Inconvenient conclusions in a new climate and land use paper

Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. sends word of this new paper now in early release at the Journal of Climate. The paper suggests humans have strong impacts on the local climate, but not always through the pathways commonly touted as being the culprits.

Journal of Climate 2012 ; e-View

Greenhouse gas policy influences climate via direct effects of land-use change

Andrew D. Jones,1,2 William D. Collins,1,2 James Edmonds,3 Margaret S. Torn,1,2 Anthony Janetos,3 Katherine V. Calvin,3 Allison Thomson,3 Louise P. Chini,4 Jiafu Mao,5 Xiaoying Shi,5 Peter Thornton,5 George C. Hurtt,4 and Marshall Wise31 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2 University of California, Berkeley 3 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 4 Oak Ridge National Laboratory 5 University of Maryland

Abstract

Proposed climate mitigation measures do not account for direct biophysical climate impacts of land-use change (LUC), nor do the stabilization targets modeled for the 5th Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). To examine the significance of such effects on global and regional patterns of climate change, a baseline and alternative scenario of future anthropogenic activity are simulated within the Integrated Earth System Model, which couples the Global Change Assessment Model, Global Land-use Model, and Community Earth System Model.

The alternative scenario has high biofuel utilization and approximately 50% less global forest cover compared to the baseline, standard RCP4.5 scenario. Both scenarios stabilize radiative forcing from atmospheric constituents at 4.5 W/m2 by 2100. Thus, differences between their climate predictions quantify the biophysical effects of LUC. Offline radiative transfer and land model simulations are also utilized to identify forcing and feedback mechanisms driving the coupled response.

Boreal deforestation is found to strongly influence climate due to increased albedo coupled with a regional-scale water vapor feedback. Globally, the alternative scenario yields a 21st century warming trend that is 0.5 °C cooler than baseline, driven by a 1 W/m2 mean decrease in radiative forcing that is distributed unevenly around the globe. Some regions are cooler in the alternative scenario than in 2005.

These results demonstrate that neither climate change nor actual radiative forcing are uniquely related to atmospheric forcing targets such as those found in the RCP’ s, but rather depend on particulars of the socioeconomic pathways followed to meet each target.

 

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32 Responses to Inconvenient conclusions in a new climate and land use paper

  1. theduke says:

    Can someone translate this into comprehensible English?

  2. Kev-in-Uk says:

    models all the way down again methinks!

  3. Bloke down the pub says:

    So far, pretty much every scheme thought up by the EU to combat the scourge of cagw has turned out to have negative impacts that either negate the supposed benefits or worse.

  4. AleaJactaEst says:

    a simulation inside a model that couples (sic) a model, another model and a model. “nuff said.

  5. Doug Huffman says:

    First, remember that here we are looking at only the abstract. The paper reports the different outcomes of four models due to different biofuel utilization and different forest cover. The alternative scenario results in a cooler globe/regions attributed to socioeconomics rather than purely physical processes. Be careful, I am a layman by all meanings.

  6. RACookPE1978 says:

    To examine the significance of such effects on global and regional patterns of climate change, a baseline and alternative scenario of future anthropogenic activity are simulated within the Integrated Earth System Model, which couples the Global Change Assessment Model, Global Land-use Model, and Community Earth System Model.

    The alternative scenario has high biofuel utilization and approximately 50% less global forest cover compared to the baseline, standard RCP4.5 scenario. Both scenarios stabilize radiative forcing from atmospheric constituents at 4.5 W/m2 by 2100. Thus, differences between their climate predictions quantify the biophysical effects of LUC. Offline radiative transfer and land model simulations are also utilized to identify forcing and feedback mechanisms driving the coupled response.

    In other words, if I change the model assumptions (for forest coverage by 50 % from a previously assumed model result) to simulate a change in land use FORCED by some arbitrary bureaucratic land use rule changes forced by another arbitrary bureaucrat, then I get a difference in outcome from when I didn’t change the original assumption of an assumed arbitrary % change in forest usage.

    I’d hope so. If my model doesn’t change outputs based on arbitrary input changes, I really don’t know models at all. Wasn’t there a song about that?

  7. OssQss says:

    Darn pay walls……..-!

    You got a plug in this article on another new paper Anthony.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/another_global_warming_drive-by.html

  8. A valuable study, refreshingly real science for a change. However, if the pre-agricultural temperate zone forests returned, humanity would starve.

    IMO, the oceans are what matter. At maximum Holocene extent, boreal forests covered only a fraction of the earth’s land, itself less than 30% of the planet’s surface once the Pleistocene ice sheets & glaciers had melted. Yet the woodsy Holocene Optimum was warmer than now.

    Please correct me if wrong, but don’t oceans affect the atmosphere more than the air warms or cools the water, at least under present orbital, atmospheric, oceanic & continental conditions?

    Science has learned a great deal about climate since Hansen switched from studying Venus to Earth in 1981, yet the laughably simplistic ocean-atmospheric circulation models haven’t taken these advances into account. They were obviously inadequate on their face in the ’80s & now have been conclusively shown so by observed reality.

    Here are a few of those advances: discovery of D-O events, 1985; of Heinrich events, 1988; of the AMO, 1994; of the PDO (by a Pacific fisheries expert), 1997; of Bond cycles, 1997, and also in that anno magnus progreditur, Svensmark & Friis-Christensen proposed an affect on climate of cosmic ray flux modulated by solar magnetic field strength (suggested speculatively by Dickinson back in ’75 & hinted at by the great astronomer Herschel in 1801, who noted a correlation between sun spots & grain prices), followed by experimental confirmation of the cosmic ray-cloud formation link, 2011, to name but a few. Please feel free to add to this list of real climate science breakthroughs ignored or pooh-poohed by the CAGW mafia, wedded by financial & ideological interest to the blatant fraud of CO2 as the “primary climate driver” (at least they’ve been forced no longer to claim sole significant forcing).

  9. don says:

    Geez, another model of a complex non-linear system in or of nature; these types of people can’t even get an economic five year plan to work much less model and entire economy, which apparently explains the popularity of making it a ten year plan for the entire world’s climate instead. Maybe the duration is predicated on the politicians being out of office after screwing it up and starving millions of people? Call me back when they can identify and predict which individual complex human system currently walking the face of the planet will choose suicide or homicide or both.

  10. Louise says:

    “To examine the significance of such effects on global and regional patterns of climate change, a baseline and alternative scenario of future anthropogenic activity are simulated within the Integrated Earth System Model, which couples the Global Change Assessment Model, Global Land-use Model, and Community Earth System Model.”

    So models are good science now?

  11. Pathway says:

    What happened to the boreal forest during the last ice age and how did that affect local climate?

  12. Gary Pearse says:

    I’m glad to see sceptics in action, even when the message is it’s going to be cooler than previously thought. That’s how it should be. No grasping at straws we. I have a problem with how much a 50% reduction in boreal forest will affect earths albedo. First, I’m with

    milodonharlani says:
    December 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

    What percentage of the land is covered with boreal forests ~ say 30%. But land represents only 29% of the earth’s surface so this is 8.5% of the globe. Now 50% of this 4.3% of the globe and the albedo of this region is going to be increased by what, with planting of crops? I have spent a good many years working in boreal forests as a geologist and I would hate to have to try to grow much else but Christmas trees on it. Also, I hope they are not suggesting that the biofuel utilization arises from burning the spindly wood from the boreal forests for fuel (why cloak the language in gobbledegook). I’ve managed to boil up some billies of tea with the stuff but I don’t recommend it for heating modern homes. Did these guys not get the memo that we have recently delineated another couple of hundred years of shale oil and gas? Do they think we are going to let coal sit there while we throw another couple of spruce trees on the fire? We skeptics don’t need this kind of help. Roger, I think you are onto something with LUC but don’t you be grasping at straws either.

  13. GlynnMhor says:

    I’m sure these sorts of studies will enhance humanity’s knowledge about the algorithms and assumptions of the models, but applicability to the processes and physics of the real world is not assured.

  14. Steven Mosher says:

    theduke.

    what does it mean?”

    “These results demonstrate that neither climate change nor actual radiative forcing are uniquely related to atmospheric forcing targets such as those found in the RCP’ s, but rather depend on particulars of the socioeconomic pathways followed to meet each target”

    You need to understand the difference between SRES and RCPs to understand this.

    go to Ar4, read the chapters on SRES. then google RCP. the data and explanations are out there.
    In simple terms.

  15. What it says is, if we cut down forests to grow biofuels we can cool the climate through albedo and humidity changes. True, IMO.

    The problem is, cutting down forests is a really bad idea, even if the highly uncertain CAGW predictions prove to be correct.

  16. JC says:

    The broad concept that land use changes has been underrated is good. According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know) about half the worlds forests have been cut down, much of that in the last 50 years. There’s a big part of your additional CO2 right there.

    JC

  17. Zeke says:

    “The alternative scenario has high biofuel utilization and approximately 50% less global forest cover compared to the baseline…”

    Yes that is a problem. Here, stick this Representative Concentration Pathway in your model and couple it: burn high BTU coal in the coal fired power plants, instead of mandating burning trees.

    And for our next Representative Concentration Pathway, use the computer “simulation” to “quantify” the “biophysical effects” (!) of this: no grains or sugar are to be utilized for fuel.

    The only way to protect both the forests and the food supply is to use high-yield crops with chemical fertilizers, and present day standards of pest control. Alternatives may be developed without removing present methods for high food productivity.

  18. u.k.(us) says:

    Louise says:
    December 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

    “So models are good science now?”
    =======================
    Please define “good”.

  19. When a paper contains a mountain of complex, muddy, and carefully inter articulated words, the author is trying to hide the fact that the paper is nothing but bullshit! So what if the interconnected models reported whatever it was that he said they reported? Reality is not a model. You do not improve your position by connecting an invalid model to another invalid model with it further connected to a third and onto a fourth invalid model. You could input pure gold and get poor grade compost out. In fact, ANY input will result in nothing but poor grade compost out.

    Yet, we are to destroy our high energy technological civilization because such nonsense says the sky is falling. Chicken Little had more direct evidence of her claim than does the entire encampment called Climate Science. At least she was hit on the head by an actual falling acorn. All the so called climate scientists have are outputs of multiple models that fail to model anything but themselves and, because it fails to model anything real, they make demands of “send more money and if you don’t, the world is going to end in a 100 years.”

    This script wouldn’t make a good B grade movie let alone a viable plan for mankind.

  20. thingadonta says:

    I’m sure the eskimos in Alaska are already adjusting their Representative Concentration Pathways as a result of this wonderful new research.

  21. Kev-in-Uk says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    December 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, I kinda grasped that – but does anyone here think that they have modeled the climate in such detail as to be confident of such a (or any other) drastic action? I think not!
    Whether one likes ot or not – the understanding of the climate system and any so called predictive ability amounts to virtually ‘zip’ in the grand scale of things. The urrent IPCC forecast models are way off base – does that make you confident?
    To my way of thinking, basing any policy decision on such crap is extremely dangerous. It would be like reporting an earthquake tremor in Rome and then the government advising everyone to get up Mt Etna to avoid a remotely possible tsunami!
    (for those who don’t understand, Mt Etna could still erupt – perhaps triggered by an earthquake)

  22. Stephen Richards says:

    Jnr thinks that models are the be all and end all of everything. Snr needs to beat him around the head a little.

  23. Robbie says:

    Climate models are only convenient for ‘sceptics’ when they present the opposite of global warming, right?
    Models are GIGO whatever comes out of them: Good or bad news!

  24. Stephen Richards says:

    Robbie says:

    December 9, 2012 at 3:33 am
    Climate models are only convenient for ‘sceptics’ when they present the opposite of global warming, right?

    Too broad a statement. You need to clarify ‘sceptics’ otherwise you are just trolling!!

  25. John Wright says:

    u.k.(us) says:
    December 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm
    Louise says:
    December 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

    “So models are good science now?”
    Please define “good”.
    —- and what made the former models “not so good”.

  26. DirkH says:

    Louise says:
    December 8, 2012 at 11:54 am
    “So models are good science now?”

    In my opinion this is not science at all but attempts by wannabe central planners from Berkeley, California, to find the optimal 100 year plan for their desired centrally planned global economy.

    I’m very sure this will come to absolutely nothing (maybe devastate one or two continents in the process though, given somebody is foolish enough to give these kids any influence).

  27. Bill H says:

    Let me get this straight…

    they took a model which fails at 72 hours 100% of the time, Then they plug into it another model to create one of the variants in the first model, which affects three other ares of the first model and its feed backs…

    does any one else get the feeling that we are spinning in circles here? And given the law of averages, the failure rate declines to 100% at 3 hours

  28. JazzyT says:

    The take-home message here is that when you set a goal in terms of radiative forcing, e.g. 4.5 w/m2, the results you get don’t just depend on the goal; they also depend on the path you take to reach that goal. That seems pretty obvious, but it’s not a bad idea for someone to take a stab at figuring it out what difference it could make. Usually, in things like this, the first effort may end up being less than accurate, but the first effort is what leads to later efforts.

    If you cut down the boreal forest, you’ll probably reveal snow for part of the year, if it still snows at a given location in the year 2100. For much of the boreal forest, it probably will snow; even if 3 meters of snow cover are replaced by 10 cm, the top few mm will reflect just as much as it did before. Not that the change would necessarily be that radical, but even even if it were–no difference while the snow is there.

    Pine trees and the like are pretty dark, so if they were all cut down, albedo would probably rise, no matter what was revealed; snow, grass, rocks…maybe soil wouldn’t reflect so much. But even fallen pine needles might be brighter than the live ones on the trees.

    What do they assume would replace the forest? Would they grow biofuels where the boreal forest was, as the abstract seems to imply? And what do the authors assume would be grown? Hardy Northern wheat? Algae? Cyanobacteria? Genetically engineered fast-growing lichen, or something weirder? We don’t know, because the article is paywalled. So, we’re stuck with just the abstract.

    Here’s a thing about paywalls, though: If you work at a major university, you can often get these articles online, because the university would have online subscriptions to many journals. You could read the article, print it, even download a PDF from any computer within the University. If you don’t work at a university, many of them still open their libraries to the general public, so you can go in and read, print, or email the article to yourself. Bit of a chore, but it can be done if you want to badly enough–it’s more efficient to wait until you have a few you want, like half a dozen. Of course, though, this only works with journals that the university actually subscribes to, and that’s not always the ones you want. My local Uni doesn’t get GRL; I don’t know whether they get J. Climate (where the above article appears).

    It would be tempting to download a pdf of an article and stick it on a server somewhere, so everyone could see it, but that’s not something to jump into without thinking it through. For copyright law (US), copying an article for scholarly purposes is allowed, and for people to read it and discuss it is “scholarly purposes.” But making the article available to the world would give the journal a legitimate (in court) complaint, to say you were cutting into their profits.

  29. James at 48 says:

    In other words, old school “ecology” – you know, the type that was the comfort zone of conservationists 50 years ago – is the tried and true way to avoid problems. All this new Age stuff is a waste of time.

  30. AndyG55 says:

    Boreal deforestation.. Just what the ex-greenies like GreenPeace and WWF ordered.

    They would do it too, without a blink, if it helped their cause.

  31. AndyG55 says:

    ps.. they now have one model that says it should be done.. that’s all that is needed.

  32. Brian H says:

    Now:
    Deborealize to decarbonize to deindustrialize.

    What could go wrong?

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