Archive for the ‘Russell Seitz’ Category

Climate/Oceans: A brief reminder to Ron Bailey that, even though models aren`t always right, the atmosphere and oceans remain open-access commons

July 6th, 2009 No comments

Ron Bailey, science correspondent for ReasonOnline, on July 1 noted in a Hit & Run post that “Models Aren`t Always Right“.

I left the following comment, which I copy here since I didn`t see it post:

“Ron, of course models aren`t always right, but;

1. even Lindzen is arguing for net positive feedbacks;

2. even with the apparent recent temperature plateau, the climate system and oceans are very noticeably changing;

3. we know that there is tremendous inertia in the climate system and that our forcings will play out over centuries;

4. we know that the atmosphere and oceans are open-access commons that will require widespread agreement and cooperation to manage effectively; and

5. there are wide mismatches between those whose investments/activities generate climate risks and those who face the greatest risks.

While haste may make waste, none of these points counsels a do-nothing approach.

Running irreversible, planetary-wide experiments is hardly a conservative or libertarian endeavor.”

In the face of these factors and the rapid pace at which atmospheric levels of CO2 and other GHGs continue to grow, it is hardly reassuring that, as physicist Russell Seitz has noted, “variables as critical as the sensitivity of the climate to the doubling
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have failed to converge on
uncontroversial values”. 

While MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen may think that climate “sensitivity” (mean temperature response to CO2 doubling) is as low as 0.5 degrees centigrade only a month and a half ago all of his colleagues disagreed with him in a publication trumpeted by MIT“New projections, published this month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius [9 degrees F!] by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees [6.3 to 13.2 degrees F!]. This can be compared to a median projected increase in the 2003 study of just 2.4 degrees [and the temps reported are averages, with many places warmer].”