Greenland Ice Core Reveals History Of Pollution In The Arctic – But there's a twist, it was worse 100 years ago

From: ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2008)

Coal burning, primarily in North America and Europe, contaminated the Arctic and potentially affected human health and ecosystems in and around Earth’s polar regions, according to new research.

The study was conducted by the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Reno, Nev. and partially funded by the National Science Foundation.

Detailed measurements from a Greenland ice core showed pollutants from burning coal–the toxic heavy metals cadmium, thallium and lead–were much higher than expected. The catch, however, was the pollutants weren’t higher at the times when researchers expected peaks.

“Conventional wisdom held that toxic heavy metals were higher in the 1960s and ‘70s, the peak of industrial activity in Europe and North America and certainly before implementation of Clean Air Act controls in the early 1970s,” said Joe McConnell, lead researcher and director of DRI’s Ultra-Trace Chemistry Laboratory.

“But it turns out pollution in southern Greenland was higher 100 years ago when North American and European economies ran on coal, before the advent of cleaner, more efficient coal burning technologies and the switch to oil and gas-based economies,” McConnell said.

In fact, the research showed pollutants were two to five times higher at the beginning of the previous century than today. Pollution levels in the early 1900s also represented a 10-fold increase from preindustrial levels.

Continuous, monthly and annually averaged pollution records taken from the Greenland ice core dating from 1772-2003 produced the results. And although data showed heavy-metal pollution in the North Atlantic sector of the Arctic is substantially lower today than a century ago, McConnell and his research partner, Ross Edwards, an associate research professor at DRI, said there is still cause for concern.

“Contamination of other sectors may be increasing because of the rapid coal-driven growth of Asian economies,” they wrote in the report. They argued the consequence may be greater risk to the food chain as toxic heavy metals from industrial activities in Asian nations are transported through the atmosphere and deposited in the polar regions.

Food chain contamination through toxic metal absorption from both the environment and from consumption of contaminated food sources could make its way to humans, who feed on long-lived land and marine animals such as caribou, seals and whale.

“Impacts on human health in the Arctic region haven’t been determined,” said McConnell. But he suggested cleaner burning coal technologies, or better yet reduced reliance on coal burning, may head off the potential problem.

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91 thoughts on “Greenland Ice Core Reveals History Of Pollution In The Arctic – But there's a twist, it was worse 100 years ago

  1. It’s amazing what one finds when actually looking.
    I would have guessed, as these researchers did, the highest levels of pollutants would be found in the decades leading up to the passage of the clean air act.
    It would appear economically appealing technologies are also cleaner technologies.
    Coal was abandoned for oil, one side effect being cleaner air.

  2. Wouldn’t it be nice if the scientists doing these experiments would focus on their scientific results, and not feel the need to be policy advocates.

  3. Anthony,
    I’ve said many times on this site (and others) that the assumption that aerosol pollution today is worse than it was 20, 40, or even 100 years ago is false. Take a look at the following graph:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Climate_Change_Attribution.png
    As you can see, modelers require a great bit of aerosol cooling to have their models match global temps of the past century. Climate modelers assume, without question, that aerosol pollution became progressively worse during the 20th century. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the slope of the aerosol line is wrong (i.e., should be positively sloped, not negative). Note how the aerosol forcing has to go negative in order to produce a very positive forcing for greenhouse gases. When I asked the ideologues at RC to justify this graph, I received nothing but silence. When I put forth the same arguements mentioned in the article above, I got nothing but derision. When I asked if anyone ever ran the climate models at different levels of aerosol production, I got nothing but silence again. In other words, their modeling results are crap and will always be crap until they change the sign of the slope for aerosols.
    REPLY: Perhaps you should embrace this maxim: “when crap is modeled, make a stink about it” – Anthony

  4. “Conventional wisdom held that toxic heavy metals were higher in the 1960s and ‘70s, … and certainly before implementation of Clean Air Act controls in the early 1970s,”: then conventional wisemen are fools. Take a gander at Ljomborg’s The Sceptical Environmentalist: he pointesout that the effect of the Clean Air Act in Britain in the 1950s was that atmospheric pollution carried on declining at just the same rate that it was declining before the Act was passed. The reason, of course, was swapping from coal to oil (and later to natural gas).

  5. “In 1989 6 U.S. Lockheed Lightning fiter planes and 2 B 17 Flying fortresses from WWII were found in the Green land Ice where they had made emergency landings. They landed in 1942, and according to the scientists who were drilling ice cores near that spot, using oxygen isotope dating methods (still being used) they should, according to their figures be found 12 meters below the surface. In reality they were found 78 meters down. ”
    http://forums.modbee.com/viewtopic.php?p=271062&sid=1bdfd3a8451dcab040044c5045807ba0
    I have no idea how accurate this is, but its not the first time I’ve seen comments that cast doubt on ice core dating methods.

  6. Dr. Drew Budner, an environmental chemist and professor at Whitworth University gave a presentation to our Spokane Astronomical Society about his ice core work in Antarctica. He also stated that today’s atmosphere appears to be cleaner than it has been in the past 150 years and perhaps even 10,000 years. The findings are certainly at odds with the popular view, shaped by media reports, that the earth is in worse shape then ever.

  7. This has been clear for many years now. Five decades ago cities were clogged with almost as much pollution as India, Russia and China are today.
    Since then the U.S. has done a really superb job of cleaning up the environment. The air and water in our industrial cities is clean. We have made more progress in this regard — and during a half century of rapidly increasing population — than any other country on Earth, bar none.
    The enviro lobby is no longer concerned with cleaning anything up. Now they are solely concerned with political power. If it were otherwise, they would invoke the Law of Diminishing Returns, and honestly admit that the amount of money required to achieve a tiny, incremental increase in [unnecessary] abatement has risen geometrically, to the point that most of the world’s GDP would be required to satisfy the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. The enviro lobby would gladly take away most of your paycheck in return for …nothing.
    At this point, it’s all about the money. Your tax dollars. And how the green/watermelon movement can get its hands ever deeper into your pockets.

  8. Notice in the photo in the lower right how the precious ice core sample is not carefully protected from heating and not supported along its length to prevent fractures.

  9. Of course, no one is rushing to point out that legislation did essentially squat for the environment that those evil, grasping capitalists were not already doing.

  10. (sarc)I am soooooo surprised to hear that pollution was worse in 1908 than it is now. Why, I thought, modern Americans were horrible monsters, spewing out the world’s worst pollution, meanwhile, all the rest of those countries out there were living in an Ecotopian stable state. Why, I thought that pollution doubled under Reagan, then doubled again under Bush. After all, they both overturned all our clean air and pollution laws, didn’t they?(/sarc)

  11. Thank You! It is nice to see data that suppoorts what some outdoor air quality people have suspected for a long time. I started doing smoke stacks back in the 70s using Ringelmann charts to measure opacity. Ringelmann was NOT trying to clean up the environment…he recoginxed that carbon going out the stack was NOT being burned in the boiler…it was fuel that was being wasted. Ever since his work in the late 1800s most industries have been cleaning up thier combustion systems…to SAVE MONEY$$$$. This has had the unintended consequence of slowly improving air quality..at least per emision unit…but the effect has been very real in Europe and NA….

  12. To Don B re: sea level.
    Jason 1 has been going in and out of safe mode for a few months now and, consequently, no new data is being presented.
    Jason 2 is still being calibrated and has completed its third complete cycling of measurements so far. They say Jason 2 measurements are in good agreement with Jason 1 but no numbers have been released yet.
    A new agency will be releasing the data now at:
    http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/en/home/index.html
    The newest sea level charts can be obtained here (play around with the settings to see how different the chart looks):
    http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/en/news/ocean-indicators/mean-sea-level/altimetry-data-and-images/index.html

  13. I worked in the power industry for over 30 years and early in my career I frequently ran Orsat tests on boiler flue gas to determine combustion efficiency as reduced efficiency costs $$.

  14. In the1930s I remember the snow in the wintertime was covered with a black coating from coal burning furnaces that eventually disappeared when natural gas was widely used.

  15. The anti-capitalist bias shows in the assumptions that pollution was at its worst in the ’60s and ’70s and that it was the Clean Air Act that made a difference.
    Any good businessman with an eye on the bottom line would not want high levels of pollution since that’s an inefficient use of fuels; all that smoke represents dollars out the smokestack, so throughout the century there were gradual improvements in efficiencies realized. Also, as living standards gradually improved {esp. after WWII}, local communities became increasingly active in pressuring polluting industries to clean up their act. The Clean Air Act was a late comer to the scene.
    Despite superficial appearances in China’s biggest cities, such as the spiffy scenes from Beijing throughout the recently ended Olympics, the country is still highly agrarian and more 19th century than 21st. Too many Chinese still want further industrialization at any cost. They’re hungry and want it and are willing to accept the cost {for the time being} of a dirty smokestack to achieve the lifestyle routinely accepted in the West. As a consequence, industrialization will continue at an aggressive pace. Only when economic well-being of a large part of the country is achieved will there arise China’s own home-grown environmental movement. Perhaps by mid-century Chinese businesses will themselves start cleaning up their emissions to cut costs being wasted on inefficient burning of fuels. Of course the wild card in all this will be the Chinese government itself; its agenda may be far different than that of a businessman trying to improve upon the bottom line. So we can expect several decades of increasing levels of particulate matter, soot, and all those sundry chemicals being deposited in the high latitudes and perhaps the West coast of North America as well.

  16. Smokey,
    …to the point that most of the world’s GDP would be required to satisfy the goals of the Kyoto Protocol
    Gosh, really? That sounds very alarming!

  17. The air quality standards introduced in the 1970s resulted in the addition of electrostatic precipitators to coal fired boilers that has reduced atmospheric particulate emissions considerably.

  18. “Conventional wisdom……” Oh Really?
    I get the impression the research would have been considered a failure if they had found nothing to get alarmed about.

  19. “Gosh, really? That sounds very alarming!” Steven Talbot
    Well, economic miscalculations by the government resulted in the Great Depression and World War II. Yeah, I would say it is alarming that governments are seeking to reduce the use of our most important energy sources.

  20. Clark : “Wouldn’t it be nice if the scientists doing these experiments would focus on their scientific results, and not feel the need to be policy advocates.”
    Agree — Science is going to realize the folly here too late and is likely to be forever moved to the outcast bin by average people. Letting the media lie about science is going to be very bad. It’s sad to see, especially when the people involved in the research do not speak up and say “hey wait a minute” …
    We are already seeing the laugh reaction whenever there is a pronouncement of doom from a hurricane that never shows up … Weather forecasters need to pay attention, hyping ‘tiny tims’ is not doing any good. People just turn off after a few — And tragically, that causes another Katrina, where people refuse to evacuate. They simply quit listening … Case in point, they tried for days to turn the rain storm that was Fay into a Florida hurricane that never was.
    Science should stick to science and get out of political science as soon as possible.

  21. I like this little hint of the coming global eco-reparations:
    “potentially affected human health”

  22. Nothing will change until oil is exhausted.
    Glad I won’t be around then!
    If you’re an alarmist, you’d love the notion of devolving people…into animals…fighting wars over food supplies and limited resources…people dying like flies in the zapper. It’s sounds almost like a good thing to some…like it’s “a return to equality”…aka every man for himself.

  23. edcon, my Dad retired form a Southern Company coal fired power plant. So, I was pretty much aware of what went on there.
    When the precipitators are online, what comes out the smoke stacks is just about invisible. I could always tell when one of them was down…the visible smoke. It’s slick, how well they work. I’m sure they’re costly. Though, bang for the buck, seems like a good deal.
    One of the things I find distrubing is global warming ads will often have images of power plants allegedly belching smoke. When the truth is, what they are holding out a smoke is, in fact, steam from the cooling towers.

  24. StatePoet,
    Yeah, I would say it is alarming that governments are seeking to reduce the use of our most important energy sources.
    Well, indeed, that is most alarming! D’you mean people might have to make adjustments, if governments have their way?
    Do you agree with Smokey that this will swallow “most of the world’s GDP”? I accept that’s very scary indeed! This seems really crazy to me, so obviously everyone should do everything they can to stop it! Government’s plan to get rid of GDP so they can raise taxes from what’s left, yes? That’s pretty fiendish!

  25. Actually, it seems the scientists are doing what they’ve always done (and what they are paid to do) – create a hypothesis, determine the data to collect to test it, analyze the test results, and change the model as appropriate; rinse and repeat. They’ve been doing it ever since the 70s especially, but even before then. Why anyone would fault them for using the data to update the models, I have no idea.
    As for ‘conventional wisdom’ saying the recent decades ought to be the worst for pollution, I don’t know where you are getting your wisdom, but I’d always heard the bad old days were in the 1800s to early 1900s, when the industrial revolution was hitting its peak and no one knew (or cared) about the effects of pollution. We’ve come a long way, baby, does anyone here dispute that is a good thing?

  26. Why, Steven Talbot, you sneaky devil, you. You took a piece of my sentence out of context, to put a spin on it. Can’t have that, can we? So, here’s the whole thing, unsnipped:

    The enviro lobby is no longer concerned with cleaning anything up. Now they are solely concerned with political power. If it were otherwise, they would invoke the Law of Diminishing Returns, and honestly admit that the amount of money required to achieve a tiny, incremental increase in [unnecessary] abatement has risen geometrically, to the point that most of the world’s GDP would be required to satisfy the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. The enviro lobby would gladly take away most of your paycheck in return for …nothing.

    Only a fool would fail to be alarmed at that.

  27. Jack Simmons:
    “It would appear economically appealing technologies are also cleaner technologies.”
    Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand at work.

  28. It would appear economically appealing technologies are also cleaner technologies.
    —-
    This is true. It’s also true that capitalists aren’t the heartless pigs that they are made out to be in the media.

  29. Smokey,
    “Only a fool would fail to be alarmed at that.
    I agree.
    Sadly, I think that a significant part of the world’s GDP will be forfeited in dealing with the consequences of the fact that I don’t think there is any real chance we are going to satisfy even Kyoto. I don’t think governments will agree to act significantly upon mitigation, not any time soon.
    I very much hope that your view of the climate is right, but I do fear that you are wrong. This is not because I am part of an ‘enviro lobby’ seeking power, and not because I have any designs upon your paycheck (or mine), but because I am persuaded by the science. As I say, I hope that I am wrong.

  30. “Do you agree with Smokey that this will swallow “most of the world’s GDP”?” Steven Talbot
    No maybe not. But the world’s economy is in no condition for serious tampering with one of it’s most basic components, energy.
    BTW, what do you think of nuclear power?

  31. Maybe now that it is inblackand white the rediculous folly of blaming soot for the rapid melting at the north pole will finally be tucked up and put to sleep….forever

  32. “Persuaded by the science”??? There is no science in “Playstation Climatology”. And the “PlayStation Climatologists” don’t want any. Go read Chris comment of 25/08/08.

  33. “Why anyone would fault them for using the data to update the models, I have no idea.”
    Permitting me modest license:
    On the fable of the blind Hindu sages interpreting the evidence of
    an elephant, the great John von Neumann said to the effect-
    “Grant me 5 degrees of freedom and I will specify the creature down to the wrinkles on the bottom of his feet.
    Grant me 6 degrees of freedom and I will have him dance ‘Swan Lake'”.
    Reproducing the past tells us nothing important about the predictive competence of a model. Indeed, it was an indication of startling incompetence that MBH98 diverged from the final 20 odd years of data. Lindzen has written on this very failing of climate models a number of times.
    Have an idea?

  34. “Playstation climatology”??
    When they did some of the first climate models I’m sure they wished they had computers with as much processing power as a playstation.
    In 1981 Hansen did a modelling exercise. He predicted that between 1980 CO2 would contribute around 0.2 to 0.4 degrees of warming. Actual change in temperature between 1980 and 2000? Just under 0.4 degrees. As measured both by the possibly corrupted surface record, and by satellite.

  35. I could write a very short model that perfectly predicts the past using just a read statement and lots of data. But I suppose that would be cheating too much.

  36. Perhaps these guys shouldn’t have been surprised. In Britain, the all-time high in per capita carbon emissions was 3.2 tons in 1913. Most things were driven by coal or wood, and much more inefficiently than today. Along with the emissions, there were much higher levels of pollution. London was notorious for ‘pea-souper’ smogs from the 19th century up to the 1950s; one such event in 1952 killed over 4000 people.
    Total emissions in Britain were significantly higher in 1970 than today. From 1970 emissions dropped, until about 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was signed, at which point they plateaued or started to rise again. I think this was the opposite of what was supposed to happen.

  37. Steven Talbot, while there is a case to be made that AGW has and will continue to occur ( I think it’s a not very good case, but that’s beside the point), most of the projected consequences of warming, should it occur, are just alarmist claptrap. There is no science in these projected future consequences. And to claim otherwise is misleading to say the least.
    Prove me wrong, by pointing to just one scientific paper that demonstrates any future catastrophy from global warming. Models don’t count.

  38. statePoet,
    Nuclear power? I think we’ve made a serious mistake not developing the technology for 4th generation breeder reactors well before now.

  39. “I think we’ve made a serious mistake not developing the technology for 4th generation breeder reactors well before now.” Steven Talbot
    Agreed. We might be synthesizing carbon neutral gasoline by now with hydrogen produced by nukes. That might have bought us enough time to not be in a panic abut CO2.

  40. Philip_B,
    Prove me wrong, by pointing to just one scientific paper that demonstrates any future catastrophy from global warming. Models don’t count.
    It is impossible to make a scientific projection without applying a model, so thus it is impossible to prove you wrong without one (and even with one, it wouldn’t be proof!

  41. I’ve discovered that the threads go much faster if I just ignore everything from Stephen Talbott. Try it, it works.
    Reply:Inappropriate, especially in light of how everyone was accepting advice to be respectul. Could you please do the same?~charles the moderator

  42. I’m sorry you think that, Pofarmer. I’ve only been posting here for a short time, but had gained the impression that many posters regretted the fact that they felt ‘AGWers’ (for want of a better term) weren’t inclined to debate. So, I’ve put some time into debating, hoping that it would be accepted, amongst reasonable people, that I have a rational point of view, even though it may be one that you disagree with. I’ve aimed to read everything you’ve written thoughtfully, and have responded with integrity, I believe. However, your recommendation that others should ignore those with whom they disagree does give me pause for thought.
    And thinking about it, I guess I can find better things to do with my time.
    My regards to you, I hope your crops grow well, and I hope your assessment of the future is the right one. Bye.

  43. Pingback: STAY WARM, WORLD… Roger Carr « Stay Warm, World…

  44. Steven Talbot
    I belive you bring a lot to the debate. I may not agree with your point of view, but it does make one think and ask questions.

  45. Conventional wisdom held that toxic heavy metals were higher in the 1960s and ‘70s, the peak of industrial activity in Europe and North America and certainly before implementation of Clean Air Act controls in the early 1970s
    Any historian worth his salt knows that. And knows that pollution got less and less all throughout the 20th century, long before any of those clean air laws. and knows that the biggest break was the invention of the internal combustion engine (which replaced the horse and most of the coal).
    (Unfortunately there are not a lot of historians left that are worth their salt.)

  46. Steve and Joel are okay in my book.
    No, I don’t agree with them.
    But they are in there fighting a relatively clean fight in the middle of enemy territory. I can respect that.

  47. Maybe now that it is inblackand white the rediculous folly of blaming soot for the rapid melting at the north pole will finally be tucked up and put to sleep….forever
    Tell NASA. They started it!
    Actually it may correlate. We know there was significant ice melt in the early 2oth century. Maybe dirty snow from the NH contributed. Then there was a cleanup in the west. Ice re-formed. Then China and India emerged and started burning a LOT of dirty coal . . .
    I definitely think the issue should be studied further using ice core data.

  48. Do you agree with Smokey that this will swallow “most of the world’s GDP”?
    No. But it could swallow up to half of economic growth. (I’ve seen stats on Kyoto and Stern.) That’s definitely enough to scare me.

  49. Steven Talbot: Nuclear power? I think we’ve made a serious mistake not developing the technology for 4th generation breeder reactors well before now.
    It’s the only thing I agree with Jim Hanson on, And that’s not easy!

  50. Nuclear power? The biggest draw back is water. Water in water vapor out where it lands noboby knows.

  51. Steven Talbot, all scientific predictions come from theories, not from models (except to the extent models are theories). My point was that all climate catastrophy predictions aren’t outcomes of generally accepted, or even hotly disputed, theories, and hence are not scientific predictions, which is what you claimed.
    Otherwise, you are clearly better informed than most on the warming side of the aisle, and you may pleasantly surprise me by not indulging in what I call the culture of deception on the warming side.

  52. A comment concerning the statement that planes were found deeper in the ice than predicted by ice core dating.
    Even glass is fluid, as demonstrated by the bottom of old glass windows being thicker than the top. I suspect the planes just sunk through the ice!

  53. demonstrated by the bottom of old glass windows being thicker than the top
    Apparently that’s a myth. The glass was installed with the thinnest part upward to maximize sunlight through it.

  54. Stephen Garland (00:30:52) :
    I used to think glass was a liquid too. However, someone pointed out the source of this notion. It has to do with the observation glass panes installed in cathedrals were thicker on the bottom. Presumably, the glass thickness was constant when installed, but, over time, flowed downhill.
    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass#Behavior_of_antique_glass
    The observation that old windows are often thicker at the bottom than at the top is often offered as supporting evidence for the view that glass flows over a matter of centuries. It is then assumed that the glass was once uniform, but has flowed to its new shape, which is a property of liquid. [25] The likely source of this unfounded belief is that when panes of glass were commonly made by glassblowers, the technique used was to spin molten glass so as to create a round, mostly flat and even plate (the Crown glass process, described above). This plate was then cut to fit a window. The pieces were not, however, absolutely flat; the edges of the disk would be thicker because of centripetal force relaxation. When actually installed in a window frame, the glass would be placed thicker side down for the sake of stability and visual sparkle.[26] Occasionally such glass has been found thinner side down or on either side of the window’s edge, as would be caused by carelessness at the time of installation.
    I can’t really say anything about the behavior of ice with regard to the WW II planes found in Greenland. But it does remain a fascinating story. Someone actually tried to recover one of the planes.
    http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=297
    However, did the planes sink in the ice, or, were they covered by snow and ice? Perhaps a combination of the two processes.

  55. JP Rourke (15:14:11) :
    “Actually, it seems the scientists are doing what they’ve always done (and what they are paid to do) – create a hypothesis, determine the data to collect to test it, analyze the test results, and change the model as appropriate; rinse and repeat. They’ve been doing it ever since the 70s especially, but even before then. Why anyone would fault them for using the data to update the models, I have no idea.”
    Have the positive thermal feedback parameters for CO2 been adjusted lower to accommodate the cooler than expected temperatures of the decade since 1998?

  56. Michael Hauber (16:26:48) :
    “In 1981 Hansen did a modelling exercise. He predicted that between 1980 CO2 would contribute around 0.2 to 0.4 degrees of warming. Actual change in temperature between 1980 and 2000? Just under 0.4 degrees. As measured both by the possibly corrupted surface record, and by satellite.”
    Would you happen to have the URL for Dr. Hansen’s modeling?
    Also, did he happen to extend this model out to sometime after 2000?

  57. Steven Talbot,
    in all the comments about Kyoto you’ve made (somewhat alarmist), are you aware that were Kyoto fully implemented, we’d only get 0.05 oC to 0.07 oC of temperature mitigation? It’s well within the noise level of temperature variability–i.e., we would never be able to tell if Kyoto accomplished anything at all.

  58. Here’s a graph of the temperature variation from the time of Hansen’s first testimony before Congress in 1988 (which started the global warming alarmist movement) and his 20th anniversary temperature in 2008, during which he suggested that corporate leaders that opposed AGW be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.” My only question is this–which end of the graph is coolest:
    http://i30.tinypic.com/pc2yv.jpg
    I wonder what caused the sudden need for idiotic statements like that when the temperature record could in no way justify such radical (desperate?) remarks. Perhaps the lack of warming/slight cooling of the last decade has him worried.

  59. Ice does act as a viscous liquid when under pressure, but it doesn’t explain why the planes were much further under the ice than expected. Planes are just too light to sink into a very viscous liquid. The obvious answer is snow/ice accumulation is much higher than assumed, which I think is the real reason.

  60. Steven Talbot (15:37:14),
    given you’re somewhat alarmist view of the lack of implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, I’m curious if you are aware that if Kyoto were fully implemented, the temperature amelioration would only be in the range of 0.05 to 0.07 oC by 2050AD–well within the “noise” level of natural temperature variation. In other words, were Kyoto fully implemented, there is absolutely no scientific method to determine whether or not its implementation made any difference whatsoever.

  61. Someone actually tried to recover one of the planes.
    They didn’t just try, it was at OshKosh this year.
    However, did the planes sink in the ice, or, were they covered by snow and ice? Perhaps a combination of the two processes.
    It’s solid ice, I don’t see how anything could “sink” in it.

  62. “but because I am persuaded by the science.”
    What science? All I can find behind the AGW scare is a couple of deeply flawed computer models. And computer models, even when they work, are not science.

  63. “Nuclear power? The biggest draw back is water. Water in water vapor out where it lands noboby knows.”
    Nuclear plants don’t use any more water than a coal plant does.

  64. Should have said, “anything as light as an aircraft” could sink in it.
    The pictures of them recovering that plane are just incredible.

  65. Oh, and my problem with Mr. Talbot stems from the fact that he’s making the same arguments he was making 14 threads ago that have all been shown to not have basis. Maybe he’s arguing in good faith, but he’s extremely hard headed. I hadn’t read here for a while, and came back on the top thread and saw the same “the models predict this” horse hockey that was being spouted a week ago when he was asked if ANY of the models ever predicted anything accurately. No answer. That, to me, is trollery, possibly polite trollery, but trollery nonetheless.

  66. One other note. I had my “conversion” after talking to the head meterologist at the University of MO a couple years ago. I was reading publications talking about all this “climate change” and decided to go up the ladder with my decision making tree, as weather(ie Climate) is pretty important to me. He’s the one who told me he didn’t beleive that there was enough information, and encouraged me to look around at all the sources I could find and make up my own mind. It didn’t take long to realize there are holes all over the AGW theory.

  67. No big surprise here. Ever seen pics of Pittsburgh around 1900? Everything is covered in coal soot, even the children.

  68. Philip_B — “Steven Talbot, all scientific predictions come from theories, not from models (except to the extent models are theories). ”
    All theories are models, although not necessarly computer models. This is also true in climate studies. Climatologists simply write software to emulate their paper model and let it run, trying to extrapolate the consequences. Any failure here isn’t in the software (unless there are bugs of course) but in the paper model, i.e. the underlying understanding. Any understanding of anything requires a mental model merely to understand it… hence everything we think we know about everything is a model of sorts. Everything.
    That said, I have a problem with this in that I don’t believe that a computer simulation ought to be substituted for real life observation nor let out of a lab to see the light of day. It’s purpose is to play with guesses re behaviours that are consequential to changes in the physical understanding. Using these for policy is silly, especially until such time as the physical properties are so well understood that everyone agrees that this is so. There should not be large magnitude changes of any sort e.g. “we used to use a flat parameter of X to substitute SH oceanic currents and upwelling and we found out later that this was inadequate” (this is similar to the changes in models used by GISS in 1988 vs the ones in use now.)
    It’s one thing to claim that the science is improving as the GCM defenders like to claim, likening model changes as V 1.2 vs 1.0. This however is misleading and plain wrong. A revision indicates upgrade of a process such as incorporating newer data feeds or a slight algorithmic enhancement. It is absolutely *not* a revision change to admit that the entire SH oceanic system was added to the model rather than use a flat parameter. It is *not* a revision to completely add new aerosol handling or Svensmark’s cloud formation stuff. That is a re-thinking of the paper model that underlies the software. Claiming otherwise is just crap.
    My guess is that since most people really don’t get models or software that we see all sorts of claims Pro and Con. My observation is that the most thoughtful commentary re models comes from engineers who work with this type of thing daily, and it’s telling that as a rule the more technical background you have the more dubious you are of claims using GCMs as the basis of the claim. It’s pure irony that the loudest claims of appeal to authority (e.g. claims of peer reviewed papers trumping all) are by the people with the least understanding of how all of this stuff works.

  69. in all the comments about Kyoto you’ve made (somewhat alarmist), are you aware that were Kyoto fully implemented, we’d only get 0.05 oC to 0.07 oC of temperature mitigation? It’s well within the noise level of temperature variability–i.e., we would never be able to tell if Kyoto accomplished anything at all.
    I’ve heard it would be 0.15 by 2100, but that’s still pretty darn small. Around 6 years’ worth according to IPCC projections.

  70. Temperature saving due to full implementation of Kyoto-
    Can Evan Jones or someone else point me to the source of this information please?

  71. Mary Hinge (16:02:35) :
    > Maybe now that it is in blackand white the rediculous folly of
    > blaming soot for the rapid melting at the north pole will finally
    > be tucked up and put to sleep….forever
    Then why then is V. Ramanathan, James Hansen & Charlie Zender continuing to point out that even ongoing sootfall in the Arctic is significant?
    So significant, in fact, that it’s the equivalent of CO2’s effect?
    This is really nothing new, it’s been long understood that soot’s effects were more profound in the late 19th & early 20th C, with a great deal of “net” global warming caused by soot deposition in the boreal environs.
    Add surface ozone’s effect and CO2 is the minority warming agent in the Arctic.

  72. OK! glass wasn’t a good example. (Thanks for the info Jack)
    Does anyone know about the Liquid-Like effect at metal/ice interfaces? I would guess that the positional stability of a plane in ice is more complex than relative differences in density!

  73. leebert (19:23:00) :
    “This is really nothing new, it’s been long understood that soot’s effects were more profound in the late 19th & early 20th C, with a great deal of “net” global warming caused by soot deposition in the boreal environs. ”
    Could you post the links for the ice melt in the Arctic in the late 19th to early 20th century?

  74. MarkW (05:15:38)
    The water used in mining stays in a liquid form which can be reclaimed and reused down stream. Nuclear power plants produce water vapor which will return to earth some were. It could be an issue in arid regions.
    By the way, my water bill went up. The reason given. “We are not selling enough water.”

  75. Maybe leebert couldn’t post the links because there are none! If soot is responsible for the extreme melting event we are now witnessing then it should have happened on a regular basis since the industrial revolution, especially as soot levels aould have been much higher then. Therefore soot is not to blame!

  76. Maybe leebert couldn’t post the links because there are none! If soot is responsible for the extreme melting event we are now witnessing then it should have happened on a regular basis since the industrial revolution, especially as soot levels aould have been much higher then. Therefore soot is not to blame!

    What extreme melting event? Umm, arctic ice HAS melted on a regular basis.

  77. “….arctic ice HAS melted on a regular basis.”
    But not recorded at levels seen in last two years.

  78. ““….arctic ice HAS melted on a regular basis.”
    But not recorded at levels seen in last two years.”
    And? We haven’t been recording for very long at all. We have no idea what it might have done 100 years ago, 200, 300, 1000, etc.

  79. “We have no idea what it might have done 100 years ago, 200, 300, 1000, etc”. No we don’t and as we haven’t too many written accounts we can assume it was pretty inhospitable and innaccessable during human written history. Speculation aside we have to work on available data and that shows an extreme rather than a regular melt.

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