NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

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NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:24 pm UTC

Article here.

Not surprisingly, the right has latched onto this and woefully misrepresented what 'rate of gains', 'ice altitude gains' and 'continental totals' mean. Thoughts?
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby SDK » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:26 pm UTC

Interesting that the sea level rise as reported by the IPCC is unchallenged, so it's just a matter of attributing Antarctica's contribution somewhere else. Gotta wonder what it's like to be a scientist working on climate change research.

NASA wrote:“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:39 am UTC

SDK wrote:Gotta wonder what it's like to be a scientist working on climate change research.


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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:40 pm UTC

I find it enormously frustrating that climate science and life science are subject to laypeople telling experts what's what. I wager this is true of other sciences as well, though I'm not sure which or to what degree.

Moon landing quacks notwithstanding, no one told a NASA engineer that they were wrong about orbital mechanics.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby ahammel » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Moon landing quacks notwithstanding, no one told a NASA engineer that they were wrong about orbital mechanics.

Counterpoint: relativity deniers.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:16 pm UTC

... that's a thing?
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:48 pm UTC

Yes, but it's rather less common among members of Congress.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:31 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:... that's a thing?

Have you already forgotten Steve Waterman?
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:22 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:... that's a thing?

Have you already forgotten Steve Waterman?

Though I just observed, it all comes rushing back.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:18 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:... that's a thing?


I used to know a very unpleasant anti-Semite on the old Pov-ray newsgroups who was a relativity denier. His 'proof' was that a bucket of water had a curved surface when on a planet, but a flat surface when on an accelerating space-ship, thus proving the fallacy that it was impossible to distinguish between gravity and acceleration.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Whizbang » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:41 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:... that's a thing?


I used to know a very unpleasant anti-Semite on the old Pov-ray newsgroups who was a relativity denier. His 'proof' was that a bucket of water had a curved surface when on a planet, but a flat surface when on an accelerating space-ship, thus proving the fallacy that it was impossible to distinguish between gravity and acceleration.


For my own education, wouldn't a bucket of water be concave at the top on Earth and convex in space, and so a flat bucket is what you'd expect if your ship were accelerating less than 9.8mps*?


*or whatever the threshhold is to turn the curvature of the water to concave

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:47 pm UTC

Why would that be the case? A bucket of water would be ever so slightly convex for the same reason the oceans forum a pretty nearly spherical surface.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:53 pm UTC

I believe the reasoning is that since the earth is spherical and the gravitational field extends spherically (at least it does in this mental exercise) the water surface in that bucket will try to assume a sphere sector shape. In a spaceship accelerating at 9.81 m/s2 the acceleration would cause the water surface to be flat (this is all ignoring cohesion and adhesion that causes the surface to bend visually especially in small surface areas).
Of course to see this effect you need an unfeasible large bucket and thus an unfeasible large spaceship. And it doesn't really change the point, it only illustrates that the reasoning is not wise-ass proof.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Whizbang » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:56 pm UTC

If I reach far back into the dusty corners of my mind that contain high school physics class memories, I seem to recall that the concave shape of water in a container was due to the nature of water adhering to the sides of the container, working against gravity. In the absence of gravity the water would turn convex because it is clinging to itself (more or less attempting to form a sphere within the container). If you accelerate the container slightly, you are then tugging on the suspension bridge of water, thereby flattening it and eventually concaving* it on one end.

In the case of Earth, there is no container so gravity can neatly form it into a sphere, without adhesion to cylindrical objects getting in the way.

*Is that a word? It should be a word.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby thoughtfully » Wed Nov 04, 2015 2:37 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:If I reach far back into the dusty corners of my mind that contain high school physics class memories, I seem to recall that the concave shape of water in a container was due to the nature of water adhering to the sides of the container, working against gravity. In the absence of gravity the water would turn convex because it is clinging to itself (more or less attempting to form a sphere within the container). If you accelerate the container slightly, you are then tugging on the suspension bridge of water, thereby flattening it and eventually concaving* it on one end.

In the case of Earth, there is no container so gravity can neatly form it into a sphere, without adhesion to cylindrical objects getting in the way.

*Is that a word? It should be a word.


You are referring to a meniscus, and it's a big deal if the liquid has a high surface tension and the graduated tube you are trying to get a reading from is narrow. Probably negligible for water and a bucket, but maybe not for Mercury and a bucket :)

Also, totally present on spaceships, whether or not there are (perfectly relativity-friendly) tidal forces present, or indeed any acceleration or gravitational field.

There may be some curvature due to tidal forces, but I expect it would take pretty odd conditions to obtain a measurable effect. Like an enormously large surface or human-unfriendly tidal forces.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Nov 04, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

That's not really how I learned that it works.
(spoilered because of offtopic)
Spoiler:
Basically the shape of a liquid is due to two forces acting against each other. One is the cohesion pulling the molecules in the liquid towards each other, the other is the adhesion trying to pull the liquid towards the surface of the container. See this image (please ignore the container and only look at the liquid inside the tube):
Image
(this is from the Dutch Wikipedia page on one of the forces. The English pages aren't as enlightening.)

If your liquid is water and the container surface is hydrophobic then the cohesion wins and the water forms a convex surface.
If your liquid is water and the container is strongly hydrophile then the adhesion wins and the water forms a concave surface.

If your liquid is mercury and the container from just almost any material then the cohesion wins and the mercury forms a convex surface because mercury has so much cohesion.

Cohesion depends on the liquid. Adhesion depends on the interaction between the liquid and the container.

The only thing the gravity does in this is pull the stuff to the bottom of the container. Acceleration would do the same thing.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Whizbang » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:02 pm UTC

Thank you. I have learned something today. Or possibly re-learned. I am not sure.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:20 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:I believe the reasoning is that since the earth is spherical and the gravitational field extends spherically (at least it does in this mental exercise) the water surface in that bucket will try to assume a sphere sector shape. In a spaceship accelerating at 9.81 m/s2 the acceleration would cause the water surface to be flat (this is all ignoring cohesion and adhesion that causes the surface to bend visually especially in small surface areas).
Of course to see this effect you need an unfeasible large bucket and thus an unfeasible large spaceship. And it doesn't really change the point, it only illustrates that the reasoning is not wise-ass proof.


This - and, yes, water is a bad liquid to use for such a thought-experiment. Let's just say "an idealised liquid" (liquid helium?).

I think we pointed out to him (hopefully correctly) that such an approach meant that you would need to rewrite the laws of reflection depending on whether you were using a flat or curved mirror. Not that he gave a damn - he just didn't like Jews.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Frenetic Pony » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:04 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I find it enormously frustrating that climate science and life science are subject to laypeople telling experts what's what. I wager this is true of other sciences as well, though I'm not sure which or to what degree.

Moon landing quacks notwithstanding, no one told a NASA engineer that they were wrong about orbital mechanics.


I've a hypothesis, that the more directly relatable a scientific field is to someone's everyday life the more they have an opinion on it, and the more likely the Dunning-Kruger effect, aka Mount Stupid, is likely to show up. When you look at it of course it seems an obvious conclusion, but it would still make a decent masters thesis for some sociologist student to take up.

"Climate change" is one such thing, because it comes into contact with people's everyday lives a lot. All but the absolute stupidest people know its real, but that doesn't mean they can't deny it's a problem. Hell, people with cancer still try "alternative" medicine.

Regardless, with the precision of space based radar, snow compaction into ice, the precision of gravitational sensors, etc. etc. etc. there's so many variables that such studies on the estimated mass gain/loss of Antarctica vary all over the place due to a lot of uncertainty. That this particular study hit so many news sites is simply because it was the odd one out in predicting mass gain while all others show a mass loss. That there is so much variation to begin with, with such high error bars, should be remembered.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby chenille » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:15 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:His 'proof' was that a bucket of water had a curved surface when on a planet, but a flat surface when on an accelerating space-ship, thus proving the fallacy that it was impossible to distinguish between gravity and acceleration.

I think it's a nice irony that this difference is at the heart of general relativity. The usual example is how in a rocket objects would be pulled straight back, and in a closed room on earth the objects at the sides would be pulled very slightly inward. But the principle is the same, and that's where the very idea of masses curving space comes from.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Zamfir » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:31 am UTC

Frenetic Pony wrote:Regardless, with the precision of space based radar, snow compaction into ice, the precision of gravitational sensors, etc. etc. etc. there's so many variables that such studies on the estimated mass gain/loss of Antarctica vary all over the place due to a lot of uncertainty. That this particular study hit so many news sites is simply because it was the odd one out in predicting mass gain while all others show a mass loss. That there is so much variation to begin with, with such high error bars, should be remembered.

This points to an important difference with Izawwlgood's orbital mechanics example. I couldn't judge, in technical detail, how good people in Nasa are at orbital mechanics predictions. And surely 99% of the people are in an even worse position than me to make that judgement. At least I had some classes on the subject.

But that in-depth judgement is not always necessary. We know that Nasa can put spacecraft on far away moving objects, with a good, though not perfect track record. It's like the polynomial verification of NP problems. We can verify Nasa's results without understanding how they got there.

For climate science, it requires substantial expertise to judge observations. As this ice example shows, observations get regularly revised to obtain noticeably different results. Even fixed data sets get reanalysed to yield different statistical conclusions. And for future predictions, there is not much of a track record at all. It's not like people have analysed 67 21st century climates, and were mostly right for 58.

That's not a knock on the field. It's just what it is. It's tricky and complex, and we only have one climate to work with. As result, it's only reasonable that people trust Nasa's orbital mechanics people better than climate scientists. Everyone should, and climate scientists should as well.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:55 pm UTC

I think our naturally short term memory of stuff and thing also factors into this. We can point to NASA successes and say "See, they did that", but we can remember a cold day in winter and say "See, global warming is a myth". We're not very good at remembering trends, we're better at remembering singular events. A moon landing, or unveiling of photos of Pluto. We'll forget that NASA has a number of failures under their belt too. But remembering that 'this winter was on average warmer than other winters'? Not so good at that.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:40 pm UTC

My go-to example or turn of phrase for the fallacy of projecting short term trends for more general ones in spite of history, in sociological contexts and things, is "mistaking weather for climate". To me, this is one of the most common and visible examples of that mistake.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:33 pm UTC

Climate science has been forced into a very combative mode by the deniers, which, perversely, has made it less credible imho. Not that it makes much difference - haters gonna hate, etc. So it goes.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:15 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:My go-to example or turn of phrase for the fallacy of projecting short term trends for more general ones in spite of history, in sociological contexts and things, is "mistaking weather for climate". To me, this is one of the most common and visible examples of that mistake.

Of course, it's just, as you know, obnoxious as hell. If someone was suffering from dementia and had a good day, I'd be appalled if say, their children told their doctors that Grandpa didn't have dementia because he totally recognized me today.

I guess the liberals aren't shilling big dementia to attack good Christians, or... something.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby slinches » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:47 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:Climate science has been forced into a very combative mode by the deniers, which, perversely, has made it less credible imho. Not that it makes much difference - haters gonna hate, etc. So it goes.

Both sides of the climate science policy debate have caused the highly adversarial condition on the subject. Debate on climate science itself isn't really happening at all other than technical discussion amongst climate scientists themselves. I can't speak to the science directly, but what I've seen indicates large uncertainties on long term predictions and rates of change that are manageable.

That being said, I'm not in favor of taking any of the previously suggested actions on the basis of climate science as it stands right now. There's no way to know at this point whether any of the regulations limiting CO2 emissions (e.g. cap and trade and carbon sequestration) will do more good than harm. There are too many unknown variables and hidden agendas in the proposals to date to make an informed decision. Although, if a specific proposal for action were to be developed that showed a clear net economic benefit in the reasonably near term, then I would likely support it. I just haven't seen any yet and don't see how they could exist given the uncertainty in climate predictions and relatively chaotic nature of economics.

In my opinion, we should continue pursuing the science and to improve our understanding of the consequences of our actions on the climate until we can have high confidence in the economic impacts. In the mean time, we should focus our environmental policy efforts on improving air/water quality and minimizing harmful pollutants that are already well understood to be damaging and worth the effort to clean up.

If that opinion makes me a "denier" in the eyes of some, so be it. I just don't think it's wise to jump into action when the consequences of both the action and non-action are not well understood. Until then, the best we can do is rely on the market to make the best allocation of resources we can. It's possible that by taking that path market failures could incur some heavy costs in the future, but so could relying on the opinions and analysis of economists who must use climate predictions that are likely to change in a few years to a decade when the anticipated return on investment is predicted to be multiple decades out.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:55 pm UTC

Climate change is *already* causing significant environmental harm, all over the planet. So yes, your "wait and see" atitude makes you something of a denier, as we've already waited and seen. If current regulations don't in fact limit CO2 production, then we need to find ones that would, not continue to ignore the problem.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:46 pm UTC

It's also perfectly okay if overreacting to CO2 levels does more "harm" than "good," because the "good" and "harm" are not commutable properties. Loss of global biodiversity doesn't show up in anyone's foreseeable GDP projection, while the effects of the global warming trend are going to differ geographically, so there's a political component to endorsing the change itself that does not reduce to individual wellbeing, economic output, or any combination of the two. It's empowering this country and reducing that one's autonomy and security. You can't make up the difference in USD-equivalent.

Izawwlgood wrote:Of course, it's just, as you know, obnoxious as hell. If someone was suffering from dementia and had a good day, I'd be appalled if say, their children told their doctors that Grandpa didn't have dementia because he totally recognized me today.

I guess the liberals aren't shilling big dementia to attack good Christians, or... something.

Oh, believe me, I'm not arguing with you. I was just agreeing with you that this error is absolutely central to the public perception of climate change.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby slinches » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:49 pm UTC

That sounds good to me, but I could use a few more details to know what exactly to support. What are the problems causing harm, how much will those cost us, what can we do to avoid those problems, how effectively will those actions address the problems and how much will it cost to implement those changes?

If this comes across as snarky, it isn't meant to. It's just that these are the questions that are relevant to making policy decisions and I haven't seen them answered completely for any actions that have been proposed. We do have a decent start on the first two questions, which is what's driving the calls to action. Sea level change looks scary on a map with major population centers inundated and it would be an unparalleled disaster if it happened tomorrow. However, if it takes 100 years or more, that might not be as big of an issue as we can replace most of that infrastructure via attrition, but may still be worth delaying/avoiding. The remainder of the questions have no more than vague notions as to the answers. Proposed solutions either require cooperation on a global scale that just isn't feasible, incur huge costs that only make sense in the worst case scenarios of sudden climatic shifts or attempt to solve problems by messing with key climate parameters and therefore have significant potential for unintended consequences.


ETA: I was replying to gmalivuk on that.


Copper Bezel wrote:It's also perfectly okay if overreacting to CO2 levels does more "harm" than "good," because the "good" and "harm" are not commutable properties. Loss of global biodiversity doesn't show up in anyone's foreseeable GDP projection, while the effects of the global warming trend are going to differ geographically, so there's a political component to endorsing the change itself that does not reduce to individual wellbeing, economic output, or any combination of the two. It's empowering this country and reducing that one's autonomy and security. You can't make up the difference in USD-equivalent.

This is true, but just adds more complications to the issue. I don't want to harm to anyone, but every action will harm someone and I'd like to choose the least damaging with the most benefit.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:26 pm UTC

slinches wrote:That sounds good to me, but I could use a few more details to know what exactly to support. What are the problems causing harm, how much will those cost us, what can we do to avoid those problems, how effectively will those actions address the problems and how much will it cost to implement those changes?
I'm honestly not saying this to be rude to you specifically, but something I find very frustrating is people who take your view of 'Why don't we just try and see what more we can learn before deciding on things?' or 'Well someone should determine what the economic impacts are before we really make any calls', without, you know, just googling it.

Start here. Seriously, just read over that. This is an extremely well researched and well supported field, and there's an enormous amount we KNOW about how climate change is affecting the global economy. There's also a great deal we know about what can be done to mitigate it. There's also a great deal we know about the projected rates we can expect things to occur.

I mean... do you remember Darfur? Or, you know, the current Syrian refugee crisis? Both of those events were arguably spurred by climate change.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby slinches » Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:44 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm honestly not saying this to be rude to you specifically, but something I find very frustrating is people who take your view of 'Why don't we just try and see what more we can learn before deciding on things?' or 'Well someone should determine what the economic impacts are before we really make any calls', without, you know, just googling it.

First, that isn't rude at all. You're entitled to your opinion, even your opinions of my opinions. And you're right that I'm not an expert, but I have done some reading on the subject.

I think there may have been a slight misinterpretation of what I said. What I said is that I'd support actions that have a clearly positive benefit over and above the costs and that I haven't seen any proposal to address climate change meet that criterion. In many other areas we do have enough information to enact meaningful policies on that basis (e.g. pollution controls like outlawing leaded gasoline or investments in nuclear and sustainable energy technology), it's just that things like CO2 restrictions and geoengineering haven't been shown to be worthwhile yet.

Start here. Seriously, just read over that. This is an extremely well researched and well supported field, and there's an enormous amount we KNOW about how climate change is affecting the global economy. There's also a great deal we know about what can be done to mitigate it. There's also a great deal we know about the projected rates we can expect things to occur.

This is the opening paragraph from that wiki page:
wikipedia wrote:Given the inherent nature of economic forecasting, which involves significant degrees of uncertainty, estimates of the results of global warming over the 21st century have varied widely. Many analyses, such as that of the Stern Review presented to the British Government, have predicted reductions by several percent of world gross domestic product due to climate related costs such as dealing with increased extreme weather events and stresses to low-lying areas due to sea level rises. Other studies by independent economists looking at the effects of climate change have found more ambiguous results around the range of net-neutral changes when all aspects of the issue are evaluated, though the issue remains intensely debated.[1]

It doesn't seem to agree with your statement above. There has been a lot of research and we are beginning to understand many (probably most) of the physical climate effects and even some of the individual economic contributors are well understood, but there's still "intense debate" whether the correlation to global GDP is positive or negative. That doesn't sound to me like we have a thorough enough understanding to make good information based decisions on the global scale, again, yet.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:49 am UTC

I was about to say that I think the other part to this is that we've certainly never overdone caution about the environment in industry, but that's actually not true: we have done exactly that with nuclear power.

Still, the thing I would want to be cautious about damaging due to policies with unknown risks is not the global economy. My "wait and see" position would be locking down carbon emissions and then doing the climate models. I don't see continuing to massively increase atmospheric CO2 as a passive choice.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby slinches » Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:37 am UTC

I generally agree except that continuing to use fossilized carbon for power isn't a passive choice. It's just the least damaging short term choice while we figure out what needs to be done in the long term. What I really hope for is a breakthrough in renewable energies which would allow us to transition away from coal and natural gas power. And I think that is on its way with solar pv. I just don't think it makes sense to push the price of energy up artificially in an attempt to achieve that since cheap power is a major driver for all forms of technological innovation. By doing that, you could delay or entirely miss out on enabling technologies that could actually get us to that point faster.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:58 am UTC

slinches wrote:It's just the least damaging short term choice
So you aren't willing to accept any change to the status quo without more evidence than the mountains that have already been accumulated, but you are perfectly willing to take this claim on faith?
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby slinches » Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:39 am UTC

What faith? Stopping the use of fossil fuels is a clear, unambiguous, cost. The benefit is much less clear, but clear enough that intentional investment toward sustainable energy is worthwhile. And that part of the investment is already happening with the one exception of nuclear power.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:11 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
slinches wrote:That sounds good to me, but I could use a few more details to know what exactly to support. What are the problems causing harm, how much will those cost us, what can we do to avoid those problems, how effectively will those actions address the problems and how much will it cost to implement those changes?
I'm honestly not saying this to be rude to you specifically, but something I find very frustrating is people who take your view of 'Why don't we just try and see what more we can learn before deciding on things?' or 'Well someone should determine what the economic impacts are before we really make any calls', without, you know, just googling it.

Start here. Seriously, just read over that. This is an extremely well researched and well supported field, and there's an enormous amount we KNOW about how climate change is affecting the global economy. There's also a great deal we know about what can be done to mitigate it. There's also a great deal we know about the projected rates we can expect things to occur.

I mean... do you remember Darfur? Or, you know, the current Syrian refugee crisis? Both of those events were arguably spurred by climate change.


Assigning those to climate change is...kind of a stretch. Yeah, weather and famine have always affected conflict, but this is a weather vs climate argument. It's like assigning the results of a specific storm to global warming. Storms and famine and weather change all happen regardless. We're looking at the rate at which they happen, not specific events.

Same, same, with the ice, of course. You still have fluctuations, even if the long term trend is going one way.

Zamfir wrote:That's not a knock on the field. It's just what it is. It's tricky and complex, and we only have one climate to work with. As result, it's only reasonable that people trust Nasa's orbital mechanics people better than climate scientists. Everyone should, and climate scientists should as well.


This is also an important point. It's just the nature of the material being studied. It's particularly an issue given climate timescales. If you're making "next year" level predictions, weather is playing a significant part, it isn't solely a climate prediction. And weather prediction ain't perfect either, on next year scales. If you're predicting decades down the road, it takes a loooong time to refine your models and build a record of solid predictions. Just the nature of it.

So, we're inherently working with information that is less solid in some respects. Still useful info, of course, but it is what it is.

I share a great deal of concern about the policies being enacted to "stop" global warming. I see a lot of them as futile at best, and quite damaging at worst. Let's pull in a concrete example. Keystone pipeline. That shit is gonna get exploited if there's a pipeline or not. The economic cost can be tabulated fairly effectively, but carbon costs are...probably not real. Or more accurately, they're going to be incurred either way, so who cares?

Deniers are people who point at a batch of ice as proof positive that warming ain't happening, and will conveniently forget about the factor entirely by the time antarctic ice is shrinking again. They are not actually looking for proof, just an excuse.

Discussing responses is something entirely different than denialism. How much money do we have to invest into alternative power to get what kind of payout in terms of climate change? And do we have any real faith that a given source of carbon won't simply be burned anyway? If we make more solar panels, does that mean coal mining will stop? Or will coal simply be burned elsewhere?

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:42 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Assigning those to climate change is...kind of a stretch. Yeah, weather and famine have always affected conflict, but this is a weather vs climate argument. It's like assigning the results of a specific storm to global warming. Storms and famine and weather change all happen regardless. We're looking at the rate at which they happen, not specific events.
Not really. Both were refugee crises that, obviously for other reasons as well, were exacerbated if outright initiated due to particularly severe and uncharacteristically long droughts.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:00 pm UTC

I'm somewhat cynical about global warming - not whether it's happening or not (one look at the temp. graphs ought to settle that question), but whether we are capable of doing anything about it prior to an actual, in-your-face crisis. I tend to think the best thing that science can do is prepare for the time when it's taken seriously - what measures could potentially and drastically reduce CO2 after the event, rather than slow its current production now. Carbon trading has to the biggest scam going, but somehow the politicians try to sell it to us with a straight face.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby SDK » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:57 pm UTC

How does the government benefit from carbon trading?
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Assigning those to climate change is...kind of a stretch. Yeah, weather and famine have always affected conflict, but this is a weather vs climate argument. It's like assigning the results of a specific storm to global warming. Storms and famine and weather change all happen regardless. We're looking at the rate at which they happen, not specific events.
Not really. Both were refugee crises that, obviously for other reasons as well, were exacerbated if outright initiated due to particularly severe and uncharacteristically long droughts.


Right. A longer or more severe drought is like a bigger or stronger storm. You're looking at a sample size of two.

This happens constantly, and I find it irritating. Sometimes they don't even wait until the storm lands, before declaring it proof of global warming. Had some massive super-storm that was on the news as the big "oh no" before it turned out to be a dud. And then the other side cheers because that's totally proof of no warming. No. EITHER WAY, that is weather, not climate.

tomandlu wrote:I'm somewhat cynical about global warming - not whether it's happening or not (one look at the temp. graphs ought to settle that question), but whether we are capable of doing anything about it prior to an actual, in-your-face crisis. I tend to think the best thing that science can do is prepare for the time when it's taken seriously - what measures could potentially and drastically reduce CO2 after the event, rather than slow its current production now. Carbon trading has to the biggest scam going, but somehow the politicians try to sell it to us with a straight face.


In theory, a carbon market could maybe work. But you probably can't get the political traction for the kind of thing you actually need, which would handle all carbon equally, regardless of source or historical usage.

If you go offa history, or off of reductions from planned consumption, then...people are just incentivized to dial up beforehand, or to project on the high side, so they can reap easy credit for "savings".

But if you DON'T go off history, you have to deal with habitual users who don't want to stop. There are many of them, and they are powerful. Important, too, often. Spiking food costs, energy costs, etc is going to have real side effects. Nobody wants to actually pay that price, and most folks would rather not even do the math to look at the price.


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