Monday, June 04, 2007

Freeman Dyson: Getting Warmed Up

Here are a couple of Youtube videos (about 10 minutes total)with Freeman Dyson talking about Global Warming mania.

He starts out in the first video talking about vegetation. He says you can't do good science without good data. He notes that the data on vegetation is sparse (as in almost totally non-existant. The money went into computer models instead of data gathering. It figures. Computers are sexy. Electronic wind vanes and anemometers are not. He also notes that the carbon in vegetation dwarfs the carbon in the atmosphere.

In the second video he says the real problem is not CO2 induced global warming, but CO2 induced stratosphere cooling which may lead to bigger ozone holes.

He ends with the fact that the lowest cost way to control CO2 in the atmosphere is not by controlling energy production and use, but by planting or cutting down plants.

4 comments:

LarryD said...

Spotted this article about "solar shields". Basically, create a high altitude aerosol to scatter incoming sunlight, a la certain volcanic eruptions. Probably not as cheap as planting trees, but still pretty cheap.

Here's the kicker though, this caught my eye the first time I read the article (emphases mine):

His computer models simulated a gradually deployed shield that would compensate for the greenhouse effect of rising carbon dioxide concentrations. By the time CO2 levels are double those of pre-industrial times - predicted to be at the end of the 21st century - the shield would need to block 8% of the Sun's radiation.

8%! I don't know what value they're using for pre-industrial times, but the current level is officially 380 parts per million, which comes out to 0.038% of the atmosphere. So they're claiming that an increase to less than 0.076% (double the current, not pre-industrial, level) is equivalent in effect to an ~8% increase in insolation. That alone tells me their models are bogus.

Returning to the primary topic, I wonder what else the models just leave out completely?

Neal J. King said...

larryd,

The reason the % increase in C-O2 is important even though C-O2 is only a small fraction of the atmosphere is that there are sections of the infrared spectrum that are ONLY affected by C-O2.
These are significant enough that the radiative forcing due to an increase in the amount of C-O2 by, for example, a factor of 2 is 3.8 W/m^2.

Since the incoming (not reflected) radiation from the Sun is 240 W/m^2, this is not a negligible amount.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone remember Acid Rain? Canada and the US worked to get SO2 emmisions down because they were killing the boreal forest and the maple sugar industry. Now Caldiera wants to pump SO2 into the atmosphere with no regard for consequences.

We already have solar shielding going on and have since 1998. It's called chemtrails.

Neal J. King said...

anonymous,

To be fair, no less a climatologist than Paul Crutzen, who got the Nobel Prize for his work on the chemistry of the depletion of ozone, has suggested the same idea: using sulfates to stave off GW.

Two points:
- One ameliorating factor: sulfates don't stay in the atmosphere very long. So if we ever found a REAL cure for C-O2, the sulfates would settle out pretty quick, once we stopped putting them out there.

- Crutzen suggested this approach as an act of desperation, because he didn't see that a real cutback in C-O2 would be on its way in the near future.

But a lot of climatologists think that this is "too clever by half".