Brace for the tipping point

Climate ‘Tipping Points’ May Arrive Without Warning, Says Top Forecaster

From a UC Davis press release

Caltrans is already mobilizing for this threat.

A new University of California, Davis, study by a top ecological forecaster says it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth’s natural systems will occur — a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.

“Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them,” said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. “Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning — systems can ‘tip’ precipitously.

“This means that some effects of global climate change on ecosystems can be seen only once the effects are dramatic. By that point returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible.”

The current study focuses on models from ecology, but its findings may be applicable to other complex systems, especially ones involving human dynamics such as harvesting of fish stocks or financial markets.

Hastings, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, is one of the world’s top experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems. His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species’ response to global climate change.

In 2006, Hastings received the Robert H. MacArthur Award, the highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America.

Hastings’ collaborator and co-author on the new study, Derin Wysham, was previously a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis and is now a research scientist in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the John Innes Center in Norwich, England.

Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.

And they fear that worse is in store. As U.S. presidential science adviser John Holdren (not an author of the new UC Davis study) recently told a congressional committee: “Climate scientists worry about ‘tipping points’ … thresholds beyond which a small additional increase in average temperature or some associated climate variable results in major changes to the affected system.”

Among the tipping points Holdren listed were: the complete disappearance of Arctic sea ice in summer, leading to drastic changes in ocean circulation and climate patterns across the whole Northern Hemisphere; acceleration of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, driving rates of sea-level increase to 6 feet or more per century; and ocean acidification from carbon dioxide absorption, causing massive disruption in ocean food webs.

The new UC Davis study, “Regime shifts in ecological systems can occur with no warning,” was supported by the Advancing Theory in Biology program at the U.S. National Science Foundation and was published online today by the journal Ecology Letters, in its Early View feature: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123276879/abstract.

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FYI The image is by Anthony, and of course, it’s a spoof.

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Willis Eschenbach

I love it. It’s impossible to predict tipping points, and they can occur without warning, so their conclusion is … EVERYBODY PANIC!!!
Here’s the thing. Any human action could be pushing us either closer to or further from a “tipping point”. Since we can’t predict tipping points, the odds of either one are about equal.
As a result, there is no reason to think that man’s effect on the climate (whatever that might be) is moving us toward a tipping point. It is just as likely to be moving us away from a tipping point.
Don’t these “scientists” understand statistics? Never mind, I see that question has already been answered …

Would the world really be worse off if there were fewer of these parasites around?

Andrew30

This is a joke, right.
What is an “ecological forecaster”?
What is a “theoretical ecologist”?
If they work together do they become a “theoretical forecaster” or an “ecological ecologist”?
“highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America”
That has got to be more exciting then the Nobel Prize for Physics!
“Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.”
Isn’t this the same stuff from the IPCC report?
Did these guys not get the memo, or is this just a really old ‘report’?

Honest ABE

Obviously the AGW movement needs a mascot – is the bogeyman available?
Perhaps some kind artist can draw up a preliminary sketch of him.

I get it. As public interest in AGW wanes, scientists need to release ever more hysterical and dire dooms day predictions. Like a two old demanding attention.

tmtisfree

Tipping point alert in Minnesota:

Eleven green-energy wind turbines in Minnesota, which are supposed to provide environmentally safe electricity and fight global warming, cannot operate because they are frozen stiff.
The Star-Tribune reports the machines were supposed to be spinning by Christmas, but so far have been motionless. The state’s power agency says cold hydraulic fluid has turned to gel and oil lubricants are getting sluggish.
North St. Paul City Manager Wally Wysopal says, “it’s been a little embarrassing to have it not turning on the windiest of days.”
The company that installed the turbines, which came from California, says it was not consulted on “climate compatibility.”

The last sentence is so funny that it deserves a QOTD IMHO.
LinkText Here
Bye,
TMTisFree

Michael

I think we should have a “Lay Down like Gandhi World Day”. Everyone on the planet lays down for Five Minutes at the same time all over the world no matter what time zone. We can expect during those five minutes, no person on the planet will be hurting another person. So what if a bombing occurs during those 5 minutes. I’ll take my chances. My chances of dyeing during those 5 minutes are less than being struck by lighting twice in the same year.
What do you think?

The apocalyptic train has already hit the buffers of reality and public skepticism, but there are still idiots trying to board the train.
It’s also rare to see such academic puffery over someone’s supposed “expertise”. I hope that there are University of California, Davis alums who are suitably embarassed.

inversesquare

I think this pretty much sums up Climate science as I see it…..

Terry

Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn…..

Michael

I’m trying to find the scene where the British horses were going to trample the people and the people laid down on the ground. The horses knew instinctively and spiritually not to trample people.
I think we should have a “Lay Down like Gandhi World Day”. Everyone on the planet lays down for Five Minutes at the same time all over the world no matter what time zone. We can expect during those five minutes, no person on the planet will be hurting another person. So what if a bombing occurs during those 5 minutes. I’ll take my chances. My chances of dyeing during those 5 minutes are less than being struck by lighting twice in the same year.
What do you think?
Gandhi – His Triumph changed the World Forever

This is the big gap between the two current elements in climate science:
– the climate is predicatable
– tipping points somewhere ahead with unpredictable consequences
Some parts are sure, and these are sometimes the surprising ones:
Find out how CO2 compares with water vapor in the greenhouse effect
Or start at the beginning and find out the CO2 basics

jorgekafkazar

Michael: I think posting once would be just enough.
Dkap: I was chatting with a stranger tonight and he said they were in the middle of a hellacious blizzard. I asked if it was global warming and he just laughed. It’s becoming more and more risible, the more the warmist pseudoscientists spout their drivel.
thegoodlocust: the bogeyman is available. He looks like a cross between __ ____ and ________ ________. (fill in the blanks.)

The only tipping point we will see is when MSM finally realise they have backed the wrong horse.

Seagull

To quote the Australian federal parlimentary opposition leader, Tony Abbott, who experienced a now famous “Road to Damascus” moment on a tour of rural electorates, talking to farmers, stating that: “climate change is crap.”
I am sure he was referring to apocalyptic claims like this of “tipping points”. In due course, this lead to the rejection of previous opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, because of his subservience to the AGW/ETS push. A “tipping point”
in Oz politics perhaps, but one giant leap for the sanity of politics.

And, of course, it goes without saying that the only way to avert this severe decree is to plead with our respective governments to let us fill the coffers of the carbon traders …. NOW!
Amazing. Simply amazing.

RR Kampen

Alarm!

Michael

thegoodlocust (00:15:26) : wrote
“Obviously the AGW movement needs a mascot – is the bogeyman available?”
The bogeyman is already taken, and it’s a lot cheaper than a global carbon tax.
It goes by the name of Terrorism. Terrorism is an intangible tactic and qualifies as the bogeyman because you cant touch it, and you can’t put your finger on it.
It only cost $1 trillion over the past 9 years. It is why the US has wars going on in two countries.

wayne

Willis Eschenbach (00:08:44) :
What tipping points? Please give me a few examples of tipping points that have occured in the past so I can understand your comment.

Andrew30 (00:12:38) : What is an “ecological forecaster”?
What is a “theoretical ecologist”?

Sorry, I can’t help you.
I’m still working on: What is a “computational biologist”… as in:
“Department of Computational and Systems Biology ”
I know you can multiply numbers but didn’t know they could do it on their own… I think I’ll go ask my spouse if she would like me to whisper sweet infinities in her ear or if we can try integrating our derivatives…

jaypan

OMG, this is obviously “post”-science, not the real one.
These sorts of post-scientists are an growing problem.
The first blog entry says it all.
Ridiculous, but not funny anymore.

Given the lack of any evidence of a disasterous and precipitous shift in climate over th elast 4 billion years, I am not too worried about this likelihood.

NewPoster

I have a question.
Assume for a moment that there are tipping points when some kind of strong positive feedback kicks in and sends the climate spiralling off into much higher temperatures.
My question is this: If that were so, wouldn’t it have likely happened already in recorded or recent geological history, just because of normal random variations?
For example, if there’s a 1 in 100 chance of a very hot year, just because of random variations or cycles in the sun or whatever. Then the chance of 2 very hot years in succession would be 1 in 10,000. And 3 very hot years in succession would be 1 in 1,000,000. (Of course this probably vastly understates the probability because the sun goes through cycles, so very hot years are more likely to be closer to each other than occur at random intervals).
So if we look over the history of the past few million years, do we any suggestion for runaway global warming being triggered in this way? If we don’t, why not – why should tipping points only be possible now, but not in the geological recent past?
(or is there a flaw in the above reasoning?)

Nigel S

Andy Scrase (01:06:00)
Speaking of backing the wrong horse Gandhi hoped the Japanese army would ‘liberate’ India during WW2. Luckily for us (and him) Field Marshal Viscount Slim had a better idea.

Peter Stroud

Really it would be laughable were it not so serious. If these people really believe in such things as tipping points caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions they have lost the war anyway. China, India and other large developing countries will not reduce their CO2 emissions regardless of any future UN conference. If the doomsayers are half right we had better just enjoy the time we have left. Pass the Scotch!

Mike McMillan

Scientists widely agree that global climate change is already causing major environmental effects, such as changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation, droughts, heat waves and wildfires; rising sea level; water shortages in arid regions; new and larger pest outbreaks afflicting crops and forests; and expanding ranges for tropical pathogens that cause human illness.
And they fear that worse is in store.

Locusts?

Scientists are looking for warning signs … much like Hans Blick was told to go look for Weapons of Mass Destruction. And even thought they don’t find any, there will still be the dodgy dossier from the IPCC telling us of the real imminent threat of WMD Weather of Mass Destruction.
What was it Bush said? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice … I’m an American? (Obvious Joke … cause we Brits were taken in as well! )
…. No, Bush’s rendition is much worse than I remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ux3DKxxFoM

Fredrick Lightfoot

I started reading this article and then STOP !
I see the following;
Hastings collaborator Derin Wysham, John Innes Center in Norwich England.
Did not need to read any more, Norwich, ‘University of East Anglia’ of UEA fame, Google…. Derin Wysham, Phil Jones.

Let me try to summarise – ecologists are warning of something very bad that could happen. Their study tells them that the bad thing might happen at any time, although it has not happened before. They don’t know exactly when this bad thing might happen or what form it will take. They think that it could happen without any warning whatsoever, though. They think that a small “increase” of something or other will cause it, although exactly what they aren’t sure; they think it could be one of a number of different things. But they think they will know it has happened once it has actually happened, although by then it might be impossible to stop it happening or reverse it. Once the bad thing has happened, they think it possible we won’t be able to return to a “desirable state”, although they do not explain what sort of desirable state they would want to return to, other than that it would be a state where the bad thing isn’t happening.
Has that helped?

Fredrick Lightfoot

Sorry it should have read,
Google; Hastings, Wysham, Jones. all in the same boat.

Asteroid strike = tipping point. Catastrophic enough?

RhudsonL

10% of the check?

Don Keiller

So what these two genius forecasters from U.C. Davis have forecast is that the future is unpredictable.
Who would have thought that?

“Willis Eschenbach (00:08:44) :
What tipping points? Please give me a few examples of tipping points that have occured in the past so I can understand your comment.

Exactly! That article is nothing more than scaremongering. Let’s take a step back from this. In an eco-theoretical perspective, the Cod and Salmon species have survived millions of years of climate change- often much more dramatic than the mild changes we have seen ove the last 150 years. Ice ages and interglacials with dramatic swings in temperature between the two states.
What makes the researchers think that “tipping points” occur now, when they clearly have not done so for these species in the geological past??

HotRod

Willis, I laughed a lot reading this. “By that point returning the system to a desirable state will be difficult, if not impossible.” You WHAT?

Bernice

Great, US climate scientists and Hollywood blockbusters are great at inventing catastrophic tipping points. What a bunch of spineless scaremongerers the climate scientists in the West turned out to be. The global warming hoax has them imagining every kind of scenario, they use fiction & fact mixed with computer models to create imaginary tipping points that become real in their heads.
The panic exhibited by these primitive climate scientists are reminiscent of tribes that pay homage to the lightning God’s and other climatic deities. Climate scientists can no longer tell the difference between reality and fiction produced at the movies.
Meanwhile countries like China, Russia and India watch on in disbelief and glee, as the “sky is falling” climate scientists destroy manufacturing and the economy’s in the West. What a bunch of cowards.

Garry Rogers

I wonder if the above would be defended in an Australian Court where the penalty for perjury is up to 14 years jail.
It’s time we got serious folks.

davidc

“His current studies range from researching the dynamics of salmon and cod populations to modeling plant and animal species’ response to global climate change.”
Neither of these areas are even remotely related to the mathematics of climate change, but only with the consequences of climate change IF it happens. This has been a feature of the scam from nearly the beginning. Developing computer models that can’t be tested, based on almost no information. So when they draw the conclusion “we just don’t know” all they are telling us is that they are doing crap science.

Brian Johnson uk

Alan Hastings, a modern day soothsayer. About as accurate too!
Yes, Hastings is a genius!
I’m with Geckko (01:22:35) :
“Given the lack of any evidence of a disasterous and precipitous shift in climate over the last 4 billion years, I am not too worried about this likelihood.”

Baa Humbug

The only “Tipping Points” I’ve seen in my life are my kettle poised over my coffee cup, and my daughter on her horse as it jumps a barrell.
Now more importantly, from someone who can forecast reasonably, Piers Corbyn, says Feb 14-17 will bring worse still storms to Nth America and Nth Europe.
Central East Australia (I guess that’s Sydney to Brisbane)will get very large hail. Hot conditions for most of Oz.

Rob

Do the rune stones show any tipping points.

Nigel S

‘Warning Prius ahead’ (Speaking of unpredictable events)
Excellent Matt cartoon (from UK Daily Telegraph) as ever.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/matt/

Chuckles

‘Locusts?’
No, much worse, the research grant money might dry up.

Patrick Davis

“scienceofdoom (00:52:32) :
This is the big gap between the two current elements in climate science:
– the climate is predicatable
– tipping points somewhere ahead with unpredictable consequences
Some parts are sure, and these are sometimes the surprising ones:
Find out how CO2 compares with water vapor in the greenhouse effect
Or start at the beginning and find out the CO2 basics”
Some really interesting reading at your site. Has anyone read the material there?

H.R.

WE’RE ALL GONNA’ DIE!!! …eventually.

Even a badly aimed shotgun will hit something, just be sure to have plenty ammo and that the target is big, really big.
To bad for them that they are running out of ammo and that the target is moving out of range.

jlc

Let’s go back to first principles.
What is ecology?
When did it become “science”?
Who set the parameters?
Who defined the rules?
What is an ecological model?
How is it calibrated?
How is it verified?
How is “tipping point” defined?
Without a definition, how do we know that one hasn’t already occurred?
How would we evaluate anthropological influence on the occurrence?
Given that global population is claimed by warmenists to be a major contributor to “tipping points” and that they also claim that “tipping points” would decimate world population. Why would they not support the possibility?
So many questions. So few answers

Jimbo

If AGW is false then predictions of man-made climate tipping points is false.

Remember the death spiral of Artic sea ice?

Now we
have a 2 year summer recovery.


A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record


Snow in the UK is no longer a thing of the past.

The ultimate death of AGW might just come about as a result of there failed
predictions and forecasts
.

The tipping point has been reached. Now Sea Surface Temperatures in most ocean basins are declining.
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/02/january-2010-sst-anomaly-update.html
Sea Surface Temperature linear trends for two of the major ocean basins for the past decade are negative, even with the El Nino this year:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/01/flattening-for-most-part-ocean-basin.html

ThousandsOfMilesAway

Beyond parody.