Modeling to the 2nd degree: back to the future

More gloomy outlook worries from this NCAR press release: Climate conditions in 2050 crucial to avoid harmful impacts in 2100

Scientists are unraveling a chain of events that led to large-scale warmings and coolings across the Northern Hemisphere during past ice ages. As ice sheets expanded, water levels dropped in the narrow Bering Strait (left) and cut off the flow of relatively fresh water from the northern Pacific through the Arctic into the saltier Atlantic. This altered ocean currents, increasing the flow of Atlantic water northward from the tropics and producing warming in the north Atlantic (right, shown in dark red) that melted ice sheets and affected climate patterns and sea levels across much of the world.

BOULDER–While governments around the world continue to explore strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a new study suggests policymakers should focus on what needs to be achieved in the next 40 years in order to keep long-term options viable for avoiding dangerous levels of warming.

The study is the first of its kind to use a detailed energy system model to analyze the relationship between mid-century targets and the likelihood of achieving long-term outcomes.

“Setting mid-century targets can help preserve long-term policy options while managing the risks and costs that come with long-term goals,” says co-lead author Brian O’Neill, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The study, conducted with co-authors at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, is being published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was funded by IIASA, a European Young Investigator Award to O’Neill, and the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor.

The researchers used a computer simulation known as an integrated assessment model to represent interactions between the energy sector and the climate system. They began with “business as usual” scenarios, developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2000 report, that project future greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of climate policy. They then analyzed the implications of restricting emissions in 2050, using a range of levels.

The team focused on how emissions levels in 2050 would affect the feasibility of meeting end-of-century temperature targets of either 2 or 3 degrees Celsius (about 3.5 degrees or 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively) above the pre-industrial average.

—–Mid-century thresholds—–

The study identifies critical mid-century thresholds that, if surpassed, would make particular long-term goals unachievable with current energy technologies.

For example, the scientists examined what would need to be done by 2050 in order to preserve the possibility of better-than-even odds of meeting the end-of-century temperature target of 2 degrees Celsius of warming advocated by many governments.

One “business as usual” scenario showed that global emissions would need to be reduced by about 20 percent below 2000 levels by mid-century to preserve the option of hitting the target. In a second case, in which demand for energy and land grow more rapidly, the reductions by 2050 would need to be much steeper: 50 percent. The researchers concluded that achieving such reductions is barely feasible with known energy sources.

“Our simulations show that in some cases, even if we do everything possible to reduce emissions between now and 2050, we’d only have even odds of hitting the 2 degree target-and then only if we also did everything possible over the second half of the century too,” says co-author and IIASA scientist Keywan Riahi.

The research team made a number of assumptions about the energy sector, such as how quickly the world could switch to low- or zero-carbon sources to achieve emission targets. Only current technologies that have proven themselves at least in the demonstration stage, such as nuclear fission, biomass, wind power, and carbon capture and storage, were considered. Geoengineering, nuclear fusion, and other technologies that have not been demonstrated as viable ways to produce energy or reduce emissions were excluded from the study.

—–The 2-degree goal—–

Research shows that average global temperatures have warmed by close to 1 degree C (almost 1.8 degrees F) since the pre-industrial era. Much of the warming is due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases, predominantly carbon dioxide, due to human activities. Many governments have advocated limiting global temperature to no more than 1 additional degree Celsius in order to avoid more serious effects of climate change.

During the recent international negotiations in Copenhagen, many nations recognized the case for limiting long-term warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but they did not agree to a mid-century emissions target.

“Even if you agree on a long-term goal, without limiting emissions sufficiently over the next several decades, you may find you’re unable to achieve it. There’s a risk that potentially desirable options will no longer be technologically feasible, or will be prohibitively expensive to achieve,” O’Neill says.

On the other hand, “Our research suggests that, provided we adopt an effective long-term strategy, our emissions can be higher in 2050 than some proposals have advocated while still holding to 2 degrees Celsius in the long run,” he adds.

—–Cautions—–

The researchers caution that this is just one study looking at the technological feasibility of mid- and end-of-century emissions targets. O’Neill says that more feasibility studies should be undertaken to start “bounding the problem” of emissions mitigation.

“We need to know whether our current and planned actions for the coming decades will produce long-term climate change we can live with,” he says. “Mid-century targets are a good way to do that.”

###

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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99 thoughts on “Modeling to the 2nd degree: back to the future

  1. As far as their simulations go – GIGO.

    Sea levels were down for about 100,000 years (remember the “land bridge”), during which time there would have been no flow from the Pacific to the Arctic. We are supposed to believe that this “all of a sudden” made the glaciers melt at the end of the last glacial period?

    Maybe the person who wrote the short article botched the explanation, or maybe I don’t understand, but if that’s what they’re selling, I’m not buying.

  2. “Modelling”

    Sorry, there is about as much chance of my taking this latest study seriously as there is of the Hubble telescope examining a black hole spotting a little man with a flashlight looking for the circuit board. (H/T The Big Bang Theory)

  3. “Much of the warming is due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases, predominantly carbon dioxide, due to human activities.”

    If the premise is wrong, then all of the modeling is wrong.

  4. This modeling is famous for assuming clouds and a variety of other variables remain constant. They of course are unable to test their model in a controlled study. So these models may be 2,3 or 4 degrees too hot or it may cool.

  5. I have to admit – my thoughts were precisely as Martin Brumby states above. “Climate models” is a null phrase in my book.

    But it really doesn’t matter what the models say. We already know the solution: world-wide socialism and the destruction of the Western economic system – hopefully with as much lowering of our nasty standard of living as is possible.

  6. Modeling to the 2nd degree? How inaccurate, misleading, and downright vile do the models of these climate “scientists” have to be to get a 1st degree conviction?

  7. O/T, but is there anything on the heat that is released by human oxidising all that carbon every year. Is this heat measured via the UHI effect? Where does this heat go?

    And, if CO2 itself has such a powerful warming effect, how about using it as a double-glazing filler-gas? If there was enough of it used, could it significantly reduce heating bills?

  8. I wonder why they ignored fusion? The first commercial scale plant is planned to be in service within a decade or so. It is virtually guaranteed to be a technology option by 2050.

    I consider fusion the most likely long term replacement for the fleet of coal plants.

    With or without CO2 as an issue, coal plants still have a lot of negative environmental impacts that make fusion preferable.

  9. So, what this di-assuming model is predicting is that
    1.) We will enter a Mini Ice Age in the same manner as a regularly scheduled Ice Age
    2.) The Mini Ice Age will reach maturity and reverse itself in 40 years in a scaled-down veriosn of the Big Ice Age 80,000 yrs and
    3.) By 2050 massive warming will ensue.

    And all this is based on a further assumption that cold is good and warm is bad.
    That’s 1 unproven assumption and one big stretch of correlation.
    If we are supposed to accept this Hollywood Thriller then it’s ok to peddle Sci-Fi grafted onto the Real World and the fruit produced is palatable.
    And in the meantime, while the Earth falls into this Ice Age we will cut off the means to survive (energy use) in order to save the Planet by 2100.
    Nicely painted into a no-win situation.
    Which leads me to ask: Are we talking serious science here, or are we poring over a sci-fi script for the latest blockbuster doomsday thriller?

  10. Looking for the actual article, I instead found this article in PNAS even more interesting:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/01/07/0906531107.abstract

    Abstract:

    “Decadal-scale climate variations over the Pacific Ocean and its surroundings are strongly related to the so-called Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) which is coherent with wintertime climate over North America and Asian monsoon, and have important impacts on marine ecosystems and fisheries. In a near-term climate prediction covering the period up to 2030, we require knowledge of the future state of internal variations in the climate system such as the PDO as well as the global warming signal. We perform sets of ensemble hindcast and forecast experiments using a coupled atmosphere-ocean climate model to examine the predictability of internal variations on decadal timescales, in addition to the response to external forcing due to changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, volcanic activity, and solar cycle variations. Our results highlight that an initialization of the upper-ocean state using historical observations is effective for successful hindcasts of the PDO and has a great impact on future predictions. Ensemble hindcasts for the 20th century demonstrate a predictive skill in the upper-ocean temperature over almost a decade, particularly around the Kuroshio-Oyashio extension (KOE) and subtropical oceanic frontal regions where the PDO signals are observed strongest. A negative tendency of the predicted PDO phase in the coming decade will enhance the rising trend in surface air-temperature (SAT) over east Asia and over the KOE region, and suppress it along the west coasts of North and South America and over the equatorial Pacific. This suppression will contribute to a slowing down of the global-mean SAT rise.”

  11. Oh! Now it’s Mid-century? what happened to “time is running out?

    Do I hear Bi-centennial?

    Millenial?

    Semi-Era-ish?

    Can I get a mid – Eonic?

    Now we’re talking rationally.

  12. Some French blogger, likely from the Jussieu LMD a IPCC contrbutor, was blaming the lack of precision of the 5 to 10 y models run on the butterfly effect, explaining with a straight face that this is the reason why mthe same models predictions should be taken with a higher level of confidence when they predict the climate in 2100… The same luminary who calls himself ICE on the blogosphere also explained that if we run climate models for 5 to 10 years we should get a good answer for the 5 to 10 years predictions. Yes he might even be able to predict yesterday’s weather today too!
    So I decided to take this ICE seriously and figured that in order to know with confidence the climate 5 years from now I should look at what was told at least 20 years ago because of this butterfly!
    Hansen made predictions and oooooppppsss: we all know what they are worth now do we?
    So Mister ICE, looks like the butterfly effect tricked you… LOL

  13. “They began with “business as usual” scenarios, developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2000 report”

    In the beginning, they were wrong.

  14. “The researchers used a computer simulation known as an integrated assessment model to represent interactions between the energy sector and the climate system. ”

    With over 20 years professional experience in Systems Analysis/Systems Engineering, this was a new one. It turns out that “integrated assessment models” began their “life” in the 1980s as tools to “inform decision makers” in “environmental policy.”

    Or, as the ethically challenged in our community used to do, “tell me the answer you want and I’ll build a simulation that gives it.”

    Hope these clowns accepted some government money so they can be prosecuted.

  15. Call me stupid, but winds are now predominantly from North/East, while in milder winters they were mostly South/West. Simple explanation for the heavy snowfall and cold snaps.

    Now, where can I apply for a research grant?

  16. lowercasefred
    not only that: as glacial conditions were just getting going, even before sea levels dropped enough to expose the Bering Strait, year-round sea ice would almost certainly have blocked the Strait for decades (or even centuries) before the continental ice sheets developed [because the Strait is so shallow, cold winters of the 20th century saw sea ice blocking the passage well into summer - wouldn't take much colder to block it year round].

    In other words, blocked flow of Pacific water thru the Bering Strait into the Arctic would have been a feature throughout the entire period, not just at the height of it.

  17. Modeling to the second degree. This means you get a first degree in Media Studies then get your second degree in Applied Playstations.

  18. “This altered ocean currents, increasing the flow of Atlantic water northward from the tropics and producing warming in the north Atlantic (right, shown in dark red) that melted ice sheets and affected climate patterns and sea levels across much of the world.”

    No mention that at that time Earth’s inclination was approaching max, 24.5 degrees, along with NH summer solstice approaching perihelion. Happens every 100,000 years or so.

  19. Let’s see if they can get it right for 5 years from now, or even just 3 years ahead, then perhaps consider listening. There would still be plenty of time to adapt then.

  20. This waste of research money provides us with another pile of IF’s that fail to provide a foundation for spending trillions of dollars (Pounds, Euro’s etc.) of the people’s money.

  21. They have to CAUTION the readers… to the effect that this is only one study but surely they need more money to produce more GIGO models…

  22. Is the theory in the underlying article (which I couldn’t locate) that the Bering strait land bridge formed only roughly 14,000 to 16,000 years ago, thus causing the gulf stream to bring more warm water north late in the last Ice Age?

    If that is the theory, it might be in error. This link suggests that the Bering Strait land bridge first appeared 70,000 years ago and finally disappeared about 11,000 years ago:

    http://whyfiles.org/061polar/anthro.html

  23. How can we keep our AGW gravy train rolling and continue selling it to a shivering population in the face of grotesquely failed predictions? Why, that’s easy! What we do is to shift our hysterical, computer generated, prognostication time-line far enough out into the future that Mother Nature cannot make us out to be liars or fools within our working careers. Eureka!

    Here’s our new story: “Mother Nature is now simply squatting down for leverage like a cliff diver preparing to leap off into the smoldering AGW abyss!”

    CH

  24. vboring (14:21:11) :

    “I wonder why they ignored fusion? The first commercial scale plant is planned to be in service within a decade or so. It is virtually guaranteed to be a technology option by 2050.”

    I hate to burst your bubble, but this is “Big Physics”, and just like the Climate Folks, they’re dependent on the Gov handouts. Just like the Climate Folks (I’m being nice here) they have disparaged any research which wasn’t “Peer Reviewed” – especially here in the US. Now there are blooming research groups all over the world who have generated more energy in single experiments in low energy nuclear reactions than the big boys experiments combined.

    But in one thing you are correct, it will be 2050 before any of the alternatives are commercially viable. Science won’t be rushed, it took over 40 years to get the reactor.

    • wsbriggs, I think you need to /r/ polywell fusion before making such sweeping generalizing dismissals…

  25. For only a few million, we could create an intervention center where out of control warmists could be removed from their indoctrinating minders for a week or so and could be re-habilitated back into mainstrem society. We could then send them back into the hive to try and save it from itself.

    Very good value?

  26. “chain of events” … “As ice sheets expanded, water levels dropped in the narrow Bering Strait (left) and cut off the flow of relatively fresh water from the northern Pacific through the Arctic into the saltier Atlantic. This altered ocean currents, increasing the flow of Atlantic water northward from the tropics and producing warming in the north Atlantic (right, shown in dark red) that melted ice sheets and affected climate patterns and sea levels across much of the world.”

    Is it me, or are others also wondering what this has to do with CO2? (Aside from the absolute requirement to mention AGW in order to get their paper published.)

  27. vboring (14:21:11) : “I consider fusion the most likely long term replacement for the fleet of coal plants.”

    I fully agree.

    “With or without CO2 as an issue, coal plants still have a lot of negative environmental impacts that make fusion preferable.”

    The drawbacks of coal have been exaggerated and are less than the drawbacks of not having the resultant energy. But I agree that fusion will be available in 30 to 40 years…IF we take funds from AGW hoax modeling and put them into fusion research.

    • The drawbacks from coal are actually worse than nuclear fission power, given one coal plant emits more radioactive heavy metal isotopes into the environment in one year than the entire nuclear industry does. And they can sell the radioactive fly ash as filler to cement plants, which winds up in home foundations… Personally I could give a fig about their CO2 emissions.

  28. I just realized that if I converted all the AGW/climate baloney I’ve read over
    the last ten years alone it would be enough to solve the world hunger issue!
    What a confused bunch of, yes, baloney.

  29. Tom in Florida (14:35:29) :

    Now you know thier computers can’t handle that many variables all at once.
    When in doubt, punt (look out the window, stupid).

  30. Making it up as we go along.
    Much like the bridge across the Sahara Desert.
    They had to tear it down because too many people were fishing off of it causing traffic problems.

  31. I agree with lowercasefred (13:54:36). Low sea level during the Wisconsin Glaciation, and the exposed the Bering land bridge, could not have been the drivers of our Holocene Interglacial, since the land bridge was exposed for tens of thousands of years and Holocene warmth came on suddenly. So that part of the report is messed up.

    But it is unclear to me where the chart in the post came from, because I also failed in my attempt to find the actual research paper.

  32. Fusion has been a ‘decade or two away’ for the last five or six decades.
    Fission is just fine.
    Coal is OK, inreality.
    None of this makes this gigo study any more significant or meaningful.
    AGW promoters are over paid SF writers, churning through endless derivative iterations of their apocalypse scenario.

  33. Many people consistently regard nuclear fusion as the long-term solution, but this was necessarily excluded from this study because of the time-scale required. Yet I understand that Generation IV nuclear reactors, of which a prototype ran in Idaho during the early 1990’s, can use existing nuclear waste as fuel, and in turn result in much reduced-waste with a half-life of only a few hundred years. There is enough existing fuel to meet the world’s energy requirements for hundreds of years to come, while providing a practical solution to the problem of present-day reactor waste. Moreover, such Generation IV reactors are intrinsically safe, and cannot melt-down, while the fuel is of no use to terrorists.

    If a determined effort was made to build and deploy such reactors, instead of endless ineffectual wind-turbines, the whole scenario by 2050 could be completely changed. The proposed sums of money consumed by carbon-trading would be better spent addressing this objective, and could completely transform all the assumptions underlying future energy requirements and CO2 emissions.

  34. vboring (14:21:11) :

    I wonder why they ignored fusion? The first commercial scale plant is planned to be in service within a decade or so. It is virtually guaranteed to be a technology option by 2050.

    What news are you reading? Maybe you better add some info here. ITER looks years away from construction, if they do still proceed given the rising costs and the worldwide economic slump, and so far is scheduled to not be turned on until 2018. And it is not for electricity generation. DEMO will follow it, and will be for electricity generation, but is not scheduled for its “test” phase until 2038. But as should be expected, new materials, techniques, and who-knows-what-else will be designed and created before and during its design work, which isn’t slated to start until 2017, the new stuff will be incorporated, with likely some more new stuff worked in during construction… 2038 looks exceedingly hopeful.

    Before we see working fusion reactors supplying electricity, I would instead expect “natural fusion” to be used, just stick a solar array in orbit and beam the power down here. That seems a lot more promising and possibly a lot cheaper as well.

  35. The researchers caution that this is just one study looking at the technological feasibility of mid- and end-of-century emissions targets. O’Neill says that more feasibility studies should be undertaken to start “bounding the problem” of emissions mitigation.

    They are saying that they have spent all the money they got last year and have come to an all important groudbreaking conclusion – WE NEED MORE FUNDING FOR “MORE FEASABILITY STUDIES TO START BOUNDING THE PROBLEM”.

    My guess is that “bounding the problem” will take much more funding of the global warming gravy train and could take at least as long as these guys can keep making things up and/or they retire…

  36. I’m not sure what the problem is, but the solution is definitely sending me more money, and right away.

  37. The sense of panic within the article is palpable: the world will come to an end if we don’t completely change our evil ways. And then they add this caveat, “The researchers caution that this is just one study.” Yeah, well, duh. If that’s the case, why don’t you first do your due diligence and have your work checked independenly before putting this tripe out as science?

  38. I’m sorry, but when it comes to climate science, ozone layer science, tobacco science, nuclear winter science, ocean acidification science, peak oil science, over population science and dental decay science, I’m a skeptic and proud of it!

  39. You can also go to the history channel and watch a nice story about a family of dinosaurs… complete with reptilian mind readings so you will understand what they were thinking…. Science is so amazing…

  40. So O’Neill’s model now says even an ice age will melt the arctic caps!

    My model computations say the exact opposite, the arctic cap will melt little in an ice age. The drop in ocean levels as re-glacierization will drastically drop the Atlantic flow over the north Atlantic ridge east of Greenland, so little melting at all.

    But your program and my program do as instructed, don’t they. That’s why programmers love models, they’re good dogs!

  41. RE: John @14:43

    If we have learned anything from recent dendro, it is that we don’t actually “know” anything before recorded history, we just “surmise” from proxies.

    How do we actually “know” when the land bridge formed (I think it did, based on the movement of culture from the fertile crescent to the new world) and when it disappeared?

  42. mikelorrey (15:05:43) :

    wsbriggs, I think you need to /r/ polywell fusion before making such sweeping generalizing dismissals…

    Polywell fusion? You mean this? It’s so deep in military funding I doubt it’ll ever see civilian use, if it does work. It looks like there is a better chance the weaponized version will be stolen and used against civilians, before it gets used to generate electricity for civilians.

    Come on, look at the funding for it. It’s being kept alive with dribbles from the Stimulus Bill. I don’t see that leading to a working reactor anytime soon. The project has now become “jobs saved or created,” and not much else.

  43. Fast breeder reactors are the only long term solution to electricity production in the future. These systems either molten salt or HTGR systems will be able to provide ongoing fuel into the future for hundreds if not 1000 years. Unfortuantely we are getting into the reactor systems a little late because a system of fast breeders is necessary to grow the additional systems. Time is running out.

    We might be able to harness fusion in that time by using uranium shells around the fusion systems to produce the final power. Big bucks systems though. Fusion before fast breeders is unlikely. Fusion itself is unlikely.

    Besides the increasing CO2 is the most likely the result of global warming, not the cause, so long term energy supply (hundreds of years) is the driving force to get away from fossil fuels, not AGW.

  44. These foolish models are mere pathetic posturing. As Lorenz showed in 1964, “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” (the Butterfly Effect) makes extrapolating complex dynamic systems –those of three or more interacting variables– a mathematical impossibility (Newton’s gravitational “three-body problem” reflects this issue). Moreover, thermodynamic Conservation Laws render any global “greenhouse effect” physically impossible as well: Heat dissipates from “open systems” such as Earth’s atmospheric envelope, while “closed systems” tend to thermal equilibrium, necessarily a cooling rather than a warming process.

    Mathematically and physically, Climate Cultists’ warped AGW hypothesis (not a theory, which requires proof) thus represents willful ignorance at the very least. But as Samuel Johnson said, “Such stupidity, sir, is not in nature”– the method in this madness is a recklessly disruptive partisan-political agenda allied with corrupt, rent-seeking poseurs chasing public monies to the unprincipled exclusion of all else.

    Reports as of January 11, 2010 (Monday) project that 67,000 needless deaths may occur in Britain alone due to Warmists’ brutal neglect of due precautions. Death-eating Luddite sociopaths of collectivist Statist bent applaud this “cull,” which Ehrlich, Holdren, Singer and their ilk in the U.S. have sought since the late 1960s– always exempting themselves from consequences of their homicidal folly. Anti-DDT, anti-Green Revolution, anti-coal, oil, nuclear energy supplies: Any life-enhancing means to peace and prosperity is anathema to these nihilistic would-be Commissars and Gauleiters. No wonder Islam’s ultimately atavistic, reactionary Salafists and Wahabis have such quietist appeal.

    As a “dead sun” presages a 70-year Maunder Minimum, Earth’s current 12,250-year Holocene Interglacial Epoch is decades if not centuries overdue for a 102,000-year cyclical resurgence of Pleistocene Ice Time. Nothing whatever that humanity can do will hasten or retard this inevitable catastrophe one whit. But continuing to mouth Warmist drivel in prima facie violation of mathematical and physical reality, despite mounting empirical evidence, signifies monomaniacal mass-delusion on a scale unique in human history.

    Will mega-deaths speak only silence, or will Warmists’ long-suffering intended victims rise in self-defense to sweep these hateful dolts away? Unfortunately, it may already be too late.

  45. Climate “Science” has got to be a wonderful career. You can say whatever you want, right or wrong, about something that will happen half a century from now. Most who will hear such predictions won’t be around by then and the “scientist” making the prediction will have retired or died of old age. Talk about a gravy train and waste of tax dollars.

    I predict that within 200 years there will be a large cascadia earthquake.

  46. vboring:
    “The first commercial scale (fusion) plant is planned to be in service within a decade or so.”

    Really???? What Star Trek episode to you get that from?

    They can’t even get a tokamak or the JET to run for more than .5 seconds.

  47. kadaka (16:05:08)

    Polywell fusion? You mean this? It’s so deep in military funding I doubt it’ll ever see civilian use, if it does work. It looks like there is a better chance the weaponized version will be stolen and used against civilians, before it gets used to generate electricity for civilians.

    Come on, look at the funding for it. It’s being kept alive with dribbles from the Stimulus Bill. I don’t see that leading to a working reactor anytime soon. The project has now become “jobs saved or created,” and not much else.

    I would recommend you view this video of Dr. Bussard speaking at Google in late 2006.

    It is illustrative of a number of things. Dr. Bussard claims the physics of his design have been dealt with and all that remains at this point is the complex but utterly doable engineering of the prototype generator. What is also interesting, and sadly indicative that political influence of scientific funding is damaging far beyond the field of climate research, is his story of trying to maintain his efforts while flying under the radar of the Tokomak community, which would have squelched it if they ever became aware of his successes.
    He was forced to do his work on an absolute shoestring for this type of work, including robbing magnetrons from $99 microwave ovens. If a more rational and less compromised system of grant distribution had been in place 20 years ago when he began his efforts and he had been able to acquire even a significant fraction of the funding that has been squandered on wind turbines, solar panels and Tokomaks, we would in all likelihood be already fielding working systems.
    Of course it is still possible that his ideas won’t work, but the patents are privately held and if they are proved functional, someone will build these things. As Dr. Bussard suggests if it’s not us, the Chinese are fully capable and given our present political leadership they seem much more cognizant of and desirous of profits, which will be available in abundance to whoever pulls this off.

  48. Two comments:
    First, guesses that far in the future give them time to get control of the trillions of dollars that they want before anyone sees that it is all junk science (trying to prevent man-made warming) and it is too late to complain. The other is that we would be much better off to assume that the changes are natural and figure out a way to live with them rather than try to change what is likely impossible. (even if we were the cause)

  49. I’ll say it again. I support climate research. It is very important. What I don’t need is the BS coming out of our universities. Politicians, get a clue.

  50. Help! I am so confused. What does the first paragraph:

    “Scientists are unraveling a chain of events that led to large-scale warmings and coolings across the Northern Hemisphere during past ice ages. As ice sheets expanded……”

    above have to do with the Press Release?

    Or is it’s meaning that we are way beyond the land bridge -> northerly Atlanatic flows -> melting ice -> warming temperatures and have finally arrived at the fateful tipping point? And now is when I should hold my breath so as not to be responsible for the final CO2 molecule that sends us all spiraling towards Venus?

  51. Aren’t we on track for the “drastic cuts” scenario when we are in a “business as usual” reality wrt IPCC scenarios cited above?

  52. I need to get to a place 100 miles away in one hour. If after the first half hour I am only 40 miles into my trip, I have to cover 60 miles in the next half hour. dah

    I didn’t need a degree or research grants to work that out, but they did?
    Useless bunch of PARASITES living off the back of my hard earned taxes.
    To think that I wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid.

  53. Polywell, yay! It’s a very long shot but imminently bootstrappable if it does. If not, then fast breeders are definitely the way to go with far more concentrated waste and more total energy per unit of fuel than the crude once through process we use now. Got plenty o’ thorium too if we want to go that route.

    This comment may get snipped but if it doesn’t everyone will enjoy this old joke about modeling:

    Q: How are simulation and self manipulation alike? A: Do them both often enough and long enough and you start to think they’re real.

    Sound familiar?

  54. lowercasefred (13:54:36) :

    As far as their simulations go – GIGO.

    GIGO implies that the output will be correct whenever the input is correct. Will someone please explain how the models were validated?

    As we already know, a random number generator applied to CRU AlGorithms suspiciously outputs … wait for it… a hockey stick!

  55. The model output shown in the graphic is clearly bogus. You can tell from eyeballing it for a fraction of a second. It defies physics.

  56. Thorium reactors sounded like the best Manhattan Project type of option out there, with fusion coming some time after thorium, in no hurry since unlike uranium/plutonium, there are thousands upon thousands of years of thorium available that will not result in massive nuclear waste problems. It’s indeed an engineering problem I believe, due to corrosive molten fluoride salts, but much less of a problem than fusion. And in the very short term, small factory-assembled reactors could easily replace dozens of windmills at a time. It’s something I’d look more into if I found some truly captivating books about it rather than blog entries.

  57. “long-term options viable for avoiding dangerous levels of warming.”

    What about dangerous levels of cold? I bet more people have died this winter from extreme cold, than from all the “global warming” of the last 30 years.

  58. ITER is not the only fusion energy concept in development. ICF is also under development. NIF is scheduled to achieve the energy balance breakeven point late 2010. The biggest hurdle after that will be engineering the setup to allow for rapid repetition shot rate needed for energy production. That will probably be a $100billion+ research effort but compared to the cost of what they are trying to impose via the global warming hoax its a drop in the bucket. Do a little research on Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) and the National Ignition facility (NIF). If we get serious about it and invest the multi-billions there instead of with the AGW fallacy we just might have a reactor by 2050. Won’t get anywhere close thou at a mere $1billion a year for research effort.

  59. Dave Wendt (17:14:24) :

    I would recommend you view this video of Dr. Bussard speaking at Google in late 2006.

    And I might take up your recommendation, if I wasn’t on dial-up.

    Got transcript? PDF file maybe?

  60. As usual “its worse than we thought!!!”

    Lets get the models right first before you start using them for planning purposes, I would not design flood defences using a river model that cannot replicate the observed flow for a given rainfall event, why do they try it with climate models???? As an engineer its hard to fathom!

  61. Jack Hughes (14:33:19) :

    Modeling to the second degree. This means you get a first degree in Media Studies then get your second degree in Applied Playstations.

    That could come in handy. Read this from November 25 2009:

    The US Air Force plans to buy a whopping 2200 PlayStation 3 games consoles which it will use to expand an existing PS3-based supercomputer.

    The current cluster of consoles contains 336 PS3s, each connected by their RJ45 ports to a common 24-port Gigabit Ethernet hub, Air Force online documentation states.

    The entire set-up runs on an in-house developed Linux-based OS.

    However, the expanded PS3 supercomputer will be used to further the Air Force’s “architectural studies” which “determine what software and hardware technologies are implemented [in] military systems”.
    (…)

    PlayStations for modeling. Yup, truth is stranger than fiction.

  62. Hollywood style press release. Sometimes i wonder if it doesn’t get boring to do these arbitrary announcements. Maybe they’re not working at all. Just sleeping under their desks and whip up a set of slides when new funding needs to be secured. Gimme that job any time.

  63. If I were to create a model.

    Would I ignore all the complex high power variables, (clouds are constant) and instead focus on insignificant trace variable(s).

    I would if I just wanted to BS my political boss.

    Climate models are a “wicked problem” and are really tough if you got your phD from a cereal box!

    “As far as their simulations go – GIGO”

    Amazing pile!

  64. RE: Fusion
    I believe that the University of Florida is working on cold fusion using something like hydrogen and boron? Demonstration plant possible within 10 years?

  65. Ahh that brings back a few memories!

    I once applied to do a modelling course.
    They turned me down though.
    Something to do with sticky out ears, buck tooth and legs like a billiard table.

    Fond memories indeed.

  66. cbullitt (16:51:54) :

    They can’t even get a tokamak or the JET to run for more than .5 seconds.

    The Register reported that the Chinese reported they had achieved fusion for three seconds in their “Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST)” reactor back on September 28 2006. EAST’s Wikipedia article merely says “…on September 28, 2006, “first plasma” was achieved.”

    My, China is building a lot of coal-fired power plants. Seems they plan on building them for decades to come!

  67. Can’t be right, as: “we have 50 days to save the planet” – G Brown, 2009.

    dum dum dum dum dum dum dum Flash! Aaaaahhhaaaaaa…

    Cheers

    Mark

  68. “Much of the warming is due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases, predominantly carbon dioxide, due to human activities.”

    Must be galling to have written this just before Dr Latif’s paper claimed that half of this warming is due to natural cycles.

  69. Re: fusion.

    In his 2006 Google lecture, Dr. Busard said, “we’ve spent billions on tokamak research and one thing we’ve learnt is they’re no damn good.”

    More optimistically he said “Fusion works – you only have to look up in the sky at night to see thousands of fusion reactors.” And then added “and not one of them is toroidal.”

    If fusion can suceed, it won’t be via tokamak’s, whose research is dogged by the same problems as AGW – big government science fosters research dependent on continued funding for its own sake, with no conclusion ever.

    Inertial Electric Confinement however, sounds promising, but is funded on a shoestring and suffers from a lack of traditional vacuum physicists – they are all dead or retired.

  70. So, if we’re half-way to the 2C limit we should be observing catastrophe- right? So we don’t need modeling. We just need to trend human prosperity versus temperature.

    If it turns out that human prosperity has not declined since the pre-industrial age, what then?

  71. This goes w/my pet theory (similar to Stephen Wilde’s) — earth’s avg temps are relatively insensitive to the sun, CO2, aerosols, etc, but some tipping point can cause a change in ocean currents that can then change the temps rather drastically. Positive feedback from ice-albedo changes then increase those changes even more. Presto — ice ages.

    And for alarmists, when looking at the ice-core temp records, there’s really no tipping point to (much) higher temps now, the only major change from here in the interglacial is downward.

    Be afraid of the cold. Be very, very afraid.

  72. On fusion:

    http://www.iter.org/Pages/FactsFigures.aspx

    The machine will cost 10 billion euros over 30 years , so I doubt the quote above is correct for the money spent on other tokamaks: In his 2006 Google lecture, Dr. Busard said, “we’ve spent billions on tokamak research . except if he means billions in Zimbabwe dollars.

    The problem with fusion is that too little money has been spent, rather than too much.

    Have a look at JET’s q&a

    http://www.jet.efda.org/faq/iter-and-the-future/

  73. Is there any way some of these pictorial representations can be redrawn using a more appropriate mapping method than the 1569 Mercator projection, which grossly over-represents polar land areas relative to temperate and particularly equatorial zones? I appreciate that a sinusoidal projection inconveniently breaks up the polar areas, but it does at least show the land areas in proportion.
    After all Mann and Jones’s mischief, a certain degree of paranoia has crept in, and one starts to wonder whether the selection of this 441-year-old method by so many climate scientists is entirely innocent.

  74. Re: John Blake (16:13:09)

    Excellent polysyllabic diatribe, and right on the money, too!

    Just to reiterate:

    . . . As a “dead sun” presages a 70-year Maunder Minimum, Earth’s current 12,250-year Holocene Interglacial Epoch is decades if not centuries overdue for a 102,000-year cyclical resurgence of Pleistocene Ice Time. Nothing whatever that humanity can do will hasten or retard this inevitable catastrophe one whit. But continuing to mouth Warmist drivel in prima facie violation of mathematical and physical reality, despite mounting empirical evidence, signifies monomaniacal mass-delusion on a scale unique in human history.

    (I think you mean “centuries if not decades,” but that’s a small nit.)

    I’m printing the whole thing out.

    /Mr Lynn

  75. vboring (14:21:11) :

    “I wonder why they ignored fusion? The first commercial scale plant is planned to be in service within a decade or so. It is virtually guaranteed to be a technology option by 2050.”

    Reply: Actually, by then cold fusion will be going strong, IMHO. Don’t laugh–look up LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) and see how the research is going. The US Navy demonstrated it last year, and there’s a medical device already on the market that’s based on the principle.

    Hot fusion is like trying to harness electrical current from lightning bolts. There’s an amazing amount of energy there; however, capturing it to make it useful is another story altogether.

  76. anna v,

    “The problem with fusion is that too little money has been spent, rather than too much.”

    do you really believe that more money equals better results, after everything that has happened with climate research? If you want to throw some money around, I would suggest trying a different approach, such as Inertial Electric Confinement.

  77. Let’s face it folks:

    a. Unless a study says there’s a problem, a BIG problem, and recommends several trillion dollars to fix it, the people who did the study will be laughed off the planet.

    b. Unless governments, government departments, government employees, and politicians do studies and find BIG problems that need trillions of tax dollars to fix, they’ll be thrown out of office. And you can bet the people who replace them WILL find BIG BIG problems that need trillions and trillions of tax dollars to fix them.

    c. The root cause of all our modern insanity is the explosion in drugs and vitamins that people take today for every little nit-picky thing.

    Solutions needed ASAP:

    1.) Pass a constitutional amendment against government studies.

    2.) Pass a constitutional amendment requiring a ballanced budget.

    3.) Pass a constitutional amendment against drugs; except good ol’ fashion alkehol (White Lightning, Moonshine), Caster Oil, Kerosene, Serutan (‘Natures’ spelled backword), Geratol, Asperin, Vicks VapoRub, Chicken Soup, Ginger Ale, and Saltine Crackers. Oh! Yeah! And penicellin (the shot in the kiester kind, none of them pills)- we ain’t gonna get far without that.

    That’id solve just about all our problems! Don’t ya agree? We’ve kind’a gotten way beyond our physical limitations in the past 50 years.

  78. John Blake,

    A round of applause here also. Well said sir and something I’ve heard from one of my finest friends and chemist extraordinaire Murray Clarke ever since the Climate Grifters themselves, given a face by David Suzuki, crossed his path.

  79. ************
    mikelorrey (15:10:40) :

    The drawbacks from coal are actually worse than nuclear fission power, given one coal plant emits more radioactive heavy metal isotopes into the environment in one year than the entire nuclear industry does. And they can sell the radioactive fly ash as filler to cement plants, which winds up in home foundations… Personally I could give a fig about their CO2 emissions.
    *****************
    Actually, the radioactivity from natural sources can be much higher than the flyash mixed with cement or wall board. If the government had half a brain, it would allow private industry to capture the fly ash, extract the thorium and uranium, and burn those in the new breeder/molten salt reactors the government pushed through in a Moon-shot-like program. But no, the government is building useless windmills instead. The government is worse than useless.

  80. The caption under the image makes this sound like a study based on observation of past events, but it’s actually a scenario based upon models.

    Who verified the models?

    Haven’t other scenarios from other models claimed to show freshwater from melting ice caps decreases the flow of warm water from the tropics and thereby makes the climate more severe?

  81. Now i understand. These people have perfected the art of scaremongering. They examine all kinds of doom scenarios. So if it gets colder, no problem, AGW might be out but we already know how much we need to tax you to prevent AGC. Perpetual funding guaranteed. That’s MUCH smarter than working.

  82. I have a solution for any of these governments to follow, and it is orders of magnitude cheaper than anything they are proposing; even if you include all those science advisors.

    Simply take some of Obama’s stimulus slush fund, and use it to fully fund the retirement gravy trains of every one of those scoundrels on Capitol Hill, and then retire every last one of them; and throw in the administration for good measure.

    Everything will run much smoother, and all climate catasprophies will be avoided; all the economic ones too.

  83. “”” Galen Haugh (08:02:59) :

    vboring (14:21:11) :

    “I wonder why they ignored fusion? The first commercial scale plant is planned to be in service within a decade or so. It is virtually guaranteed to be a technology option by 2050.”

    Reply: Actually, by then cold fusion will be going strong, IMHO. Don’t laugh–look up LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) and see how the research is going. The US Navy demonstrated it last year, and there’s a medical device already on the market that’s based on the principle.

    Hot fusion is like trying to harness electrical current from lightning bolts. There’s an amazing amount of energy there; however, capturing it to make it useful is another story altogether. “””

    Heaven help the human race and this planet, should we ever knock over the fusion genii, and get all the energy the world will ever need from the top 1/16th of an inch of San Francisco Bay.

    Humanity deserves better than a cheap source of near infinite energy; we are big enough screw ups even with today’s cheap energy prices. Yeah ! having junior playing with nukes in the basement, sounds like a good idea.

  84. “”” beng (06:29:57) :

    This goes w/my pet theory (similar to Stephen Wilde’s) — earth’s avg temps are relatively insensitive to the sun, CO2, aerosols, etc, but some tipping point can cause a change in ocean currents that can then change the temps rather drastically. Positive feedback from ice-albedo changes then increase those changes even more. Presto — ice ages.

    And for alarmists, when looking at the ice-core temp records, there’s really no tipping point to (much) higher temps now, the only major change from here in the interglacial is downward.

    Be afraid of the cold. Be very, very afraid. “””

    Well actually, if you look closely at the “earthrise” photo from the moon, you will see that earth albedo, has much more to do with clouds, than any ice.

    There’s actually a reason why the earth has all that ice at each end. there simply isn’t enough solar energy reaches there to warm things up, so you could put silver mirrors up there, and they wouldn’t do much better than the ice, in reflecting sunlight; there’s isn’t that much sunlight up there.

  85. *******
    George E. Smith (15:11:54) :
    *******
    I made the mistake of not reading the original thread enough & responding too quickly. I didn’t notice, but not surprised that the “model” results are twisted around to support AWG, but in fact don’t see that at all. Their results show a mechanism for cooling, but not one for warming beyond the current “warm” ocean-current configuration.

    *******
    Well actually, if you look closely at the “earthrise” photo from the moon, you will see that earth albedo, has much more to do with clouds, than any ice.

    There’s actually a reason why the earth has all that ice at each end. there simply isn’t enough solar energy reaches there to warm things up, so you could put silver mirrors up there, and they wouldn’t do much better than the ice, in reflecting sunlight; there’s isn’t that much sunlight up there.
    *******

    It’s difficult to determine cause and effect. IMHO, the ice-albedo effect does little at high latitudes (as you point out), but increasingly so at lower latitudes. Constant snowcover here in western MD for the last 3 weeks have prevented temps from exceeding the freezing point even on sunny days.

    The glacial periods were generally much drier than now (some exceptions like the western US). If so, I’d think cloudiness was actually less during glacial periods than now. Again, IMHO.

  86. Ok i need a little help i have been taking a real interest in the climate change subject and have been reading and trying to learn as much as i can, i post on another message board and posted this artical and got this response:

    [QUOTE]Temperatures would never change significantly under an ice shelf, these meassurements are utterly stupid. If water temperatures went up under an ice shelf the increase in ice melting would lower the temperature back down to an equilibrium where the energy flow is neutral.

    Why do they think we use baths of ice to keep equipment at a stable temperature?[/QUOTE]

    My question is is there any validity to this statement and whats the best way for me to respond to it?

    I bet that next they will tell us that the water is a stable 4 degrees at the bottom of the ocean and large fresh water lakes.

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