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It really is hot out there (i.e. global climate change)
Old 07-29-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
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It really is hot out there (i.e. global climate change)

We are broiling, and drying out over a big portion of the country. And now, Richard Muller, a global warming skeptic has announced his conversion to true believer after the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project (funded partly by the Kochs which should add credibility for the skeptics) concluded that GW is real and man made:
Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
Assuming they are even half right, what does this mean for us and the economy? I long ago concluded that it is too late to avoid getting slammed by GW. I am optimistic that technological advances will allow us to adapt but the changes should force some major shifts both good and bad. I can't see how it calls for any changes in the standard diversified portfolio advice but maybe some of you have other thoughts?
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:56 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
We are broiling, and drying out over a big portion of the country.
First off, that is 'weather', not 'climate'. We had a very mild, cool summer here last year, and I wouldn't use either as any indication of long term climate trends.


Quote:
I am optimistic that technological advances will allow us to adapt but the changes should force some major shifts both good and bad. I can't see how it calls for any changes in the standard diversified portfolio advice but maybe some of you have other thoughts?
I recently read "Super Freakonomics" and there was a very interesting chapter on using technology, not to adapt, but to actually reverse global warming. Here a brief clip from an article:

Are 'SuperFreakonomics' Authors Wrong on Global Warming? - TIME

Quote:
The authors visit Nathan Myhrvold, the brilliant former chief technology officer of Microsoft and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, a private think tank. Myhrvold and his staff have the idea to build a giant "garden hose to the sky" that would pump liquefied sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists know that increasing SO2 in the air deflects sunlight, which cools down the earth; when Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines exploded in 1992, for instance, the SO2 sent into the atmosphere created a brief global cooling spell. Levitt and Dubner advocate pursuing this geoengineering scheme, which could potentially avert a hotter world for pennies on the dollar, compared with the long-term work of shifting to a low-carbon economy.
I highly recc you read the whole chapter in the book. It really made a lot of sense to me. They have all this data about SO2 and these volcanoes - it's like running an lab experiment on a global scale. And it is so much cheaper, easier, faster than reducing CO2 (and what does that do for the CO2 out there?).

As a parallel, I like to think about being in a car, realizing you are going too fast, and there is a stopped truck blocking the road ahead. Do we say "Well, I used the engine and gasoline to speed up, so the only way to slow down is to slow down that engine and reduce gas consumption"? No, we hit the brakes! We use different technology to slow down than we did to speed up. But it seems to me that most people are saying that if man-made CO2 production is the cause of GW, the only thing we can do is reduce man-made CO2 production. That is very costly, and I think most studies show the results to be minimal.

So maybe this SO2 technology is what we should watch, and maybe invest in? Also, the SO2 technology is controllable - need more, add more; got enough, you can slow it down.

-ERD50
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:06 AM   #3
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I wonder if the skeptic's A/C went out on a hot and humid day before he went through the conversion?
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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donheff - you might be 'over-selling' his conversion a bit. From that NYT article:

Quote:
These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: ....

It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical. I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong. I’ve analyzed some of the most alarmist claims, and my skepticism about them hasn’t changed

Hurricane Katrina cannot be attributed to global warming. The number of hurricanes hitting the United States has been going down, not up; likewise for intense tornadoes. Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035. And it’s possible that we are currently no warmer than we were a thousand years ago, during the “Medieval Warm Period” or “Medieval Optimum,” an interval of warm conditions known from historical records and indirect evidence like tree rings. And the recent warm spell in the United States happens to be more than offset by cooling elsewhere in the world, so its link to “global” warming is weaker than tenuous.
I'm sure I could google and find a convert in the other direction. Would that make it a wash?

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Old 07-29-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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We are broiling, and drying out over a big portion of the country.
We have had thunderstorms with absolutely torrential rains during part of every day in July so far, I think. We have had minor flooding frequently, and even had more than minor flooding on at least one day. On that day, some people had to swim from their completely submerged cars or were rescued, for example. Still, I do feel sorry for those who are experiencing a drought this year. We had that last year and I must say, I prefer the rains when it is not flooding.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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Have we considered that the cause of warmer days (that is a fact) might be attributed to both climate change and weather patterns?

Not to sound too depressing, in comparison, it is possible, say a 100 year old person's decline in health might be attributed to old age and disease. It doesn't have to be either or.

I do know for certain that when I was a kid, it was almost always cold during Christmas and warm during July 4th.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:26 AM   #7
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The warming and cooling cycles of the past few centuries match the sunspot cycle duration. Human adaptation to changing climate has been the norm for millenia.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:30 AM   #8
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The 'conversion' wasn't due to the temperature on that day, or this summer. It was due to the research done.
That said, weather is not equal to climate, but climate does affect weather.
Simply track the number of high temperature records vs the number of low temperature records over the planet and that should give you a pretty good idea.

As for Freakonimics, great books! Lousy science. Injecting large enough SO2 into the air will cool things. But the SO2 needs to be replaced often. And if CO2 continues to rise, you need more and more SO2. And of course, you then also have the consequences of the SO2.

As to what to do with finances? Many of the things most of us already do. Keep out of debt. Be prepared to pay more in insurance (medical and other types).
And as a suggestion to those looking to move, don't move to a desert or near desert, and don't move into a coastal city at or below sea level.

For anyone that is interested in what skeptical scientists think, and how they work, check out Global Warming and Climate Change skepticism examined
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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Ok people.

My DW is "hot" ...

Does that explain the situation?
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #10
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The warming and cooling cycles of the past few centuries match the sunspot cycle duration. Human adaptation to changing climate has been the norm for millenia.
This s incorrect. There are some short term trends that are somewhat similar but the don't hold up overtime.
A more detailed discussion can be found at Solar activity & climate: is the sun causing global warming?
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:49 AM   #11
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... As for Freakonimics, great books! Lousy science. Injecting large enough SO2 into the air will cool things. But the SO2 needs to be replaced often. And if CO2 continues to rise, you need more and more SO2. And of course, you then also have the consequences of the SO2.
I don't know enough to know if their science is good or not, but the IV team seems like a pretty smart bunch.

IIRC, the SO2 needing to be replaced was a benefit. If something didn't go as planned, they could shut off the flow, and it all dissipates in a relatively short time. The plan was to pump a continuous stream. They even said we could (at greater expense) use the existing SO2 output from some existing coal plants.

I think it deserves further research - even if it isn't the best/only answer, it might help (assuming this is a problem that needs fixing) until we develop a better solution?

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Old 07-29-2012, 12:00 PM   #12
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This s incorrect. There are some short term trends that are somewhat similar but the don't hold up overtime.
A more detailed discussion can be found at Solar activity & climate: is the sun causing global warming?
That article does not address what I described. I agree there is no apparent climate correlation with sunspot count, but instead there is correlation with sunspot cycle duration.

This (.doc file) illustrates: http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive...%20weather.doc

Or, archived HTML http://web.archive.org/web/200101232.../Library/1186/
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:57 PM   #13
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I don't know enough to know if their science is good or not, but the IV team seems like a pretty smart bunch.

IIRC, the SO2 needing to be replaced was a benefit. If something didn't go as planned, they could shut off the flow, and it all dissipates in a relatively short time. The plan was to pump a continuous stream. They even said we could (at greater expense) use the existing SO2 output from some existing coal plants.

I think it deserves further research - even if it isn't the best/only answer, it might help (assuming this is a problem that needs fixing) until we develop a better solution?

-ERD50
Most certainly. And it is quickly reversible, so you are exactly right it is one of the benefits.
It is also is definitely worthwhile to investigate further. I would be ver curious about how many tons of SO2 it would take, and to what altitude, and of course what the initial and then increasing costs would be.

As for smarts, I think the Freakonomics guys are incredibly smart. Likewise, penguins are incredible swimmers. Doesn't mean a penguin would win a tree climbing contest
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:07 PM   #14
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That article does not address what I described. I agree there is no apparent climate correlation with sunspot count, but instead there is correlation with sunspot cycle duration.

This (.doc file) illustrates: http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive...%20weather.doc

Or, archived HTML Intellicast - Dr. Dewpoint Article
Thanks for the links. The first does seem to focus on sun spot cycles as a proxy for how much energy we get from the sun.
Regarding the specific concept of he sunspot cycles, this may more directly address your question. I actually found the exact same erroneous graph in both articles which I found interesting. The link you showed mig do well to update the graph corrected by the original source of the graph.
What does Solar Cycle Length tell us about the sun's role in global warming?
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:07 PM   #15
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Don't worry about it. We'll know in a hundred years or so who was right, and whether or not we should have done something about it.

While we are waiting for the results, I'll just focus on shorter term goals like maximizing my returns and minimizing pesky unwarranted capital expenses.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:09 PM   #16
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As for smarts, I think the Freakonomics guys are incredibly smart. Likewise, penguins are incredible swimmers. Doesn't mean a penguin would win a tree climbing contest

OK, but I wasn't really commenting on the Freakonomic's guys science credentials or smarts, I was commenting on the team they were reporting on:

Intellectual Ventures - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Myhrvold

He could be all wet too, but I think he's worth a serious listen. I think we are mostly agreeing on this, no?

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Old 07-29-2012, 01:26 PM   #17
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I have read the Freakanomics books so I undoubtedly came across the SO2 idea. I have read of other approaches that might reverse the trends although I can't remember specifically what they were. I would include all of them in my hope that with technology we can "adapt" to the reality of GCC since I don't think a slow down of CO2 buildup (while probably advisable) will get us off the hook - we are past the tipping point on that dimension. Despite my optimism about tech I would be leery of investing in specific technology. My track record of predicting which ones will pan out is lousy. Not sure if a sector fund is any more likely to be a star.

As to Mullen's conversion, it seems pretty complete. He says the science has convinced him that GCC is both real and almost entirely man-made. If that isn't a conversion from skepticism, what is? The fact that Katrina and current local weather isn't attributable to GCC is a red herring. I have not read much in the way of scientific opinions that they are. The important thing about this to me is it should help convince all thinking people that GCC is real and that we should start seriously evaluating what the impacts may be and how we should address them.

I should probably walk back my opening sentence about this summer's hot, dry weather. I don't think there is any basis to assume it results from from global warming, it just helps get us thinking about it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:35 PM   #18
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Also very interesting!
On 5 minutes of searching I still couldn't find anything on how much SO2 was needed on an annual basis. The closest I got was a quote from him saying 'not as much as you might expect'.
The location choice (the poles) I find very interesting. For maximum dispersion I would think you would want mid latitudes. However, maximum dispersion may not be the affect he is going after.
It is interesting. Even if it is workable, I would be Rey concerned about unintended consequences.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:36 PM   #19
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I am convinced that the world is warming. I don't know enough to say if is is anthropogenic or not, although I suspect it is. I do know that some of the proposed solutions -- shift from carbon based energy to renewable energy, use all energy more efficiently, pollute less -- all seem like good things to be doing regardless.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:09 PM   #20
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Where I am (Illinois) we are finally receiving a little respite from the heat. Still sad to look up at the occasional grey sky but no rain forthcoming.

I read articles about La Nina and El Nino effects but am too uninformed to know what to think.
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