The Sahara does this in a natural way – the sand blows, lands in the Atlantic and enriches the fisheries therein. As Arabia’s deserts do for the Persian Gulf.

    So just dump more sand in the ocean.

  2. I would have thought you’d know enough not to get your “science” from the Daily Mail. But when it says something you want to hear, it doesn’t matter how uncredible the source may be.

  3. “I would have thought you’d know enough not to get your “science” from the Daily Mail.”

    Yeah. It’s a bit like Wikipedia, that way.

  4. Isn’t there a more obvious mechanism though? If there’s more heat energy in the biosphere, we can store that energy as higher air temperatures (more free energy to do climate stuff) or in the ice-water phase shift. So having a mix of ice and water acts as a huge buffer to changes in air temperature, with the only real problem being ice on land (rather than floating) that can change sea levels.

    Professor Connolley is invited to comment, I won’t state what kind of reaction I expect.

  5. If one thinks like an engineer, this sort of thing is obvious.
    The planet is neither a deep freeze nor an oven, For billions of years it’s remained comfortably between the two. That implies there’s negative feedback mechanisms in play, come into effect any time the climate gets pushed in one direction of the other. And the inherent stability must be strong or it wouldn’t remain stable despite the sort of challenges it’s had over the eons.
    This is one of the feedback mechanisms.

  6. “Who wants to stop a cheap and viable solution to at least some part of climate change and why?”

    Is there not already an eponymous law on this subject? If not I propose a new one,

    Magnus’ law of do-gooders – A person whose income depends on there being a problem, has no interest in actually solving the problem. (Typically, charities, advisers on social and environmental issues, politicians, so long as a problem exists they can be employed to manage it. Solving it would involve Turkeys voting for Christmas).

  7. “Who wants to stop a cheap and viable solution to at least some part of climate change and why?”

    UKIP and the Libertarian wing of the US Republican party should both add Iron Fertilization to their party platform. Be the party of solutions and call the Greens / Environmental wing of the Democratic party the opportunists that they are.

  8. The planet is neither a deep freeze nor an oven, For billions of years it’s remained comfortably between the two.

    You mean like in ice ages such as the Sturtian glaciation, when for ~60million years ice sheets extended almost to the equator? Or like the several periods when temperatures were a few degrees warmer than now and sea levels around 200m higher?

    But apparently there are feedback mechanisms which make such periods last for only tens or hundreds of million years.

  9. PaulB – “You mean like in ice ages such as the Sturtian glaciation, when for ~60million years ice sheets extended almost to the equator? Or like the several periods when temperatures were a few degrees warmer than now and sea levels around 200m higher?”

    Yes, like those. The universe is a remarkably hostile place to human life. On Earth we have a very very thin blanket of air and water that preserves just the right conditions for us to survive. Even in the Ice Ages, the Earth was still unusually hospitable for life compared to pretty much everywhere else.

    “But apparently there are feedback mechanisms which make such periods last for only tens or hundreds of million years.”

    Indeed. Now the question is are we remotely at risk of entering another such period? No. So no need to worry.

  10. Incidentally, off topic but mildly amusing, Paul Erlich is being an ar$e again:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2636845/Will-overpopulation-drive-CANNIBALISM-Controversial-academic-claims-humanity-moving-issue-ridiculous-speed.html

    ‘We will soon be asking is it perfectly okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry?,’ he told HuffPost live host Josh Zepps.

    And who would have guessed it? It looks like Picketty is being accused of doing Climate Research:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-ft-accusation-against-piketty-2014-5

  11. SMFS: so you think those extremes would be “comfortable” for human civilization? Bizarre.

    Back to ocean iron fertilization. Does it promote phytoplankton growth? Yes, it does. Is that necessarily a good thing? No, see “harmful algal bloom”. Are there unknown risks in changing ocean ecosystems? Yes, see the Grand Banks cod fishery. Does it lock up carbon for a useful period? Yes, at least in some circumstances*. Should we do research in small areas where the results can be closely monitored? Yes. Should we start throwing hundreds of tonnes of ferrous sulphate into the sea right now? No.

    *This 2009 experiment gave disappointing results.

  12. I tend to agree with BiS. If we regard the Earth’s climate as a system with stable states, we would see it as bistable, moving between stable ice ages and stable temperate ages. What we do not see is a third state, what I call steam ages. Stable periods where the temperature is higher than in temperate ages. Yet this is exactly what the warmists claim, that we are pushing the climate into a stable hot state. If such a stable state existed, the climate would have found it before, and we would see evidence of that.

  13. PaulB – “so you think those extremes would be “comfortable” for human civilization? Bizarre.”

    Not really. Because what you call extremes are not extreme by the standards of our solar system. We could not survive on Mars or Venus. Much less Jupiter. But we probably could with 300 metres sea rise and a few more degrees. The Earth’s biosphere is tiny, and actually quite comfortable for life. Even at the worst of times.

    “Back to ocean iron fertilization. Does it promote phytoplankton growth? Yes, it does. Is that necessarily a good thing? No, see “harmful algal bloom”.”

    But why are they harmful? Not usually because there is more of them but because they are in the wrong place. If you had an algal bloom in the middle of the Atlantic, this wouldn’t matter. It is not as if it is displacing or killing other life. As there is virtually none there.

    “Should we do research in small areas where the results can be closely monitored? Yes. Should we start throwing hundreds of tonnes of ferrous sulphate into the sea right now? No.”

    And yet the Usual Suspects are pushing for global conventions to prevent even small scale research projects and I believe one guy who has tried this in Alaska is now being charged.

    Roue le Jour – “If such a stable state existed, the climate would have found it before, and we would see evidence of that.”

    After all, nature does much worse things to the biosphere than we do. Look at the K-T extinction. Yet life survives.

    I wouldn’t go casually encouraging mass extinctions. But it is clear that global warming isn’t the most important environmental issue facing us. Not even the second.

  14. Also off topic, but amusing, Peter Hain claims that the Labour Party is the traditional home of the racist vote:

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/labour-ukip-photo-finish-euro-7160525

    Speaking to a London-based newspaper, Mr Hain said: “I don’t think we had a sufficiently robust strategy towards Ukip.

    “It’s not about whether some of their members are racist. The problem is that there is a seriously alienated – mostly white working class, often male – vote out there that was traditionally Labour’s. They are not voting any more.

    “They should be coming to us but they did not under Tony Blair or Gordon Brown see sufficient priority given to affordable housing, job security or well-paid skilled jobs that would take the place of mining or heavy industry.”

    Who would have thought that accusing people of racism really doesn’t work as an electoral strategy?

    Personally I think that if the Labour Party wants to win back White Working Class voters they could do a lot worse than start by sacking Peter Hain. Is anyone less representative of British working people and their interests?

  15. @Paul
    The snowball glaciation was a very long time ago. Before the modern biosphere with its multitude of climate feedback mechanism had become established.
    But let’s take your few degrees warmer scenario. A few degrees warmer would be close to the average temperature the planet’s had over the past couple billion years. And let’s take your +200m sea levels & see what it does to where I live. The minumum timescale for that prediction is a thousand years. Here in Spain we’d lose all those English bars down along the playa. But the Spanish Med coast is notable for having a few coastal cities but very few towns or villages date much before a couple hundred years ago. Our medieval town, like most, is on a defensible hilltop above that 200m level. Because the coast was a bloody dangerous place thanks to the pirates who raided & carted off people into slavery. We’d be losing the rich coastal farming land in Murcia & Valencia. But most of Spain’s a high dry plateau where few people live. In the 500km+ from Sagunto on the Med to the French border at the Atlantic end of the Pyrenees I pass just two cities. Zaragoza & Pamplona. I don’t think you can drive 500km in England,, can you? A +200m sea level & the increased rainfall associated with it would change the whole nature of inland Spain. A thousand years ago, England had a population closer to 7 million, rather than 70 million & was mostly forest. We were civilised, you weren’t. People change & adapt.There’s absolutely no reason not to see a planet a few degrees warmer as being a lot more hospitable than it is now.

  16. To add to the above.
    Climate change panicers like our Paul & Connolley n& ever seem to be able to make up their minds what the problem’s supposed to be. if it’s climate, without people it can be any climate it wants & always has been. If it’s people…
    In a few short decades round about the middle of the last millennium the Americas lost more than 95% of its population. Better than 100m people or equivalent to Eurasia at the time. Disease not climate change. It hardly makes the history books. Are the Americas an empty, forgotten wasteland?
    People move & adapt.

  17. bis: when you wrote about the climate having been stable for “billions of years” I thought you meant it had been stable for billions of years. If it was just hyperbole, then fair enough.

    And none of this has got much to do with AGW, where the question is whether it’s wise to risk causing significant climate change over two hundred years or less. I am quite clear what the problem is: it’s that the negative impact on people could vastly exceed the benefits if any of using up fossil fuels more rather than less quickly.

  18. PaulB – “I am quite clear what the problem is: it’s that the negative impact on people could vastly exceed the benefits if any of using up fossil fuels more rather than less quickly.”

    But no one is offering the option of using up fossil fuels less quickly. The option is going back to the mediaeval period, or perhaps Haiti if we’re lucky, or a trivial amount of warming that is unlikely to happen.

    Meanwhile if a fraction of the effort spent on CO2 was put into saving the Yangtze river dolphin it might still exist.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.