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Fri Jun 30, 2017, 08:51 PM

terrifying discussion of the looming climate singularity

Professor Guy McPherson and Peter Wadhams, two of the leading voices on climate change and the Arctic methane risk. Wadhams mentions that everything is going exponential and discusses the implications of the loss of sea ice. Professor Chu hypothesises that we will exceed 600ppm of carbon and that excludes the forcing of all the other green house gases including methane. That is unsurvivable btw

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply terrifying discussion of the looming climate singularity (Original post)
pscot Jun 2017 OP
WhiteTara Jun 2017 #1
pscot Jun 2017 #2
kristopher Jul 2017 #4
pscot Jul 2017 #7
kristopher Jul 2017 #8
pscot Jul 2017 #9
kristopher Jul 2017 #10
Binkie The Clown Jun 2017 #3
kristopher Jul 2017 #5
kristopher Jul 2017 #6

Response to pscot (Original post)

Fri Jun 30, 2017, 09:34 PM

1. This makes a lot of other things seem petty

doesn't it? There are no jobs on a dead planet!

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 30, 2017, 09:46 PM

2. The speculation about a 50 billion gigaton methane pulse

is a gut punch.

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Response to pscot (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 03:22 AM

4. McPherson doesn't sound legitimate

Review of McPherson, claims by:
SCOTT K. JOHNSON
"I'm a geoscience educator, hydrogeologist, and freelance science writer contributing at Ars Technica. I am also Science Editor for Climate Feedback. This is my personal blog."
https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/

How Guy McPherson gets it wrong
02/17/2014 BY SJ
2,313
Recently, a few Ars Technica commenters have been posting references to the work of Guy McPherson on climate articles. McPherson is a retired professor of ecology at the University of Arizona, and he runs a blog called Nature Bats Last. In recent years, he has turned his energies to dire warnings of impending climate catastrophe. Those warnings go far beyond what you’ll find anywhere else: McPherson believes humans will go extinct in as little as two decades.

<snip>

McPherson bills himself as a scientist simply passing along the science (even as he dismisses climate scientists and their work), but he cites nearly as many blog posts and newspaper columns as published studies. When he does cite a study, it’s often clear that he hasn’t taken the time to actually read it, depending instead on a news story about it. He frequently gets the information from the study completely wrong, which is a difficult thing for most readers to check given that most papers are behind paywalls (not to mention that scientific papers aren’t easy to understand).

McPherson leans heavily on claims from people associated with the “Arctic News” blog about a catastrophic, runaway release of methane that supposedly is already underway in the Arctic. Unfortunately (or, rather, fortunately), the data don’t match their assertions. The latest IPCC and NAS assessment reports, in fact, deemed such a release “very unlikely” this century. One reason for that is that the Arctic has been this warm or warmer a couple times in the last 200,000 years, yet that methane stayed in the ground. Another reason is that scientists actually bother to study and model the processes involved. One thing McPherson and others like to point to is the recent work by Natalia Shakhova’s group observing bubbling plumes of methane coming up from the seafloor on the Siberian Shelf. Since we’ve only been sampling these plumes for a few years, we have no idea whether that release of methane is increasing or if these are long-term features. Similar plumes off Svalbard, for example, appear to be thousands of years old. (More to put this methane in context here.)

That’s exactly the kind of detail and nuance that’s absent from McPherson’s claims. Instead, he’s content to link to YouTube videos or blog posts (some ludicrously unscientific— see below) and run with the idea that catastrophic warming is guaranteed as a result. He just latches onto anything that sounds scary. McPherson is especially fast and loose with timeframes. He likes to point to the magnitude of past climate changes (which took thousands of years or more) as proof that we are about to undergo similar changes in the next couple decades. That’s quite clearly a fallacious argument, but McPherson never concerns himself with the details. All the casual reader learns it that there was a huge change in the past analogous to the present that shows just how screwed we really are.

And that’s McPherson’s thing— despair. We’re absolutely doomed, he tells us, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Everything is lost. He derides any sort of optimism or action as “hopium”. He notes in one recent post that “With an eye to improving my ‘bedside manner’ when I deliver presentations, I’ve recently become a certified grief-recovery counselor.” With such an extraordinary view, you would expect him to make the scientific case for extinction very clearly. But he does not. His argument fundamentally reduces to “positive feedbacks exist, ergo extinction”. That is, he lists examples of positive feedbacks (things that amplify change, like the added sunlight absorption of ocean water that has lost its sea ice cover) for a while, intending to overwhelm you with the number of processes that could add to global warming. And that’s it. There are no numbers explaining how big an effect each could have, no analysis of likely warming impacts, nothing. The fact is that climate scientists know about all these processes. But instead of throwing their hands up and saying “Oh, shit”, they actually do science.

Again, specific examples of these things are given in the last section of this post. If you take a look at some of his mistakes and demonstrably false claims, you’ll have a hard time thinking of him as a credible source of information....

<snip>


Much, much more here: https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/



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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 12:10 PM

7. Granting that MacPherson is inclined

to cherry pick from the dark side, Arctic ice is going away soon, with predictably dire outcome. In the film professor Wadhams convincingly describes the mechanism driving the change. In an article for YaleEnvironment 360 he expands his views.

Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, suggested a major methane pulse was possible.

However he said this would be “maybe not apocalyptic, but catastrophic”.

“If there were a large methane release, which is now possible because of the instability of the methane hydrates underneath the Arctic continental shelves, the off-shore waters, that could quite easily give rise to a very large pulse,” Professor Wadhams said.

http://e360.yale.edu/features/as_arctic_ocean_ice_disappears_global_climate_impacts_intensify_wadhams

Loss of the ice is an event horizon. Once crossed, there's no going back. We don't know how it will affect our complex domestic arrangements but we do know there will be changes, extraordinary changes, and we expect that life will become more difficult for every living thing as a result. Is extinction a real possibility? Absolutley. A 50 gigaton methane pulse would definitely move us in that direction. My take away from the film is that we're at a tipping point that's going to mean bad things for life on earth and that change is imminent. Maybe that's just preaching despair. That argument would be more convincing if we were doing enough in the way of active mitigation to change the future. That is obviously not happening. If it were, atmospheric CO2 would be falling instead of rising. I don't see how anyone who followed the development of the IPCC report and the Paris Accord can see either one as non-political. Both were necessarily written in such a way as to keep the oil states on board.

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Response to pscot (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 01:13 PM

8. So in spite of knowing the cherry picked, false nature of McPherson's presentation...

...and your disavowal of him you nonetheless dedicate your efforts to cherry-picking even more from his already cherry picked selection of information and double down on his extreme, unscientifically derived, conspiracy-theory oriented conclusions?

Did it ever occur to you that embracing extremist misinformation is harmful to progress no matter which side of the science such misinformation falls?

You'd be doing the cause a lot more good if you'd focus on promoting accelerated deployment of the well known and accepted solution to the problem.

You wrote, "Loss of the ice is an event horizon. Once crossed, there's no going back. We don't know how it will affect our complex domestic arrangements but we do know there will be changes, extraordinary changes, and we expect that life will become more difficult for every living thing as a result. Is extinction a real possibility? Absolutley. A 50 gigaton methane pulse would definitely move us in that direction. My take away from the film is that we're at a tipping point that's going to mean bad things for life on earth and that change is imminent. Maybe that's just preaching despair. That argument would be more convincing if we were doing enough in the way of active mitigation to change the future. That is obviously not happening. If it were, atmospheric CO2 would be falling instead of rising. I don't see how anyone who followed the development of the IPCC report and the Paris Accord can see either one as non-political. Both were necessarily written in such a way as to keep the oil states on board."

Seriously, why do you even pretend that the actual science has meaning for you. It clearly doesn't. Your actions here show you prefer a soapbox and a religious rant. Maybe it will get through to you to point out that you're doing the devil's work by FALSELY TRYING to rob people of a REASON to WORK FOR CHANGE!!!

I gave you information that specifically refutes key elements of the argument(?) you just related. Specifically! You ignore it as if it wasn't ever part of your universe. How are you at all different from lying climate deniers?

Sorry for the shouting but sometimes....

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Response to kristopher (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 02:31 PM

9. Is Wadhams peddling extremist misinformation?

If he is then so are Hansen and many others. Poorly articulated ruminations on an obscure website aren't going to derail planet saving science any more than a bug hitting the windshield is going to stop an 18 wheeler. I don't have any faith in Hope. In my experience Hope is not trustworthy. Sadly, the devil is just a figment of the over stimulated medieval imagination. It would be nice to have someone besides ourselves to blame for our troubles.

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Response to pscot (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 02:49 PM

10. That argument is garbage.

If you don't understand, at this point, the fallacious idea of taking something out of context and completely rewriting it with new context the only explanation is willful ignorance. But just in case let me give an extreme example to make it clear.

NeoNazis claim to be good Christians. They delude themselves into being able to make that statement through the use of the same type of preselected-conclusion oriented reasoning you employ.

Different topic, same process.

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Fri Jun 30, 2017, 11:43 PM

3. But, but... Somebody invented a new kind of battery for our electric cars that will save us.

NOT!

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 03:28 AM

5. Another critique: "Guy McPherson and the end of humanity (not)"

Guy McPherson and the end of humanity (not)

Is climate change going to wipe out humanity over the next 10 years? Prof Jim Renwick doesn’t think so…

http://hot-topic.co.nz/guy-mcpherson-and-the-end-of-humanity-not/

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Sat Jul 1, 2017, 03:43 AM

6. Once more: McPhersons methane catastrophe

Once more: McPherson’s methane catastrophe
01/08/2015 BY SJ
753
For better or worse, I want to briefly return to Guy McPherson’s claims of human extinction within 20 years via a climate catastrophe. Guy is aware of my criticism of his argument, but has declined to consider the problems I pointed out (instead choosing to accuse me of being paid to disagree with him, which would be news to my bank account). Because I’ve seen him reduce his climate claims to the same two keys a few times now, I thought it might actually be worth singling them out for detailed inspection (even though both are mentioned in my previous post, which was a little overwhelming). I’ll try to keep this simple, but the desire to be thorough can make that a challenge…

(Runaway) Train to Siberia

The first claim is that there is an incontrovertible, rapidly accelerating release of methane from the Arctic. (Example here.) McPherson ascribes this to a destabilization of methane hydrates (also called clathrates) in the sediment beneath the Arctic seafloor. Ostensibly, this is based on the research of a team including Natalia Shakhova that has been studying methane release along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, but McPherson’s claims about that research come from posts on the “Arctic News” blog. This blog, run by a retired petroleum geologist named Malcolm Light and someone writing under the name of Sam Carana, posts a great deal of strange and unscientific claims about earthquakes and methane in the Arctic.

Specifically, McPherson points to a post there interpreting the Shakhova et al. research as indicating an exponentially-growing release of methane from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Apart from the fact that two data points can’t tell you there’s an exponential trend (rather than, say, a straight line), this also makes the mistake of assuming that there are actually two data points! What really happened is that the Shakhova group tried to estimate the total annual emission of methane from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf after observing some plumes above focused release points. (It’s not yet known if these releases have increased recently— the submerged permafrost has been thawing for thousands of years, since sea level rose coming out of the last ice age.) A couple years later, they published a new estimate based on expanded observations. This was a revision of their earlier estimate, now that they had more data in hand. Sam Carana treated these two estimates as independent numbers representing a time series— asserting that the emission of methane had more than doubled in just a few years. From there, Carana extrapolated to predict that emissions would increase about 1,000 times over by 2040. As a result, he/she predicts a cartoonish increase in the global average temperature of 11 C by 2040. (Actual climate models, on the other hand, project a temperature increase of around 4 C by 2100 if we fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions— and that’s a deeply troubling scenario.)

Actual measurements of methane in the atmosphere don’t show any such sudden, accelerating spike, and climate scientists don’t believe anything like this “clathrate gun” scenario is underway. The Arctic News Blog obsesses over some satellite measurements of methane in the Arctic, believing that they support the claim of runaway methane emissions. (A researcher who worked on validating that satellite dataset confirmed to me that the raw data the blog is using hasn’t been through any quality control algorithm, and that the instrument hasn’t been validated for some of the kinds of conclusions Carana wants to draw.) By showing that some recent measurements of methane in the Arctic are above the global trend, they believe they are demonstrating a sudden increase. This is misguided, because the Arctic is always above the global average. That’s why we calculate averages. If you measure CO2 in the smokestack of a coal-burning power plant and find that it’s much higher than the global average from last week, you can’t conclude that is CO2 suddenly spiking globally. That sort of apples-to-plastic-oranges comparison is meaningless.

So when McPherson claims that “the clathrate gun has fired“, he does so without any evidence whatsoever. Rather, he relies on elementary mistakes made by a blogger who doesn’t appear to understand the science. Not data. And not published research. Not only do climate scientists not think that such a thing is underway, most don’t think it’s likely to be a worry this century....

More at: https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/once-more-mcphersons-methane-catastrophe/

Let that second paragraph sink in:
"The first claim is that there is an incontrovertible, rapidly accelerating release of methane from the Arctic. (Example here.) McPherson ascribes this to a destabilization of methane hydrates (also called clathrates) in the sediment beneath the Arctic seafloor. Ostensibly, this is based on the research of a team including Natalia Shakhova that has been studying methane release along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, but McPherson’s claims about that research come from posts on the “Arctic News” blog. This blog, run by a retired petroleum geologist named Malcolm Light and someone writing under the name of Sam Carana, posts a great deal of strange and unscientific claims about earthquakes and methane in the Arctic."

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